Woods Just Outside Smallville
"So, what do we have left?" Pete asked, as the two of them worked to gather all the required rock samples for their science class.
"Just Quartz rock and a piece of the meteor rock." Clark replied, and Pete nodded before moving to try and find the rock samples. Clark moved to the opposite side of the tree line, where he used his x-ray vision. He grinned when he saw a piece of quartz buried in the ground. He ensured that no one was looking his way, and then he punched a small hole in the ground, pulling the rock up from the earth.
"Pete. I found the quartz." He said as he walked over to his friend, making the other boy shake his head.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Clark Kent...rock whisperer." Pete said, and Clark snorted.
"Very funny Pete."
"Looks like Eric's still at it." Pete said, and Clark chuckled as he saw Eric approach Holly. Eric Summers had been crushing on Holly Peterson since the fourth grade, but she either didn't realize it or didn't care. Clark kind of felt sorry for him to be honest. But he had to admire his persistence.
Clark winced as he saw Eric get shot down yet again.
"Eric. How many samples have you collected?" The science teacher asked as he came up behind him.
"Only a couple. My glasses keep fogging up." He replied, making the teacher glare.
"You've got twenty minutes to complete this assignment, and I expect you to have found every rock. Understood?"
"Yeah dad. I got it." Eric replied, and the man glared at him.
"It's Mr. Summers at school. Now get to work." He replied before walking off.
"Yeesh. I'd hate it if that guy was my dad." Pete said, and Clark nodded in agreement.
Ten minutes later, the students all got on the bus. All except one.
Mr. Summers sighed as he saw that his son was the absent student. While part of him wanted to leave the young man to learn a lesson in responsibility, he knew both the school and his wife would be insufferable if Eric didn't return.
"Has anyone seen Eric? He seems to have gotten himself lost."
"I'll find him." Clark volunteered, walking out of the bus. Once he was out of sight, he closed his eyes, listening for any sound of where Eric might be. A moment later, he ran off at superspeed coming to a stop at the observation point overlooking the woods. Eric was standing on the metal bar at the edge of the cliff Clark almost shook his head at the boy's foolishness. He was standing on metal in the middle of a thunderstorm, and he had both his headphones in.
"ERIC!" Clark yelled, running over to the boy.
"Clark? I-AHH!" Eric screamed as he felt himself lose his balance. He reached out with both hands, grasping at the metal bar. He felt one of his hands slip off the pole, just as a lightning bolt struck the pole less than a foot from where he was.
Clark raced over, grabbing the other boy's hand in his own, pulling him over the bar just as lightning struck the pole again. Clark's eyes widened as his eyes landed on Eric. The boy was facedown on the ground, and his jacket had two holes in it. Clark focused his x-ray vision, not wanting to take off Eric's jacket to check the boy for injuries. If he was injured, removing the jacket may only make things worse.
The young man's eyes widened as Eric's skeleton became visible. There didn't appear to be any damage. No burns from the sparks caused when the lightning struck the pole. Not even the slightest bit of irritation on his skin.
Clark reached for Eric's jacket, intending to confirm what his eyes had seen. However, no sooner had he touched Eric's jacket when he was forced to yank his hands away. The jacket was hot to the touch. Looking down at his hands, Clark's shock increased. His hands were red. He had been burned.
Kent Farm-3 PM
"I feel fine now but…" Clark trailed off, the nerves clear in his voice as he looked at his parents.
Jonathan reached out and took his son's hand, as much to reassure himself as to reassure Clark.
"It looks like your body healed itself Clark. Maybe it was just a temporary issue." He said, and Martha nodded.
"It could just be another part of your development. Like gaining your x-ray vision." She said and Clark nodded.
"I hope so."
"Have you told Natasha yet?" Jonathan asked, and Clark glared.
"Dad, please don't start-"
"I'm not trying to start anything. I was actually hoping that she might know something. Or maybe she's seen something like this before."
"I can ask once she gets back tonight. She had to go see someone. An old friend I think." Clark said, and Jonathan nodded. He was trying to give the former SHIELD agent the benefit of the doubt. Her recent actions and determination to protect Clark had earned her that much.
Unknown Location-3:30 PM
"You still take it black?"
Natasha nodded her head, accepting the cup from the man sitting across from her.
"I thought your tastes might've changed since you started spending time with young Mr. Kent." Her companion remarked, taking a sip from his own drink. He didn't have any room to talk. He was the one that introduced her to black coffee all those years ago. Up until that point, she hadn't even drank coffee. The soviets drank vodka. It had become a problem, to the point where the Kremlin had started including it in field rations for their soldiers and spies. Thankfully, her superior's distaste for drunkards and the serum she had been given made it so that she had never gotten an addiction to alcohol. It was one of the only good things her superior had ever done for her.
"You've been keeping tabs on me." She replied, taking a sip of her coffee.
"You're surprised?" He asked, and she laughed.
"No. But next time, be a little more subtle." She said, taking the note she had found on her desk and passing it over to him.
"And using Barton as a messenger? Really Nick?" She asked, and Nick Fury grinned.
"It's good to see you Natasha." He replied, and she smiled back.
"You too boss. How was Europe?"
"Interesting. But I didn't call you just for chit chat. At least, not about Europe. I want to talk about Mr. Kent. He seems very capable."
"No." Natasha said coldly.
"He'd make one heck of an operative. With his skills, he'd be useful."
"I said no Nick. He's off limits. He's just a boy." She said, and Nick snorted.
"Right, and Rodgers is just a common soldier." He replied, and she glared.
"Relax Romanoff. I'll stay clear of your boy. Unless we're at a level seven." He said, and Natasha nodded.
Given what Clark had said to Colson, that was the best offer Natasha thought she would get. Besides, if there was a level seven, Natasha knew she would have to shoot Clark with meteor rock to keep him away.
"One more thing. Bodies have been turning up all over. Istanbul. Taiwan. Beirut. Just yesterday there was one in LA. All people with plenty of enemies, and all supposedly killed by the top killer in the game. Except that there's rumors that he has a challenger. Someone that is taking credit for his work, forcing him to up his game."
"This guy have a name?" Natasha asked, and Fury snorted.
"Jason Bourne. Stupid. But extremely effective. I hear the current number one might not be number one much longer."
"No one ever stays at the top forever."
"No. But he has become accustomed to being there, and if Bourne continues to cause problems, he might decide that doing work for hire isn't enough of a statement."
"You think he'll come after me before going after Bourne?" She asked.
"He doesn't know who Bourne is, or what he looks like. But everyone in our business knows who the most dangerous woman in the world is. Be careful Natasha."
"You too Nick." She replied, standing up and walking away from the table. Once she was in her car, she allowed herself a small smile. Her and Clark's plan was working.
Skye and Natasha's Apartment- 7 PM
Clark swore softly as Skye's kick caused him to step back.
"Nice kick. Now how about I return the favor?" He asked, but Skye held up her hand.
"Clark...why are you bleeding?" Skye asked, pointing to his nose. He raised his hand to his nose, shocked when he felt blood on his finger. He pulled his hand away from his face, sure he was dreaming.
"I...I don't know. Have you ever seen anything like this with your time at SHIELD?" He asked, and she shook her head.
"Not unless you've been exposed to weird mists over the last few days. Even then, that would give you powers not take them away. Maybe Natasha-"
"Maybe Natasha what?" Natasha asked as she walked through the door of the apartment.
"I kicked your boyfriend, and now he's bleeding." Skye said when Clark didn't immediately reply.
"What?" Natasha asked, walking over to him and taking his face in her hands.
"It's nothing. Just a scratch." Clark insisted. Natasha didn't reply, running her hands gently over his nose.
"It doesn't look broken. Put some ice on it and you should be fine."
"Skye, can you go get an ice pack from the freezer?" She asked, and Skye nodded.
"I'm fine." Clark said, and Natasha gave him a look.
"You're bleeding. You don't bleed. So let's stow the macho attitude. How are you really Clark?" She asked quietly.
"I'm scared." He admitted, telling her about what had happened earlier in the day. She listened silently, Sky joining them once she had come back with the ice pack.
"What if this is permanent? What if this isn't just a glitch or part of my development?"
"Then you're still Clark Kent."
Clark turned his head, surprised to see his parent's standing there.
"You're still our son." Martha said, the two moving over to embrace him.
"You're still my best friend." Natasha said , giving him a hug once his parent's had finished.
Skye coughed, catching the look Clark gave her. His parents may suspect that he and Natasha were more than friends, but they didn't have confirmation and it seemed like Clark and Natasha weren't ready to give it to them yet. So she would keep her friend's secret.
"Besides, it's not like you're the only hero in town." Skye said, and Clark grinned.
"Care to give my parent's a demonstration?" He asked, seeing the inquisitive look on his parent's faces.
Skye smirked. She was going to have fun with this.
She focused, pointing her hand at Clark. The ground beneath them shook, and Clark lost his balance, falling onto the floor.
"I've wanted to put you on your rear for ages. But you were too darn fast." She said, and Clark smirked, accepting the hand up that Skye gave him.
"Nice work Quake. You've gotten better." He said, and she rolled her eyes.
"Why I let Colson give me that name I'll never know."
"Son, can you and Skye give us a moment with Natasha?" His father asked.
"It's fine Clark. Can you go check on dinner? The crockpot should be just about done." Natasha said, and Clark glared but nodded. He and Skye headed into the kitchen, Clark checking on the chicken while Skye pulled some coleslaw mix out of the fridge.
"Can you hear what they're saying?" Skye asked, and Clark shook his head. He had tried for a moment, but it seemed his hearing was out too.
"They're right you know. You're still Clark Kent. Your powers are what you can do. They're not who you are." Skye said, remembering Colson saying something similar when he had arranged for her to stay with Natasha. He had said that she was still a great agent, still his friend. Just like Clark was still Skye's friend, powers or none. Skye bumped his shoulder with her own, the two continuing their tasks in silence.
In the living room, Natasha and the Kent's just looked at each other for a moment. Then Jonathan said the last thing Natasha had expected.
"You really don't care about his powers."
"No. I don't. Don't get me wrong, his powers are impressive. But I'm friends with Clark because he's the man you raised, not because he can see through walls." Natasha said, and Jonathan nodded.
"Thank you. Thank you for protecting my son."
"He's a good man, and a better friend."
"And if I were to ask just how good of friend's the two of you are?" Martha asked.
"We're just friends." Natasha said, her face and voice giving nothing away. Not to Jonathan and Martha Kent anyway. Skye and Clark had come back in just as the young man's mother had asked her question, so Clark was able to hear what his parents didn't. He doubted that he would have noticed it if he didn't know the former SHIELD operative as well as he did.
"Dinner's ready." Skye said, and Natasha nodded.
"Thank you. Mr. and Mrs. Kent, would you like to join us for dinner?"
"I think we would. Thank you Natasha." Jonathan said with a smile, which Natasha returned.
Summers Residence-7:30 AM
Eric Summers opened his eyes and reached for his glasses, placing them on his face. Then he blinked. His vision hadn't sharpened as it normally did. Instead, it had gotten worse. He took them off, and his vision cleared, the young man able to see as well, no better, than he had before. He shook his head and then put them back on his nightstand next to his bed. He had a feeling today was going to be different.
A/N: So I don't know where to start. I guess I should apologize for not updating in forever. Real life got in the way and I just had difficulty with this story. Which is a bit funny, given that this story is one I've thought about nearly every day for the last couple of years. I actually have certain scenes all planned out for when I get to them. Which is the other thing I wanted to address. No, this story is not abandoned. Yes, I will complete it. And to those of you still along for the ride or just joining the story for the first time, I want to say thank you. As always, please read and review, and I'll try to get the next chapter up soon.