Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Chapter 18: Erroneous Conclusions

“I don’t know, either,” Chloe answered “I asked him to start on a story over lunch so that we could get it to the printer by 5:00 that evening. When I checked in, before lunch, it looked like he was just getting started with an internet search. But, that’s the last I saw of him until this afternoon.”

“What was the story?” Lex asked, startling them.

“What?” Chloe looked up sheepishly, “Oh, Lex about earlier on the phone, I was…”

“Did Lana forgive you?” he interrupted.

“Of course, why?” Lana supplied.

“That’s all you need then,” he said simply, but continued in response to Chloe’s raised eyebrows, “I expect less.”

Only partly stung, Chloe chuckled and shrugged-recognizing the truth when she heard it.

“What was the story?” He repeated, taking the third seat without an invitation.

“Oh, just a student perspective of the burglary.”

Lex had no need to ask “which burglary?” The disturbing story had been on every TV and radio newscast for the past week. It was even on while he was driving Clark back this morning. Although the news report had deeply disturbed Clark, Lex immediately ruled that out as a likely cause of Clark’s disappearance, “That’s remote at best. Contrary to Smallville Legends: one trip to Metropolis does not a criminal make.”

An almost-electric glance passed between Chloe and Lana when he said it.

“What?!?” Lex asked shocked that his rather obvious statement elicited such a strong reaction.

Almost simultaneously, Lana and Chloe responded “Kal.”

“Who?”

“When Clark went to Metropolis…” Lana started… but stumbled.

“When he ran to Metropolis, he used the name Kal,” Chloe finished bluntly.

“What are you talking about?” Staring at Lana, he continued suspiciously, “Why didn’t you tell me this morning?”

Lana hesitated, softening her tone and staging her words carefully, “I didn’t want to upset you by discussing… Mr. Edge.”

Lex stiffened at the name, “What does he have to do with this?”

As carefully as possible, Lana explained what she and Chloe had pieced together of Clark’s self-exile… including the rumors of what Clark had done as Kal and whom he’d been involved with… forestalling Lex with a raised hand as he started to protest that rumors didn’t mean anything. She told Lex about Clark’s first days back, about Edge showing up in Smallville taking Clark’s parents hostage and kidnapping Clark, and about her fears for Clark’s safety when she heard about the explosion and shoot-out on the news. Lex listened in stunned silence as seemingly unrelated pieces of a puzzle began to snap into place with a sickening-undeniable logic.

The timeline snapped together too perfectly.

His father and Edge were partners since childhood. Luthor founded the adoption agency that closed after Clark’s suspicious adoption. Lionel just happens to come to Smallville the same day that the Kent’s bring Clark home and even rode with Jonathon to the hospital after the meteor shower. Edge went to prison for close to 15 years charged with a crime that happened to benefit Luthorcorp. Several months after Edge is released, an explosion (one of Edge's forte's) levels the Kent’s barn injuring Martha Kent and causing her miscarriage. Clark runs away after telling Lana that it was his fault. Chloe and Lana both travel to Metropolis and find Clark acting completely out of character and possibly involved in serious criminal activities (actions so contradictory to Clark’s nature that Lex found it difficult to credit them even in this context). Jonathon forces Clark to return and Edge immediately chases after Clark (an act also contradictory to everything Lex knew of Edge’s nature) demanding his “blood” back, threatens Clark’s adopted parents, and taking Clark back to Metropolis. Edge seems to die but shows up later with a green kryptonite rosary and uses it beat Clark when he tried to protect Lex.

Some parts of his recent memories were still blurred, but Lex clearly remembered Clark trying to stand his ground even as Edge approached with the rosary. Why Edge brandished the rosary even though Clark had taken the gun didn’t make sense at the time. But now, thanks to Jonathon’s revelation about the meteor effects on Clark, it all made sense… including the one question that clinched Lex’s suspicions: how could Edge know about Clark’s weakness to meteors when the friends Clark had grown up with in the “meteor capital of the world” didn’t know.

Everything snapped into place in a disorienting rush that made Lex feel nauseous in his attempt to come to terms with the only answer that explained the time line and recent events: Morgan Edge was Clark’s biological father.

“Lex?”

“Lex?”

Lex refocused on the present and Lana’s concerned expression as she handed him a glass of water.

“Are you alright?”

“No, I am afraid you were right: discussing Morgan Edge is … very disturbing.” Lex answered honestly enough, before he stood up… continuing, “If you’ll excuse me? I need to make arrangements for Clark’s recuperation.”

Monday, December 27, 2004

Chapter 17- Gossamer Leads

Outside the door, Lex silently pushed away from the wall –deciding that he had a great deal to think about before he faced Clark again. Clearly, Clark had confided in Pete, whose trust apparently hadn’t been returned. If Lex didn’t handle this carefully, he could ruin everything… and Clark would never reveal his secrets.

As he walked away, Lex had a momentary image of himself balancing on the fragile sprays of a spider web, trying to search through gossamer leads for the hidden connections. The web of mysteries radiating from Clark had just become more complex than Lex had anticipated. Not only did Clark know who his parents were, as Lex had begun to suspect, but at least one parent was alive and trying to convince Clark to become something and someone Clark clearly did not want to be.

Lex had begun to suspect that Clark knew his parent’s identities just a year before when Rachel Dunlevy took Lex hostage attempting to force Lionel to admit to their illegitimate son, Lucas. According to both Chloe and Dunlevy’s research, Lucas was the first and only other adoptee of the Metropolis United Charities—the adoption agency founded by Lionel Luthor that shut down immediately after processing Clark’s adoption. Lex could admit to himself that, at that time, he had deeply wished for some bizarre twist of his father’s humor to have separated Clark from him as a child, which the kindness of fate thwarted by reuniting them when Clark saved his life. Clark's ready denial of any possible kinship with Lex initially hurt Lex's feelings, but he justified it as Clark’s denial of Lionel: a luxury that Lex could well understand and envy.

After the fact, a five thousand dollar gift to the right lab tech had produced enough of ‘Clark’s’ DNA sample for Lex’s lab to determine that it matched the DNA of a sample of Pete’s blood taken in a charity blood- drive earlier that year. It was a point, though, Lex hadn’t pushed presuming that Clark reasonably feared discovery of a blood tie to Lionel Luthor, despite his growing friendship with Lex.

Lex still quietly harbored some hope of that tie even after he discovered Lucas’s whereabouts. With Lionel’s rapacious appetites, there was certainly no guarantee that Lex had only one illegitimate brother.

But today’s revelation introduced a completely new question. Lionel still wasn’t ruled out; particularly, where “warped hopes” for his children’s futures were concerned. But recently, Lex had been keeping a close watch on Lionel’s interaction with Clark and even discussed him with Clark after Lionel, just weeks ago, used Lex as bait to trap Clark in Dr. Garner’s memory inducement tank…killing several of the scientists and nearly killing Clark. But, even after that, while Clark was livid with Lex for putting him in that position, he hadn’t referred to Lionel with anywhere near the depth of bitterness that Clark used this morning… as if such a trap was simply what was to be expected of Lionel: a fact separated from the truth only by its understatement.

Setting Lionel aside for the moment, Lex started to consider new suspects. But, no one he could think of fit or made sense. As Lex continued walking, he searched his memory trying to dredge up every conversation and memory he had of Clark. Before he realized it, Lex found himself at the Talon. Whether he had been lead to the Talon out of habit or out of instinct, Lex realized that he had probably arrived at the best source of information he could find about Clark Kent. Glancing in the window, he quickly spotted Chloe and Lana sitting miserably at a corner table- discussing Clark’s recent disappearance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Chapter 16: Revelations 2

When Lex returned that evening, after leaving to arrange for Clark’s indefinite rehabilitation, Chloe and Lana had just finished their visits—finally leaving the Kents enough time to discuss Jor-El’s warning. By the time Lex reached the door, Jonathon had broken the news about their earlier discussion.

Although it had happened far less frequently of late, walking in on Clark and his parents discussing him was not unusual for Lex—so he was hardly surprised to hear his name mentioned. What did catch him unaware, though, stopping him at the door when he would have normally walked straight in was Clark’s harsh pain-filled voice as he rasped, “And, you believed him?”

The word “him” practically dripped with bitterness and loathing and stung Lex with the implication that Clark seemed to feel this way despite his earlier desire for Lex to stay. Hurt and confused, Lex dropped his hand from the door release and turned to retreat when Clark continued, “so, you told Lex!”

The tone in Clark’s voice, when he said Lex’s name again stopped his friend mid-stride. Lex puzzled over the tone for several seconds: Clark had said his name with a soft, almost melancholy note as if already certain that Jonathon’s admission had ended their friendship. The earlier bitterness was completely absent from this new tone, and Lex was immediately certain that he was not the “him” that Clark had referred to with such deep loathing.

Drawn back to the door by this revelation, Lex carefully sidestepped the observation window and leaned against the doorframe—listening intently as Jonathon interrupted.

“Clark, he,” Jonathon’s tone held the same bitter note that Lex heard in Clark’s reference. Who is it? Dad, maybe… I’ve tried to keep his attention directed elsewhere, but…Lex thought to himself before Jonathon’s bitter tone caught his attention again.

“may have warped hopes for your future… but …” Lex could hear the inner turmoil in Jonathon’s voice as he finished, “he is…”

Clark cut Jonathon off, almost yelling as he did, shocking Lex with the strangled quality of his voice as he cried out almost desperately, “Don’t say that… Ever! He’s not my...! He’s… You are!”

Shaking his head in amazement, Lex tried to figure out some other meaning than Clark’s words implied, but he could think of nothing. Damn, I’ve missed a lot, he thought to himself before returning his attention to the room. As he listened raptly, Jonathon confirmed his suspicions—continuing as though he Clark had never interrupted, “your father...and he does care.”

Clark’s voice shook violently as he struggled to respond, “He doesn’t… care. He’s not… capable of it… he’s only a … a … nightmare… that I… can’t wake up from, but I… won’t do what he says… I won’t… I won’t be… what he says.”

Clark didn’t finish, but Lex recognized the grim tone behind his words. It might as well have been a death knell for all of its foreboding. Taking the chance to glance through the observation window, Lex watched the scene with curiosity.

While Clark and his parents had become utterly still, there remained an underlying air of turmoil as if an ancient battle scene was suddenly captured on canvas. The moment stretched fragilely – almost expectantly, as if waiting for Clark to do something to break the silence. Clark finally complied, his voice hoarse with emotion as he asked in a rough whisper, “Did you tell Lex about him?”

Jonathon shook his head wearily as he answered, clearly as drained by the conversation, as Clark was, “No… only about the meteor effects.”

Clark nodded, but rolled to his side, turning away from his parents. After several moments, Jonathon stepped over and gripped his shoulder.

“Son, Lex understood better than you think.” Jonathon said gently trying to impart some hope.

“Like Pete did?” Clark asked bitterly.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Character Study: Mary Kelly- history

Mary Kelly


The following hundred questions were taken directly from "The 100 Most Important Things To Know About Your Character (revised)" by Beth Kinderman and Nikki Walker at http://www.geocities.com/poetess47/100questions.html. and are filled out as though from Mary Kelly's perspective.


Part 1: The Basics

1. What is your full name?
Mary Sarah Kelly

2. Where and when were you born?
January 1, 1978, Smallville, KA.

3. Who are/were your parents? (Know their names, occupations, personalities, etc.)

Mary Elizabeth Osborne-Kelly
Military nurse until the birth of Liz Kelly, my sister, in 1974,
Doted on Elizabeth, disapproving of me –
Stern, methodical, critical, officious.
When Elizabeth died she re-enlisted.

and

Alex John Kelly
Army Sergeant, who transferred stateside to work as a boot camp instructor when Elizabeth started attempting suicide. Dad took care of me while mom tried to cope with Liz.

4. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
Elizabeth, deceased, emotionally -troubled, suffered from eating disorders, drinking, and attempted to commit suicide several times—finally succeeding through a drug overdose in the hospital.

5. Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place and the person/people.
Still in Smallville. Living on my own- in the attic rental of a widow – Ms. Ellis. Ms. Ellis is nice and tries to be like a mom or grand mom to me: reminding me to dress warmly, and keep early hours.

6. What is your occupation?
Assistant Nurse – still training for full certification

7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.

Dad says I remind him of an imp or a hobbit, and I’ll kind of go with that. When I dress right to highlight the hobbit look patients smile a lot and all of the kids in the children’s ward treat me like I’m right out of the Lord of the rings. But as for the specifics:

Height 4’6”
Weight 126
Race Caucasin- scotch irish
Hair Curly -black
Eye color Sort of a Blue with Hazel tones
Favorite style of dress Whatever fits the occasion
any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks. Other than looking like a hobbit … no.

8. To which social class do you belong?
That’s an odd question, there aren’t really that many classes here in Smallville. I do alright, but I’m not a doctor or a Luthor- so, I guess you would have to say middle class.

9. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
Nope, unless you would consider an addiction to smores a disease, but probably not.

10. Are you right- or left-handed? Both, I use what ever hand I need to .

11. What does your voice sound like?
Another odd question.

12. What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
I don’t know, I haven’t really paid attention.

13. What do you have in your pockets?
I don’t really wear pockets too much but carry a small back pack purse with small bags, one of candy, dog and cat treats, and the other some bread for the birds or squirrels in the park.

14. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
Bunches and bunches of them I’m sure.

Part 2: Growing Up

15. How would you describe your childhood in general?
OKAY – Dad took good care of me when he could, and mom need to spend all of her time with Liz, so I got a lot of free time to explore the fields and take classes to learn a lot of hobbies and other things.

16. What is your earliest memory?
Getting lost in a corn field when Mom took me to work with her at the Ross’s Cream Corn Plant

17. How much schooling have you had?
Well, I’m still in nursing school.

18. Did you enjoy school?
Not when I was younger, but now I love it.


19. Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?
From my Dad.

20. While growing up, did you have any role models? If so, describe them.
My dad and mom, The nurses who took care of Liz and a lot of other people: Florence nightingale, oprah, gladys night, and tina turner.

21. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?
Dad and I were close, Mom and I weren’t and I didn’t see Liz very much, but we were okay.

22. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A jockey

23. As a child, what were your favorite activities?
Horseback riding,, reading, writing, music, piano, archery and fencing when I was older.

24. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?
I was sort of a tom-boy I suppose.

25. As a child, were you popular? What were your friends like?
Far from it, I had only a couple of close-friends- Matilda, my bestest of bestest friends, lol, was sweet and shy. She’s in New YorK now in art school.

26. When and with whom was your first kiss?
Getting pretty personal here – but Matilda, in third grade, when we were practicing how to kiss in case Billy laroux ever asked us – he didn’t.

27. Are you a virgin?
Wow, and I thought the kiss question was getting personal, but what the hell - No.
If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?
Nope, that I’m not going to tell you.

28. If you are a supernatural being (i.e. mage, werewolf, vampire), tell the story of how you became what you are or first learned of your own abilities.
I know smallville is the home of some pretty weird stuff, but this question is a little to out there.

29. If you are just a normal human, describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today.
Dad taught me to try things people said I couldn’t do. And the nurses who took care of Liz were really great

Part 3: Past Influences

30. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
Liz Dying.

31. Who has had the most influence on you?
Dad

32. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have a thank you note from a little girl named Samantha, whose mother died of cancer… she really appreciated how I took care of her mom.

33. What is your greatest regret?
Don’t really have a greatest yet. I do the best I can on the information I have at the time. Even if that changes later… it was still the best I could at the time.

34. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?

Evil? Well, nothing evil. Although, I have walked away from a vending machine when it gave me two candy bars more than I should have had… without putting more money in. But I broke them up in pieces and gave them to the kids in the children’s ward.

35. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?

Yep, I “liberated” an abused hunting dog from a neighbor’s yard.

36. When was the time you were the most frightened?

When I came home to find Dad sitting on the front porch crying after he found out about Liz dying and Mom going back into the service as a Nurse. She hadn’t told him about her preparations to re-enlist or that she had made arrangements to leave immediately after Liz’s death. She never even attended the funeral. But, I guess she spent enough time with Liz to make up for that.

37. What is the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to you?
In high school, one of the cheerleaders set up a camera in the dressing stalls, and took several pictures of me when I came out of the shower and changed. Then , she had her boyfriend pass them around so the boys could pen them up in their gym lockers. No one told me about it until the coach found one while cleaning out the locker of a student who had moved.

38. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?
Maybe, I would change it so that she couldn’t take and pass around the pictures, but other than that… not too much. Maybe I would change it so that Liz wouldn’t die, or that mom wouldn’t re-enlist, but neither I think it would have happened some other way anyhow.

39. What is your best memory?
Getting the job here.

40. What is your worst memory?
The hours I waited for mom to show before Liz’s funeral.

Chapter 15: Complications

Detective Eric Graham closed the door quietly behind him, walked quickly to the restroom, and proceeded to quietly and calmly lose his lunch. He wasn't particularly surprised that it happened: in the five years since his promotion to the homicide squad, Graham had investigated many cases that left feeling queasy. More often than not, cases with children involved particularly sickened him... and motivated him to pursue suspect with an enduring vigor that rivaled obsession.

From the moment that the desk sergeant shouted for the station to go quiet and piped in the first reports from the officers on the scene, Graham had both anticipated getting the bank robbery and dreaded receiving the case. Everyone in the station knew that he was bound to get the case—his closure rate was almost the highest in Metropolis and the conviction rate for cases he investigated was close to 100%. Some in the precinct thought he was simply lucky, but he knew that it was actually, because he refused to let go of a case until he investigated every potential detail, regardless of whether they condemned or cleared the leading suspect.

Graham dreaded these cases—not out of fear for his personal safety or hesitation to follow a case through to it’s end. Instead, he dreaded these cases due to a niggling fear that he was beginning to harbor a dangerously vengeful attitude, which recently seemed to feed off these cases. Barely a month before the news of the burglary, Graham had narrowly averted killing a suspect that he knew to be unarmed – with a last-nanosecond-rapid jerk that skewed his aim, sending the bullet into the ground between the suspect’s running feet.

Afterward much of the stationhouse had drunkenly celebrated the supposed skill of his warning shot while Graham left the precinct bar early, went home, and quietly drank himself into a stupor for an entirely different reason. Between that case and the burglary, he had maintained a stiff wariness toward every case – guardedly watching his every reactions, ready to ask his captain for re-assignment if needed. But, as soon as he heard the first on-scene reports, he knew the burglary would be a different story; there would too much public pressure on the department for him to request a reassignment without virtually ending his career. So, Graham knew he had only one choice—to work the case and pray that he could keep control of his growing thirst for vengeance.