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by Suz

We could blame the painkillers. Speaking of which, they're not really working. Owww.

Feedback would be warm and snuggly. smooches nel

He was twenty-seven when it happened. He didn't know the specific day - he didn't really keep track, anymore - but he remembered his 27th birthday happening because Lex always made a point of telling him his age, as if one day he knew that Clark was going to forget.

"Happy 27th birthday, Clark."

"Have a wonderful 26th year, Clark."

"Here's to another twenty-five years, Clark."

As if they didn't both already know that he was going to live forever.

But he was twenty-seven when it happened, and it was probably early afternoon because although he didn't have to, he still liked to eat, and he'd definitely had something with ham in it for lunch.

It was sometime after lunch - maybe minutes, maybe seconds - that Clark stood on the edge of the sidewalk and felt his skin begin to itch. The clothes, the smell, the people - it was so completely unnecessary, and Clark did what he always did when he started feeling that way.

He flew.

He moved out of sight ("You can never let anyone see you, Clark. Never."), stripped off the clothes chaffing at his skin, and launched into the sky.

In less time than it took to blink, he was there again.

Circling Earth used to take days, hours, minutes,, no time at all.

There was nothing left. No place he could go to that he wouldn't arrive at instantly. No sense of freedom, no way to travel at top speed and be able to have the time to enjoy it.

He was too fast.

He'd outgrown the world.

Clark knew he had to discuss it with his parents because he always, always had, and less than a second after the thought formed he was stepping into the farm house. Only it was the middle of the day so Mom was at the Talon, and when he found Dad wincing in pain at the arthritis in his fingers, Clark suddenly knew the farm wasn't where he was meant to be.

A moment later he was opening the door to Lex's office in Metropolis. He walked inside, not caring as Lex's secretary ran after him, probably wondering where the hell he'd come from.

"Clark?" Lex looked up from his computer, frowning. "Is everything okay?"

"I'm leaving soon," Clark told him and somehow, he'd known that was what he was going to say all along.

The frown deepened. "Leaving where?"


There was no surprise on Lex's face. Maybe he'd known this was coming for even longer than Clark had.

"I want you to come with me," Clark continued.

Lex didn't even blink. "Clark, interested as I am in seeing what lies beyond this planet, I think my lungs would have a small problem with the distinct lack of oxygen-"

"The Fortress will be able create something that can protect you," Clark had been thinking, asking about this for years. "It might even be able to make you be like me." Like what'd happened with Dad, before. Except Lex wasn't Dad and Lex didn't get sick like other people.

Something flared in Lex's eyes and Clark had his answer. Everything Lex had accomplished, everything he'd done on was so small. Lex had been held back, limited, because just like Clark, the Earth had never been big enough for him.

"Clark," Lex was there, in front of him, and the secretary may have passed out, "if this...entire planet isn't enough for you anymore, then how am..."

Lex thought too much. He'd always had that problem. "Lex, you know that ego of yours? All those things you secretly think about how important you are?"

Hot air puffed out against Clark's skin. "Yes?"

Clark tugged him closer so he could murmur into his ear. "They're true. All of them."

Lex didn't pull away. Didn't snort in amusement. Didn't stare at Clark in confusion.

He threw back his head.

And laughed.