My Beautiful Friend or Five Things that Never Happened to Adam Knight
In some other universe, nowhere near this one, there's a ghost named Clark Kent hovering around in the background of Adam Knight's life.
Adam has never met Clark Jerome Kent at all, though, and the only reason he knows Clark ever existed is because of Lex's nightmares. They never talk about them of course - the nightmares - but it only takes two nights of Lex apologizing in his sleep for Adam to start looking into records that are supposed to be sealed to all prying eyes. He never questions Lex about Clark and in the light of day, Lex claims not to recall his dreams, but Adam's not fooled. He knows Lex well enough to know that if he wants the truth he'll have to find it himself, and he finds the clippings in the false bottom of Lex's tiny box of St George.
It's not a matter of Lex keeping his evidence some place obvious, inasmuch as it's testament to Adam knowing the exact combination to his safe. It's a deduction that's proof of how sentimental Lex can be when he wants to be. Julian's birthday plus Lex's mother's birthday plus the date that Lex's father died, and voila, Adam's presented with something he didn't suspect, ever.
Clark Jerome Kent died in a car crash in Smallville, Kansas, at fifteen years and six months of age - and Lex Luthor was driving.
It takes a lot to unsettle Adam, but after he finishes reading about the chicken wire and the mangled Porsche, he calls Lex at the office, except he has no idea what he's going to say.
Adam knows he's not involved with a murderer, but it makes him wonder what the hell else Lex is keeping from him. If there's one skeleton in the closet, who knows how many others it's hiding.
The thumping bass is filtered heavily once they're inside the VIP lounge, and something much more soothing trickles out of the subwoofers that are built into the arms of the sofa. The leather crackles and sticks as Chad pushes back his latest find and nips at the pale juncture of his neck and shoulders. The man says something to Chad about something else to do with lies, but Chad's not really paying attention. He's never heard of Smallville in his life.
Long fingers tangle in his hair and hot breath scalds the side of his neck. This one smells like exotic spices and expensive soap, and Chad's been doing this long enough to know the difference. He has no idea why he's doing this on his night off - for free - but he knows a good thing when he sees it. The smirk, the eyes, and the way this man slipped up behind him and told him everything he wanted to hear. Chad's too old and too jaded to entirely believe anything anyone has to say anymore, but every now and then he does like to pretend that people don't know what he does for a living. Once he's done with music school, he's getting so far away from this business that none of it will matter anyway.
There are hands on his head guiding him downwards, and as Chad pulls at leather fastenings and cotton hems, he realizes that this guy doesn't just have a really close shave happening where people can see. His fingers explore greedily as he yanks at leather that's sticking to heated skin.
The man above him is full of demands and filthy words, but he keeps petting Chad's hair and his eyes are bright in a non-chemical way.
Chad can make this last for a very long time if he wants too. Which he does.
He licks his palm and strokes erratically, and demands to know whose cock is in his hand. He's not working, and he's allowed to have demands too, once in a while. He knows better than to give a blowjob without a condom to someone he's never seen before - but his tongue still swirls counterclockwise as he goes down and up, meeting his fist until the muscles in his jaw relax enough.
And when Lex finally comes, Chad's knees complain sharply as he's pushed away like a discarded rag. Under Chad's watchful gaze, Lex zips up his pants with one hand while wiping the smear of come off of Chad's bottom lip. He's gone from the backroom of the club before Chad can even ask who Clark is.
He sits rigidly in the wooden chair, pointedly ignoring the stares from the receptionist across from him. Exactly how long did they think it would take him to get sent to the headmaster's office? He's already been at this school six hours; as far as he's concerned he's late, and when he briefly closes his eyes, the screams start up again.
His parents die every night in his dreams and he wonders if it would be easier to kill himself or just kill everyone else instead. Dr Thompkins says he's still got a few things he needs to work through in terms of his anger management skills, but he thinks he's doing just fine. Fistfights and bloody noses notwithstanding.
Alfred told him that he would make friends if he was just willing to try, but he has no desire to try. People only upset him.
His eyes flash open at the noisy clicking of heels announcing someone else's arrival. The door creaks open several seconds later, and he shifts slightly in his chair as an unfortunate amalgamation of limbs drops into the hard chair next to him.
He doesn't flinch, instead keeping his eyes focused on the Van Gogh reprint behind the receptionist's right shoulder.
He can smell the sandalwood soap used this morning by his new companion.
"I heard about you, Adam Knight," the boy says eventually, pointedly ignoring the disapproving looks from the receptionist. His bones creak loudly in Adam's ears. "I heard you beat up Todd Smith and Rick Sweeney."
Adam makes a noncommittal noise. "Were they friends of yours?"
The boy's derisive laugh says it all. His next words are warm against Adam's ear. "People like me don't have friends."
This makes Adam turn around and scrutinize his companion. Sharp, piercing eyes. A small red scar on his upper lip. The baldness suits him well; Adam had heard otherwise.
"I like you, you don't talk a lot," the boy says.
Adam doesn't say anything in kind.
"I'm Lex," he says, offering a pale, thin hand.
Adam nods, noting that only the receptionist jumps when the speaker on the phone crackles to life. "Send in Bruce W -- err, Chad -- What name is he going by again?" a disembodied voice demands.
"Adam Knight," the receptionist replies, worried eyes darting between Adam and Lex.
Adam stands up under Lex's piercing gaze.
"So what's your name for real?" Lex asks, getting to his feet and motioning discreetly for Adam to wipe the smear of blood away from his lower lip. "Adam? Chad? Norbert?"
"Bruce," Adam says, "Bruce Wayne."
Adam Knight comes to Smallville after his cousin, Lana Lang, is trampled to death by a horse in a freak accident that no one is willing to talk about. It was once thought that Lana was the end of the Lang family line, but apparently her father, Louis, had a sister, and Adam is her son. Or something to this effect.
The whole thing is slightly confusing to Clark, but he's so consumed with grief that he can't really think about the plausibility of the connections of this guy who remembers Lana's fairy princess costume and the tiny lisp she had until she was six.
Adam knows all sorts of things that Clark doesn't about Lana, and he's more than willing to share them all with Clark. For each little nugget of information all Adam asks is a game of basketball or coffee at the Talon, and in time it only seems natural for Adam to take over running the Talon.
Lana would've wanted the Talon to stay in her family.
When Chloe starts dating Adam, Clark refuses to feel jealous, because he had his chance and blew it. Everyone knows Clark blew it, and it's only after Clark sees the way that Adam looks at Chloe that the questions really begin to arise in his mind. It's one thing for him to find Lex attractive, because really, everyone does. But maybe it's not Adam he's jealous of. Maybe it's Chloe. And it's only after another night gazing at Orion with Adam that Clark decides to take a chance.
He can still taste the latte on Adam's tongue when the men from LuthorCorp tear up the steps to the Fortress to take him away.
Adam wakes up briefly in the back of a limousine, with a suit jacket covering his fetal form and his head resting in Lex Luthor's lap. He has to be hallucinating because there's no way Lex would ever save him, so Adam presses back against the fingers carding through his hair and goes back to sleep.
If he's dying, there are certainly worse ways to go.
When he wakes up, he's lying in an impossibly soft bed in a dark room with light streaming through parted curtains. There's an IV hooked up to his arm, and he's dressed in soft cotton pyjamas that are a far cry from soiled hospital garments and a subterranean cell. The sores on his arms are gone, and he's able to lie on his back without wincing over and over again. He only notices Lex in the doorway because he clears his throat, and Adam's never actually passed out before. Apparently there's a first time for everything.
The next time he comes to, the sun is gone and his room is illuminated by a small Tiffany lamp in the corner next to a large leather chair. Lex is reading quietly, ensconced in said chair, and Adam coughs to get his attention.
"What are you reading?" he asks. His words are harsh and grating to his vocal chords; he can barely hear himself talk.
He instinctively shrinks back into the pillows when Lex gets up and crosses to the bed, and he's not sure what he's expecting, but it's not for Lex to pour him a glass of water.
The bed shifts as Lex sits down next to him and hands him the water. "Rimbaud," he says as Adam greedily drinks down the cool liquid.
"'A Season in Hell', right?" Adam asks, already knowing the answer.
Lex's smile is tight, and Adam's brain begins to whir to life. He knows there's a reason that Lex saved him. He knows there's something that Lex wants from him -- but he doesn't really mind. He's just glad to be alive. He's just glad to be here and not on a slab in the morgue, again.
He'd given up on God a long time ago, but apparently there was just some delay on his response line. Adam asked to be saved and God sent him Lex, and it could have been a hell of a lot worse in the end.
"Will you read me some?" he asks, trying to set the glass back on the nightstand.
Lex rescues the glass before it falls on the floor and his raised eyebrow says it all, but Adam's smile is real. He's not stupid enough to think this is ever going to last, but he wants to enjoy it while he can.
Adam scoots over, careful of the IV in his arm, to give Lex more room on the bed. And something tight in his stomach unclenches as Lex stretches out, pressing his back against the headboard.
Lex's voice is low in his ears "Once, if my memory serves me well...." he begins.
Adam's not really listening to the words he knows by heart, but to the timber of Lex's voice. It soothes him like his first injection after too long.
He know he's not in love with Lex Luthor. He knows they're probably not even in like, either -- but Lex has saved his life, and that counts for a lot more.
- Adam Knight is an alias for the Batman, and yes, Dr Leslie Thompkins is the multipurpose therapist in Batfamily history.