Phoenix Dying

by clarkoholic



Chapter 1

The Kent Barn

Clark walked into the barn, he was back to wearing his typical blue flannel shirt and jeans. Morgan Edge stepped out from the shadows, in front of Clark, stopping him dead in his tracks. "Hello Kal"

Clark's face suddenly turned furious "Didn't I tell you not to ever come back here." Two of Edge's men walked up behind him.

Edge gave a little chuckle "Now Kal...let's not loose our temper. You wouldn't want to get your parent's hurt."

The fury from his face fell to fear "What did you do? Where are they?"

"Give me what I want and I'll leave them alone." He lied. He didn't have Clark's parents; in fact, he had never seen them in his life. But he knew that the threat of killing Clark's loved one's would work to get what he wanted.

"I don't have what you're looking for?"

"Do you want me to explain that to Lionel Luthor?"

Clark's mind was battling. Was Edge bluffing? Did he really have his parents? I can't take that chance. Making up his mind at what to do, he walked over to the red tool chest. Took a jar that sat near it, placed it on the top of the chest. He opened a drawer and pulled out a small lead box. Morgan looked on with intrigue. Clark unbuttoned the wrist of his flannel shirt and slowly rolled it up a few times. Bracing himself for the pain he knew he would feel, Clark clinched his fist and quickly opened the lead box. The rock inside glowed a vibrant green. Morgan watched in awe at the sight. Clark took the rock and placed it on the inside of his arm. He dug the rock into his skin and pulled downward. A trail of blood followed the rock. Edge observed as Clark let the blood trip into the jar then fall to the floor in pain. Edge took the jar in his hands and looked to Clark "What the hell is this?" he asked

Clark tried to gain his bearings "It's what you're looking for."

"It better be." He put the lid on the jar and left the barn.

The Docks

An expensive black car pulled onto the docks and parked near another of the same. Lionel Luthor got of the first car and walked to Morgan Edge who was standing near his car holding a small brown paper bag. Lionel put his hands in the air and took a deep inhale. "Mmmm...it's extraordinary how the smell of creosote and algae can take you back thirty years, isn't it?" he turned looking in the same direction of Edge and leaned against the car.

Edge spoke "A lot of memories buried here."

"Yeah" Lionel sighed, "Where they belong." He looked at Edge for a moment "Don't tell me I've come all the way out here for nothing."

"No" Edge replied, handing him the small paper bag.

Lionel took the jar of blood out of the bag "Intriguing presentation."

"It's not that packaging that's important." He said...Lionel gave a small laugh. "Unless you don't trust me."

"Trust you?" he paused rising from the car "Trust has never had anything to do with our friendship." He passed the bag off to Morgan and headed for his car with the jar in hand. The passenger window of Lionel's car slid down, a beautiful Korean women wearing all white sat behind it. Lionel handed her the jar of blood, he leaned down and watched her as she took and sample of the blood with an eyedropper. She dipped the blood on a device. After a moment she looked to Lionel "It's identical." She said.

"Excellent." Lionel replied standing straight up and began walking around the car.

Morgan walked towards him "If I didn't know any better I'd think the blood was liquid gold." He stopped next to Lionel's door and clasped his hands together. Lionel just looked at him as he started entering the car. "I can't imagine what the real source would be worth to you."

Lionel stopped, leaning on the door "Unfortunately the source is a mystery to me. My contact turned out to be...uh, lets say uncooperative."

"They were holding out on you." Edge said. Lionel laughed, sat down and closed the car door. Edge tapped on the black tinted window, it rolled down a bit. "What if I were to tell you that this is not the sample I stole." Lionel's eyes shot over to him "I got this straight from the source." Lionel's eyes went wide and he gave a menacing smile.

The Kent Barn

One of Edge's men tore open Clark's shirt, the other placed the glowing meteor rock on his chest. The thug with an ornate cross tattoo on the right side of his face took a few pieces of duct tape and secured the rock to his chest. His cell phone rang "Yeah..." paused to listen "Yes Sir." He hung up his phone and looked to his accomplice "That was Edge...he wants us to bring the kid to him." The men took Clark by his arms and drug him out of the barn. Trying to struggle and break free was harder than Clark thought. The Kryptonite was pressed into his chest making it hard for him to breathe. There was a 'Smallville Movers' sitting next to the barn, its back door wide open. They men picked him up and tossed him into the back of the truck and duct taped his hands and feet together. They slid the door shut, locked it; and then drove off. Clark's body was bouncing with every bump they hit. He had to come up with a plan...a way out. His legs felt to weak to stand, his head was pounding, from all the bumps the truck was taking. Clark figured it was from all the potholes in the dirt road. The boxes that surrounded him bounced along with him, once in a while one would fall on him, it hurt. Just then the truck must have hit a huge pothole because a waterfall of boxes fell down upon him. A particularly heavy box landed on his head knocking him out cold.

In the passenger cab the two hooligans bounced along. The driver pulled over near an empty field. "Edge wants us to get a whole bag full of that meteor rock. He say's it's the only thing that weakens the kid." He told the other guy as they got out of the truck and started looking through the field. "Let's get as much as we can...it's gonna be fun using it against that punk kid." He thought about when they tried to shoot him while he slept. He rubbed his neck, almost as if it still hurt. They continued scanning the field, collecting all the green rocks they could carry. Once they had more than enough, for now, they opened the back door of the truck. The 'cross face' thug laughed at the sight of Clark buried in a pile of boxes. They threw all the rocks in and closed the door. 'Cross face' turned to the other man "I can't wait to torture him..." he paused as he started the truck up "...I loving torturing..." he laughed as they pulled back onto the road, making their way to Metropolis.

Chapter 2

Outskirts of Metropolis

Clark started to feel the world around him again. His head was throbbing, actually, his whole body was. Instantly he remembered what had happened, thoughts started filling his head. Edge knows about my blood. Is he going to turn me over to Lionel? It was a huge mistake showing him it was mine. No! I had to do it, for Mom and Dad. I hope they're okay. If he hurts them...I'll kill him! The truck came to a stop, Clark tried to move, but there were too many boxes on top of him and he wasn't strong enough to break free. The truck door slid open; 'Cross face' and his pal reached in and pulled Clark out by his feet. He let out a groan as they pulled him from underneath the heavy boxes, the corners digging into his already sore body. They threw him to the ground and both men took a piece of meteor rock in their hands. Each blow directed to his stomach and face. 'Cross face' laughed, "Now who's invincible!? HUH?" he leaned down and wrapped his ugly fingers around Clark's neck, squeezing tight "Doesn't feel so good, does it?" Clark started to feel light headed from lack of air, before he was about to pass out, 'Cross face' let up and punched him again. The men laughed as Clark groaned and squirmed in pain. "All right...that's enough for now." 'Cross face' snickered "We better get him inside before Edge gets back." They grabbed him by his arms again and drug him into a nearby building.

The building was small, it had no windows, it had wood siding with pieces missing that had fallen off. It was more of a shack than anything. Inside was a small room with a few pieces of rotten furniture and another doorway. They took him through the doorway, which led to a staircase. Clark looked down the staircase, assuming it led to a basement; it was pitch black. Before he could think of anything else, he was thrown down the steps. Tumbling downwards his head smacking the steps and railings. With an echoing thud he hit the ground. He moaned and rolled to his side grasping his left wrist. It felt like someone broke it in two, there was no blood, but he knew it was broken. He couldn't move it the slightest bit without shooting pains streaming up his arm. The fall caused the duct taped meteor rock to loose its grip on his chest. He looked over and saw the rock lying near him. If I could just get it away...then I can get out of here he thought to himself while trying to get to his feet. Before he could stand completely something hard hit his shoulder, then his stomach, and his head. The men at the top of the stairs were chucking the meteor rocks at him. Clark felt like he was being hit by an actual meteor shower, each blow harder than the last. He fell to the floor and did what he could to protect his head and broken wrist from the blows of the rocks. Footsteps were closing in on him from the stairs. The last thing he thought before being knocked unconscious, by a hit to the head, was Please let someone find me... soon

Club Atlantis

'Cross face' walked into a big, cold, steel-like room. Morgan Edge sat at the head of a long table. "Sit down." Edge said. 'Cross face' sat at the opposite end of the table. "Is it done?"

"Yes Sir. We took as many of the rocks as we could. He's locked in the basement for now, trust me, he's not going anywhere." He sneered.

"Good." He paused "I want you to send a team to collect more of the rocks. I want as many as possible."

"Yes Sir..." he stood to leave "...and by the way Sir, I think I'm really going to enjoy this new project." He laughed along with Morgan. As 'Cross face' left, Edge's phone rang, he pushed 'speaker phone' "We aren't a bit anxious are we, Lionel?"

Lionel replied with a menacing laugh "Let's cut straight to the chase. When will I get to see this source?"

"Patients my friend...patients. Tell me what is so special about the blood and I might give you a couple of pints. Then we'll discuss a meeting."

A sigh was heard "Alright, if that's how you want things." Normally Lionel would not play by someone else's rules, but this source was extremely important to him. "The blood may have the ability to resurrect."

"Resurrect? The dead?" Morgan was shocked, that was not what he was expecting.

Lionel laughed, "Yes, my scientists have created a serum using the blood platelets. We've only had one successful case thus far, but it looks promising."

"Indeed." Morgan took a sip of his drink "Come by my club tomorrow and I'll have some waiting for you." He hung up the phone "Well Kal...you turned out to be more promising that I thought..." he said to himself then broke into laughter.

The Basement

Clark awoke in the same position, curled into a ball at the bottom of the stairs. His back felt like a stampede of animals had ran over him. All the rocks that pelted his back; surrounded him. He tried to crawl away from them. He pushed as many as he could away; he made slow progress but eventually he made his way further into the dark basement. The basement smelt like stale mildew; the ground felt damp and grimy. Clark's body ached more than it ever had. He had only gotten a few feet away when the door at the top of the stairs opened. Several footsteps made their way to the basement. 'Cross face' and two other goons stopped at the bottom of the stairs.

'Cross face' picked up a meteor rock; Clark knew what was coming. All three men took turns punching and kicking him. Clark tried to find his breath between the kicks he received in his chest. After one last hard kick, the hooligans stopped to watch Clark cough up his blood. His lungs burned and he could hardly breathe through the pain. Finally, after about fifteen more minutes of beating, the men stopped. One drug Clark to the farthest corner away from the stairs. They all took time placing the rocks strategically across the floor. There was no way Clark would be able to get out now, he wasn't in any condition to get through the meteor rocks, and he figured there was plenty of security upstairs as well. After a while the men retreated upstairs, he laid on the floor, breathing heavily, his body was aching; even though his wrist was numb, he could still feel the intense pain. Darkness completely surrounded him except for a vibrant green hue emitted from the rocks. He wondered if his parents were okay, if they were being held near him. His only hope was that his someone, anyone would rescue him.

Kent Farm

Jonathan and Martha were packing the last few items left in their bedroom. "Jonathan, did Clark say what time he was coming home today?" Martha asked while folding up clothes and placing them in a box marked 'Martha's Clothes'.

"I don't know Sweetheart. I know he went to talk to Chloe earlier. Maybe they patched things up, they're probably at the Talon." Jonathan replied.

"Well, he better get back soon. It's getting late and we need to finish packing the moving truck." She continued packing as she rambled on "I don't understand why he would even take the truck into town. It's too big to get around in and why wouldn't he just run. Sometimes he just doesn't think. But I'm so glad that he's back home..." she trailed off ask she walked out of the room carrying her box downstairs.

Jonathan noticed it was getting pretty late and wondered why Clark would be gone so long with the moving truck. The thought of Clark being kidnapped didn't enter his mind at all. Clark had told him before that he wasn't sure if he wanted his old life back. That is what Jonathan feared; that Clark ran away back to Metropolis. He was terrified what it would do to Martha if he really did leave again. Little did he know...

Chapter 3

The Basement

Clark was shivering, partially from his injuries, but mainly because the damp ground of the basement was icy cold. He tried to read the time on his watch, it was hard to see in the dark and his eyes were having trouble focusing. It was also on his left wrist, which meant he had to move his arm to see it; finally he was able to see the time; it was 4:34am. His shivering had kept him from sleeping along with his mind racing with thoughts of what was happening to him. I can't believe this is happening. I just came home and now this. Running off to Metropolis was so stupid...this is all my fault. I always ruin everything. I've already put my parents through so much...I hope they're okay.

Clark didn't notice anyone came downstairs until a rock flew at him and hit his knee. He let out a sigh of pain. Then suddenly the lights shot on, blinding him. He closed his eyes tightly, cracking them open once in a while trying to adjust to the brightness. After a bit he was able to see more clearly. There were two figures walking towards him, neither of which he had seen before. One man punched him in the gut then quickly in his face. Almost instantly after the large fist came in contact with his face he felt a cool trickle of liquid escape his nose and drip down the side of his face to the floor. He did his best not to let out a moan; he didn't want to give them the satisfaction of hearing his pain. He expected them to beat him more, but instead the other man took a rock with a sharp edge and dug it into his stomach; pulling down creating a large gash. The man reached into his pocket and took out a small vial; he filled the vial with Clark's blood. They gave him one last solid punch to his shoulder and left him.

The deep gash in his stomach stung; his blood oozing down his side. He needed to cover his wound. He pulled his shirt together and with his uninjured hand pressed down as hard as he could; which wasn't very hard. Letting out a groan of pain as he pressed, he thought to himself Could my life get any worse right now? He started to feel woozy, the room appeared to be spinning; exhausted he finally passed out into oblivion.

Kent Farm

The next morning Jonathan came down the stairs expecting to see Martha in the kitchen and Clark already devouring his food. Instead he found Martha coming through the kitchen door frantically. "Jonathan Clark didn't come home last night. I check his loft and he's not there...I called Chloe and she hasn't seen him."

"Martha calm down." He sat her down at the dining room table. He knew he needed to tell her about what Clark had told him, but he couldn't bear to see her the way she had been all summer...miserable. "I think Clark may have gone back to Metropolis."

"What?" she snapped, "Why would he go back?"

"He told me when he came home that he wasn't sure if he wanted to stay."

"Why wouldn't he want to stay?" she could feel the tears beginning to well in her eyes. Having her child run away was unbearable; she was in a constant state of worry. Even though Clark has his abilities she still worried; where will he get food? Where will he sleep? All the things any mother would worry about.

"He said that when he was 'Kal'el' he could do whatever he wanted and didn't have to worry about his problems. Like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders."

"He can't run away from his problems forever Jonathan!" Martha was furious and heartbroken. "You need to go to Metropolis and bring him home again!"

"No Martha, he's just upset. Besides, he doesn't have the red kryptonite anymore. Once he's had time to clear his head he'll come home. We just need to give him time."

"How much time? Are we just going to let him be a thief and live his own life? He's 16 years old!" Martha stormed off up the stairs. Jonathan knew she was right but he also knew that Clark would come home as soon as he realized how hard life could be. Without the red kryptonite he'll have his conscience; the boy he knew wouldn't be able to be a criminal. He'd miss his family and friends and his life. He'll come home; he only needs time.

The Talon

Lana idly wiped the same spot on the counter for several minutes; her expression was blank and distant. Everything was supposed to be back to normal now that Clark was home; but it wasn't. He was even more distant and evasive than he was before he left. I can't believe him! One minute he's the most selfless person, the next he's the most selfish! She felt she had a right to be mad at him; he finally started to open up to her and then in an instant he left her alone, while he went off and partied in Metropolis. How could she be so naive in thinking things would be good again; her and Clark could never work.

"Hello....Lana!" Chloe slammed her hand down on the counter to get Lana's attention. "I think that spot is clean enough." She snickered. "Oh..." Lana snapped out of her ponderings "Hi...I was just...thinking."

"Yeah I noticed." She paused "Listen, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Clark sooner. I know I should have but I was scared that he would run further away."

"Chloe...I...I understand why you did it but I'm still angry about it."

"You have a right to be and I understand completely if you want to avoid me. But I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry." Lana gave her a small somewhat forgiving smile. "Oh, I almost forgot. Have you seen Clark? Mrs. Kent called me this morning looking for him."

"No, not since yesterday..."

"Oh, well, I guess he didn't come home last night." Chloe and Lana feared the same thing; that he left again. "Did he say anything about leaving to you?"

"Umm...he mentioned that he wasn't sure if he was going to stay. Do you think he left again?"

"I don't know. He came to see me at the Torch yesterday and he was acting really weird. I could tell that a part of him didn't want to stay home. I didn't think he'd actually leave though." Silence fell; Chloe felt herself becoming angry at the thought of Clark running out of everyone's life again. Lana felt more hurt than angry; how could he do this to her again! Both girls came to the same conclusion in their minds; Clark was being selfish.

The Basement

Apparently a kick between his shoulder blades would be his new wake up call. Clark let out a yelp of pain. "Good Morning Kal" a cold voice came from the opposite end of the dark basement. The cold voice grew closer with a laugh; Morgan Edge stood hovering over him; wearing a tailored black suit. "How are you feeling today?" he snickered. Clark didn't answer; causing Morgan to nod his head at the man behind Clark.

After receiving a few more kicks in his back Clark sputtered out a few words. "Where...are my...parents?"

Edge let out a laugh "Oh that..." he recalled "They're perfectly fine...I would assume." He bent down and whispered, "You see Kal, you shouldn't trust people so easily." He laughed at the look on Clark's face. Clark felt like he had been hit with a mountain of bricks. He thought No...how could I have been so stupid! He was relieved to know that his parents weren't in harm but felt self guilt for putting himself in this horrible situation. "Things would be a lot easier for you if you chose to cooperate." He stood back up and headed towards the stairs; he turned back to speak one last time "Think about that, because tomorrow you will want to choose differently." Morgan knew that he wouldn't cooperate, but he wanted him to fear tomorrow.

Again he was left to stare off into the darkness; Edge's last comments made him think about what was going to happen to him tomorrow. Were they going to torture him for information? Were they going to run tests on his body? Were they going to kill him? He didn't have a clue if they wanted to keep him alive or not. They could easily kill him and take his blood, but maybe they wanted more than his blood. Edge knew about his abilities so he probably wanted to study him; figure out why he's different. His thoughts were interrupted by a pain in his stomach, it was hunger pains; he hadn't eaten since the morning he was taken. Probably the last meal I'll ever eat.

Clark knew he needed to stop his negative thoughts; if he wanted to stay sane. He tried thinking about home; his parents, friends, the farm, his loft, the talon, the torch, and even school. Anything that would bring happy memories; he thought about it. He thought about one time when he and Pete spent the night in his loft; they were about eleven. It was the middle of the night and Pete had to use the restroom; when he was going down the stairs he tripped in the darkness and fell down a few steps. He didn't get hurt but he and Clark laughed so hard that Pete almost wet himself. Clark let out a small laugh that brought him straight back to reality. He couldn't laugh without pains shooting through his body. He had been lying in the same position since he was taken into the corner. He tried to roll onto his back but the agony was too much to take; so he stayed on his side, waiting and counting the seconds until they would come for him tomorrow.

Club Atlantis

Lionel strode into the desolate club followed by two security guards; his trench coat flapping behind him. Morgan sat in his usual spot at the head of the large table. "Welcome to Club Atlantis" he stood and put his arms out in a welcoming form. "I trust you had no trouble finding it."

Lionel walked up with large grin, "So Morgan, where's my blood?" Morgan walked to a cabinet behind the table; he opened the door and took out a small chrome box. He handed the box to Lionel. Lionel opened the box and pulled out a vial with crimson blood.

"Now when do I get to see the source." Lionel asked

"In time you will, I still have a few of my own curiosities I'd like to explore." Morgan leaned onto the table. "Now, I'd like to talk to you about an arrangement." Lionel gave him a look of 'go ahead'. "I need a better equipped facility. If you provide what I need, I will give you weekly updates and blood whenever you need more."

Lionel absorbed what he said and thought for a moment. "If I provide what you need, I want access to everything, including the source."

Morgan thought about this for a bit, he needed Lionel's help but he wasn't ready to give up his source. "Hmm...I'll make you a deal. You let me get what I want out of him, once I'm finished I'll hand him over to you."

Lionel grinned "Him?"

Morgan let out a small laugh "Yes"

"Does he have a name?" Morgan gave him a look. "If I am going to agree to this arrangement the least you can do is tell me his name."

"His name is Kal." Morgan said. "So we have an accord?"

"Agreed" Lionel stepped forward to shake his hand.

Morgan chuckle and shook his hand "Always so cordial Lionel." He picked up a packet of papers that were lying on the table. "Here is what I need." He handed the packet to Lionel.

Lionel opened it and thumbed through the papers briskly. He stopped and looked to Morgan. "Meteor rock?"

"It seems to be our friend Kal's only weakness. I am not sure why, yet."

"Hmm...my people will have everything ready in the morning." He replied. Lionel left the club. He hated having to go along with Morgan's conditions, but this was important. The blood could possible save his life, and the prospect of having control over the source was a plus. He thought about Kal, wondered why he was so different, he couldn't wait to get a hold of him and see why.

Chapter 4

The Basement

Clark woke to a crowd of muffled footsteps above him. He instantly thought This can't be a good thing Why would there be so many people here? Were they going to take him somewhere? What were they going to do to him today? Tremors shook through his body, he was cold but the tremors weren't only from the cold. He had lost a substantial amount of blood and hadn't eaten in days. They want me to die...they don't want to run tests...they want to kill me...slowly. The gash in his stomach burned with fury; blood still crept its way out; the front of his blue shirt was now red. His wrist was swollen to twice its size and discolored blue and purple. Every few minutes it sent pains that slowly snuck up his arm like someone was twisting and pulling on his muscles. He laid, trembling, in the same spot and position he had kept for days.

A short cowardly looking man came down the stairs. He held a tray in his hands; he placed the tray on the floor a few feet from him. Clark winced at what he saw, a meteor rock that appeared to be whittled into a knife, a few metal devices and an empty vial. "Why are you doing this?" Clark asked. The man didn't acknowledge that he spoke and he took the vial and meteor knife in his hands. He went to Clark and pushed him onto his back. Clark let out a small groan as his body put pressure on his aching back. "Please don't..." Clark pleaded but his words were cut off by a yell of agony as the man stuck the glowing knife into his chest. Clark took the strength he had left and pushed the man as hard as he could. Than man merely stumbled back a bit, but he held onto the blade tightly and it ripped through Clark's chest causing a gash twice the size of the other.

Clark roared in torment. Blood gushed from the gaping wound. Hid body trembled harder than ever. His heart was hammering in his chest; he took quick deep breaths. He started to panic; suffering engulfed his mind, body and soul. Suddenly his rapid breaths stopped; he tried to inhale but he couldn't get any air. His tormentor looked at him and said "He's not breathing..." he turned and ran as fast as he could out of the basement. Those words flashed over and over again in his mind as he slipped into the dark void of unconsciousness.

The man ran upstairs catching the attention of the other men in the room. Trying to find his breath he sputtered out. "He's...not...breathing..." One man grabbed a duffel bag and rushed downstairs followed by a few more men. They ran to Clark's dormant body; one man started CPR and another searched the duffel bag, he pulled out a pack of crisp white gauze and ripped it open. While pressing the gauze against Clark's bleeding wound he asked, "What happened?"

The squirrelly man replied, "I was trying to get a sample and he pushed me back. I must have cut too deep when I fell." He squirmed "It was a mistake."

"We are not allowed to make mistakes!" The man snapped back. "Mr. Edge wants to keep him alive." Clark had begun weakly breathing again but stayed in his comatose state. "He needs to be moved to a cleaner location otherwise these cuts might get infected." He said while looking around the soot filled basement.

Just then 'Cross face' walked to them "I just talked to Edge, he said the new place will be ready tonight."

"If he wants me to keep this kid alive then I need a few things." 'Cross face' nodded and he continued, "I need a few blankets and an oxygen tank."

"What do you need an oxygen tank for?" 'Cross face' asked

"Take a lot around you...this place if full of mildew and God knows what! He needs to be able to breath and if I can't take him out of here until tonight then I need to bring the fresh air to him. Do you have a problem with that?" This man was very stern and demanding, probably a doctor of some sort. He had been sent here to keep Clark alive and that's what he intended to do.

'Cross face', a little taken back by the man's forwardness, shrugged his shoulders "Uh, I'll get my men on it now." He turned and whispered to one of the men; they all headed upstairs except for 'Cross face'

"Good." The doctor turned his attention back to Clark. He took off the now sopping wet gauze and examined the two cuts. "These thugs are so barbaric" he whispered to himself. It made no sense to him; they need to keep this kid alive yet they cut him open for a blood sample of all things! Have they never heard of a needle? He rummaged through his bag again and pulled out a syringe and vial of clear liquid. He stuck the needle tip into the vial and filled the syringe with the clear liquid.

"What's that?" 'Cross face' asked.

"I'm not giving him pain medication if that's what you mean." The doctor knew he wasn't allowed to make Clark comfortable, his only job was to keep him alive and that alone. "It's an antibiotic, so he doesn't get an infection." 'Cross face' gave him a look like 'does he really need that?' the doctor sighed with impatience "If his wounds get infected it could spread through his body and then he could die! Is that good enough reason for you?" He took pushed on the end of the needle causing the clear liquid to squirt out the end. He rolled Clark's sleeve up and wiped a spot on the crease of his arm. He pushed the needles tip against Clark's skin and pushed but nothing happened. It wouldn't penetrate his skin; he pushed harder and the tip broke. "What the hell?" he said to himself.

'Cross face' gave a laugh "That's what this green stuff if for." He said picking up a meteor rock and tossed it up and down in his hand like a baseball.

"Then how the hell did this happen?" he said pointing at the gauze-covered wounds. 'Cross face' merely tossed the rock into his other hand and nodded to the rock. The doctor figured it out and sighed "Well, somebody better figure out how to make those into syringes, because if you want to keep taking blood samples you better find a different way than cutting him open." Geeze...what is this kid. he thought to himself as he put more gauze on Clark's chest.

About fifteen minutes later the other men came back down and brought him the blankets. He laid one across the cold damp floor; he motioned for one of them men to help him and they picked Clark up and placed him on top of the outdrawn blanket. He took the other blanket and covered Clark with it. "And the oxygen tank?" he asked one of the men.

"We couldn't find one." One of them men said while giving 'Cross face' a glance.

The doctor gave a small sigh Sure he thought. "Then I suggest you have one of your men stay down here until we move him. There's a good chance he'll stop breathing again." He lied; he just wanted to make them squirm at his orders. He picked up his duffel bag and left the basement, shortly followed by all but one of the men. He chuckled to himself; they listened to him; he loved having control over people; that was part of the reason he became a doctor. And if he was going to be under the control of Morgan Edge and Lionel Luthor he might as well have some fun of his own.

Later that night, several men descended the basement stairs. All but two of the men began gathering the meteor rocks and placing them in bags. The two remaining men took Clark by his limbs and picked him from the ground. They carried him upstairs, down the hallway into the small room. The passed the rotted furniture and exited the shack. The night sky was a purplish black with tiny white flecks of stars. Another man stood next to an unmarked, windowless, black van; he opened the back double doors. The men carrying Clark slouched down as they climbed in to the empty van with his sagging body between them. They laid him down on one side of the van and sat themselves on the metal floor beside him. Shortly after another man opened the passenger door and got in; he held a large bag in his arms; the contents inside glowed through its thin sides. The van took off down the road followed by another van identical to it. The other van contained the rest of the men and several of the same bags, which no longer glowed.

The next night Clark awoke; he opened his eyes then quickly closed them again. The room was blinding, its crisp white walls shined down upon him like the sun on a hot summer day. Flickering his eyes open and closed a few more time help them adjust. Once he was able to see clearly wanted to sit up and see his surroundings. He put his hands down on the bed he laid upon and pushed himself. Instant torture shot through his wrist and up his arm causing him to fall back to the bed. His breaths deepened then torture shot through his chest as well. Every breath felt like an inferno in his lungs. He tried to calm himself; the pain he endured was intense but he knew he couldn't panic again. He took long deep breaths; he let out a moan of suffering.

After he calmed down he put his broken wrist to his chest and used his right hand to push himself up. It took almost all his strength to rise from the bed, turn his body and place his feet on the ground. Every movement caused searing pain in his chest. He looked down and saw that he was shirtless and his chest was covered in white bandages; long red stripes appeared in the middle of the bandages where his blood had seeped through. He wasn't wearing his jeans or shoes; he had one a pair of blue scrubs and he was barefoot. He surveyed the room; it was small, only one tiny window let light shine in. It wasn't the pleasant light of day, but the eerie green glow of kryptonite. He struggled to stand, supporting his body against the wall; he slid his way towards the door. He peered through the window and saw two rows of metal shelves; small, medium, and large meteor rocks occupied every inch of the shelves. He turned to face away from the door; the room was filled with only a small bed with a thin mattress atop it. His stomach churched; he slid down the wall onto his knees; he wanted to vomit, he needed to; his stomach was empty and nothing but bloody spit came from his dry heaves.

He rolled to his side, too weak to return to the bed, he laid, breathing long deep breaths. When would his someone find him? How long would he have to endure this pain? What was going to happen to him? Would he die here? Alone?

He stumbled out soft words..."I'm scared..."

Chapter 5

White Room

Clark fell asleep on the floor, curled into a ball. He awoke to the same thing he had awoken to for days - pain. His whole body ached. He pushed himself upright and sat leaning his back against the wall. He tried to use his x-ray vision to see what was outside of the room but he couldn't; the room appeared to be covered in thick sheets of lead. He didn't understand how he hadn't healed yet. The kryptonite wasn't and hadn't been near him for hours. He started to feel nocuous; he felt like he had to vomit, but he couldn't. His stomach roared; he hadn't eaten in days; how many...he didn't know. He'd lost track of time, he didn't know whether it was night or day or how many days he'd been held captive.

Suddenly fierce pain swept over him; it felt like the pain he received from kryptonite. He slouched back onto his side and took deep breaths trying to ride it out. He started shaking again; cold shivers went up and down his spine. Beads of sweat began to materialize and slipped down his forehead. Why is this happening? What's wrong with me? the pain became unbearable; he couldn't take it anymore, he wanted it to stop, he wanted to pass out, he wanted to die. Soon enough, after another violent surge of pain he passed out. He had not noticed the cause of his pain. There was a small, almost invisible tub that stuck out from the ceiling. Every hour on the hour a soft undetectable green mist would emit into his small abode.

Lionel Luthor's Office

The cold blue office over looked the city skyline. Lionel sat at his desk; his tie loosened and the top few buttons of his white shirt were unbuttoned. He spoke on his hands free headset phone. "Yes I received it." He held a vial of blood in his hands "So everything suited your needs?" he asked then laughed.

Morgan Edge spoke on the other end of the line "Oh very much so. I especially like the meteorite gas." He laughed.

"I thought that would be a nice touch." He was pleased with himself. "And how is our young Kal enjoying his new home? Certainly it's an improvement."

With a chuckle "Well, he's not taking much pleasure in it, but I am."

"My patients is wearing thin Morgan." he snapped.

"Just hold on a bit longer." He replied "Give me three weeks." The line clicked and Lionel took his earpiece out and tossed it to his desk. Three weeks and his mysterious donor would be revealed. He thought about the questions he would want answers to, the ways he would torture when 'Kal' wouldn't cooperate, and whether he would keep him alive and for how long.

White Room

Clark slammed into consciousness; the door was open; the green contents outside thrust pain through his veins. Three men walked in and closed the door behind them. His relief was short lived; two men pulled him by his arms and dropped him on his bed. The doctor pushed him onto his back and the other men held him down by his arms and legs. "What are you going to do?" Clark asked. He thought they were going to hurt him; torture him. None of the men responded. The doctor took off his bandages to examine his wounds and then he replaced them with clean gauze. Clark knew that they wanted to keep him alive, why else would they mend him. "Please...I haven't eaten...in days..." They had been ordered not to speak to him. The doctor's conscience was screaming at him to help. He felt a twinge of disgust with himself. What had this kid done to deserve this? He couldn't be older than sixteen or seventeen. He looked into Clark's pitiful eyes; he could see his pain and fear. He wanted to help him, he wanted to talk to him, provide what minimal comfort he could. He pulled his eyes away from the misery and walked out of the room.

Clark winced and groaned from the door being left open. Moments later the doctor came back, he dropped a white t-shirt and a thin cotton blanket down on him and left followed by the others. He caught his breath and sat up; it took him almost all his energy to put the t-shirt on and crawl under the blanket. He stared at the ceiling; his chest burning with every breath, his wrist was numb with pain, and his entire body ached like he had just completed a months worth of farm chores in one day.

He tried pacing the room to keep himself busy, but after a while he became too weak to move. He daydreamed of his mother's meals; her homemade pies and muffins, her delectable steaks and casseroles. The stench of his un-bathed body clouded his nostrils from imagining the sweet scents of the food he so desperately craved. He remained motionless in bed for two days before they decided to feed him. His captors denied his pleas in ordered to determine whether or not food was needed for his survival. They provided him with two miniscule meals consisting of a bowl of cold broth served with stale bread a day. He hadn't noticed the tastelessness of his new cuisine because it feed the empty pit in his stomach and that's all he cared about.

Two weeks had passed and his wounds had almost completely healed. Most of his time was spent staring at the never-ending white walls or pacing the room. He walked every inch of his space over and over again, trying to gain strength and keep his sanity. His thoughts fueled with longing. Longing for his parents, his friends, his home, his room, his bed, and his life. Despair and depression crept its ugly way into his soul, tearing away at his happy and hopefully thoughts. Hatred soon overtook longing; hatred for his captors, but he mostly hated himself. He hated himself for being selfish and running away to Metropolis, for destroying his own life and the people around him. I deserve this...but my parents don't He pleaded with God daily for rescue; praying his parents would find him and soon.

He knew they were poisoning him with kryptonite but he didn't know how. He was daily visited by the pain kryptonite bestow upon him. It was different than being in contact or near vicinity of the rocks. It wasn't sharp instant pain; this pain slowly tiptoed its way through his veins, pricking his nerves just enough so that dull aching pains resided with him relentlessly. He figured the poison was in his food but knowing he would die without eating he suffered on still unaware of the venomous gas that plagued him.

Kent Farm

Martha helped Jonathan with the farm chores since Clark first left for Metropolis three months ago. The sat near one another each milking their own cow. Martha was still dealing with the fact that her son left them again. Every time she thought about him or saw his room she started to cry. Just thinking about him made her tear up; Jonathan noticed her tears and went to her. He pulled her into his big farmers arms and held her tight. "It's okay sweetheart." He gave her a kiss on the forehead.

"How is this okay Jonathan?" she pulled away "Clark is gone!"

"I know." He sighed, "We can't force him to come home. He doesn't want to be here and there's nothing we can do about it!" He said angrily. Jonathan was just as upset as Martha, but he hadn't let his frustrations out until now. He quickly realized that it was a mistake to let them out in front of her when she began to cry again. "Martha..." his tone changed from angry to sincere, "I'm sorry...I just..."

She cut him off "I know...its okay." They embraced again. "When he's ready, he'll come home...I know he will." Jonathan nodded but he wasn't so sure. It had been two weeks since Clark left again and he hadn't contacted them or any of his friends. He wondered if Clark would start stealing again or if he would get mixed up with the wrong crowds. But he knew that Clark was capable of fending for himself, his main concern was Martha, helping her through the pain of losing their son.

White Room

Two and a half weeks after he had been taken from his life the real torture began. Four men strode into his room along with the usual pain from the opened door. As the men drug him from his bed he noticed each man was wearing a bracelet, or watch (he wasn't sure what it was) that glowed brightly as they picked him up. He grimaced from the glowing bracelets that brushed against his skin while they carried him through the hallway into another room. This room was dark, pitch dark. They dropped him onto his back in the center of the room. He let out a groan when his tender back contacted the hard cement floor. Before he knew it two of them gripped his arms and pulled him to his feet. They bruised his arms as they tightly held him, almost instantly after they stood him a giant fist struck his gut with such force that it caused a loud whimper to escape his lips. The men laughed at his cry then continued. Every punch to his bosom and face stung harder and longer than the last. His body went limp from lack of strength to hold itself; the men dropped him to the ground once more. He laid on his side, his panting turned to coughing. The metallic taste of his own blood swam into his mouth; he spat it onto the floor whilst gasping for breaths between his coughs.

The door swung open and through the blinding light the figure of a man appeared. Edge walked to his side and crouched down next to him. "Now this doesn't feel to good does it? If you answer my questions I'll order them to stop. If you refuse to answer...well, I think you know what will happen." He stood and walked to a near by chair; he unbuttoned him suit jacket and sat down. "So Kal, why is it these meteorite rocks affect you so?" he took a rock from the table next to him and tossed it next to Clark. Clark winced as the rock rolled near him. He didn't answer. Morgan nodded to one of the men. A large burly man approached Clark and kicked him fiercely in the chest causing him to gasp loudly for air as it was knocked from his pipes.

This went on for a few hours. Clark refused to answer any of Morgan's questions. His body had been battered and beaten; lesions had been made from the sharp edges of the meteor rocks used for an "extra kick" when being punched. Only after falling unconscious did his tormentor's stop their abuse.

Clark awoke back in his chamber; he laid on the floor just inside the door, where they dumped him. His once white shirt was now covered in dirt and dried blood. His lungs burned like fire, every breath caused sharp pains. His wrist felt as though it had been broken all over again; his whole body felt broken. He didn't dare move; moving meant pain and he couldn't take any more. Soon enough he fell back into his painless oblivion.

Every few days the doctor would check his wounds for infection. The doctor also conducted his blood work. Every other day they took samples; his body was so weak that a simple needle could penetrate his skin. That was one thing he was thankful for; the tiny twinge made by a small needle was nothing compared to his new companion...torture. Every day they took him to the dark room, asked questions about his body, his blood, and ever day he refused to answer. Morgan grew exceedingly impatient and enraged. He wanted answer and wasn't getting them. He couldn't kill him, but he damn well came close. Inflicting suffering on Clark gave him a sense of power and control. He may not have had the power to get answers but he had the power to harm and harm he did.

Three weeks to the day, Lionel stood just outside the hallway filled with shelves of kryptonite. They walked into and through the hallway towards the white door. He stood just outside the door along side of Morgan. "I hate mysteries...or did you forget?" Lionel laughed. His anticipation was so high; this was it...the moment he had been waiting for.

"You're going to like this one." Morgan said and with that he opened the door.

Chapter 6

White Room

The door slowly swung open, Lionel and Morgan walked in. Lionel watched as 'Kal', who's back was to him, winced and let out a small groan. "Kal, I would like you to meet your new benefactor." Clark stayed still; he had become habituated to ignoring Morgan Edge.

Edge motioned for Lionel to speak to him. Lionel took a step forward "You know Kal, It is customary to greet eye to eye." With those words, Clark's eyes widened, his heart began to pound out of his chest. He felt a colossal surge of rage fill his being. He knew that voice, he knew it all to well. He turned to face him. Lionel's smug smile quickly vanished from his face. He was in utter shock; Clark was the last person he expected to see. Frozen in his spot, speechless, he stared at Clark; his face was pale with dark circles under his vibrant green eyes. His shirt was torn and soiled in dry blood. Lionel suddenly let out a laugh and said "Clark Kent!" Morgan looked at him in wonder "Well, this is...unexpected...to say the least."

"You know him?" Morgan asked

"Know him?" he laughed "Mr. Kent and I are well acquainted." He turned back to Clark "So...'Kal'..." he sneered "this is where you've been exiled to." He said putting his arms out gesturing around the room.

Clark's rage boiled over, in an instant, all his pain was gone; he felt as if he had all his abilities back, he felt strength. He lunged towards Lionel, grabbing his neck and shoving him against the wall. "You Bastard! You did this!" he screamed into Lionel's face. Lionel's shock quickly wore off and he pushed back, Clark fell to the floor, his adrenaline died and the pain rushed back. Lionel laughed at the sight of him grimacing on the floor in agony.

He bent down to him and said, "You will quickly realize Mr. Kent that I am not the gracious host that Mr. Edge has been." He rose and then noticed Clark's swollen, discolored wrist. He bent back down and tightly gripped his hand around the broken wrist. Clark screamed in agony as violent unbearable pains shot up his arm and through his body. He pulled his wrist towards him to gain Clark's attention, "Any more attempts like that would be...ill advised!" he snapped. He released his wrist and strode out of the room followed by Morgan. Clark squirmed on the floor, taking long deep breaths, sweating profusely and moaning.

Lionel and Morgan stood in the adjacent hallway. Lionel was still in astonishment that Clark of all people was his mysterious blood donor. He always knew there was something 'special' about him, in Lionel's mind, there was only one thing left to do. Find out where Clark Kent comes from?

"Do I have to ask?" Morgan said referring to what just happened.

Lionel snapped out of his thoughts and looked at Morgan, "How did you know Clark Kent was the source of the blood?"

Morgan thought for a moment, "I knew him as Kal. I hired him to steal the vial from your office. When he ran off with it I found him in some Podunk town called Smallville." They began walking down the hallway, "I told him I had his parents captive and then he just willingly gave me some of his own blood."

Lionel laughed "Yes...Mr. Kent has always had a weakness when it comes to saving people."

Morgan laughed along, "That's not his only weakness." He sneered, "You wouldn't believe what this kid can do."

Lionel stopped walking and became serious, "Tell me, have you found out where he comes from? Why he has these abilities?"

"No." he shook his head, took off his classes and wiped them on his handkerchief. "I haven't been able to get any answers from him and trust me, I've been very persuasive."

"Well obviously not enough." They began walking again "After a few days under my wrath he will be begging to tell me everything!" He said menacingly. The two men walked away into the distance of the long corridor.

The next day it became abundantly clear that Lionel meant business. He sat quietly in the corner of his chamber, staring at the now bare room. Lionel had ordered everything out; his bed, mattress, blanket, and even his shirt. He shivered as he pulled his knees to his chest trying to warm himself with the little body heat he had. His once Herculean chest was now covered in dark purple/blue bruises with long scars protruding across it. His wrist felt like it had been broken again when Lionel grabbed it. The shooting pains that had dulled were back and fiercer than ever. They took his shirt from him because he had used it to wrap his wrist in an attempt to relieve some pain. He laid down onto his side, his back pushed against the cold wall and his knees pulled into his chest. He held his wrist with his right hand and placed it against his chest avoiding any movements that might aggravate it.

He searched the room with his eyes. He wasn't looking for anything in particular; he was just bored from staring at the same spot for hours. His search immediately stopped when he saw a small tube sticking from the ceiling. "What's that?" he asked himself. He rolled to his back, still keeping his wrist firmly placed on his chest. He stared straight up into the tube. He slowly climbed to his feet, leaning against the wall for support. Every time he stood his head would spin and he felt as though he would fall right back down. After he gained his bearing, he looked up to the tube again. He reached up and stretched; his fingers were only inches away. A few minutes passed, he was still gazing at the tube trying to find its purpose. Then he did. A gust of dreadful green mist rushed through the long winding tube and emitted out the end. He inhaled a deep breath right as the gas shot towards his face. It felt like a blazing fire erupting down his windpipes, he stumbled backwards into the wall and slammed into it. He slid down the wall and his knees collided with the floor. He slumped over gripping his neck; his throat closed shut, he gasped for the air he so desperately needed. Every nerve in his body began brutally shaking. With every beat of his heart excruciating pains would pulsate through his veins; his head felt like it was going to explode, like his brain was beating itself out of his skull. Finally after what seemed like an eternity of suffering, he lost his consciousness and fell into a pit of darkness.

Chapter 7

Surveillance Room

A security guard sat in a tiny gray swivel chair sipping a mug of coffee. There was a wall of televisions in front of him. He glanced from monitor to monitor; one showed an empty parking lot, another was a hallway, and the most important one was a small white box that held a teenage boy. He watched as the boy stood to his feet and examined the ceiling. This caught his attention because other than pacing the boy normally sat or laid down for hours on end. Suddenly the boy stumbled back and fell to his knees gripping his neck. The guard wasn't sure if he should react; he wasn't sure what was happening. Then the boy slumped to the floor and stayed there, motionless. Once he realized the boy was unconscious he immediately picked up his phone and feverishly dialed, sending Lionel and the doctor emergency pages. He was ordered by Lionel to stay and watch, to make sure this wasn't some kind of escape attempt.

White Room

The doctor rushed through the doors followed by a nurse. The doctor rolled Clark onto his back and began to examine him. "He's got a pulse but he's not breathing." The doctor said to his assistant. "Hand me that." Motioning for his doctor's bag. His assistant gave it to him and went to Clark's side across from the doctor. The assistant began CPR. She was a petite women with long blonde hair pulled back into a knot. She didn't look to be strong enough to perform CPR on his large body, but looks can be deceiving. With her frail hands clasped together she pounded down on his bare, battered chest. Counting in her head, she stopped occasionally and pushed her soft pink lips against his and forced her breath down his lungs. The doctor pulled a syringe and vial from his bag. He filled the syringe and stuck it deep into Clark's arm releasing the liquid into his system.

Lionel practically ran into the room. "What's wrong with him? What happened?"

"What the hell do you think happened?" the doctor snapped. "You've been poisoning him...did you think he'd be okay?"

"There wasn't enough poison in the gas to kill him!" Lionel spat back. "I made sure it wasn't possible."

"It looks pretty possible to me!"

"You cannot let him die! I need him."

"Then I need to get him away from that gas."

"No...no, he could escape...no." Lionel said, trying to think of another option, anything. He paced the room and watched at the small nurse performed CPR. The doctor stared at him.

Finally he spoke calmly "Mr. Luthor, if you want to keep him alive..." he stopped. Clark had gasped a small breath followed by several weak coughs. He rolled his head from side to side and moaned; then he stopped and slipped back into unconsciousness. The doctor turned back to Lionel, "Just let him get a little stronger, if you do what I think you're going to do with him, he'll die. His body can't handle it."

Lionel sighed, he paced a few more times around the room, running his hand over his mouth, thinking. "I'll have the gas shut off for one day. Keep him here and restrain him. No one is to enter." He ordered.

"Yes sir." The doctor replied and watched as Lionel exited. Sir? God I hate that man...he's a monster he looked to his patient I'm a monster. He hated himself for succumbing to Lionel's rule. For watching and letting this poor kid get tortured. And for what? Nothing, this kid didn't do anything but land on earth. He never hurt anyone, he actually helped people. His thoughts were interrupted by the nurse.

"Sir..." she said, he looked to her. "What do we do now?"

-Two Days Later-

Clark woke up in the same place as he had the day before. Bound to a small hospital like bed, his arms and legs shackled with metal and leather. He still wasn't sure what happened to him. All he remembered was looking at the tube in the ceiling, not being able to breath, then darkness. Yesterday he'd woken up; he laid on the bed all day waiting, but no one ever came in. When he woke he felt tremendous pains shooting through his veins but as the day went on he began to feel a bit better. The shooting pains had dulled to a numbing throb. His wrist was throbbing harder than the rest of his body. The steel was snug around his swollen skin; he didn't dare move his arm, he knew the pain that would come with that.

Today, however, the pain seemed to worsen. He failed to notice the mist above him cascading across the ceiling then falling upon him. He felt sick again; his insides twisted into knots, tiny knots. He shifted what little he could under his restraints, emitting weak groans of anguish.

The door opened and he grimaced in more pain from the shelves of kryptonite. The doctor walked in and closed the door behind him. "Ah, you're up." Clark didn't answer; he closed his eyes tightly trying not to show his pain. "How are you feeling?" the doctor asked. Clark rolled his head away from him and stared at the opposite wall. "Listen Clark...it is Clark right?" he paused "I'm trying to help you here. Talk to me, maybe I can help."

Help? Yeah okay. he thought sarcastically, still refusing to answer.

Man I'm stupid The doctor thought, How can I expect this guy to talk to me...look what I'm doing to him... "Alright, fare enough. I'll talk then, I'm Logan and...uh...well..." This is harder than I thought...what am I supposed to say? "So...what's Luthor want with you?" Clark turned and looked him in his eyes; Logan felt a surge of guilt. "I mean, I know you're different and all...but what's he..." he sighed, "never mind." He headed for the door.

"Wait." Clark said, he stopped and turned around. "Why are you talking to me?"

"Because," He walked over to him "I may work for Luthor but I don't agree with him."

Clark felt a small glimmer of hope. Maybe he would help him, help him escape or at least stop the pain. "Why do you work for him?"

"I don't have much choice in the matter." He paused rubbing his hands down his face, "Lets just say, he's very persuasive."

"Blackmail?" Clark asked

Logan laughed, "I guess you could call it that."

"You said you could help me?"

"Yeah."

"Help me get out of here." The doctor laughed a little bit and started shaking his head. "Or at least..."

Logan cut him off "Listen I can't do that. I meant maybe we could talk so you're not completely alone." Clark felt empty; all the hopes he had fled him. "I'm not even supposed to talk to you. I could get in serious trouble for this, I just thought..."

"Yeah...well you thought wrong." Clark mumbled and turned his head away from him and closed his eyes. He couldn't believe that this guy actually thought he could help by talking. What was talking going to help? It wouldn't stop his constant pain or free him. In his mind, those were the only two things that mattered. He didn't want to talk to anyone, he wanted to go home and be safe and see his parents.

Logan sighed, "Yeah, I guess so." He turned around and left. As he walked down the corridors he thought, He's right...he doesn't need my friendship... He tried to put himself in Clark's position. He's a teenager, gets abducted, tortured, and has no chance or hopes of seeing home again. And I'm trying to talk to him...I wish there was something I could do...anything...

Surveillance Room

Lionel Luthor stood next to the security guard, looking at a small monitor. He pressed the play button and the machine and watched as the boy stood, reached to the ceiling, fell back and collapsed. He pressed rewind and watched it again...and again. He laughed, "Well, it seems Mr. Kent has found our secret weapon." He was about to speak again when something caught his eye. He saw the doctor in Clark's room, they appeared to be talking. "Turn this up." He demanded.

"I'm sorry sir, there's no sound hooked up to that camera." The guard replied

Lionel sighed with frustration. "I want audio to that room as soon as possible!" he stormed out of the room down the hall. Once he was further down he saw the doctor walking towards him. "Dr. Lacey." He stopped

"Mr. Luthor."

"Dr. I did not hire you to converse with him."

"You didn't hire me at all. Besides I was only asking him how he felt."

"I don't care how he feels. I care if he's alive, nothing else."

Logan sighed, "I'm sorry sir, it won't happen again."

"Damn right it won't. Dr. I will no longer require your presence on a daily basis."

"But what about..."

"If Mr. Kent is in critical need of a doctor you will be notified." Lionel began to walk away. "Good Day Dr. Lacey."

Logan sighed and continued walking. Great! This is just great...

White Room

-Three Weeks Later-

Lionel meant what he said about not being a gracious host. The pristine white walled room was stripped back down to nothing but Clark. They gave him a new shirt but that was all. They left him alone all day everyday except for once a week when they fed him. They shut the lights off; he was in darkness except for a sickening green hue that radiated through the tiny window on the door. He sat in the corner, trembling, for hours on end. He thought about what Logan said to him "I meant maybe we could talk so you're not completely alone." Completely alone...completely alone. Those are the words that flashed through his mind all day, everyday. He knew he should have listened to him, maybe Logan wouldn't have stopped coming if he'd been more accepting. Maybe he wouldn't be alone.

Lionel hadn't been around for two weeks so his beatings were few and far between. When he had them, they took him into a larger darker room. Sometimes just a few men would punch and kick him till he passed out. Sometimes they would hit him with meteor rocks clenched in their fists. The verbal abuse was just as intense as the physical. They swore at him, called him a freak, a monster, they said appalling things about his family, his friends, anything that would hurt and scar a teenager...they said it. They never asked him questions about his abilities, where he was from or anything. Clark figured Lionel would ask him everything himself and he was only being battered for 'fun', to keep his men occupied and keep him weak and scared. It worked. Clark was weak and scared; he knew that when Lionel returned he would have a very new definition of torture. He knew Lionel would stop at nothing to get the answers he wanted. Clark debated with himself constantly; he tried to think of lies to tell Lionel, anything but the truth. He knew silence would bring nothing but pain and anguish.

The new shirt they gave him quickly became ragged and filthy. Blood and dirt from the floor of the dark room coated it. It had tares on the front and back from the jagged edges of meteor rocks used against him. Blood seeped onto the edges of the tares staining the shirt in several spots. All of his cuts were surrounded with nasty bruises and smaller cuts. Every breath he took burned from his throat to deep down into his lungs. His head constantly pounded along with his entire body. It didn't make much of a difference if they fed him or not; he couldn't keep the food in his stomach. He had become accustomed to many feelings over the last few weeks; pain, hunger, nausea, and the most painful of all, loneliness.

Chapter 8

Dark Room

The room was black as midnight; Clark sat in the corner, trembling. His trembles were partly from the damp cold room, but mostly from fear of what was to come. Lionel had done a very good job at instilling dread in him. He knew Lionel was a vicious man; that the most unimaginable ways of torture or even murder were not beneath him. He thought about what they would do to him, if they would start doing tests on his body or simply continue to abuse him. The fear consumed him, even his thoughts of home weren't happy. He worried about his parents; he figured they'd probably lost the farm by now. He wondered how they were without him, if they missed him, if they we're still trying to find him. In the back of his mind he knew they were but his efforts in thinking positive left early on in his containment. Thinking positive made him feel worse, thinking of his family and friends only made him think that he would probably never see them again.

The door opened and a silhouette of a man appeared through the light. Lionel walked in and turned on a small light that flickered a few times before steadily shinning. Three burly men followed Lionel, two of who went to Clark and picked him up by his arms. They forcefully sat him down in a chair while Lionel paced around them. They left their hands on his shoulders keep him in place. Lionel stopped at a near by table; he casually threw the back of his coat out of his way and half leaned half sat on it. "Well Mr. Kent, are you ready to tell me your secrets?" Clark did nothing but pointed his head to the ground. "Silence will do you no good." Still no answer, Lionel motioned to the third man. He walked to Clark, grabbed his hair and pulled his head up, he struck him across the cheek with such force that it caused a mixture of blood and saliva to splatter from his mouth. His head was clouded with dizziness and before he could see straight he was struck again, this time in his chest knocking the wind from him. His breaths heaved heavily until he gained control and brought them down to a smaller heave.

Lionel stood from the table and put his hands in his pockets, "What makes you think keeping quiet will help your situation?" he paused, "Oh, I know, you're waiting. You think if you keep your secrets long enough someone will come and rescue you." He paused with a laugh, "I think you'd find it interesting to know that your own parents aren't looking for you." Still no reaction "Mr. Kent, I have been holding you for nearly six weeks now, did you think I wouldn't check the missing persons reports? I have more sources on the inside than you think and trust me, there has been no report filed concerning yourself. I've asked my sources in Smallville and I am told that your parents haven't asked around town about you either. It seems no one is out to rescue you." He snickered.

With his head hung down he spoke, "You're lying."

"I assure you I am not." He walked closer to him; Lionel knew he was fragile physically and emotionally. He wanted to play on his emotions and gain from his weakness. He knew if he struck the right cord he could possibly get what he wanted. He crouched next to him and with sincerity to his voice said, "Clark" he paused "I'm not the monster you think I am. You may not want to believe it but I understand what you're going through. I too had parents who didn't care. If you put you're trust in me and tell me what I desire, then I will make you're stay as comfortable as possible. If not, well I'm sure you're aware of what I'm capable of."

Those words enraged Clark, he was furious with Lionel for even suggesting that his parents didn't care about him. Lionel wouldn't help him if he knew the truth, he would order more tests and exploit him to the world. He lifted his head and looked Lionel in his evil eyes. He took his anger and a mouth full of spit and shot it straight into his face, "Rot in hell!"

Lionel stood, took out a handkerchief and wiped the bloody spit from his face. "Oh, I'm sorry you did that...that was a very unintelligent thing to do." Clark knew he would have serious repercussions for what he did, but he didn't care. His hatred for Lionel was so strong and he wanted him to know it. Lionel walked to one of the men and whispered something to him. Then before he left he turned back "I warned you Clark." then he nodded to the men and left the room.

White Room

Clark laid in the dark on his side with his back towards the door. Every inch of his body ached in tormenting pain. He figured that most of his ribs were broken because the pain in his chest was so intense that he could hardly breathe. His lips were swollen and leaking blood and his nose felt like it was broken as well. Blood seeped out of several small and large cuts all over his being. Some of the larger cuts he could feel the blood trickling down his skin, it felt warm. It was the only warmth he felt while he laid in agony.

He dwelled on what Lionel said for hours. The words shot through his heart like a kryptonite bullet, did his parents really stop looking for him, did they even look at all. He didn't want to believe that they didn't care about him. He thought that if they had looked they would have found him by now. He knew Lionel would tell him lies to try to get him to talk and he didn't know why but for some reason he couldn't help but believe him. Maybe they didn't love him. Maybe they were happy that he was out of their lives. A month and a half of pure hell had taken its toll on his body, mind, and particularly his heart. He could no longer feel the constant peace of love that was in his heart. He built a large impenetrable wall of hatred, fear, and loneliness around his heart that left no room for love.

-Four Days Later-

Everyday since Lionel's first attempt at answers had been worse than the last. They would take him into the dark room and question him. They asked were he was from, how he was capable of the feats he could do, and how his blood could resurrect. With every question he gave them no answer and with every unanswered question he received a severe punishment. Sometimes they would only beat him with their fists and sometimes they used police-like batons that glowed an eerie green. They still hadn't run any tests on him, which he thought was odd but wasn't about to complain.

Today's beatings were growing increasingly hard to take. Every hit was harder than the last and quickly followed by another. He laid on the floor trying to cover his head while the kicked him. With every kick he would let out a small moan but he tried his best not to cry out in pain.

Lionel strode into the dark room with his trench coat trailing behind him. "I cut straight to the chase Mr. Kent." He stopped a few feet away from him, "You have the answers I seek but unfortunately I cannot force them from you. You can choose to spend the remainder of your days wasting away in silence and misery. Or you can choose to give me what I want and make your stay bearable. I hold the upper hand and I am tired of these tedious games we've been playing." He circled Clark and continued to speak, "I am aware you wouldn't choose this 'place' over your home but may I remind you...you ran away from that home over the summer and now the people who should care about you...don't. There is nothing left for you there and I on the other hand can give you the necessities of life and if you cooperate maybe a few pleasantries." If there was one thing Lionel was good at, it was manipulation. He could manipulate his way into or out of any situation. He knew Clark was a strong-minded teen, but considering his circumstances, his mind could be broken if done properly and Lionel was the perfect person to do it.

Clark was beyond livid. Lionel had caused him tremendous amounts of physical pain and now he was trying to toy with his emotions. He knew he wanted him to break under his pressure and tell him everything. Clark may have been emotionally exhausted but he wasn't about to give in to Lionel's attempts. However he knew Lionel was true to his word and would continue to beat and slowly destroy him until he got what he wanted. There was only one thing left for him to do...lie.

Seeing that Clark wasn't going to respond Lionel ordered his men to continue with their abuse. After a few punches Clark tried to speak through his wheezing coughs, "Wait...stop..."

Lionel motioned for them to stop and stand back, "Are you ready?" he asked with eagerness in his voice.

Clark tried to pull himself up to a sitting position but couldn't find the strength. His throat was dry and it burned when he spoke, "It...I..." he tried to find the right way to say his lie, "The meteor shower, it changed me...that's why I'm different."

Lionel smirk whipped from his face, he knew it was a lie. "So you expect me to believe that the meteor shower...'changed' you?"

"It's the truth." He lied

"After years in the business world I am fully aware when someone is lying to me."

"I'm not lying." Clark felt caught, he didn't know what else to say.

"So the meteor shower 'changed' your DNA so much that it doesn't even resemble human DNA. And I suppose it gave you those incredible abilities I'm told you possessed. And lets not forget the fact that your blood is capable of raising the dead." He laughed, "Well it would be a good cover if you tried it on...Lex." He laughed, "I however am not foolish enough to believe such rubbish."

"No...I'm not..." Clark was stopped by Lionel's raised hand.

Lionel was angry, "My patients is rapidly dropping! You do not want to feel the wrath I can and will bring down upon you Mr. Kent! I suggest you come up with a believable story or come to your senses and give me the truth!" Lionel left the room.

He strolled down the hallway with the muffled sound of strong fists impacting Clark could be heard faintly. He chuckled, "Oh, I'd forgotten how foolish teenagers can be."

Chapter 9

White Room

-Two Weeks Later-

Lionel's attempts to break Clark were becoming fiercer. The beatings were more frequent; they'd give him one day to recover then the next they'd begin again. His joints ached, the muscles he had left were tender, partially healed gashes and bruises camouflaged his skin. His breaths were erratic and shallow. After weeks of malnourishment and lying on the damp cold floor he contracted a fever. The past few days he'd suffered through bouts of nausea that caused him to vomit what little substance his stomach held. His small cell reeked from his spew. They gave him a small bucket and only emptied it once it was filled. So the stench lingered. His throat and mouth stung from the acidic tart left behind. His head constantly spun, his body shook, and his insides burned.

In order to keep him alive and healthy (in their eyes) they gave him two blankets. It took all his will power to pull himself off the floor long enough to spread out one of the blankets. He laid down and wrapped his clammy, shaky body in the other. Luckily they had stopped his trips to 'the dark room' for the time being. Throughout the days he drifted in and out of painful slumber. His sleep was plagued with fever driven nightmares as were his days. The empty space would transform into his kitchen back in the yellow farmhouse, his mother was standing at the sink; she turned and smiled at him. Instead of her soothing voice, the harsh raspy voice of Lionel would bellow from her lips. "Tell me your secrets!" The words would jolt him from his hallucination. The amber lights of his home faded back to harsh florescent whites. The familiar smells of his mother's potpourri were pushed away by the stench of his own vile puke and body odor.

All hope and prayers of being rescued had left and desolation overwhelmed him. He'd given up any hopes of survival. Death didn't scare him anymore; he wanted death, because it was his way out. It was the only way to stop his unbearable pain; the physical and emotional pain that besieged him relentlessly.

Lionel's Office

Lionel was given daily updates on Clark's condition and behavior. He also received surveillance tapes that held a weeks worth of footage. He wanted to watch Clark, especially while he slept. Lionel was a smart man; he knew people's fears and emotions came out in their dreams or nightmares in this case. He sat in his cold blue office and watched as Clark curled into the fetal position, he trembled hard enough that it was visible from the cameras. He cried out for help, cried for them to stop. That would continue for quite a while until he'd abruptly wake up with a loud scream of fear. Once his heaved breaths calmed he'd wipe his sweat-drenched face and neck with his blanket and lay back down.

Lionel turned off the monitor, went to his bar and poured himself a drink. He was close, he could feel it; he knew he could break this kid. He'd put him through more torment than anyone should bear; it was just a matter of time until he confessed his secrets. Lionel was pleased with himself; he didn't care that he was destroying a perfectly innocent teen. He believed he was doing society a favor; in his mind he was saving them from a very powerful being. He's known Clark Kent for a few years now and he never once saw him hurt anyone, in fact he was a caring, helpful person. Yet in his eyes, he was a danger, a menace to the world and at any moment could cause harm and destruction. I will stop him, I will save the world from him he thought self-righteously.

White Room

-One-Week Later-

Clark's fever diminished and left him with a violent cough. Every few minutes his lungs would force a severe coughing fit on him. The coughs produced a thick nauseating substance that he choked out into his bucket. He fought to breath through the coughs and easily become lightheaded. Once a fit would subside his breaths would wheeze heavily until the next fit began. They let him keep his blankets in efforts to keep him 'healthy' and they started feeding him daily. He hated that they wanted to keep him alive. They'd beat him just enough to get their 'point' across but not to cause death. As much as he wanted it all to end, to die, he knew deep down he couldn't. There was something in the depths of his heart telling him to hang on, to suffer through it all for some unseen reason. As if he wasn't fated to spend his last days under the brutal hand of a Luthor.

The big white door swung open and the goons came in. They pulled the blanket off him, grabbed his arms and jolted him to a standing position. A wave of dizziness overcame him, as did the effects of the kryptonite just outside the opened door. He could no longer hold himself up when he was taken through the hallway past the glowing rocks; the men tightened their grip and half carried half dragged him. They neared the door of the 'dark room'. Clark had given up on struggling with them weeks ago but today he pleaded, "Please...please don't do this...not today. I'm too sick...please I can't handle..." his words stopped and coughing started. His coughs were harsh; his lungs were ablaze with seizing pain; when he started coughing up the usual flem the men let him drop to his knees and stepped back. On his hand and knees he retched on the fluids as he spat them to the floor. When his hacking subsided he stared at the small puddle before him, panting. The puddle looked like clear jelly with yellow food coloring slowly mixing it's way through it. The hooligans pulled him back up and began down the hall. Clark sighed with relief when they passed the door of the 'dark room'. He'd never been anywhere else in the building; he wondered where they were taking him. Was it another 'torture' room? Were they taking him to Lionel? He found out soon enough; they stopped at a door, identical to the rest. The opened it and entered.

Clark's heart sank deep down in his stomach when he looked around the room. It was bright white like his small cell, but it was larger, much larger. There were long tables, with white cloths draping them, lining the walls. Underneath the cloths appeared to be machinery and/or tools; he didn't want to know their purpose. In the center of the room was a hospital-like bed; similar to the one he'd been restrained to. He saw the bed and immediately started struggling against the goons. He pushed his feet down onto the floor and tried as hard as his body would allow him to stop. He tried to break free from their monstrous grips but it was no use, he was too weak to fight them. They picked him up and put him on the bed. They had to wrestle him down to restrain his arms and legs, he may have been weak but he could still move. He thrashed his arms at them trying to get away, he tried to get out of the bed, but it was useless. The men were double his size and he could barely walk let alone fight them off. He wanted to yell but he knew it wouldn't do any good, no one would hear him and if they did, they wouldn't help. He cried out in pain when one of the thugs tightened the restrained around his still broken wrist. Once they had him fully restricted they left him alone in the luminous room.

He laid alone and silent for what seemed like a few hours. Someone entered, shortly followed by others. They all appeared to be doctors or nurses, but he had a sickening feeling that they weren't. He couldn't see what they were doing; he heard the clattering of metal and the shuffling of feet. Fear consumed him; this is what he'd had nightmares of when he was a child. The terror of someone doing experiments, tests, and horrible things to him had entered his dreams too many times to count. Since he was held captive he knew it might happen but lying there, tied down and helpless made it real, it was real. He never wanted him parents more in his life. He wanted them to hold him and tell him everything was okay. But they weren't there, all he could think was that they weren't looking for him, they didn't care, they didn't love him. He was scared...scared and alone.

White Room

Clark sat in the corner of his small abode with his blankets wrapped around him, thinking about what had just happened to him. They had pricked him over and over again, taking blood samples, one after another. They scrapped small layers of skin from his forearms, leaving dark red patches of sensitive skin exposed. His entire body stung from the needles, his arms felt like they had been set on fire. The fire wasn't out though; it still burned fiercely on his skin. The panic he felt before they began lingered with him, he was terrified they'd come back. He was terrified of what they'd do next time. Would it be the same? Would they harm him more? Would they come for him everyday? He felt numb inside, he felt abandoned and violated. He felt broken.

Chapter 10

Dr. Lacey hadn't heard from Lionel since the day they confronted in the hallway. He returned to his shifts at Metropolis General and the normalcy of his life. But more importantly he was free from Lionel's devious dealings...for now. Doing business with the 'devil' was never in his intentions. Any young ambitious doctor who aspired to greatness would jump at the chance to partner with a Luthor. During his residency he assisted in treating Lex for minor injuries from one of his many 'fender benders'. Lionel approached him and offered to pay off his student loans and them some. Saying he could see he 'possessed potential and talent that shouldn't be wasted in a hospital' and asked only for his private services in exchange. Private services resulted in more than remedying Lex and Lionel's ailments. To Lionel, private services meant keeping his torture victims alive long enough to get the information he desired. When he found out the true aspects of the deal he tried to back out but Lionel, of course, had already paid the tuition and loans. Lionel offered to let him out of the partnership if he gave back the thousands of dollars for his schooling in full and right then. He was stuck.

He cursed himself everyday for taking Lionel's offer; the guilt was like a millstone slowly crushing him. He wasn't helping his patients by treating them he was prolonging their torture and misery. Not long after he began he forced himself to detach; he couldn't look at these people and care. Their faces became blurs but their eyes were clearer than crystal in his mind. Their eyes held the fear and agony they endured and their pleas echoed through his ears, gradually eating away at his conscience and soul. But one set of eyes, one face stood out clearly among them all; there was something different about this kid. He went through the same misery as the others but there was something about him that struck a cord with Logan. He had genuine innocence, sincerity.

His office was dim with only a desk lamp illuminating over his scattered papers. Diplomas and art hung above a row of file cabinets. The constant sound of a clock ticking away was occasionally accompanied by PA announcements. Logan sat in his large leather chair and scribbled his signature on form after form. His cell phone began to ring, he took it from his pocket; the caller ID read 'Devil' which was his nickname for Lionel. He sighed and flipped it open, "Yes" he listened, "Okay...okay I'll be there in thirty minutes." He rose from his chair while simultaneously placing his cell phone in his pocket. He shuffled a stack of papers together, put them in a drawer. He picked up his briefcase and strode from his office.

White Room

Logan followed one of the goons into the small fluorescent white room. Clark was lying wrapped in his blankets on the floor with his back to them. The goon spoke, "He's been like this for a few days." Referring to Clark who was unconscious but still shaking and sweating profusely.

Logan was at Clark's side; he rolled him onto his back and examined him. "When did the fever start?"

"Uh...this one started about a week ago."

"This one? How many has he had?"

"A couple, this one's been the worst." He said nonchalantly, "Mr. Luthor wants it taken care of."

He sighed and ran his hands over his face. "It's not that simple. You can't give someone a pill or a shot that magically makes a fever disappear. The body needs proper care and nourishment. You can't expect him to get well if you keep treating him this way."

"You can take that up with Mr. Luthor. My orders are to watch you, nothing else." He folded his arms across his chest and leaned back against the wall.

Logan rolled his eyes and put his attention back to Clark. He looked horribly different from the last time they were together. He was deathly paler and was covered in more ghastly bruises. He looked as if he hadn't eaten in weeks and had deep dark circles surrounding his eyes. "Has he been fed at all?"

"Yeah everyday, but he just hacks it up...can't keep anything down I guess." He said coldly.

Logan whispered 'I wonder why' sarcastically to himself. Just then Clark erupted in one of his, now common, coughing fits. Logan rolled him onto his side when he began spiting up a vile mixture of flem and blood. He used a small towel from his medical bag to catch the mixture Clark spat up. After his coughing subsided he laid him onto his back again and took the blanket that covered him off to better examine him. His shirt was filthy; covered in grimy dirt, dried blood and small amounts of what looked like vomit. Logan shook his head in disgust and by using one of the many rips in the shirt he tore it open. He pulled the shirt off Clark and threw it into the corner of the room. Numerous bruises, cuts, needle pricks, and burn marks covered his now bare skin. His cuts were somewhat healed and swollen with a creamy puss emitting from a few. Logan looked up to the goon, "These are all infected." He said motioning to the cuts, "I need you to get me a clean shirt and blankets. Also get some gauze."

The goon shook his head, "Nah, Mr. Luthor said just do what you can. He doesn't want to make things comfortable." He leaned back against the wall and continued chomping loudly on his gum.

Logan sighed in frustration; he looked at the now shivering boy lying on the floor and thought for a moment. He wasn't about to leave him here, freezing. Without another thought he took off his suit coat then he took his tie off and tossed it in his bag and began unbuttoning his expensive, black Gucci shirt.

The goon watched as the doctor pulled off his shirt, "What are you doing?"

"I don't care what Luthor says, I'm not leaving him without a shirt!" he snapped. The goon rolled his eyes and let out a small chuckle. Logan struggled to get the shirt on Clark's limp body; he didn't bother to ask for help because he knew he wouldn't receive any. After he got the shirt on and buttoned, he wrapped him in his blanket and rolled him back onto his side. He didn't want Clark to have another coughing fit and choke on his own vomit. He gathered his few things and put his suit coat on. "Where's Luthor?" he asked the goon while they left the room.

"He's a busy man, I doubt he'll have time for you."

Logan didn't bother to reply, he new Lionel would most likely be in his fancy office in the LuthorCorp building. He sped up his walk down the hallway, leaving the goon in his dust. He was appalled with himself now more than ever. Thoughts ran through his mind on what he could do. Maybe he should just put Clark out of his misery, let him die. No...no Lionel wouldn't have that, he'd just kill me and bring in another doctor to continue. But what else could he do; he could no longer sit around and let this kid endure Lionel. Maybe he could tell the authorities, turn Lionel in. He himself would be prosecuted as an accessory, but it would be the right thing to do. Clark wouldn't be free though; the government would want to do their own studies on him once they saw what he was or rather what he wasn't. No, I've just got to think...there has to be another way... He had to do something...anything.

Lionel's Office

Logan burst through the glass paneled doors into the spacious office. Lionel sat at his desk reading a report; he dropped the report to his desk and looked up at his intruder. "Ah, Dr. Lacey, what can I do for you?"

"You expect me to do my job yet you put restraints on my arms! Why is that?" he said furiously stopping his brisk walk at the desk.

"I'm sorry, Dr., I'm not following you." Lionel said with a smirk.

Logan sighed and calmed himself before speaking again, "How am I supposed to treat my patient when I'm not allowed to use the methods necessary?" he was being vague; Lionel had made it perfectly clear that details were not allowed in his office. Someone could, and probably was, listening in on his conversations.

Lionel stood from his desk and went to his bar, "May I offer you something to drink?" he said motioning to his various liquors, "Scotch? Whiskey? Ah yes, if I remember correctly you're a Brandy man." He pulled out the crystal cork and placed it gently on the counter; he poured two small glasses. With one glass outstretched he walked to Logan and handed him the drink. "Have a seat, make yourself comfortable." They sat and Lionel sipped his liquor. "Now, Logan...may I call you Logan?" he smirked again and Logan rolled his eyes and sighed. "What is it you are accusing me of?"

He put his untouched drink on the frosted glass coffee table, "I need authority in your...project." meaning Clark, "If I tell our...associates to fetch something I need, I expect them to do it, not laugh and ignore me. If you want to keep your project...alive then allow me to do what is necessary for that."

Lionel put his drink down alongside of the other. "Logan I understand your want for authority and respect and I understand you wanting to perform your work to its fullest, but this situation is...different." He paused, "I cannot allow this project to improve to its full potency, its current state must be kept." Logan sighed for what felt like the millionth time that day. His frustration was growing thicker. Lionel stood from his seat and began walking towards his desk then turned back. "I have specialist who'll be performing a procedure that will get the answers I want, after that your services will no longer be needed."

"Procedure? When will that happen?"

"Next week." He said while sitting down behind his desk.

"What does this procedure entail?" he asked

Lionel gave him a look of wonder, "After all these years you've never shown curiosity, why now?" he asked suspiciously.

Logan shifted in his chair, "Your project is in a critical spot, if the wrong direction is taken it could and probably will lead to complete failure." He stood and walked to the door; before leaving he turned back to Lionel. "And may I remind you that a failed project is utterly useless to get the answers you are so desperately trying to retrieve."

Warehouse

-The Next Morning-

With Lionel's permission Logan had Clark moved into a different room. The new room was larger than the infamous white room. It was much homier; it had carpet instead of concrete and the walls were a softer cream not harsh vibrant white. Instead of the hard floor Clark laid on yet another hospital-like bed, this time without restraints. After receiving the go head from Lionel, Logan spent the entire night arranging the new space. He also spent his night forming a plan; if he was going to help Clark it needed to happen as soon as possible. He knew the upcoming procedure could leave him marred for life if not kill him. His plan had to be foolproof but more importantly he needed to get Clark as well as he could in a short time. He hoped the damage wasn't so bad that it couldn't be mended. He already needed all the help he could get for this rescue and having the dead weight of Clark wouldn't help.

Logan was proud of himself for standing up to Lionel. After all the years of doing his dirty work that was the first time he stood his ground and insisted on something. He felt huge relief as well, Lionel told him his services were no longer needed so soon enough he'd be free from his own personal 'devil'. That is, if he made it through the next week alive. He prayed his plan would go off without a hitch, but the odds of nothing-unexpected happening were slim to none. Especially when he was going against Lionel Luthor of all people; Luthor was not one to show mercy to anyone. He was a diabolical man and Logan knew, all too well, what sorts of treacherous things he was capable of. He'd seen his wrath on numerous occasions, thankfully not from the receiving end...yet.

Chapter 11

New Room

-Two Days Later-

Clark woke for the first time since he'd been moved into his new space. He found himself lying on a comfortable bed with the warmth of soft blankets surrounding him. The harsh lighting and pristine white walls no longer blinded his eyes. A dimmed lamp sat near his bed and illuminated a soft golden-yellow hue. It cast shadows of oblong circles across the wall from its large shade. For a split second he felt like he was home at his big yellow farmhouse, in his own squashy bed with his own lumpy pillows engulfing his head. But his feelings of home faded fast and were replaced by the usual. Pain...he felt it all over but it wasn't near the magnitude as before. A slow throbbing ache cascaded its way around and through his muscles and joints. His wrist ached more than it usually did, he looked down and instead of seeing it swollen and purple it was bound in a thick white cast. His eyes trailed from his new cast up his arm where he found needles stuck in his arm with tubes attached leading up to small clear bags. At first he thought they were drugging him or trying some experiment. But he realized there was a different atmosphere in this room; it wasn't a room of torture or exploration, it was a room of healing and even caring. It felt like the polar opposite of his previous residence.

Clark wasn't sure what to think. Was he still at Lionel's torture warehouse? Maybe he'd been rescued. Was he in a hospital? It didn't look like a hospital room, but it didn't look like any of the rooms he'd seen in the warehouse either. The door opened and Logan walked in. Clark's questions were answered; he was still in captivity. His heart sank deeper than he thought possible. After waking up in this room he felt an honest twinge of something he hadn't felt in months...hope. But now all the misery and despair that had lingered with him for his time here was back and stronger than ever.

"Ah Clark, good to see you're awake." Logan went to Clark's side and checked a few of the machines near him, "How are you feeling?" Clark blankly looked at him without reply. He was confused. He didn't understand why Lionel would bring the doctor back. Why were they treating him? Why would they now, after all this time put a cast on his wrist? Logan noticed the confusion written on his face as he eyed him. Logan leaned down and spoke in a whisper, "It's okay; you can talk to me. I can't explain now but you need to trust me, I promise I'll get you home." Those last words pierced Clark's heart. He'd lost control over his emotions early on and they were taking over. He hated showing his emotions while he was here. He closed his eyes tight and looked away trying to force his upcoming tears back. Normally it would be strange for such simple words to bring him to tears. But those words held so much meaning for him. Hope. Love. Comfort. Life.

Logan was somewhat shocked at Clark's response. He now realized just how affected this kid was by everything. He always knew he was physically and emotionally broken down. But the fact that something as effortless and uncomplicated as 'I'll get you home' would bring such emotions out hit him harder than a brick house falling on him. He backed away and quietly went in the hallway to give Clark privacy. He slouched against the wall across from the door and sighed heavily. The pressure to succeed was so high now. He wouldn't be able to look Clark in the eyes again if he couldn't follow through with his promise. God...what have I gotten myself into? he thought. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands and waited a few minutes then went back to the door. He knocked to give warning he was coming in.

Kent Farm

Jonathan and Martha should've lost their farm months ago but not long after Lex returned from his 'island stay' he purchased it with their names on the deed. Even if Clark wasn't around to be his friend, the Kent's were good people. They didn't deserve to loose another important part of their lives. He never quite understood why Clark would choose to leave his loving parents. Lex would give all his money and power to have parents like the Kent's. They appreciated everything he'd done for them and were surprised when he still came by to say 'Hi' even though Clark was gone. To Martha it was obvious that he needed motherly love as much as she desired to give it. She invited him over for dinner on numerous occasions; eventually Jonathan accepted him and he slowly became apart of their broken family.

They had made a tradition of Sunday afternoon dinners with him. He could never replace the child she lost but having him there and fussing over him like a mother would, filled her aching heart. Jonathan was in the barn finishing up his days work. Martha was putting the last touches on dinner; she had prepared one of Lex's favorite desserts. The sound of tires coming to a halt on gravel could be heard from outside. Shortly after, there was a knock on the kitchen door; Martha smiled and opened the door. Lex stood wearing his usual black pants and coat with a crisp collared shirt underneath. Today he held a bouquet of flowers and a large smile. Martha's smile grew, "Oh, Thank you sweetie." He walked in and they shared a hug that meant more to each of them than the other knew. She took the flowers and placed them on the counter while she filled a vase with fresh water.

"Mmm, do I smell apple pie?" Lex asked.

Martha gave a small chuckle while arranging the flowers in the vase. "Yes." She walked over and put the flowers on the dining room table. "Jonathan should be in any minute, then we can eat."

Lex's expression turned serious, "Mrs. Kent, I finally heard back from my sources in Metropolis." Martha's smiled faded and the sadness she was trying to hide shone through. "They're going to continue looking but there's still no sign of Clark." Lex hated talking about Clark with Martha; he could see her grief and heartache. She had done so much for him; she made him feel loved, something he hadn't felt since his own mother died. "I think we should expand the search. Maybe we could look in Gothom, I mean he may not even be in Metropolis."

Martha composed herself and put her strong face back on, "Lex I appreciate what you're trying to do but we've discussed this before. If Clark wanted to come home he would. Even if we found him we can't force him home." Those words broke her into a million pieces. The thought that her own child, her baby boy, didn't want to be with her, didn't love her tore her apart more than him not being with her.

"Mrs. Kent please...we can't do nothing."

"I'm sorry Lex, but that's all that's left to do." She said while fighting back the lump in her throat that wanted to burst open and show her pain. She pulled herself together again, "Let's not talk about this and try to have a nice evening."

Lex sighed but before he could speak the door swung open and Jonathan came in. Jonathan looked at Lex and smiled, "Hi Lex" he stuck his hand out to greet him.

Their hands met in a firm, manly grip. "Evening Mr. Kent."

Jonathan went to Martha and gave her a kiss on her cheek, "I'll go wash up." He said and she smiled. He patted Lex on the shoulder when he walked by, much like he used to do with Clark. Jonathan climbed the stairs to his bedroom. After changing out of his dirty work shirt into clean flannel he headed for the bathroom to wash up. He splashed his face with water and scrubbed his hands with soap. When he finished he stared at his reflection in the mirror. To him, he looked as if he'd aged years; his eyes were tired and weary. Since Clark left it seemed like his life went downhill. He struggled daily with the farm and its many hardships. His marriage had suffered as well, they loved each other the same, if not more, but the strain of heartbreak took its toll on each of them. They slowly grew apart, each being strong for the other and putting on a brave face while hiding their own sorrow.

He and Martha had faith that he'd come home at first but after time went on they slowly realized he might never come back to them. He felt like he had failed his son; he wasn't the father he should've been. Guilt hung over him; he couldn't help but think that if he hadn't reacted how he did so many months ago when Clark destroyed the ship, then Clark wouldn't have left in the first place and he'd be home today. He wished with everything in him he could go back and change that one day, that one moment. That was the past and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't change it. All he could do now is hope and pray that someday they'd find their son and he'd come home.

Jonathan came down the stairs; Lex was sitting on one of the barstools in the kitchen and Martha was pouring some drinks for dinner. "Well Lex, I hope your hungry, looks like Martha went all out again." He said with a fake smile. Lex laughed and all three sat down at the dining table. They all felt the same absence, but they went on because they had to. They had a nice time, talking about the farm and Lex's new business ventures. That's what they did every Sunday afternoon, they gave each other something they needed in different ways...comfort and love.

New Room

Logan entered and saw Clark quickly pull his hand away from wiping his tears. His eyes were bloodshot and his dark circles had a red hue to them. He sniffed and looked at Logan who smiled at him. "Umm...so how are you feeling? Better I hope." Logan said hesitantly.

Clark took a deep breath and finally spoke, in a barely audible tone. "Better than usual." His voice was harsh and his throat stung, it was the first time he'd actually said words in weeks.

Logan smiled, "Listen Clark, I can't give you the details right now. Lionel has some procedure planned for you, but I'm not going to let it happen. Okay?" he could tell that Clark still looked confused. "I convinced him that you needed to get better before the procedure or you could...well...I convinced him and that's all that matters." He paused, "So I need you to rest and try not to worry about it. I'm positive my plan will work." He lied. He was actually very unsure and scared about his plan.

Suddenly Clark felt something he hadn't felt in a long time...hunger. He was always hungry but he never wanted to eat because he couldn't keep it down, but now he actually felt a desire for food or substance. His stomach roared loud enough that Logan heard it. Logan gave him a smile and a small chuckle, "How about we start small." He went to a cabinet and a few moments later came over and handed Clark a small plate of saltine cracker, "If you can keep these down I'll get you something better tomorrow. Deal?"

Never in his life did he think saltine crackers would make him so happy. His eyes widened and he gave a small hit of a smile. "Deal."

Logan noticed that Clark looked like he could fall asleep at any moment; his eyes were swollen and barely open as he cautiously chewed on his crackers. "I'm going to give you something so you can sleep peacefully." He knew about Clark's nightmares and not only did he need Clark to get actual rest but he wanted him to have a break from his torment and sleep with peace. Clark finished off his crackers while Logan filled a syringe with a clear liquid. At first sight of the syringe Clark's heart began beating against his sternum and panic rose up in him. He froze and stared at the needle with fear; Logan saw his sudden change, the fright in his eyes was intense. With a soft tone he spoke, "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you. See." He took syringe and injected the serum into the IV tube.

Clark loosened his death grip on the plate and took a deep breath. "Sorry, I just..."

"No I'm sorry...I shouldn't have...I didn't think..." Logan fiddled around with the syringe in his hand; he felt sick that Clark was apologizing to him. He sighed and paused, "You don't owe me any apologies; I owe them to you." Clark gave him a weary weak smile. He was beginning to feel the effects of the serum and found it hard to keep his eyes open. Logan noticed this decided to leave, "I'll be back tomorrow morning." He walked to the door.

When Logan was about to leave Clark spoke, "Doctor."

Logan turned around, "Logan...call me Logan."

Clark grinned and said, "Thank you." Logan smiled and left the room. Whatever doubts about whether he was doing the right thing flew out the window with those words. He was still worried but he knew now more than ever he had to pull this rescue off. He had to get this kid out of here and back to his family and friends.

-The Next Day-

Logan was walking through the halls of the warehouse. He walked past and open door and heard a few of Lionel's goons talking inside. He wasn't sure why but he decided to stop and listen. "Yeah Mr. Luthor wants us to show the specialist were it's gonna happen. He's gonna be here this afternoon." One of the goons said.

"Why today? I thought the procedure was at the end of the week."

"You know Mr. Luthor, he likes the element of surprise; he moved it to tomorrow."

Logan immediately stopped listening and started walking. "No, this can't happen." He began mumbling to himself. "What am I going to do?" He let out a sigh of frustration. The men he hired to help him weren't coming into town for two days and there was no time to find someone else. He would have to do this by himself and tonight.

Chapter 12

Outskirts of Metropolis

Usually when Lex had business to tend to in Metropolis he would travel via helicopter. But today he chose to drive and give himself time to be alone with his thoughts. His life had changed so drastically since, what was supposed to be, his honeymoon. He'd been stranded on a deserted island for months and came home to find his wife had set him up to gain his fortune. His one true friend had vanished without a trace and to top it all off his father was acting stranger than usual. Lionel had kept his distance; it was a nice change for Lex but he knew his father. He wasn't one to sit back and let Lex live his life without putting in his two cents. He knew Lionel was up to something and now all he needed to do was figure out what it was.

The ring of his cell phone interrupted his thoughts. He flipped it open and put it to his ear. "Yes?"

"Hello Mr. Luthor, this is Mark." Mark was one of his 'associates' who he hired to search for Clark.

"Do you have any news?" Lex asked

"No news on Mr. Kent sir, but we think we found the moving truck."

"You think?"

"Yes, one of my men spotted an abandoned truck that matches the make and model but it isn't a Smallville Movers, it's a LuthorCorp."

LuthorCorp? he thought. "Where is this truck at?"

"Suicide Slums, it's parked in an alley behind an abandoned building. It an odd place for a LuthorCorp truck so I think we should get check it out. But I wanted to clear it with you before we search it."

"Good." He paused, "I have the trucks VIN number. Meet me there in thirty minutes."

"Yes sir, I'll have a team waiting."

"Good." He shut his phone and dropped it on the passenger seat. "This is going to be interesting." He knew, somehow, his father was involved.

-Thirty Minutes Later - Alleyway Outside of The Basement-

Lex parked and exited his car. A tall man walked towards him. "Hello Sir, it's nice to finally meet you in person." Mark said with an outstretched hand.

Lex smiled and shook his hand. They walked past a few men to the truck. "This isn't a LuthorCorp truck." Lex said while examining it.

Mark looked perplexed, "Why do you say that?"

"First of all, this truck is old. LuthorCorp replaced all of its shipping trucks last year. Secondly, this has been painted on...its covering something." he motioned to the side of the truck. The LuthorCorp logo was on a gray background; the outline of vinyl letters could be seen protruding from underneath the gray paint. Lex left Mark standing, staring at the side of the truck and walked around to the driver side door. He stepped on the wheel, grabbed the hood and pulled himself up. He pulled out a piece of paper with the VIN number to the Smallville Movers truck that had gone missing along with Clark. He compared the numbers on the paper to the numbers just inside the windshield. "This is it...this is the truck." He whispered. He jumped down and walked around the back. "It's a match." He said to Mark who came around from the side.

"That's great." Mark said, "But why would your friend go to all the trouble of painting over the logo only to stash it here?"

"Clark didn't do this." He turned to Mark, "Get this back door unlocked." He ordered.

"Uh, yes sir." Mark said then turned and waved his men over. The men began working at picking the lock and Lex paced impatiently. He first thought his father was behind this, but then he realized that his father would never do anything this careless. Besides, it was obvious that someone was trying to set Lionel up, why else would they paint 'LuthorCorp' on it. The 'whys' could be answered later, right now the only thing that mattered was finding Clark.

There was a derelict, shack-like building in front of him. He stopped pacing when something caught his eye. The doorway to the shack had chucks missing from the trim; tangled around a splinter sticking from the wood was a piece of blue. Lex stared at it for a moment then walked to the door and crouched down. He ripped the fabric off of the splinter and studied it. It was a small piece, filthy and appeared to have been torn from its origins. Through the dirt a design could be seen...plaid. Lex immediately stood up and entered the shack. "Clark!" he yelled while scanning the small room inside. "Clark!" he went down the hallway and found a staircase. He descended the stairs cautiously; it was pitch black and his eyes hadn't adjusted yet. "Clark!" he reached the bottom "Are you here? It's Lex!" Once his eyes adjusted he found that he was alone in the stale basement. Breathing a sigh of failure he walked through the basement and looked for any indication that his friend had been there. The only evidence he found was a few meteor rocks and the plaid remnant.

Surveillance Room

-That Night-

A portly security guard sat in his small swivel chair; he sipped his stale coffee and snacked on his Fritos. Occasionally he scanned the wall of monitors before him; the warehouse was practically empty tonight. The only other occupants were a few guards and goons that were watching television in a small break room and one particularly important boy who slept an uneasy sleep.

Logan stood, cloaked in black, just outside the door of the tiny surveillance room. He felt an assortment of adrenaline and apprehension. He was a doctor, not a hero. Pretending to be one as a child didn't quite prepare him for what he was about to do. All of the 'what ifs' flooded his conscience. What if he and Clark got caught? What if he didn't make it out alive? What if, after everything, Clark didn't make it? What would Lionel do to them? Was it going to be worth it in the end? He pushed his negative thoughts aside and focused on one thing. Getting a kid, who had been physically and mentally tortured, home to his family.

He took a deep breath, "Here we go." With a gun that he had bought for protection from Lionel years ago in hand, he crept his way into the room. In one swift motion he hit the guard in the back of the head with the butt of his gun. The chubby man let out a grunt and slumped down in his chair; his bag of Fritos fell from his hand and the small corn chips scattered. Logan pulled him from the chair and laid him down; he took a syringe from his pocket and removed the cover off the tip and squirted the contents, "Sorry Carl." Then he injected the guard with the substance, which would keep him unconscious, hopefully, for the entire night. He honestly did feel sorry; this guard had done nothing to Clark. He was just another one of the many brutes hired by Lionel. Logan walked to the wall of monitors; his boots crunching the chips as he went. "If I were an off switch..." he mumbled to himself while he fiddled with a few knobs. "Oh the hell with it." he went around to the back and pulled all the plugs from the outlets. The screens flicked off and left the room in darkness.

Closing the door behind him, he began briskly walking. He kept to the shadows and headed towards Clark's room. He rounded corner after corner until he reached his destination. He cracked the door open and slipped into the dimly lit room. He stood for a second to catch his breath and he looked at Clark. He was in his bed, his coverings twisted around his legs as he tossed and turned. Logan quickly went to his side; he was covered in sweat. "Clark" he whispered, "Clark" he whispered louder. He put his hands on Clark's shoulders to wake him.

Instantly Clark woke and threw his arms at Logan in a protective move, pushing him away causing him to only stumble back a few steps. After his heavy breaths calmed, he wiped the sweat from his eyes and looked around the room; he found Logan standing beside him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to, I was...dreaming." Clark apologized.

Logan knew it was more than just a 'dream', "No it's okay." He paused and changed the subject. "There's been a change in plans." He stepped forward and began taking the IV and other wires off of him. "We need to go now, do you think you can walk?"

"Yeah maybe." He wasn't sure if he'd be able to or not; he hadn't actually walked in weeks. After all of his beatings and bouts with the fever he'd given up moving at all, let alone walking. Once Logan had him unhooked from the machines, Clark disentangled the blankets from his legs. His body still ached and his head pounded, but he wasn't about to let his pain keep him from getting out this place that had been his hell. He lowered his feet to the ground and stood while still leaning against the bed. Standing caused a wave of dizziness to flood through his head; he closed his eyes until it passed.

Logan came to Clark's side, "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be." Clark replied.

Clark took a few steps before his shaky legs gave away. Logan was there to catch him, "Whoa, okay lets take it easy." He took Clark's arm and put it around his shoulder, "Here, just lean on me." Together they made their way out the door and down the hallway.

"Logan?" he looked to him as they slowly walked the halls.

"Yeah."

"We need to get rid of the blood they took from me." He said tiredly

"Why? They've already analyzed it."

"No one else can find out..." The thought of someone finding out his secret and taking him again sent shivers down his spine and tears to his eyes. "Please...it needs to be destroyed."

"Okay...okay." He said hesitantly "We need to go back that way." He stopped and they headed back towards the samples. He knew this must have been extremely important to Clark but the longer they stayed in the building the higher the chances of being caught became. "It's over there, next to...well, next to that room."

They reached the door and Clark saw the room Logan was referring to. The samples were being held next to the white room. The doors were almost identical but he knew the white room's door. It had been his prison, the place his childhood nightmares came to life. The memories of that room would remain with him forever. Luckily Logan entered the other room and took his focus off of the door. The room held a few desks and tables, there was a row of metal cabinets and shelves; at the end of the room was a small refrigerator. Logan pulled a chair from behind a desk. Clark sat down; his head still pounded and his body ached more from his exertion. Logan found the blood and skin samples in the refrigerator. There were dozens of vials filled with his blood and several containers labeled 'tissue sample'. Clark looked away from the sickening sight and began unconsciously rubbing one of the many sores on his arm above his cast. "Uh, I think we should just destroy the whole thing." He said motioning to the refrigerator. Clark nodded in agreement and Logan looked at the refrigerator then back to him. "Do you happen to know how to destroy a refrigerator?" he said with a small laugh.

Clark smiled, "Sorry, I'm without my usual method for explosions."

Logan laughed, "You have a usual method?"

"Oh...yeah I have heat vision, I can make things catch fire by focusing on it. Or well, I used to be able to."

"Wow, that's amazing."

"Yeah, it was." He said solemnly.

Logan noticed his tone and changed the subject. "Okay then...we need to come up with a way to destroy all of this. Start a fire or something..." They were quiet for a moment while they thought. "I've got it!" he grabbed a box from one of the shelves. "There's a kitchen a few rooms down..." he took the top off the box and dumped the papers it held on the floor. "...We can use the oven to blow all this up." He put all the samples in the box and heaved it under his harm then turned to Clark. "What do you think?"

"Uh, sounds good I guess." He wasn't sure if it would work but they didn't have any other options. "We better hurry though." Logan helped Clark up and they went back down the hallway to the kitchen.

It was a regular kitchen with the usual sink, cabinets, oven, refrigerator and table. Clark sat at the table while Logan took the box and sat it atop the oven. Clark laid his throbbing head down on the table. The cool touch of the wood felt soothing against his skin. Logan opened the oven door and took out the racks; he shoved the entire box in until it wouldn't budge anymore. He stood and turned a few knobs, "You might want to get a head start."

Clark lifted his head, "Okay." He weakly and slowly left the kitchen, using the walls for support. Logan fiddled through the drawers trying to find a match or lighter. He found a matchbook and something else...lighter fluid. With the oven turned on, he poured a trail of the fluid out the door and down the hall until it ran out. Clark hadn't made it far so Logan waited a minute before lighting the trail. "Okay as soon as I light it, run." Clark nodded and whispered 'I'll try' to himself.

Logan bent down and tore one of the matches from its place. He noticed how nervous he was by his shaking hands. He took a deep breath, lit the match and dropped it into the flammable liquid. His eye caught only a glimpse of the flaming trail as he turned to run. He caught up to Clark quickly and grabbed onto him to help him run. The explosion was larger than he had imagined. They were throw a few feet forward and landed in front of the white room. They were buried in debris, eerily glowing green debris.

Chapter 13

Surveillance Room

One of Lionel's goons was making his rounds for the night. A normal night consisted of sitting in the break room with the other goons watching television. Occasionally, one of them walked the halls to be sure everything was as it should be. Originally when the boy was brought here they roamed the warehouse relentlessly but after weeks went by with nothing curious happening, their nights grew longer and boredom set in. The surveillance guard was supposed to notify them of any suspicious happenings, so they didn't put much effort into their duties during the night.

He came to the closed door of the surveillance room and opened it. Inside he found his coworker lying motionless on a pile of crunched corn chips and the wall of monitors turned off. Knowing this was not a good thing and that someone was probably attempting to rescue their prisoner, he left the room and ran. He ran as fast as his thuggish feet would take him. He reached Clark's room only to find it empty. He began to dread the night before him. He dreaded not completing his one and only assignment of keeping watch over Clark. Dreaded what Mr. Luthor would do to him if he let his prized 'possession' escape. He ran back down the hallway to get his associates for backup. He rounded a corner and saw two dark figures, one staggering and one running in the opposite direction. He began to chase after them; he pulled his gun and was about to shoot when the wall beside him exploded. He was thrown down the hallway and his frumpy body slid across the tiled floor. The solid wall greeted him with a loud thump that was drown out by the ringing in his ears. Moments later the ringing silenced and the darkness set in.

Down the Hall

All he saw was darkness, he wasn't sure if he even had his eyes open. His head whirled but took frequent short breaks from its incessant circles to pound on his skull. His chest burned like a bonfire, every ragged breath felt like a torch singeing the lining of his lungs. He tried to move but his strength was no match for the weight that held him to the floor. He was pinned, with his back against a wall, complete covered. Moments later the debris fell away from him and he opened his eyes into the flaming orange light. Logan knelt beside him, coated in dark soot. His blonde locks looked like they had been painted gray with Halloween hair spray. His skin was splattered in dirt but his eyes were vibrant. The contrast of the bright white sclera against his blue iris stood out from all the darkness. Logan continued to unbury him, "Clark" he stopped and looked down to him "What's wrong? Where are you hurt?" He knew something was wrong by the expression of sheer agony on Clark's face.

He didn't answer; he closed his eyes tight creating dirt filled creases around them. "Clark." Logan leaned down and put his hands on Clark face to gain his attention. "Tell me wher..." he stopped when he noticed his own shaky hands. The soot that coated them had an unnatural lime glow. He sat back and looked at the rubble on all sides of them. He saw chunks of glowing rock mixed with drywall, wood, and concrete. The air around them swirled with dust from the explosion...green dust. Logan immediately sprang into action; he uncovered Clark from the debris and tried to pull him up. "We have to get out of here, Luthor's guys will be here soon. I need you to push through the pain, okay?" he received only a nod in response.

Clark clenched his jaw shut as Logan pulled him up. His joints felt like they had been fused shut and every movement was slowly breaking them free. His weakened body struggled, even with Logan's help, to walk over the rough terrain. Logan had his arms around Clark in a hug-like hold, supporting him. They crossed over the remains, stumbling as pieces shifted below their feet. The pumpkin orange flames crackled and black smoke filled the hall. Clark found breathing increasingly hard to accomplish. His lungs not only burned but were also filling with the harsh smoke. Every muscle he had left throbbed fiercely under his skin. He hung his head and watched the square tiles pass by. His vision began to blur and the tiles turned into a kaleidoscope. Logan's grip loosened and he fell to the hard floor. He held his head and closed his eyes tight trying in vain to gain control over his vertigo. "Clark we can't stop! Come on!" Logan said while pulling him back to his feet.

A gunshot echoed from the end of the hallway and before either could react Logan fell to the floor while let out a loud moan. Clark felt panic quickly rise up. This can't be happening! He was finally being rescued and now his rescuer had been shot. All he could think was that he would be captured again and taken back to his solitary hell. That he would have to endure beatings and experiments until the day he was saved by death. Logan snapped him out of his panic filled trance. "Clark" he held his upper left arm, blood trickling between his fingers. "Come on" he pulled Clark with his uninjured arm.

Both were weak and hurt but they struggled to their feet. Another gunshot was heard. It missed. "Are...you...okay?" Clark asked through the pain in his chest.

They rounded a corner and Logan pulled them to a stop against the wall. He took heavy breaths, "Yeah...it just grazed me." He reached behind his back and pulled his gun with his right hand. "There's a door about twenty feet ahead...it leads to a parking lot" he said pointing down the hall. "There's a red Porsche parked behind the dumpster. I'm going to get rid of these guys." He pulled a set of keys from his pocket, "If I'm not there in five minutes...leave." Clark looked at him with a 'I'm not leaving you here' look. "Just go. I'll be fine"

Clark took the keys, "If you're...not...there in five...minutes, I'm...coming back for you." He said between his deep harsh breaths.

"Go!" Logan said impatiently. He waited until Clark was halfway to the door then cocked his gun and leaned around the corner.

Clark supported his trembling, unsteady body by sliding against the wall. His body was filled with intense pain but he found enough strength to reach the door without falling once. He didn't know where the strength came from and frankly he didn't care. He was so close, inches away from leaving his real life nightmare. He pressed his hip against the metal bar attached to the door and pushed it. It opened with ease and in two steps he was outside with the door closing behind him. He rested against the door for a few seconds and surveyed his surroundings. The night sky was midnight blue with flecks of twinkling stars scattered across its infinity. The parking lot was empty and dark with one street lamp shining down. A chain link fence with barbed wire atop it surrounded the lot. To his right were two big green dumpsters. He took a deep breath, held the filthy wall beside him and headed towards the metal containers. He got to them and found a glossy red-hot, beautiful Porsche. He almost felt guilty for making fingerprints on the perfectly polished car. His hand was on the passenger handle when the warehouse door swung open and Logan came running out.

"Get in!" he yelled, running at full speed to the car. "Hurry!" Clark opened the door, plopped down, closed the door and immediately regretted moving so fast as pains shot through his limbs. Logan opened the driver side door and got in. His left sleeve stained in blood. "Give me the keys!" he took them from Clark's hand and fumbled with them before inserting them in the ignition. The engine roared; he shifted into first and let out the clutch and slammed on the gas in one swift movement. "I think I got one in the shoulder...but more kept coming." He said trying to catch his breath. They sped out of the lot and away from the now distant sound of gunshots. The sports car slid around the corners hardly slowing from its speed. Soon enough a set of headlights was barreling down behind them. "Shit" Logan said underneath his breath. "Hang on." He said to Clark who was already gripping the handle. Logan shifted into fifth, the engine roared louder and they sped off down the alleyways. The headlights still trailed them but were now further behind.

Lionel's Office

Lionel walked through his frosted glass double doors into his office. He wore a stylish black suit, gray shirt and shiny black tie. He was about to round his glass desk when the tall black leather chair spun around. Lex sat, legs crossed and arms folded. Lionel stopped and chuckled, "Ah, to what do I owe this surprise?"

Lex unfolded his arms and interlocked his fingers. "We need to talk." His tone was solemn.

"Come to have a father son chat have you?" he laughed and walked to his leather couch, unbuttoned his suit coat and sat down.

"I made an intriguing discovery today, Dad." Lex rose from the chair and walked around the desk.

"And what would that be?" Lionel played along.

Lex sat on the corner of the desk, one leg hovering just above the floor. "I found the Smallville Movers truck that mysteriously disappeared along with Clark." He paused "The unusual part is that it had been painted over with the LuthorCorp logo. Don't you find it strange that someone would go to all the trouble to paint a truck and then abandon it." he smiled "What I don't understand is why they would use LuthorCorp." He paused and Lionel only looked at him. "Now I know it wasn't your doing. But it's obvious that whomever did this wanted the attention drawn to you. Why is that Dad?"

Lionel sighed, "What exactly are you accusing me of?"

"I'm not accusing you, I'm simply asking why someone would implicate you."

"Well I should think it's obvious. LuthorCorp has many rival corporations; this is merely an attempt to incriminate us, a rather poor attempt I might add." He said while rising from his seat and walking behind his desk. "Now if you don't mind I have business that is more important than these trivial escapades of yours." He knew this was Morgan's oversight and made a mental note to pay him a visit soon.

Lex spun around and angrily said, "I don't find a missing friend trivial!" he calmed his voice, "Don't worry Dad, I'll find out who's incriminating you and why."

"Lex, I appreciate your concern but this is nothing to waste your time on. Corporate sabotage is very common and I am well equipped to handle such things. Now, will that be all?"

Lex gave a fake smile, turned around and left the office without another word. Lionel smirked and began looking over reports on his desk. He knew Lex wouldn't give up easily but he had better things to do than worry about Lex snooping around. His buzzer went off and his secretary's voice was heard. "Mr. Luthor an associate from the Black Project is on the line, he says it's an emergency."

He held a button down, "Thank you Marie, I'll take it." He picked up the phone, "Yes"

"Mr. Luthor there's been an explosion and well, he's escaped." The voice on he other end said fearfully.

"He's what?!" Lionel became furious. "How did this happen?"

"I'm not sure Sir. I have all my men out for retrieval as we speak."

Lionel sighed heavily and thought for a moment, "Lock down the building, I'll be there soon." He set the phone in its receiver and rushed out.

Back in the Porsche

His breaths were harsh and erratic. His skin twitched and felt like tiny bugs were crawling under it, biting and pricking him. He was accustomed to pain and torture but this was like an irritating itch that wouldn't stop. He tried rubbing his arms to relieve it but that only caused more burning and twitching. So he sat slumped in the leather seat with his eyes closed tight. The speeding car made him bounce with the potholes and twisted his stomach into tighter knots than it already had. Nausea was overwhelming him and the quick turns Logan kept taking didn't help. "I'm...going to..." he tried to tell Logan he was about to throw up but was interrupted by it. He emptied his stomach on the clean gray floor mat and partially on his pants. His vomit was brown and green colored chunks but there wasn't a lot because he'd only eaten saltine crackers. He was hunched over, his head between his knees, breathing heavily as he spat out the leftovers. He leaned back to his seat and swallowed.

"How are you feeling?" Logan asked before taking another sharp turn.

"I'll live" he lied. He honestly didn't know if he'd make it through the night. He felt like acid was slowly eating away at his lungs. His breaths grew heavier and scorched more than ever. He closed his eyes and tried to calm is trembling body. After a few more twists and turns the car came to a stop. He opened his eyes and saw that they were in a parking ramp, it was dark and held only a few cars. They were parked next to a black Mercedes Benz.

Logan got out, came to Clark's side, opened the door and stuck his hand out. "We don't have a lot of time."

Clark grabbed his hand and got out of the Porsche. "Where are we?"

"This is just a pit stop. I lost them few miles back so we should have enough time to switch cars." He opened the passenger door and helped Clark into the Mercedes. He popped the trunk of the Porsche and pulled out a bundle of cloth. He took off the license plate and put the tan canvas car cover over the red car. He got into the black car and started the engine. "We're going to one of my friends house. He's in Europe for the summer so no one will know we're there."

"You really planned this out huh?" Clark asked.

"Well, I know Luthor and he doesn't give up easily. So far we've been lucky."

"Sorry I puked in your car." Clark gave a small smile.

"Don't worry about it...it was my friend's." He laughed. "Try and relax, we should be there in twenty minutes." Clark closed his eyes and sank into the soft cream leather seats. The black Benz pulled out of the ramp and sped off into the darkness.

Warehouse

Lionel arrived to find his warehouse in shambles. An entire hallway and several rooms were destroyed. His men were running all around him trying to look useful. He came to a room that held his injured employees. A tall burly man, dressed in black walked up to him. "Hello Mr. Luthor." Lionel nodded. "Our retrieval team lost them around 82nd street."

Lionel sighed angrily, "How did this happen?"

"We're still not sure. Carl the surveillance guy said someone hit him on the head and he blacked out. They turned off all the security cameras. The explosion destroyed all of the samples and files you had on him. We caught up to them and I believe we shot one but they still managed to escape."

"Who did this?"

"One of my men caught a glimpse just before the explosion. He's in and out of consciousness but he managed to tell me. It was Dr. Lacey, Sir."

Lionel growled fiercely, "After everything I've done for him." he mumbled, "Find them and be sure to show Dr. Lacey our hospitality." He received a 'Yes Sir' then he spun around and left the room. He was beyond livid. He should've known this would happen, if he wanted something done right he'd have to do it himself instead of relying on the morons around him.

Chapter 14

Clark sat, soaking in the warmth of the heated seat, silently watching the skyscrapers as they drove by, one after another illuminating the night sky. The dashboard clock shined 2:14 am in bright indigo. Clark never understood how a person could live in the city. It was so noisy and crowded. Even in the middle of the night cars and people roamed the streets. They slowed down in front of a high-rise apartment complex. It had contemporary architecture and a mirrored glass exterior. A black sign with silver letters reading MetroPalace hung above the lobby entrance. They passed the entrance and turned onto a ramp leading to the basement parking garage.

Going from the car to the apartment was agonizing; his pain had abated in the car and was now back with intensity. His legs felt like he just ran a marathon without superpowers. His muscles ached and burned with every motion. He became winded easily and was forced to stop frequently for rest. Logan stopped in front of a beech wood door with the numbers one thirteen hanging beside it. He unlocked the door and pushed it open. "Home sweet home" he smiled and let Clark enter first. Floor to ceiling windows were in place of exterior walls. Modest but expensive furniture sat atop the dark cherry wood floors. The few walls were decorated in canvas paintings and black and white photography. Logan put his hand on Clark's shoulder, "You can stay in here" he ushered him towards the master bedroom "the bathroom is through that door, if you want to take a shower." Clark was beyond exhaustion and his body throbbed. As much as he wanted to sink into the bed and sleep he knew he needed to wash the Kryptonite from his skin. He hadn't actually bathed in months and a nice hot shower sounded heavenly.

Clark looked at his left wrist then Logan, "Uh, is this supposed to get wet?" he held up his cast.

"No actually. Hang on and I'll find a bag or something." he turned and left.

Clark exhaled loudly and scanned the spacious room. The windows and hardwood floors matched those of the living room. It held black dressers with long silver handles along the drawers, a chase lounge with a small end table next to it and a monstrous king sized bed. He turned his attention to the door Logan pointed out and unsteadily went to it, holding the wall for support. He was amazed at the bathroom, it was larger than his own room and bathroom put together. Double sinks were surrounded by black granite, as was the massive bathtub and vanity areas. The all glass shower sat in the corner between the sinks and bathtub. He estimated three grown adults could fit inside it with room to spare. He opened the large glass door and curiously stared at the equipment. Four separate showerheads and four knobs were fixed to the wall. Just then Logan walked in carrying a plastic grocery bag. "This is the best I could get." he smiled holding up the bag.

They fixed the bag around Clark's cast and Logan left. Clark undressed and stepped onto the cold stone floor. He fiddled with the knobs until he found the perfect temperature. The warmth of the water felt soothing against his cold irritated skin but sizzled on his many Kryptonite infected wounds. He stood directly under the faucets and let the water rain down on him. It was difficult but he managed to lather most of his body with one hand. Once he rinsed he searched for shampoo but found it hard to focus his eyes. He blinked, trying to clear his vision. He found a bottle but couldn't read the label. His vision remained blurry and the glass walls began to twirl. He dropped the bottle and pushed his hand against the stone wall for support. His head spun wildly and he pushed harder against the slippery wall. He shook his head and clenched his eyes shut trying desperately to gain his bearings. His head pounded and intense pain shot through his chest. He fell forward, smacking his head against one of the four knobs before slamming against the wet floor. The only sound heard was a muffled thump then the pitter-patter of water against his unconscious naked body.

Fifteen minutes later, Logan came into the master bedroom carrying a neatly folded pair of blue cotton pajamas. He heard the stream of the shower and walked to the slightly opened door. "Hey Clark, I got you some pajamas...I'll leave them on the bed." He said while looking at one of the abstract paintings next to the door. "Did you want to eat something or go straight to bed? You must be starved...I know I am." He waited for an answer "Clark?" still no answer "Clark?" he became worried and pushed the door open further. He glanced quickly, not wanting to intrude on 'shower time'. He kept his sight high but saw nothing but streams of water. It took only a few steps into the room when he noticed him on the shower floor. He dropped the clothes, ran over and opened the glass door. Clark was lying on his stomach and a small river of blood seeped from underneath his head and flowed down the drain with the water.

-The Next Morning-

Clark was standing in the middle of a large white room. He was fifty feet in every direction from the walls. Pristine, sparkling white walls. "Hello" his voice bounced from one wall to another and faded away. He rotated in his spot looking for a door or window, anything. Nothing but white. He looked down at his body; he wore white pants, white shirt and no shoes. He held his arms out in front of him. All of his cuts and bruises were gone and his wrist was completely healed. The walls and ceiling began to move toward him. They slowly closed in foot by foot. He stood confused at what was happening, not knowing what to do. Thirty feet away; he gasped, his throat closed and he immediately gripped his neck, frantically trying to choke a breath out. Twenty feet away and he fell to his knees still gripping his neck. The white walls circled him like a carousel. Ten feet. Five feet. He curled into a ball still choking for air. They boxed him in and pushed against his skin. He couldn't move, scream or breathe. They pressed, crushing every bone into pieces, filling his entire being with sheer agonizing pain. A brilliant white light flashed.

Clark woke in an instant with panicked breaths. Sharp pains shot through his head; he closed his eyes tight and tried to calm his rapid breathing. After he calmed he opened his eyes and realized he was in the large bed with soft satin sheets clinging to his sweat-ridden body. He sat up and felt the sharp pains in his head again. Once they subsided he saw Logan lying sprawled out on the chase lounge with one arm and leg hanging off the side. He had a blanket half draped over him and his mouth was open letting out soft snores. He snorted, jerked his head and opened his eyes. He sat up, looked at Clark sitting in the bed and wiped his mouth with his hand. "Morning" he said through a yawn. "Do you remember what happened last night?"

"Umm..." he cleared his throat "I was in the shower and...I started to feel dizzy. That's it."

"Yeah I found you passed out and bleeding."

"Oh" he said softly "sorry."

"Don't be...you can't control your body." He walked over and sat down at the foot of the bed. "I should've known you weren't able. I mean you could barely make it up here from the car." he paused and Clark just looked at him "How do you feel?"

"Not good." He clenched his eyes shut as another wave of pain shot through and he winced when he touched the source of it. Just above his right eye was a bandage with red seeping through. Almost the entire right side of his face was bruised and the upper half was swollen.

"You hit your head really hard and I'm pretty sure you have a concussion." He stood up "So stay in bed all day and call me in the morning." He laughed and Clark stared at him, "Okay, bad joke, never mind. Uh, do you want something to eat?"

"Yeah...please."

"Alright what sounds good? Eggs? Cereal? French toast?"

Clark thought for a moment, "A hamburger."

"A hamburger? Are you serious?"

"Yeah...is that okay?"

"Uh sure, I don't see why not. I'll go get them started." He turned to leave the room "Oh there's a tooth brush, deodorant and all that stuff in there for you." He pointed to the bathroom.

Clark nodded and moved to leave the bed but stopped. "Uh...I don't have any clothes on."

"Oh right. Sorry about that" he went to the bathroom and picked up the pajamas from where he dropped them, "I uh...well you know, with what happened...I umm...sorry." He held the blue pajamas out and Clark took them with an embarrassed, flushed face. "Right, well...onto hamburgers." He turned and left the room before it became more uncomfortable for the both of them.

Clark dressed in the drawstring pants and t-shirt. The soft fabric felt like silk against his rough skin. He went into the bathroom and stood in front of the sink, staring at his reflection. He felt sick at the sight. He didn't look like the Clark Kent he knew for sixteen years. He looked like he'd been kidnapped, starved and tortured for months. He'd lost a considerable amount of weight. Grisly bruises and cuts covered his pale skin. His head felt and looked like an elephant had stepped on it. He took a deep breath and picked up the toothbrush with his shaky hand. It wasn't easy but he was able to get the multicolored toothpaste onto the brush with his uninjured hand and his mobile fingers. He brushed for over five minutes, brushing the months of not brushing away. He smiled into the mirror, looking at his shiny, slightly crooked and finally clean teeth.

Logan was unsure of how much Clark would eat so he made a plate full of burgers, cheese and regular. He filled a bowl with chips and a smaller dish with chip dip. He didn't want Clark to over exert himself so they ate in the master bedroom. Clark sat on the bed with a tray and Logan sat on the lounger with the end table holding his food. They remained silent for most of the meal, occasionally one would say something but mostly it was Logan. He realized, as he sat there with this kid he'd known for months, that he really didn't know him at all. He knew his name, that he had super abilities and that he did something to catch Lionel Luthor's attention but that was all. "Clark, can I ask you a question?" he put down his second burger.

Clark swallowed, "Yeah"

"Where are you from?" he asked.

"Umm...if you're wondering about my abilities...I don't know where they came from." he lied. He wasn't in the mood to explain his alien origins.

"No I mean where do you live?" he smiled.

Clark breathed a sigh of relief, "Oh. Smallville, well I used to." He took the first bite of his third cheeseburger.

"Did you move?"

"No, I just" he sighed, "It's complicated." The truth was he hadn't lived in Smallville for months prior to his ordeal. But telling the story would only bring memories he didn't want to think about.

"I see. So what's Smallville like? Small?" he laughed and mentally kicked himself for being stupid.

Clark smiled, "Yeah, it's a great town."

"Did you grow up there?"

"Yeah"

"So what'd you do for fun? Sports and all that?"

"No I spend most of my time with my friends and helping on the farm."

"You live on a farm? That's so cool." He said while chewing.

"It's not that cool."

"Yes it is. I've lived in the city my entire life; there's constant noise and you don't have a yard to play in. I always thought it would be great to live on a farm. To have cows and chickens and all that crap."

Clark smiled, "Yeah I guess it's better than here." Thinking of the farm, his home made him miserable because he missed it so much. He missed his parents, his friends and his life. "Uh how's your arm?" he changed the subject.

"Oh it's fine, sore, but fine." he paused "How's your head?" he finished his burger and began snacking on chips.

"It hurts but I'll live." This time he wasn't lying. His body still ached viciously but he knew he was safe from Lionel for now and that was enough for him. His stomach gurgled loudly, "I'm not sure if hamburgers were a good idea..." he felt the acidic liquids rising up, "I think I'm going to be sick." He held his hand over his mouth and went to the bathroom as fast has he could. Logan could hear him and felt horrible. This poor kid couldn't even keep food down because of what he's been through. He knew he shouldn't have fed him greasy hamburgers either but he'd eaten nothing but bread and broth for months and deserved to eat what he wanted. After a few minutes Clark came out holding his stomach, "Hamburgers were definitely not a good idea."

Logan smiled; "Yeah sorry" he got up and took the tray from the bed. "Get some rest and we can try the eating thing later...something simple and non-greasy." He smiled. Clark weakly climbed into the bed, pulled the covers up and instantly fell asleep.

-The Next Morning-

Clark woke again to panicked breaths and sweaty sheets. His aching muscles and shooting pains had abated some but still lingered. He laid in bed, staring at the tall ceiling for an hour before getting up. After a quick trip to the bathroom he entered the living room. Logan was sitting on the sofa, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper. He folded his newspaper and placed it on the coffee table. "Ah so you finally decided to wake up." He smiled.

"How long was I out?" he asked while sitting in one of the matching leather chairs.

"Since yesterday morning...almost twenty four hours. That's got to be a record." He laughed.

Clark ran his hand through his wild hair, "Wow."

They sat in silence for a few minutes then Logan spoke, "Listen, I know the last thing you need right now is to be left alone but I need to run a few errands. No one knows you're here so if you just stay put you'll be fine."

"Oh, well...I'll be okay." Logan was right; he didn't want to be left alone. Not in a strange place when, no doubt, Lionel had his men searching for him. "Umm, how long will you be gone?"

"Twenty minutes, tops." He stood, walked towards the door then turned back. "You should eat something. There's food in the refrigerator and the pantry. Eat whatever you want...but make it somewhat healthy." He smiled and Clark nodded back. "Alright, see you in twenty." With that he walked out the door. Clark could hear him locking it from the outside and then nothing. He sat for a while, listening to the faint sounds of the streets below. After his stomach growled a few times he decided to eat. He walked into the galley kitchen and began searching for food that wouldn't make him sick.

Down the Street

A black, windowless, unmarked van drove down the street with the flowing traffic. Two burly men sat in the front seats. They both wore black pants and black leather coats. The drive spoke, "There's no telling what Luthor will do if we don't find them. He about lost it when I told him what happened." The other man nodded along. "I still don't understand how this happened, it doesn't make..." the other man cut him off.

"Wait! Look...isn't that Dr. Lacey." He pointed to a man walking in the opposite direction on the sidewalk.

The driver squinted his eyes, "It's him." He grinned and turned the van into a nearby parking lot. "We'll follow him and see if he takes us to the kid." The van pulled back into the street in the same direction as Logan. Luckily, for them, the traffic was slow moving and they were able to keep pace with him.

"He's going into that store." One of the goons pointed, "Lets just get him now and force him to tell where the kid is."

"Sounds good to me. Luthor will be glad we found one of them." The driver pulled into an alley near the grocery store Logan entered. They hopped out of the black van and waited against the side of the building.

One of them peaked around the corner, "He's coming."

He grinned, "Good."

They waited until Logan was halfway across the alley entrance. The larger of the two ran behind him, put his gloved hand over his mouth and shoved a gun into his back. "Scream and you die." He pulled him back into the alley and they threw him kicking and now screaming into the back. One jumped into the back with him while the other drove. "Where's the kid?" he asked, his gun pointed at Logan's head.

Logan glared at him without an answer. He knew they wouldn't kill him, they needed him, needed answers. "Where is he?" the goon shouted. Logan kept silent and the goon pistol-whipped him across the face. Logan held his cheek and groaned. He knew they were taking him to Lionel but he also knew it was coming. When he began planning Clark's rescue he knew if he we successful Lionel would stop at nothing until he found him.

MetroPalaces

Twenty minutes. Logan said twenty minutes. One hour had passed and Clark began to worry. He sat on the soft leather sofa and watched the door. Any minute Logan would walk into the apartment and apologize for taking longer than expected. Two hours passed by when he began to panic. Something happened, he knew it, something happened to Logan. Did Lionel find him? Kill him? Would they walk through the door instead of Logan? He was terrified of being found and taken back to Lionel. He knew he needed to do something. He couldn't stay in that apartment alone and afraid.

He walked to the built-in desk adjacent to the kitchen. He sat in the chrome swivel chair, put his elbows on the desk and his head in his hands. He breathed a shaky deep breath and reached for the phone. He listened to the dial tone and held his trembling index finger inches above the black buttons. He dialed and waited, listening to the echoing electronic rings. A voice, a sweet, soft, comforting voice answered, "Hello?" His throat choked from the sound of the voice. "Hello?" it asked again.

His was voice quiet but hoarse, "M-Mom"

Chapter 15

"Clark?" she said gently.

"Mom...I..." a trail of tears fell from his eyes when he heard her voice. He swallowed hard, trying to contain the lump in his throat and softly spoke, "I'm scared."

"Clark, where are you sweetie?" she said through her tears.

"I don't know." His was voice shaky and panicked, "He didn't come back...I'm alone..." his pace became rapid, "I don't know what to do...I think they found him...they're going to come back for me...I'm scared...they hurt me mom."

"Calm down, honey. Who are you talking about? Who hurt you?" She felt horrible fear rising for her child.

It was evident that Clark was in a panicked state. She could hear his series of quick, shallow breaths. "Mom please come get me" his voice lowered "I think they're coming. He never came back."

"Tell me where you are." She tried to remain calm and not panic herself.

"I don't know..." he looked over the desk trying to find something, anything that would tell him where he was. "I don't know." His breathing became more labored.

"Are you in Metropolis?" she asked.

"Um, yeah...I think" he saw a stack of envelopes lying next to a few newspapers. He held the phone against his shoulder and grabbed the envelopes with his uninjured hand. He put them down and wiped his eyes so he could read the address, "I'm at twenty-four...M-Metro Ave...apartment one thirteen." He dropped them and took the phone back into his shaky hand.

"One thirteen" she said to herself as she was writing it down. "Okay, Dad and I will be there as soon as possible."

"He said he'd be back in 20 minutes...it's been over 2 hours. I don't know what to do, mom. What do I do if they come? I can't stop them...they'll hurt me again. I don't know what to do, what should I do??"

She could hear his deep wheezing breaths and knew he was hyperventilating. "Clark, listen to me my angel. I want you to sit down and put your head between your legs. Can you do that for me?"

"O-Okay" he scooted from the desk and bent over.

"Now try to calm your breathing down baby. Breathe with mommy - in...and out...in...and out" When she heard him taking slower, deep breaths she continued. "Clark, I love you sweetheart. You are not alone baby. Mommy and daddy are coming, okay?"

"Okay" he exhaled deeply and shaky.

"Is there a place for you to lie down and rest until we get there?"

"Yes"

"Then you take the phone with you and leave it beside you. I'm going to hang up and go get your father now so we can come get you. If you need anything before I get there, call me...I'm bringing my cell phone." she took a deep breath and sniffed, "Clark I love you."

His voice cracked. "I love you too." He hung up the phone and put his trembling hand on his throbbing head. He clenched his eyes, squeezing tears through until the hard throbs subsided.

Kent Farm

Martha held the cordless phone to her chest with her trembling right hand. She let out a small sob, closed her eyes and let her tears stream down her rosy cheeks. His terrified voice echoed through her thoughts, They hurt me mom...I can't stop them. She let the phone fall to the wood floor, buzzing from a forgotten connection. Frantically she turned to the screen door leading from the kitchen to the outside. She couldn't shake the feelings of fear she heard in Clark's voice. "Oh God, Clark..." She ran with all her might towards the screen door and banged it open with such force the top hinges fell to the ground. She tried to stay strong and composed but panic was trying to overtake. She began yelling before she reached the barn, "Jonathan!!" her legs continuing their punishing pace to reach her husband. She found him just inside the barn doing his daily farm work. She felt the rising panic of desperation from needing to get to her child but three hours separated her from reaching her goal.

Jonathan was standing over his tool chest placing his wrenches back in their spots when he heard his name being frantically called. "Jonathan!!!" he looked towards the door. Martha was running towards him at full speed, her face terror stricken. "Jonathan!!"

He knew something was horribly wrong for her to be so frantic. He dropped the wrench he held and jogged to her. "Martha what is it? What's wrong?"

Her breaths were deep from running and panic. "We have to leave now! It's Clark! He called! We need to get him! He's in Metropolis! He's scared, Jonathan! Hurry!" she grabbed his arm, her strength belying her 5'2" frame and pulled him as she began her exit from the barn.

"Martha!" she kept pulling "Martha stop!" he pulled his arm away and put his hands on her shoulders stopping her. He turned her around and saw her tear stained face. "What's going on? Clark called?"

Her breathing calmed, she sighed heavily and began to cry as she spoke. "He's hurt Jonathan, and alone and scared. We need to go now!"

Jonathan held her shoulders tight, "What did he say?"

She became frustrated; "We don't have time for this Jonathan! He needs us! We have to leave now!" she pulled away from his grip and began walking.

"Wait Martha" he ran up to her and was about to ask more questions.

She stopped abruptly and began to sob, "I told you, he's hurt...someone's hurt him and he's scared that they're coming back."

Jonathan pulled her into an embrace and began to understand her urgency. "Okay...it's okay. Get your purse and we'll leave now." He said calmly. She pulled away, wiped her tears and rushed to the yellow house. Jonathan was still confused about what had happened but decided to wait until they're were in the truck and she had calmed to find answers. He turned off the barn lights as he walked out and went straight to the red Dodge Ram. He began to go over what she said. Clark was hurt, but how could he be? Someone hurt him, they knew about his weakness. He logically tried to analyze the situation but began to feel the fear and urgency Martha had. Clark was in harm and needed him. He threw his thoughts out the window and focused on one thing, getting to his son.

-One-Hour Later-

The Kent truck sped down the expressway towards Metropolis. Jonathan normally didn't drive as fast as he was going today, but he was on a mission. The fear for his son was growing stronger in him and he wasn't going to let anything slow him down. Once Martha had calmed and they were well on their way, she gave him the details of her phone call from Clark.

Martha sat in the middle seat next to Jonathan, trembling slightly from her nerves. "Jonathan, what if Clark didn't run away like we thought? What if someone took him and that's why he's so scared."

"After you told me what he said I was thinking the same thing. But for now, lets concentrate on bringing him home and making him feel safe. We'll deal with what really happened after that."

"He sounded petrified. He started to hyperventilate. I've never heard him so frightened. Oh God Jonathan, what if all this time he needed us and we just left him alone." Her voice cracked when she spoke of her son in that state. Knowing her baby was hurting broke her into pieces.

"I know, sweetheart." He put his hand on her knee and rubbed it comfortingly. "It'll be okay. We'll work through this together, as a family." He put his arm around her shoulder, pulled her close and continued down the expressway.

Lionel's Office

Lex walked past his father's secretary with a wave and smile. He was about to enter the hallway leading to the office when he heard voices just through the doors. He never passed up a chance to hear dirt on his father so he stopped to listen. The harsh, unsophisticated voices told him they were some of the many minions his father hired.

"Man, what are the odds that we'd find him walking down the street." He laughed. "There's no telling what Luthor would do to us if we didn't find them after an escape like that."

"Yeah but he's more interested in that 'super' kid. The doc isn't worth much other than telling us where he stashed the kid. Maybe we can beat it outta him" he said with a laugh, while cracking his knuckles.

"I don't think we'll have to worry...that kid was messed up real bad. He won't get far on his own before we find him."

Lex heard enough; he pushed the doors open and walked into the hall. The goons immediately straightened and wiped their smirks away. Lex laughed at them, "At ease" he said sarcastically with a solute.

"Uh, Good morning Mr. Luthor. You're father's busy at the moment but..."

"But nothing, I'll see him if I want to." Lex ignored their protests and pushed open the double doors. He walked in and saw Lionel standing menacingly in front of another man. Lionel looked to Lex as he strode into the office and quickly back to Logan. "Hi Dad" he smiled "Who's your friend?"

MetroPalaces

The elevator doors slid open; Jonathan and Martha walked out. Jonathan read the small plaque on the wall telling which apartments were down which hall. "It's this way" he said and began briskly walking down a hallway, Martha directly behind him. They walked and looked at every door, "Down there, it's the last door." He pointed to the end of the hallway at a door with the numbers one thirteen hanging beside it. They reached the door, Jonathan turned the doorknob but it was locked. He knocked on the door, "Clark!" he knocked more urgently

Clark was sitting underneath the kitchen breakfast bar, between two barstools. He hugged his knees tight against his chest, his eyes were squeezed shut and his body shook. A loud knock echoed through the lofted space. He cringed and squeezed his legs tighter. "NO! I'm won't go back there! You can't take me back!" he yelled with a hoarse voice.

Jonathan and Martha exchanged fearful glances and he knocked again, "Clark it's Dad, Mom's here too! Let us in, Son!"

"NO! I can't go back to that place!" he cried, his voice choked and frantic.

"Jonathan we have to do something. Maybe we should get the manager to open the door." Martha pleaded.

"I don't think we have time." Martha nodded in understanding; both silently realizing their son was on the breaking point. Jonathan thought for a moment "Martha stand over here."

"What are you going to do?" she stepped to the side.

"I'm going to get our son." He stood sideways, braced himself and shoved his shoulder into the beech wood door. He stood back to throw himself again at the unmovable door. He heard Clark scream from inside with an increased intensity on each word, "No! Please somebody help me! Please!" Jonathan was more determined than ever, he leaned back and kicked the door once, twice, three times when it burst open with a vengeance.

"Clark?" he yelled, running down the hall, clumsily knocking over a small entryway table. "Where are you son?" Martha followed close on his heals. Jonathan rounded the corner and stood in the galley kitchen, breathing heavily. He could hear muffled whimpers and mumbling from around the counter. He ran around and looked downward. There he saw his son, his 16-year old boy cowering under the breakfast bar. His head dug into his knees, shaking, rocking back and forth. His voice pleading, "No...please don't take me back...please...please..." Jonathan reached out to grab Clark in an embrace when Clark shot his arm out defensively, to ward off all evils. "NO! Not again! No!" he choked out while keeping his head down and eyes tightly shut. Jonathan stepped back, horror-struck that his son didn't recognize him.

Martha came up behind Jonathan and put a hand on his shoulder. Jonathan looked at her with fear in his eyes and nodded in understanding. He moved out of the way while Martha slowly bent down to Clark, all the while speaking to him in her soothing, motherly way. "Clark..." she reached out and touched his arm; he flinched. "Mommy's here my angel." she said soothingly. She could feel his trembling when she gently rubbed his wild hair. "It's okay...look at me sweetheart."

Clark slowly peeked above his knees and opened his dazed eyes. He took in the sight of his mother kneeling before him, her golden red tresses falling beside her cheeks and her comforting, tear-filled eyes. "M-Mom?" he said in a barely audible whisper.

She could see his pain and fear in his weary, bloodshot eyes. She leaned in and put her hand on his left cheek, "I'm here honey." His face crumbled at her words and he whispered 'Mom' again and broke down. His body wracked in huge sobs and she guided his head to her shoulder. She rocked him as if he was still her small child. "It's okay my baby, mommy's here, mommy's here." Tears streamed down her cheeks and fell onto his blue shirt.

Jonathan looked at the scene before him with tears in his eyes. He was glad they finally had their son back but it ripped him apart inside to see him in this condition. He reached out to join in their embrace but pulled back realizing that Clark needed his mother right now. He wrapped his arms around his middle and continued to watch his battered son hang on to his mother as if his life depended on it. After several minutes, Clark's sobs had quieted down and Martha put her fingers under his chin to tilt his head up and look into her eyes. "Clark, we need to get you out of here. Let's stand up, okay?" Clark nodded and took her hand as she gently guided him from under the bar. Clark stood up with very shaky legs and held onto the barstool to steady himself. He kept his sight fixed on the floor. Martha gasped at his appearance and turned to Jonathan for confirmation that she was seeing him correctly. She saw Jonathan's pained expression and knew that her son had been brutalized beyond her imagination. His face held dark bruises and a bandage over a swollen wound. His arms were covered in cuts and sores, and a large dirty white cast on his left wrist. He appeared to have lost over twenty pounds; his body was frail and ghostly pale.

Clark cleared his throat and spoke quietly through his tears, "I-I don't want to burden you anymore" he sniffed and began absently rubbing a sore on his arm, "but I can't handle anymore...please take me somewhere safe." he started nervously looking from the floor to the broken open door, back and forth, "I...they're going to find me and...I need your help just one more time..." His eyes turned wild as he continued to glance towards the door, fearing that at any moment they would walk through. "...please."

Martha put her hand to her mouth and began to cry again. Jonathan immediately stepped forward and put his hand on Clark's shoulder. Clark flinched away at his father's touch, but Jonathan persisted. "You are not a burden to us. We love you, you are our son." Clark kept his head down and his cries shook his upper body.

Jonathan squeezed his shoulder and Martha stepped forward. She took his hand in hers, "Oh Clark..." she caressed his cheek "Please forgive us. You have always been our special boy, our gift from the stars. We won't let anyone hurt you anymore." She put her arm around his waist and led him to the living room. She took an afghan that was draped across the sofa and wrapped it around Clark's shivering body. "Let's go home." She wrapped her arms around him and gently led him towards the hallway. Clark hesitated as they reached the doorway and shook his head. Martha tightened her embrace, "It's okay honey; everything's going to be okay now." She nudged him along and they continued to the hallway. Jonathan followed in their wake, overcome with the severity of what had transpired before him. His son, his only son, no longer felt safe with him.

Chapter 16

Kent Truck

The Kent family truck was speedily in route to Smallville. Jonathan wanted to reach home before dark but he was careful this time not to drive too quickly and risk a speeding ticket. His face held a pained expression as his mind recounted what happened back in the apartment. Clark was afraid, and more to the point was insecure with Jonathan. Clark must feel betrayed. He was left alone to suffer through God knows what and his own father never lifted a finger to find him and bring him home. Jonathan wondered how he could have made such a crucial error of judgment. How he could have been so nave to think Clark left home on his own, especially after he had just returned. He looked over at his boy, sitting between he and Martha, sleeping fitfully on her shoulder. He noticed the pain of his ordeal coming out while he slept, with gasps and jerky movements.

Lionel stood from the table and put his hands in his pockets, "What makes you think keeping quiet will help your situation?" he paused, "Oh, I know, you're waiting. You think if you keep your secrets long enough someone will come and rescue you." He paused with a laugh, "I think you'd find it interesting to know that your own parents aren't looking for you." Still no reaction "Mr. Kent, I have been holding you for nearly six weeks now, did you think I wouldn't check the missing persons reports? I have more sources on the inside than you think and trust me, there has been no report filed concerning yourself. I've asked my sources in Smallville and I am told that your parents haven't asked around town about you either. It seems no one is out to rescue you." He snickered.

Very quietly, Clark whispered in his plagued sleep, "You're lying, you're lying, you're lying..." Martha rubbed his head, "shhhh baby, shhhh."

Clark jolted up, startled from both his dream and his mother's touch and anxiously looked at his surroundings. He noticed he was in a speeding car and became frantic, "No! I won't go back!!" his arms flailing out before him. Martha quickly reached out and pulled his arms into her lap. He turned to her, quieting in a moment of recognition and heaved heavy breaths. He turned to his other side and saw his dad at the wheel with a look of concern etched on his face. Clark sighed deeply, lowered his head and whispered, "I feel so empty inside and it won't go away."

Martha pulled him in tight to her and gently squeezed his shoulder. She whispered, "We love you sweetheart. Everything is going to be okay" and kissed the side of his head. Jonathan rested his hand on Clark's knee and gave it a gentle squeeze. Clark visibly tensed but understood this was what he needed. His parents. Clark forced himself to stay awake, not wanting to endure another nightmare in front of his parents. He kept his head on his mother's shoulder, his shaky arms tightly wrapped around his aching stomach and his gaze to the floor.

The remainder of the ride home was taken in silence. With two loving parents holding tightly to their battered son. A bruised but reunited family.

Motel

"So Logan, I trust you slept comfortably?" Lex asked as he sat in the shabby chair in front of the aged Zenith TV. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to offer you more amenable accommodations, but I felt it was more important to set us up here in this motel where my father would never think to look for me." He displayed his hands outwardly in a sweeping gesture, "I wouldn't necessarily use the word 'luxury' when describing this place." He stood and looked out the window at the neon lights blinking directly across the street, highlighting 'Mel's Massage Parlor'.

"It was fine, considering..." Logan said as he glanced around the room. A vague musty smell, which wafted from the dank carpet, made his nose crinkle. "Umm, I appreciate your help with my...unfortunate situation yesterday" absentmindedly rubbing the dark bruise laid across his cheek which still stung from the pistol whipping he received. "I don't want to sound ungrateful but I really need to leave. There's something very important I need to take care of." He glanced over at Lex who was turning around to face him. Realizing that Lex was Lionel's son, he added, "I am allowed to leave, aren't I?"

"Of course, but I wouldn't advise it. My father will have every hired hand in his employ out searching for you...and me."

"Well that's not something new to me, I'm afraid." Logan said, glancing at Lex apprehensively.

"Logan just what exactly are you involved in with my father?" Lex asked "He seemed awfully determined to get answers from you yesterday."

"Your father is a man with some very curious interests. In this case, he found someone special, shall we say."

"And how does this involve you?"

"I'm a part of his contingent who are called in when special services are required on the QT. I was brought in to provide the medical care necessary to keep this individual alive."

Lex nodded and turned around, his back facing Logan, concern furrowing his brow. He cleared his throat, "What can you tell me about this individual?"

Logan sighed and lowered his head, "That he's an innocent kid, caught up in an act so heinous that I could no longer bear to be associated with it. So I helped him escape."

Lex turned and faced Logan, his curiosity peaked, "Where is he now?"

"I left him tucked away somewhere safe. However, I'm not so sure my plan was full proof since Lionel's henchmen found me not two miles from him."

Lex nodded, "This kid...does he have a name?"

Logan looked carefully into Lex's eyes, trying to ascertain his sincerity. "Yes he does Mr. Luthor but after what he's been put through for the past few months, I cannot...I will not hurt him any further."

Lex exhaled in frustration, "You must know by now that I have your best interest at heart. It isn't every day I pull a gun on my father in his own office to take his 'associate' away from his care. You can trust me Logan." He said, looking him straight in the eyes.

"That may be so but this kid has been to hell and back. I can't betray him anymore. This experience has left him fragile enough as it is. I need to get back to him and see that he's all right. I need to take him to his home."

"And where would that be?" Lex pried more.

"Oh a little place you've probably never even heard of...Smallville."

Kent Farm

Martha stood in the kitchen fixing dinner, while Jonathan was outside checking on the livestock. Both of their minds were going over the overwhelming events of the day. They arrived home from Metropolis just one short hour ago. Both Jonathan and Martha helped Clark slowly make the trek from the truck to the house on wobbly legs. At the threshold of their front door Clark hesitated and hiccupped, trying to hold onto some semblance of emotional control. It was obvious he was feeling an enormous rush of emotion over returning to his childhood home. Both parents gave him a gentle squeeze of reassurance and carefully guided him through the door to the living room couch.

His eyes were closed almost before he lay down. Martha went to grab a blanket from the hall closet to calm his ever-present shivers. She tucked the blanket securely around Clark and lifted his feet to put the blanket under them as if she were wrapping a package. They looked at their sleeping child and wondered what horrors he had experienced. Martha and Jonathan simultaneously reached out to one another and clasped their hands together in a silent moment of reassurance between them; praying for the strength they would need to help their fragile family through this ordeal.

Martha was jarred from her thoughts by a knock on their kitchen door. She lowered the wooden spoon to the side of the cook pot and went to answer the door. Lex stood at the door, wearing his usual tailored black slacks and crisp shirt and examined the damaged screen door. "Hello Mrs. Kent" he said with a smile.

Martha looked at him, slightly shocked then remembered it was Sunday evening. It was his usual time to come over and enjoy dinner with her and Jonathan.

"What happened to your door?" Lex asked curiously.

"Oh Lex! I completely forgot that today was Sunday. I'm afraid this isn't a good time right now" she answered as he was walking through the door.

"Is everything ok, Mrs. Kent? Where's Mr. Kent?"

She guided him with her arm back towards the door, "He's out in the fields checking on the livestock. Can we please take a rain check on dinner?" Lex looked at her quizzically and wondered about her sudden urgency in rushing him away. Then they heard a low moan coming from the couch and both glanced over to the living room.

"Mom?" it first came very quietly and then it grew louder, "Mom??" Martha left Lex standing in the doorway without another thought and rushed to the source of the cries. Clark shot up to a sitting position from the couch, "Mom!!"

"I'm here baby, mommy's here." She said while brushing his hair away from his eyes as he searched the room to gain his bearings.

Lex was completely forgotten as he stared at the sight before him, "Clark?" he said under his breath. He battled the need to go and see his best friend but realized that this was a time where he would not be welcome. He took special notice of Clark's battered face and the frightened look in his eyes. He silently left the farmhouse all the while remembering the conversation he had with Logan about the 'special' kid who had been subjected to heinous experiments.

-Back In the Living Room-

The familiar smell of biscuits baking and chicken soup warming on the stove floated through the air as Clark awoke to the memory of his mother and the empty feeling that wouldn't leave him. He opened his eyes and needed to see her. He called her name but received no answer. He began to feel the now common panic of being alone and called her again; still no answer, no one came. He sat up and bellowed out "Mom!!" Almost instantly she was at his side and her soothing voice was calming him. She hugged him tightly and told him he was home and he visibly relaxed at her touch. He felt light headed and extremely drained. He realized his mother was cooking dinner in the kitchen and his stomach growled loud enough for her to hear. She smiled at him and took his shaking hand in hers. She helped him from the couch and guided him to the table.

"A-Are you baking biscuits? I smell biscuits." Clark asked as his stomach growled once again.

Martha felt a leap of joy at his interest in food. "Your dad should be in any moment. Why don't I fix you a bowl of soup and some biscuits? When your dad comes in he can help you upstairs to the bathroom so you can shower."

"Okay" he held his head down as he took his seat.

Martha hurried to the kitchen and moments later returned with a dish in hand. She placed a bowl of chicken soup and small plate of biscuits in front of him, "There you go sweetie."

The smell of the homemade soup made his mouth water "Thank you" he said softly "I hope you didn't go to any trouble just for me." Martha looked at him with concern, wondering why he made such a statement. He picked up his spoon and brought his first bite to his mouth. He tested it with his tongue and blew lightly on the steaming soup. Once it was cooled enough, he enthusiastically ate. The warmth of the liquid soothed his aching throat as it flowed down to his stomach. He ate almost the entire bowl, filling his empty stomach until it started to make an upsetting gurgling noise. He felt the acid that continued to plaque him rising. He dropped his spoon and held his mouth.

Martha heard the spoon clank against the bowl from in the kitchen and walked into the dining room, "Clark, what's wrong?" Suddenly Clark bent over to his side and vomited his soup onto the floor. Martha hurried over to him and gently rubbed his back "Oh sweetheart is your stomach bothering you still?"

Tears came to his eyes, "I'm...I'm so sorry...I didn't mean to...I'll clean it up. I'm sorry."

"It's okay Clark." she said softly.

Clark grew inconsolable, "No, it's my fault again. I'll just clean up and it'll be okay." He quickly rose from his chair with his bowl in his hand and began walking towards the kitchen. He only made it a couple of steps when his legs crumbled beneath him, he dropped the bowl as he fell and it shattered into pieces on the floor. "Oh no! I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Please...don't send me away. I need to stay here for a little while longer. I can't handle being alone right now. Please, please..." He hugged his knees to his chest and the tears poured down his cheeks.

What have they done to my child? she thought as she knelt beside him. "It's okay angel, it's okay" She tried to pull him into an embrace but he resisted her, desperately looking to her eyes for confirmation that he could stay.

Just then Jonathan walked into the kitchen and saw the scene before him. He rushed over and bent down beside them, "Martha, Clark." He said worriedly.

"Please dad, I'll clean it up! I didn't mean to drop it...I'll fix this. Please let me stay...I'm so scared...he'll come back for me." Clark begged.

Martha looked at Jonathan frantically, her eyes pleading for him to do something. "Clark, look at me." He waited "Look at me, son." Clark slowly turned his tear filled eyes to his father. "Your mother and I are not angry with you. This is only a broken dish, we aren't upset." He reassured "Let me take you upstairs. You'll feel better once you have a shower." Clark, seeing his father's earnest eyes, agreed with a nod and together Martha and Jonathan helped him up the stairs and to the bathroom. Clark's breaths were deep from his panic and exertion.

In the bathroom, Martha turned the antique shower knobs on to let the water warm. Jonathan helped Clark remove his shirt and pants. Clark would not make eye contact with either of his parents. Martha's hand went to her chest as she took in the sight of her son's battered body. Deep purplish bruises covered his chest and back. Open, angry cuts that refused to heal were scattered with the bruises.

Jonathan just sighed, "Clark..." and reached a hand out to touch him.

"Could I p-please have a plastic bag to wrap my wrist?" he looked to his mother then down at the ground. Martha nodded, too upset to speak and left the small bathroom. Clark stood facing the shower with his shoulder pressed against the wall and eyes tightly shut. Jonathan kept his eyes fixed on Clark's shirt he held in his hands, not able to bear the sight of Clark's bruised body. Martha came back with a plastic grocery bag and some masking tape and wrapped his wrist for him. His parents then stepped outside to allow him some privacy while he showered. He knew they were waiting just outside the door. Through the entire shower he worried that he might pass out again and was glad they were outside in case he did. When he finished, he wrapped a towel around his waist and opened the door. "I'm done," he told them, for lack of anything better to say.

They entered his room and Martha went to his dresser and pulled out a pair of blue boxers and some socks. Clark dressed himself slowly then turned back to his parents. They stood near the doorway staring at him as if he were an alien. He could see the pity and shock in their eyes and quickly looked away to the floor. Martha came up to him, pulled his head down to her and kissed his hair. "You'll never know how sorry we are for allowing you to be hurt this deeply," she said to him with tears welling up.

Jonathan came over and stood beside them, "Son, you are the most important person in our lives and we will do everything in our power to make you feel safe again in your home and with us. We love you so much" he said, choking up at those last words.

Clark looked to the ground, nodded his head and moved over to stand beside his bed. His shoulders shook from his silent sobs and a few tears fell onto his soft sheets. He reached out and gently caressed the covers of his bed. He touched his pillow tenderly and whispered under his breath, "I missed this."

Miami Airport

"Last call for passengers boarding United, flight 118 nonstop to the Cayman Islands." The attendant announced over the PA.

Logan handed the gate checker his ticket, she ripped a small piece from the perforated edge and handed it back to him, "Enjoy your flight." She said with a smile.

Logan smiled back, "Thank you" he held tight to his small carry on, glanced nervously one last time around the crowded room and walked down the hall towards the plane. He knew Lex had made all the arrangements for his safe departure out of the country. He had taken several different flights under the alias of Carl Belton and was doubtful that any of Lionel's men would have caught up to him at this point.

He was greeted by the pilot and a flight attendant upon entering the crowded plane. He thought about everything that had happened over the past few days as he waited for other passengers stow their carry-on baggage and clear the aisle. He remembered Clark's bravery and defiance during his captivity. He remembered his own convoluted attempt to help Clark escape. He remembered the explosion from the oven and hoped every piece of evidence about the boy was singed. He thought about when he and Clark ate hamburgers. How Clark's face looked like it was experiencing a slice of heaven from his food, until his stomach told him otherwise and he ran to the bathroom. And he remembered Clark's expression of anxiety masked with bravery when he told him he needed to step out for twenty minutes. He hated leaving Clark after seeing that look, he was like a lost puppy dog. He was just a kid. No matter how special he was or what abilities he had, he didn't deserve the kind of treatment Lionel Luthor had given him. It was a wonder to Logan that Clark was able to escape that place with as much courage as he had, even when he knew there wasn't much left to lose.

Logan took his seat next to the window and placed his carry on underneath the seat in front of him. He put on his headset so the passenger sitting next to him wouldn't disturb him. He closed his eyes and put his head back to rest against the back of the seat. He kept seeing Clark's anxious look as he walked out the door of the apartment. Clark had grown to trust him and needed him to return; he could see that clearly on his face as he left. If anything, the kid had an easy face to read. Which made his discovery of Clark's absence from the apartment that much more heart wrenching to deal with.

When Logan walked back to the apartment after the evening he met with Lex, he prayed he would find Clark safely tucked away where he was left. As he got off the elevator and began his long walk down the hallway to the apartment, he knew something was wrong; he just felt it. He reached apartment one thirteen and saw the broken door. After a brief moment's hesitation, he stepped inside and saw the entry table knocked over. Fear began creeping up the back of his neck, fighting to overtake him. He leaned against the wall to gather his composure before stepping further into the apartment. He knew it, he knew Clark wasn't there but he had to look anyway. He searched the apartment before he called Lex and explained what had happened...that someone had taken the boy. Lex arrived within the hour and took Logan into his protection. By the next morning Lex had Logan on an airplane under a pseudonym and off to safety, knowing that whomever took the boy would be after Logan next.

Lex proved himself to be every bit as trustworthy as he claimed and Logan only wished that he had realized that a day sooner. He couldn't help but think that Lex could have helped save Clark from being taken again. A tear ran down his face and he thought of how he had failed Clark in not fulfilling his promise of returning him home. He said a silent prayer that Clark was safe, wherever he was.

Three Months Later

The Smallville County School bus lumbered to a stop in front of the Kent's house. Clark sat alone on the vinyl bench seat. Both Chloe and Pete had driven to school today because they needed to stay after to work at the Torch. Clark was feeling a degree of contentment these days, but still he wasn't ready to take on any after-school projects. He always felt the intense responsibility to go immediately home to help with the upkeep of the farm. He usually worked way past dark or until his mother would drag him back inside for dinner and homework. He promised himself that he would never be a burden to his parents, no matter what. He needed this life and he vowed to do everything in his power to ensure he was a perfect son.

He stared out the window, deep in thought when Mrs. Willows, the school bus driver turned around and shouted, "Clark hon, this is your stop."

Clark looked up, blinked and gathered his coat and backpack, "Thanks Mrs. Willows" he shot her his famous Kent grin.

"You're welcome, hon. Don't be late again tomorrow, I can't wait for you like I did today. I'm gonna get into trouble!"

"Yes ma'am" he yelled back as he headed through the gate towards his house. He noticed his dad's coat hanging over the side of the fence when he was halfway to the house and turned his direction to the barn. He kept his head lowered as he walked but quickly reprimanded himself for outwardly appearing withdrawn. He got closer to the barn and consciously decided to raise his head, look straight ahead and put on a smile. "Hi dad!" He said, cheerfully.

"Hey son...how was school?" Jonathan kept his attention on the tractor he was working on and Clark sighed. Ever since he returned home three months ago, his dad barely spoke to him other than formalities and he hardly ever looked him in the eyes.

Clark cleared his throat, "It was good, really good today. I think I aced the math quiz," he said with his smile still intact. Jonathan nodded his head "Dad, what can I help you with? Do you want me to give the tractor a lift?"

Jonathan briefly hesitated from his task, then continued on working "I'll give you a shout if I need your help, son."

Clark's smile crumbled and he took a deep breath, "Ok then, I'm going to head to the house to see if Mom needs any help" Jonathan nodded and Clark headed to the house, picking up his dad's coat off the fence along the way. He brought it into the house and hung it up on the hook. He never missed a chance to pay attention to the little details that would surely matter to his parents. "Mom! I'm home!"

Martha came down the stairs with a laundry basket full of clothes, "Hi sweetheart! You look happy, did you have a good day?"

Clark rushed over to take the basket from his mother's hands and noticed with a frown that he accidentally left his backpack on the floor. He hesitated, unsure of what to do, but decided to leave it in the hopes that it wouldn't bother his mother for the quick minute it would be on the floor. His breathing hitched ever so slightly at the errant thought that she would be displeased with him. He continued to smile, "Where do you want this?" he asked taking the basket from her hands.

She noticed his quick display of emotions and frowned, "Clark, you don't have to kill yourself over helping us out. This is your home too."

He only smiled, "Umm, where do you want this basket? Do you want me to fold them and put them away for you?"

"No sweetheart, why don't you run outside for me and get the mail. Then come to the kitchen and have some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk." She smiled.

"Ok mom and umm, thank you for that...I mean thank you for bak..."

She reached up to caress his cheek, "Clark, it's ok baby. Now why don't you go get the mail?"

"Sure mom." He said, giving her a slight smile. He left the laundry basket on the couch in the living room, picked up his backpack from the floor and hung it up on the spare hook then walked outside to get the mail. He made a mental note to try not to be so obvious when offering to help; his mom was definitely on to him. He noticed his dad was still working on the tractor and he stopped himself from going over there to offer more help. He took a deep, cleansing breath and practiced his smile in the hopes it would improve his mood. He walked to the end of the dirt driveway with a smile on his face. When he reached the mailbox he noticed it was stuffed tightly with letters and a small package wedged all the way inside. He gave the package a tug and the letters popped out and landed on the ground. He quickly bent down to retrieve them as he looked around to make sure his parents didn't see him make that mistake. He gathered the bundle of mail up in his hands, putting the letters on top of the small package. He walked back to the house and flipped through all the letters noticing that most of them were bills and a couple of useless ads. He sighed at the stack of bills his parents would have to pay; wishing he could alleviate their financial woes.

When he flipped over the last letter and the package came into view. It was a small brown package, neatly wrapped with twine and addressed to him. 'Clark Kent' was written in calligraphy with no address under his name nor a return address at the top. His curiosity peaked as he came up to the house. He climbed to the top of the porch stairs and sat down to open his package. He untied the twine and ripped the top open. He let the contents fall into his hand, one picture and a brief note. He turned the picture over and his face blanched; it was a picture of two vials of blood and three sections of skin on petri dishes, all labeled with his name. His heart began to pound out of his chest and his breathing hitched. He dropped the picture to the ground and shakily opened the note. His eyes were becoming blurry so he blinked several times to clear his vision and read the note. It read, "Did you really think that I was careless enough to leave all the samples in the building? Don't begin to feel relaxed yet Mr. Kent, it won't be much longer." The note was signed with a simple "L"

The note fell from his shaking hands and fluttered like a butterfly to the ground. His breaths became deep and labored. He wheezed rapidly and knew he was hyperventilating...again. He quickly tucked his head between his legs and in the process knocked the mail down the flight of stairs. He called out as loudly as he could but only managed a whisper between his heaved breaths, "Mom!" His last thought before he tumbled head first down the stairs into oblivion was that he hoped his parents weren't going to be mad that he dropped the mail.

THE END...For now



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