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A Rose By Any Other Name

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Chapter 1

Clark rolled his eyes. "No, Pete."

"Aw, see man. You can dish it out, but you can't take it." Pete shot back

Clark felt anger surge through him. It was times like these that he wished that Pete hadn't decided to go to the same college as he did. He looked down at his feet knowing that he never should have gotten involved with this stupid drinking game of Truth and Dare.

It was funny enough when Pete had to run down the hall in a tutu singing "I'm Feel Pretty," and when he had to kiss their RA. But now it wasn't funny at all. It hit too close to home and could ruin a friendship forever. He must have taken too long to think of a way to wiggle out of his current predicament, because Pete's mood had changed and he was now laughing.

"What?" Clark glared at his friend, and wished this day had never happened.

Pete just pushed by him with a wicked ‘I'll show you’ grin.

Clark turned around to see, much to his dismay, Lex heading down the hall of the frat house he managed to get into. Lex never ceased to be amused by Clark being a frat boy and came to visit often, although Clark couldn't help but wonder if his mother was putting him up to it. After all, she'd thrown a big enough fit about him being in a fraternity. Clark thought she'd seen Animal House too many times. His father just laughed and made comments like, 'let the boy have his fun' and 'he's growing up'. It was one of the few times Clark saw his father stick up for him against his mom.

Unfortunately, Lex's timing could not have been worse. Pete's dare had naturally been about the Luthor heir, who was the brunt of Pete's resentment ever since the Luthors had shut down and bought their family's plant in Smallville. No matter how hard Clark tried to change Pete's mind, all he'd managed to discover was that Pete was a stubborn, persistent and almost nasty drunk when it came to getting back at Lex.

"Lex! Just the man Clark needs to see!" Pete slapped Lex on the back with a smirk, ignoring the unhappy look that resulted on Lex's face.

Lex immediately shot Clark a look that said, 'how much is this going to cost me?'
"Hello Pete. And exactly why does Clark need to see me?"

"First Lex, what do you think about a guy that welches out on the rules of a game after making EVERYONE else stick to the …to the…" Pete looked confused. He'd lost his train of thought again, a frequent enough occurrence when he drank.

"Rules?" Lex supplied helpfully looking in amusement at Clark. The look had now switched to, ‘what did you get yourself into Clark?’ and ‘Oh, how I'm going to wish I had a video camera!’

"Yeah!" Pete slapped Lex again on the back, a sure sign he was really shit-faced. He didn't even like Lex and would never touch him in such a manner otherwise. Besides, everyone knew that Lex didn't like to be touched. Clark, however, was the exception to that Rule.

Lex looked sternly at Clark. "I'd say he has to play by the same rules as everyone else."

Clark groaned as Pete jumped up punching the air in victory. He heard the other guys laughing their asses off in the background and Lex's amused smile suddenly became feral. Clark knew right then and there, that this would qualify as the most embarrassing moment of his entire life. He'd be lucky if he didn't wind up on one of those stupid video shows where people won money for showing their most embarrassing moments. But at least, if he won money for this, he could start a new life. Bora-Bora was starting to look pretty good, right about now.

One of the other guys who'd been playing tossed a pillow down in front of Clark while doubling over with laughter and shoved a hastily printed song sheet into his hands. Clark seemed to remember his name was Aaron. He wondered if Aaron just knew how drastically his life span had been reduced. In fact, only Pete's was currently shorter, since he was facing imminent extinction.

"KENT! KENT! KENT!" The guys began to chant much to Clark's horror. It seemed every member of the house was now peering at him around doors, over banisters and the back of chairs. There would be no backing out now.

With a moan of resignation, Clark sank to one knee in front of Lex. This action was met with cheers and whoops of delight. Clark gave a look of 'I am so sorry' and 'I am so going to owe you big time for this' to Lex, who irritatingly enough was trying not to laugh. A small, almost imperceptible nod showed him that Lex was being a good sport and would play along. Clark was never so grateful for having such a good friend.

Gulping past his nervousness, Clark rubbed his palms on his jeans and took Lex's hand in his own. He cleared his throat, looked down at the paper in his other hand and in a deep, throaty baritone began to sing."

Say that you'll marry me
Sometimes carry me
And I will be there forever more
For you

And if you marry me
I will give everything
And I will do anything that you need
We do

You'll know, by the love in my eyes
And the beat of my heart
I'll be there

You'll know, cause you'll never be lonely again
Anytime, anywhere
This I promise
If you Marry me

Promise you'll stay with me
We'll make some memories
And maybe a dream or two
Will come true, who knows?

This I can say for sure
All that I have is yours
You'll never wonder where I stand
It shows

You'll know, by the love in my eyes
And the beat of my heart
I'll be there

You'll know, cause you'll never be lonely again
Anytime, anywhere
All I promise you, I will be
If you'll only say you'll Marry me

I won't ever forget these words
And I'll love you for all I'm worth
If you say you will Marry me
Won't you Marry me?*
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The only blessing to the entire nightmare, Clark thought, was that it was finally over. He supposed international aircraft could now locate Metropolis by his blush alone. But any moment now Lex would say 'no', Clark could tell everyone to 'shut the fuck up' and then quietly move to some monastery in Timbuktu.

The laughter was so loud in the frat house of Alpha Omega Tau that Clark was surprised the campus police hadn't shown up yet. They'd certainly been there enough, not that he'd ever told his parents that little detail.

When Clark finally got the courage to look back up, it was to see Lex laughing so hard that he was nearly crying with the effort to hold it in. Any semblance of the Luthor cool was completely gone. He finally half-collapsed on top of Clark as tears of mirth rolled down his cheeks and a howl of unrestrained laughter escaped from him.

He was quite sure Pete was about to piss himself, since he'd been reduced to a little ball in the corner. To his sheer horror, Clark spotted a small red light at the end of the hall indicating some soon-to-be-dead bastard had gotten it all on video tape. Maybe if he got just the right amount of meteor rock, he could get a sex-change operation and become Supergirl instead of Superboy. In the long run, would it matter? His life was over anyway.

The laughter was finally starting to die away after almost ten minutes of people mocking his singing – though it seemed like hours to Clark. They were laughing over his position and the fact that Pete had actually dashed to the bathroom so as not to pee himself - when it actually got worse.

Downstairs, the front door suddenly slammed open and bright lights ascended the stairs, bouncing all the way. Clark was still kneeling in front a gasping Lex, when the lights pointed his way and a crowd of strangers began to shove their way down the crowded hall.

"K-MET TV, Lori Chance, on the spot reporter where we are witnessing the alleged proposal of one of Metropolis University's Alpha Omega Tau's fraternity boys…" the lanky blonde covered the mike for a moment and knelt down to Clark. "What's your name?" she whispered loudly.

"CLARK KENT!" someone from the back of the house yelled with a roar of laughter while Clark's mouth hung open in shock.

"…where Clark Kent has just proposed to Lex Luthor of LuthorCorp and LexCorp, billionaire and winner of Metropolis' Most Eligible Bachelor for the fifth consecutive year. Mr. Luthor what was your answer?"

Lex's mask of no emotion fell into place with a resounding thud as he turned his back on Clark. "Miss Chance, all you were witnessing was a harmless college dare. I assure you that it was nothing more." He turned back hissing in anger. "Clark let go!"

It was at that point that Clark realized he was still holding Lex's hand and on one knee. He let go of Lex's hand like it was a meteor rock and began to stand when his fellow frat members began to yell "BOOO"! With another groan, he sank back to the pillow on the floor; he had forgotten that he was to stay in that position until Lex gave him his answer.

Miss Chance grinned in a feral manner with perfectly capped teeth. She could obviously smell blood, as she saw Clark kneel back down. Clark wondered how she'd gotten there so fast in the first place. He had a bad feeling that Chloe must have been around and quickly placed the call. "It would appear, Mr. Luthor, that Mr. Kent would like an answer," the reporter pointed out.

Lex rolled his eyes. He flipped open the phone placing a call to the Campus police. The reporter sighed deeply and made a cut off sign across her throat at her camera crew to stop filming. "Fine. Wrap it up boys!" She stormed back the way she came and Clark didn't breathe again until he heard the door slam shut downstairs.

The incident had a sobering effect on the house and no one was laughing anymore. Lex ran a hand over his scalp. "I'll see you later, Clark." He turned and left. Clark realized he'd put his friend into a really bad position and now he had to go do damage control. Clark stood up ignoring the few protests that remained, but Lex was long gone. Clark turned in rage and spotting Aaron decided it was time to shorten that particular life span – now.

Aaron was almost part-weasel and had slipped out of the frat house before Clark could get to him past his house mates. Without using his super-speed Clark knew he couldn't catch him. Turning his attention to find Pete, he saw that his friend had taken a cue from Aaron and was nowhere to be seen. Everyone could tell he was furious and the crowd parted for him as Clark stomped back to his room, slamming the door behind him and nearly knocking it off the hinges.

Clark sank down on his bed in despair. Looking back, he wondered why he'd gotten involved with the game or even the frat house. Any alcohol that had managed to make it into his alien body had long since evaporated between his embarrassment and subsequent rage.

It all came down to two things – Pete Ross and Clark's desperate desire to fit in. He'd known since he was fifteen he was an alien. After Lex Luthor hit him with his Porsche that day on the bridge and Clark rescued him instead of letting him die. So his parents were forced to come clean.

The big question now was could their friendship survive this? Lex had been humiliated, cornered with a huge public relations fiasco on his hands. Clark lay in his bed, unable to sleep, staring at the ceiling for the rest of the night.