Summary: A scene we didn't get to see.
Disclaimer: Not mine; or there would be more of this episode. Feedback: email@example.com
Lionel Luthor answered his cellphone with barely disguised annoyance. "Lex, I'm in a meeting," he started, ready to hang up, mind already turning to the sight before him. Clark Kent, in his nearly naked glory, ready to be immersed into the sickly-green pool.
Lex's question stopped him, averted his attention once again. "At Sommerholt? Is that why Dr. Garner cancelled my sessions?"
"I don't have time for this, Lex," Lionel protested.
"Then you better make time," Lex insisted warningly, "because my treatment worked. I remember everything."
This stopped Lionel in his tracks. "Where are you?" He could almost hear the smirk in the reply.
"You know where I am, Dad."
Giving Dr. Garner a warning to wait for him, Lionel made his way swiftly out to the lobby.
Lionel was all concern as he caught sight of his son. "Lex, Lex, what's so urgent that you needed to call me out of a meeting? What's the problem, Son?"
Lex glared challengingly. "I don't know, Dad, but the fact that you co-opted Dr. Garner suggests that you really are scared of the memories I could recover. What'd you give him?"
Lionel was prevented from answering by a sudden explosion of sound and dust, while at the same time all the lights dimmed and an alarm began to blare somewhere in the building.
"What the hell was that?" Lionel demanded of anyone within earshot.
The nurse at the reception desk looked frightened. "The alarm in the memory well has been triggered."
Lex turned away from his Father and headed into the depths of the building. "Looks like I'm not the only one playing with fire," he observed.
Lionel called after him urgently, but Lex ignored him.
Lex could have made it to the memory well with his eyes closed, but he'd never thought of the place as sinister until his first glimpse of it now. Rampant destruction, technicians, and Garner himself, unconscious. Or worse. Most disturbing of all, he now saw what his Father had given Garner. The boy in the tank, God, please, not drowned, and Lex grabbed the first available thing he could find to break the glass. He waded through the rush of green fluid, heedless of his five hundred dollar shoes, and looked inside anxiously, holding his breath fearfully until he saw Clark's chest move, his head turn weakly toward Lex.
"Lex, help me," Clark mumbled.
Lex reached into the tank. "I'm going to get you out of here," he promised. Careful of the broken glass, he reached over and pulled on the fragments, making the opening in the side of the tank large enough to try to get Clark out. The boy was moaning lightly, shuddering, and Lex thought he must be cold from being submersed in the liquid.
"One more second, Clark," he promised, running through the mess of the laboratory to a cabinet where he knew they kept the big towels he had used to dry himself off after his own sessions. He grabbed one and went back to Clark, who still seemed quite a bit out of it.
"Lex," Clark whispered, an accompanying shudder making his whole body tremble. Lex crouched down, swiping with his shoes at broken bits of glass to get them out of the way, then reached in and all but dragged Clark out of the tank.
Lex wasn't weak, but Clark's weight on him when he tried to stand the boy up surprised him. "Come on, Clark, help me out here," Lex said quietly, trying to steer them in the direction of the lobby. He didn't really relish the thought of taking Clark out of the building past Lionel, but it was the closest exit he knew.
"Yea, gotta go," Clark agreed, a little breathlessly, forcing his legs to move, at the same time trying to wipe some of the green fluid off his skin. It was already starting to dry, and the residue on his skin was painful.
Why did it always have to be Kryptonite?
Lionel started to speak as they made their slow way across the Sommerholt lobby, actually started toward them, but Lex glared at him balefully and Lionel halted, unwilling to become embroiled in a public scene.
By the time they made it out to the Porsche, and Lex had Clark settled into the passenger seat, the coating of memory fluid on his skin was driving Clark crazy. He rubbed at himself furiously with the towel, finding a bit of relief that way, but it was the awful red shorts that were giving him the most trouble.
"I'll get you right home, Clark," Lex was reassuring him as he started the car. "Why were you here anyway? Why with my Father?"
Clark was squirming his seat; the shorts were still wet and the effect had him sick just everywhere. He was torn between throwing himself out of the car to rub his body all over the macadam and ripping the shorts off to fling them out the window.
"I wanted to stop you, Lex. I thought Lionel would help me." Clark almost whimpered with the effort of keeping his hands out of his pants. This was getting really painful.
"The only people my Father would ever help are my enemies. I believe that without a doubt. You need to stay away from him, Clark, for your own good. He's obsessed, and I don't think there are any boundaries to what he would do to further his own purposes. Also, I can take care of myself."
Clark was having trouble breathing, Lex's words were coming to him in a heavy fog, his attention was almost totally focused on the pain seeping through his skin. The towel wasn't enough.
"I need some water, Lex," he asked, and before he could explain exactly what he wanted, Lex had pulled over into a no-parking zone and scrambled out of the car. He had a cooler in his trunk, filled with his favorite blue bottles, and he got back in with two of them, handing one to Clark and opening one for himself. When cold water splashed him, he stopped with the drink halfway to his mouth. Clark had dumped his all over himself, and was rubbing himself furiously with the towel.
"Oh, God, Clark, I'm sorry," Lex hastened, handing over his bottle, wincing in sympathy as Clark dumped that one right onto his lap. That water was cold. "I misunderstood. We'll go to the penthouse right away. You can shower there."
"Please," Clark agreed, head thrown back on the seat, hands moving restlessly over his body, pulling at the shorts in a effort to keep them away from his skin.
"Just take them off," Lex suggested, the words almost sticking in his throat, because a naked Clark in his car was one thing; a naked Clark in agony in his car was quite another. "Just throw them on the floor. I'll get rid of them later."
Clark looked relieved at the fact that Lex had suggested it himself, and proceeded to wrestle with the sodden material, finally managing to push the shorts down his legs and off. He wrapped the big towel around himself, too self-conscious to be comfortable, and counting the seconds until the apartment complex came into sight.
Lex concentrated on his driving obsessively, to keep his eyes from straying over to Clark. The brief glimpses of Clark's body that he'd had in the past ran through his head like some kind of tantalizing slideshow, and Lex couldn't wait to get out of the car, get Clark safely into the shower and hopefully dressed again.
Get thee behind me, Satan, Lex thought.
A naked, obviously-distressed young man in a towel being escorted into the lobby wasn't a thing the doorman was used to seeing, but to his credit, he didn't bat an eye. Lex stopped briefly, handed the doorman two hundred dollar bills and told him to find someone to run and get some clothes for Clark. The doorman sized him up quickly, and promised to have clothes at the penthouse in less than a half-hour.
The place was luxurious, but Clark wasn't even looking, he was about ready to crawl out of his skin from the pain insinuating itself everywhere. He couldn't really think clearly enough to be embarrassed, being naked in front of Lex, and didn't protest when Lex pulled the towel from around him carefully, turning immediately to start the water running, setting the temperature.
"I'll do it," Clark nudged Lex aside gently and climbed into the shower, turning the water on full power, blasting the residue from his skin.
"I'll just...put some towels here on the sink for you," Lex told him, pulling the shower door closed regretfully, trying to at least look like he was averting his eyes.
Lex could hear Clark sighing gratefully as he looked for two big, soft black towels and set them out, caught the soft-edged silhouette of him through the shower door as he scrubbed at his skin frantically. Lex's heat skipped a beat painfully, and he forced himself to back out of the bathroom, but he couldn't bring himself to close the door all the way. Watched as Clark's desperate scrubbing calmed into gentle soaping and rinsing. Cursed himself inwardly for his own weakness in not being able to turn away. Was still watching when Clark stopped, braced his hands against the wall, head down to just let the water pound down onto him and didn't move.
"What did you see, Clark?" Lex whispered. He kept going over and over the scenes that had invaded his own mind in the memory well, and couldn't help but wonder what Clark might have seen. Couldn't help but wonder why the memory bath fluid bothered his shy friend enough that he would be willingly naked in a decidely un-naked-friendly situation.
And what of Lionel? Lex was feeling inexplicably territorial with regard to Clark anytime Lionel entered the picture. He didn't know for sure how Clark had ended up in that tank at Sommerholt, but he could make an educated guess.
Clark moved suddenly, and Lex backed away from the bathroom door guiltily. He was back in the living room of the penthouse, glass of scotch in hand, when Clark reappeared, black towel around his waist snugly. He looked perfectly restored, perfectly......perfect.
"Feel better now?" Lex asked, easy tone belying the extent of his concern.
"Yea, Lex, thanks. I just..that goop was making me kind of sick. I'm okay now. But...do you think you have a t-shirt and sweat pants I could borrow? Anything?"
The bell for the elevator rang just then, and Lex smiled. "I'll have some things for you in a few seconds. Help yourself." Lex gestured to the bar as he headed out to pick up the new clothes.
Clark didn't want a drink, he just headed back into the bathroom and got dressed. Lex had a glass of milk poured for him anyway, but when he came back out, fully clothed again now, he was in a hurry.
"I have to go, Lex. I have to get home. Mom and Dad are going to be freaking out."
"It's all right, Clark. We'll just call them and let them know we're on the way home."
Clark hesitated, and Lex could almost see him closing off, backing away from spending any more time with Lex today.
"It's okay, Lex. I, um, I already have a ride. Thanks for..everything. I'll see you back in Smallville." And Clark was already heading for the elevator.
Lex couldn't let it go, and to be honest, he didn't want to. "Clark," he called after the boy, stopping him as he was leaving the room. "What did you see?"
Clark frowned. "Are you going to tell me what you've been seeing Lex? What's so important that you have to risk your sanity to find it?"
Lex sighed. "Clark, it's obvious to me that something has disturbed you. What my Father did to you is unforgivable. It would probably be better for you to steer clear of Lionel from now on."
"I could say the same to you about Dr. Garner and Sommerholt."
"I'm used to dealing with people like my Father and Dr. Garner. You aren't." Lex told him.
"Whatever, Lex. I have to get home. Thanks."
Clark turned again and walked to the elevator, leaving Lex still wondering what he'd seen, what Lionel had hoped to find out. Clark really needed to stay away from Lionel. There was definitely something there to be discovered, and Lex would never allow Lionel to have any part of it. As soon as he got back to Smallville, he would stop at the farm and check up on Clark. Make sure his Father wasn't there doing the same thing.
His cell phone rang then, and Lex took another swallow of the scotch when he saw the number coming up on the Caller ID. Lionel.
Lex flipped the phone open. "Lex, Son, you left so quickly I didn't even have time to help you. I hope your young friend is all right after his experience."
"How did you get Clark in there, Dad? What did you tell him"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Lex. I was there to try to convince Dr. Garner to cease the tampering with your brain. He could cause irreparable damage to your sanity. I hesitate....."
Lex interrupted. "Don't hesitate, Dad. You know how that turned out for the dragon. And forget Clark," he warned, before he unceremoniously hung up. "He was mine first."