Title: Bleeding Kansas (18-27/27)
Pairings/Characters: Cal/Jaz (OCs), Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha, Eben/Sarah (OCs), Chloe/Lana, Evelyn Kendall (OCs), Lionel Luthor, Nell Potter, Pete Ross, Nancy Adams
Genres: Angst, Big Bang/Challenge, Drama, First Time, Holiday, Mystery, Romance
Rating: R overall
Warnings: (Ch. 1: Implied whipping; Ch. 10: Homophobic comments; Ch. 15 & 25: Homophobic slurs; Ch. 25: Whipping, Ch. 25 & 26: Violence; Ch. 26: Homophobia, Fire victim)
Beta: The wonderful me_ya_ri! All mistakes are mine.
Art by: The talented silvervalley! All art can be seen here.
Summary: A Secret from Smallville’s past haunts Clark and Lex.
Dates Of Completion: June 1-July 15, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 28, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 26,558
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for the 2011 Smallville Big Bang. Also written for my 2011 DCU Fic/Art Halloween Challenge Prompts: Smallville, Houses Decorated for Halloween, Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, Pumpkin Bread, Trick-or-Treating, Masquerade Ball/Halloween Party, Ghosts/Spirits and for saavikam77’s 2011 DCU Free_For_All Autumn Challenge. Prompt: T12; P14: Haunted and Special Prompt No. 7: Possession.
All chapters can be found here.
Sarah Jean O’Reilly
The first thing that Clark was aware of was that he was tired.
No, make that exhausted.
He could hear the cows lowing and his mother downstairs in the kitchen making breakfast. He opened his eyes and saw his room. Frowning, he wondered why he felt so drained.
Suddenly, memories flooded him and his heart constricted in pain.
He jumped out of bed and frantically ran out to the hall, ready to yell for his parents when he noticed the spare room door was closed. Heart pounding, he quietly opened the door and saw Lex burrowed under the quilt. He felt light-headed with relief.
As he began to close the door, Lex stirred. “Clark?” he mumbled.
Lex propped himself up on his elbows. “What are you doing out of bed?”
“I woke up and remembered.”
“Ah, yes. A crazy night.”
Clark chuckled. “A little.” He clutched the doorframe.
Lex was immediately out of bed and by Clark’s side. “Get back to bed.”
“I’m fine.” Clark smiled but it was not convincing. Lex firmly escorted Clark back across the hall.
“Back to bed.”
“Really, Lex, I’m fine. I’m hungry,” Clark whined.
Lex smirked. “All right, let’s get down to breakfast.”
Lex grabbed a robe from the spare room closet, and Clark put on his own robe. He leaned on Lex as they went down the stairs, glad for the support.
Martha looked up from the waffle iron. “Clark! Are you all right?”
“Just a little tired, Mom.”
“Come sit down. Once you eat, you’ll feel better.” Martha poured batter into her waffle iron. “How are you feeling, Lex?”
“Fine, thank you, Mrs. Kent.”
Lex helped Clark to sit, taking a chair himself. Martha poured glasses of cranberry juice and started another set of waffles.
Jonathan came in from the barn. “I see breakfast is almost ready. How are you, Clark?”
“Good.” Jonathan washed his hands at the sink and took a seat.
Martha served everyone their waffles and took her own seat. A pitcher of Vermont maple syrup and a bowl of strawberries were passed around the table. Everyone enjoyed breakfast, and Clark felt happy. He was with the people he loved most in this world.
As breakfast began to wind down, Jonathan finished his juice and got up to pour himself a fresh cup of coffee. “What do we do now?”
No one had to ask what he was talking about. Clark sighed.
“I guess just live our lives as usual while taking precautions just as we do when there’s a meteor mutant running around.”
“I agree,” said Martha. “So, Lex, you’ll move in here for now.”
Startled, Clark and Lex looked at her with wide eyes.
“That’s a generous offer, Mrs. Kent, but I’m fine, really.”
Martha shook her head. “Whatever this phenomenon is, it’s targeted you, too.”
“But that wouldn’t be living our lives as usual.”
Clark had the feeling that Lex was thinking, I can just imagine what Dad would say, abandoning the mansion to hide out on the Kent farm.
He had to admit that Lex had a point. Lionel was of the ‘tough guy school’, and had bludgeoned his son with the necessity of not showing weakness, though Clark knew that it was not weak to ask for help from friends.
“Besides, what would I tell my staff? It’s not a long distance from here to the mansion, so I can’t say I’m stuck here.”
Martha looked thoughtful. “Tell them you’re going to Metropolis for awhile and you’re giving them the time off. Then just stay here, or at least until Halloween is over. I have a feeling that after that, things will settle down.”
Lex still looked dubious but Clark smiled. “Come on, Lex, it’s a good idea.” He put a hand on his friend’s arm and squeezed.
Lex looked at Clark. “All right.” He finished his juice. “I’ll go right home and pack. The staff is mostly off on Sunday, anyway. I’ll have Jenson call them and tell them they’ve got until the Monday after Halloween, with pay, of course.”
“Excellent,” Martha said. “The spare room is yours until this is resolved.”
Lex stood. “I won’t be long.”
“I’ll go with you,” Clark said, starting to get up, stopped by Lex’s hand on his arm.
“I think it’s better if I go alone. You with me would negate my Metropolis excuse.”
Clark blushed. “Of course. It’s just that…be careful, okay?”
Lex smiled. “Okay.” He left the kitchen through the back door, and the roar of the Porsche’s powerful engine could be heard seconds later, courtesy of Chloe and Lana, who had driven the car over last night.
“Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad.”
Martha and Jonathan smiled. Jonathan stood. “Well, let’s get ready for church.”
When Lex returned, suitcase and laptop in hand, he saw the Kents off.
“See you when we get back,” Clark said, and hurried out to join his parents in the truck, and they rattled down the driveway.
Lex unpacked in the spare room and wandered over to Clark’s room, noting the Smallville Crows and Metropolis Sharks pennants on the walls. The maple dresser was neatly arranged with a blue comb and brush, a bottle of spray cologne, a gold-framed photograph of Clark and his parents, and one of him and Lex.
Lex touched the photograph’s frame. He had not noticed it before, but he had been too focused on Clark to notice his surroundings.
He looked around the room, a handmade quilt neatly folded at the end of the bed, made by Martha, a hooked rug on the hardwood floor, the red-yellow-and-blue colors matching the quilt, the rocking chair that he had sat in while holding vigil tucked away in the corner.
He looked at the bed and smiled, touching the blanket. He wandered over to the window, seeing the view that Clark had known his whole life.
He was going to enjoy his time here.
Sunday is the day for rest,
Put down your cares and strife,
Time to kick back and enjoy life.
When the Kents returned from church, they found Lex busy working on his laptop as he sat on the couch in the living room.
“All settled in, Lex?” asked Martha as she took off her coat.
Jonathan put the Sunday paper on the coffee table. “I know you probably read newspapers on-line, but you’re welcome to share the paper.”
“Thank you, sir.”
The Kents went upstairs to change out of their Sunday best. Martha was first down, going into the kitchen.
“Do you need help, Mrs. Kent?”
“No, thank you, dear. Jonathan will help me.”
Clark was down next, dressed in a red flannel shirt and blue jeans. He took the sports and opinion sections of the paper and sat next to Lex.
“The Daily Planet puts out a thick Sunday edition,” observed Lex.
“Yeah. Generally we don’t have much time to read the paper during the week, but we have more time on Sunday.”
Jonathan came down the stairs and went into the kitchen. Soon the delicious smells of roast beef, potatoes, and carrots filled the house.
“You don’t have K.P.?” Lex asked in amusement.
“Usually, but I’ll do clean-up today.”
“You’re a guest.”
“I still want to help.”
Clark smiled. “Okay.”
As dinner cooked, Jonathan came in to read, Martha taking sections of the paper and going back into the kitchen. Clark set the dining room table and returned to his place on the couch. Lex closed his laptop and deliberately bypassed the financial section, choosing the comics instead. Clark smiled as he saw the Warrior Angel strip read first.
Dinner was delicious, the roast beef incredibly tender, and Lex enjoyed eating in the dining room. He helped Clark clean up and did his share of the chores, changing his Italian loafers to sneakers when he helped muck out the stalls in the barn.
He settled back on the couch with Clark to watch the football game on TV with Jonathan and Martha, and as the afternoon waned, Jonathan started a fire in the fireplace and Martha brought in popcorn and Diet Coke, and Lex realized that he had never known such peace.
He was able to enjoy conversations with Clark and his parents, not forced to be constantly on guard, or constantly belittled. He could enjoy reading the Sunday papers, eat Sunday dinner, and watch a football game without hidden agendas or wondering if every room in the house was bugged or not.
Lex knew that quiet Sundays were not what he needed every week, but it was what he needed right now.
He daydreamed of invitations to Sunday dinners with his beautiful young lover, though he was getting way ahead of himself.
Still, it was the visionary men who got what they wanted in this life.
He felt pleasantly tired when the Kents retired, and he and Clark cleaned up.
“How’d you like your quiet Sunday?” Clark asked with a smile as they washed out the glasses and popcorn bowls.
“I liked it fine.” Lex glanced up the stairs and then leaned in and kissed Clark, whose eyes sparkled as he returned the kiss.
They went upstairs together, Lex squeezing Clark’s hand as they parted ways in the hall.
As Lex closed the spare room door behind him, he only regretted that Clark was not joining him.
LIFE ON THE FARM
Does you no harm.
Like the corn and the hay
You will make your way.
"The American Way Of Life"
“Aunt Nell, where are those journals we talked about the other day?”
Nell called from the kitchen, “The family journals?”
“Up in the attic.”
Lana went up to the attic, coughing as she brushed cobwebs aside. The attic was filled with boxes, bags, a steamer trunk, a dressmaker’s dummy, and a full-length mirror. She had fond memories of standing in front of that mirror and wearing the old clothes from the trunk as a little girl.
She bypassed the trunk for the box labeled Journals in a neat handwriting. She picked it up and brought it down to her room.
Lex made his final offer, hitting ‘Send’ and stretching his arms over his head. He was sitting on the tattered couch in the loft, legs stretched out to rest, and Clark was at his desk, books scattered around as he worked on his history paper.
“You sure you don’t want to use my laptop?”
“Thanks, Lex, but I like to work things out on paper first. It’ll take you up on that offer, though, when I’m ready to type.”
“You sure you don’t want me to get you a new one?”
“I’d love it, but you know I can’t accept it.”
Lex sighed. “Country morality.”
“When we get engaged, you can give it to me as a wedding present,” Clark joked.
Lex laughed but was excited by the thought.
A shame that we’ll never see gay marriage in our lifetimes.
He was getting used to the routine of staying at the Kent farm. Clark and Jonathan milked the cows in the morning and Martha prepared breakfast. Lex helped out Clark and his father and mucked out stalls during the day in between doing his work on the laptop. He joined Clark to help with his chores when the teenager got home from school.
The Kents lived quiet but happy lives, and though Lex was not cut out to be a farmer, he would have been happy living here while still running the plant and, ultimately, LuthorCorp.
Though I’m sure dear old Dad would bust a gut laughing at my bucolic fantasy.
“So, are you interested?”
“Leeex,” Clark whined. “I was talking to you.”
Lex smiled. “Sorry. What were you talking about?”
“After the kids trick-or-treat, we’re gong to Lana’s party. Well, her Aunt Nell’s, but it’s Lana’s, too.”
“Oh, yes. Lana did invite me last week.”
“You’re going, aren’t you?” Clark’s expression was hopeful.
Clark’s smile was worth anything. “You’ll have to get a costume.”
“We could go as Alexander and Hephaestion,” Lex smirked.
Clark blushed. He looked down at his paper. “I know! We could go as Cal and Jaz!”
“No one would know who they are.”
“We would. Otherwise we could be generic Victorian gentlemen.”
Lex rubbed his chin. “That’s a thought.”
Clark’s smile grew brighter. He rose and walked over to the couch, leaning down to kiss Lex. Lex cupped his face after they parted.
Footsteps sounded downstairs. “Boys! Supper!” called Martha.
Still looking into Lex’s eyes, Clark answered, “Coming, Mom!”
Lex smiled and pulled Clark down for another kiss.
Out in the cornfields, a glow shimmered in the night.
THE PAST IS PROLOGUE
"Historical Research Methods"
“Yes, Mr. Atterby?”
The rest of the students filed out of the classroom, intent on catching the school bus or getting into their cars to get to afterschool jobs or go out with friends or head home. Clark walked home, so had no bus to catch.
“How’s your term paper coming along?” Malcolm Atterby was graying at the temples, his brown hair still thick and wavy. Quite a few girls (and a few boys) had a crush on him, and he rubbed one broad shoulder, trying to ease tightness after a day of teaching.
“Pretty well, sir. I have five pages written and will have five more by next week.”
“Good, good.” Malcolm absently patted his pockets as if looking for his pipe, though he was not allowed to smoke on school grounds. “You have your topic and an outline, and do you have a conclusion?”
“Yes, sir. I’ve focused on my ancestor’s journal as my primary source and am contrasting it to secondary sources about the Underground Railroad.”
“Very ambitious, Clark.” Malcolm riffled through some papers on his desk. “You’re one of my best students. I expect you’ll impress me with this paper, but if you need help, just ask. That’s what I’m here for.”
“Yes, sir.” Clark hefted his books. “Um, Mr. Atterby, do you know if the cause of the Stone Hill fire was ever discovered?”
“Stone Hill?” Malcolm found his pipe and the rich smell of tobacco tickled Clark’s nose. “I don’t know off-hand. You should check at the library. Evelyn Kendall is a fount of information. She’s very good at her job. And I can check at the Historical Society, easy for me since I’m a member.”
“I will, sir. Thank you!” Clark left the classroom, going to a phone in the hall to call home about his intent to visit the library.
Evelyn Kendall liked her job. It was not the most exciting career in the world, but she made a decent living and was able to indulge her love of history as part of her work. She also could research under the guise of work for her romance novels. Little did the populace of Smallville know that their proper, middle-aged librarian wrote steamy romances on the side.
Guess my years of writing fanfic finally paid off.
She saw Clark Kent enter the library. She was glad to see him. He was a beautiful young man with his green eyes and glossy black hair, and polite to boot.
She knew that he was friends with Lex Luthor, who had just made a sizeable donation to the library with the note, In special recognition of the services of Ms. Evelyn Kendall, which puzzled her. She could not recall seeing Lex in here for quite some time. Well, she would not turn away a donation, and neither would the director.
Clark came over to the Reference Desk. “Ms. Kendall, do you know anything about Stone Hill?”
“Stone Hill? Hmm, I do know that the house up there burned down in the 1850s.”
“Do you know the cause of the fire?”
Evelyn went to the map cabinet and pulled out a drawer containing a large book with gold edges, the title stamped in gold on the cover: A History Of Smallville, Kansas, 1836-1906 by Hezekial Henson. She carefully opened the leatherbound volume and consulted the table of contents. She turned to the page.
“Hmm, this is odd. Hansen writes about the fire but the details are very sketchy. Apparently the Stone family declined to move here after their house burned down.”
“Did it say what happened to their son, Jasper Stone? He was here in Smallville, supervising the construction of a new house.”
Evelyn looked over the old-fashioned type. “I don’t see a mention of Jasper Stone. He must have returned to Boston.”
“I guess so.” Clark looked uneasy.
“Why so interested in Jasper Stone?” She replaced the drawer in the cabinet.
“He was mentioned in Calvin Kent’s journal.”
“I see. Well, there are some old newspapers on microfiche. We don’t have the budget to scan them onto the computer yet.”
“I’ve used microfiche before.” Clark smiled.
“All right, I’ll get you the spools.”
Clark sat at one of the microfiche machines and threaded the spool in once Evelyn had given it to him. He started clicking through the film, reading The Smallville Gazette from October of 1856. He quickly paged to the October 31st edition, but of course there would be no report of the fire. He checked the November 1st edition.
Yes! There it is.
FIRE DESTROYS STONE HOUSE ON HALLOWE’EN
The house on Stone Hill burned down last night in a terrible conflagration. Witnesses reported seeing the glow for miles around.
Very little of the house was left. The chimney still stands, though not untouched.
Sheriff Carstairs is investigating the cause of the fire.
Clark looked for more articles but there was nothing further in this issue or in the following issues. Frustrated, he scanned at super-speed, noting stories about Ezra Perkins’ new church building planned for the spring of 1857, and Eben Kent resigning the presidency of the local Grange on November 10, 1856.
Discouraged, Clark packed away the spools and returned them to Evelyn.
“Find what you were looking for?” she asked.
“No, but thanks for your help.”
Clark left the library, leaves rustling as the wind blew. He began walking home, feeling sadder by the minute.
He found himself at the entrance to the town cemetery, blinking as he looked at the iron gates. He touched them and they opened with a rusty squeak, Clark passing into the grounds.
He walked through the grounds, passing the headstones, walking to the oldest section of the cemetery. The moonlight shimmered on the stones, tree branches bowing gently in the wind, sighing softly as Clark shivered, still dazed. He stopped in front of a weathered headstone, the names and dates barely legible. He knelt to get a better look and read,
EBEN KENT 1816-1865
SARAH KENT, BELOVED WIFE AND MOTHER, 1818-1918
CALVIN KENT, BELOVED SON, 1838-
& & & & & &
Where was the date of death for Cal?
Tears began to run down Clark’s face as the wind picked up, leaves swirling madly around his shuddering body.
BOSTON CREAM PIE
Sarah Hancock Adams
"A History Of Boston, 1620-1906"
“Can you take me to Boston?”
Lex looked up at his friend standing in the doorway of the spare room as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.
Clark was pensive as Lex drove them to Metropolis, going straight to the airport once they had gotten permission from the Kents to take this little trip. They had remained mostly silent on the two-hour drive, and Lex decided to wait until Clark was ready to speak.
They flew comfortably in Lex’s private jet, and reached Boston’s Logan Airport by late morning. They disembarked into the chaos of a major airport and decided to take the shuttle into the city, carrying nothing but their wallets. They had brought light traveling bags in case they stayed over, but Clark seemed to be on a mission. Lex followed him through the narrow streets.
Boston was a smaller city than Metropolis or New York. The past was strong here, but not as dark as in Gotham. Its new buildings did not gleam like the City of Tomorrow’s, but were still modern and up-and-coming.
As they walked on brick sidewalks, Lex noticed the brilliant color of the trees and the bright blue sky. The air was crisp, prompting people to walk briskly. It was a perfect New England autumn day, but Clark did not seem to notice.
They reached Tremont Street and the entrance to the Granary Burial Ground. Clark walked right in with Lex following him. As he followed Clark he noticed how old the headstones were, weatherbeaten granite nearly unreadable by now as the dates went back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
He noticed the names of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine and Paul Revere. This was the cream of the Revolutionary crop.
Clark went to an impressive headstone, which was a marker, tall and etched with many names. The monument was topped by a serene angel, gazing down at Lex and Clark.
Clark swiftly read the names, his fingers reaching out to touch a name. “See, here, the name of Jasper Stone’s father, and here, of his mother.”
“So here’s Jaz’s name, but with no date of death.”
“He was buried somewhere else then.”
“I suppose they wouldn’t put the death date here if he was buried somewhere else.”
“Probably in Smallville.”
Clark shook his head. “No. And it’s the same on the Kent headstone. No death date for Cal.”
“Maybe they took that Grand Tour and stayed in Europe.”
“Maybe.” Clark stared at the marker. Suddenly he shook his head. “No, something’s not right.”
Lex gently laid a hand on Clark’s arm. “Where do you want to go next?”
Clark looked at him. “The Boston Athenaeum.” He pointed. “It’s right here.”
On their way to the entrance, Clark explained that the information he wanted on the Stone family was located in the Athenaeum archives.
“I called ahead and they assured me that I could see it.”
“Oh? I thought the Athenaeum restricted access to its collection to scholars.”
“Well, Ms. Kendall knows the director.”
The Boston Athenaeum was a venerable building of Patterson sandstone in a unique style; Lex could immediately feel the quiet elegance of the place with its 17th-century paintings, some by John Singleton Copley, and the marble busts of Greek philosophers and playwrights lining the halls.
A silver-haired gentleman of fifty or so appeared, dressed immaculately in a dark suit with a pearl-gray silk tie. Lex approved of the man’s style.
“Clark Kent, Mr. Bradelton.” Clark held out his hand and Ken Bradelton shook it. “This is Lex Luthor.”
Bradelton never missed a beat as he shook Lex’s hand, another point in his favor. “This way, gentlemen,” he said, turning to walk down the green-carpeted hall.
Lex was equally impressed by the understate elegance of the Athenaeum. He guessed that the organization had been put together in the 19th century. It had been a ‘thing to do’, as High Society would always say. Scholarly High Society had practically been invented in Boston.
In a large, airy room with a floor-length window, Bradelton went to the stacks and pulled out a large leatherbound volume.
“This is the Stone family history. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
“Thank you, Mr. Bradelton.”
Clark sat at the long table and Lex joined him as the director left the room, saying that if they needed him, he would be downstairs.
Clark had become an expert on handling old books, carefully turning the pages.
“What do you hope to find, Clark?”
“Something about Jaz. I’d really like to know what happened to him.”
Lex had to admit that he was curious, too. Once he had read about how Cal and Jaz had first met, he had been even more intrigued by the duo.
Clark paused, looking a little pale.
“What is it?”
“It says that Jasper Stone disappeared in Smallville.”
A flutter went through Lex. “When?”
“October 31, 1856.”
They both looked at each other with wide eyes.
It was the date of the last entry by Cal Kent in his journal.
Clark looked around the restaurant with interest. The Omni Parker House was the oldest continuously-operated restaurant in the United States, established in 1855. Boston cream pie had first been whipped up here, and Parker House rolls were famous.
“Thanks for bringing me here, Lex. It’s really nice.”
“You’re welcome, Clark.” The quiet elegance of the place had always pleased Lex, from the gold-rimmed white bone china to the butter-gold flocked wallpaper. The service was efficient and discreet, just the way he liked it. “Order whatever you like.”
Clark smiled and studied the menu. Lex could tell that something was off with his friend.
The waiter came by and they ordered, Clark requesting roast chicken, snow peas, and red bliss smashed potatoes, and Lex ordered sirloin steak, baked potato with chives and sour cream, and a julienned vegetable medley.
After the waiter left, Lex sipped his icewater, appreciating the added slice of fresh lemon.
“What is it, Clark?”
The younger man sighed. “There’s just something odd about all this. Jaz disappears in Smallville? There were no meteor mutants back then. It just sounds fishy, especially when no one in town knows about it.”
“It’s not that surprising. Most people don’t know their local history.”
Clark smiled wryly. “You don’t know Smallville that well yet. Everybody knows everything, not only about everybody in the here-and-now, but for generations past. This Jasper Stone disappearance should be local legend.”
“Do you suppose he was killed in the fire?”
The waiter brought a basket of warm Parker House rolls. Lex took one and passed the basket to Clark.
“I doubt it. Even without advanced forensics they would have been able to tell if there was a body in the ashes.”
Lex nodded as Clark took a roll and split it open, applying creamy butter from a small dish.
“Do you think Cal Kent met the same fate?”
Clark was about to bite into his roll and paused. “I think so.” He took a bite. .”Wow, these are really good!”
Lex enjoyed the meal, happy to spoil his friend. Clark’s legendary appetite did justice to the food, and Lex dreamed of the day when he could spoil this beautiful young man every day.
The light from the window backlit Clark, and he was like an angel in a painting by an Old Master, pure and ethereal, though Lex was fully aware of Clark’s humanity.
When Clark declared that he was going to have the Boston cream pie, Lex laughed in sheer joy.
Whispers and giggles
Coming up the drive.
‘Tis the night
"Modern American Holidays"
Halloween came to Smallville as it always did, with a last burst of color and a hint of snow in the air. The children of Smallville were excited as they went to school in costume and chattered about the candy they would get tonight. The adults put the finishing touches on their own costumes to accompany the children trick-or-treating and to attend Nell Potter’s party.
Lex packed his suitcase and went back to the mansion, since he planned to attend the party with the Kents. He had to show his face at the mansion even though he had called Jenson and told him the staff should return on Monday.
Once there, he unpacked his suitcase and made some business calls. He was taking his costume back to the farm and was staying overnight, figuring that it would be all right for one night instead of staying at an empty mansion. He had left a travel bag with pajamas and a change of clothes back at the farm, and a few other essentials like cologne. He kept the toothbrush the Kents had given him.
His footsteps echoed on the stone floor as he walked to the library. It was almost eerily quiet.
He went over to his desk and was just about to start working on his laptop when the phone rang.
“Hello, son. Happy Halloween.”
Lex stifled a sigh. The arch, ironic tone was recognizable even in his sleep. “Hello, Dad. Same to you. How was Europe?”
“Dazzling, as usual. I hear you’ve been in Metropolis.”
“Actually, I haven’t.”
“I had a sweet deal going on and just told people that’s where I was going.”
A pause, then Lionel said, “I like it.”
Lex smirked. Of course his father would approve of duplicity.
“So were are you now?”
“The penthouse. I’ll need to discuss the latest merger with you.”
“Fine, but I can’t talk long. I have to take part in smalltown revelry.”
Amusement laced Lionel’s voice. “Good to keep in good with the locals, son.”
They discussed business for the next hour, then Lionel said, “Well, have fun bobbing for apples tonight.”
“Right. See you later.”
Lex was grateful to be able to hang up. There were days when sparring with his father was stimulating, and other days when it was exhausting.
Today it was just annoying.
He had things to do! Smiling, he got to work.
“Aren’t you pretty?” Clark asked, dropping candy into the bag of a fairy princess. She squealed happily and her older sister laughed.
“That’s a really clever Witch costume,” Clark said with a smile to the older girl.
“Thanks. The hat is traditional but the jewelry comes from my mom.” Bracelets clacked as she held out her bag. Clark cropped Hersey miniatures into it. “Thanks, Clark!”
“You bet, Jen.”
The Princess and the Witch scurried down the driveway.
Lex watched the ritual with interest. He had never taken part as a child or given away treats as an adult.
“Next groups is yours,” Clark said with a smile as he closed the door.
All the Jack O’Lanterns in the windows and on the porch were lot by candles, their light flickering eerily, and the pumpkin lights were all lit.
“Oh? Don’t think I can handle a bunch of trick-or-treaters?”
Clark laughed. “I’m sure you can handle anything you set your mind to.”
Warmed by Clark’s faith, Lex answered the doorbell. “Well, what have we here? The Gray Ghost and Warrior Angel!” Delighted, Lex answered the chorus of “Trick-or-treat!” with candy.
“Thanks, Mister!” the children chorused and ran down the driveway.
“You’re a natural,” Clark teased.
Lex smirked and popped a small Milky War bar into his mouth.
After the last of the trick-or-treaters, Clark and Lex changed into costume. They came downstairs together, Clark in a simple brown Victorian suit, and Lex’s a more expensive suit with a fake diamond stickpin on his pearl-gray cravat. He could have substituted a real one for the fake that had come with the costume, but decided to keep the fake.
Both men wore vests, Clarks a light gold and Lex’s a pale blue to complement his black coat and pants.
“You look fine,” Lex said, reaching out to adjust Clark’s tie.
“Thanks, Lex.” Clark grinned. “So do you.”
“You boys look wonderful,” said Martha as she descended the stairs in her dark-green dress with a hoopskirt. Her red hair was done up in ringlets with a green velvet bow.
“You make a very lovely Sarah Kent, Mrs. Kent.”
“Oh, Lex, you are a flatterer.”
Jonathan appeared next in a suit similar to Clark’s. “Looks like we make a fine Victorian family.”
“So we do, Eben, so we do,” said Martha.
“C’mon, Sarah, let’s hitch up the wagon.”
“Oh, it’ll do quite nicely,” said Martha.
After checking to see that all the candles were extinguished and the lights turned off, the Kents and Lex left for the party.
COLD CUTS AND COLD WINDS
The heart knows.
The Potter house was decked out with grinning Jack O’Lanterns, pumpkin lights, Witch and ghost cut-outs, fake cobwebs, and a genuine black cat that was curled up on the front porch railing.
Music played and the guests mingled. The Kents and Lex had donned domino masks in the car.
“Welcome!” said Nell, dressed in a Roaring Twenties flapper outfit, complete with a long string of pearls and beaded headband.
“Thank you for the invitation, m’lady,” Jonathan said with a sweep of his hat.
Nell giggled and swept her arm out in a matching gesture. “The buffet’s over there.” She did an impromptu cha-cha step. “Enjoy!”
The Kents and Lex headed over to the buffet table, approving the delicious array of food: assorted cold cuts and three kinds of rolls; wheat and onion and pumpernickel; finger rolls of turkey, egg salad, and tuna, Swedish meatballs, eggplant, pickled beets, potato salad, pasta salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill pickles, pumpkin bread and muffins, cranberry bread and muffins, and pumpkin pie. Coffee and soft drinks were available, and Clark sighed happily.
“Looks great,” said Lex, fondly regarding his young friend, whose appetite was legendary. He chose to make a turkey sandwich with mustard, and pickled beets and dill pickles on the side. While Martha and Jonathan filled their plates, Clark eyed the buffet and began loading up: eggplant, pasta salad, turkey and tuna rolls, tomatoes, cucumbers and a cranberry muffin. He and Lex picked up a Sprite and ginger ale and took seats on the couch.
People-watching was a skill that Lex had cultivated at an early age, and he used it to good advantage. Clark was doing the same thing as he ate with relish. Families with excited children arrived, the kids comparing their hauls of candy. The guest list was composed of those families, the elderly, the single folks, and teenagers. Nell always managed to get the generations together.
A slender Witch in traditional pointed hat and dress sauntered over, her hazel eyes sparkling through the holes in her black domino mask.
“Hello, boys. Enjoying the party?”
“Yes, Lana,” Clark grinned
Lex carefully watched Clark’s reaction to his old crush, but he seemed to just regard her as a friend.
“I was reading my old family journals and came upon mention of your ancestor, Clark.”
Lana nodded. “Apparently Calvin Kent disappeared on Halloween of 1856. His friend Jasper Stone did, too.”
Lex suppressed a shiver. He asked, “So did they ever find out what happened to them?” He could feel Clark tense beside him.
She shook her head, her hat nearly falling off. “Well, enjoy the party, guys. I have to go help Aunt Nell.”
Clark chewed his cranberry muffin thoughtfully. “Something happened that Halloween and Stone Hill holds the answers.”
Lex sipped his Sprite and had to agree.
Lex discovered that he was accepted as a citizen of Smallville as he mingled, people passing along tidbits of gossip and asking his opinion about town-related matters. He knew that he could be here twenty years and would never truly be a native, but the level of acceptance he was getting pleased him.
He heard snatches of conversation as he made a circuit of the room.
“An awful wailing…”
“Maisie Wilkes says that the fair will be bigger this year.”
“I saw a glow in the cornfield last night.”
“The temperature dropped about twenty degrees in ten minutes!”
“I think it’ll rain.”
Lex ended up by a window, a Jack O’Lantern on the sill, its candle flickering.
Suddenly he felt a cold gust of air, even through the closed window, and the Jack O’Lantern’s flame guttered, nearly winking out.
Across the room, Clark talked with Chloe and Pete.
“Boy, I’m glad this is our bye week,” Pete said. “It would bum me out to miss Halloween.”
Chloe grinned. She was dressed in a Morticia Addams outfit, complete with long, black wig.
“I ran into the Reverend Shanley today,” Pete said as he balanced his plate of food.
“Oh, great. I suppose he’s running the fundie House of Horrors tonight,” Chloe grumbled.
Clark shuddered. “Those houses are awful, saying that people who have sex outside of marriage and abortions are going to hell.”
“Don’t forget gays getting AIDS,” Pete added.
“How can people bring their children to such a place, showing all that blood and brimstone?” Clark asked, feeling upset.
Chloe sighed. “People who are into extremist religions don’t think rationally. They think that they’re saving the kids’ souls.”
“Traumatizing them is more like it,” Pete said in disgust.
“I had an encounter with the reverend last night,” Clark said.
October 30, 2002
Clark stood in front of the cemetery gates, fingers curling around the iron gates. It was growing dark as he debated whether or not to go in.
Clark startled, wondering how his senses had not detected the preacher’s approach. The sibilant whisper unnerved him, along with the wild brown eyes staring at him with a messianic light.
Roger Shanley was a tall, thin man with a permanent stoop. His shaggy brown hair was wild, and his brown suit was rumpled.
“Are you planning to celebrate the devil’s holiday, boy?”
“I don’t celebrate any devil’s holiday, Reverend.”
“You do by celebrating cursed Halloween! You and this supposed God-fearing town! It’s a Pagan thing!”
Clark backed away, the reverend following him. Clark fought down rising panic. This man unnerved him.
“Come with me! Come to Hell House and scare the children into righteousness and save their souls!”
“Man, that’s creepy,” Pete shuddered.
“The creepiest,” Clark agreed.
He finished his muffin and went back to the buffet table. As he stood by the window, he felt a cold draft. Numbed, the room began to gray out as he smelled lilacs just before he blacked out.
Clark blinked. “Lex?”
“Yeah, where were you? You were staring off into space.”
Clark looked around with a wan grin at the Lang living room. No one had noticed his lapse.
“Can you come to the mansion with me? I got a call from my Security Chief that there’s been some vandalism.”
“Great. We can come back for your parents but I need to take care of this.”
Lex drove them back to the mansion and they headed for the house when Clark said, “Look! The glow!” They ran to the gardens but everything was normal. The kissing statues were just part of the scenery by now.
Clark shook his head as he and Lex stood by the statues. “I guess I was seeing things.”
“Well, considering everything lately…”
A flash of light surrounded the statues and enveloped Clark and Lex. When it winked out, only the statues remained.
Clark looked up at the sky. He was lying on his back in the road, Lex beside him.
“Lex?” He reached over and was hugely relieved to find a pulse. Lex groaned as he came to awareness.
“Where are we?”
“Somewhere on Standish Road.” Clark frowned. It was quiet. Too quiet. His super-hearing detected no cars on the distant highway. Looking up, he saw stars in the clear night sky looking more brilliant than ever. “The 9:06 is late,” he mumbled.
“What?” Lex asked, brushing off his pants.
“The Metropolis-to-Gotham flight is always at 9:06. It’s 9:15. There are no planes in the sky.”
Anywhere, he realized, his hearing picking up no sounds of planes for miles around.
He suddenly felt dizzy and slumped into unconsciousness as Lex hurriedly grasped his arms while frantically calling his name.
STING OF THE WHIP
And whistle of the whip
Means the mob rules
In hateful joy.
"A Slave’s Journey"
Clark could feel it radiate down his back in waves, his shoulders aching as his eyes slowly opened.
Torchlights shimmered and blurred along with jeering faces. Confused, for a moment Clark wondered if he was strung up on the scarecrow pole again in Miller’s cornfield.
The whip whistled through the air as it struck Clark’s back and his body jerked, his flesh tearing as he bit back a scream. He was spread-eagled between two poles, rough rope jabbing at his wrists and ankles. A burly man held the leash of a pack of hounds who whimpered and growled.
“Sodomite!” thundered the voice of the whip-wielder.
“Stop it!” Lex demanded from somewhere close by.
Clark turned his head and saw a bruised Lex held by two men as he struggled to break free.
“May you burn in hell!” came the voice again.
The whip tore at him again, and Clark sagged in his bonds. His shirt was tattered by now. Where were his powers?
“Let him go!”
Lex’s cry was cut off as a fist was driven into his stomach.
“Lex!” Clark’s voice was drenched with pain, but it hurt worse to see Lex hurt. Gasping, he pleaded, “Let him go!”
“You two are so devoted to each other,” sneered a tall man in a broadcloth coat and silk breeches.
“They love each other, Jebediah,” laughed a grizzled man in homespun. “Eben and Sarah will throw you a wedding.”
Mocking laughter assaulted Clark’s ears as the whip came down harder than ever. This time he screamed, the laughter growing louder. He felt close to passing out as tiny stars danced in front of his eyes.
His wrists and ankles were untied and a surge of adrenaline allowed him to bowl over his attackers. For a moment he thought that he had his powers back but realized he was still without them. Grabbing Lex’s hand they somehow eluded the mob. Lex threw something at a small fire the villagers had built and it exploded, causing confusion as he and Clark escaped.
“What was that?” Clark asked as they pounded down the road.
“A small smoke bomb. Never leave home without it,” Lex panted. He limped and Clark noticed the bruises on his leg. His own back still burned and his chest hurt. He looked down to see lash marks there, too. How long had they been whipping him?
“Is this some kind of crazy Smallville Halloween prank?” Lex asked as they ran.
“No, but everyone was sure dressed up in costume.” Clark bit his lip. “Lex, I didn’t recognize anyone.” He suddenly stopped short, Lex pulling up.
“What is it?”
“Eben and Sarah…those were the names of Cal’s parents.”
Lex’s eyes widened as he remembered the names, too. “You said that there were no planes in the sky. And you’re right; it’s awfully quiet.” Lex took a deep breath. “We couldn’t be in…”
“…1856?” they both chorused.
Lex shook his head as if to clear it. “This is crazy, Clark! I know Smallville is weird, but time travel?”
Clark shrugged. “Is it really crazier than anything else that’s happened?”
“I suppose not.” Lex grasped his friend’s arm. “How’s your back?”
“It stings, but that’s the least of our worries.” Clark grimaced. “If this is Halloween night like it is in our time, it’s the night that Cal and Jaz disappeared.”
“I think we know why now.” Lex swallowed. “Apparently their secret was discovered for certain and the villagers took exception.”
Clark nodded gravely. “Lex…”
The sound of hounds baying cut him off. Lex squeezed his arm. “Come on! They’ll be on us soon!” A glow in the woods underscored the urgency as the mob and their torches grew closer.
“We can’t stay on the main road. Up this way!” Clark said. He headed toward the woods when a shot rang out and Lex staggered, clutching his side. Clark yelled as he grabbed his arm, “Lex! Where are you hit?”
“You’ll be slowed down staying with me.”
“If you think I’m going to leave you here, hurt and alone, then I’m insulted!”
Clark helped Lex but suddenly stumbled, cursing as he twisted his ankle. Lex helped him up and they crashed into the woods. The hounds’ baying was growing louder, and the shouts of the mob could be heard.
“It’s all right; we’ll get out of this,” Clark said.
Lex pushed away his hands. “I can walk, probably better than you.”
“We go together, Clark.”
Clark looked at his companion for a moment, then nodded.
He and Lex managed to make it through the woods, grateful for the light of the moon, when Clark cried out in dismay.
“What is it?” Lex asked.
“It’s Stone Hill,” Clark moaned just before the old, familiar sadness crashed over him.
JUSTICE NO LONGER DENIED
For every man,
In the end
It always wins.
Clark did not know why he had led Lex here to Stone Hill, but he could barely think at all. He felt like he was swimming through molasses, his muscles slow and his thought processes even slower. He could see Lex was affected, too.
We cannot go through eternity separated!
The sad voice filled Clark’s mind. He clutched his head, the house on Stone Hill in all its glory, but not for long. Lilac bushes swayed gently in the breeze in the backyard.
“L…Lex,” he gasped.
Lex reached out for him just as the mob arrived, howling and out for blood. Clark saw a nimbus of light around Lex’s body, and his own skin radiated a glow. Clark felt the sadness turning to rage, and the voice in his head spewed forth, “We will not be separated again! You will not keep us apart!”
Howls of hatred filled the clearing as torches set the house afire. The flames began to eat at the wood, leaping up to consume more timbers as the mob grabbed Clark and Lex.
Lex’s eyes burned with rage. “We will not be denied! We have waited 146 years! No more!”
A scruffy-looking man in shabby clothes aimed a shotgun at Clark while Jebediah aimed one at Lex.
“No!” Clark shouted. “You will not throw us into the fire!” Lex was at his side, their shoulders brushing.
“Plug ‘em, Ezra!” yelled a portly man.
Ezra Perkins tightened his finger on the trigger. “May you burn in the fires of Gehenna, filthy sodomites!”
Sparks flew out from the house and landed on the lilac bushes, wisps of smoke curling up as the leaves began to curl and blacken. Flames leaped up high into the sky from the house as the roof crashed in.
Two shotguns discharged and the bullets passed through the two intended victims. The hounds howled and the mob recoiled, their faces contorted in terror. The flames crackled, spewing off heat as the light illuminated the mob’s fear.
Four voices thundered, “Our love will be the stuff of legends. You will not bury us like some dirty little secret!”
The mob began to run, Ezra Perkins screaming, “Stop, you ignorant bumpkins! Don’t let these demons chase you away!”
Jebediah Milbank was at the edge of the clearing, undecided whether to go or stay, when Perkins turned back to Clark and Lex and spewed, “Your evil will not be tolerated on this Devil’s Night!”
Perkins lunged at the two lovers and howled as he fell into the flames. He screamed the last of his hate as he was consumed.
Clark felt a surge of emotions as he looked at Lex. His hand reached out, and as they touched, the light between them flared.
Cal smiled. “Jaz,” he breathed softly.
Jaz smiled and he drew Cal into a kiss.
Clark could feel himself blacking out.
Clark’s heart pounded as he felt cool air brush against his skin. The wind moaned through the trees and his eyes fluttered open.
He was in the castle garden, lying by the base of the statues of Alexander and Hephaestion.
Suddenly the memories came crashing down on him and he cried, “Lex!” He saw his friend next to him on the ground. He touched his shoulder. “Are you all right?” he asked fearfully.
Lex groaned as he came back to consciousness, holding his head. “Where are we?”
“In your garden.”
Lex looked at Clark, “Are you all right?”
Clark nodded, relieved that his back and chest no longer hurt. His shirt was still in tatters but there was not a mark on him. Lex seemed fine, too, even with torn pants and rumpled shirt.
“Our coats.” Clark picked up the discarded coats and Lex gratefully put his on. The night was cold, befitting Halloween. The stars twinkled in the sky, a line of light climbing high as the 10:36 flight from Metropolis to Boston cleaved the air.
They looked at each other, trying to understand what had happened. Lex glanced up and grabbed Clark’s arm. Clark looked at the statues.
They were back in their original positions except that the mere suggestion of smiles that had been sculpted were now radiant smiles.
Time to rest.
"The Long Road"
Clark and Lex watched the digging as Malcolm Atterby, and some of the archeology students from Metropolis University dug in the ruins of Stone Hill.
The day after Halloween was always a little forlorn, Clark thought. The decorations looked a little ragged, the Jack O'Lanterns starting to soften, the candy already half-eaten. Thoughts would turn to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then it would be the New Year.
The day was mellow, a perfect Saturday in November. Despite their experience of the night before, Clark had been able to contact Malcolm Atterby and get this expedition set up right away. He and Lex were not sure how long their unerring instincts would last.
Malcom leaned into the pit they had dug. "Yes"
The students crowded around while Lex smiled. "Jaz is found."
Clark nodded. "On to Miller's Pond."
Sheriff Adams took a long look. "We'll have to do some testing of these bones, but considering the location, chances are real good this is Jasper Stone." She looked at Clark. "You say Calvin Kent is in Miller's Pond?"
Nancy Adams nodded. A veteran of the Smallville Police Department, she found nothing strange. After lunch the group moved to Miller's Pond. Police divers went in on Clark's directions.
"This is amazing, Clark," said Malcolm as he watched the operation beside his student. "Your research was meticulous."
"Thank you, Mr. Atterby."
Malcolm clapped a hand on Clark's shoulder. "I think you get an 'A' even before I see your paper." He moved closer to the edge of the water.
Lex smiled and bumped shoulders with Clark. They shared a smile just as a diver popped up."We've got him!"
The sun was beginning to set as Clark opened the barn shutters to reveal the panoramic view. Lex was seated on the couch, a half-smile on his face. Clark came over to sit right to him.
"It was a great day," Clark said in satisfaction.
"It was." Lex grasped Clark's hand and squeezed. "Their entire story can be told now."
"That's good. The veil of mystery is lifted. What happened to them should be known."
Lex looked at Clark. "Will everything be told?"
Clark nodded slowly. He looked down at their joined hands.
"Do you think the town is ready to know everything?" Lex asked gently.
Clark looked up to meet Lex's eyes, his own eyes a deep green. "They'll have to be."
Lex pulled Clark to him, Clark resting his head on his friend's shoulder.
The leaves were mostly underfoot instead of on the trees now. Clark and Lex stood in front of the Kent headstone in the Smallville cemetery, the last of the people attending the re-internment ceremony, including descendants of Jasper Stone, passing through the gates. Jonathan and Martha stopped outside the gates to wait.
"They're at peace now," Clark said softly.
Lex took his hand and squeezed it. "Yes."
They turned to leave, the newly-carved names of Calvin Kent and Jasper Stone shining in the late morning sunlight.
In the Luthor castle garden, the statues of Alexander and Hephaestion glowed briefly, then all returned to normal as the last of the leaves blew through the garden, a faint scent of lilacs on the wind.