by Quin Rhodes
Authors Notes: This story started as a "what if" in my own head. Smallville has made so many people ask the questions: What if Clark hadn't been found by the Kents? What if Lex hadn't been raised by Lionel? These got me wondering if I could come up with a believable scenario as to how the families could have been changed. As such, it's less A/U than a retelling of the meteor shower with spoilers for the first few minutes of the Pilot.
By Quinlan Rhodes
The helicopter flew low over the cornfields and barns of Smallville, Kansas. The man in the back was one of the most powerful men in the world, and he wore that power with style and grace. His long, wavy hair was always impeccably groomed and its golden brown color was invariably complemented by the perfectly tailored suits he lived in. Lionel Luthor had been surveying the land he would soon control, but had quickly grown bored with the view. The acquisition of Smallville's main industry, the creamed corn plant, was a necessary first step to controlling the region and the valuable land it occupied, but really, how many cornfields can one stare at before truly seeing them all?
Lionel was now rereading the Daily Planet's front page article on his main competitor, Christensen Industries. It seemed that their company's CEO, David Stiles, had gone missing a few days earlier and was now presumed dead. The Daily Planet reported that money had been missing from the company's account, so the disappearance was first kept quiet by the company and was thought to be a case of high level embezzlement. But yesterday afternoon, a rural county's sheriff had found Stiles' car abandoned on a barely traveled farm road. The sheriff had run the license plates and had called in the Metropolis police department to investigate. The MPD verified it was Stiles' car and found trace blood evidence in the trunk and on the driver's side of the vehicle. The disappearance was suddenly being treated as a homicide. Lionel knew one sheriff who wouldn't be getting re-elected next month, and one other person who wouldn't be around to even see the election next month.
Lionel dropped the side of the paper in disgust at the unraveling of what had been a perfect strategy for takeover. Now it appeared he would have to wait for years to put into play what he had been hoping would go forward in the next few months.
He looked to his left to see his son, Lex, shaking with fear from the helicopter ride, his eyes tightly shut. That sight disgusted him even more than the day's headline. "This has got to stop, he murmured. "Open your eyes, Lex." The tone was one of open disgust and a total lack of patience for his son's cowardly behavior.
Lex whined, "I can't."
"Luthors are not afraid. We don't have that luxury. We're leaders." Lionel paused. How could this boy be his son? If he hadn't received conclusive results of DNA tests that were run when the boy was born, he wouldn't have believed it. A weak child from birth. He had thought that sending the child to boarding school, thus eliminating his mother's influence almost completely, would strengthen his son, but it hadn't worked. This was not the material he needed to make an heir. He had hoped Lex would outgrow some of his childish fears and weaknesses, but the child was nine and he showed no promise of getting any stronger.
Lionel had tried everything to reform his son. He had taken Lex under his wing, shown him the ways of the world from the time Lex could understand his words, if not their meaning. He had sent the boy to the best boarding school in the Midwest--his alma mater--and still the child was the weak link the Luthor dynasty. "You have a destiny, Lex. You're never going to get anywhere with your eyes closed." He turned his head away, feeling an utter sense of betrayal when his son had still refused to open his eyes.
His legacy must be ensured. Something had to be done, but what? He knew Lex was afraid of him. Lionel had feared his father too and that fear had made him a stronger person. Fear was the precursor of respect in the Luthor world. He knew that if Lex didn't toughen up soon, he would be forced into using even harsher tactics, and the child would hate him forever. That hatred was a small price to pay, however, for continuing the overwhelming strength of the Luthor dynasty.
He had hoped this weekend of business would help Lex toughen up and learn some of the basics of acquiring properties and people when they don't even know they're vulnerable. These hicks out at the creamed corn plant were perfect examples. They had no idea that LuthorCorp had no intention of continuing the backward ways of the existing plant. In addition to being horribly outdated with the machinery, there was no market for creamed corn anymore. The plant would be refitted and reworked into LuthorCorp's third fertilizer plant in the state.
The isolation of Smallville also made the location perfect for some of Lionel's pet projects--the projects that would change the world, but that no one needed to know about until the processes had been perfected. He had been looking for a place just like this to get away from both the media and his competitors. LuthorCorp would own this town in just a few short years.
Smallville had no other industry and only a weekly agricultural rag for a newspaper. With no competition and no prying eyes, Lionel may have found the haven he had been looking for. He had wanted Lex to see how these first small steps grow into huge ventures. This was the perfect project to train Lex on, from today's meager beginnings through to the eventual control of the fertilizer plant and later, the entire town. Lex, however, couldn't even keep his eyes open on the ride to the plant.
The helicopter touched down on the far side of the mostly abandoned parking lot, another reason this plant was ripe for the picking. A plant this size should not be shutting down this early on a Friday afternoon. When they had flown over the town, he had seen banners proclaiming the Homecoming of the local high school, but that was no excuse for not working up to the full potential of the plant. It would be interesting to see how the locals dealt with the changes that were in store for them when LuthorCorp rolled into town.
Lionel glanced over at Lex, who had just realized the helicopter had stopped. He finally opened his eyes, but kept them carefully averted from his father's gaze. Lionel didn't bother to hide his small grin of satisfaction. At least Lex had the good sense to be embarrassed about his shortcomings. Maybe soon that embarrassment would be enough for him to overcome his weakness. "Come on, son. They're waiting for us."
Lionel and Lex climbed down from the helicopter and walked over to the men who had come out to greet them in their pickup truck. Lionel recognized one of them as the local commercial real estate expert, and the other as the owner of the plant. Lionel was glad he had left his lawyer in Metropolis. He had known that an entourage would be too much for these simple people, and he had no intention of spooking them just yet. He smiled as he walked to the men. "Gentlemen. Thank you for meeting me here. I have little time before I have to head back to Metropolis."
He spoke with the men for several minutes, until a dull thud made him look over to see Lex throwing dirt clods at a crow at the edge of the cornfields. Lionel hadn't noticed that Lex had left, but he wasn't surprised. Lex had never shown any interest in the business. He didn't know why this trip should be any different, even if he had made a special trip to Lex's school to get him released to come along. He called out to Lex, hoping the boy would take the hint and rejoin his father for the signing of the documents. "Lex, son." He didn't wait for a response, but rather turned around and asked, "Now, where do I sign?"
After signing each page of the contract, Lionel looked up to find his son completely out of his sight. Lex knew better than to go wandering off into the cornfields, but apparently it hadn't stopped him from doing just that. He was such a dreamer sometimes. Lex's head could be stuck in the clouds for hours, just like his mother's. Being a dreamer could be useful if those dreams led to ambition and a drive to succeed, but so far, it seemed Lex's dreams were as uninspired as the rest of him.
As Lionel set off to find Lex, a high pitched whine screamed overhead. Lionel looked up to see a huge rock hurtling through the sky, its path to the Earth heading directly for the cornfield into which Lex had disappeared. Lionel had no time to react before the impact of the rock blew him off his feet and threw him several yards backwards onto the concrete of the parking lot. He was unconscious from the sheer force of the blast before his head ever hit the pavement.
Jonathan Kent carried two small bags of feed back to his pickup truck. The Kents had finally finished their last errand of the day. Maybe he should have taken his wife straight home after the visit to the doctor's office, but he had thought that keeping to their original itinerary was a better plan to keep up the pretense of normalcy for Martha. It seemed to have been working until Nell's flirting in the flower shop and Martha's reaction to Lana's princess costume. He now had a massive headache. He couldn't wait to get back to the solitude of the farm.
Martha had always wanted children and they both had been anxiously awaiting the start of their family. He knew they would both be incredible parents someday. Seeing Martha with little three-year-old Lana Lang had broken his heart. When Lana had wielded her princess wand and asked Martha to make a wish, Jonathan didn't have to think twice to know the content of his wife's wish. Life really sucked sometimes.
He glanced at Martha, sitting slumped in the cab of the truck as he placed the feed in the bed of the vehicle. They had been hoping that there would be good news from the doctor, but instead, all hope of having a child of their own was now lost. They had been trying for months, but having no luck. The trip to the doctor last week was supposed to simply be reassuring that all was well, and that nature just took its time when giving out children. The phone call yesterday to come into the doctor's office to discuss the results of the tests was a shock, and they both knew at that point that the news couldn't be good.
He had stayed up late into the night yesterday to steel his nerves and be ready to be there for Martha when they heard what he knew would be bad news. He had thought himself ready, but the news seemed to have hit him just as hard as his wife, even with all of his preparation.
The feed safely stowed in the back of the truck, Jonathan opened the door and startled a daydreaming Martha. He knew his wife too well not to know exactly what brought on those dreams. "I know what you wished for."
Martha released a small sigh. "To see a little face, that's all I've ever wanted."
She turned her back to him and stared out the window, forestalling any serious discussion of the matter. Jonathan allowed himself to sadly gaze at his wife for a moment before car horns and yelling teenagers rousted him from his morose thoughts. "Looks like Smallville won again." He pasted on a smile and started the truck, heading back to the farm in silence.
Jonathan didn't realize what the first hit was. His immediate thought was a silo explosion at the creamed corn plant, but the plant was not far away, and he could see that the plant was standing and had no visible damage. The second blast destroyed the "Welcome to Smallville" sign. When looking backwards to see the splinters that had been the sign flying in all directions with incredible speed, he saw a huge meteor rock zoom past his window on the left side of the truck. He heard another huge blast as the rock crashed to the earth. He whipped his head around to see an immense dark cloud coming out of Riley field, straight at the truck. He slammed on the brakes as he heard Martha shriek, "What's happening, Jonathan?" But he couldn't respond because her words, along with the truck, were swallowed by the debris cloud.
Lionel woke up after the blast covered in dirt and cornstalks. His first thought was of the plant. He had just finalized the deal moments before the blast, and the last thing he needed was a hole where his plant should have been. The plant was still in tact, however, so Lionel quickly headed toward the cornfield to find Lex.
"Lex, Lex?" Lionel began to get concerned when he saw the extreme damage to the cornfield that the boy had wandered into. His son may be weak, but he was still a Luthor, and Lionel needed to find his only son. "Lex?" He stopped to survey the utter destruction of the field. Every stalk of corn was flattened against the earth, leaving very few plants higher than his knees. He could literally see for hundreds of yards, but saw no sign of Lex. Then, in the distance, he saw a patch of red in all the green. "Lex?" He quickly ran to the red and picked up a handful of what had to be his son's hair. His head fell to his chest as he realized that Lex had been at what was basically ground zero for the meteor blast. There was no way his son could have survived such an impact. He fell to his knees as he fully grasped the loss that he had suffered. His only son and heir was gone. He had no one to carry on the Luthor name.
The sharp crack of breaking cornstalks forced him from his thoughts and he turned toward the sound. A small child, looking to be approximately three to four years old, completely naked, and completely unharmed, was walking through the field. Lionel stood up and moved to the child. "Hello, son. Are you okay?"
The child looked at him with what seemed to be a small smirk on his lips, but said nothing. Lionel looked past the child, at the direction from which he had come, and saw a large trench at least five feet deep dug into the earth. The child followed his eyes and turned to walk back to the trench. Lionel silently followed.
When the boy got to the end of the trench, he crawled down into it, and emerged with what looked like a metal pod twice as big as himself. The child was having trouble balancing the pod, so Lionel went to take it from him. When Lionel tried to take it away, his legs collapsed under the weight of the metal, and he dropped the bundle immediately. The thing had to weigh as much as a small car.
The child simply smiled at a stunned Lionel and pointed at the metal contraption. Lionel finally understood why this child had appeared from nowhere. This little boy had come into the atmosphere with the meteor shower! The metal pod was some sort of space transportation device. This child was actually from outer space.
Lionel's smile would have scared any human child, even one of this boy's tender age, but luckily, he was alone with a child who didn't know enough to run away. He took the boy's hand into one of his, while he flipped open his cell phone with the other.
"Martha?" Jonathan woke up to find his truck hood down in the ditch on the side of the road. His headache was immeasurably worse, but he didn't seem to have any other injuries from the crash. He quickly turned his head to find his wife slowly waking from her own stupor.
"I think I'm okay, Jonathan." She stretched her arms and legs as she allowed her husband to check her for injuries.
When he was satisfied that they were both alright, he turned his attention to the truck. He knew by the number of meteors they had seen that the town had likely been hit and he wanted to get back to see if they could assist in any way. The truck had stalled upon impact, but it didn't look like any serious damage had been done. He popped the hood, then glanced at Martha, who was holding her head in her hands, rocking slowly, to shake herself out of the shock of impact, then opened the door to check on the engine.
The engine looked remarkably unharmed considering the force of the debris cloud that had passed over them. The windshield was cracked and spider webbed due to the debris, and the front end of the truck, especially the hood, looked like it had been through a massive hail storm, with dents and dings on practically every surface.
He climbed back into the truck, amazed at how lucky they had been. Being that close to two meteor strikes with such little damage was a miracle.
"What happened, Jonathan?" His wife had recovered enough to be sitting straight up in her seat and was beginning to try and put the pieces together.
"We're okay, honey. It looks like Smallville was hit by a meteor shower. I didn't even know that was possible." He turned the key and the truck hummed to life. "Thank you," Jonathan whispered. "We should go back into town and help."
He put the vehicle in reverse to get the truck back out to the road. He slowly weaved the truck through the debris and back towards town to see if there was anything they could do to help in the disaster.
"Jonathan, stop." His wife's tone, even more than her words was the cause of the screeching truck tires. Martha jumped out of the truck and ran into the cornfield before Jonathan could fully stop. He followed closely, pausing only long enough to put the truck into park. Martha stopped quickly not far from the side of the road and knelt down at what looked to Jonathan like nothing more than a pile of cornstalks.
"What is it?" He dropped to his knees next to his wife and saw a boy completely bald, and almost naked, only shreds of his underwear left on his body. He was shaking uncontrollably. His eyes were slightly opened, but he was completely unaware of the Kents' presence. Jonathan touched the boy's shoulder. "Son? Wake up, son." The boy showed no sign of hearing Jonathan's plea. He quickly checked the boy for any injuries that would prevent him from being moved. Finding nothing serious, he hurriedly scooped the boy into his arms and jogged back to the truck, Martha at his heels.
The Smallville hospital emergency room was packed to the rafters with townspeople dressed in some variation of red and yellow. The boisterous Homecoming festivities had been cut short and the revelers were now waiting to get treatment for their meteor related injuries.
Jonathan and Martha rushed the boy to the nurse's triage station. Jonathan spoke in a rush, "We found him at the edge of Riley field. No one else was around. We don't know what happened."
The nurse pulled them into the back room where the boy was taken away from Jonathan and rushed to an examination room to be seen by a doctor. The nurse then steered the Kents back to the waiting room and handed Jonathan a clip board. "Mr. Kent, please fill out what you can on this form. I'll let you know something as soon as I can." The nurse turned sharply on her heel like a disciplined soldier, and went through the door after the boy.
"Martha, here, sit down before you fall." Jonathan guided his wife to one of the only empty chairs in the room. She silently flopped into the chair and slumped as if her spine could no longer hold up the weight of the day. Jonathan surveyed the rest of the room. The usually cheerful light yellow paint seemed dull and dingy in the presence of so many stunned faces. With so many people in such a small room, the noise should have been deafening. Instead, the only sounds he heard were the shuffling of feet and the muted sobs of an entire town in shock.
Jonathan leaned heavily against a blank section of wall to fill out what he could of the nurse's form. His mind wandered to the boy being treated in the back room. What had he been doing in that field? Jonathan had looked around quickly while he had transported the boy from the field into the truck, and had seen no sign of any other people. He hadn't recognized the child even though he knew most of the kids in town. Where had this little boy come from? Were his parents still alive somewhere?
He looked down at Martha. He knew that she had already claimed this child as a foundling. She had fallen in love with the child as soon as she saw him. She could never pass up a worthy cause, and she loved all children with all her heart. She would fight to keep the child, and he realized he didn't have the energy or desire to challenge her claim. If this boy's family couldn't be found, they would have a son. He knew that no social service agency would prevent that. He smiled slightly at the thought, then started working on the form in earnest.
The little boy sat quietly reading in his bed, alone in his hospital room. His color was good, and he looked like any other eight or nine year old child, except for the complete lack of hair on his head, and a few bumps and bruises.
He thought he was ready to get out of the hospital, but he was waiting to find out what would happen to him. It had been two days since he had been found in a field at the side of the road. No one knew for certain how he had gotten there or who his parents were. He couldn't remember anything about his past, no matter how hard he tried. The doctors told him that wasn't unexpected because of the huge blow to the head that he had received in the blast. No one had come forward to claim him yet, so he had no idea what would happen to him.
The nurses had been really nice to him, but his favorite people by far were the people that had found him, Mr. and Mrs. Kent. They had been to visit him for several hours each day. They had brought him flowers, real clothes to wear, and books to read. He hoped that they would be able to take him home when he could leave the hospital, but he wasn't sure that was possible. He hadn't had the courage yet to ask them if they would take him home. He thought that if his parents were still around somewhere, they should have come to get him by now.
A social worker had come to his room yesterday to tell him that they hadn't been able to figure out for sure who he was yet, but they did have a lead. She said that a car had been found abandoned not far from where the Kents had found him. The car was owned by a woman from Metropolis named Cynthia Williams, and she had been missing since the meteor shower. Metropolis hospital records showed that she had a nine year old son called Alexander, and the social worker thought he was probably that child. No father was listed on the birth certificate, and no other family had been located, so it looked more and more like he wouldn't be reunited with his real family. She said that she thought his Mom had probably been in the field with him for some reason, and had been disintegrated by the meteor that had almost killed him. She had said it more delicately than that, of course, but he knew what she meant. He was probably an orphan, and he knew that he wasn't the only orphan the meteor shower had created.
A newspaper that had been left in the hospital waiting room said that over twenty people had been killed by the various meteor strikes, and many more were missing and presumed dead. A couple who had a three-year-old daughter had been seen getting hit directly by a meteor by dozens of people right in downtown Smallville. Their bodies had not been recovered, but the authorities were counting them among the dead. He figured his mother was probably like that little girl's parents. He was actually a bit glad that he couldn't remember his Mom. It was bad enough imaging a faceless person being burned to dust by falling space rocks. He thought it would be too hard to bear if the faceless image somehow became someone he knew and had loved. He thought that maybe not having any past could be a blessing.
He was startled out of his thoughts when two adults entered the room. One was the social worker who had talked to him yesterday, the other was a tall, stern looking man with a beard and a long black coat. The adults talked, like most other adults, as if he wasn't in the room at all.
"Mr. Luthor, this is the only male child of your son's age range that hasn't been claimed yet. He was found in a cornfield at the side of the road not far from the plant. He took a nasty blow to the head and can't remember his name or his family. We think his name is Alexander Williams and that his mother was killed by the meteor that almost killed him, but we have to be sure that he's not your son before we place him in foster care since he does fit the general description of your boy."
Mr. Luthor looked directly at the boy, his harsh gaze making the child flinch and sink down into the bed, trying to hide. "That isn't my son." The man then turned abruptly and left, allowing the door to slam on his way out.
Alexander breathed a sigh of relief when the man left. Maybe now the Kents could take him home with them.
Lionel slammed the door when he left Alexander's room. It was best to think of him not as Lex anymore, but as Alexander. The boy was no longer his son. He had found a better son, one that was inhumanly strong and almost completely indestructible.
After Lionel had found the small boy and the ship, he had called a very well paid and discrete contract employee of his and had them both moved to a secure location. At the time of the move, he had still thought Lex dead. It wasn't until he had gone into Smallville to report his son's disappearance that he had heard of the boy with no memory found in the cornfield near the plant.
A doctor employed by Lionel had quickly and discretely gotten Lex's medical records, including copies of the x-rays and MRIs and forwarded them to a leading expert in the field of amnesia. The expert had determined that it was incredibly unlikely, bordering impossible, that the child involved would ever regain his memory.
Lionel had the abandoned car placed and the Metropolis records fixed within two hours of that doctor's opinion. If he played his cards right, he would have a new heir. An heir worthy of carrying the Luthor name into the new millennium and beyond.
When the alien child had arrived at the secure location, two teams of scientists had been waiting. One team would work on the ship, and one would work on the boy. The child's room had been equipped with audio and video monitoring equipment and a two way mirror for personal observation, in addition to the bed, clothing, dresser, and toys of varying types.
The usual teddy bears and toy trucks were available, but there were also items that no other child would be allowed to play with. Knives of varying sharpness and length were scattered about the room. Bricks and cinder blocks were available to be used like a normal child would use lincoln logs or legos. The knives had only been played with a few times. Although the child wasn't hurt by the sharp items, it appeared that they may have stung him slightly when handled by their serrated edges. The blades also tended to snap off in his strong hands. The bricks and blocks were quickly becoming the child's favorite toys, however.
Lionel hadn't been able to visit the child, who had been given the name Clark by one of the scientists working on him, since the boy had left Smallville. Lionel was busy playing the grieving father searching for his missing son. He had sent Lex off to boarding school to toughen him up, but an unexpected and fortunate consequence of that was that Lex was unknown to the general public. He had not been paraded before the photographers of the society pages, so his face was not known to the citizens of Smallville, nor could it be easily seen in the bald freak that was now Alexander Williams.
Just another few days of acting, and he could concentrate on training his new heir to be presented to the world. He would have to wait for at least a few years to fully understand and control the alien being that would be his son before the child could be formally and publicly adopted, but Lionel was anxious to get started.
Lionel smiled as he walked out of the hospital and climbed through the open door of his limousine. Clark Luthor. He liked the sound of that.
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