Title: Butcher (Nourishment: Second Helpings 25)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, drama, Lex POV
Spoilers: None ever anymore
Rating: T (Teens and up due to violence)
Pairing: Clark/Lex/Chloe established relationship
Summary: The first crack
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: All parts of "The Nourishment Series" and "Second Helpings", which precede this story, can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!
AUTHOR'S WARNING: This one's GRIM, folks. Do NOT read unless you're up to speed in this universe, or you'll get stung. I'm just sayin'...
DEDICATION: For the cast of the show, whom I miss so much...
COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, July 12, 2006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.
Clark failed. Ever since I met him, he has been my savior, the hero to jump in and rescue everyone. I guess he isn't that anymore.
It had started out as such an ordinary day. Chloe was going to meet the wedding planner to look at dresses (on a morning when her classmates were picking out prom frocks), then was due back at the mansion for lunch before we all headed into the city to attend the symphony. Clark and I shot a little pool to while the morning away.
I hadn't even started to worry yet when my desk phone rang. Imagine my surprise to discover my long-lost half-brother Lucas on the line.
Before I had the chance to exchange any pleasantries, he snarled, "If you'd like to see your fiancee alive again, I'd recommend getting your ass to the top of LuthorCorp Tower as soon as you can. Oh, and don't involve the police, if you have any common sense at all."
Clark must have recognized from my expression that something was wrong, for he was at my side in the blink of an eye. "What is it? What's going on?" he asked, almost before I'd recradled the phone.
"They have Chloe," I answered numbly, methodically taking things out of drawers and putting them in my pockets.
"Who's 'they'?" he persisted, coming along as I headed for the garage.
"I'm not sure," I replied, with all honesty.
"Well, who was that on the phone?"
"The one and only. I'll drive," I added once we reached the parking facility, picking the fastest car I could see. "He said to go to the top of LuthorCorp Tower, and I'd rather they not see a copter coming from miles away."
He took his spot at shotgun without a second's hesitation. "Is she all right?"
For the first time since the phone had rung, I caught his gaze and held it steadily for a moment. "No."
Without a word, he grasped my hand on the gearshift and squeezed it once tightly, giving me a nod to indicate that he was with me no matter what. We drove on to the city in silence.
The few hours we needed to make the drive felt like days, though I think I drove that road faster than I ever have before. I tried to devise a plan of action, but my fears of what they might do to Chloe kept me too occupied to do more than hope for later inspiration. In the meantime, I was grateful to have Clark along as some extra muscle, no matter what faced us in the city.
When I had first proposed to her, she was just a friend whom I wanted to help out of a rough spot. But Clark's affection for the girl colored my view of her, and we had grown closer in the intervening month. I still might not have been able to say I loved her, exactly, but she had become very important to me, and I hated the thought of anyone trying to hurt her in order to get to me.
I recalled that the most direct route to the roof of the building was via the 33rd floor, which had a separate freight elevator out of sight of the main access lift, so once the car was parked, I bolted to the underground garage elevator and slid my access key through the reader, Clark hot on my heels.
As we rose to our destination, I warned him, "I had hoped you wouldn't have to see the place we are going. Please don't ask me any questions about it, because I don't have any answers. It's something my father was working on..."
Nothing I might have said could have prepared him for the sight of the lab, though. He grew pale and his eyes widened as he noticed the sheer number of tables where glowing green meteor rocks lay out for scientific experiments. I gripped his arm tighter and nearly dragged him through the rows of technical equipment, hoping he wouldn't feel the effects of the mineral. At last, we were enclosed in the emergency elevator to the roof, and his color returned to normal. However, his eyes remained haunted as I petted him and assured him he was all right.
Unfortunately, this changed as soon as the door opened onto the roof, where I had intended for us to split up and ambush them near the main elevators. Much to my surprise, we were greeted by two faces from my past: my errant half-brother and my old bed-warmer, Victoria Hardwicke. Lucas was pointing a gun at my head, making the Glock I'd hidden in my pocket nearly worthless. Victoria also had anticipated our entrance, for she immediately wrapped a huge green mesh fabric over Clark's head and body. I could tell that it must have been made from processed meteor rocks, for he stumbled and fell to his knees on the waterproofed surface.
The spring shower that had been threatening all morning chose that very moment to begin, lightly at first, then drenching us all evenly. I struggled to keep my footing as Lucas yanked me across the roof to where I could see the man who had hired him standing on an air conditioning unit near the wall and holding my intended with an arm slung around her neck.
"Hello, Dad," I addressed him flatly, not betraying my surprise that he'd succeeded in escaping prison at last. "Glad you came up with something productive to do once you got out."
Chloe was struggling in his grip, which was amazingly strong for an ailing old man. "Lex!" she screamed once, though I couldn't tell if she was calling for help or warning me of unseen dangers.
"Ah, young love," my father bellowed poetically, a clap of thunder punctuating his words. "Damned shame I have to come between you two."
"What do you want, Dad?"
"The alien lovechild would be nice," he answered mysteriously, gesturing toward Chloe's belly. "But I'm a reasonable man. Just give me back my money, and you can have her, and it, and the four of you can live happily ever after."
Of course, this was all about money. I start arguing, hoping to distract him long enough to grab his hostage. "It's not your money anymore. I need it to clean up the horrible mess you've made of the city and this corporation. Part of your paying your debt to society is giving up your fortune. You've hurt too many people to be free and rich ever again--the judge decided that."
Things suddenly started moving very quickly. Clark, weakened from his exposure to the meteor rocks, still managed to shove his captor aside and break free from his fine net covering to stagger toward my father's perch. Just then, Lucas aimed past me and blasted Victoria dead with a single shot, probably as punishment for her poor performance.
Since Lucas was no longer aiming at me, I reached into my pocket for my gun. Lionel saw that Clark and I both were heading for him, and he spun with Chloe still clutched in his arms, suspending her over the street below.
"Clark!" she screeched, and my lover cried out, "Chloe!" just as my father let go. She made a grab for the edge of the roofline, but the rain made it impossible for her to hold onto anything, and Clark arrived at the rim just as she disappeared from view. Had he been operating at his normal power, I'm sure he would have had no trouble getting there in time to make his typical daring rescue. But he wasn't, and it wasn't his fault that this was the case, though no amount of rationalization could make this fact acceptable to me.
With one foot, my father flipped open an access hatch and slipped into the air vent before I could stop him. For a moment, I considered going after him, but just then a cacophony of squealing tires and automobile horns rose from the street in front of LuthorCorp Tower, and I knew it was too late.
I made my way around the air conditioner to Clark's side. He used his height advantage to scan over the lip to the chaos below, then grabbed me by the shoulders to hold me back. "Don't look, Lex. It's over."
Of course, I insisted that he boost me up over the high wall so I could see anyway. A crowd of people and vehicles littered the pavement, all centered around a tiny, motionless figure that was twisted into an impossible pose.
My gorge rose, and I scrambled back to safety on the roof where I crouched in the corner and threw up. Clark stroked my back in the rain, murmuring his regrets in a choked voice. I knew without looking that Lucas had already vanished, leaving us alone with Victoria's body.
Sirens echoing down the concrete corridors mocked us, approaching as if there were anything that could be done. I couldn't help kicking myself for hesitating to use my gun, either. My main disappointment, however, irrational though it might have been, was reserved for my lover, who had not been able to stop my father or save the girl who had complicated both of our lives.
Clark failed, at the moment I needed him the most. Only time will tell if I'll ever be able to forgive him.
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