"By Any Other Name."
Sheriff Pete Ross knocked on the door of the Kent home. Jon came to the door and his face lit up at the sight of Pete standing there. Jon said, "Pete! Come on in. Come on back to the kitchen. I just made a fresh pot of coffee and Martha took some muffins out of the oven about an hour ago."
Pete was having a difficult time looking up to make eye contact with Jon. He didn't look up at all as he started to talk, "Mr. Kent ...."
Jon interrupted, "Remember? We discussed this. You’re a grown up, a respected member of the community and a close personal friend ... to every member of this household. You're family, Pete. Don't call me Mr. Kent. It's Jon."
Pete continued, "This isn't a personal call, ... Jon. Can we go sit down."
Jon said, "Sure Pete." They went to the kitchen. Pete sat at the table while Jon out of habit poured them both a mug of coffee. Then Jon pulled up a chair, sat down and said, "So what's up Pete?"
Pete sat staring at the mug of coffee. A tear was rolling down his cheek as he said, "Mr. ... Jon. Jon. Dang! I'm supposed to be a professional." Pete hung his head even lower. Jon reached over and squeezed his shoulder while Pete swallowed hard and gasped. He looked up quickly and tried to spit out what he had to say, "Jon... JON? Is that you, Jon? When did you get a facelift? I must be totally losing it. I gotta say it, Jon. It's Ryanna."
Jon said, "What about Ryanna? Did she do something?"
The tears were steaming down Pete's face now as Pete said, "I'm so sorry. I'm so SO sorry. She's dead Jon! They pulled her body out of a fountain at Lex Corp Plaza in Metropolis. She had been shot in the head at close range. I didn't want to tell you this, but I couldn't let you find it out from a stranger or from a televised news report." He looked at the stony expression on Jon's face. Jon might be in shock. Jon might be able to save his grief for later, but Pete had spent many, many hours with Ryanna. He thought of her as his little sister. He just couldn't control himself a minute longer. He put his head down on the table and began to cry uncontrollably. The table shook from it. Soon he felt hands gently push between his arms and his sides from behind. The hands folded themselves in a firm but gentle hug. A head rested on his shoulder and he felt warm breath on the side of his face. He felt incredibly bad now because he knew that this had to be Mrs. Kent. He felt ashamed that it should be the Kents giving him comfort when it was their daughter that was dead. He should have been strong for them. He could have saved his grief for a time when he was alone.
He felt a few gentle kisses on his cheek and then a soft voice whispered in his ear, "Please don't be sad, Petey! What's wrong?"
Pete bolted upright and out of the chair. Only Ryanna called him "Petey." He whirled around. There stood a young teenaged girl with very short blonde hair looking up at him with sad, concerned, loving eyes.
Jon said, "Pete will be OK, Anna. Could you go upstairs and leave us alone for a few minutes Honey?"
Ryanna said, "Sure Daddy. Petey, just call me if you need anything. OK?" Ryanna reached over and grabbed 3 of Martha's muffins and ran upstairs to her bedroom."
When Ryanna's door closed, Pete found his way back to his seat and asked Jon, "Who was that?! Am I totally out of my mind? Is this some alternate reality? Help me here Jon."
Jon said, "I don't know where to begin. You know more than most people. You know where Anna spent the first 13 years of her life."
Pete said, "Yes. She was raised by that slimy ******* Lionel Luthor until he died. Then she was on her own for a while."
Jon said, "Well, Alexis Luthor's personality came back last week. We hoped that Alexis was gone for good ... or that, if the memories re-emerged that Anna's personality and experiences with us would overshadow her history. Even a blending of personalities would have been something we would have dealt with. Before I go on, I have to tell you that there are things about Anna that we never told you. We spared you this time. Knowing about Clark was enough of a burden. Ryanna was altered before her birth by the spaceship ... as a mate for Clark."
Pete said, "Altered in what way? To tolerate his sense of humor?"
Jon said, "She was changed so that she has abilities like Clark has." Pete moved his hand through the air in a flying motion. Jon nodded and said, "The whole nine yards."
Pete asked, "So, she let me beat her at basketball? Wait a minute. Alexis had powers, so how was it possible for her to be hurt by a bullet?"
Jon said, "She lost her powers."
Pete said, "My head hurts! Next thing you'll be telling me is that you have super powers too."
Jon hesitated a moment and said, "I think your coffee needs warmed." Twin beams of heat vision shot out of Jon's eyes and the coffee in Pete's mug began to boil.
Pete said, "Twilight Zone! I'm living in the friggin Twilight Zone."
Jon said, "Anna transferred Alexis's powers to me. She was way too evil to have that kind of power ... and she intended to kill us all."
Pete said, "But Anna ... Ryanna and Alexis are the same person."
Jon said, "Want some aspirin? It's more complicated than you think." Pete shook his head so Jon continued, "Anna found a way to grow a new body for herself and move in. If you haven't already figured it out, that was her. She's fine"
Pete said, "I should have known by the move she made on the muffins."
Jon said, "I'm sad about Alexis. Her life was a tragedy start to finish and I know Martha will be a long time coming to terms with this. She still hoped to save her somehow but she was scared for the life of our unborn children. But what matters most to me, is that I still have my little girl with me."
Pete took a deep breath and said, "I am so glad that Ryanna is OK. I guess I should get used to all the strangeness by now, but every time I KNOW that I've seen it all .... Anyway, let me make sure I've got everything straight now. Ryanna. Powers. Yes or no?"
Jon answered, "Yes."
Pete asked, "Martha?"
Jon said, "Yes and no. No Kryptonian powers anyway."
Pete asked, "The babies on the way?"
Jon answered, "No."
Pete asked, "Any new spaceships due to arrive in Smallville this month?
Jon answered, "Not that I'm aware of."
Pete said, "Good! I need a month before I can deal with anymore. Sorry, but I have to ask this: were you or anyone in your family involved with Alexis's death."
Jon answered, "No."
Pete asked, "Any idea who might be?"
Jon answered, "Maybe Lex Luthor. Maybe Lionel Luthor."
Pete said, "Lionel Luthor has been dead for ... NO! Don't tell me he's alive!"
Jon said, "Maybe. Maybe not."
Pete said, "Well, here's something for you to think about. Ryanna Lynn Kent AKA Alexis Luthor is legally dead. The girl upstairs needs a new identity to go with her new face. Maybe you should make an arrangement with NuStart's orphanage -- what do they call it? Lex's manion? Midvale? Anyway, make arrangements to adopt her through the orphanage. Speaking of NuStart, who owns it in case of Ryanna's death?
Jon said, "Ryanna signed it over to me on Father's Day."
Pete said, "Whoa! How is she going to top that this year."
Jon answered, "Probably with a big hug and a kiss. That would top anything else she could give me."
Pete said, "So, you are loaded. You shouldn't have any trouble adopting her." Then Pete whispered, "Hey, Pipsqueek." Ryanna had been up in her rooom, but she was instantly standing next to Pete. Pete smiled at her and said, "Ryanna I am so glad you are OK. And you're looking good! You'll look even better when your hair grows in."
Ryanna tapped the bald spot on top of Pete's head and said, "So will you!"
Pete stood up and said, "Can I have another hug, or do I have to cry again to get one?"
Ryanna said, "Sure Petey!" Ryanna gave Pete a big hug and another quick kiss. "I'm glad you're feeling better. Maybe we can play some hoops in the Gym later?"
Pete said, "I don't know. Now that I know that you have powers."
Ryanna said, "I promise not to use them!"
Pete answered, "Well, OK. Maybe later. By the way, it's kind of nice having you look up to me now. I was getting tired of being in your shadow."
Ryanna said, "I'll be looking down on you soon enough, Petey."
Pete answered, "Yeah, that's probably true. So you heard our little conversation?"
Ryanna said, "Every word!"
Pete asked, "How do you feel about a new name?"
Ryanna said, "That stinks. I like my name. Mommy picked it out. Can I keep my middle name?"
Pete said, "I'm sure that would be OK."
Ryanna said, "I was making a list upstairs. Here's some names I came up with: Lisa Lynn, Lucy Lynn, Lynn Lee, Lynn Lana -- Lana Lynn sounded like a lotion -- Lori Lynn ....
Pete asked, "Why all the L's?"
Ryanna blushed and said, "I noticed that Clark only falls for girls with "LL" names."
Pete said, "Oh. I see. Good eye for seeing patterns."
Ryanna said, "Which name did you like best?"
Pete said, "Linda Lee" sounded kind of nice.
Ryanna said, "It was "Lynn Lee," but "Linda Lee" sounds better. And then I'll have my own jingle, "Nobody doesn't like Linda Lee.” And I have my friend Lee’s name to remind me of him. Thanks Petey." Then she turned to her Dad and said, "But can you still call me Anna?"
Jon said, "Sure, Honey. I don't think I could call you anything else anyway. But by any name, you are still my sweet, super girl."
Ryanna said, "Daddy. Get ready! I think Father's Day is coming around again!" With that she ran to her Dad, jumped into his arms, and gave him a big hug and a kiss. Jon looked over his shoulder at Pete and winked at him. Pete smiled brightly as another tear went down his cheek.