"Okay Donna, so what have you got for us?"
"We've got a teenager in Smallville, KS calling. He says his friend's
mansion is haunted."
"A teenager? Are we sure this kid is legit?" Grant asked.
"He sounded sincere. He says things have gone missing from his friend's
house like his friend's antique watch given to him by his mother before she
"What else is going on?"
"Well, his friend's girlfriend nearly drowned in the tub. She claims
something held her down and they've felt a rush of wind on the steps, doors
slamming and heard voices."
"Any history on the house?" Grant interjected.
"Well," Donna sifted through her papers, "the house was supposedly and old
Scottish castle. Lionel Luthor had it torn down and rebuilt in Kansas.
"Could be something attached to the house itself," Grant nodded.
"Alright, round up the team. It's going to be a long drive. Thanks Donna."
Jason stood, taking the file with him. Grant followed.
"You did what?" Clark could tell Lex was beyond angry.
"I called in TAPS."
"That show you're obsessed with," Lex stated more evenly. He knew the
teenager meant well, but Clark was naïve and quite frankly, Lex didn't
believe in anything he couldn't see with his own eyes.
"I'll call and cancel." Clark was practically pouting and those damn green
eyes were giving Lex that look.
Lex knew he was going to regret what he was about to say but he said it
anyway. "It's alright. Just as long as they don't get in my way."
Clark swallowed hard and Lex knew there was more.
"They may need to interview you and Victoria." Clark's voice was barely
audible, but he was giving that wounded puppy look so Lex sighed and caved in
Lex knew that one day Clark was going to get him into a whole lot of trouble.
It was clear the kid had a crush on him. Lex did the adult thing and tried
not to encourage it. He liked Clark. Oddly enough, he considered the
fifteen year old a friend. People thought it was strange that a man in his
twenties found friendship in a teen, but Lex thought perhaps it was because
growing up Luthor didn't afford him the luxury of remaining a child long.
Okay, so maybe it was friendship and the fact that Clark was just plain
beautiful. He didn't look like any fifteen year old Lex had ever met and Lex
constantly struggled to remind himself how young Clark was. It was true that
they were only six years apart in age, but it made a hell of a difference at
"When will they be here?" Lex dared to ask.
"Saturday Night around eight. They'll set up overnight, review the evidence
and go over it with us Sunday afternoon."
"Well...I thought I could be here too." Clark fidgeted with his plaid shirt
and cast his eyes downward.
"Clear it with your folks," Lex warned. He was rewarded with a bright Clark
smile. When the teen left, Lex collapsed behind his desk and prayed a night
with Clark in his house would not lead to his arrest for statutory rape.
Steve, Brian, Donna, Jason, Tango and Dustin were busy packing up the TAPS
vans. Jason and Grant had printed out the travel directions and did a final
walk through to make sure nothing they needed was left behind.
"The place has seventy rooms Steve, so make sure you bring as much cable as
"I'm bringing everything," Steve assured.
"Donna, you'll do the interviews and try to get a feel for the client's
"Got it." Donna knew Jason was uneasy about trusting the word of a boy who
didn't actually live in the house. From what she could gather the owner, Lex
Luthor, wasn't thrilled about having TAPS invade his privacy.
"And while we're there, take Dustin with you on Sunday and try to pull up
some information about the house itself."
The team loaded into the vans a little after seven and headed out. It would
be at least a twenty-two hour road trip not counting rest stops.
"I'm thinking a lot of different things could be going on," Steve told Brian.
"Yeah, could be restless spirits unhappy to be in Kansas."
"That could be true. Supposedly the house was built but left unoccupied
until Alexander Luthor moved in a few months ago. We've seen this type of
thing happen before."
"Could be an object that something is attached to also," Brian suggested.
"Or a tear in the time/space continuum," Steve suggested in his usual calm
Brian waited a beat before cracking up. "You're a freaking lunatic, you know
Steve smiled. He enjoyed making Brian laugh.
"I know you're not a hundred percent happy about this case," Grant stated,
watching Jason as he focused on the road.
"Well, we've seen this before. The more popular the show gets, the more
lunatics come out of the freaking closet. I would have liked the call to
come in from the owner at least and not some fucking kid who hangs out
"Donna is a pretty good judge of character. I trust her instincts."
"I do too G but..."
"We didn't have to go. No one was forcing you," Grant reminded.
"I know, but the fact that a teen is involved, I figured we should at least
check it out."
"Lex Luthor is the son of billionaire Lionel Luthor. Maybe he didn't call
because he didn't want people to think he was crazy."
"Or maybe he didn't call because he has a fifteen year old kid as a friend?"
"You have a suspicious mind," Grant laughed, reaching over and patting Jason
on the thigh. Jason glanced down and Grant removed his hand quickly.
Jonathan Kent didn't believe in the paranormal. He didn't believe in
anything anymore since they'd found Clark in that cornfield over twelve years
ago. At one time he believed in God and that man was his creation, but proof
of life on other planets skewered those beliefs. He'd seen meteor infected
friends turn to cold-blooded killers. He and his family had been attacked
too many times to count. The one thing Mr. Kent did believe and would always
believe was that the Luthors meant Smallville and his family no good.
Clark may be right about not judging the son by the actions of the father
but, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so he just couldn't bring
himself to trust Lex. The only reason he agreed to Clark staying over at
Lex's was the fact that a camera crew would be there and several adult males;
two of which were family men. He didn't like the show Ghosthunters, but he
admired the two men that founded the group. He felt Jason and Grant were
fine upstanding family men and would gladly trust his son in their charge.
Besides which, his wife Martha was giving him that look that said let the boy
go or else.
His son was upstairs packing an overnight bag even as Jonathan sat on the
porch still brooding about the decision. His son had strength and speed, but
he was still a child in many ways and innocent to mens devices. Jonathan
wouldn't have been surprised at all to find that Lex had concocted this whole
ghost malarkey as a way to reel Clark in. Boy would he love to see those
ghost chasers debunk the hell out of this story.
When Clark arrived at the mansion after supper, Victoria Hardwick, Lex's
latest gal pal was there dressed stylishly in a too tight light pink sweater
that was cut low and left nothing to the imagination. Her brown and pink
pinstripe skirt and brown shoes that Clark knew cost more than his whole
outfit put together completed her ensemble perfectly. Clark knew she'd be
preening for the cameras. It made him mad that the witch was hanging around
all the time. He knew he and Lex were just friends, but something about
Victoria made his blood boil. It wasn't that he was jealous or anything, but
it sure did feel similar to the feelings he had whenever Lana was with
Victoria showed him to the room he'd spend the night in and made some quip
about the walls being solid so she and Lex wouldn't disturb his sleep. Clark
wondered what kind of a slut would have sex with the TAPS team roaming the
house. He wished he hadn't saved her from whatever was trying to drown her
in the bathtub the other night. He thought by now she would have packed her
bags and gone.
Clark stayed in his room half sulking and anxiously awaiting the arrival of
Jason and Grant. When the bell rang, he ran down the steps only to find
Victoria already there, fawning all over Grant Wilson. The bigger man Jason
was giving her a look that Clark was sure matched several he'd given the
"I'm Grant. We're here to help." Grant managed to pull away from the
brunette woman. Jason interjected himself between them, introducing himself
and allowing Steve to do the same.
"I'm Clark," the teenager announced from the top of the stairs. "I'm the one
that called you."
Clark made his way down the last few stairs and extended his hand, offering
his best smile.
"You're fifteen?" Jason asked surprised.
Clark blushed. "I'm sort of big for my age but yeah, I am."
"So," Grant interrupted, feeling a bit defensive about the way Jason was
staring at Clark, "you want to take us on a tour and tell us what's been
"Sure. Let's start in Lex's office."
Jason, Grant and Steve followed the teen down the corridor to Lex's office
with Victoria trailing behind. Clark was surprised to find Lex still in
there. He thought Lex was going to make himself scarce but apparently not.
"Gentlemen, I'm Lex Luthor, welcome to my home."
Introductions were made again and Lex stood by Clark's side as he recounted
the tale of how Lex's watch went missing.
"My mother gave it to me before she died," Lex said distracted.
Jason and Grant looked at each other. Steve was looking around trying to get
a feel for how they were going to wire the massive building they were in.
"Okay, where to next?" Jason asked.
"Clark?"" Lex deferred to his friend.
"I think the top of the staircase. The door to the room Victoria was staying
in shook and then we both felt a presence rush by us."
Clark led the three investigators, Victoria and Lex to the area.
"Profanity was scribbled across the mirrors and on the walls," Clark added,
opening the door of the room.
Grant, Steve and Jason entered.
"Did you hear anything up here?"
"I thought I heard a voice whisper bitch," Clark said, glaring at Victoria
pointedly. He blushed when he realized he'd cursed and hoped that the camera
crew would delete that so his mom wouldn't find out.
"Where to now?" Jason asked again.
"There's a guest bath down this hall." Clark answered. "I was passing by and
heard a struggle. When I went in, something was holding Victoria under water.
I could only see a watery outline of it."
They followed Clark to the bath and Grant let out an appreciative whistle.
Steve rolled his eyes when Grant and Jason went into their plumber's heaven
and Roto Rooter spiel. Victoria recounted the story of her near death
experience in dramatic detail. Jason kept an eye on Grant. He knew the
details of his own paranormal experience and how Grant had come close to
death because of it. He could tell that no matter how obnoxious the Hardwick
woman appeared, she had been terrified by her experience. They both knew
firsthand that such experiences could change your life forever.
The group went back down to Lex's office. Jason and Grant thanked Clark, Lex
and Victoria for sharing their stories and informed them how the
investigation would work. Because the house was so huge, they decided to
concentrate on Lex's office, the stairs where Lex and Clark were pushed and
the room that had the door rattle. They also decided to set up cameras and
wireless audio in the bathroom and another one in the room.
The group came in. Tango and Brian ran the cables up the staircase and in all
the places Jason, Grant and Steve decided on. By midnight they were ready to
go lights out. Lex had been gracious enough to let them set up their
monitors in one of the sitting rooms on the parlor floor. He also allowed
the TAPS vans to park in his private garage where some monitoring could be
done from the van. Donna began her interviews starting with Lex. After
getting some background from him on the origins of the house, she began her
"When did all the activity begin?" She asked
"Recently," Lex said thoughtfully. "Since...," he hesitated before answering.
"Since Victoria has come to stay."
"And you've never had experiences like this before?"
"Not while sober," Lex tried to joke and then became serious. "I don't
believe in the supernatural."
Lex knew he was lying. He'd nearly drowned when his car went over a bridge.
Clark had saved him miraculously. The entire top of his car had been torn
open like a tuna fish can. Nothing human could have done that. From that
point on he'd been looking into his accident. He knew whatever happened had
something to do with Clark.
"But your friend does," Donna stated.
"He's influenced by your show."
"Then the missing watch, the gust of wind on the stairs..."
"Trust me Miss..."
"Donna, call me Donna," she smiled.
"Donna, those things did happen. I'm just not sure there isn't a scientific
reason for them happening."
"Thank you for your time." Donna left Lex alone and sought out Clark and
Victoria. She wanted to get a sense from them of what they thought was going
"So, any impressions G? " Jason asked in his characteristic deep monotone
voice as they entered the spacious bathroom. The huge marble tub
sat perched on two steps that led up to it. Queen Ann sofa's adorned two
corners of the gigantic room. The faucets were gold and marble columns ran
from the floor to the ceiling. Jason was sprawled across one sofa, Grant sat
hunched forward holding his EMF recorder in one hand.
"I don't know Jay. The castle is old, but I don't get any feelings from this
"Me neither. It's clear the kid doesn't like that Victoria woman."
"It's clear you don't either."
Jason shifted on the sofa. "She's high maintenance. You know I like plain
"That's why we hit it off so well," Grant joked.
"That kid seemed jealous," Jason offered.
"That kid doesn't look fifteen at all." Grant heard his own voice turn
slightly edgy recalling how Jason stared at Clark.
"Well, I guess they grow them big in Kansas," Jason laughed.
"Do you think Clark has a crush on Lex?"
Jason sat up.
"What are you thinking G?"
"Let's do some EVP work in that room and then I'll tell you."
"This is Brian and Steve in the guest bedroom where the walls were written
on. Is there anyone here that would like to speak to us tonight?"
Steve lay across the oversized bed pointing the thermal imaging camera around
the room. He wasn't getting any readings.
"You know, I got an impression," Steve began, "that most of the activity
began when Victoria arrived."
"So what are you thinking; inhuman spirit following her around?" Brian moved
over to the bed and lay down next to Steve. Oddly enough, Brian didn't feel
uncomfortable doing this. In fact, they'd done it so many times it almost
Steve turned his head toward Brian to answer. "That's one possibility but I
was thinking something else."
"Like?" Brian rolled on his side to face Steve.
"These old castles, especially the ones made in Europe were generally made of
limestone or some sort of limestone composite."
Brian's eyes widened in understanding. "Lex and Clark have been friends
since he got here and then..."
"Exactly," Steve said evenly. "Maybe a bit of jealousy has caused these
"Especially with Clark being only fifteen. Maybe he's confused about the
friendship and taking it out on Victoria."
"It's a possibility. Let's do some EVP work in the guest bathroom."
Steve rolled off the bed and stretched out his hand to Brian pulling him up.
They stood face to face for a few awkward seconds. The sound of footsteps
approaching ended it. Tango and Justin were on the stairs taking readings.
The two men left the bedroom and headed for the bath. They ran into Jason
and Grant coming down the hall.
"Anyone have any personal experiences so far?" Jason asked.
Brian and Steve both muttered no, grateful that the dark could hide their
"We're heading for the bathroom."
"Tango, Justin, why don't you guys sit in the van and see if you catch
anything on the screens."
The two newest members of the TAPS team left to do just that. Donna had
finished up her interviews. Reading over her information, she found Clark and
Victoria's interviews to be most telling. Both interviewees suspected the
other of having something to do with the strange goings on. Donna was
beginning to believe they could both be right. She decided to wait until she
and Dustin went to the library before she revealed her suspicions.
"G, this is the room where door shook and profanity was written on the wall."
"And both Clark and Lex felt something push past them."
"And Clark has been present at every activity that's happened in this house."
"Not to mention that everything started when Lex started hanging out with
Victoria," Grant reminded.
"So we're on the same page about this?"
"Yeah, I think we are?"
"Okay, let's see what Donna comes up with, review all the evidence and then
sit down with Lex and Clark tomorrow."
"So we're wrapping it up for the night?"
"I think so."
Jason and Grant thanked Lex for allowing them into his house. They promised
to come back tomorrow and reveal what they'd found. On the ride over to the
Smallville Holiday Inn, Jason and Grant began to talk.
"It sucks to love somebody and not be able to share your feelings?"
"Are you talking about Clark or Lex?" Jason asked.
"Both and neither," Grant answered, looking away from Jason. "I mean, Lex
obviously cares for Clark but the age thing is a definite no-no."
"And Clark clearly has a crush on him and then Lex brings a girl into the mix
and Clark's feelings get mixed up."
"It hurts to love someone you can't have for whatever reasons," Grant blurted
"...or to see someone make choices because they can't wait forever for you."
Jason's mind ran to the day Grant told him he was getting married.
"So we're thinking poltergeist," Grant spoke after a long uncomfortable
"I think so." Jason focused on the road leading to the hotel.
The group called it a night even though it was technically morning. Jason
and Grant shared a room with two double beds. Steve and Brian's room was an
exact duplicate and so was Tango and Justin's. Donna being the only woman on
the trip got her own room.
"Hey Steve," Brian called over to his friend. "Do you feel cold?"
"Go to sleep," Steve muttered. "We've got a lot of audio and video to cover
in a few short hours."
"I think my bed is missing a blanket," Brian complained. "It's fuckin' cold
"Turn on the heat." Steve turned over, his back facing Brian. He heard his
roommate stirring around.
"Friggin' heat's busted. Brian complained.
"Get in," Steve growled.
"You heard me. Bring your sheet, get in the fucking bed with me and go to
Brian stood in the dark for a moment and Steve was about to throw back his
covers and throttle his friend when he heard the slide of whatever covers the
hotel had provided Brian come off the bed and his own bed dip with the weight
of the other man. The heavy feel of additional blankets being thrown over
him and the warmth of Brian's body near his confirmed that his annoying
friend had listened to him.
"We're not having a Brokeback Mountain moment are we?" Brian half joked.
"Shut up and go to sleep."
"Thanks bro," Brian sang happily. "It's fucking cold in here."
"Happy?" Steve yawned.
"Yeah, you're nice and warm." Brian stopped himself from saying anything
"Good, now go to sleep." Steve secretly smiled in the dark. Brian was nice
and warm too.
Steve woke at ten with Brian spooned behind him. He turned over, brushed a
finger up and down the sleeping man's nose and waited for his eyes to blink
"Good morning sunshine."
Brian scooted away, startled to find himself lying so close to his friend.
"What's the matter, you don't love me anymore," Steve batted his lashes and
"Nah dude. It ain't that. You're breath stinks."
Steve pounced on Brian, pinning his arms down and purposely breathed on his
face before crawling out of bed. Let's get dressed and get to work, he said
before disappearing into the bathroom. His heart was racing a mile a minute.
He couldn't believe he'd just held Brian down. He felt weird. He needed some
distance between them. The bathroom was a good as it got.
"Yo Steve, hurry up in there, I got to pee."
Steve laughed and threw open the door.
"Tell me my breath smells like roses."
"You're breath smells."
Steve blocked the door watching Brian grip his groin and do the pee dance.
"This ain't funny. I gotta go."
Steve continued to block Brian's way, glaring at him pointedly.
"Alright, alright, you're breath smells like roses dude, now move.
"Kiss me to prove it."
"You've gotta be fucking crazy."
Steve puckered up. A chaste kiss on the lips and Steve let the man pass. He
heard Brian moan with relief as he barely made it to the bowl.
It became a game during the time they went through the evidence. One
wouldn't let the other hear or see something they thought they caught without
getting a kiss as payment. Pretty soon they were claiming everything was
evidence, a sneeze, dust, someone farting. It stopped when Jason, anxious to
do the reveal as early as possible, came in with Tango and Grant and offered
to help in sifting through the tapes. Donna went to the library with Justin
and confirmed a few facts about the building. They had to go early since the
library was usually closed on Sunday's and arrangements had been made
especially for TAPS.
By four, it was concluded that they hadn't caught anything on audio or
camera, but all were in agreement about the activity being connected to
"Okay, Grant and I are going to do the reveal. You guys get start packing up
and getting ready to get out of here.
Clark was a bundle of nerves waiting for whatever Grant and Jason found. Lex
was his usual calm self and Victoria had made herself scarce. Clark had no
doubt she was changing into another designer outfit to flaunt in front of the
TAPS co-founders. Clark tugged self-consciously at his flannel shirt and
"You look fine," Lex said, noticing how often the teen fumbled with his
clothing and carded his fingers through his hair. The compliment brought out
the smile that almost always gave Lex goose bumps.
"What do you think they'll find?" Clark wondered aloud.
"Hopefully, a perfectly rational explanation."
"How do you think they'll take it?" Grant asked.
"Hopefully it will bring some sort of resolution to what's going on there and
Clark and Lex can then move forward and deal with some of the issues they're
"So you're condoning forbidden love?" Grant asked, surprised.
"I'm condoning being honest and putting everything out there to discuss so
the right decisions can be made."
"You sound like a politician," Grant teased.
"Bite your tongue," Jason laughed. He glanced at his friend and partner
momentarily before focusing back on his driving.
When they pulled into the main circle of the driveway, Clark was already at
the door. Grant and Jason greeted Clark and the teen led them into Lex's
office. Pleasantries were exchanged and they got down to business.
"Well, you know what we did. We came in, listened to the claims of activity,
set up audio and video equipment and went about trying to prove or disprove
claims of paranormal activity."
Lex nodded. He was seated behind his desk with Clark pulling up a chair by
his side. Jason and Grant sat in the two chairs opposite Lex's desk.
Victoria hadn't come down yet. Clark was glad. He hoped Grant and Jason
would be gone before she finished preparing for their visit.
"As far as audio and video, we didn't come up with anything," Grant
"As we went over the claims and tried to debunk all the activity, one thing
stood out," Jason added quickly as he watched Clark's face fall with
"This house is composed of limestone and limestone composites as were most
castles built in early European history. You told us this house was brought
over brick by brick from Scotland and while we couldn't find anything about
the original castle, the building materials may play a factor in some of what
is going on here."
Lex nodded again only this time Jason could tell they had his full attention.
"Are you familiar with the term poltergeist?" Grant asked.
"Yes, a supposedly mischievous spirit that plays pranks," Clark answered.
"Not necessarily," Lex interrupted, glancing at Clark and then the two
"Clark is fifteen, correct," Jason confirmed.
"Yes." Lex's eyes shone with an understanding that Jason and Grant were
grateful to see.
"Poltergeist activity is often associated with pubescent teens under a great
deal of angst or turmoil." Grant waited for Lex to digest the information.
"Limestone and quartz have been found to be conduits of such activity in
teens." Jason knew Lex was a smart man and would easily catch on.
"This house is the catalyst and Clark is the conduit," Lex finished. "What
caused the activity to begin? Clark has been in and out of this house for
months with no signs of this activity."
"I don't think it's me," Clark huffed. "It's her."
"Clark is right," Jason agreed. "Victoria's arrival set off feelings in
Clark that are being manifested in poltergeist type activity."
"Clark, are you jealous of Victoria?" Grant dared to ask.
"Lex doesn't have as much time for me since she came," Clark acknowledged
"Clark obviously feels territorial about your friendship. Ms. Hardwick's
arrival threatened all that."
Just as Jason finished speaking the four men heard Victoria scream. As they
ran out the office, they ran into the buxom brunette. Her makeup was wildly
drawn all over her face as if a child had been playing with crayons.
"That's it. I'm out of here," she cried. "Ghost or no ghost, I won't stay
here a minute longer. I'll send for my things later."
The four men watched astonished as she bolted for the front door. Then three
pair of eyes focused back on Clark who looked genuinely embarrassed.
"You two should talk," Jason suggested.
"We will," Lex assured, glancing at Clark. The teen's eyes refused to meet
"I think the reveal went well," Jason said. "Well everything up until that
poor woman ran out looking like a clown."
"Too bad we didn't catch that on camera." Grant laughed. "Hey Jay," did you
mean what you said earlier?"
"I said a lot of things. What are you referring to?"
"About getting feelings out in the open not matter what the outcome."
Jason paused a moment. He wasn't sure he was ready for this. "Yeah G, I
"Well we have about twenty hours on the road. Do you think we could talk?"
"Yeah G.W., I think we should."