Family Secrets

by Medie


Though I've given her a new name (I'm sorry, but one more LL combination in Superman/Smallville and I'm gonna *scream*) and changed a few details (like her adoption by Clark's aunt), Rebecca Lee is a canon character.
Her full name is Rebecca Linda Lee and she is my idea of the Smallville incarnation of the canoniacal Supergirl.
Set early Season 1.


"Morning honey." Martha Kent smiled at her son as he came down the stairs, his backpack slung over one shoulder and his jacket in hand.

"Morning," Clark greeted his parents with an equally wide smile, dropping his things next to his chair before sliding into it. Watching the looks the elder Kents were giving each other, he instantly knew something was up. "Ok, what is it?"

His mother inhaled slowly then held out an envelope. "I got a letter from my sister in Gotham."

"Aunt Mary?" His smile widened at the thought of his mother's elder sister. He was with his aunt - especially due to the annual summer visits - and a letter from her was always good news. "How're they doing?"

The subdued expression on Martha's face told him this time the news wasn't so good and Clark straightened up. "How bad? Did something happen to her? Or Becky? What about Uncle Ron?"

"They're all fine honey." His mother reassured. "Nothing's happened."

"Then what is it?"

"Aunt Mary and Uncle Ron...they're...getting a divorce." Jonathan interjected with a sigh.

"A divorce?! Why?" Clark stared at his parents, flabbergasted.

"The letter doesn't say." Martha replied sadly. "But Mary and Rebecca are moving here so I'm sure we'll find out."

"They're moving here?" He was beginning to feel a little ridiculous, constantly repeating his mother's words back like a questioning parrot.

"This week." She affirmed. "According to Mary, a friend at Wayne Enterprises is helping them find a place."

"Wonder who the friend is?" Jonathan questioned, leaning over her shoulder, spying the paragraph she'd been reading. "That's some friend."

"Mmhmmm..." Martha smiled wryly. "Apparently, Bruce is quite concerned that Mary and Rebecca have a good home here. They've been longtime friends to him - family - and he decided that if they were leaving Gotham, he'd do everything he could to ease the transition."

"Good man." Her husband decided with a nod, moving to sit down again.

Hearing the unspoken comparison between Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, Clark directed a chastising look in his father's direction.

In response, Jonathan held up his hands. "Never said a word son."

"No, but you were thinking it." He countered immediately.

He didn't deny it, just grinned.

Clark shook his head and turned his gaze back to his mother. "When are they coming?"

"This weekend." She replied, glancing at the letter. "Mary didn't like the idea of
dropping her into school in the middle of the week, it's bad enough she has to change schools with the school year already in full swing. Speaking of which, would you mind showing her around? Mary didn't ask right out, but I think she'd feel much better about things if she knew you'd be with Rebecca."

"Of course, Mom." He smiled. "I'd do that anyway... I'll introduce her to everybody..." He frowned thoughtfully. "I think she's already met Pete but I don't think Chloe was around when Becky visited."

"That's a good idea." Martha smiled at him. "Chloe could certainly help her adjust. She's been through the same thing."

"Does it say where they'll be living?" Jonathan hid a smile when his exasperated wife passed him the letter and left the table to refill her coffee.

"I think so, toward the bottom of the letter."

He scanned through the rest of it. "Ah, here it is, they're looking at buying the Weatherly place." His eyebrows rose. "That's just up the road." A glance in his wife's direction caught her smiling. "You don't get a move on, son, you'll miss the bus." He noted, looking back at Clark.

Glancing at his watch, Clark's eyes widened comedically and he wolfed down his breakfast. "See you guys later." He kissed his mother, grabbed his things, and raced out the door.

As soon as their son was gone, Jonathan dropped the letter on the table and moved to slip his arms around his wife. "You ok?"

Grasping the strong arm that held her against him, Martha rested her head back on his shoulder. "I"m fine, happy even. I can't say it won't be good to have Mary so close but..." She sighed. "I'm worried about her. It always seemed like her and Ron's marriage was unshakeable. I can't even begin to imagine the kind of affect this is having on her."

He kissed her temple. "At least, now she'll have you to turn to."

"I know. I've been telling myself that, but how do I help her? If you and I...." She shook her head. "I don't know if there would be anything Mary could do to help me."

"You'll find some way." Jonathan assured. "You're her sister, just being there for her is a start." When she didn't answer, his suspicions were confirmed. "Want to tell me what else is bothering you?"

"I'm going to have to lie to her every day, Jonathan." Turning in his embrace, she hid her face against his chest. "I'm going to lie to my sister, we all will."

"I know." He replied sadly. "But it isn't something we haven't done before. We can't just sit down and tell her about Clark. You know that as well as I do."

"I know." Martha's voice was muffled by his shirt. "But that doesn't make me feel better."

"Let's give it some time." He said after some moment's thought. "If it feels right, we can ask Clark if he wants to tell her. Sound good?"

She smiled gratefully at him. "Very good..." Stretching up slightly, she kissed him. "Great actually."

He smiled back. "Glad to hear it."


Sad faces looked down at her: a man and a woman. She didn't know why they were sad but they were.

Her little arms reached up for the woman but received no welcoming smile. The woman's beautiful face crumpled and she began to weep, turning away.

The man reached out to touch her shaking shoulders but she would have no comfort. Instead, she turned back, tears flowing freely as she removed a necklace and bent to fasten it about her little neck.

Tears dripped onto her face as the woman pulled back.

"Kara..."


"Becky! Time to get up!"

"Becky! Breakfast!"

"Rebecca Linda Lee! Wake up!"

From beneath the covers, a muffled voice yelled. "I'm UP!"

"Breakfast!" Mary Elizabeth Lee continued on as if she hadn't heard her daughter speak, but both knew she had.

Rebecca groaned, throwing back the downy comforter, glaring balefully at the teddy bear clock by her bed. "What's the point of taking a sick day if you don't get to rest?"

The little clock had no answer, it merely kept on with it's ticking.

Yawning, the teen pushed her feet into her slippers and shuffled over to peer into the mirror. "Well, no antennae or anything at least. Plus, I didn't wake up floating this time. That's a plus."

With quick movements, she pulled a brush through her strawberry red hair, then turned and left her bedroom.

Her mother had just finished the pancakes when Rebecca entered the kitchen. "Morning honey."

"Morning." Pouring a glass of juice, Rebecca hopped up onto a stool next to the island and promptly helped herself to a blueberry from her mother's plate. "I had the dream again."

Mary Elizabeth's eyes filled with empathy and she reached out to touch her daughter's cheek. "Did you see anything new?"

"No." The teen shook her head. "The woman cried, gave me her necklace, called me Kara and I woke up." Reaching for her own plate, she forced the frustration from her face. "I just wish I knew what's dream and what's memory."

With a smile, her mother touched the pendant that hung from her daughter's neck. "Well, we know the necklace is real, perhaps all of it is memory."

"Perhaps." Rebecca replied her tone noncommittal, then quickly changed the subject. "Did you get enough boxes?"

Her mother's mouth pressed into a line as she held in the flash of pain at the sadness in her child's eyes. She'd debated long and hard about leaving Gotham after the divorce. It was the only home Rebecca had known - on Earth at least - and she was loathe to take her from it.

Her daughter's life had never been easy, so much upheaval, worry, and fear. The few bright spots in Gotham had been a godsend in Mary Elizabeth's eyes. Taking Rebecca away from those bright spots hadn't been something she'd wanted but...but when she thought about what awaited them in Smallville. Her family.

It was worth the risk.

"They're in the front hall."" She answered with a nod in that direction. "After you've eaten and dressed, you can get started on your room. Once we're packed, we can leave."

And the sooner they got to Smallville, the sooner they could start over.

--

"They're here!" Martha's voice echoed through the house as she hurried for the door, eager to greet her sister and niece. "CLARK! JONATHAN! They're here!!"

The other two Kents emerged from the kitchen with bemused expressions on their face.

"Think she's just a little excited?" Clark asked of his father who chuckled.

"She hasn't seen her sister in a while. You know how those two get."

"Do I ever." He commiserated.

"Excited about seeing Becky again?" Jonathan prompted.

"Yeah." The teenager nodded. "We keep in touch with email and everything..." He looked somewhat guilty. "But it's not the same...she's upset, Dad. And about something big."

"Something to do with the divorce?" His father asked, concerned.

"She hasn't said. She didn't even tell me about the divorce." Clark shoved his hands into his pockets. "But there's an undercurrent to everything she says. I haven't been able to figure out what yet...But she's hurting, Dad. Big time."

Jonathan draped an arm across his son's shoulders and gave him a quick hug. "Well, now that she's here....we can help, right?"

"Right."


The physical resemblance between the Clark sisters was strong and to look at Mary Elizabeth was to see Martha a few years older. When they separated from their hug, the two women smiled tearfully at each other.

"How are you doing?" Martha asked softly, mindful of the teenage girl still sitting in the car parked next to them.

"It's hard." Her sister confessed, tears glimmering in her eyes. "Especially on Rebecca. It's tearing her apart Martha..." She inhaled then added. "She blames herself."

"Why on earth would she do that?"

Mary Elizabeth looked guilty. "We'll talk about that later."

Martha tilted her head slightly, staring into her sister's face, trying to discern by her expression just what she meant by that statement but the elder of the two kept her secrets well. Her face revealed nothing but the sadness of her divorce and worry about her daughter. "All right." Turning, she smiled at the teenager waiting in the car.

Seeing her aunt looking at her, Rebecca Lee managed a faint smile and opened the door. "Hi Aunt Martha."

At the soft greeting, Martha smiled, barely holding back her tears and held out her arms to hug her niece tightly. "How are you doing, honey?"

The slim teen clung to her aunt, hiding her face against her shoulder. "Fine."

`Not likely.' Martha thought to herself before pulling back to look into the girl's face. "You look beautiful, Becky, you've really grown since I saw you last."

"Growth spurts will do that to you." She replied with a twist of her mouth. "But thank you anyway." Her gaze traveled to a point beyond her aunt's shoulder. "Hi Uncle Jonathan...Clark." When they got close enough, she dutifully submitted to the expected hugs before stepping back to her original position.

With a worried look in Rebecca's direction, Clark moved to hug his aunt. "Hi Aunt Mary."

"My goodness, Clark!" Mary Elizabeth stared up at him with a laugh. "I'll get neck strain talking to you. When did you get so tall?"

"We're not sure." Her sister interjected with an grin. "I'm sure he went to bed one night and between then and the next day, shot up a foot."

"Only a foot?" Becky questioned, tilting her head back to look into her cousin's face. "I'm pretty sure he's taller than a few of the buildings in Gotham."

He grinned down at her. "You do something different with your hair, Beck? The part looks different from up here."

"Ha ha." She returned dryly, giving him a light shove. "Very funny, Clark, puberty's done wonders for your sense of humor."

"It's the rarified air up there." Jonathan put in, grinning. "Not enough oxygen getting to his brain."

"Thanks for the support, Dad." Clark countered with a roll of his eyes.

"You're welcome son." He replied immediately, deadpan.

A soft sound escaped Rebecca's lips and though it was muffled, there was no mistaking what it was. She giggled.

A triumphant look flashed in Clark's eyes and he immediately looked in his aunt's direction. The expression of gratitude on Mary Elizabeth's face was almost heart-breaking as she mouthed a `Thank You.'


"Want to tell me what happened?" Setting the cup of coffee down before her sister, Martha did her best to look supportive as she took a seat across the table. "Did Ron..."

"Oh no!" Mary's eyes widened in considerable shock and her head moved back and forth in a vehement shake. "He'd never do that. No, it was..." She sighed. "There's been some problems over the last few years and we just couldn't escape them." She wasn't lying - exactly - there had been some problems over their marriage. Normal issues that any married couple would have to deal with.

But those weren't what finally led to their separation.

Rebecca's burgeoning powers were.

Ron was a good man, and if their daughter had been a typical human child, in all likelihood, their marriage would still be as strong as it always was. But she wasn't. Rebecca had been born on an alien planet and had - for some unknown reason - been sent to Earth as a young child. And as she grew, things began to happen to her, her body began to change and become stronger, developing shocking powers that seemed to crop up one after another in rapid succession.

Gripping her coffee, Mary Elizabeth recalled the first time it had happened: Rebecca had been four, her favorite ball had rolled under her father's beloved convertible. Without even thinking, the tiny child had rushed over, picked up the car and reached in to get her ball. Oblivious to her parents shock, she'd returned to playing as if nothing had happened.

It had only gotten more shocking from there.

In the way only a mother can, she had accepted her daughter's powers and all the responsibility that came with it. It hadn't been easy but she'd done it.

Ron, however, had never quite been able to come to terms with it. In fact, he'd always been just the tiniest bit afraid of his daughter. Whenever she'd had a temper tantrum, it was his wife that had to intervene. He loved their little girl, that was undeniable, but he lacked the ability to accept without condition the things that she could do.

It had been hard on her, but Mary had understood her husband's reticence about Rebecca's powers. The one thing she'd never been able to forgive him for was the fact that he'd never been able to completely hide his fears about their daughter's powers...and Rebecca knew it.

It hadn't been noticeable at first but as the young girl got older, she withdrew from her father more and more, being careful about everything she said and did with him. It was something that had always grieved Mary Elizabeth and - if it hadn't been for Bruce Wayne - she wouldn't have known what to do.

The young man hadn't known why exactly Rebecca and her father had a strained
relationship but he'd stepped in to help without hesitation. As things became more and more distance between her and her father, Becky's relationship with Bruce had become closer and closer. She idolized the young billionaire and had spent more of her childhood playing in the massive Wayne Manor than she'd spent at home.

"Mary," Martha's gentle voice interrupted her musings and she looked over at her sister with questioning eyes. "Are you all ok? You know you can tell me anything, right?"

Mary Elizabeth smiled sadly and covered her sister's hand with her own. `Not everything, baby sister. Not everything.'


"The Fortress of Solitude," Becky smiled faintly at her cousin as she followed him up the steps into the barn's loft. "Hasn't changed a bit."

"Sure it has." Clark countered with a grin. "I moved the couch."

With a roll of her eyes, she sat down on the object in question and tucked her legs up next to her side. "How could I have possibly missed that?! It's made such an amazing difference in the `feel' of the place."

Sitting down next to her, he shrugged. "You're slipping. All that dirty Gotham air's fried your brain."

"At least I've got one to fry, farm boy." She countered with a laugh before sobering and reaching out to touch his shoulder. "I missed you."

Having no siblings of their own, the cousins had naturally gravitated toward filling that role with each other.

He smiled. "Missed you too..." Looking away, he hesitated then asked. "Why didn't you tell me about the divorce?"

All signs of Rebecca's smile vanished entirely and she turned, hugging her knees to her chest. "I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening. Telling you would have made it real. I couldn't face that." Hiding her face against her denim-clad legs, her long hair swung forward in a curtain that isolated her. Protected her from having to look him in the eye. If she did, then she knew she wouldn't be able to hide it. It was a hard enough struggle to keep from blurting her secret to Clark when everything in her life was fine. Hiding it now, when her life was falling apart, was going to be the battle of a lifetime. She couldn't look in his face and lie. She knew she couldn't.

"Beck..." Clark leaned forward, worry in his eyes. "What's really going on here? What's got you so upset?"

Regaining her control quickly, she lifted her head and offered a wan smile. "I'm ok, Clark, really I am. It's just...it's been hard and now with the move and everything, I guess I'm just worn out."

"Well...to be honest..." He grinned a little. "You do look terrible."

Latching onto his attempt to cheer her up like a lifeline, Rebecca laughed with forced merriment. "Gee, thanks, I guess not all of us were born with your model-looks and grace."

He grinned. "That supposed to be an insult?"

"That's a comment to do with as you please." She bounced up from her seat and wandered over to the telescope. "Remember when you tried to convince me that the man in the moon was Great Uncle Charlie?"

"You mean the Great Uncle Charlie that doesn't exist?" Clark countered smugly. "Sure, I remember. You waved and called `Hi' to him every time you went out at night."

She flushed lightly and shook her head. "You should be ashamed of yourself for that y'know, tricking a little girl like that."

"Yeah right, that little girl liked to push me into the mud every chance she
got." He replied with a tug to her hair.

"You deserved it, dump truck thief."

Clark rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I can't believe you still bring that up."

Rebecca smiled cheekily. "I'm a girl,
cousin dearest, we have long memories for such things."


On Monday morning, Clark came into the kitchen to find his parents having breakfast
and talking quietly. "Morning guys."

"Morning honey," His mother replied as he sat down next to her. "Sleep well?"

"Great." He answered, reaching past her for the juice. "Where're Aunt Mary and Becky?"

"Still asleep." His father grinned over the rim of his coffee cup. "Which reminds me, you better go wake Rebecca up, she'll miss the bus if you don't."

Martha looked from her husband to her son and rolled her eyes. "Men." Sighing, she stood up. " Just don't pour water on her, Clark..."

"Mom," He looked up with the very essence of innocence on his face. "Would I do something like that?"

With a long-suffering look at her husband, his mother smiled wryly. "Knowing the both of you...yes."


She was having the dream again.

The sad woman was about to speak when another voice intruded into her slumber.

"Becky! Up and at'em!" Clark's voice was accompanied by a firm knock on the door and Rebecca's eyes flew open.

"Oh god."

The teenage girl looked down to find her bed several inches beneath her. Desperately, she looked from the mattress to the door. "I'm awake, Clark, I'll be right out!"

"You ok, Beck?" He asked through the door. "You sound kind of strange."

She coughed loudly. "Nothing serious, just a little tickle in my throat. I'll be out in a minute!" Lowering her voice, she muttered. "Providing I can get down."

No sooner had she said the words than she dropped with a thud onto the mattress,
grabbing a pillow, she covered her head. "God, I hate my life."


The one ability Rebecca had never complained about having was her greatly enhanced speed. On mornings like the one she was having, it was literally a godsend.

Moments after she'd spoken to Clark,
she was emerging from the bedroom,
bag tossed over one shoulder, her hair
and makeup completely done. "Told you
I'd be right out."

He gave her an odd look. "Are you sure you're ok?"

"I'm fine." She insisted. "Just a little nervous, the idea of starting over from scratch in a new school? Not exactly my idea of a great way to start off the week."

"Well, you are starting fresh." Clark grinned. "Who knows, you may end up queen of Smallville High."

Rebecca snorted lightly. "Not likely. I'm not exactly the popular type."

"Oh I don't know about that," he led her down the stairs. "New girl moving in from Gotham City? Believe me, you're big news around school."

"Oh man..." She closed her eyes briefly. "Did you have to tell me that?"

"Of course I did." He replied with a laugh. "It's my solemn duty as your cousin to torture you to no end."

"Ha ha." She countered dryly. "But your day's coming, Clark Kent, and I will be there to enjoy it to the very fullest I can."

Clark looked back at her and the duo laughed. "It's good to have you here, Beck." He said, honestly. "Really."

Rebecca's smile was small but genuine. "It's good to be here, Clark...Really."


"Morning Rebecca." Jonathan smiled at his niece as she leaned past him to grab a slice of toast. "How'd you sleep?"

"Really well, actually." She replied, leaving out the dream and the fact she'd woken up floating. Those little details weren't exactly necessary to tell him right? He was just asking about how she'd slept. Not what she'd experienced in the midst of it. "It's nice out here. Very quiet."

"Bit of a change from Gotham." Martha commented automatically, regretting the words as soon as they were out of her mouth.

"A bit." Rebecca agreed with a nod. "But still nice. Is Mom up?"

"Not hon, we thought she could use the rest, so we let her sleep."

"She could." The teen returned. "She's been way stressed lately." Her voice dropped slightly and she became inordinately
fascinated with pouring a glass of juice. "It's the divorce and everything."

It was the `and everything' that caught Martha's attention. Something was wrong with this situation. She and Mary had always been close as sisters but raising Clark had required a certain level of secrecy and she knew that had come between the two of
them but...looking back, she had to wonder if she was the only one hiding things.

Both Mary and Rebecca seemed far more upset than a seemingly amicable divorce would require. Though it was understandable for Rebecca to be upset at the break up
of her family, she didn't have a reason, really, to blame herself yet...she was. The guilt was quite easily readable in her eyes.

With a resolute sigh, Martha pushed her worries to the back of her mind and chose to focus instead on lighter subjects. "That's a lovely necklace. What kind of stone is it?"

Immediately, her niece's hand flew to clutch at the stone, holding it protectively against her shirt. "I'm not sure..." She stammered, caught off guard. "I've never really asked. I don't..."

"Who gave it to you?" Standing, Martha moved closer to look and was shocked when Becky backed away a little, bumping into Clark. "Rebecca? Are you all right?"

The teen lifted nervous eyes to hers and she smiled shakily. "Of course, I'm fine. I..." She paused and looked down. "I
think my Mom gave it to me. I was really young." She looked over her shoulder at her cousin. "What time does the bus get here?"

It took a moment for Clark to pull his brain out of the scene that had just
played out before him but when he did, he looked at the clock and then at
Rebecca. "Umm...now."

"Eek." She countered with a small,
nervous giggle. "Where's my coat?"

"Right here." he moved to grab her
denim jacket from the peg as well as his own coat. "We'll see you later, Mom, Dad."

"Bye, Aunt Martha, Uncle Jonathan." Sliding into her coat, Rebecca shouldered her bag again and followed her cousin out the door.

Immediately, Martha pivoted to look at her husband. "What on Earth was that all about?!"

Jonathan shook his head. "I have absolutely no idea...but we're going to find out."


"Chloe!"

The petite blonde turned at the sound of Clark Kent's voice calling her name and he raised an intrigued eyebrow when she saw a girl hurrying to keep up with his longer strides.

"Hey Clark!" She smiled brightly as the duo stopped before her, trying very hard not to be too obvious with her curiosity. Clark had that look in his eye. "Where've you been? You missed first class."

"I was in the office with Becky, getting everything straightened out." He replied, staring at her with a wide smile. He didn't notice how long he'd been staring until Rebecca gave him a sharp elbow in the side, clearing her throat.

"Hey, Clark, mind coming back to Earth long enough to introduce me to your friend?" She asked sweetly, a gleam of amusement in her eyes.

His cheeks colored and he looked over at his cousin. "Chloe Sullivan, this is my cousin, Rebecca Lee. Beck just moved here from Gotham City."

"Oh, so you're the mystery girl." Chloe announced with a smile, turning to face Rebecca. "You've set the social strata of Smallville High abuzz with speculation."

The other girl groaned and shook her head. "How bad?"

"Oh, I expect the blitzkrieg to start at lunch." The editor grinned. "If you need a place to hideout, I can offer the Torch's office for shelter."

"Thank you!" Rebecca replied gratefully. "I honestly didn't think anyone would
be this interested."

"Are you kidding me?" Chloe slipped an arm through her new friend's and
began to lead her off, Clark naturally falling into step behind them. "New
girl moves from big, bad Gotham City to nnocent, little Smallville? Definitely
big news."

"Oh god." Becky replied with a sigh.
"Any way to avoid it?"

"No, not really." The other girl replied unsympathetically. "But don't worry,
it passes fast." She grinned. "That's the best thing about Smallville, there's
always something waiting around the corner."

--

Rebecca's first day at Smallville High was relatively uneventful, largely due to the efforts of one Chloe Sullivan. The newest addition to the school was quite relieved to discover that she and her newfound friend shared the majority of their classes, a fact that aided Chloe in protecting Becky from the vultures that were the 'popular' girls of Smallville, giving the duo a chance
to share life histories.

By fourth period English, the two had
discovered a love of obscure facts, the unknown, and mysteries. Chloe also had decided that it was incredibly interesting how members of Clark's family seemed to befriend angst-ridden young billionaires, much to Rebecca's amusement.

And by the time Clark and Rebecca stepped down out of the bus, he was mentally singing Chloe's praises. The results of her few hours with his cousin had brought out more signs of the old Becky than he could have hoped for.

What he hadn't counted on was the sly look of amusement Becky gave him as they ambled down the road, heading for the driveway. "So...that is the infamous Miss Sullivan, huh?"

"Yeah, that's Chloe." Clark glanced over to see the smirk settle down. "What's that look for?"

"Oh...I dunno..." She grinned. "The fact that you totally have a thing for her
and seem completely unaware of it."

"I do not!" He protested with a laugh. "Where'd you get that idea?"

Rebecca pivoted and raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I don't know. How about the fact
every time you see her you get this
`look' in your eyes and you forget other people are around." She saw him starting to shake his head and held up a hand to forestall any comments. "You do too Clark, you did it to me three or four times today plus I caught you staring at her a few times when you thought no one was looking. Face it cousin of mine, you've got a thing for our intrepid reporter friend."

Clark looked into her face and her smile and laughed. "Ok...so maybe there is something." He admitted with a shrug. "But...I..." He shook his head. "I'm not sure if I want to take the risk and cross that line. Once you do, there's no way to go back."

"No, there isn't." She agreed. "But how do you know it won't be worth it? You can't go through life without taking risks, Clark. Especially not when it means love." She sighed. "I mean, my parents didn't work out, but look at yours. They're incredibly happy. You know that it's worth it when you look at them." She dropped her gaze momentarily and sucked in a steadying breath. "I'm sorry, Clark, I..." She shook her head, turned on her heel, and hurried up the driveway.

"Rebecca! Wait!" Breaking into a jog, he soon caught up to her. "Beck?"

She looked up, tears streaming down her face. "I can't deal with this right now, Clark. I'm sorry!" Pulling free of his grip, she raced into the barn.

"Clark?" Turning, the teen saw his father standing next to the truck.

He shook his head. "Let me handle this, Dad."

Jonathan frowned, concerned, but the
expression on his son's face spoke
volumes. Rebecca and Clark had always been very close and he suspected that with all going on with his niece, his son was about the only person she trusted. At least, the only one she trusted still within her reach and - quite possibly - the only one who could help.


Rebecca was sobbing on the couch, her arms wrapped tightly around her legs and her face hidden against them, when he found her.

"Beck?"

"Go away." She mumbled, her voice muffled against her jeans. "Please, Clark, just go away."

"I can't, Becky, you know that." He sat down next to her, reaching out to tug
her into his arms. "I'm sorry..."

At the careful embrace, she began to cry in earnest, hiding her face against his jacket.

Agonized, Clark held her like he would a fine china doll, unsure of what to do
or say. All he could think was to hold her, let her cry it out. There was nothing else that he could do. He couldn't bring her parents back together. As many powerful gifts as he had, he couldn't do that. The one thing he truly wanted to do, he couldn't.

"It's my fault."

He wasn't sure she'd spoken at first, the words were muffled and hard to make out but when she repeated it, he frowned in concern and pulled away enough to look at her. "What is?"

"The divorce. It's my fault." She'd promised her mother she'd never tell anyone but she just couldn't hold it in anymore. It was literally tearing her up inside. "I'm the reason they split up."

"Why?" Clark stared at her in utter
bewilderment. "How could you be responsible for your parents divorce?"

Removing her necklace, Rebecca placed it in his hands. "Believe in life on other planets, Clark?"


He was numb. Honest to god numb. There was no way he'd heard what he'd just thought he'd heard. She hadn't just told him...

Sneaking a glance in her direction confirmed it. She had.

Becky was watching him with terrified eyes, clearly unsure of his reaction or whether or not she should even stay.

He sucked in a steadying breath. "Beck, you have to talk to Mom and Dad."

She shook her head violently. "No! I can't! Clark, don't you get it, I swore to my mother I'd never tell anyone about this and here I am, breaking that." She grabbed his hand. "I can't..."

Sensing she was building to a very long plea, he gripped her hand and forced her to look at him. "Rebecca, you don't understand...There's something you need to know."


The two cousins walked into the kitchen together, grave expressions on their faces, to find their respective mothers sitting at the table with cups of coffee in hand.

"Hi you two, how was school?"

"Fine." Rebecca said simply, shooting a nervous glance up at Clark.

He touched her shoulder reassuringly. "Mom, we need to talk."

"Uh oh," Martha set down her coffee. "I don't like the sound of that."

"It's not bad...not exactly."

Jonathan entered the kitchen in time to hear those words and frowned in concern."This have something to do with Rebecca being upset?"

Alarmed, Mary's eyes flew to her daughter's face. "Honey?"

"I told him, Mom." She said simply. "I told him about me."

"You did what?!" Her mother nearly yelled, her face paling considerably. "Rebecca, what on Earth were you thinking?"

"That I can trust him." Her daughter replied defiantly. "That I'm sick and tired of carrying this around with just us knowing! That I can't handle knowing I was the
reason you and Dad split up!!!"

"Oh honey..." Martha started to stand. "It's not your fault...about your parents..."

"Yes, Aunt Martha," The teen replied, barely holding in her tears. "It is. See, Dad couldn't handle having...me for a daughter. Not with everything..."

"Rebecca!" Mary interjected. "That's quite enough!"

"No! It's not!" Her daughter shot back. "You wanted to know where I got this
necklace, Aunt Martha?" She held it out. "Well, I got it from my birth mother,
she gave it to me when they were
putting me in the ship."

"Ship?" Martha's eyes widened dramatically and she turned to her husband. "Jonathan..."

He was as bewildered as she until Clark interjected. "Dad, I think...I think Rebecca and I...we came from the same place."

"WHAT?!" Becky spun on him in shock. "You...me? We're...the same?"

"I think so." He replied hesitantly. "Your story sounds pretty close to mine."

"Sit down you two." Clark's father decided firmly, moving to guide his wife back down into her chair. "We need to talk this out."

"Mary?" Numbly, Martha turned to her elder sister. "What's going on here?"

"Tell her, Mom." Rebecca urged, sitting down next to her. "Please, tell her."

Winding her hands together tightly, Mary Elizabeth sucked in a steadying breath before beginning to speak. "About two months after the meteor shower here, Ron and I were on vacation just outside Gotham. The cabin we'd rented was near the ocean and it was very peaceful. Late one night, we were sitting on the dock when I saw what we thought was a shooting star."

"Except, the star didn't just pass overhead," Jonathan guessed. "It kept on coming."

Mary nodded. "It crashed into the ocean and finally came to a stop near the shore."

"It was a small ship." Rebecca interjected softly. "And I was inside."

"She was so small..." Her mother shook her head. "Ron and I didn't know what to do at first...bad enough a spacecraft had just crash landed into our vacation but it was carrying a toddler." She paused for a
moment, remembering. "I took Rebecca inside and wrapped her up in a warm blanket, she seemed quite content to stay with me so I just sat down with her."

"What about the ship?" Her brother-in-law asked, watching his wife's reaction closely.

"Ron managed to drag it up onto the beach with the winch on the jeep and we hid it in the woods until we could decide what to do with it." Mary replied, numb. "It was obvious we couldn't just up and decide that we were going to go home with Becky, I knew we
were keeping her, I couldn't bear to give her up by then."

Here Rebecca took up the story, she'd heard it so many times she could tell it by heart anyway. "Dad called Wayne Enterprises and took a few more weeks off, he told them that he and Mom had decided to adopt a child months before and had finally heard from their lawyer. No one believed otherwise since my parents had never tried to hide the fact they wanted to start a family."

"So after the vacation was up, you went back to Gotham and presented Rebecca as your new daughter." Martha murmured quietly, seeing the parallels between the two stories.

"It wasn't until a few months later that we realized Becky was far more than just.... from very far away."

This story brought a small smile from the girl in question. "My ball rolled under Dad's car and I picked it up."

"The ball?" Martha prompted.

"The car." Mary replied softly.

"You see, Aunt Martha, things only got more complicated from there." Rebecca smiled softly. "I scared the hell out of my father. He's never been comfortable around me, especially after he realized that my gifts went far beyond just incredible strength." She sighed. "So as you're understanding now, his inability to...deal with what I am eventually came between my parents. It was inevitable."

"Do you know where you came from?" Clark prompted hopefully. "Anything about it?"

She shook her head. "I think I know my name, but that's about it."

"You think you know your name?" Jonathan prompted.

"Yes, I have a reoccurring dream, two
people are standing over me. They're my parents - I think - and they look very upset. The woman I think is my mother gives me the necklace then calls me Kara... Before I can find out anything else...I wake up."

"And you've been hiding this all along?" Martha looked at her sister with saddened eyes.

"Yes...you have to understand, Martha, my own husband could barely accept where
Rebecca had come from...If he couldn't... I was terrified to tell anyone else. I was afraid they'd take her away from me and put her in some lab somewhere, to study like..." Mary hid her face in her hands, tears seeping through her fingers as her daughter wrapped her arms around her and held tight.

"It's ok, Mom." Rebecca murmured quietly, not intending for the others to hear. "I'm fine. I'm completely fine."

"Mary," Martha reached out to touch her sister's hand. "I understand completely, Jonathan and I were worried as much about Clark as you were about Rebecca." She smiled. "All the things we had to do to protect him..."

"Parents will do anything, say anything, to protect their child." Jonathan agreed slowly, still processing everything he'd heard. "Especially...when they're like..."

"Us." Clark murmured, looking down at
his cousin.

She nodded. "Us."


Awe in her eyes, Mary Elizabeth stared
at the ship that had brought Clark into her sister's life. "My god..." She reached out, hand shaking, to brush her fingertips across the alien surface. "I know what you said but seeing it...."

"I know." Martha agreed quietly. "It's almost impossible to believe."

"But it's true." The elder of the two
laughed shortly. "It's ironic isn't it? The both of us trying for so long to protect our children's secret, even from each other, only to find out that we could have been sharing the burden all along."

The irony of it was strong and both women fell silent for a long time until, hesitantly, Martha murmured. "I'm sorry...Mare...about Ron."

"It's not his fault." The other woman
defended automatically. "I expected him to deal with a situation that no man should have to. It's one thing to adopt a child, it's another entirely to adopt one from... another planet. And when that child turns out to have fearsome abilities....That was the worst of it." Moving away from the ship, she sat down, ignoring the dirt on her pants, and looked up at her little sister. "He was afraid of her, Martha. Ron was afraid of his own daughter."

Sitting down beside her, Martha thought back to the expression on Rebecca's face when she'd related the same thing in their earlier conversation. "And she knew it."

"She did." Mary Elizabeth rested her face in her palms for a moment. "They've never truly been father and daughter. Not in the way they should be. He was always afraid to discipline her when she was a child, afraid she'd hurt me or him in retaliation, and the older she got and the stronger she got...the worse the distance between them got." She chuckled wryly. "In truth, Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred, is probably more of a father to her than Ron is. She spent so much time over there..."

"Do they know?"

"Bruce and Alfred?" The elder woman nodded. "They've known for a while." She laughed in remembrance. "Bruce was playing with Rebecca one day. He must have been in his early teens and he was chasing her up the foyer steps and he happened to slip..."

"Oh no..."

"Rebecca realized what was happening, and she turned back." Mary Elizabeth's face couldn't have held more pride. "Alfred and I were just coming into the foyer, looking for them, when she raced forward and caught him before he could lose his balance entirely. She saved his life. Those steps are made of marble and there was nothing on them, or the floor, to soften a fall."

"So he's known ever since...How much does he know?" Martha encouraged quietly, plucking an insect from her jeans and tossing it away.

"All of it. As much as we do. He's been protecting Rebecca ever since, doing whatever he can to help. He seems to see it as his responsibility." A wry smile graced the elder sister's lips. "He's taken better care of her than her own father has on some things. Bruce..." Her smile softened. "Bruce has been a godsend in all this."

The thought of another young billionaire filled Martha's mind. "With all those resources at his fingertips, I can just imagine."

"He's like his father." Mary Elizabeth continued. "Thomas was the same way..." She paused, looking at her sister. "What is it?"

"What do you know about Lex Luthor?"


When Lex pulled up at the Kent farm, he saw a pair of denim-clad legs emerging from beneath an unfamiliar car. Most likely, it belonged to Clark's aunt. He'd mentioned she was moving to Smallville. Getting out of his own car, he closed the door firmly, just short of a slam, and walked forward.

"You fix cars too?" He questioned, leaning against the passenger's side of the door. "Tell me, Clark, is there anything you don't do?"

"Well, I'm having some trouble with the `go to the bathroom standing up' thing." A feminine voice countered smoothly, as those legs began to move forward, revealing a pretty redhead who was grinning up at him with great amusement. "But I'm sure I'll have that figured out before long. All that's left is growing a foot taller and changing my hair and eye color." She glanced down at her chest. "Not to mention getting rid of these things."

Surprised, his cheeks colored slightly before he could bring his reaction under control. "Excuse me...I was looking for..."

"Clark?" Her grin widened. "Yeah, I gathered that." She sat up, wiping at a smudge of grease on her cheek. "He's in the barn with Uncle Jonathan."

"Uncle...So you're..."

"Clark's cousin?" She finished again. "Yeah." Standing, she held up her dirty hands. "I'd offer to shake but..." She looked meaningfully at his spotless suit, and hands. "Wouldn't want to ruin that outfit."

Gamely, Lex offered a hand anyway. "I don't mind. Lex..."

"Luthor." She nodded. "I know. The Rat King's son."

"Excuse me?" He asked, a grin lurking about his mouth. He'd never heard that description of his father before though, he had to admit, it certainly fit.

"Sorry." She flushed. "I've been calling him that since I was a kid." Gingerly, she shook his hand. "I'm Rebecca Lee."

Understanding dawned in his eyes. "Your father's an executive with Wayne Enterprises..."

"And I was always around." Rebecca nodded.

"Well, I was going to say Bruce talks about you often." Lex demurred with a smile. "But if you say so." Retracting his hand, he added. "Where did you meet my father?"

"At Wayne Enterprises." She grinned in remembrance. "I was five and visiting my father at work. I was hiding in his office - he has this great cubbyhole under his desk - and Lionel burst in, yelling about something. My father didn't have a chance to tell him I was there and I'd just gone to the Nutcracker the week before with Bruce and my mother...so I was convinced your father was the Rat King."

"Who was the Rat King?" Clark emerged in time to hear her last words and walked toward them, a confused look in his eyes.

"My father." Lex replied, grinning.

"Becky!" The younger man spun on his cousin who was, rather unsuccessfully, trying to smother a threatening giggle. "You called Lex's father a..."

"Well she is right." His friend defended, beginning to chuckle himself. "The resemblance..."

"Is totally there." Rebecca nodded firmly.

"Becky?!" Standing in the kitchen doorway, Martha waved to get the trio's attention. "Phone!"

"Bruce?" Clark questioned automatically.

"Uh uh." She tossed the rag at him. "Chloe. We're... um..." She paused, searching for a diplomatic way of describing Smallville. "Well, she's going to show me around town. The sights and all."

"A bit of a change from Gotham." Lex noted casually.

"To be sure." She smiled at them both. "Excuse me." Ducking around them, and the car, she hurried into the house, leaving the two friends to talk.

"You didn't mention your aunt wasn't
alone."

Clark eyed his friend suspiciously.
"I guess I didn't think you'd be
interested....why?"

Holding up his hands, Lex laughed.
"You can put away the big brother act,
Clark, my interest is purely platonic, she and I have a mutual friend." Unable to resist just a little jab, he added. "Although, I must admit, Rebecca is a beautiful girl."

"Lex..." The teen warned with his best stern expression.

The elder of the two chuckled. "Don't worry, Clark. Your father already thinks I'm
demon-spawn, I think expressing any sort of romantic interest in his niece would
cement his opinion of me entirely."

Sheepishly, Clark nodded. "Probably." His father's opinion of his friend was a source of continuing frustration for the young man. It seemed that nothing they tried, or could try, was able to change his mind. "Sorry."

"Nothing to apologize for." Lex deferred. "Your father's opinion of me was decided long before he ever met me. It's the Luthor name." He slipped his hands into his pockets and leaned back against the car, his gaze on the skyline. "It's almost biblical."

"Huh?"

"The mark of Cain?" He prompted. "My father's name and his reputation have the same affect on me." A mocking smile touched his lips. "Fortunately, I like a challenge."

"Lex." Jonathan Kent appeared in the barn's doorway, seeing them talking.

"Speaking of." Clark said quietly.

"What brings you by?" His father asked, ambling forward.

"Just dropped by to make a special order with Mrs. Kent." Lex answered honestly. "A few investors are coming to the manor for dinner and I was hoping she could make a couple of her famous pies for dessert."

"Ah." Jonathan tilted his head back slightly then gestured toward the house. "She's inside."

"I know." The billionaire offered a disarming smile. "She called Rebecca in to the phone a few moments ago."

Mention of his niece brought instant suspicion to the elder Kent's face. "You've met her?"

Memory of his introduction to the young woman brought a faintly embarrassed look into Lex's eyes. "We've been introduced." He replied after a moment's hesitation.

Jonathan's eyes narrowed in consideration but finally he nodded. "Go get your mother, Clark. I'm sure Mr. Luthor has important things to attend to."

At his father's bidding, Clark turned, hurrying into the house.

As soon as the door closed behind him, his father moved closer to Lex. "Rebecca's had a rough time of it." He said without preamble. "The last thing she needs is to be drawn into...your family's sphere of influence."

"I have no intentions of..." Lex paused, searching for the right words. "Doing anything of that nature but don't under estimate your niece Mr. Kent. She's a lot more comfortable in my world than she is..." he glanced around. "Yours."

"That may be so..."

"It is so." He insisted firmly. "But believe me, Mr. Kent, beyond the occasional conversation about mutual friends, I doubt your niece and I will be spending much time together at all." No matter, he told himself sternly, how beguiling her smile.

When Lex entered the house to talk to Martha, he heard Rebecca Lee's laughter and her friendly voice mention the name `Bruce' as she went up the stairs.

"Mrs. Kent?"

"In here." Martha called back cheerfully.

Moments later she, and another woman, walked into the kitchen, laughing about something.

"Am I interrupting?"

"Oh no!" The unfamiliar woman dismissed with a wave of her hand. "Just a silly thought."

"You must be Clark's aunt...Mary?"

Mary Elizabeth smiled at him and nodded. "Yes, I am, and you must be Lex." She held out a hand. "It's been years since I've seen you..." She thought for a moment. "Not since the last time you came to Gotham to visit Bruce..."

"Which was a while ago." Lex confirmed, shaking her offered hand.

"A while indeed." The tall woman agreed, glancing at her sister. "I'm going to go check on the car, hopefully Becky finished it before coming in."

"I think she had." He noted, a smile playing about the edges of his mouth. "She was finishing up when I arrived."

"Rebecca knows how to fix a car?" Martha looked over at her sister with raised eyebrows.

Mary Elizabeth laughed. "Yes, I'm afraid she does, all those afternoons spent with Bruce and Alfred and his cars. She's picked up a few rather...unladylike habits from them." She grinned over at Lex. "Scandalous in our circles."

"Indeed." He chuckled. "I'm sure her peers in Gotham would be appropriately horrified."

Laughing again, she slipped past them both, leaving Lex to make his order.


After picking up their required coffee fix from the Beanery, Chloe and Rebecca found themselves back at the Torch office, huddled around the computer, the editor proudly displaying a few of her most recent articles to her newfound friend.

"Oh...my...god..." The Gothamite stared at the screen in undisguised shock. "You have to be kidding me..." She looked over. "That's skin!!!"

"Uh huh." Chloe nodded firmly, reaching for her frappucino. "Greg went Buggy on us and totally started through the cycles. Feeding, shedding, and last but not least, mating."

"He..."

"No, but he tried."

"And just who uh...who served as the other half of that oh-so-disgusting idea?"

A grin lit the young journalist's face. "You're going to love it..."

"Chloe..." Rebecca dragged out. "Who?"

"Lana."

"Lang? Queen of Smallville High?"

The blonde laughed. "Such a cynical - if not accurate - response."

A sigh escaped the young woman next to her. "Sorry...I just..." She shrugged. "We got off on the wrong foot."

"That foot being everyone assuming you two would hit it off like wildfire since you're the big city girl and she's half of the First Couple?" Chloe set her coffee down and reached for the mouse. "I can't imagine why that would get your feathers all ruffled."

"If I weren't adopted I'd say I got it from my mother, I guess I'm an example of nurture over nature."

"Must be." Her friend agreed, calling up another file. "Check this one out, our nutty pyromaniac coach. These aren't the good pictures though..."

"Yeah, Clark mentioned they'd gone up in a fire." Rebecca looked at her. "And you almost went with them."

Chloe shrugged. "Price of a good story, occasionally people try and take you out of the action."

"Permanently? We're in High School, Chlo'," her friend pointed out. "It's not supposed to be a life or death situation."

"In Smallville it is." Her friend disagreed in a sarcastic tone of voice. "Here, students are required to pack a little paranoia with their naivete. Who knows what meteor-rock enhanced freak of the week we'll be graced with next. I'm sure Gotham has it's fair share of nutbars."

"Oh yeah, we do," Becky agreed with a quick nod. "But most of them don't turn into Super-Bug and kidnap prom queens for their next date. We have the ordinary loonies."

The absurdity of the conversation struck both teenagers at once and they dissolved into a giggle fit for a few moments. The brief foray into ordinary teenage behavior reminded Chloe that she didn't do this sort of thing nearly enough and right on the heels of that realization was the one that she'd never really had a good friend to do this with. At least, a good friend with estrogen in her system. "I could get used to this." She told the redhead beside her, an aborted giggle following the words. "I've never really been the girl talk type."

"With friends like Clark and Pete I can see why." The other girl replied with a wicked smirk. "Aside from the fact they're guys, they're very distracting." Resting her chin on her palm, she looked over with a raised brow. "So, tell me exactly, what's in the water?"

Unsure of what her friend meant, Chloe's forehead furrowed in confusion. "Huh?"

"To grow guys like this." Rebecca elaborated, watching an amused grin replace the confusion. "Considering the size of the town, there are way too many gorgeous guys, you think the meteor rocks are involved?"

"You know, I've never thought of that." Chloe's grin widened. "I think it would be a great front page feature, don't you? Smallville's Male Miracles: The Secret Behind The Sex Appeal."

"Sounds like a winning headline to me, not that I know much about that kind of thing." Her friend laughed. "I pass English but don't expect me to be the next member of the staff."

"How about my next interview? I was thinking of a new girl perspective on Smallville. You've got to admit, coming here from Gotham...it's a big adjustment. I'm betting there's lots of potential story fodder hidden in the life of Rebecca Lee." She couldn't force down the laugh at the horrified expression on Becky's face. "What? You look like I just asked you to squeal on the mob."

The redheaded teen laughed, a nervous edge to her laughter, and shrugged. "I'm not much good with interviews. I guess I've been around Bruce too long, he hates them too."

"Speaking of hot guys!" Chloe's eyes gleamed. "You know Bruce Wayne...that's just incredible!"

"You know Lex Luthor." Rebecca pointed out.

"No, Clark knows Lex, I know of Lex." Her friend pointed out, unperturbed. "Now, Bruce? C'mon, inquiring minds want to know."

"Off the record?"

The cautious question earned her an innocent look from her friend. "Of course."

"Ok, but if a word of this ends up in the Torch, I'm so telling him who wrote it."

"Y'know, threatening to get me a face to face with Bruce Wayne isn't really the way to get me to back off." Chloe teased amusedly.

The redhead laughed. "Point taken." She grinned then looked pensive. "Bruce....well..." She paused and gave her friend a sharp look. "You're sure this isn't going to show up in some future issue of the Torch, right?"

Chloe held a hand across her heart. "I promise it won't. I wouldn't do that to a friend. This is just me being hugely curious."

The other girl was dubious for a moment then nodded with a grin. "Bruce is just Bruce, y'know? He's a guy who'll ignore hockey for most of the season but stay up until three am to watch the playoffs, even if he has a board meeting the next day and even if he barely knows what teams're playing." She shrugged. "Just an ordinary guy...if you ignore the billion dollar fortune he's sitting on."

"Yeah, if you ignore that." Chloe rolled her eyes and laughed. "Not to mention the fact he is, by all accounts, totally hot."

"Well, there is that." Rebecca grinned. "But, I guess, when you've seen him scruffy, with bed head and looking like he just woke up from a three-day bender - it can be hard to see the hottie factor."

"Three day bender?"

At Chloe's skeptical expression, her friend's grin widened. "Needless to say, Bruce Wayne is not a morning person. Takes three and a half cups of coffee to make him halfway human."

"Well that's it!" Chloe exclaimed brightly. "You so have to introduce us now! We're either soulmates or I'm the long lost Wayne sibling nobody knew about."

Rebecca's laughter filled the Torch office as she slumped back into her chair, one arm draped casually across her midsection. "Oh, god, Chloe, that's just too good! You and Bruce? Siblings? The world wouldn't be able to handle it. And a romance?" She giggled. "You'd kill each other. Either that or take over the world."

"Personally," the blonde noted with a smirk, "I like that option the best."


"So, how are you finding life in Smallville?"

Lex Luthor's voice, as smooth as cognac, drew Rebecca's attention away from the screen of her laptop and up onto the face of the young executive who was watching her with undisguised curiosity.

She smiled, tucking a curl away from her face and closing her laptop with her free hand. "It's a change." She responded diplomatically, moving the laptop and reaching for her coffee. "Nice people - pretty town."

"And way too quiet." At her inviting nod, Lex slid onto the worn leather of the booth and set his own coffee on the table between them. "That was the biggest change - Metropolis is always alive, always going, and Smallville...Smallville rolls up the sidewalks at 8:15."

Rebecca laughed. "Exactly. I don't know if I'll ever get used to how quiet it is here. Gotham...Gotham was definitely nothing like this." She looked around then leaned forward to confess, somewhat guiltily. "I'm actually bored."

Lex smiled slightly. "So was I, at first, but things tend to liven up after your first near death experience."

"First?"

His smile widened, revealing perfect white teeth. "Yes, first. Living in Smallville requires good insurance and a healthy appreciation for the unexpected."

Rebecca dropped her gaze, analyzing the foam as it intermingled with her coffee. She didn't have much use for insurance what with the very nearly invincible thing going on but she and the unexpected were very, very old friends. She supposed that qualified as an appreciation.

Looking at him through a few stray hairs, an amused smile played about the edges of her mouth. "And that works for you?"

"For the most part," Lex inclined his head in a nod. "That, and a well-developed sense of selfpreservation." He watched her take a sip of coffee,
savoring the taste. "Large doses of caffeine also seem to work."

She noticed the look of restrained appreciation and her cheeks reddened slightly as she lowered the mug to the table. "You and Clark are pretty good friends, hmm?" At his confirming nod, she shook her head. "I'm still having trouble believing that one."

"Why's that?" He asked, watching her lips curving up into an attractive grin. It took quite an effort to remind himself Rebecca Lee was a teenage girl whose uncle would probably dearly love an excuse to shoot him. It was also equally difficult to recall the fact Bruce would kill him for even thinking what he was thinking. But, somehow, he had the strong impression that the young lady herself would have no such objections and the temptation was strong but he quashed it ruthlessly. "Not exactly the same social circles?"

"No." Becky grinned at him. "But I was thinking personality types. Clark's the last of the All-American `aw shucks' farm boys and you...You're not." She said frankly, mischief in her gaze. "In fact, the last word I'd use to describe Lex Luthor is wholesome while Clark practically defines the word."

He returned the grin, appreciating the honesty. "Then, how would you describe me?"

"You're the kind of man my Mama warned me about," she joked, pleased by the laugh her comment elicited.

When he responded, there was something in Lex's eyes and in his voice that sent a delicious shiver down her spine and all it took to do it was two little words.

"I am."


Epilogue

Emerging from the Beanery, Rebecca closed her eyes and tilted her head back, taking a long, deep breath.

"Bec?"

The young woman opened her eyes to find Clark waiting beside the Kent family truck. "Yeah?"

"What're you doing?" He asked cautiously, taking a step forward.

She smiled, casting a glance back over her shoulder to where she could see Lex sitting in the coffee shop. "Just..." Turning her gaze back to her cousin, the pretty redhead smiled. "Just thinking I could get used to living here. Smallville's got more to offer than you'd expect."

"Oh yeah?" Clark grinned, watching her climb into the truck. "And what's that?

She waited for him to get in and start the truck before answering, with Lex and Chloe in mind, "Great imports."

Deciding his cousin, like most of her gender, was a mystery unto herself, Clark turned his attention to driving and said with a laugh. "Welcome to Smallville, Becky. Hope you enjoy your stay."



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