SHOCKED

by Tiffany Speegle superfrodo


Please R&R!
Thanks to all the readers for taking the time to read my story.I hope you all enjoyed it. Send me feedback!
Thanks to the beta testers for taking the time to read this and approve it as site-worthy!
And, as always, thanks to Al Gough, Miles Millar, Jeph Loeb and all the Smallville cast and crew for making such a great impact on my life. I will never forget you.


April 2004

SHOCKED

By Tiffany Speegle (superfrodo)

A Smallville fan fiction story taking place between "Crisis" and "Memoria." Rated PG-13 for sensuality and some disturbing elements

Chapter 1

It was a silent fall morning on Smallville's Main Street. The only sound to be heard was the scrape of a brown leaf hitting the cool asphalt. Until suddenly, as so often happens in Smallville, the silence was broken. But this time it wasn't because of some meteor freak wreaking havoc across town - it came with a loud vroom, the engine of a swerving Porsche coupe, its license plate reading "LEXX." Lex Luthor, brilliant son of billionaire Lionel Luthor, was late for yet another meeting at Smallville Savings and Loan. He jumped out of the driver's seat quickly, clad in black from head to toe, and, with the beep of his engaging car alarm, ran into the bank as fast as his Armani boots could carry him. In fact, his mind and feet were so focused on the executives of the Smallville Geological Association (SGA) that he nearly suffered a head-on collision with an exiting woman. Every paper she was holding feel onto the cold, tile floor and scattered in every direction imaginable. Lex snapped out of his trance and, without looking up, bent down to gather the paperwork.

"Oh, excuse me...I apologize," he politely offered.

"Don't worry, Mr. Luthor...I forgive you," the woman told him wryly.

At the mention of his infamous family name, Lex finally glanced up at her. Still squatted down towards the floor, his mouth held wide open, Lex was speechless. Her glimmering, long, light brown hair, deep brown eyes, curving lips and full body stunned him. Then his open mouth broke into a grin. "Thank you, Miss...?"

"Grant," she answered him, "Katharine Grant."

"Well, Ms. Grant," he stood up and offered her a handshake, "please, call me Lex." She shook his hand, grinning, and replied, "Okay, Lex, you can call me Katie...just to be fair." Lex chuckled. "I admire your wit," he told her, "Now, Katie, if you will excuse me again, I'm late for an important meeting." He began to walk away from her, backwards. Then, with a bright smile, he turned around and was off. And with a slow, deep breath and both eyebrows raised in a state of ecstatic shock, so was Katie Grant.

Lex strolled into Conference Room #2, looking more chipper than firm and determined, to meet with Mr. Harvey Weiss, a highly-regarded banker, and Dr. Miller Sinclair, a senior geologist with the SGA. Of course, Lex was fashionably late, but no one dared to reprimand the richest man in Smallville. Instead, they stood and welcomed him. Mr. Weiss shook his hand, "Good morning, Mr. Luthor." Lex smiled. Weiss continued, "I'm glad to see you so enthused about this project." Lex thanked him. "I'm glad you feel that way, Mr. Weiss. And, please, I hope that you and Dr. Sinclair will excuse my tardiness."

"Of course, Mr. Luthor," Dr. Sinclair added with a grin as he shook Lex's hand. The three men sat down in the chrome office chairs and gathered around the circular, glass-topped meeting table. Lex looked at Dr. Sinclair, his eyes still bright with enthusiasm. But now it wasn't simply the enthusiasm of his running into Katie Grant - it was the thrilling whiles of sexual attraction mixed with the joy of toying with a mysterious obsession, like cliff-diving at a beach half-way around the world or gazing at the planets through a telescope. For Lex Luthor had come to Smallville Savings and Loan to talk about the one thing he had obsessed over for nearly 15 years: the meteor shower.

"So, Mr. Weiss, I called this meeting to discuss with you the research funding that I began providing about 3 years ago. I've hired several scientists to research certain sites and objects connected to the meteor shower. This past year has been quite difficult for me, but I've managed to gain enough strength to hire Dr. Sinclair to continue this research. Of course, as a dignified banker, I expect you to keep the information about this research and its funding completely confidential," Lex said with a stern nod.

"Mr. Luthor, I assure you that I can be trusted with these matters," Mr. Weiss instituted.

"Good," added Lex, sliding a piece of paper from his jacket pocket across the table, "then I'm sure you won't mind signing this contract of confidentiality." Mr. Weiss picked up his ball-point pen and smiled, somewhat hesitantly, as if he were unsure of Lex's motives.

"Of course not," he said as he signed his name on the bold, black `X'. Dr. Sinclair's eyes had been glued to every thought that had fluttered across the table into the minds of both Lex and Mr. Weiss since the start of the meeting.

"Mr. Luthor," Dr. Sinclair interrupted the period of silence, "speaking of the scientists who have worked previously on this project, I understand that most of them have either been killed or have disappeared. Is this incorrect?"

"It is true that many of my former employees have been unfortunate while previously working on this project, but I'm sure, Dr. Sinclair, that you are a much more careful worker than any of these men were," Lex replied, looking down at the glass table and rolling his pen up and down. He looked up, "Stupidity kills the cat."

"And, if you don't mind my asking," Dr. Sinclair continued, "why are you so eager to continue your research of the meteor shower?" A wave of nervous tension swept through the air. To Lex, it smelled like smoke. To Mr. Weiss and Dr. Sinclair, it smelled like money. Mr. Weiss froze suddenly, his eyes fixed on Lex. Lex moved his tongue across his lower gum, his fingers resting on the pen that he had been rolling against the table. He stared down at the floor.

"Well, Dr. Sinclair," he began, still looking down, "as you can see, the shower has made a drastic impact on my life." His eyes moved up, onto Dr. Sinclair, "And, as of now, I have failed to figure out exactly why."

        It seemed like all of the gaiety and enthusiasm that had once filled the room had now vanished, and now the air was full of fear.  Everyone in Smallville had at least heard rumors of Lex Luthor's "psychotic break," and talk of the meteor shower seemed the most obvious subject to spark a sudden relapse.  Both Mr. Weiss and Dr. Sinclair were secretly reluctant to sign on to Lex Luthor's clandestine deal, but money has a certain grasp on people that is most always unshakeable.
        Lex reached over to the contract in front of Dr. Weiss and slid it over towards Dr. Sinclair.  He pointed to the last `X' on the sheet.  "Sign here," he told him.  Dr. Sinclair complied.  Lex quickly grabbed the paper, pulled it in front of himself and signed his own name, then slipped it back into his jacket and stood to leave.  "Thank you for your cooperation, gentlemen," he said with a forced grin, "You won't regret it."  Then he turned around and walked out the door without another word.

        Five minutes later he parked his Porsche in front of "The Talon."  He sat down at the bar and ordered his regular, a cappuccino with extra foam.  Just as it was brought out to him, Lana emerged from the back room in her apron.  "Hello, Lex," she said, stopping to chat with him, "How has your day been so far?"  

He sipped his coffee and licked the excess foam from his upper lip. As he lowered his coffee cup, he answered in a sarcastic tone, "Eventful."

Lana flashed a perky smile, "Sounds interesting," she said. Someone called for a refill. "Oh!" she said, "Sorry, Lex, I can't fall down on the job. Talk to you later..." She waved, and Lex nodded mid-sip. The door bell jingled and Clark walked in.

"Lex!" he called. Lex turned and looked at him.

"Hi, Clark!" he answered.

"What are you doing here?" Clark asked as he took a seat beside him.

"I just came from a meeting at the bank, and I thought I'd stop by for a little buzz."

"That bad, huh?"

"After Katie left, it pretty much sprinted downhill."

"Katie?" inquired Clark.

"A girl I bumped into on my way inside the bank."

Clark seemed intrigued. He grinned at Lex, "I assume she was very attractive..."

Lex took another sip of his coffee and laughed. "Yeah," he said, lifting his eyebrows, "she was."

"What's her name again?" Clark asked.

"Katharine Grant. You know her?"

"Yeah, I think I do, actually. She came by `The Talon' a couple of days ago to interview Chloe about her theories on the effects of the meteor shower."

"Really?" Lex inquired with interest.

"Yeah, she works for The Ledger."

Lex took his final sip of cappuccino and stood to leave. "Thanks, Clark," he said with a grin. He pointed at him, his fingers shaped like the barrel of a gun, and winked, "You're a life-saver." Clark smiled and shrugged, and Lex walked out the door.

As he made his way to the Porsche, he pulled out his cell-phone and dialed The Smallville Ledger. "This is Lex Luthor," he told the secretary, "I need to speak with Katharine Grant." He held for a few seconds while Katie was contacted. She finally picked up the phone. "Katie? This is Lex Luthor. How would you like to have dinner with me at the mansion tonight?"

Chapter 2

That night, Katie arrived at the mansion in style, donning a black, silk, knee-length dress, cut low and sleeveless. Lex answered the door in his trademark deep purple sweater-shirt and black slacks. He smiled at her. "You look great," he said, gesturing for her to enter. "Welcome."

She grinned and laughed a little, "Thank you, Lex."

He showed her the way into his favorite dining area, a low, wooden table and large pillows, in shades of deep magenta and violet, as chairs. He poured water for them both. "I'm glad you could make it," he grinned.

"I'm glad you had the courage to track me down and ask me," she replied. Then she laughed, "And I also have a confession to make."

"What's that?" he asked.

"I've had a crush on you for a while. I mean, seeing you in the papers, hearing reporters gossip about you around the office. You're the most eligible bachelor in Smallville, you know," she added with a nervous grin.

Lex looked down, flattered, then he looked into Katie's soothing brown eyes, "I have a confession, too," he told her confidently, "I've had a crush on you ever since I ran into you at the bank." Katie's pink lips broke into a wide grin. Lex cracked and began to chuckle.

"You don't remember me, do you, Lex?" she asked him.

He looked puzzled, "What do you mean?"

"We went to school together in Metropolis in 9th grade - at Grace Prep - I beat you for first place in the science fair." Lex's eyes looked detached, a million miles away, staring at his past, or what he could remember of it, and searching to connect it to this coincidental meeting of the present. Katie noticed his entrancement and continued, explaining, "I studied the growth of plants enhanced by meteor-rich soil..."

"Oh yes," Lex interrupted her, somewhat dazed, "I remember you." He snapped suddenly out of his distraction. "I built my own high-power telescope," he beamed with the joy of accomplishment. "It wasn't perfect, apparently, but it won me second place."

Katie noticed the hint of remorse in his voice, put there by the now-ever-distant memories of his painful past of a young boy. "Lex," her voice became very sincere, "I'm sorry I never spoke to you before now...I mean, when we were in school."

Lex looked at her with a look so intense that it almost went through her, and he was moved by her concern. "The key work there is `now'," he said as he reached over the table and gently took her hand in his. Their tender moment together was interrupted by a maid bringing dinner to the table. "Thank you," Lex murmured. The servant nodded and left.

"Well," Katie added cheerfully, "we can never say we're moving too fast, because we've technically known each other for ten years." Lex laughed. He stood up and walked over to Katie, his dinner still steaming on his plate. She watched him, fascinated by his poise, his style, his mystery. He was...stimulating.

Lex squatted down in front of her and whispered, "Then let's forget dinner." He reached up and touched her chin softly with his fingertips, then he leaned in and kissed her. "Stay here with me..."

Chapter 3

Katie awoke the next morning to the smooth folds of satin sheets in Lex's bed. Before opening her eyes, she reached over to where Lex had slept, but she could feel nothing but his pillow. Disappointed, she opened her eyes sleepily and turned over. The clock read 10:16am. It was a Monday morning, and she was late for work. She jumped out of the bed and slipped on her dress, running her fingers through her tangled hair as a comb. She picked up her purse and ran downstairs. "Lex!" she called, "I'm going to work!"

He answered her with a shout from his office, "Hey, don't worry about it! I called you in sick at 7am!"

She turned and walked into his office, leaning her head against the doorpost and smiling, "Thanks," she said. He stood and walked over to her, running his fingers through her tousled hair. They kissed.

He held her face in his hand and told her, "You're beautiful in the morning."

"You're beautiful all the time," she replied.

He grinned, "I don't have any obligations today, and since you're `sick', I thought we'd have lunch together in Metropolis."

"Sounds wonderful," Katie smiled.

"Oh," Lex added, "but first I need to stop by a fertilizer plant to make a secondary inspection for my father. It won't take long."

"Okay, I need to run home home and change, but I'll meet you back here in five?"

"I'll be looking forward to it," Lex grinned. She smiled and kissed him, her hand resting on the back of his smooth head. She focused her grip on his lower lip.

"Bye," she said as she slowly pulled away from him.

"Bye," he grinned again. Katie turned around and walked out the mansion door.

Ten minutes later, Lex showed up in her driveway in the red Ferrari. She didn't hear him pull up, and seeing him sitting there waiting on her as she emerged from her doorway was a charming surprise. He stepped out of the car to greet her. She walked down the stairs of her porch as Lex opened the door to the passenger's seat and waved his hand toward it with a smile. "Your chariot awaits," he said in the classic Luthor lilt.

She smiled and walked over to him. "Lex," she began, "I never knew you could be so cheesy." He kissed her for recompense. "Much better," she told him. She got in the car. He grinned and sat down in the driver's seat. "By the way," said Katie, "I don't recall telling you where I live..."

Lex revved the engine and looked at her. "This is Smallville," he revved up again, "news travels fast." Then he sped off down the road. "Besides," he added as he drove, in an almost nervous tone, "I was hoping that you would want to spend most of your time at the mansion. I know that it was only one night, but it was the best night I've had in a long time. And, to be frank, I feel like I've known you all my life...which isn't too far-fetched, if you ask me." He glanced at her and flashed a dazzling smile.

She reached over and gently caressed the hand that rested on the gearshift. "So would it be moving too fast if I said that I was falling in love with you?" she asked him.

"I would say that I felt the same way," he answered. Katie lifted his hand to her mouth and kissed it, and he grinned like a little boy enthralled by a toy store window display at Christmas.

Lex Luthor, the heart-broken son of a stoic rich man, who had spent so much of his life searching for love, had finally found it. He had found someone whom he could trust indefinitely, someone with whom he felt comfortable enough to share his darkest secrets, someone who would love him not for his bank account but for his character, and, most of all, someone who would tolerate his greatest faults, even those that he could not quite remember but could still feel by the needle of pain that shot through his body at every attempt to recollect them. She even displayed a subtle yet profound interest in the meteor rocks.

"So," Lex started, still driving down a lonely, dirt farm road toward the plant, "why are you a Smallville journalist instead of some hot-shot scientist raking in the bucks in Metropolis?"

"Well, you know how sensitive we were as teenagers, Lex...losing the state science fair can crush a girl's dreams," she laughed.

"So now you've resorted to writing about meteor rocks rather than stimulating plant growth with them?"

"What makes you so interested in the meteor rocks, Lex?" she asked.

He grinned and answered, "I'm bald." The car stopped. They had arrived at the LuthorCorp plant. It was situated in the middle of a corn field, each stalk standing tall, surrounded by a lush, green grass that looked like it came from a rain forest rather than Smallville. "Wait here," Lex smiled at Katie as he opened the car door, "I'll be back soon." His father, Lionel, stepped out of the building and waved.

      Lex stopped dead in his tracks.  His face suddenly grew pale, and he began to shift in his steps as if he were losing his balance.  To Lex, it looked as if all of Smallville was spinning around him at ludicrous speed.  He became short of breath.  He saw the world in bright shades of red and green.  There was a flash of light, and then he saw himself nearly 15 years ago, when he still had a head full of ginger hair.  He was standing in a corn field, much like the one which seemed to envelope him at the plant.  He was there with his father.  He heard a voice almost whispering, "Help me...please...help me!"  He turned and stared at the waving stalks of corn, bewildered and afraid.  The next thing he knew, a stream of fire shot down at him from the sky.  Then he fell to the ground in shock...
      Lex hit the ground, unconscious.  "Lex!" Lionel screamed, running to him.  Katie heard his shout and looked up from the magazine she had been reading in the car.  She saw Lex lying motionless in the grass.

"Oh my god..." she whispered as she opened the door. "Lex!" she cried and ran to him. Lionel was kneeling down, grasping his shoulders. A worker was inside calling an ambulance. She knelt down beside him, her hands caressing his sickly face, the tears rising in her eyes. Lionel looked at her accusingly.

"Who are you?" he asked in a harsh tone.

"I'm Katharine Grant...I'm his girlfriend." The ambulance arrived, sirens whirling, and the paramedics rushed Lex onto a stretcher and strapped an oxygen mask over his face. Katie was in shock, unsure of what to do.

Lionel followed the stretcher to the ambulance. Just before entering, he turned to Katie. "Ms. Grant, come with me."

Chapter 4

Two hours later, Dr. Brian of Smallville Medical emerged into the waiting room to talk about Lex's condition. "Mr. Luthor," he began, as Lionel and Katie stood, "we ran a CAT-Scan on your son. It appears that some of the nerves in his brain have been deadened, inactive for quite some time. This may have led to his black-out earlier today. We've put him on some medication, and he'll need to stay here for at least 24 hours after he regains consciousness. But he should be fine."

"Doctor, what could have caused the inactivity in those nerves?" Lionel asked.

"Well," Dr. Brian began, "that's actually what concerns us most, Mr. Luthor. This type of inactivity is usually only caused by electric shock." Lionel stood motionless, his eyes side open as if he had seen some ghastly creature. "Mr. Luthor," the doctor continued, "has your son been exposed to any type of high-voltage electricity that you know of?" Lionel remained silent.

Katie spoke up, "Doctor, I'm sure that Lex would have mentioned something to me if he were electrocuted. He hasn't said anything about it."

"Okay then," Dr. Brian said as he prepared to leave, "he should be awake within the next few hours."

When Dr. Brian departed, Katie turned to Lionel. "Mr. Luthor?" she touched his shoulder, "Mr. Luthor, I'm going in to see Lex now. Care to join me?" He stared at the floor, trying to free himself from the doctor-induced state of shock.

He rubbed his eyes. "Yes," he answered, "lead the way." Katie began walking quickly toward Lex's room. Lionel followed slowly after her. When she reached the window looking into his room, she stopped to wait for Lionel, staring lovingly at Lex through the plate glass. Lionel joined her, this time in his normal mood.

"Ms. Grant," he spoke to her softly, "I'm sure that Lionel has informed you that I have not been the best father to him. I admit that. But I want you to understand, her and now, as we both look on him in that hospital bed, that I would never, ever do anything to hurt my son."

She sighed, "I know, Mr. Luthor, but don't you think that it's a bit too late for that?"

"Look, I know that I didn't show my love for Lex in all the ways a good father should..."

"Mr. Luthor," Katie seemed frustrated, "why are you telling me this?"

Lionel raised his hands toward her. "Listen to me now, Ms. Grant, Lex is searching for someone to love him in the ways that I never did. Now, he thinks that someone is you and, if I understand correctly, he met you roughly 48 hours ago. That seems a little unhealthy to me. I just ask that you be very careful around my son." Katie crossed her arms and let out a deep breath.

Just then, Clark Kent walked down the hall. "Mr. Luthor!" he called, "I heard about what happened. Is everything alright?"

"Yes it is, Mr. Kent. Thank you for stopping by. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some things to take care of at the mansion."

"Sure," Clark replied.

"Ms. Grant?"

"I'll stay with him, Mr. Luthor," she answered. He nodded and walked away.

Clark's eyes questioned Katie. "You're Katharine Grant?" he inquired.

"Yes," she smiled, "and you're Clark Kent. I've heard a lot about you." She shook his hand. He shrugged and raised his eyebrows. In his mind, he thought, That was quick.

"So," Clark began, "do they know what caused this?"

"Something about deadened nerves in the brain made inactive by electric shock. But that seems strange..." she answered.

"Electric shock?" Clark sounded worried.

"Yeah," Katie's remarked in a puzzled tone.

"Um, listen, Katie," Clark told her, "something just came up. When Lex wakes up, tell him I stopped by."

"Okay..." Katie said, confused. Clark turned and ran out.

He arrived at The Torch office shortly afterward to speak with Chloe. His voice was defiant. "Chloe, it's Lex..."

"Clark!" she said, "I heard about what happened. I was going to stop by, but..."

"Well, I just found out why it happened...sort of," interrupted Clark.

"Shoot," Chloe replied.

"Lex blacked out because nerves in his brain were rendered inactive by Lionel's electro-shock therapy."

"You're kidding!" Chloe sounded surprised. "Then why is this happening now? I mean, shouldn't something like this have happened a little sooner?"

"I thought so, too," Clark remarked, "which is why I want you to do some site research at the LuthorCorp plant where Lex collapsed."

"LuthorCorp has dabbled in this kind of...well...activity before."

"Yeah," Clark said, "and I also want you to look up his new girlfriend, Katharine Grant."

"Katharine Grant? Girlfriend?" inquired Chloe.

"Lex knew her for a whole day before she was spending the night at the mansion," added Clark.

"That doesn't sound like Lex...I'll definitely look into it."

"You'll have it to me by tomorrow?" Clark asked with a grin.

Chloe smiled brightly. "Of course!"

The next morning, Chloe met Clark at The Torch. "Clark!" she called, out of breath and carrying a handful of papers, "I found out something juicy about that LuthorCorp plant." She tossed a folder onto the desk where Clark was sitting. He opened it and browsed through the information.

"What is it?" he asked.

"You remember Level Three, right? The LuthorCorp experiments with meteor-rich soil? Well, it turns out that Level Three moved to the LuthorCorp plant where Lex collapsed yesterday. The meteor rocks used to stimulate the growth of the corn must have somehow affected those nerves in Lex's brain, causing the black-out."

"Sort of like the effect they had on Earl Jenkins?" asked Clark.

"Exactly."

Clark sighed. "So, again, this is all Lionel's fault..."

"Not all of it," Chloe said, "That's where Katharine Grant comes in." Clark's eyebrows furrowed as if he were confused. "She was all over the Smallville papers several years ago." Chloe threw a copy of The Ledger onto Clark's desk and continued, "Metropolis Youth Goes to State Science Fair for Meteor Rock Research."

Clark sat straight up in his chair and looked at Chloe with concern. "Katharine Grant started the research that Lionel Luthor intends to finish..."

"Yep," Chloe told him, "and that explains her interest in the Wall of Weird. Not to mention Lex's interest in her." Clark sighed. Chloe added, "I guess it makes perfect sense. I mean, it's a classic headline: `Smallville's Heartbroken Bald Boy Falls For Girl In Love With Meteor Rocks...'"

Meanwhile, back at Smallville Medical, Lex awoke. Katie was sitting at his bedside, holding his hand. "Hi," she whispered to him.

He grinned sleepily. "Hi..."

Katie leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. "You scared me to death, Lex," she told him, "What happened to you out there?"

He thought for a while. "I don't remember."

"Well, your father was the first to get to you when you collapsed. He was very worried. He cares deeply for you, Lex."

"Yeah," Lex said with a dry gulp. Katie poured some water for him and lifted to the cup to his lips.

"Clark Kent came by," she said. Lex grinned.

"I'm sorry I missed him," he said.

"Well," Katie told him, "I'm sure he'll be back later. The doctor said your medication might make you sleepy. Maybe you should get some rest." She ran her fingers over the top of his head. He was still, silent, his eyes wide open. Everything was red and green, just like it had been before his collapse. Then the flash of light came. He saw himself much like he was at that very moment, in what appeared to be a type of hospital. He wore a blue uniform, like scrubs, and he sat at an easel, painting his portrait. In the picture, his head was on fire. Then he saw three pills being dropped into little vats of paint. "Lex?" he heard Katie say, her voice distant. He came suddenly out of his daze with a gasp. "Lex?" he heard her say again, this time closer. He shut his eyes tightly and reopened them so that he could see more clearly. "Are you alright, Lex?" Katie sounded concerned.

"Yeah," he answered with a grin, "I'm just tired." Katie leaned over and kissed him again.

"Okay," she said, "now get some rest." She stood and gently let go of his hand. He watched admiringly as she walked out of the room. When she was out of sight, he rolled over and closed his eyes.

Katie ran into Clark on her way out of the hospital. "Oh, Clark," she said, "you just missed Lex. He's sleeping now." She continued walking. Clark grabbed her arm to stop her. "Excuse me, Clark! Is there a problem?" she raised her voice.

"Katharine," he said, "we need to talk."

"About what, exactly?" she asked. She could feel her upper arm grow red and hot. Clark pulled her outside.

"Lex collapsed because the soil in that plant has been enriched with meteor rocks...the experiment that you started in the 9th grade led to agricultural breakthroughs throughout the state and was adopted by LuthorCorp's Level Three until it was forced to shut down."

"Oh my God," Katie spoke quietly, "This is all my fault..."

"You mean you didn't know about this?"

"Of course not, Clark! That was a long time ago...I've given up on meteor research since then! Now let go...you're hurting me!"

"If you gave up on it then why have you been collecting information about meteor rocks to write about in The Ledger?" Clark asked forcibly, loosening his grip.

"Haven't you heard the rumors, Clark?" He looked puzzled. She continued, "People have been saying that more than just meteors fell from the sky that day..."

Chapter 5

Lex arrived back at the mansion the next day, good as new. He was alert and cheerful, and he looked healthy as well. A security guard greeted him and Katie at the door. "Welcome home, sir," he said in a deep voice. Lex smiled.

"Thanks," he said as he began walking toward his office. "Care for a drink?" he turned to ask Katie with a grin.

"Definitely," she answered. They entered the office, and Lex poured a glass of brandy for each of them. They toasted and took a sip. It was relaxing, relieving. "So," Katie began, "do you remember anything now that the medication has worn off?" Lex took another sip of brandy.

"Not much," he said, "except for what I saw."

"You saw something?" inquired Katie.

"All I remember is something falling from the sky, leaving a trail of...of fire," he said, looking up at the ceiling. Katie stood fascinated by this information.

"Well, what do you think it means?" she asked.

"I don't know," Lex said, deep in thought, "but it must mean something." He finished off his drink.

"What about while you were in the hospital? Did you see anything there?"

"No. Nothing."

Footsteps sounded down the hall. They stopped at the office door. "Lex, welcome home, son!" Lionel exclamated. Lex turned around slowly.

"Hi, Dad," he replied. Lionel embraced him, and Lex patted him on the back.

"I was worried sick about you, you know," said Lionel. Lex simply grinned. "Ms. Grant..." Lionel turned to Katie.

"Hi, Mr. Luthor," she said.

"Well, Lex," Lionel continued, "Do you remember anything?"

"No," Lex replied, "What happened to me?"

"The doctors aren't sure. You suffered some chemical imbalance in your brain." Katie stared at Lionel with contempt. Lex looked bewildered. Lionel glanced at his watch. "Well, I'm late for a meeting," he said. "I'll see you both later." He touched Lex's shoulder, "I'm glad you're home, Lex."

"Bye, Dad," Lex replied. Then Lionel left the mansion.

Katie grasped each of Lex's hands. "Since we didn't make it to Metropolis, let's pick up where we left of here," she told him. He looked her up and down, then ran his hand over her cheek and through her thick, long tresses of brown hair. He held her by the back of the neck and pulled her in for a long, hot kiss. Then he led her, with his mouth, back into his bed.

Chapter 6

A storm was sweeping across town. Thunder rattled every window in the mansion and lightning electrified the pitch-black sky. Lex was dreaming. He dreamt that he was asleep. He could feel a cool rush of wind wisp across his face. A wave of refreshment blew over him, and he awoke. It felt like he was being sucked back into his chair. He couldn't move. He struggled even to breathe. He looked around him in terror - thick wires hung down from everywhere. Then everything about him twisted into green, and he jolted forward in bed, soaked in a cold sweat. "Lex?" Katie whispered sleepily with concern, "Lex, what's wrong?" He was breathing so heavily that he couldn't speak. "Lex," Katie stroked his wet face, "what happened?"

He managed a couple of words between gasps. "D.B. Cooper." He turned his head slowly and gazed out of the long glass window beside his bed. A bolt of lightning streaked across the sky in a blinding flash. A large stone stood outside. On it was inscribed "Lex Luthor." Lionel Luthor stood towering above it, his stern expression illuminated by the static light of the tempestuous night sky. Lex whipped his head quickly in the other direction, toward Katie.

"What did you see, Lex?" she asked, the worry resounding in her voice. "Lex, talk to me..."

He laid back down and wrapped his arms around her. "Nothing," he said, searching her eyes, "it was just a bad dream." Katie grasped his warm face in her hands, and they kissed.

She stroked his arms. "It's over," she told him, "you're safe now." She softly kissed his eyelids. "Sleep." Her eyes closed, included comfortably in his embrace. Lex lay still awake.

When Katie awoke early that morning, Lex was already at work in his office. She dressed herself and prepared to leave. As she walked from the bedroom, she called, "Lex? I'm leaving for work...where are you?"

"In here," she heard him call back. She walked into his office. He was on the phone when she entered, but he quickly ended the conversation when he saw her emerge into the doorway.

"Can we talk?" he asked as he hung up the phone.

"Of course we can," she assured him, smiling, as she walked toward him. He stood, his hands in his pockets.

"I didn't sleep last night," he told her.

"Because of the nightmares?" she asked.

"Yes," he answered.

"Well, what do you remember?" she asked him again.

"My father!" he said as he poured a glass of brandy. "My father standing over my grave..." He downed the drink.

"Oh, Lex," Katie told him, rubbing her hands up and down the back of his arms, "your father loves you. He would never do anything to hurt you." Lex rolled his eyes. "Look," Katie continued, "he may not be very good at showing it, but if only you could have seen him looking down at you through that hospital window...he looked at you like he was afraid that was the last time he would ever see you."

Lex turned away from her and stared at a stained glass window, his back towards her. "I've had these flashbacks," he said, "these memories...only I can't remember them now. Most of them, anyway. And the worst part is, I don't understand why. I can't think, I can only feel - I can't remember, but I can...I can feel the pain from those memories." Katie heard his voice begin to tremble. Tears rose in his eyes, forming puddles of water held inside his lower lids. He turned to Katie, his voice shaking with frustration. "My body aches so much that I feel like I'm about to break, and I don't even know what's causing it..."

Katie fought to hold back her own tears. She felt the pain, the anger that haunted Lex. She knew the frustration and confusion that created it. She wanted to make all of his agony go away. But that was impossible - the hurt ran too deep, and the sword that had caused it was now buried deep underground. Lex continued, "But every time I picture my father, this searing pain runs through every vein in my body - it's like this...this electricity of hatred rushing through me. It must mean something..."

"Why do you think it means something, Lex?" asked Katie eagerly, her eyes narrow, concentrating on his every word.

Lex blinked in an attempt to suck the tears back into his eyes, pulling himself together. He looked up at her finally, his eyes cleared, trying his best to grin. "I have a gut instinct," he said.

"And what do you plan to do about that?" she asked.

"I plan to follow it," he confidently told her.

She touched his chest softly. "Lex, you can't spend your entire future staring at your past."

"Right now, I don't really have a choice," he said.

"You always have a choice, Lex," she assured him as she leaned to kiss him on the cheeck. "You can be what you want to be, or you can be what everyone else thinks you already are." He looked her in the eye. "Now," she began, "I'm going to be late." She kissed him again. "Be careful, Lex..."

"Bye," he said. Katie turned around and walked out the door. She was headed for Metropolis.

Chapter 7

Lionel sat quietly behind his desk at LuthorCorp headquarters, browsing over articles on his laptop. Suddenly the doors to his office burst open, and Katie Grant barged in, out-of-breath and her eyes alight with fire. "Mr. Luthor!" she shouted, "Mr. Luthor, I need to speak with you..."

Lionel interrupted her in a fierce tone, "May I ask how you managed to penetrate security, Ms. Grant?" He stood, still behind his desk, as if it were his safety blanket.

"Well," Katie answered him, "being the girlfriend of the CEO's son generally comes with special favors."

"And why are you here?" he asked her.

"I came to talk to you about Lex," she told him. Lionel's eyes glazed over with fear.

"Is there a problem with my son, Ms. Grant?"

"I don't know, Mr. Luthor...I just don't know. Something happened to him in that corn field..." Lionel gestured for her to sit down. He did the same.

"And what makes you say that?" he inquired.

"He's been having these visions..."

"You mean delusions?" Lionel interrupted, leaning forward, his eyes wide with a frightened worry.

"No," she answered, "flashbacks, dreams..."

Lionel leaned back in his chair, relieved, his hands folded in his lap. "Dreams of what?"

"Of you," she began, "...of you standing over his grave."

The fear returned to Lionel's eyes. He kept himself collected, hiding it well. "What before that?" he asked.

"The meteor shower, I think...he said he say something fall out of the sky...and I know he saw something at the hospital, but when I asked him about it, he said he couldn't remember..." An icy cold swept over Katie's body. She could hardly breathe. Lionel's eyes were transfixed on her mouth. "He woke up in the middle of the night sweating and scared...all he could say was `D.B. Cooper'..."

"Wait..." Lionel began, "Did you say `D.B. Cooper'?" Katie was silent. "Ms. Grant, may I ask you something?" She gulped and nodded. "Why did you come to me with this information instead of going to Mr. Kent? I know that Lex would be very disappointed if he knew that you were here talking to me..."

"He thinks I'm at work," she told him. "And, besides," she looked down, "Clark and I aren't on the best terms."

"And why not?" Lionel asked haughtily.

Katie sighed, "He accused me of doing this to Lex."

"And did you do this to my son, Ms. Grant?"

She grew angry. Her eyes filled with tears. "I love your son, Mr. Luthor!" she screamed, her face beet red, "And he blames you!"

"Me?" Lionel chuckled. Then his face grew stern. "Lex is my son, Ms. Grant, and I love him just as much as you do!" Tears streamed down Katie's face. She breathed heavily, struggling to keep herself from exploding to Lionel.

She gritted her teeth. "Then why does he feel `electricity' rush through his body every time he pictures your face?" Lionel looked down, his face wrinkled with a mixture of worry and guilt. Katie walked up to his desk, placed one hand on each corner, and leaned over to look him straight in the eye. He looked up at her. His eyes were pink, his lips pursed. "Mr. Luthor," she continued, "what happened to Lex in that insane asylum?"

Chapter 8

        Katie returned to the mansion later that night, at about 6pm.  She was disturbed by what Lionel had told her.  She was afraid.  She was worried.  Her whole body trembled with fear and anxiety.  She was able to hide it, but inside she was shaken beyond reckoning.  She could hardly bear to think of Lex, much less see him face-to-face.  She decided to take a hot, relaxing bath.  But even though she was too stirred to confront Lex at that moment, she couldn't bear the thought of walking through his house, the house in which she felt his most warm, loving presence, without shouting to him that she was home.
      "Lex!" she called, "I'm getting in the bath!"  She didn't hear an answer.  She smiled inside, trying to convince herself of all the sensual surprises he was probably preparing for her in his bedroom - like candles lighting the floor, fresh down pillows on the bed, and rose petals graced across the sheets.  After all, Lex had always been a hopeless romantic.  
      She walked softly into the master bathroom, ran a tub full of warm, soothing water and let it encompass her like a fluffy, white cloud.  She soaked there for several minutes, softening her skin for the romance that surely awaited her.  Then she stepped out of the bath and wrapped herself in a velvety, white towel, and afterward she headed for the bedroom.  
      She stuck her head in the doorway.  But Lex was nowhere in sight.  She walked down a long corridor, glancing into each room on both sides of the hall.  She came to a door that she had never even noticed before.  It was closed tightly shut.  She tried to open it, thinking that Lex might have shut himself in there to take his mind off of his dreams and get some work done.  It was locked.  She pushed and pulled at it, but it wouldn't budge.  "Lex?"  she called out, "Lex, why is this door locked?"

No answer. She heard movement - shuffling - from the room across the hall. "Lex?" she cried again, "Lex, is that you?"

"Shhhhhh..." he whispered, "You'll wake the baby..."

THE END



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