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Neil Armstrong's Orbit

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“I can fly,” Clark says.

He is standing in the doorway of Lex’s office, inexplicable and unexpected. Lex calmly sets down his pen. “Don’t you have a Physics exam tomorrow?”

“I can fly, Lex. I can run really fast, and burn things up with my eyes, and see through walls, and hear things on the other side of the planet. I was having a bad day yesterday, so I spent a few hours sitting on the moon.” Clark’s hands are buried in the pockets of his blue jacket. For the thousandth time, he’s the most beautiful thing Lex has ever seen.

“Clark—“ Even inanity fails him.


Lex takes a deep breath. “Why are you telling me this?”

“After a while I got bored on the moon by myself. I mean, there’s only so much that’s really interesting about craters, and I thought ‘Lex should see this.’” Clark shrugs. “I guess it puts it in perspective. When you can fly 20,000 miles in under a minute, lying to your best friend seems kind of, I don’t know, stupid?”

“Take me there.” Lex should probably be angrier, but Clark is a pro at destroying all rational emotions.


“The moon, Clark.”

Clark laughs, a sudden outburst of surprise and relief. “Really?”

“Yes, really.” Lex is laughing too.

“Get your coat,” Clark says.


Clark’s Fortress produces something shiny and octagonal that will allow Lex to breathe and walk on the moon. Lex wants to stay and examine the alien technology, make scribbled notes for attempted reproduction, but Clark hurries him along.

“The moon won’t wait forever, Lex. You can play with the Fortress tomorrow.”

In the astronomical scheme of things, the moon will probably outlast the Fortress, but Lex doesn’t complain. Especially not when Clark wraps his arms around Lex’s waist and starts running.

If he were anyone else, Lex would close his eyes against the dizzying blur of Clark’s speed, but he’s Lex Luthor, and he wants to see everything. He holds on as the ground falls away beneath Clark’s feet, watches as ice and snow blend into a pure white cap on the surface of the earth. Further still, through clouds and ozone and unending sky, until they clear the atmosphere entirely. Below them the world spins on, green and white and blue and glorious; above them the stars seem close enough to touch, and Lex can understand why Clark loves this.

For the first time in years, Lex is not afraid of flying.

Like Apollo 11, they land at the Mare Tranquillitatis. Clark lets go slowly, watching as Lex kneels down to run his hands through fine lunar dust. The regolith turns his black wool pants silver, but he can’t find the arrogance to mind. Not here on the moon, with Clark, leaving his marks on the surface and breathing the impossible air.

“It’s not exactly ‘where no man has gone before,’” Clark mutters, mildly sarcastic. “You know you’re not the first person to walk on the moon, right?”

Lex grins. “Yes, but I imagine I’m the first person to walk on the moon like this, sporting alien technology instead of a spacesuit. It’s good enough for me.”

They wander for hours, walking and running and touching and examining the surface of a hundred different craters, mountains, and mares until Lex’s feet begin to ache. Finally, they lie in the dust at the edge of Plato crater and watch the earth, moonlike, in the distance.

“When I was little,” Lex says quietly, “I hated Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon.”

Clark rolls over on his side. “Hmmm?”

“All the amazing technological advances of the 20th century infuriated me. I wanted to be part of them, wanted innovation to wait for me to grow up. I was so jealous of those earlier geniuses.” Lex turns to look at Clark. “This is extraordinary.”

“So are you.”

Lex sees the look in Clark’s eyes, deep and strange as the new moon. “Clark—“

Clark kisses him. In the second before he kisses Clark back, Lex can feel the anti-air in his lungs and the light lunar gravity barely managing to hold him down.

“That’s got to be a first.” Clark sounds pleased.

“For us or the moon?” Lex tries to seem dry, unruffled, but he can’t seem to stop smiling.

Clark laughs. “Both, I guess.”

Lex has a succession of witty remarks, sarcastic and prepared to keep Clark at bay. Instead, he kisses Clark again, kisses him until they’re both covered in silver regolith and tangled together precariously at the crater’s edge.

“I’ve got it,” Clark says, his giggles echoing across the lunar landscape. “You can be the first person to moon on the moon!”

Lex kisses Clark’s fingers. “It’s a little cold for that.”

“Later, then?” Clark asks, and his voice makes Lex shiver with something that isn’t cold.

“When you’re a superhero,” Lex says suddenly, “You should have a base here. A watchtower to keep an eye on the world for you. A place to run away to, and think, and talk. Like we’re doing now.”

Clark smiles. “Will you be a superhero with me?”

“No,” Lex says, “I want to be President. But yes, I’ll help you save the world.” He laughs. “Besides, if we fail, we can always come live on the moon.”

Clark laughs, and holds Lex closer. Lex should be working and Clark should be studying, but they stay on the moon a while longer to watch their world spin.