THE EARLY HOURS

DANIELLE FRANCES DUCREST

Disclaimers: Smallville belongs to the WB and a bunch of other people who are unknown to me and will likely never see this fanfic. Any copyright infringements were not intended. This story was written for entertainment and not for profit.

Spoilers and Timing: This has some heavy spoilers for "Exile" and "Phoenix." This takes place during "Exile."

Summary: "Exile" missing scene. The early adventures of Jonathan Kent, Man of Steel.

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I can do this. I can do this. Just gotta be careful not to crush things when I grip them and try not to run into things accidentally when I super-speed. Can't be too difficult, can't it? Just like learning to ride a bicycle: shaky at first, then second nature. Right. I can do this.

My mind ran through a hundred memories of when Clark was growing up. If he was able to adjust to his increasing strength and speed then so could I, even if I had only a few hours to get used to them while he had fourteen years.

I walked out of the caves and looked around at my surroundings. The sun was going down and it cast a much dimmer light in the clearing than I remembered when I'd first arrived at the caves. No one was there, and the only vehicle parked outside was my truck.

I wondered if I had heat vision and X-ray vision. *Only one way to find out*, I thought.

"How did Clark do it?" I wondered out loud. Had it really been two years since Clark developed X-ray vision? Well, now I had it, too, supposedly. "Clark squints every time he uses it. Okay. So I should squint."

I squinted at a clump of trees. I did this for a few minutes before stopping. *Did it work*? I wondered.

A little voice in the back of my head, one that sounded suspiciously like Martha, asked, *How would you know*? *You were staring at a group of foliage in a forest*.* There*'*s nothing to look at beyond the foliage but more foliage**!*

*Right*, I thought back at the Martha-voice. *I should focus on something that I can be certain that I*'*m seeing through*.

So I turned to the truck and squinted some more. I stood there for a few minutes, squinting. Then I gave up.

*What am I doing**?* I asked myself. *Here I am*,* wasting time*,* when I need to get to Clark*.

With that thought in mind, I walked over to the truck. I reached for the handle and pulled the door open.

There was a screech of medal as I accidentally tore the door off. I stared from my hand, which now gripped a crushed door handle that was still attached to the door, to the space where the door used to be. "Great," I muttered to myself. I'd had my borrowed powers for five minutes and already I was causing property damage, and to make matters worse, it was my own property.

Still, the day was not lost. I climbed into the car, careful to grip the steering wheel as gently as possible. Unfortunately, I forgot to be as gentle to the seatbelt. When I reached over my shoulder and gave it a tug, I felt it give. When I pulled my hand back into view, I found that I'd completely torn the belt off.

I dropped the useless belt on the floor and stared at the wheel. There was no point in driving now; with my luck, and without the belt or the door, I'd likely go flying out the cab and into a tree. While I'd be none the worse for wear, the truck likely wouldn't, and we needed that truck...even if it no longer had a driver's side door or a driver's side seatbelt.

I got out of the truck. It looked like I'd get a chance to try out that super-speed. I put the door back in place - no sense in making it obvious that it wasn't locked - and started running.

I moved at normal speed at first, then I willed myself to go faster and faster. For once, my new powers did what I wanted them to. I felt the wind rush into my face as I picked up speed. The trees on the sides of the road became streaks of color as I zoomed past.

I yelled in delight, unable to help myself. I couldn't believe how I felt. I hadn't felt this great in years. No wonder Clark could do all the things he did without even breaking a sweat - this was child's play.

I jumped over a short clump of bushes that were planted next to the road. It was even easier than running. I landed on my own two feet and kept going without even breaking stride. Wow.

A car approached. Surprise almost made me slow down. I remembered myself in the last minute and kept going. At this speed, all they'd see is a whir if they saw anything at all; I should know, having seen Clark do this a gazillion times. It wouldn't do for the occupants of the car to see Jonathan Kent one moment only for him to disappear the next.

So, I super-sped by the car. The driver didn't even glance in my direction, or if he did, it would be after I was long gone. I wasn't surprised by who I saw sitting in the back: Lex Luthor.

I ran directly beside the vehicle and peered in, getting a sneak peak of the youngest Luthor when he thought that a Kent wasn't looking. I didn't expect to see what I saw.

Lex Luthor was staring out the window, picking his nose.

I leaned away from the window and sped on, wishing I could get that image out of my head for good.

During the whole incident, the car and its occupants had been moving in slow motion, which was both creepy and interesting...and disgusting, because I got to see Lex Luthor pick his nose in slow-motion.

*Focus*,* Jonathan*, Martha-voice reminded me. *You have to get to Metropolis*.

*I'm going as fast as I can*,* Martha*, I told the Martha-voice. *Okay*,* I am not talking to myself*,* not even in my head*.* Nope*,* not me*...

The car had been traveling at sixty miles an hour. That meant I was moving faster than that. Even I was having trouble believing that. It made me wonder if Clark had ever taken any trips cross-country, besides a few to Metropolis, that we didn't know about. He did get home pretty late some days, and who knew where he'd been recently...

I thought about everything that had happened over the past few months and sighed again. I thought of Martha's face when I told her we lost the baby. I remembered the anger I'd felt toward Clark for destroying the ship when he should have told us what was going on. I thought of all the worrying we'd done over him over the last three months. There was an album back home filled with every news story about crimes we believed Clark had committed in the past three months. I can't believe we actually made an album, for Pete's sake - and no, not that Pete. It was our way of keeping track of our son, I guess. When I got back home, I vowed to burn that album. I'd need to get Clark to come back with me before I did that, though.

I can't believe he ran away. Alright, maybe I can. I'd been so angry at him that night. I hadn't known he'd go to the Torch and get one of those red kryptonite rings. If I'd known he'd do that, I would have...I don't know what I would have done. I lost my unborn child that night forever, and because of my actions, I lost my other child, too.

When I made that deal with Jor-El and he gave me these powers, I knew that I wouldn't rest until I brought Clark back home. It was time to get my son back. I wasn't going to lose both of my children, no matter what it took. I'd force that ring off of Clark's finger and then we'd go home. Jor-El had given me the means.

At some point, I picked up a few rocks strewn about alongside the road. They were all bits of asphalt that had fallen off the edges of the paved road. As I continued to run, I practiced crushing the asphalt in my fists, trying to see if I could control some of this newfound strength.

I crushed the first bit into sand without even trying. I watched as the sand fell through my fingers to the ground as I continued to run at super-speed, then I tossed the other chucks of asphalt away. Clark could handle it.

The first chunk I tossed hit a tree branch. The branch snapped in two and fell to the ground with a loud crash. I winced and kept running guiltily, hoping no one had heard that. It was a very big tree branch.

I'd been running for a little over an hour now and I wasn't even tired yet. I could get used to this, if only I *could* get used to it. This was a temporary deal. Even if Jor-El didn't take back the super powers, I wouldn't keep them...no matter how much I enjoyed them. It wouldn't be right.

I passed the last familiar-looking cornfield and now ran alongside the highway. I wondered if my clothes were visible as a blur to the people in the cars I was rushing by. I glanced to my right and over at the car I was passing...only to find that I wasn't passing it; I was running at the same pace as it. The dog in the back seat was barking loudly at me.

*Time to get off the highway*, I thought. I ran into the tree line and continued to run at full speed in the direction of Metropolis.

Not much happened during the rest of the journey. A half an hour passed before I saw the first hints of the Metropolis skyline. Another half an hour later and I was running into the outskirts of the city. I slowed down and stopped on a dark street after making sure it was empty. The sun had long since set, but the city was still awake. It would take forever to search that place for my son, or it would have if Jor-El hadn't given me something extra.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out an octagon that was the same size and composition of the ship's key. Then, I pulled up the right sleeve of my jacket. Encircled about my wrist was the something extra Jor-El had given me. It was a wide, flat band of metal. In the center was an indention large enough for the octagon.

I inserted the octagon and all eight symbols on its surface lit up. Seven of them faded until only one symbol was still lit. It faced northeast of my position.

I turned right slightly and the light jumped from the northeast symbol to the northernmost symbol. I started running at super-speed in the direction indicated. Soon, I'd be wherever my son was.

I'd get him to come back with me.

No matter what it took.

THE END