“Family Reunion”
[Discarded title “Bull Hast No Fury nor does Alexis Reborn”]

Over the years, Lex had come around to his father’s way of thinking about a lot of things. He decided that he should have sold the fertilizer plant and severed all ties with Smallville years before. NuStart Corporation, the same company that purchased the fertilizer plant, bought the Luthor mansion and converted it into an orphanage. The thought of snotty nosed brats running amok in once was his private domain really bothered Lex. What bothered him more was what happened to the fertilizer plant. Without him at the helm, it became the kind of success story that legends are made of.

Gabe Sullivan proudly kept the Smallville plant of NuStart Corporation running smoothly. But the technology used at the plant and the process for making the company's amazing new fertilizer were both so simple that Gabe could run the plant in his sleep – and often did. His bigger challenge was conducting interviews with all the media people who wanted to tour the plant on an almost daily basis. The face of the world was changing and it all started here. It is a fact that if a child doesn’t receive proper nutrition in the first few months of its life, the child’s mind will never develop to its potential [at least that’s what this fortune cookie says]. This small plant and 20 like it throughout the world were about to change things as much as the GI Bill unexpectedly changed America by providing employers with thousands of well-educated workers (when all it was really intended to do was keep returning GI’s off the streets and out of trouble).

This new fertilizer was so effective, as one now-missing, presumed dead, ex-employee of Lex Luthor put it, that it could grow hair on a cue-ball. It wasn’t true, but almost. The fertilizer was not intended for hair growth or medical applications but every pharmaceutical firm in the world were doing research in how to alter it for such purposes.

Lex would almost certainly have stolen the process but he had two reasons not to do so: One: NuStart had published details on how to build a machine to produce the fertilizer and all information required on how to process it. The information was part of the public domain before Lex was even aware of the product. Two: NuStart was producing the product in 21 plants throughout the world at practically no mark-up and was making it available without cost in certain areas of the world. Defoliated areas were now blooming again, the nutritional content of the soil and therefore the food that grew out of it were being restored and oxygen levels though out the globe were increased due to the presence of more plant life everywhere. And Lex was mad as he11 that he wasn’t getting a cut of it.

Further fueling his anger was his feeling that the process was his because it was developed with money that was by all rights his. He hired the private investigator, Roger Carter to find out who was behind the NuStart and its remarkable product. When the money trail’s source turned out to be Alexis Luthor and the fortune she had inherited from Lionel Luthor, he hit the roof and other things. His -assistant Miss Harris wasn’t expected to be off the crutches for another week. Lex couldn’t publicly say why he knew that it couldn’t be Alexis. No body had been recovered at that point. He got copies of the papers that were signed when the money was withdrawn from Alexis’s accounts brought to him. A forensic hand writing expert was brought in to study the signatures. It wasn’t really necessary to get an expert. The signature was obviously not that of Alexis Luthor. The analysis showed that the personality of the person signing the documents was totally different from Alexis. With this evidence, Lex had the bank president who was responsible for releasing the funds brought to him. The manager said that he knew Alexis personally and the person that was given the money was definitely her. He also stated that he saw that her signature was different. When he asked about the difference, he was told that Alexis had seriously injured her hand. Per protocol, fingerprints, a palm print and a retinal scan were taken and all came back positively identifying her as Alexis Luthor. Lex said that the results must have been rigged or falsified in some way – or else someone was paid off. The bank president –assured him otherwise and asked how Lex could be certain that it wasn’t her. Lex couldn’t answer him.

As Lex sat stewing about all of this, Miss Harris hobbled in with a piece of mail that Lex had delivered to his personal attention every month. It was the mortgage payment on the Kent farm. He was surprised to see that there was a check enclosed for $52,000.00. This was a lump sum payment on the balance of the mortgage. Lex smiled for the first time in days and said, “So that -sucker Jonathan Kent finally finished paying me back! Most expensive damned compass I ever owned! This calls for a little road trip. A little mortgage burning party is in order.” He told Miss Harris to “hop to it” and get the limousine ready to roll. He made it clear that she was coming along to meet the only people that had ever made him feel at home – and in case he needed her to take dictation for him while they were on the road. There was a dual purpose in going there. He noticed that the return address on the envelope from the Kents matched the address for the creator of the super-fertilizer. Good old Roger Carter had provided Lex with a copy of the patent which had the patent holder's address on it. Now he was curious to find out who this inventor and sole patent holder was and what her relationship was to the Kents. Yes, maybe this “Ryanna Lynn Kent” could be enticed into working for Lex Corp.

The long, black limousine pulled up in front of the Kent farm house. Miss Harris got out and limped around to the other side to open the door for Lex. Lex stepped out of the limo carrying the finest bottle of champagne he owned. It had been the second best bottle an hour before but the previous best got consumed on the trip there. Halfway to the front door, Lex stopped and put the bottle on the ground. He took in the view and tried to remember the good times he had spent there. As he looked, he absent-mindedly twisted the ring on his finger – the ring with the kryptonite stone. His fingers slipped and the ring fell to the ground. He bent down to get the ring and immediately felt an impact to his backside. He stumbled 15 or 20 feet forward before totally failing to regain his balance and falling face first into the lawn. He made a mental note to thank Miss Harris in some personal way for the laughter he heard coming from the direction of the limousine. He rolled over on his back only to find himself face to face with a bull. He held his breath and tried not to move. He felt a toe slightly tapping him on his side but he didn’t dare to turn his head. The bull grunted as it moved suddenly backwards and out of his line of sight. The tapping on his side returned and this time he turned. He saw a bare foot and let his gaze travel slowly past the ankle and up a shapely leg. When he saw the short cut off jeans he paused for a while as his blood flow diverted. He began wondering if this was the Ryanna he had come to meet. His eyes continued to wander over an exposed belly and up to an oversized flannel shirt that turned out to be not so oversized in certain locations. He was mentally making out her job description as he worked his way up the braided red pony tails. He was lost in a daze contemplating her smile when recognition suddenly occurred and his heart nearly stopped. He thought that this would be the last thing he ever saw because before him stood the woman he knew as Alexis Luthor – and she was holding a pitchfork in her free hand. Lex shouted, “I’ve died and gone to he11.”

Ryanna smiled even broader and said, “You’re funny! I just wanted to tell you not to worry about Remark the Bull. He’s a gentle, harmless soul. He just doesn’t like people bending over in front of him. Just go up to the house and tell Ma or Pa how much money you need to pay to get your suit cleaned and they’ll take care of it. Come on, Remark. Let’s leave the man alone. I think you make him nervous.” With no effort what so ever, Ryanna pulled on Remark’s harness and turned him around. Lex remained on the ground and watched as if hypnotized as Ryanna in her Daisy Dukes led Remark into the barn. Then he got up, dusted himself off and followed his adopted sister.

Ryanna saw Lex enter the barn and greeted him, “Hello again. Are you here to see me? Most people come to see Ma and Pa. Say, you cleaned up nice! I like your limousine. How many miles a gallon does it get? Oh. And your wife is SO pretty! What’s wrong with her leg? Oh! I’m sorry. I’m talking too much. I don’t get out and we don’t have many visitors. I did go to Metropolis one time!”

Lex asked, “What are you doing here?”

Ryanna ignored the confrontational tone in his voice and answered, “I am putting Remark in a stall and giving him some food so that he won’t bother you anymore.”

Lex asked again, “No. What are you doing at the Kent farm?”

Ryanna beamed from getting so much attention from a handsome stranger, “Oh, I do everything! I don’t like Pa to work so hard when everything is SO easy for me. I even keep the books. We did really good this year and paid off the mortgage! And I have a workshop where I can tinker around and build stuff. I can show you if you want to see it!”

Lex walked up to Ryanna and got in her face ad said, “Don’t play games with me, Alex!”

Ryanna pouted and said, “Alex? I’m not a boy. Can’t you tell? Have you been drinking? That’s not good! And I’m not playing. I’m working. Work first. Play later. I do have “Chutes and Ladders” and “Candy Land” in the house. They are fun to play.”

Before Ryanna could say anything else, Lex struck her hard across the face, then he staggered back as he tried to swallow the pain he felt in his hand. Ryanna stared at him blankly for a moment then contorted her face and began to sob uncontrollably. “What did you do that? What d-d-did I do-ooo?”

Lex shouted at her, “What didn’t you do?!”

Ryanna, still crying said, “What didn’t I do??? Oh, I forgot. You hit me so I am supposed to do something.”

Ryanna stepped up to Lex with the tears flowing and her lower lip trembling. Lex quickly felt for his ring and then remembered that it was lying out in the yard. Lex thought he had made a fatal error, but Ryanna turned her head and looked away from him. After a few awkward moments, Lex asked, “What are you doing?”

Ryanna answered, “I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m turning the other cheek. Now hurry up.”

Lex was tempted but he remembered the pain in his hand from the first slap. Instead, he asked, “What happened to “an eye for an eye” ?”

Ryanna answered, "That was the old covenant to keep the Israelites from full scale retaliation for any insult or injury as was the custom of the time. The new covenant calls us to a higher standard. Now do it and get out before my Daddy figures out what you did.”

Lex asked, “By your “Daddy” you mean Jonathan Kent?”

Ryanna said, “Yes, my Father.”

Lex said, “So you told the Kents what I did to you.”

Ryanna answered, “How could I have told them? You just did it!”

Lex mumbled, “Dad couldn’t have made two of her.” Then he said to Ryanna, “You are SO good at this. Always were. Well, I don’t know what game you’re playing here, but make one move towards Lex Corp, and the beating I gave you last time will seem like a slap in the face.”

Lex turned on his heel and left the barn as a confused Ryanna said, “It was a slap in the face.” Then Ryanna sat on a bale of hay and cried – trying to get her hurt feelings out of her system before her father could come in and see her.

Lex found Jonathan standing by the champagne bottle. Lex met him there, reached down to recover his ring, put the ring on, picked up the bottle and held it out towards Jonathan and said, ”Mr. Kent, I brought this bottle of champagne today to celebrate the early payoff of your mortgage.”

Jon made no move toward the bottle. He simply said, “Keep it.”

Lex asked, “That girl in the barn ….?”

Jon said, “My daughter, Ryanna Lynn.”

Lex asked, “She’s kind of old for you to adopt.”

Jonathan answered, “She’s not adopted. She’s our flesh and blood.”

Lex said, “I think you are being tricked.”

Jon stated flatly, “No. Someone we both knew arranged it so that we thought our daughter had died. Then he took her and raised her as his own. She returned to us about 8 months ago badly injured and with a terrible fever. Her body barely survived. Her memory didn’t. She had to learn to crawl and then how to walk. She couldn’t even speak. She doesn’t remember anything about being Alexis Luthor. We told her that another man raised her but spared her most of the details. She is making remarkable progress and I won’t have anything or anyone standing in the way of her having a new and wonderful life to replace the horrible existence your father gave her.”

Lex shook his head and said, “I don’t think you know who she really is. You don’t know how advanced my Dad’s cloning techniques were. For example, my –assistant over there is the third of her kind – a model I am quite partial too although she has proven quite breakable. As you well know, Mrs. Kent worked for my father for a time giving him ample opportunity to ….”

Jon interrupted, “It’s not true but it wouldn’t matter if it was. She’s our daughter now. Lex, I never once asked a favor of you before, but I’ll ask one now. Stay away from my daughter. Stay away from my family. If you and Clark choose to get together, that’s up to you, but stay away from here.”

Lex said, “I suggest you watch her. She’s a lab experiment gone bad. She’s not human. She’s a skilled liar. She’s very good at playing games – and especially good at getting men to believe her or do whatever she wants them to. She’s evil incarnate and she has an agenda. I’m just giving you some friendly advice.”

Jon answered, “Thank you for your advice. Now here’s some for you. In case I find out that you had anything to do with the condition that she was in when she showed up at our door, make sure your life insurance is paid up!”

Lex stared Jon in the eye for a few moments, dropped the bottle in his hand, turned and stormed off to his limousine. Jon looked over to the barn to see his daughter grinning at him. Her keen ears had heard every word. Jon went over to join her. His super-father-senses could tell when his daughter needed a hug.