Title: Just Desserts (Nourishment: Second Helpings 5)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, Lex POV
Spoilers: Moving beyond season 3 as it should have been done
Rating: Y (for all audiences)
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Unfinished business
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: "The Nourishment Series", which precedes this series, can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!
AUTHOR'S ADDENDUM: Is it my fault that they stopped making believable episodes of Smallville after "Covenant"? I've volunteered for the job of doing it myself. Let me know how I'm doing!
DEDICATION: For Tiff, who sometimes seems to be missing, too. ;P
COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, March 29, 2005, 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 looked so adult on the witness stand. I mean, obviously I've gotten past his virginal adolescence (having pushed him out of it by force, if I'm completely honest), but I didn't expect to see him looking and sounding so much like a mature man at my father's trial.
At my doctor's insistence, I got to be ferried to the proceedings in a wheelchair, if for no other reason than to facilitate our passage through the media circus that had sprung up in and around the Metropolis courthouse. My convalescence at Kent Farms was nearly at an end, but we didn't want to take any chances with an ill-timed collapse.
For the duration of the trial, Clark's parents gave him permission to stay with me at the penthouse in the city so we didn't have the daily commute back to town. I'd popped for a couple of custom-fitted suits for him, too, as he'd outgrown the high-school-boy ensemble that he'd worn to the museum gala so long ago.
My lover gave his testimony in a steady voice, even keeping his composure when my dad's lawyers cross-examined him. The rest of the time, he sat close beside me, occasionally brushing his knuckles against mine in lieu of holding my hand and smiling at me when I caught his eye during the long, involved sessions.
The case built against my father like a sword forged in fire. The evidence was slim, but the character statements and supporting horror stories built it up, folded it in upon itself, and hammered the layers to a finer and finer edge. I should have bristled at stories of his machinations against me being made quite so public, but if it supported the prosecution for the jury to know of my electroshock torture and poisoning, so be it. It just added to their message for me to appear in a wheelchair, and made it less necessary for me to testify against him myself.
Late in the afternoon of the third day, the star witness was summoned, causing an audible gasp to rise from the gallery.
"The court calls Chloe Sullivan."
Clark's reaction to the appearance of the pretty blonde in the room might have been funny had I not immediately felt guilty for not dispelling his belief that she was dead. He almost bolted out of his seat, and would have knocked his chair backwards if I hadn't grabbed him firmly by the wrist to prevent him from attracting any attention. His mouth kept opening and closing, and his breath caught like he wanted to weep openly.
When he was finally able to tear his eyes away from the "ghost" at the front of the room to turn to me, a wet streak lined a path down his left cheek. A completely different expression overtook his face when he looked at me and realized that I was not surprised to see his dear friend alive again. I let my hand slip down to squeeze his firmly, and silently I mouthed the words "We'll talk later."
If I had any doubts as to his strength, they were erased by the pressure of his hand in mine coupled with the look of barely-suppressed rage in his eyes. Had he wanted to, he could easily have crushed the bones in my hand, but he chose to hold back, and that alone frightened the hell out of me.
Chloe was sworn in and asked a few introductory questions, but the buzz in the gallery made the judge decide to adjourn until the next day. For once, the press didn't pursue Clark and me as we left the courtroom, instead clamoring at the door waiting for the appearance of the undead girl. However, she of course had been whisked out a hidden door and was waiting for us with her bodyguard when we got back to my private quarters.
As Clark had helped me stow the wheelchair outside my elevator, I was on my feet when Chloe leapt out of her seat and flung her arms around my neck. "Oh my God, Lex! It's so good to see you!" she practically sang.
I hugged her tight and replied, "It's my pleasure, but I think somebody else wants his turn."
She released me reluctantly and shook out her clothes, then turned to him. "Clark," she began, her attempt to sound calm ruined by the small crack in her voice at his stricken expression.
He gathered her into his arms and wept into her hair, all of his attention on her instead of me, to my great relief. "I thought I'd never see you again," he whimpered, his voice high and tight with tears. "They told us you were dead."
"I'm so sorry, Clark!" she answered, a matching quiver in her words. "If Lex hadn't made plans to hide my father and me, we might really be dead!"
Together they walked to a couch and sat down, Clark reluctant to let her detach herself from his side. I took the spot remaining beside her and reached out for her hand, which she gave without hesitation. With my other hand, I snatched up a box of tissues from the end table and handed it over her head to Clark, who was still snuffling and wiping his nose on the back of his hand.
Eventually, Clark composed himself enough to speak again. "So, did Lionel blow up your house?"
Chloe gave a gallows chuckle. "Nope. That was a smokescreen, literally. Lex didn't trust that his father's people would leave us alone while we were in hiding, so that was all staged. They couldn't come looking for us if we'd been killed in an accident, could they?"
"How did you escape the explosion?" he continued between clearing his throat and blowing his nose.
"There was a secret tunnel we used to run to safety before the charge went off, and then we were taken to a secure location Lex had found for us in Grandville. All anybody watching from outside could tell was that the place went up in flames moments after we had gone inside. Nice cover, huh?"
Clark shot me an angry glare. "But nobody could tell me that it was fake, huh? I had to go on for three months believing a lie?"
"We didn't think it was safe letting anyone know," she explained patiently. "Lana doesn't know. My uncle and cousins don't know. It's not just you," she added, with a pat to his knee.
"Why couldn't you have said something, Lex? Don't you trust me?"
"Of course I trust you, baby," I replied. "It's just that I could never know who else was listening, not even in your parents' house. Are we sure that your mother never hears from anyone she met in my father's employ?"
The click of realization in Clark's head was almost audible. "Oh," he said at last. "I hadn't thought of that."
With saucer-sized eyes that rivaled his own, Chloe flat-out asked, "Forgive me?"
He glanced at me, his eyes unreadable, then answered her, "You're alive. I have to." Once again, they formed a happy hugging knot on my sofa. "I can't believe you didn't even tell Lana..." he murmured loud enough for me to hear.
Reluctantly, she pushed out of his grasp. "Hey, that's who I need to talk to... How is Lana doing these days?"
"Not bad," I offered. "She's in Wichita this week."
Turning suddenly to me, she asked, "You e-mailed me that she came back after a week in Paris, but what the heck is she doing in Wichita?"
Clark interrupted, "She's been spending a lot of time there with Pete these days, since he moved there with his mom."
"Pete?!?" she exclaimed. "Is it serious?"
I offered, "She's there more than she's in Smallville most of the time."
She spun back on me with eyes full of sparks. "You knew this and you didn't tell me?" A rain of fake girly swats fell on my head and arm. "You suck at gossip! How long have you been living in Smallville? We live on dirt!" Her hands shifted to snaking into my jacket pockets. "You have her number? Gimme your phone. I've gotta call her!"
"All right, all right--" Ignoring my snickering seatmates, I dug out my phone and hit Lana's speed dial code.
Lana picked up on the first ring. "Hi, Lex," she answered, obviously having used her caller I.D.
"Hey--you been watching the news?"
"No. Why? Is there something going on?"
"Just somebody here I think you want to talk to--" I handed the phone to Chloe, who took it and hopped up to move to another corner.
"Hey, stranger," she began. "Dana Scully checking in."
Despite the size of the speaker and its distance from the couch, Lana's scream on the other end was still easy to hear.
Clark was chewing on the corner of a fingernail and visibly trying not to listen to the phone conversation. I figured it was safe to ask, so I affected my own puppy-dog eyes and gave it a shot. "Forgive me?"
He looked up at me from under his eyebrows, then chuckled and shrugged. "Yeah. I guess so," he grinned, opening his arms to me. I scooted across the couch cushions to snuggle into his embrace while Chloe continued to gab animatedly on my phone. There would be plenty of time later for her to tell us of her adventures.
Within a week, Chloe's damning testimony was heard, the jury deliberated for no more than an hour, and a guilty verdict was delivered to the judge. My father was deemed a "flight risk", so he was sentenced two days later to fifty years in the Kansas State Penitentiary.
My dad looked old and frail in his prison haircut and cheap suit as he stood before the judge and received this news. Even if he was dying of a liver disease, it was difficult for me to feel very sorry for him.
Clark, however, stood tall beside me and looked like the grown man he had become. That was a good thing because, for some reason, watching my father being sent away made me feel like an orphaned little boy.
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