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Chapter Fifteen

November 22nd, 2009 (10:40 am)
creative

I'm feeling: creative

A/N: Okay, after that cliff-hanger last chap is probably the worst time to be late isn’t it? *sheepish grin*. This chapter, although coming after the end of Act One, isn't yet the start of Act Two. It's an in-between chapter- which I can do because it's my story. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

Chapter Fifteen: Falling Is Harder Than Flying

--

"If you ever get scared or need help just yell as loud as you can okay? Wherever I am I'll come."

His father's words on his first day over school rang clearly in Chris' mind as the seven-year-old saw his brother fall on the ground after the strange man with the green knife hit him.

Ella was sitting against the wall and didn't seem to have noticed so Chris opened his mouth and screamed as loud as he could.

The man whirled around and started towards him with the knife held out threateningly but Chris knew his Dad would come.

He had too.

--

So clearly, what these kids prove, is even though he’s an alien, he’s got all the parts- if you know what I mean.” The voice came loud and clear from the TV to Sophie's ears in the kitchen. On screen the audience laughed in a way that said they knew exactly what the speaker meant.

It’s not like we couldn’t see that from his outfit anyway, I mean they call them tights for nothing girls, am I right?”

"Oh my god, what are you watching?" she asked Lucy, unable to take it anymore.

Lucy shrugged. "Some talk-show, the news couldn’t come up with anything other than what they've already said fifty thousand times already."

Sophie rolled her eyes and was about to open the fridge and make herself a sandwich when an ear-splitting scream resounded from the ground below.

What the... Sophie frowned as her head snapped in the direction of the yell, and she tried to understand what she was seeing as she x-rayed through the walls and down to the alley Dean had said they were going to walk through.

Dean however was now lying face down on the concrete, not too far from him Ella was also on the ground, leaning against the wall. Chris was just standing with his mouth open, screaming as loud as he could as a tall man advanced on him with a knife.

A knife that glowed green.

Suddenly she knew what she was seeing. It was the very thing their Dad had always been so afraid of. That if people knew he had kids they would try and hurt them to get at him. And there was at least one freak with a piece of kryptonite that hadn’t wasted anytime about it.

The fastest to get to them was down, straight down. The thought had barely appeared in her mind before Sophie found herself hurtling towards the window.

She was on the ground before the sound of the glass shattering had even reached her sister on the couch. The scene seemed frozen in time as she evaluated it but she could already feel to effects of the kryptonite and knew she didn't have long until her speed failed and the world caught back up with her.

First things first then. She speed over to Chris and on the way picked up the man with the knife in one hand and threw him and the deadly green rock as far away from her family as she could with her muscles already weakening.

Chris was still screaming as loud as he could but he wasn't yet as fast as the rest of his siblings and hadn't even realized Sophie was there. She glanced upwards to see the broken shards of the window on the way down. Lucy was also taking the shortest route but had to rely on gravity to carry her down.

Sophie gathered Chris in her arms and sped him into the doorway of the carpark so he wouldn't be harmed by the falling glass then checked on the others- Dean was slumped in a covered doorway in the building opposite and looked like he'd be staying down for the moment and Ella-

Sophie felt her heart stop and her breath catch as she got her first good look at her baby sister. From the apartment it had seemed as though she had merely been pushed down and fallen against the wall but now Sophie could see that was most definitely not the case.

Ella was still wearing her school uniform but the once pure white blouse was now stained by an expanding patch of red and her blue checked skirt was soaking in a puddle of blood. Her face had gone whiter than white and her heartbeat was so faint Sophie almost couldn't hear it in her shock.

She covered her sister with her body as the glass started to hit the ground with a cheerful sound like a thousand tiny bells ringing. Dimly she could feel her clothes getting torn to shreds but she didn’t have enough energy to care that her new jacket was ruined.

She could buy another jacket- there was only one Ella.

“El?" She asked urgently, hearing Lucy land on the ground behind her, "Oh my God… Ella please answer me.”

"Dean, are you okay?" Lucy asked in the background. There was a muffled groan and Chris was talking too, explaining how he hadn't known what to do so he'd just screamed and hoped they'd hear him.

"Where's Dad? He said he'd come!" he was asking loudly.

“Oh, shit, Ella!” Lucy exclaimed, catching sight on her twin on the ground.

“She’s breathing.” Sophie had recovered from her initial shock now and was moving into her disaster mode. Worrying, freaking out or just crying- like Lucy looked to be starting now- never helped anyone and it certainly wasn't going to help Ella.

She straightened up and took stock of the situation in the most detached way she could.

Medical attention- Ella needed it and she needed it now, but Sophie didn't want to move her until she was sure she wouldn't do anymore damage. There was also Dean to see to although he was slowly regaining consciousness and only seemed a bit bruised so Ella was certainly first.

The paparazzi- Thankfully Chris' screams had gone unnoticed by the crowd outside the front of the building, drowned out by the press and curious onlookers. However an entire pane of glass shattering on the twentieth floor had attracted a few stares and they only had seconds before someone looked down and spotted the scene and Sophie knew that would be the worst thing for Ella.

The guy with the knife- Sophie shot a quick glance in the direction she'd thrown him and was oddly satisfied to see him crumpled unmoving on the concrete a good distance from them.

She quickly but carefully began to run her x-ray vision over her youngest sister while calling out to her other one. "Lucy, the media. Can you move that-"

"Got it!" Lucy didn't even wait for her to finish. There was a screech of metal on concrete and the dumpster against the other building had been moved sideways to block any unwanted onlookers from the street. It wouldn't last but it would do for now.

Sophie's eyes were stinging and she blinked several times to clear them. The throbbing ache in her bones was slowly returning as well and as she moved her gaze through her sister's abdomen her worst fear was confirmed. Slight above Ella's hip and just below her liver lay a shard of kryptonite about as long as Sophie's thumb.

"It must have broken off the knife- New Kryptonite is more brittle than the pure stuff." The voice behind her made her jump and she felt a huge wave of relief crash over her when she saw her Dad.

"Oh, thank god," she gasped. "Ella's hurt, there was a guy with a knife- Dad?" she broke off as she caught sight of his face. It was as white as Ella's and he didn't appear to have heard a word she'd said.

Moving carefully but quickly he knelt down and scooped up his injured daughter with a practiced move Sophie had seen him use many times on TV then took off without another word.

"Where's he going?" Chris asked, his voice cracking with distress as he clung tightly to Lucy.

Dean was standing with them, looking confused. There was a gash above his eye and he was hunched over as is his stomach was in pain but overall seemed okay.

"It's alright," Sophie assured him, walking over to her siblings and offering Dean her shoulder to lean on. "He had to take Ella to hospital and she was so badly hurt he couldn't risk carrying anyone else. He asked me to make sure you guys were alright and said he'd meet us at the hospital," she lied. Although she was reasonably sure that's what he would have said had he not been in shock.

"Take Dean first," Lucy said, trying to sound calm and in control but her voice trembled. "I'll wait here with Chris."

"Okay," Sophie nodded, uncomfortably aware that the noise level of the crowd had gotten considerably louder behind the dumpster. "I'll be back in a minute."

She grabbed her brother around the waist and slung his arm around her neck before following their father into the sky.

--

“You’re kidding, right?” Clark asked, looking at his friend like he was mad.

“Why would I be kidding?” Jimmy asked, frowning back. "We've had these tickets for ages and it's not for another month- what are you going to do just hide in the apartment for the rest of your life?"

Clark just shook his head, trying to tune out everything beyond his friend's desk. Jimmy had gone home for about three hours but, after he'd finished talking to Lois and Clark, Perry had called him back in to bring up more photos of the Kent family.

Jimmy had invited Clark to check all the photos before he sent them off to be published but Clark knew the last call was up to Perry.

He was surprised by how unsurprised he'd been to learn Perry had known the secret for a little over fourteen years. It hardly surprised him that the man hadn't even considered publishing it. Maybe before Jason was born he would have stopped the presses without hesitation had something that big fallen into his lap. But as soon as Lois had given him the grandkids his own flesh and blood never had he was a different man.

Clark never thought he could be more grateful to the man after he'd taken a bullet for Dean and Sophie when a mentally unstable businessman with a grudge against Lois had gone after them. But now he found himself owing the man a debt he could most likely never repay.

"So, you in?" Jimmy asked, "Metropolis Meteors, the seats are practically courtside."

"I'll think about it in a month, okay?" Clark sighed, unable to muster up the ability to fight his friend over something that at the moment seemed so trivial. He let his hearing extend out from the desk again, finding Lois arguing with Perry again. This time over an article she'd written on a congressman who'd been using government money to take his girlfriend on extravagant holidays.

"Of course it's interesting that Clark's Superman but meanwhile life goes on and this man will continue to abuse his power. Tomorrow isn't soon enough."

He couldn't help the slight smile as he heard her but almost immediately something else caught his attention.

"Where's Dad? He said he'd come!" The voice of his youngest son sounding distressed came from the direction of their apartment.

For the first time Clark didn't need to, and didn't even bother, to try and cover his exit. He speed up and out of the elevator shaft before Jimmy could blink but he knew his friend would understand. Why had he been so stupid as to let the chatter of his co-workers make him withdraw his hearing from the city? How long had Chris been calling him?

Some father he was that he couldn't even hear his children calling for him when they were in need. The tone of Chris' voice had told him simply that his son needed him but as he shot across the city with his eyes fixed on the alleyway behind the apartment he knew that it was going to be far worse than he'd imagined.

By the time he reached the scene he knew three things. One, Ella was hurt badly with some kryptonite still inside her that needed to be out now. Two, the man who'd attacked his family had been hurled again a wall with incredible force and wasn't breathing and three, his eldest daughter may have just killed someone and he wasn’t sure he minded.

The last chilling thought was pushed to the back of his mind as he landed beside Sophie and Ella. He could worry about where his morals had gone later when the kids were safe.

"It must have broken off the knife." He said as he came up behind Sophie, seeing that she had noticed the shard as well. "New Kryptonite is more brittle than the pure stuff."

"Oh, thank god," Sophie gasped. She continued talking but Clark could hear her. He hurriedly assessed Ella and knew that, while moving an injured person can be risky, not taking her directly to the hospital was going to end up far worse.

The sounds of the media outside the apartment had changed but he wasn't sure if they had knew exactly what was going on. Do you see why I kept it a secret now? He asked them silently, picking up Ella like he'd held so many injured people over the years. He just never dreamed it would one day be his child he held bleeding in his arms.

Dean looked hurt as well but his injuries didn't seem serious. Lucy and Chris were upset but Clark couldn't tell them it would be alright when he didn't know if it would be. The one thing he could do was get Ella to help.

Sophie was uninjured and he knew she could keep a level head in a time like this. She would take care of the others, he knew. He wanted to tell her it would be alright and she'd done a great job and to tell the others he wouldn't let Ella die but his throat closed up and he couldn't get the words out.

Instead he just did the one thing he knew how to do and he flew, praying desperately he hadn't been too late.

--

Ella was burning up and freezing cold at the same time. She had no clue how much time had passed. How long she had been sitting awkwardly against the wall, fighting the darkness that wanted to pull her under.

It could have been years since she’d felt the odd ache deep in her bones and turned to find the man behind her waving a kryptonite knife. Or maybe only a few seconds had passed from when the man had lunged towards her before she could scream and driven the blade so far into her that the hilt had made an audible thud against her hip.

She knew somewhere in the back corners of her mind that she was hurt, and hurt badly. But it seemed hard to accept properly when all she felt was a comforting numbness. Occasionally she was aware that the rest of her was in a lot of pain but it seemed awfully far away and she tried to ignore it.

Time seemed to stretch into forever as the world jumped in and out of focus. The colours were all mixing up as her vision blurred so she closed her eyes in case she was sick. She hadn’t thrown up in years and it would be terribly embarrassing to do so now.

The sounds were harder to block out though and equally as distracting. It was like a little kid had gotten a hold of an old fashioned radio and was playing with the knobs, tuning everything in and out and stuffing with the volume until she wasn’t sure if the familiar voice calling her name was right beside her or at the other end of the world.

“El? Oh my God… Ella please answer me.”

Strange. The voice sounded almost like her sister… but Sophie was at Harvard which was all the way over in Massachusetts.

Wait, maybe she was in Massachusetts. She tried to remember what had been happening before the world had decided to tilt sideways and melt into itself.

“Oh, shit, Ella!”

Now Lucy was here as well. Odd.

“She’s breathing.”

Why was Sophie here again? Ella tried to frown but her body was numb and she didn’t know if she had succeeded. What was Sophie doing home? Was it family dinner night already?

“Ella, please wake up.”

She didn’t want to wake up. The pain at the edge of her numbness was growing and getting sharper. She didn’t want to open her eyes because she was sure it would hit her harder if she did.

There were other sounds as well and dimly she recognized her Dad calling out to her but it was too painful to respond. The darkness was getting heavier and she couldn’t fight it much longer.

Why would she want to fight it anyway? It was so nice and quiet in the dark, she didn’t have to talk or listen she could just sleep for as long as she wanted.

Finally she gave in and slipped gratefully into unconsciousness.

--

A/N: Okay, so I’ve never been stabbed personally (for which I am thankful) so all of Ella’s reactions are pure guesswork. If I’m wildly off then let’s say it’s because she’s half-kryptonian or something, kay? :P Next chapter hopefully won't be such a long wait but I'm nervous about the next act and I needed to figure out how to do it right. I've already half-written it anyway as it deals with stuff in chapter you may have been wondering about (trust me guys, most of the time it's there for a reason).

Reviews are love!