Actions

Work Header

Alieno

Work Text:

Alieno

 

“I think you’ll find this to your liking, Mr Luthor,” the man said, standing before his desk. Lex glared at his visitor.

“Well?”

The man appeared flustered. “Oh, of course,” he said, putting a wooden box down on the smooth glass top. He opened the box to show a small device. On it was etched a similar design to a stone Lex had once seen on the floor of the Smallville mansion, many years before. It appeared to be two perpendicular lines, almost like waves on the sand. Two small circles were drawn either side of the lines.

“Will it work?” Lex asked.

“Well, you have to be in close contact. The device has to touch his flesh and yours simultaneously.”

Lex smirked. “Thank you, Edgar. This has been a most ... fruitful endeavour.”

Edgar Cole nodded, his nose twitching like that of a nervous weasel.

“Uh, so, this is it? The end of our ... arrangement? I mean, I know I owe you for getting me out of that prison all those years ago, but ...”

Lex waved his hand, picking up the device. “Of course it is,” he grinned. “My assistant will see you out.”

The question now was, how did he get within reach of the Man of Steel in order to complete the transfer, he thought.

The answer came to him a day later, in the form of a newspaper article, written by Lois Lane.

Superman to receive Key to the city

Since Lex had considerable influence with the mayor of Metropolis, it should be a cinch to persuade the man that, as one of the city’s biggest employers, he should be the one to hand over the key.

***

Clark stared at the document and sighed. It was the timetable for the afternoon’s ceremony at City Hall. Instead of the mayor handing him the key to the city, Lex Luthor was going to be doing it instead.

Well, that was just great, he thought. That was all he needed.

It had been a few years since he’d actually been up close and personal with the bald billionaire. He’d thought their friendship would last forever. After all, it was Lex who had, fairly pompously, one might add, proclaimed their friendship would be the ‘stuff of legends’. It wasn’t so much their friendship that was the stuff of legends these days as their mutual enmity.

Clark had met Lex when he’d been a freshman at Smallville High. Lex had, quite literally, run into him. Clark had denied it, of course. Since the odds of actually surviving being hit by a car, a Porsche no less, at a speed of sixty miles per hour, only to dive headfirst into a filthy river, were between slim and none. Unless, of course, you were an invulnerable alien.

Clark hadn’t learned that until after the accident.

He still remembered the feel of Lex’s lips on his when he’d pulled the bald man out of the wrecked car, the taste of the river water. He also remembered Lex sitting up and staring at him as if he’d seen a ghost.

“I thought I hit you,” he said.

Clark had stared back at him, glancing up at the broken barrier to the bridge where the car had gone over. And he’d wondered if he’d dreamed the moment the car had hit him.
His father, Jonathan, had immediately attacked Lex for his driving as soon as he’d learned what had happened. But even he had been startled when Clark had informed him that Lex’s car had hit him dead-on. It was only then that Jonathan Kent had told his son the truth about his origins.

Lex, meanwhile, had sent him a new truck as a thank-you gift. Clark’s parents had forbidden him to keep it, so he’d returned it to the young billionaire’s son reluctantly by driving it to the Luthor mansion. He’d been overwhelmed by the grandeur of the mansion, but Lex had seemed quite nonchalant about it. Clark supposed he would be, considering he was the son of one of the richest men in Metropolis.

The visit had sealed the friendship. And they’d remained friends for four years. Until Lex began experimenting with meteor rocks and conducting business that, frankly, Clark thought was unethical and immoral.

The friendship might have been on the outs for a long time, but the proverbial straw had been when Lex had involved not only Clark, but also his parents and a girl who had been a close friend, in a scheme which had been designed to learn the truth about Clark’s own abilities.

Clark had now been living in Metropolis for eight years, first to take up studies at Metropolis University, then to work as a reporter at the Daily Planet. While studying for his degree, Clark had taken to patrolling the streets at night, stopping crime whenever he had come across it. The stories had begun circulating not long after that of a Red-Blue Blur.

And with those stories had come the vitriol from the man he’d once thought of as his best friend. Lex had posted letters, editorials and even blogs trying to convince the city population that the Blur had ulterior motives. That someone who continued to work from the shadows clearly had something to hide; a hidden agenda. All posted anonymously, of course. It wouldn’t do for Lex to be seen outwardly criticising Metropolis’ favourite son.

It was that suggestion that had prompted Clark to come out of the shadows. And so Superman made his debut.

And now Lex was going to be presenting him with the key to the city. Clark sighed. Things just couldn’t get any worse.

He was wrong.

***

By the time Clark stepped up to the podium, dressed in his blue suit, his red cape flapping in the breeze, he thought he had prepared himself for the meeting with his former friend turned nemesis. But he wasn’t prepared for the hitch in his breath as he looked at the bald billionaire, as beautiful as ever in his black suit and crisp, steel grey silk shirt.

Clark had always loved Lex in colours. Grey, purple – despite the fact they were more or less the colours of his father’s company, Luthorcorp, Lex just seemed to suit them.
Clothes definitely do maketh the man, he thought.

Lex never knew that Clark had had a mammoth-sized crush on his best friend right through high school. Clark had kept that one very close to his chest. He’d planned on telling Lex of his feelings after he’d graduated high school. He was eighteen then, and by law his own man, so his parents couldn’t have objected to him having a romantic relationship with another man, despite the fact the man he’d fallen in love with was none other than a Luthor.

But reality had hit like a cold shower when he’d gone looking for Lex the day of his graduation. To tell him everything. Instead he had found Lionel.

“Mr Kent. To what do we owe the dubious pleasure of your company?”

“Where’s Lex?”

“In Metropolis, I presume. With his latest paramour.” Lionel smirked. “Just between you and I, Mr Kent, I have heard murmurings of a proposal.”

“Lex is thinking of getting married?” Clark asked, incredulous. “He can’t. I mean ...” he quickly tried to cover. “His first two didn’t work out.”

Lionel huffed. “You think he should wait around for a farmboy like you?” The older man shook his shaggy head. “Don’t think I haven’t seen the way you look at my son,” he added. “And I am afraid you are wasting your energy. Lex will never return your love, Mr Kent. His destiny does not lie with some farmboy, no matter how ‘special’ he is.”

It was too late by the time Lex had returned from Metropolis. Lionel had been killed in the second meteor shower and Clark had been too preoccupied with helping the town rebuild to wallow in his unrequited feelings. Lex had clearly sensed something was wrong and he’d tried everything to get Clark to open up, but Clark was having none of it.
It had been the beginning of the end of their friendship.

Clark took a deep, calming breath as he stepped up to the man who had once been his whole world.

“Superman,” Lex smirked. “It is an honour.”

Clark bit back a retort. Lex could pretend all he liked, but Clark knew deep down that Lex didn’t trust him and would sooner hand him Kryptonite than the key to the city.
As he took Lex’s hand to shake it, something strange happened. One minute he was enclosing Lex’s smaller, white hand in his big, tanned paw and the next, it felt as if his hand was being crushed. Dizzy and disoriented, Clark could only look up. At his own face staring back at him. And then ‘Superman’ smirked.

***

Lex smirked down at Clark. This couldn’t have gone better if he’d tried, he decided. Clark was staring up at him, dumbfounded. Well, he could never have accused Clark Kent, or Superman, or whatever ridiculous name he wanted to call himself, of possessing genius intelligence.

Prompted by the waiting crowd expecting Superman to give a speech, Lex stepped forward to the podium, but then cocked his head as if listening to something from a distance. He turned and took off into the air.

The billionaire, now in Superman’s hideous uniform, had spent a lot of time studying Superman. Especially in flight. But no amount of study could have prepared him for how he was actually supposed to stay in the air.

He made it only so far. Enough to clear the crowd watching the ceremony, before he crashed, spiralling straight down and into some trash cans in an alley. How humiliating, he thought. Clearly there was much more to Clark’s powers than he anticipated.

But there was no way he was going to ask Clark how to control the flight. Or anything else for that matter. Like any scientist, he would just have to experiment, he decided.
Five hours and several spontaneous fires later, Lex had managed to figure out some of Clark’s abilities and how they worked. The heat vision had been interesting. It seemed it was connected to the sex centre of Superman’s brain. Lex had figured that out after he’d indulged in memories of Clark when he’d still been in high school. Clark had been working on a charity drive, washing cars at a used car lot in town. It had been a hot spring day and Clark’s t-shirt and ended up saturated by the end of it.

Clark in a wet t-shirt had been enough to send Lex running for the hills, or the mansion, anyway, where he’d been able to jerk himself off in relative peace. Clark, of course, had remained oblivious to Lex’s attraction to him. Which was probably just as well, Lex had thought, especially after their friendship had crashed and burned.

Once Lex had managed to figure out the flying, he had flown to the penthouse, where he’d promptly tried to get in through the balcony doors. Pity he’d forgotten about the Kryptonite he’d had installed in every part of the framing, not to mention the double-glazed windows. Crap. The devil was always in the details.

Well, if he couldn’t get into the penthouse, he could at least have some fun with Clark’s super powers.

***

Clark, meanwhile, was having the worst day of his life. He had left the ceremony wondering what the hell to do next. Since he was now in Lex’s body, there was no way he could go to the Justice League for help. They’d just call him crazy and lock him up in Belle Reve.

He’d managed to find the device Lex had used to transfer their minds and it had a symbol which seemed remarkably similar to the one which had been on one of the stones. The question was, how had Lex known about it? There were only two people who had known what that symbol represented and one of them was dead. The other ...

Clark headed to the Daily Planet. He had to stop Lex before the megalomaniac could do any damage. Either to Superman’s reputation or to the city. There was no telling what Lex was capable of with his abilities.

Lois stared in utter shock and dismay as Clark walked into the bullpen.

“Luthor? What the f ...?”

There were two other reporters in the bullpen. One of them was an intern. Jeff something-or-other, and a girl whose name he couldn’t remember. He barely stopped long enough to grab Lois’ arm and push her in the direction of the storage room, all without saying a word.

Lois turned on him as soon as he’d closed the door and locked it.

“Okay, what’s the big idea of manhandling me, Luthor?”

“Lois, it’s me. Clark!”

“Yeah, pull the other one, Luthor. I’m not buying it.”

Clark sighed.

“It’s the truth. Lex pulled some kind of switch. He’s in my body and I’m in his.”

Lois glowered. “I don’t know what the hell kind of scam you’re trying to pull, but it’s not funny! Now open that door.”

“Damn it, Lois!” Clark found himself sighing again. “Look, ask me something only Clark would know.”

“Who’s the secretary of state?” she asked immediately.

Clark rolled his eyes, sure it would look weird on Lex’s face.

“You’re looking for Clark, not a concussion.”

Lois glared back at him. “Okay, either you’ve been bathing in liquid Kryptonite or this just jumped two points on the weird-o-meter.”

“Lois!” Even Clark winced at the exasperation in Lex’s ... his voice. Lois might be the closest he had to a best friend and some time confidante but she drove him nuts sometimes. Most of the time.

Lois peered at him. “Smallville?”

“What?”

“Now I know it’s you. Only Clark Kent could act and sound that pissed with me.”

“You – you believe me?”

“Well, of course I believe you. Lex Luthor wouldn’t sound this pathetic.”

Clark rolled his eyes again. “Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.”

Lois punched him in the shoulder. Ow! That actually hurt!

“So, how did Luthor manage this?”

Clark pulled the device out of his pocket and showed it to her.

“Don’t touch it!” he warned. “I’m not sure what effect it’ll have.”

“This looks like it’s Kryptonian,” Lois said, studying the symbol. “What would Luthor be doing with it?”

Clark shrugged. “How do I know?”

“I’ll let that one slide,” she commented. “So what are you going to do about it?”

“I have to find Lex and stop him.”

“Yeah, good luck,” she snorted. “With your super-speed, not to mention your super-knack for getting super into trouble ...”

There were times when Clark wished Lois hadn’t found out his secret.

“I think you’re getting me confused with someone else,” he told her. “Like you.”

“Fine! Whatever! The point is, Lex will have some nefarious scheme planned and if he has your abilities then we have to stop him.”

“The question is ... what, exactly, will he have planned? And there probably is only one way to stop him. Except he knows about the Kryptonite.”

“Maybe the green. But what about the blue?” she asked.

Clark thought about that for a moment. “You might be right. Okay, first things first, we need to get to Lex’s office, or his penthouse.”

“You don’t really expect him to have laid out his plan for you to find, do you?” Lois said as they headed to LexCorp.

“No,” he sighed. “That would be stupid.”

“Well, no one could accuse you of being the brightest bulb in the building,” she commented.

“Hey!” he said, offended.

“Relax, Smallville, I’m just yanking your chain.”

The guard made no comment when Clark walked in except to say ‘good afternoon’. Clark acknowledged it with a nod and walked past him, taking the keycard Lex had conveniently left in his pocket and swiped the reader beside the elevator. The door to the express elevator opened immediately to admit him.

Once in Lex’s office on the sixtieth floor, Clark immediately began going through some of Lex’s papers. Lois joined him in the search. Neither one of them noticed the door opening.

“Uh, boss? What’s Lois Lane doing here?”

Clark looked up, startled. He quickly tried to cover up his reaction but knew he’d made a lousy job of it.

“Mercy,” he said. “Lo ... Ms Lane is working with me on a project.”

“Oh. I see. You could have warned me.”

“Sorry,” he said. Mercy frowned at him. Clark mentally kicked himself. Lex Luthor never apologised. He cleared his throat and glared at her. “That’ll be all, Mercy!” he told her.

Mercy huffed, then turned and went out. Clark heaved a sigh of relief.

“Keep looking,” he told Lois.

“It would help if I knew what I was looking for,” she said.

“Do I look like a mind reader? Never mind, scratch that. If I was a mind reader ...”

“You wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“Do you always have to finish my sentences?” he snapped.

“Do you always have to be so defensive?” she retorted. “You know, maybe if you had been a little more trusting and a lot less close-minded, you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh come on, Smallville, if you had given Lex even one inkling of your actual feelings and told him the truth, we wouldn’t be here.”

“I knew something was amiss,” said a voice.

Clark looked up and swallowed hard. Mercy was waving a gun in front of him.

“Where is Lex?” she asked.

“You’re looking at him,” Lois answered.

“Sure, and I’m the Queen of England,” Mercy snapped. “You called him Smallville just now, which must mean Lex is in Superman’s body. So where is he?”

Clark stared. When had Mercy ... how did she know Clark was Superman. Mercy smirked at him, clearly reading his body language. Clark sighed.

“If I knew that, Mercy, I wouldn’t be here. Lex pulled a switch.”

“Listen lady,” Lois snapped. “We don’t have time for this crap. Lex is in Clark’s body, and all that goes with it, so if you know something ...”

Mercy’s dark eyes widened. She pushed back a lock of her peroxide blonde hair.

“Are you saying that Lex has Clark’s powers?”

“Well, duh!”

“Shit!”

“My sentiments exactly.”

“I’ll send out a team,” Mercy said. “I take it you have some sort of plan to switch back?”

“Uh ...” Clark began.

Mercy sighed, turning to leave the office, but not before he heard her mutter something about ‘needing saving from themselves’.

***

Lex had gone out and purchased the tightest pair of leather pants he could find and a mesh shirt. His plans for destroying Superman’s reputation could wait until the morning, he decided. And besides, he hadn’t quite got the hang of all Clark’s abilities yet, and he wanted more control before he carried out his plan.

Meantime, he had decided he was going to have some fun. After all, Clark – in his own body, at least – was hot! And if the dunce had recognised all the signals Lex had been trying to give out all those years ago, things might have been different. But Lex had figured that you’d have to hit Clark over the head with a sledgehammer to get a point across. And sometimes even that didn’t work.

The thing that had been really wrong with Clark was he had an over-developed sense of guilt. Once Lex had figured out the truth about Clark’s abilities and his connection to the meteor shower, Lex had realised that Clark felt guilty for all the meteor freaks. He even felt guilty for what he saw as Lex’s affliction. But as Lex had once told the then teenaged Clark Kent, he saw it as a blessing, not a curse.

Maybe if Clark hadn’t been brought up by over-protective parents, or had not been so worried about the possibility that telling people his secret would put them in danger, he might have actually told the truth about his secret. Might, Lex sighed.

It was no good going over past mistakes. They were enemies now and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.

Lex walked into the nightclub, handing a bouncer the door charge. He supposed he could have just used super-speed, but he wanted to make sure he was seen. He was out to have a good time tonight, with whomever he pleased.

The music was pumping and the club was crowded. Lex ordered the most lethal concoction of spirits he could remember from his old clubbing days. After all, Superman couldn’t get drunk.

He knocked back a couple of drinks, ignoring the uneasy looks from the bartender. Those drinks would be strong enough to knock an average human off his feet for hours. But Lex just felt a pleasing relaxation.

He danced, he flirted and danced and flirted some more, checking out the talent on display. But no one seemed to pique his interest enough for him to want to take them home. Or to a hotel, in his case, since he couldn’t get into the penthouse, and there was no way in hell he’d use Clark’s cockroach infested fleabag of an apartment.

It was as he was exchanging eyefucks with a potential partner that he heard it. There was some kind of scuffle going on in the alley behind the club. Damn this superhearing, he thought.

Lex raced out, getting there just in time to see two very big guys trying to rape a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than twenty. She was pretty – or she would be without the black eye and the puffiness that came with having been beaten around the head. Her lip was bleeding. And she was no match for the two beefy guys pulling at her clothes.

“Hey!” Lex yelled.

The two guys turned and looked at him with disdain.

“Beat it!” one of them said.

“I don’t think so,” Lex said, affecting his best Superman pose. Or at least, what he assumed to be the Superman pose.

“Take a hike moron, or we’ll do to you what we’re about to do to this little slut!”

The girl moaned, sobbing. “Please don’t,” she whispered. But Lex had heard it. She was terrified.

Lex was a lot of things but this was just not on! He approached the two men and grabbed one of them by the arm. The man flew across the alley and crashed into the wall. His partner stared at Lex.

“What the f ...”

“I suggest you get the hell out of here, unless you want the same treatment as your boyfriend.”

“You prick!”

“Oh, you found me out,” Lex said. “I think it’s time you took a hike. Moron!”

Clearly the guy was too stupid to know he was up against someone much stronger. He tried to punch Lex in the stomach, yelping in pain as he drew his fist back.

“What the fuck do you have in there? Steel?”

Lex shrugged mildly. “I’ve been ... working out.”

The man’s partner groaned and struggled to his feet, his hand lifting to rub his head. His companion helped him stand, both looking at Lex with more than a little fear in their expressions. Lex ignored them and the two men took off.

“And don’t let me catch you trying this again,” he yelled after them.

The girl, still sobbing, approached him, throwing her arms around him. She was considerably shorter and her head barely came up to chest level, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“Thank you,” she cried. “Thank you. I was so scared and you saved me.”

Lex patted her on the back awkwardly. He’d had his moments over the years where he’d helped someone, but this was the first time someone had actually thanked him and for no other reason than he'd helped them.

He gently prised her away.

“Is there someone who can take you home?” he asked softly.

She nodded, telling him her friend was in the club. Her friend had brought her to the club even though she didn’t really enjoy nightclubs. She’d apparently had got confused in the darkness of the club looking for the bathroom and had been grabbed by one of the two guys. Any other time Lex would have berated her for being so naive as to allow herself to be persuaded into coming to the club, but he figured she’d had enough trauma for one night.

He walked inside with her and helped her find her friend, telling them they should get on home.

Lex was surprised by the warmth he felt having helped the girl out. Was this an everyday thing for Clark? He could have done so much more. He could have taken over the world. So why did he spend his time helping people?

A hand clapped on his shoulder and he looked around, rolling his eyes.

“Oh look, it’s the party pooper,” he said.

He tried to shake off the hand but suddenly realised he couldn’t. He’d lost all the super-strength.

“What the hell?”

Clark held up a blue stone. “You should have done all your homework, Luthor,” he said. “There’s not just green Kryptonite.”

Mercy glared at him. “Don’t make me use this, boss,” she warned, pulling the front of her jacket aside to show him the gun at her hip. It would be loaded with Kryptonite bullets.

Lex knew the jig was up. Sighing, he let himself be led out of the club.

***

Clark was finally at ease. For all the years he’d wanted to be normal, the past few hours spent in Lex Luthor’s skin told him that he was much more comfortable in his own.

“Why did you do it, Lex?” he asked.

“Maybe I wanted to see whether the grass was greener on the other side,” Lex answered, not looking in the least repentant.

Clark shot him a look. Lex sighed.

“All right, fine. I was planning something to destroy your ... Superman’s reputation. And will you please get out of that suit? It’s blinding me.”

Clark made no comment. The suit was modelled on those Kryptonians had worn, but the bright colours were to make him stand out.

“So why did you help that girl if all you were planning on doing was causing mayhem?” Clark asked, genuinely perplexed.

“You know, I’m not as evil as some would paint me to be,” Lex retorted.

“Lex ... just answer the question.”

“She needed help.”

“You could have left her.”

“She was about to be raped,” Lex said. “And how did you ...”

“I got there just in time to see you throw that guy across the alley,” Clark told him. “How did it feel, Lex? Saving her?”

Lex seemed to hesitate. He chewed on his lip.

“It felt ... good. It felt ... for once I wasn’t being judged on my name. She was grateful because I’d helped her and for no other reason.”

“That’s how it feels for me every day, Lex.”

“Why do you do it, Clark?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do. Because people need someone to give them hope.”

“Oh please, don’t give me the same trite old platitudes your father used to come out with.”

“These aren’t platitudes, Lex. This is the way I am. And before you ask, yes, it’s difficult making those choices on who to save. I know I can’t save everyone, but I have to try.”

“You’re still just one man, Clark.”

“Yes, I am. Even with all my abilities.”

“I never realised just how difficult it must be, having to control all that. It can’t have been easy for you, growing up different.”

“When I was a kid, I’d have given anything to be normal.”

“Normal is highly over-rated. But what I meant was, having all those abilities, trying to exercise that much control ...”

“I had to learn to rein in my strength. When I was little and just becoming like really, really strong, I had to be so careful every time I held my dad’s hand or went to my mom for a hug. I mean, I could have broken something. I very nearly did.”

Lex frowned. Clark studied him. It seemed that despite Lex’s intentions, he’d come away with a greater understanding of Clark’s life.

“You know, my dad used to say that a person can be strong on the outside but they have to be even stronger on the inside. And I guess all the years I got treated like a big geek taught me compassion.”

“Lionel used to say that compassion was a weakness.”

“Lex, your father used to think a lot of things about you were a weakness.”

“Such as?”

“You used to care about Smallville. Remember when your dad told you to cut your workforce? You chose not to, instead finding ways to increase efficiency and cut costs.”

“That was a weakness in his eyes,” Lex said sadly.

“Well, not in mine,” Clark answered. “It was one of the things that drew me to you.”

Lex frowned. “What do you mean, drew you to me?”

“I think that’s when I first started to fall in love with you, Lex.”

Clark knew he was taking a risk by admitting his feelings. But the truth was, he was tired of always denying what he’d always wanted.

“You ...” Lex looked incredulous. “Why?”

“Well, despite all reports to the contrary, I don’t think you’re as evil as you make yourself out to be. I know all about the donations to charity, the children’s homes, the money behind the scenes to help abused animals.”

“Tax incentives,” Lex said shortly. “And I’m trying to increase LexCorp profits.”

Clark snorted. “Sure. And that’s why you’ve announced it to all and sundry.”

Lex had never said a word to anyone about the charitable donations. Clark had only discovered that Lex was behind the considerable contributions when he’d dug deep and learned that a shell company was being used. It had taken him weeks sifting through the paperwork.

Yes, Lex had made some bad judgement calls. He’d done some things which could be considered unethical. But it had always been with the best of intentions. Lex was like anyone else when his curious nature got the best of him. He didn’t think about the consequences.

“I never should have given up on you, Lex,” Clark said quietly. “I let you go too easily.”

“Why did you?” Lex asked. “You had to know that I felt the same as you.”

“I didn’t,” Clark said honestly. “And Lionel told me that you were planning to get married.”

“When was this?”

“The day I graduated high school. You were in Metropolis. I was planning on telling you how I felt then, but he said your destiny was never going to be with ‘some farmboy’.”

“It’s a good thing Lionel’s dead, or else I would have strangled him, had I known. Clark, I’m so sorry. I suppose that’s why you avoided me that summer.”

Clark shrugged. He’d had his heart broken into pieces and he’d never really recovered.

“Lex, there’s something I need to know. Why did you write all those letters criticising Superman?”

“Because I didn’t trust him ... you. I really did think you were here as some kind of vanguard for the rest of your kind. Even when I learned that you were the last of them, I still didn’t trust you. I misjudged you, and I apologise for that. Having had the benefit of experiencing your abilities the last several hours, I think I understand you a little more.”

“Lex, I know we haven’t been close the past few years, but I’d really like it if we could be friends again.”

Lex shook his head. “No, Clark. After today, I don’t think we can ever be friends.”

Clark blinked at him, feeling his heart sink. Lex was rejecting him?

“What I meant to say is, we can’t be friends, but maybe we can be ... more? Lovers, even? That’s if you still ...”

“I never stopped,” Clark smiled, sealing it with a kiss.