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Two-headed coin

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Two-headed coin

by Amy Wolf


They stared across the room at each other.

"Alien" Hatred, clear simple and plain.

"Luthor" Anger, frustration, and an a touch of contempt.

There was no longing, no desire, not even a touch of regret. Only what you'd expect from a man facing the only obstacle he couldn't smash and a hero who knew he couldn't drop the bad guy off a building. Yet sometimes, when they were staring each other down, trying to calculate their opponent's next move, or intimidate them into a temporary reprieve, the look would run long, edging on something other. Something lost and nameless.


"Again?" asked Clark. Lex sighed. He'd expected this.

"Again Clark."

"This makes how many now?" Clark was incredulous.

"Five divorces, three attempted murders."

"Have you considered swearing off women?"

"Believe me, I'm done with love. Some things aren't meant for a Luthor."

"I was joking. Just stop getting married for a few years." Clark looked frustrated.

"I wasn't." Lex turned. "Luthors can't afford love in their lives."

Clark stood open-mouthed in exasperation. Then he grabbed Lex and kissed him, hard.

Lex stepped back. "What was that for?" He felt a sudden strange need to blink frantically.

Clark smiled. "Don't think you've got it all figured out, Luthor.

-

"You're a, you're a what?" Lex stumbled backwards.

"An alien. Lex, Breathe." Clark helped Lex over to the cellar stairs.

Lex took a deep breath. "Where are you from? How many are you? Is this an invasion?" Attack of the Clarks. He liked that idea.

"There's not gonna be an invasion. I'm the only one left. My planet blew up."

Lex stood. "Your planet blew up?"

"Yeah, when I was a baby. I don't remember" Clark looked strangely pale.

Lex stepped over and kissed him, deeply.

Clark stumbled back, stammering. "What was that for?"

Lex smirked, "You figure it out alien."

-

"Alien?" asked Lex. "I trust you had him fired."

"Why would I do that?" Lionel leaned back. "He provided adequate proof. To think, I helped the Kents adopt it. Amazing what you let slip through your fingers. Still, you have him now."

"I have him?" Lex repeated carefully.

"You will share?" Lionel asked mildly. "I don't ask much. Nowhere near what you must be getting."

"And why should you get anything?" Keep negotiating, Lex told himself, or Lionel would use other means. He had to buy time.

"Please, Lex. You don't want your friend to wind up in an army lab."

-

Lex strolled through the lab doors. "Any luck?"

"Luck?" laughed Professor Gill, "Don't ask the impossible."

Lex whirled. "The impossible is what I pay you for doctor. If you're not making progress, I can find someone else. Now tell me, have the formula I gave you been any use?"

"We've solved wormhole generation. Still no luck figuring out a containment device."

"Progress, Professor. That's all I ask."

"So why are you so hot to build a time machine? If it's recognition, we've got enough material now for a Nobel prize."

Lex smiled tightly. "I want to correct a mistake."

-

Clark spoke. "This was a mistake, Lex."

"This mistake is the only thing keeping you alive."

"I can't hide forever."

"You can," snapped Lex, "And you will if necessary."

"I want to see the sun." whined Clark.

"So watch a video. You have enough." Lex rummaged through the collection.

"I a life outside these walls."

"Outside these walls is death. I'm working on it, but you have to be patient."

"I'm sick of patient. You know what I could do out there?"

"I shudder to think." replied Lex, "Now, do you really want to spend all our time talking?"

-

"They won't talk, you know." said Lex. "They're his family."

"Really, Lex. I thought I taught you better than this."

"Better than to believe in family?"

Lionel smiled. "Among other things."

"As hard as it is for you to imagine, Dad...."

"You're missing two other things." Lionel looked at his watch.

Lex thought. "Truth serum? That's a myth."

"Perhaps. Perhaps not. What else?"

Of course. "You don't need them to talk."

Lionel glanced down at his watch again. "The alien should be showing up right about now."

Lex turned and ran. "Please, Clark, for once in your life, stay put."

-

Clark wasn't moving.

The Kents had been untied. Martha knelt over Clark, tears streaming down her face, her voice getting louder and more hysterical until it became an raw howl of grief.

Jonathan Kent held by two security guards, lunged like a mad dog. "Luthor, I'll kill you!" he screamed. He wasn't talking to Lex. "What a waste." Lionel strolled around, surveying the scene. He put a hand on Lex's shoulder. "I'm sorry son."

None of that mattered now. Clark wasn't moving.

-

"It's a one way ticket, you know."

"That doesn't matter now." said Lex.

He'd been planning on keeping Lionel from finding out. He'd been prepared to kill.

Martha Kent took care of that. Never take your eyes off a crying woman.

No, he needed something sure. No secrets, no investigations. No Luthor in Clark's life.

It had been easy enough, change a few accounts, get himself sent to grow genetically engineered potatoes in Idaho.

As he hit enter, he felt himself weakening. Not quite transparent, but drained. He smiled triumphantly. Clark was safe. He collapsed and vanished


Clark looked away. There was something troubling in that stare, something about Luthor that made him feel off. Guilty. He knew it was irrational. Luthor made his own choices. Still, sometimes he saw an echo of a better man. Something magnificent, that could be drawn out by a friendly hand. He turned away.

Lex looked away. The suit galled him. Skintight spandex shouldn't be wholesome. If he could just tear it away and see the alien underneath. Stop dreaming of farmhouses, apple pie, and Superman in a flannel shirt. He turned to say something appropriately sneering.

To late. The alien was gone.