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So Familiar A Gleam

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In the land of Smallville, the King and Queen, Jonathan and Martha Kent, ruled with an even hand that appeased all in the land. The sprawling farmland gave the inhabitants a wealth of produce to trade in neighboring lands. The land was for want of nothing.... except a prince.

Martha and Jonathan were without child. They had tried for so long to bring a child into the world, but each pregnancy was met with sour disappointment and sadness as another infant was lost. All the doctors they sent for said the same thing: that it was unlikely, and most likely impossible, for Martha to carry a child to term. This left not only Jonathan and Martha, but the entire country devastated. If there was one couple that truly deserved a child, it was King Jonathan and Queen Martha. Never was there a more loving and caring couple that were in such want of a child.

The ever youthful fairies, Chloe, Lana, and Lois, tried to aid Martha with magic but to no avail. Each unsuccessful attempt was met with more and more radical acts by the fairies until there appeared to be no further options. Jonathan drew the line at blood magic, magic trading a life for a life. He didn't want his wife and he to bring a child into the world at the cost of someone's life. The fairies were relieved their King and Queen were just and kind enough not to ask them to.

Still, the country people wished for a child for their king and queen. They wished that the Queen's belly would grow with a life that was impossible, wished that, by some kind of magic, whatever prevented Martha from carrying would lift and allow her a successful pregnancy. As each regretful announcement of a miscarriage came from the castle, the people's despair grew and hope faded that their King and Queen would have an heir.

Then, on a hot day in midsummer, the sky fell, and with it a boy.

Chapter Text

Jonathan and Martha sat in Jonathan's large study. The cold stone of the floor was offset by large wooden furniture more suited to a hunting lodge than a castle.

"I don't like him being here, Martha. He's a monster!" Jonathan said sourly.

"He's the neighboring king, Jonathan!" Martha said with a reprimand clear in her tone. "He is our guest, and it would do us a lot of good to ally with his kingdom. This treaty could mean a lot more technology and the trade knowledge to be able to make it ourselves. This is very important, Jonathan."

Jonathan sighed deeply and ran a hand over his face. "I don't have to like being indebted to that scheming, no good, rotten-to-the-core, cheating, lying son of a bit-"

"Thank you for that, Jonathan. While all of that may," Martha glared at Jonathan's smug expression, "or may not be true, we will not be creating any issues with visiting royalty. Will we, Jonathan?"

Under Martha's threatening stare, Jonathan heaved a heavy, put-upon sigh. "I will not be the cause of any incidents with visiting royalty, regardless of how much of a lying, cheating, scheming-"

"Jonathan," Martha gritted out.

"-Snake, they are. I will be perfectly behaved," Jonathan said with a wide smile and a hand over his heart. "Unless the snake starts something," he finished.

With a raised brow and a softer expression, Martha also let out a very put-upon sigh. "That's the best I'm going to get, isn't it? Bear in mind that if anything is to happen then this king will be sleeping somewhere that is not his own bed."

"Noted. I will try my hardest to remain in our bed." Jonathan smiled again. Pushing away from his large dark desk, Jonathan got up and walked around it to face his wife. "Don't worry too much. I'm sure that everything will go according to plan. He'll be in and out in under a day."

Martha looked skeptical, but she relented and pressed a kiss to his cheek.

Jonathan slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. "I will not be sleeping anywhere else. Not even a snake will chase me away."

Martha laughed lightly and pressed a quick kiss to Jonathan's mouth. "See that it doesn't. He'll be here sometime soon. We should go downstairs," Martha said, trying to slide out of his arms.

"Nu-huh. Proper kiss, then we can go invite the no good schemer in for coffee," Jonathan said, pressing a kiss to Martha's lips.

Before things could get heated, they heard a soft knock on the door. Jonathan groaned quietly, breaking away from Martha and tipping back his head to stare at the ceiling.

Martha giggled softly and buried her face in his neck. "Looks like all our fun is over," she said lowly.

"Looks like," Jonathan said, matching her tone of voice. In a louder, clearer tone, he said, "Come in" and broke away from his wife.

A sturdily built man with slightly grizzled features opened the door. His name was John Winchester and he was the head of the King's Men. He had two sons and had lost his wife in a tragic fire three years prior. He bowed quickly to the royal couple. "Sorry, Your Majesty. King Luthor has arrived in the city and should be here soon. And he's brought his eldest son, Alexander," he said.

Jonathan nodded. "Thanks, John. We'll be down in a second."

John nodded sharply, bowed low, and left quickly.

"Looks like we have to find my crown," Jonathan said with a slight grimace.

Martha rolled her eyes, reached over to the desk and pulled the simple gold circlet from under a few pieces of paper. "Crown found."

"What about yours?" Jonathan said, another smile spreading over his face.

Martha leveled a glare at him, "I'm wearing it, as you well know. Come on. No more stalling. Time to say hello to the visiting royalty."

Jonathan groaned hoarsely but followed Martha out of the study and down to the main entrance.

Martha took Jonathan’s hand just before entering the entrance hall, mustered up a large welcoming smile, and pinched Jonathan to make him do the same.

Lionel stood by John Winchester in a dark and close fitting outfit, and on his left, Lex stood. The young prince was about eight years old, with bright red, curling hair, a small build, and respectfully downcast eyes.

“Ah, Martha!” Lionel exclaimed jovially. “And Jonathan. How are you both? It’s been so long since you’ve been to my kingdom, Martha. Your home is still open to you, should you ever wish to return- for a visit, of course. I’ve appointed a duke to fill your absence in my court but he opted for a new home to be built for him.”

Martha smiled. “I’m sure he is doing excellently at the task. Did my father not recommend someone for the job? At least once it became clear I was going to marry Jonathan, he must have thought about it.”

Jonathan gave a pinched smile. “Yes, Lionel. He must’ve had some idea that I was going to be taking her from Metropolis.”

“Well, he had made tentative arrangements that I had to finalize after his tragic and unfortunate demise,” Lionel answered with his lip curling over his teeth in an illusion of a smile.

Jonathan shuddered slightly before he turned his attention to Lex. “Hello there, buddy. What’s your name?” he said brightly.

Lex glanced in his father’s direction for approval. At Lionel’s sharp nod, he turned back to Jonathan. “I’m Lex Luthor. Thank you for the gracious invitation to your lands. It has been quite nice from what my father and I have seen riding through.”

Jonathan glanced at Martha with a smile and crinkled eyes, and saw one reflected in her face. “Well, don’t you know courtesy? I’m Jonathan and this lovely lady is my wife, Martha. Oh, and the man that’s hovering behind you with a slightly mean look is John Winchester, he’s a knight.” Lionel looked the man identified as John over. Lex glanced over his shoulder and nodded at John.

“I noticed that the castle is still without an heir. I’m terribly concerned. I was hoping that we could seal our treaty with a marriage between our houses,” Lionel remarked in a snide tone.

“Lionel, I don’t believe it would be right to tie my -- real or otherwise -- child to someone that he or she doesn’t know,” Martha snapped sharply.

Jonathan looked up from his crouched position to glare at Lionel. “I agree with Martha. My marriage wasn’t arranged and I've never seen one happier. What do you think, Lex?”

Lex looked slightly startled at being asked his opinion on the matter. He glanced up at his father. Jonathan, too, glanced at Lionel. When Lionel nodded sharply, Lex began to speak. “If the move betters your ability to rule with an even hand then it seems to be a poor move not to marry into a family that will benefit your country and rule. However, one must have balance with their prospective spouse. Without a complementary person, it becomes more difficult to rule even handedly.”

Jonathan blinked, slightly dazed by Lex's speech.

“You seem to know a lot, Lex,” Martha finally said. “Do you only think about your kingdom in your future marriage?”

“It is likely that if a person was to meet the qualifications that go into choosing a spouse, then they would be someone that I could care deeply for. My future people are the most important factor, however, in choosing someone to merge houses with,” Lex enunciated carefully.

“Thank you, Lex. That was extremely illuminating,” Lionel drawled with an approving nod at Lex.

Lex smiled vaguely. “Thank you, father.”

“Well. Would you two like something to eat? Or did you want to get into the treaty discussions? Possibly take a tour through the kingdom?” Martha asked as she straightened up. Jonathan stood up and took his place beside Martha.

“I think that a tour would be lovely, Martha.” Lionel smiled.

“Fantastic! John, will you ready some of the knights to join us?” Martha paused and looked over at Lex. “Oh! Does Lex ride? Or will he be riding with someone?”

Lionel looked slightly puzzled. “He is eight- of course he rides. We’ve just gotten a pony, which will grow with him.”

Martha nodded. “And can you get one of the smaller horses for Lex, John?”

They rode through the town, stopping here and there to speak with some of the townsfolk, before moving on out to the fields of farmland.

“Your fields are quite large and well-maintained. How many people work them regularly?” Lionel asked. He pulled back on his reins and when the horse came to a stop, he slipped off the steed’s back.

Martha caught Lex looking expectantly at Jonathan.

“It really depends. On how much we need, how much we already have in the stores, and how soon winter is coming. We always have abundance. If we get the tech to harvest more efficiently, we’ll be looking at more trade possibilities- though we already make plenty doing that. The extra technology will really be more about being able to help those that need it and, of course, making enough to help sustain your country, Lionel,” Jonathan finished.

He didn’t sound overly eager for the technology but he also sounded open to the idea of their agreement. That it would help make their lives easier but not that it was necessary to continue to live comfortably. Martha smiled. It was exactly what she wanted. They joined Lionel on the ground and launched into more discussions.

With the adults distracted, Lex too slid off of his horse. He went to stand beside of Lionel when a slight movement in the corn caught his eye. He glanced between his father and the Kents. He’d be back before they even noticed he was missing and with that reasoning, he went off into the field.

The adults went quiet when the sky suddenly turned an angry red and the earth shook beneath their feet. They all looked to the sky and saw bright flashes and large meteors hurtling towards them.

Martha let out a gasp and brought her hand to her mouth.

Lionel’s head darted to where Lex once sat on a now whinnying horse, “LEX!”

Martha and Jonathan heads snapped in that direction as well. All of their horses were nickering lowly and dancing to and fro with agitation.

“Oh god. Lex! John, we have to find him!” Martha cried out, turning back and forth, hoping that he would be in her line of sight.

John nodded and started readying the knights to go into the corn field in search of the boy.

“I’m coming with you,” Lionel said with wavering conviction.

“We’re coming, too. We’re not about to let a child be alone in this,” Jonathan said even as the ground shook under them.

Lionel nodded sharply and moved into the field without so much as a look back, while calling out for Lex. The group separated into search parties of two and headed into the field after Lionel.

“Jonathan,” Martha whispered. “How can we find him in this?”

Jonathan reached over and took her hand and squeezed. “He’ll be found. I guarantee it. LEX! CAN YOU HEAR ME? COME TOWARDS ME IF YOU CAN!” he finished in a yell.

The ground shook so hard that it threw the couple to the ground. Jonathan pulled Martha close and covered her with as much of his body as he could. The meteorites struck the ground around them. Dirt sprayed overhead and the ground shook below.

Martha cried out as a large black meteor soared overhead and crashed mere feet away from them.

Jonathan tightened an arm around her. "It's going to be okay, Martha. It's going to be fine. We're going to be okay. They’ll have found Lex. He’ll be fine, too. I swear."

Martha nodded and clutched at his arm as they heard another crash sound near them. Jonathan didn’t catch her whispered, “God, I hope so.”

Jonathan murmured nonsense in her ear and held her tight.

After what seemed like hours, the sky stopped glowing red and the loud, earth-shaking crashes ceased. Jonathan raised his head. He saw in the distance a group of knights racing toward them. Jonathan and Martha's horses were tied to two of the knights’ horses. With them, they saw a wagon and Lionel holding what had to be Lex tightly.

Jonathan felt a small touch on his shoulder and he jerked back with Martha. He felt more than heard Martha's gasp. He felt numb as he stared at a small child that had apparently touched him. The child had short dark hair and a lanky build. The child was nude.

Martha had, somehow, managed to get out of Jonathan's arms and onto her feet. She pulled Jonathan's red cape off of his shoulders and wrapped it around the child. Jonathan was frozen with shock and looked on as Martha spoke to the boy.

"Oh, who do you belong to? Why are you all alone? Where are your parents?" Martha fired her questions off quickly to the child.

The child just smiled slightly dopily at her.

Jonathan finally regained his wits and scrambled to stand up. He approached Martha and the boy slowly. "Hey, little guy. We have to get over to that wagon. I’m going to pick you up, okay?”

The boy had to look up at Jonathan through a mess of black hair. When he focused on Jonathan’s face, another slow dopey smile spread over his face.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” And with that, Jonathan scooped the boy up and grabbed Martha’s hand in a sure grip.

“We have to-“ Martha started.

“I didn’t see anyone. We would’ve heard something, Martha. Our first priority has to be the children,” Jonathan said quietly, pulling gently at her hand.

Martha took a breath and nodded slightly, before she moved forward with Jonathan. Lionel looked grim as the procession reached them. Martha looked worried. “Is he okay?” she asked after she was helped up onto her horse by a knight.

“I don’t know. Who do you have with you?” Lionel looked at his son and stroked a hand over Lex’s now mostly bald scalp. His hand came away with red strands.

Jonathan looked at the Lex then back at the boy in his arms. “We don’t know. He just showed up naked. Mike, give us your cloak, please.” The knight that Jonathan summoned was already unstrapping his red cloak from his shoulders.

Jonathan took it and juggled the black haired boy slightly to bring out a knife. He sliced the fabric a bit and then tore the cloak in half. Jonathan draped half over Lex and wrapped Clark in the other half.

Lionel wrapped the cloak around Lex tightly. He shhh’d Lex softly when he whimpered quietly. “It’s okay, Lex. We’ll be to the castle soon,” Lionel murmured.

The dark haired boy struggled out of Jonathan’s arms, and stumbled over to Lionel and Lex.

Lionel blinked at the boy. “Yes?”

The boy smiled at him and then gently rubbed a hand over Lex’s bare head.

“Come back here,” Jonathan said quickly at the boy. “I’m sorry.”

“Let him be,” Lionel said softly, though he did watch Lex closely for any sound of discomfort.

The boy turned his silly smile at him. He turned back to Lex and pressed a quick kiss on his forehead.

Lionel looked down in surprise at the boy but his brows jumped higher when the boy pressed a quick kiss to Lionel’s cheek before he darted back to Jonathan.

They finally reached the castle and the doctor was waiting for them.

While Lex and the boy were being whisked away by the doctor and his two apprentices, Jonathan turned to his men. He nodded. “I need everyone to go into town and figure out what’s been damaged. We need a fatality count and injury count. The injured should be with the doctor in town but they are welcome to come up here. I need a pair of knights to explore the area where you found Martha and myself. Figure out if there was anyone else there that I didn’t see.”

The knights that were gathered nodded and immediately went to their tasks.

Lionel, Martha, and Jonathan stood waiting outside of the physician’s door. They heard puttering and murmured conversation inside.

The pair of knights that went to the fields strode up. “Majesty,” they said in unison.

“Boys?Anything?” Jonathan asked.

“No. However, sir, there is something you should see later. Large meteors all over. It’s a real mess,” one said.

Jonathan nodded. “Okay. Go on to help the others with clean up. I’m going to hope that because no one is back, everything is hopefully fine.”

Martha stood. “The boy's parents weren't in the field?” she asked quietly.

“Well, I suppose a congratulations is in order,” Lionel said a bit sardonically.

Martha and Jonathan’s heads whipped in his direction. They both wore confused looks on their faces.

“What do you mean?” Martha inquired quietly.

“The boy. No parents? You’re without child. He seemed quite taken with you. I would’ve thought that you would take him in. Or are you fostering him off to someone else?” Lionel explained.

Martha looked at Jonathan. He met Martha’s gaze steadily. “We could. If his parents turned up then we could give him back. But until or if that doesn't happen, I guess he could be ours.”

Martha let out a choked off laugh. “We have a son.”

She was met with a bright smile from Jonathan, and then he was wrapping his arms around her tightly and lifting her up.

They froze.

“Oh my god, Lionel! I’m sorry, we’re celebrating but Lex is sick. I’m so sorry, Lionel!” Martha exclaimed.

Jonathan put her back on to the ground.

“It’s fine. I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Lionel placated the stricken looking couple.

Jonathan nodded. He walked back over to the door and slid down the wall to sit. Martha joined him on the floor.

Lionel sighed, and leaned against the wall.

The doctor came out some time later with a wide smile. Jonathan and Martha instantly got to their feet, and Lionel straightened from his leaning position.

“Well, I’ve got good news. Lex is very much all right. Just a little bump on the head. If I recall correctly, I was told he had issues with his lungs? Well that appears to be completely gone. He appears to be completely fine, except for a few bruises. Probably happened when he fell down. And the boy you found Jonathan, Martha? He is also in perfect health. Not even a scrape on him. Not a thing. He looks like a perfectly normal two year old. He doesn’t speak a word but seems to understand the things I showed him,” the doctor said, a soft smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.

“May I see my son?” Lionel asked quickly.

“Of course. I’m sorry, sir, that I didn’t suggest it first. All three of you are welcome to come in.”

Lionel didn’t need another moment before he rushed into the room. Martha and Jonathan followed at a much more sedate pace.

In Jonathan’s study, Lionel stood with Lex’s hand firmly in his. Lex had been told in no uncertain terms that he was not to leave Lionel’s sight for more than two minutes or there would be serious consequences.

Jonathan smiled at the pair. “And this is your copy, Lionel. I’m sorry your visit wasn’t particularly pleasant. But I’m glad we were still able to negotiate a treaty.”

“As am I. You all are always welcome in Metropolis,” Lionel said. “Come, Lex. We’re going home.”

They strode over to the door. Lex had to rush to keep up with Lionel’s longer legs.

“Oh.” Lionel paused at the door. “What did you end up naming the boy?”

“Clark. We named him Clark,” Jonathan said with a soft dreamy smile.

Lionel nodded. “Good. Until we meet again.”

Jonathan nodded. He waved at Lex with a small smile.

Chapter Text

 

In the large dining room, Martha, Jonathan, their new son, Clark, and the three fairies, Lana, Chloe, and Lois, were gathered together.

 

Chloe and Lana cooed over Clark’s big green eyes and easy smile. Lois looked him over. “There’s strange energy from him. Like he’s more than us,” Lois said quietly to Martha and Jonathan.

 

“Well, we knew that already. You don’t just appear out of nowhere in a black thing unlike anything I’ve ever seen and be normal. But is he dangerous?” Jonathan asked in a low worried tone.

 

Martha looked at Clark. He was smiling and laughing as Chloe and Lana made faces at him and tickled him. “He doesn’t look like he’d harm a fly, Jonathan,” Martha said quietly. She wanted to keep Clark. She had become completely attached to the small black haired boy.

 

“No. He’s not sending anything harmful. It’s just I’m not sure what it is but something is definitely different about him.” Lois’s eyes slid back over to Clark. He laughed shrilly at one of the girls and lunged forward to grab at Chloe’s face.

 

“I suppose we’ll find out. But congratulations are in order! I told you! It was just going to be a matter of time and now you have a beautiful baby boy!” Lois said, a smile slowly spreading across her face. It was time to celebrate. Not question a boy that only appeared to be the average two year old. With the exception of not speaking a word.

 

Jonathan and Martha looked at the small boy playing with Lana and Chloe. He seemed perfect.

Martha was sitting on a rug on the floor in Jonathan’s study. Jonathan sat at his desk reading through papers. Clark was dashing from one side of the room to the other as fast as his little legs could carry him. Clark would pick a book off of one wall and race back to Martha hand the book to her before running off again.

 

“Clark! This is too many books for one sitting! How about you come sit with me and choose the one you want right now.” Martha laughed as Clark stumbled to a stop.

 

Clark looked at her through squinted eyes as if deciding whether or not she was telling the truth. His eyes darted to the books laid out before her. He nodded, mostly to himself, and made his way from the left bookshelf. Clark carefully picked up each book, and looked at the cover. He turned it this way and that, then carefully stacked them away from Martha until he ended up with just one. He then turned back to Martha holding the book out to her.

 

“That’s my good boy. Now come and we’ll read. We’ll teach you some new words!” Martha exclaimed excitedly.

 

“Mam! Words!” Clark cried out. He squinted at her again, before he reached to pull at her yellow skirt.

 

“Clark! No pulling!” Martha reprimanded but she was ignored.

 

Clark pulled her skirt out so that it was stretched all around her in a circle. He smiled, content, and leapt into her arms.

 

Martha rolled her eyes. “You, little sir, are a trouble maker. Never listen to a word I say. Does he, Jonathan?”

 

Jonathan smiled, looking up. “Not often. He’s fairly sure he can do whatever he wants.”

 

Martha held a fairytale picture book in front of Clark. “Once upon a time…”

Just like normal, the Kent family were spread out in Jonathan’s study- Martha on the rug, blue skirts spread out on the floor for Clark to sit on, Jonathan at the desk, and Clark darting from one side to the other and stacking up books.

 

Clark made to dash to the other side and Martha gasped as he disappeared into a blur and reappeared on the other side of the room.

 

“Clark! Come here!” Martha exclaimed and Clark was in front of her immediately.

 

“Jonathan! Get the fairies. Clark’s doing something!”

 

Jonathan was rounding the desk in an instant. “What? What is it?” he asked, worriedly checking Clark over for injuries.

 

“He just- He was over there and then he was here in a blur. I couldn’t see him properly!” Martha cried.

 

Jonathan gaped at her before he rushed out the door, calling for Lois, Lana, and Chloe.

 

Clark just looked up at Martha with a confused look. “Mam? Da? Going to?” he said, pointing after Jonathan.

 

“He’s just getting the fairies, sweetie. Something happened,” Martha explained, running a hand through his hair.

Lana, Chloe, Lois, and Jonathan reentered the room. The fairies immediately surrounded Martha and started prodding and poking at Clark, much to his delight.

 

Lois ran a hand over his face, ignoring the way he giggled and tried to play bite her. “Well… He appears to be normal. Clark can you do what you did again?” Lana asked. “Martha, put him down.”

 

Martha looked worriedly at Clark before she placed him back on the floor. “Clark, can you run really fast for mommy?”

 

Clark looked confused. “I go fast?”

 

“Yes, dear- as fast as you can.” Martha nodded.

 

Jonathan reached for her as Clark started to race in circles around them.

 

The boy soon turned into a blur.

 

“Oh my god,” Lana muttered under her breath, her hand coming to her mouth.

 

“That’s enough, Clark,” Martha said and Clark jerked to a stop, smiling brightly at them.

 

“There’s still no magic emitting from him that would be unsafe. It’s just that there's more to him than the rest of us, I guess,” Lois said slowly. “He’s perfectly healthy. There’s absolutely no problem.”

 

Martha nodded.

 

Jonathan ran a hand over his face.

 

“We just have to keep him safe. Who knows what one would do with that power?” Chloe piped up.

 

The powers would continue to manifest. Speed was just the start.

Strength came soon afterward.

 

"DADDY!" Clark cried when he saw Jonathan come riding a chestnut colored mare down the road. Clark ignored his mother's call of 'Wait!' and raced toward his father.

 

Clark caught Jonathan around the thighs as he was getting off the horse. They hit the ground with a soft thud. Clark knocked the breath out of Jonathan.

 

"I missed you!" Clark exclaimed and hugged Jonathan tighter.

 

Jonathan grunted a little. "I missed you too, champ. Can we get this hug a little looser, Clark? Please?"

 

Clark jumped up from Jonathan was a small apology. He pulled Jonathan up, easily bearing his weight. He focused his eyes on the ground with shame and was surprised when he was scooped up.

 

"No harm done. You just need to remember that your good old dad can't take as much as you can. It's great for me. I can squeeze and squish as much as I want, and you'll still be fine," Jonathan said.

 

Clark let out a shrieking giggle as Jonathan squeezed him tight, pressed kisses all over him, and rocked him back and forth quickly.

 

"Daddy! I'm too big to be carried!" Clark protested despite snuggling into his father's grasp and smiling brightly.

 

"Oh! Are you? Martha, honey, Clark says he's too big to be carried. Does that mean he's too big to stay with us at night when it's storming? Do we need to start selecting an appropriate match for him?" Jonathan smiled brightly and ducked down to kiss her quickly.

 

Clark looked at his mother with horrified eyes. He shook his head violently back and forth.

 

Martha, the traitor, just laughed brightly, stilled his head, and dropped a kiss to his forehead. "If he's too big, then he must take on so many more responsibilities. We'll need to find a lovely match for him. Jonathan, we'll have to put together a ball!"

 

Clark looked even more horrified. "NO! Stop! I'm not too big! I swear! I love being carried! I'm too young for a ball!" he cried out.

 

Jonathan chuckled. "Nope. No ball for a little while longer little guy. You're still all ours."

 

Clark huffed a relieved breathe. He didn't even know how to dance and he was fairly certain that finding a proper match involved things that Clark was very against. Probably kissing! That was definitely not fun. He wanted no part in that.

 

Jonathan smiled and pressed a kiss to Clark's forehead. "Very well. I guess we don't need to organize a ball then."

 

Clark smiled and relaxed completely in Jonathan's arms. "Do you know what I did today, daddy?" he asked brightly.

 

"No. What did you do today?" Jonathan asked, pressing a kiss to Clark's forehead.

 

"Mama and I did lots and lots. Went to garden! Walked and walked and walked all around!" Clark announced.

 

Jonathan took Martha's hand as they walked back toward the castle, listening as Clark chattered about his day.

 

Clark petered out of things to say just as they reached the castle and was drooping in sleepiness.

 

"I think it might be time for little boys named Clark to have a nap," Jonathan said softly.

 

That startled Clark out of his stupor. "No! No naps! Not tired!" Clark said, sluggishly struggling in Jonathan's arms.

 

"No? Oh, but only big boys don't need naps," Jonathan said, pulling him closer.

 

Clark opened his mouth but then he paused. Clark huffed an annoyed sigh and settled into Jonathan's arm for a pout.

 

Martha and Jonathan shared a look that meant, ‘Another power. Another lesson.’

Invulnerability.

 

Martha and Clark were climbing the grand staircase up to their rooms.

 

“So how’re your lessons with Lana, Lois, and Chloe?” Martha asked, one hand on the banister and the other holding her skirt up.

 

“They’re all right. But I don’t know why I have to know all the laws! It’s no fun! Not like spelling. Or reading!” Clark smiled dreamily. "I like reading!”

 

“I know you do. What about controlling your powers?” Martha asked, a small grin on her face.

 

“Great! I’m so much better. I don’t go fast when I don’t mean to most times!” Clark said with a wide arm movement that caused him to lose his balance and sent him tumbling down the stairs.

 

“Oh my god! Clark!!” Martha screamed. She turned and raced down the stairs to where Clark landed in a heap. "HELP! Someone!”

 

There were knights entering from all sides as Clark unfurled himself and shook his head.

 

“That was fun!” Clark yelled out.

 

“Clark, sweetie, are you okay?” Martha asked, dropping down to her knees by Clark and checking the boy for injuries.

 

“Yes!” Clark said enthusiastically.

 

“Ma’am? Are you okay? Is the Prince?” a guard asked quietly.

 

Martha looked perplexed at Clark. "I guess he’s fine.”

 

The knight nodded and made a shooing motion to the other guards. "Very good, Majesty.”

 

The knights slowly filed out of the room.

“You weren’t there, Jonathan! He just tumbled all the way down! There’s not a scratch on him!” Martha cried.

 

“And I believe you, Martha. He’s still developing these powers. Who knows what else could show up?” Jonathan said, stroking a hand through Martha’s thick red hair.

 

“Is it wrong to just hope that this is the end of it?” Martha asked quietly, shame evident in her voice. "It feels like I’m asking too much for him to just be done with it.”

 

“No, sweetheart. I wish he didn’t have these gifts either. But he does, and that’s not going to change. We just have to help him figure them out,” Jonathan said with a quick kiss to Martha’s forehead. He blew on out the candle on the bedside table.

Flight.

 

In the straw strewn stable, Jonathan smiled widely at Martha. In his arms, he held a red-gold puppy that was frantically trying to lick at his face.

 

"What do you think?" he asked.

 

"I think that Clark's a little too young and he doesn't have enough control to be able to care for it," Martha said, but a small smile belied her stern words.

 

"Martha, it's perfect! He can learn with it, and he'd love the thing!" Jonathan insisted, trying to stop the puppy from leaving a thick layer of spit over his face.

 

Martha looked at it with a raised red brow.

 

Jonathan smiled and held the puppy out to her.

 

She sighed loudly. "Yes. Yes. Okay. He's perfect."

 

Jonathan laughed and leaned forward to press a kiss to his wife's cheek. The puppy yipped and licked wildly at Martha.

 

She laughed and pushed the puppy away. "Go on. Show him to Clark. He and I can go to the gardens and get acquainted with the boy."

 

"Girl. She's a girl," Jonathan said, lifting the pup to his face and baby-talking to it.

 

"Go on! He'll be thrilled."

 

Jonathan smiled broadly and walked off, coddling the tiny pup.

 

Martha smiled and shook her head. Madness. That's what the castle was becoming.

As Jonathan neared Clark's room, he heard Clark chattering to whatever toy he happened to be holding. Jonathan didn't really understand the words but he got excitement in the tone.

 

Jonathan spoke softly to the puppy as he got closer Clark's room. "Okay, Clark's going to be your owner. He's really rambunctious so your job is to tire him out!" The puppy just yipped excitedly. Jonathan smiled at her.

 

“Clark!” Jonathan hooted loudly when he came in to find Clark hanging high in the air before he crashed back to the bed. It had been a long time since Jonathan had been concerned when Clark fell.

 

And it had been even longer that he since he was shocked by his son.

 

“DAD!” Clark shrieked. He perked up with curiosity. "What’s that, Dad? What is it? Is it for me?” Clark asked quickly with his normal vigor.

 

“Well, I was thinking you’re what? Seven? I thought, maybe you would do well with a little responsibility. So this may be for you.”

 

Clark was in front of Jonathan before he could even blink, bouncing excitedly.

 

Jonathan smiled and squatted down, carefully holding out the puppy.

Clark and Martha sat on the garden lawn. On Martha's lap was the small reddish golden retriever.

 

Clark laughed as Martha helped him to pet the puppy.

 

"Careful, Clark. You can't squeeze too tight. Do you feel what I'm doing?" Martha asked softly as she slowly stroked the puppy from head to tail with Clark's small hand on top of hers.

 

Clark nodded frantically.

 

"Okay then. Let's let you try it on your own. I'm going to hold your wrist just in case. Okay, sweetie?" Martha said, putting Clark's hand onto the puppy.

 

Clark's smile was wide and bright. He loved the soft feeling of the puppy's fur under his hand. It made him giddy. But he concentrated on what his mother was saying- he didn't want to hurt the small dog.

 

"She’s so soft, Mommy!" he squealed and stroked the puppy just like his mother had shown him.

 

Martha smiled. "That's perfect, Clark!"

 

After another moment, she removed her hand from Clark's wrist and earned another bright smile from Clark.

 

"What do we want to name him, Clark?" Martha asked, keeping an eye on Clark's hand as he slowly and carefully pet the puppy's red gold fur.

 

"Krypto!" Clark said loudly before giggling brightly as the recently named Krypto tried to attack his face with puppy kisses.

 

"Krypto it is," Martha said with a smile. "Do you want to run around with her?"

 

Clark smile grew impossibly wide and then nodded furiously.

 

"Okay. Just remember that she's just a puppy. You have to be careful with her. You don't want to hurt her on accident."

 

Clark shook his head quickly.

 

"I’ll be very careful! You know I can be careful! I held that baby! Remember?" he said slowly and clearly.

 

Martha nodded. "Yes, I do. You did excellently then, too. Well then, I have to go inside for a little while. Will you be okay with Krypto? I’m sending John out to keep an eye on you.”

 

Clark nodded frantically and with a small smile, Martha dropped a kiss on his forehead. She moved both Clark and Krypto off of her and left them on the lawn.

 

John was standing by the door, watching silently.

 

“Can you keep an eye on him John?” Martha asked, pausing at the door.

 

“Of course,” John nodded and strode out to the lawn.

 

-- Three years later --

 

Martha stood in the doorway to the gardens; the sun was low in the sky, casting a red/pink light over the area. "Come on, Clark. It's dinner time!" she called, knowing Clark would hear her, regardless of where he was in the gardens.

 

Clark came at her in a blur of blue and black. "Hi, Mama!"

 

Martha looked at him with a frown. He was covered in leaves and dirt. "Where's Krypto?"

 

Clark quickly looked around and then looked sheepishly at his mother before blurring off to wherever he had come from.

 

Martha waited until Clark blurred back with a smudge of red-gold with him.

 

"Here she is! We were playing chase! Well, I was running and she was trying to get me," Clark said happily, a now large red/blonde dog held securely in Clark’s arms, the dog's tongue lolled out and panting slightly. "I heard you and forgot she couldn't go as fast as me."

 

"I was there to remind you this time but you can't forget her. Krypto could get lost if you leave her. You go too fast for her to catch up,” Martha said, her tone slightly reprimanding. "You know this, Clark. You need to remember.”

 

"I know, Mama. I'm sorry," Clark said, looking down sadly and softly hugging Krypto close as she tried to lap at his face.

 

“I’m sorry, dear. You’re going to forget sometimes. And everyone will just have to remind you. It’s okay to make mistakes,” Martha said, pressing a quick kiss to Clark’s head.

In a large, blue clothed bed, Clark and Krypto lay curled together in sleep. Clark had an arm thrown over the pup and Krypto had her head resting in the crook of Clark's neck.

 

Martha and Jonathan looked in from the doorway before backing out quietly. Martha sighed. "We need to tell him soon, Jonathan.”

 

Jonathan ran a hand over his face. "I know. I just keep wanting him to be how he was when he was three, and not care that he was different. Not care that he was a little odd. Not care that he can bend metal without any heat. I just. I just don’t want him to grow up.”

 

Martha pressed a kiss to his cheek. "I know. And we still have a little while left before we have to tell him. We just need to prepare. Just in case.”

 

Jonathan nodded, his face a little more weary than it had been that morning. "But first, we need some sleep…and maybe beer.”

 

Martha let out a startled laugh, took his hand, and tugged him to their bedroom. "Maybe tomorrow, Jonathan.”

Lex stood silently in a dark outfit. He stood beside his mother, one of her hands on his shoulder and in the other wrapped around a glass with red wine. Together, they watched as a small coffin was put in the ground.

 

Lionel stood off from them, holding a single white lily. He glanced at his wife with a look of disgust. He wanted to take Lex from her. He wanted to lock her away. But that wouldn’t train Lex to be stronger. It would make him weak. One couldn’t take away every poor decision lest one be left with a poor child.

 

Lex snuck a quick glance to Lionel, catching the sour disdainful look. Lex looked down. He hadn’t done anything to deserve that look. He had just found Julian. He saw his mother come out of the room and he went in to check on the baby. He'd found Julian still and staring vacantly, unblinking.

 

Lionel had come in moments after. He had yelled at Lex to get out. Then he had yelled for the doctor.

 

Lex felt numb. Under his mother’s hand, he felt, for the first time, sick.

 

Lillian pulled him up to the grave with her. Lex dropped his lily in the grave right after she did, and Lionel was the last to drop a flower into the hole.

 

Lex felt ill. He felt like his baby brother shouldn’t be the one in that grave. If he could, he would trade himself for his brother. Or if pressed, his mother- she was the one that caused this.

Two Years Later.

 

"Lex, why are you not practicing the piano?" Lionel asked as he waltzed into Lex's room.

 

Lex's room was in decorated in varying shades of purple- the sheets were lavender, the comforter a rich velvety royal purple, and even the plush rug that lay on the floor was almost black with a purple sheen to it. Lex enjoyed the color, and it pleased him even more that his father seemed to be absurdly annoyed by the color in combination with Lex. Lionel had once said that it was 'unbefitting for a boy of his age.' Thus Lex's attachment to the color in every aspect of his life was created.

 

"You wanted me to read the many tomes we have on the history of Metropolis, Father. You were very clear in the fact that when I eventually take the throne," or you actually find a way to become immortal and I never take over, "I will need to know everything about our land and how to run it proficiently," Lex said, glancing up from an old dusty book to look at his father.

 

Lionel Luthor physically took after his namesake quite well in Lex's opinion- he looked like a lion...well, maybe an underfed, slightly haggard lion- but nevertheless, Lionel looked as predatory as a lion when he wanted something.

 

"Ah, very good, Lex. However, a king must also be versed in the arts, athletics, and the books. I expect you to continue your lessons on the piano, fencing, as well as your other studies," Lionel said as he strolled out the way he came in.

Over the years, after Julian’s death and the death of his mother to a terrible disease, Lex had started rebelling. He rebelled innocuously at first...moving things, stealing things- just small things, not something anyone would really notice- but eventually he moved on to more attention grabbing acts.

 

Staying out later. Ignoring summons. Going on rides with Porsche, his gray brood mare, when he was told expressly not to.

 

Slowly, the rebelling was getting worse. And still Lionel paid him no mind, unless it was to berate him. But, to Lex, any attention could be good attention.

Chapter Text

At fourteen, Martha and Jonathan sat Clark down and told him that he was an alien. That he had fallen from the sky. That he had fallen with the meteors that destroyed so many lives.

At fifteen, Clark had developed ice breath, super hearing, x-ray vision, and heat vision.

--

The ice breath was probably one of the less shocking abilities.

He had just been taking Martha’s coffee despite her yelp of protest, lifting the mug to his mouth, and then with a breath, the coffee was a solid ice cube in the mug.

--

The super hearing was also mostly unsurprising.

Clark had been spying on people and then he was able to hear even from a distance. It was more shocking when his ears started ringing sharply in town when the bells in the chapel started to ring loudly.

--

The x-ray vision had been jarring.

Clark had been walking through town with Krypto by his side. Suddenly, he was looking at the insides of people and through walls.

--

The heat vision was the most dangerous and the most embarrassing to find out about.

He had been hanging out with some of the other teenagers from the town by the lake when it had happened. Everyone was stripping and jumping into the lake. Clark started feeling the normal, if embarrassing, reaction of arousal stirring low in his gut. Clark then felt a hot pressure behind his eyes, and a laser shot from his eyes before he managed to close them tight. Chaos started around him- he heard John take control of the situation and another knight had an arm around him, pulling him away from the scene.

--

The fact that he was an alien was the town’s worst kept secret or so he'd been told by Chloe, his best friend and one of his Fairy Godmothers. He had been told, at length, that not only did everyone know but everyone was very hush hush about it. Word about it didn’t travel outside of the community.

It made his life easier, knowing that everyone knew and that they weren’t afraid of him. Knowing that they didn’t blame him for the meteors that fell with him.

In Jonathan’s office, Martha and Jonathan were sitting together behind his desk; Martha was looking over some papers while Jonathan was signing a decree. Their heads jerked up as a knock sounded at the door.

“Come in,” Jonathan said briskly.

The door opened and Clark poked his head in. “You sent out a search party?” Clark asked with a wide teasing grin.

“I hardly call one person a search party. Where’d you end up, anyway?” Martha responded with a grin.

“The barn. Krypto and I were up there. I was just reading some books. I wanted to look at my ship. If that’s okay with you guys,” Clark finished in a quiet rush.

“Of course, buddy. You can look at the ship. I don’t really know what you’re going to learn from it. We can’t make heads or tails of the language,” Jonathan said. “But first, we have something that we need to discuss.”

Clark straightened and looked between his parents. They wore matching serious expressions. Clark gulped.

“There’s been a tradition in Smallville for quite some time. The last several generations. It’s how I met your mother. However, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s also tradition for you to complain as much as you possibly can before the big day,” Jonathan said, a grin spreading over his face at the end of his spiel.

“What is it? And why will I be against it?” Clark asked with apprehension and a slight cringe.

“It’s just your coming out ball.” It was a tradition for all fifteen year olds in Smallville to have one. “It’s to show suitors who may be interested that you’re now an eligible bachelor. Most of us meet our queens or consorts there. It’s a get together for other eligible people so that they can meet and maybe decide if they want to get to know each other better,” Martha explained with a small smile.

Clark looked horrified. “But…! That…”

Martha tried to hold in giggles but failed at Clark’s expression.

“Son, you knew that this was going to happen. We’ve been telling you how we’ve met for years. We told you it was a tradition. You knew this was coming.” Jonathan snickered.

“When’s this thing going to happen?!” Clark asked when he managed to choke any words out of his gaping mouth.

Martha covered her mouth with a hand, though her eyes were still crinkled in delight. “Weekend after next,” she said in a cheery, if muffled, tone.

“Is springing it on me part of the tradition?!” Clark cried in a strangled tone.

Jonathan hooted loudly. “Yes, indeed it is. You’re lucky. I was told the day before. And that was only because I was trying to find out why there were carriages pulling up to the castle.”

“I’m just going to go to the barn. I want you to know that I am not looking forward to this,” Clark warned darkly, his face pinched.

Martha just laughed again and waved him out.

Clark and Chloe sat in the loft above the stables near the castle. The place smelled of hay and horse but Clark had made it his little hideout. Whenever Clark couldn't be found, he was up in the loft. Jonathan called it his Fortress of Solitude.

"I just don't know, Chloe. Mom and Dad say it has to happen. But I'm just... I'm not ready," Clark sighed, plopping down on a couch that released a plume of dust with the jolt.

Chloe wrinkled her nose at the dust and with a wave of her hand, the loft was clean. "I know, sweetie. It's just one of those things that have to be done though," she said in a placating tone.

"But can't it wait? Mom just says its tradition! I just... this is going to be the person I'm going to be with. This is the person that is going to be the parent to my children. It's a huge decision. And it feels like I'm getting no say in it. I just....." Clark closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the couch with a soft thud.

Chloe reached up and patted his knee softly. "It’s going to be okay. Martha and Jonathan wouldn't tie you to someone you weren't comfortable with. You know, Martha and Jonathan met when they were really little. Jonathan said that he just knew he was going to marry Martha when they met. It’s tradition for good reason, Clark. That’s how your parents got together- and how Jonathan’s father, and his father before that met their wives. They’re looking for the reaction, that spark, to go off with some lucky person at the ball. It’s by no means set in stone that you have to marry someone you meet at the ball. They aren't just going to say 'it's for the good of the country' and make you get married, then and there. They are going to take everything you feel into consideration."

"But why now? Why not a year from now?"

"It's tradition. It's a coming out party. It's saying, 'My kid is going to be on the marriage market. Bring us your eligible singles.' Wait- that sounded bad. It's just a way for you to see what the world has to offer. Yes, it is primarily those that are higher up on the totem pole...but the entirety of Smallville is also going to be invited. Not that I really think you're going to be suddenly falling for anyone in our populace. I mean, you know everyone!" Chloe snorted inelegantly.

Clark sniggered. "Yes. Yes, I do know everyone. And since I've gotten over my crush on Lana, I haven't looked at anyone in town twice. Not even the Winchester boys. And it’s not just because John scares me a little bit."

"Lana might marry you." Chloe wrinkled her nose as she thought. "It'd kinda be like marrying your nephew though. I mean we've all known you since you only reached our knees. And Lana is a midget. So you were, like, extra tiny when you came up to her knees. You know who wouldn't marry you? Even if you suddenly and inexplicably and all, for weird alien reasons, fell head over heels for them?"

Clark laughed and slowly opened his eyes to meet Chloe's. "I'm glad I'm that undesirable to this person. Who?"

"Lois," Chloe said with a wide grin.

Clark snickered loudly, letting his eyes drift again. "Can't you guys get...I don't know, a crystal ball and just tell me who I'm going to end up marrying? Save everyone the trouble? I’ll just find that person and poof, magic- no need for a stupid ball where I have to dance."

Chloe laughed lightly and bumped up against his leg with her side. "Sorry, babe. It doesn't work like that. You have to make a decision to do something before we can see anything for ya."

Clark sighed again. "They're all going to be coming for one thing- to marry the 'Miracle Prince'- and, yes, that did have capital letters. I'm not going to know if they are honestly interested in me or just in it for the title they'll get with a marriage. It's really not fair."

Chloe nodded slowly, then her eyes got really wide and a manic grin spread over her face. She twisted up onto her knees, reached to grab two handfuls of Clark's breeches, and, with a high excited tone, said, "Not if they don't know you're the prince!"

Eyes still closed and facing the ceiling, Clark raised an eyebrow high. "And how will that work? Let's guess who the prince is, let's just ask anybody, 'Do you know who the prince is? Oh it's that big tall guy? The one the King and Queen are talking to? The one that looks like he'd rather be anywhere other than where he is? Yes? Oh, thanks so much.' Not really sure how that's going to work, Chloe." Clark laughed lightly.

"Fine, Mister Sourpants, see if I tell you my brilliant plan. It would solve several of your problems, but noooooo, you just want to mock me," Chloe huffed

"Chloe! Fine, come on. Tell me your oh-so-fabulous plan." Clark lifted his head again and looked at Chloe with exaggerated interest.

"Oh, I'm not sure if you really want to hear it. You are sooo convinced that it couldn't possibly work. Why should I waste my time?" Chloe hummed flippantly.

"Please, o magic fairy godmother of mine. Tell me your brilliant plan to make my identity unknown!" Clark said with an exaggerated pleading tone.

"Well, Prince Kent, since you asked so nicely, I am inclined to tell you my awesome plan." Chloe took a deep breath. "We can have a masquerade. Everyone has to wear masks. You don't go near the dais, talk to your parents very discreetly and sparingly, avoid talking to people you know, and we'll dress Jason, Whit, Oliver, and whoever else we can rope into this in clothes fit for a royal," Chloe finished with another manic grin.

Clark thought for a moment. It could work. They'd have to get Martha and Jonathan on board. They'd have to gather up some of the larger male populace to try and throw people off. Clark lifted his head again to look at Chloe. Sam could also work. Same height. And he was brunette. It could work. "You know, that might actually work."

"Exactly. And we'd get past your 'they'd only want me for my title, and not because I'm quite the catch- both aesthetically and because of your mind’ thing." Chloe smiled with bright white teeth.

"I thought that was weird. You'd 'known me since I was a miniature little thing.'"

"Just because I think it'd be weird to date you- which, emphatically, no- doesn't mean I don't have eyes." Chloe rolled hers. "Come on, Boy Wonder, let's go talk to mommy and daddy Kent." Chloe pulled herself up then reached down to tug on Clark's arm. "What do they feed you?"

Clark rolled eyes. "It's not my fault I finished my growth spurt and you stopped halfway through," he said, allowing himself to be pulled up.

"Hardy har har. Not everyone can be a giant," Chloe said as she tugged him down the stairs.

At fourteen, Lex found himself once again standing in black at the side of a grave. This one belonged to his mother. Lionel once again stood away from him with a dark expression.

Lex was done. He had only himself, and that was that.

In a dark, slightly dingy but plushly designed tavern, Lex sat with a small group at a corner table. Barmaids came by every now and again to drop off more drinks and to throw a tawdry wink at Metropolis's prince.

Lex gave a sly look to the one with brown hair and a strong face, tipping his glass in her direction.

She smiled and dipped down in a small curtsy. "Is there anything our prince needs?"

"Your name, for a start," Lex said, his grin turning sultry, "and some gin, if you have it."

"Desiree, Desiree Atkins, and right away, Your Highness," she purred, before turning to strut back to the bar.

--  

"Helen, I'm Helen Bryce," a pretty brunette said with a small but sure smile.

--

"Jason Teague," an attractive man said, when he pulled back from Lex's mouth.

--

A blur of names and drinks defined Lex. It didn't matter how much Lionel railed at him to be the perfect prince that he expected. It didn't matter the amount of time his head felt like it was going to explode or how many people seemed to think that he owed them after a meeting. It garnered the response Lex wanted from Lionel. It gave him a slight thrill to see how far he could push. What it would take for Lionel to rant and rave. To yell. To punish.

Even with all of his dalliances, Lex still managed to find time to develop several new technologies, pass Lionel's tests, keep up with his studies, his fencing lessons, and ride Porsche on a daily basis.

In his darkened room, Lex awoke to a quick rap on the door. It flew open to reveal Lionel dressed in his full regalia, including a slightly ridiculously large crown affixed to his head.

"We're going to the kingdom of Hardwick. I expect you to be ready in twenty minutes. Keep in mind that he has a daughter, Victoria. Your wiles will get you into more trouble here than about our kingdom- be sure to only charm her into thinking that you may marry her, not into her bed chamber. We don't want that close a relationship with them. Be discreet, please," Lionel said, with barely concealed derision.

"I understand, Father," Lex said, rolling out of bed, outwardly unperturbed by Lionel’s derision.

He rolled his neck as he walked over to the heavy plum curtains. He paused in front of them to stretch slightly and then he threw them open, letting the morning light stream into the room.   

“Fifteen minutes. You should be downstairs and getting into the carriage,” Lionel said with finality before he left the room with flourish.

Lex sighed. He wondered what exactly he could wear that would vex his father most. He could wear his lilac coat. That always seemed to raise Lionel’s ire.

Lex grinned and to that aim, he dressed in his lilac coat, dove gray waistcoat, white puff sleeve shirt, dark gray breeches, and black riding boots. As he took in his reflection, he smirked. It was always a good day when he could just look annoying to his father.  

Lex met Lionel outside with a blank smile firmly affixed on his face.

“Father.” Lex nodded.

Lionel just sighed deeply as he took in Lex’s appearance, then turned to face forward as the carriage rolled up led by massive black horses.

Lex rounded the carriage after it came to a stop, and entered on the other side.  

Lionel largely ignored Lex as he got in and then they were off to another land, with another web of lies to spin, and another treaty to sign.  

Victoria Hardwick was an attractive woman, that was sure- but she was also as conniving as they come. She was vindictive and she knew what she wanted.

Lex knew her game. There were clever women like that in Metropolis- ones that knew how to bag a prince. Ones that Lex had evaded or outwitted.

Victoria was smart. But not smart enough.

Lex laughed lowly at her comment. “Victoria, I feel I should inform you that our relationship will not be developing into anything other than a business relationship. We, as much as it pains me to say, are not well equipped to stem each other. However, I think that you are aware of that,” Lex said in a low tone.

Victoria tilted her head with confusion. “Lex, I would like us to move forward with our business relationship. Should we feel any other way toward each other then, by all means, we should move on to something further. But I am under no illusions. I know of your reputation, and I know that we are not at a point where either of us could handle a relationship. But thank you for being up front with me, Lex.”

Lex gave a sharp smile. “Good. If that’s all, I’m sure our parents have finished negotiations.”

Victoria nodded and rose. She smoothed a hand over his arm when he reached her.

Once they were back in the carriage, Lionel turned towards Lex. He watched him with piercing eyes.

Lex ignored Lionel and stared straight ahead.

The carriage lurched forward before Lionel spoke. “I trust the girl has been properly handled,” Lionel said.

“She believes there is a chance of a further relationship, beyond a business one, if that’s what you’re asking. If you are asking if there is a chance she’s pregnant, the answer is no. We stayed in the parlor,” Lex replied, his gaze sliding over to Lionel.

“I don’t know if that would really stop you,” Lionel drawled snarkily.

Lex rolled his eyes. “Maybe not a year ago. I know you seem determined to remain unaware of my new insight, but I haven’t been an embarrassment to you or the kingdom in at least a year.”

Lionel ignored him. “In any case, that Kent boy should be fifteen by now. We will be going to his coming out ball, whenever it should be.”

Lex nodded. “I trust you’ll let me know.”

Lionel nodded and the ride was finished in silence.

Chapter Text

Clark grumbled quietly as he was told to stand perfectly still on the pedestal in his room. He had been like that for at least twenty minutes at this point, and he had Lana and Lois circling him like he was their prey.

"Can I be done yet?" Clark asked quietly. He most certainly did not whine.

Both the fairies turned icy glares his way.

"I guess I can stay for a little while longer," Clark mumbled, shifting from foot to foot.

"Don't move!" Lana and Lois snapped in unison. Clark grunted noncommittally. He would have thought that magic would make something like designing clothes go faster.

"His shirt should definitely be blue." Lois waved her hand at him and his shirt changed to a bright, primary blue.

"No! It should be red. Red is a strong color that represents royalty," Lana said. Then she too waved at him and his shirt turned a cherry red color.

"Blue. It brings out his eyes," Lois said, swiping her hand through the air at him. His shirt returned to the bright blue.

"But red is more powerful," Lana said, and flicked her hand at his chest. His shirt changed again to a loud, brash red.

Chloe was sitting on the bed leaning back on her hands. She looked speculatively at Clark. She giggled brightly as he sent a ‘please, help me’ look.

“It needs to be black. Nothing to set him apart. He wants to blend in, girls. Not stand out. Black. All of it,” Chloe said decisively with a little nod of her head.

“But-” Lana started.

“He’d look better in-” Lois cut in.

“He doesn’t need to look better. Look at him. He looks too good as is. He might be twelve feet tall and gorgeous, but he doesn’t want a lot of attention. He just wants to have a good time. No pressure,” Chloe said patiently.

Lana and Lois sighed loudly.

“Fine,” they said in unison. With a snap, he was in a fitted black coat with tight black pants and boots. The only concession to color was a dark green shirt poking out at the neck and wrists. Then he was handed a matching green mask and shoved unceremoniously out of his room.

“Go down to the ballroom!” Chloe called after him.

He groaned but followed his directions.

Lex stood in front of his mirror in a soft white jacket and matching close fitting trousers, a dark plum colored waistcoat and a pair of white knee high boots. He looked closely at himself as he practiced a bland smile and he plucked at his lilac colored shirt.

Lex didn't really want to attend a 'coming out' ball for the neighboring country's teenage prince. However, Lionel had made it exceptionally clear that they were going to be in attendance there.

There were two sharp raps on the door before it opened with a bang, and Lionel came striding in. Lex suppressed a put upon sigh. He was finished seducing people, and he absolutely refused to try and garner favor with a 15 year-old through his trousers. He had grown up, no matter what his father said.

"Are you prepared? We have quite the ride ahead of us," Lionel said shortly.

Lex checked over his reflection again. He strode quickly to his dresser, opened a drawer, and pulled out a pair of white gloves and a simple white half-face mask. As he returned to stand in front of his father, he pulled on the soft leather gloves, and pocketed the mask.

"Yes, Father."

Lionel nodded. "Excellent. Come, the carriage is ready."

They came to a stop at Lionel’s ornate black and gold carriage. It was a black lacquered wood with gold gilding around the doors, windows, and the edges of the carriage itself. The wheels matched the rest of the carriage with gold gilded spokes. The four horses at the front of the carriage struck imposing black figures that tied the whole ominous vision together.

If Lex had a choice, he would ride Porsche out to Smallville, alone, and be done with the entire thing quickly. Instead, Lionel had insisted on the two of using his monstrous carriage, not Lex's understated white one. It was presumably for Lionel to watch him as he tried to ignore the simpering child that would be flitting between suitors.

A pretty, young, blonde girl named Mercy Graves hopped off the back of the carriage, bowed low, and opened the opulent door for the two of them. Lex waited as his father was helped into the carriage by Mercy. She held open the door for Lex. He nodded at her in thanks as he got himself into the carriage. He knew that she was the one that followed him on his excursions. She fit right in with the rest of the crowd of nameless, faceless young people that filed through his teen years.

She nodded back and closed the door. He felt the slight pitch of the carriage that signified that Mercy had hopped on to the back of the carriage.

Both Lionel and Lex jerked back as the carriage moved forward.

They sat in silence for a short time before Lionel started conversation.

"You will try and make an impression on the boy," he said smoothly.

"I doubt the boy will be very interested in me. He probably knows very little about me. But I will make an effort," Lex replied shortly.

"See that you do," Lionel said in a low tone.

This trip boded ill for Lex. He watched out of the small window as the scenery changed from the tall buildings of Metropolis to farmland before they reached the moderately sized houses on the fringe of Smallville.

They went through the small town with little more than a tavern or two, a small play house, and a few small businesses. A shoe store, clothing store, a market, and a blacksmith’s shop made up the city center. Lex had bad memories surrounding this place. He absently rubbed a hand across his bare scalp.

Clark ducked down a dark corridor just before the opening to the ballroom. People were just now coming in. They slowly filed in as Clark hid behind a pillar. He took a deep breath and sighed. This wasn't what he thought of as a good time, or even as a good place to meet the person he was going to be with for the rest of his life. He just didn't think this was going to work.

"Whatcha doing here, Clark? There's a whole party out there just for you," Chloe, who had appeared out of nowhere, said, a sardonic grin spread across her face.

Clark shifted uncomfortably in the slightly too tight (and completely in fashion, says Lana) pants and looked at Chloe. "Hiding."

Chloe let out a startled laugh. "Well, at least he's being honest. Come on, Clark, it's time for your party!"

Clark groaned loudly. He fidgeted with his mask, but all that served to do was make Chloe raise an eyebrow and cross her arms.

"Come on, mister. A certain someone is the guest of honor." At Clark's look of horror, Chloe added, "That no one is going to know about. The guest of honor that no one is going to know is the guest of honor. Come on. It'll be fun! You'll dance. Eat, drink, be merry!"

Clark shifted again. "Alright. Okay. Let's go."

Chloe smiled lightly at him. "It's going to be fine."

"I hope so," Clark muttered under his breath.

Clark entered the ballroom just behind Chloe, and watched as she disappeared into the horrifying crowd of what seemed to be hundreds of people milling about in the ballroom while still more filtered into the room.

It was ridiculous. Why would so many people be interested in seeing him? He choked slightly. Panicking may not be the greatest idea, but it was definitely what he was doing.

Chloe again magically reappeared at his side, and thumped him in the arm.

She yelped, which caused several passersby to look at her. She wrinkled her nose back at them and discreetly shook out her hand. "Remind me not to do that. I always forget you're made out of stone. I don't even know if you feel it."

"I feel it, but it doesn't hurt," Clark said, feeling slightly numb as he looked at all the people.

Most were wearing masks as they were instructed to, though some were forgoing the requested item.

Clark gulped slightly. He was not ready for this.

Lex stood by the large table that held a variety of hors d'oeuvres.

He sighed quietly as he saw a group of women that were clearing looking for the prince. They kept pointing at the men passing and huddling up to try and puzzle out which he was.

He had no intention of trying to find the boy. He wasn't a teenager any more, and he felt no need to try and garner anything further than what Metropolis had with Smallville, which was a rather nice treaty based on trade already.

Clark had ducked down behind a pillar. He wasn't hiding this time. At least that's what he'd tell Chloe when she somehow managed to find him. He was just taking a break. He didn't want to dance with another person dead set on finding and then wooing the prince. Clark neglected to mention that he in fact was the prince, and had no interest in being wooed by someone that was only interested in the prestige of a royal marriage.

Clark jumped when a bald man seemed to materialize in front of him.

The man wore a white and purple outfit, a slightly bland smile, and a strained expression around his eyes.

"Hello. I think giving names would be rather ridiculous, given the masks. I'm Mockingbird," Mockingbird said, the bland smile fixed over his features.

"I haven't been given the chance to give anyone anything. I've been dancing, but no one seems to care who I am once they think I’m not the prince," Clark said, a slight bitterness coloring his tone. He had thought that the masks might dissuade this fervor for him.

"That seems to be the case. Avoid any groupings. They all seem to be discussing him," Lex said. "Luckily, I don’t appear to be a giant, or dark haired, which is apparently the description they have, so I’m not roped into anything. In fact I think I’m being avoided. What do you want to be called?"

"Um... Blur. That's what a couple of my friends call me," Clark said, raising a hand to scratch awkwardly at the back of his head.

"Blur, then. How have you been fairing with this ball?" Lex asked.

"Not well. Everyone I've talked to wants to find the prince," Clark said

"That's true. Given the fact that he seems to want to keep his identity hidden, I doubt these people are doing much more than alienating him by hunting him," Lex commented, watching as a girl swept a tall, broad man to the dance floor, and then proceeded to talk to him in her most charming manner, which just appeared to make the man uncomfortable.

"She seems to think that she snagged the prince," Lex commented with a wave in the dancing couple's direction.

"It's not him," Clark said, startling himself. He hadn't meant to say that.

"Why Blur, are you hiding something? A royal something?" Lex asked, amused.

"No! I just know he’s not even down here,” Clark said quickly.

“Oh? Why would that be? How close are you to him?” Lex asked, curiosity peaked.

“His scouts are out looking for him. He didn’t want to come. Thought it’d be a feeding frenzy. Chloe, see the girl with the blonde hair? The one in the yellow?” Clark glanced at Lex, and at his nod, he continued. “She’s going to storm off when she doesn’t see him to try and get him back here.”

Clark grinned as she did in fact storm off with an angry expression moments later.

“See?” Clark smiled widely.

Lex was slightly entranced by the young man before him. He’s young, a small voice in the back of his mind whispered. Lex shook himself slightly.

“You appear to be right. Fine. Your story checks out. What are you here for? Bagging a prince?” Lex asked with a small, genuine smile spreading over his face.

“Not tonight. I was just trying to get to know some new people. There are not too many people in Smallville,” Clark said with an easy grin.

“Smallville native, then?” Lex asked, taking a sip from his drink.

“Born and raised. I’ve been here since I was a baby,” Clark replied.

“Ah. I’ve only been here twice. The first time was an unfortunate one.” Lex rubbed a hand over his hairless scalp. “And this would be my second visit. Far more boring. But it’s looking up.”

Clark looked stricken. “You were here during the meteor shower?”

Lex hummed in the affirmative, but tilted his head curiously at Clark’s stricken appearance.

“Is there something wrong, Blur?”

“No! Sorry. It’s just that the meteors were kind of a big thing. It’s shocking to hear that an outsider was part of it.” Clark gulped.

“Well, it was a long time ago. As I said, this visit, while it started boring, is definitely getting a lot more interesting,” Lex said, letting a sly grin spread over his face.

Clark blushed. “Well, that’s good to hear.”

“Would you like to dance, Blur?” Lex asked, placing his half full glass on a passing waiter’s tray.

Clark looked over at the dance floor.

“I-” Clark swallowed. “I can’t dance. It might be a hazard to your health.”

Lex smiled. “Well, you’re in luck, because I can. I’ll teach you.”

“People have tried. They have tried very hard to teach me. I just end up crushing their feet. I’m told I’m a health risk,” Clark said with a self-deprecating chuckle.

Lex put a hand on Clark’s arm.

“Trust me. I’ll be fine. Come,” Lex said, tugging gently on his arm.

“Your feet,” Clark protested.

Chloe watched as Clark and Lex danced. She smiled softly.

“I was right,” Chloe gloated. “Twenty bucks.”

She held her hand out.

Lois groaned, but gave her the money. “I thought for sure it was going to be that nice looking girl in the pink.”

“Oh, please. That girl is looking for the prince. Anyone she wasn’t sure about would be getting no attention,” Lana said, glaring at the girl in question.

The girl had just pulled Dean out to the dance floor, and left him just as quickly.

“Fair enough. Who’d you think it was going to be, Lana?” Lois asked, turning in Lana’s direction.

“I wasn’t thinking he was going to meet anyone tonight. He doesn’t really do well with pressure. I thought he’d have disappeared back to his fortress,” Lana said.

Chloe’s eyes lit up as Clark threw his head back and laughed at something Lex had said.

“Lex Luthor, though. That’s kind of a stretch. Why’d you pick him, Chloe?” Lois turned to glare suspiciously at her.

“They, my friend, are going to be the stuff of legends. Mark my words. They’re going to be the new Merlin and Arthur. Except they’re both princes. And Clark’s an alien. But that’s not the point,” Chloe finished lamely.

They all jumped when a bang sounded from the front of the castle.

The loud crash at the front of the ballroom drew silence from all inside it.

"GUARDS!" Johnathan shouted from the dais at the back of the ballroom.

They assembled in front of the doors, their weapons drawn.

The doors banged open suddenly, and a single man dressed in odd, low-cut, baggy black tunic and pants. He had a sculpted beard, and close cropped hair.

"You dared to not invite Zod to your ball?" The man, Zod, asked imperiously.

"You were not welcome," Johnathan said, rising from his throne. "You are of dark magic, and we want nothing to do with you. You know nothing of humanity."

Martha hurried through the crowd to join Johnathan's side. When she reached him, she slid her hand into his.

Jonathan’s gaze swept across the room. He quickly found Clark. Then his eyes darted back to Zod.

“Your son. You will pay your penance through your son for this slight,” Zod intoned imperiously, his gaze sweeping the ballroom.

“No. You will not touch him,” Jonathan snapped sharply.

“Then you will be the one,” Zod said, raising his hand. He ignored the guards rushing forward.

They simply hit a barrier that was around Zod.

“No, wait!” Clark cried out, pushing past people.

Lex blinked owlishly at Clark.

“I’m here. Don’t hurt them. I’m here,” Clark yelled out, pulling his mask off.

“No! Clark!” Martha shouted and tried to rush toward Clark, but Jonathan held her back.

Zod smiled sinisterly.

“So your boy’s a hero, is he? Ah… and he’s special,” Zod said. He raised his arm toward Clark. “Your punishment is simple. At twenty-one years of age, before the night falls on that day, Clark will prick his finger and die.”

Clark stood still, shock written all over his face.

“That will be all,” Zod said before he left the way he came, fading from existence.

Clark twisted to face the shocked crowd and his horrified parents.

Martha had tears in her eyes, hand held against her mouth, and she was shaking her head back and forth. She broke free from Jonathan and raced to Clark, throwing her arms around him.

Clark wrapped his arms around Martha. “It’s going to be fine, Mom. It’s okay.”

Jonathan crossed the room slowly to come up to Clark. He wrapped his arms around both of them, and pulled them tightly to himself.

Lois, Lana, and Chloe pushed through the crowd.

“Make way. Fairies coming through. Magic fixing fairies,” Lois said loudly, shoving people roughly to the side.

Martha lifted her head from where she buried it in Clark’s shoulder.

“Can you fix it?” Martha asked shakily.

Lois frowned. Lana and Chloe flanked her.

“We need to get a better feel for the curse,” Lana said.

Jonathan and Martha stepped back from Clark instantly.

The fairies descended on Clark like locusts. They poked and prodded, completely ignoring the gaping crowd that stood behind them.

“Bad news!” Lois called out. When she saw Martha and Jonathan’s face fall, she quickly added, “We can’t break the curse. But we can avoid it. If Zod can’t find him, he can’t do jack. And we can alter it, too.”

“How can you alter it?” Jonathan asked quickly.

“True love. It sounds corny but true love is about the only way to do it. Instead of dying, we can make it so that he’ll fall into a deep sleep that true love’s kiss can wake him up from,” Lois explained.

“He’d be fine after that?” Martha asked, voice still shaking.

“Just fine. But if we could avoid it entirely, that’d probably be best,” Lana assured her, looking at the other two fairies warily. Chloe nodded.

“We can protect him, but we might have to go…,” Chloe started, then paused, seeing the many rapt faces behind Martha, “somewhere. Just to keep him safe.”

Martha was nodding. “We’ll get him back.”

“After his twenty-first. Morning after. That’s what the curse is for,” Lois said softly.

Jonathan nodded. “Leave tomorrow then.”

The fairies nodded. “We’ll gather what we’ll need.”

With that, they were dragging Clark from the ballroom, without as much as a backwards glance. As they left, Clark’s eyes darted to Lex’s.

Lex nodded in his direction. It seemed to imply ‘until we meet again.’

Clark nodded back.

Jonathan watched Clark disappear down the hall. He then shook himself and turned back to the room.

“Sorry, folks. Looks like the party is over. The guards will show those who have to stay the night where they’re sleeping,” he said before grabbing Martha’s hand and pulling her after him to follow Clark, Lana, Lois, and Chloe.

Lionel sidled up to Lex.

“Well, that was exciting. I think we should be going,” he said, delighted when he saw Lex flinch.

“I would like to stay the night, if that’s fine, father,” Lex responded quietly.

“Very well. I’ll get Miss Graves to stay with you, and I’ll purchase two horses for you tonight,” Lionel said. “Your boy’s leaving tomorrow, though. I doubt you’ll see him.”

“I wasn’t…,” Lex paused, “I wasn’t looking forward to an all-night carriage ride. I will see you tomorrow afternoon, father.”

Martha, Jonathan, Lois, Lana, Chloe, and Clark were all milling around Clark’s room. Clark was packing a large bag solemnly.

“It just seems stupid. Shouldn’t I be staying and trying to find out who my… true love is as opposed to running away? I mean, what else is he going to do to me? He’s cursed me,” Clark said petulantly.

“Well, it’d be better if you didn’t fall asleep in first place, wouldn’t it? You’ve got to go. Whether you like it or not,” Jonathan said sharply, eyes narrowing on Clark.

“We don’t want you hurt, Clark,” Martha said quietly. “You’ll be back.”

“In six years!” Clark cried. He swiped angrily at his eyes. “Six years. I won’t see you guys for six years.”

Jonathan stopped Clark to pull him into a tight embrace.

“It’ll be alright, Son. I promise. You’ll go away for a little while. Come back. And we’ll have skipped over the curse entirely,” Jonathan said softly against Clark’s hair.

Clark wrapped his arms around Jonathan and hugged back tightly. “I hope you’re right.”

Martha took a deep breath. “Are you all packed?”

Clark looked up at her. Tears shone in her eyes and her lip trembled slightly, but her voice was strong, and there was a smile on her face. Clark nodded.

“Good. Well then. How about you get some rest? Bright and early is when you guys will need to leave in the morning,” Martha said as brightly as she could.

Clark released Jonathan to grab Martha tightly.

“I’ll be back. I swear. I’ll come home. And we’ll all be safe. If he tries to come back, I will teach him a lesson. I swear,” Clark murmured against Martha’s hair before releasing her.

Clark’s parents bid him goodnight as did the fairy trio.

Chloe shot him a piercing look before she closed the door.

Clark sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

It was going to be a long night.

Lex was sitting in what seemed to be a lounge area late in the night. The room had a heavy dark blue rug covering the floor, and a lounge chair, two arm chairs, and a small loveseat. Tables were placed beside furniture, presumably to hold books or drinks. Across from the couch and beside the arm chairs was a fireplace with a warm, if dimming, fire.

Lex was sitting in one of the arm chairs, a glass of scotch held limply in his hand as he stared blankly into the flames.

Mercy stood out of the way in a corner that had both doorways in her sights.

Lex sighed deeply. “Well, as foreseeable as this was, it is disappointing that I did not get to say goodnight. I suppose, though, I really can’t be blamed.”

Mercy tensed as they heard footsteps coming down the hallway.

Lex waited, watching the doorway patiently.

Clark slipped in, glancing to the left and to the right of the hall before he shut the door quietly.

“Hello, Blur. Or should I say Clark? I thought you said you weren’t the Prince. Or are you his body guard? Forced to throw yourself on the line for the Prince?” Lex asked, smirk firmly in place.

Clark jumped and twisted around quickly.

“Mockingbird! Hello. Um… about that… Surprise?” Clark said weakly.

Lex just laughed.

“Well, it was intriguing to say the least. Most exciting coming out ball I’ve ever seen,” Lex said. “Lex Luthor by the way.”

“You didn’t have to-”

“To level the playing field,” Lex interrupted him, hand held up.

Clark’s eye’s slid over to Mercy standing tall in the corner. She exuded an air of supreme confidence, and managed to scare Clark a little, even if Clark was six foot four and could lift horses like five pound weights.

“Well, I’m supposed to be going to bed. The guards are really annoyed at me right now. Apparently someone crashing the party and cursing me doesn’t put them at ease,” Clark joked with a slightly strangled laugh.

“So you’re dodging them the best you can?”

Clark nodded emphatically. “I just wanted a snack. Someone wanted to dance, and I didn’t end up eating anything.”

“Well, that someone clearly had atrocious manners,” Lex said, his grin turning sly.

Clark smiled. “Terrible.”

Lex stood, placing his half-finished glass of scotch on the table beside his chair. He strode over to where Clark was standing.

Clark backed up until his back hit the wall and Lex was standing inches from him.

“I hope this isn’t too forward,” Lex said and pressed his mouth to Clark’s.

Clark gasped, mouth falling open in shock. He felt slightly lightheaded, but also energized. He felt silly just standing there. He just didn’t know what to do.

“My apologies. I misread,” Lex said, pulling back from Clark’s unresponsive mouth.

Clark whined softly, and then surged forward to catch Lex’s pink mouth with his own. He grabbed at Lex’s coat, and felt Lex’s hands drop to his waist, as their mouths moved together.

Clark groaned when he heard footsteps outside the room. He pulled back, and Lex released him.

“Sorry. I’ve got to flee. If you’re still available in six years… I’ll be back here,” Clark whispered. Then he reddened when he saw that his hands were still twisted in Lex’s white coat. He removed his hands, and smoothed the fabric gently.

“I take it you hear someone coming?” Lex breathed quietly, bringing his hands back to his sides.

“Yep. And if I get back to my room before those guys get me, I never left the safety of it. At least that’s what I’m going with,” Clark whispered sheepishly.

“Well then. I’ll see you in six years,” Lex said decisively.

“Really?” Clark asked, mouth dropping open in shock.

The footsteps were getting closer.

“Shoot! I really have to go. Bye, Lex. I’ll see you maybe,” Clark said with a quick kiss to Lex’s mouth, and in a flash he was through the other door, and hurrying out of sight.

Lex looked after him somewhat dazedly.

“Don’t look at me like that. There’s something about him. We’ll be the stuff of legends one day. I can feel it, Mercy. In my very soul,” Lex said, eyes not leaving the place where Clark vanished to.

Mercy snorted. “Come on. You need sleep, too.”

Lex allowed himself to be led back to their rooms, nodding towards passing guards as they did so.

“Bye, Mom! Bye, Dad! We’ll see you in six years. I’ll see you the day after my birthday. It’ll be the best present!” Clark called, hanging out the window of his carriage. Krypto’s head was out the other one and she was barking her farewells, too.

Martha and Jonathan waved. Martha was crying silently and Jonathan was holding her close. They watched until the carriage completely disappeared over the horizon.

Chapter Text

Clark and Krypto wandered through the forest at a slow speed. All of the chores were done. Firewood was chopped, laundry was hung to dry, the house was cleaned. Not that cleaning the house ever really mattered because when he got back from the forest, it was inevitably dirty from another 'project' one of 'his' fairies was working on.

He had come home on more than one occasion to the house letting out toxic smelling black plumes of smoke. Lois had since not been allowed near the kitchen, but every now and then she’d try again only to achieve the same result.

Clark shook his head, a small smile on his face as he thought back to the most recent disaster. Lois had thought that she should practice making a cake to be ready in seven months for his twenty-first birthday. They were all looking forward to going home, but Lois felt that they should celebrate the last six years in the forest, and have a party. However, her baking expertise wasn't so much expertise, as an utter and complete inability to cook.

Clark had had to ban her (again) from the kitchen.

He reached out absently to pet Krypto's head with a gentle hand.

Krypto suddenly darted ahead and then turned and hurried back to Clark's side.

Clark laughed as she tried to bark around the large stick she had managed to fit into her mouth.

"Want to play fetch, girl? Do ya?" Clark questioned in an excited tone.

In response, Krypto tried again to yap loudly around her mouthful, and started darting around and around his legs.

Lex breathed out an annoyed hissing sigh at his father and his habit of talking at him for hours. He paused on his way to the large white stable, which stood a few hundred feet from the castle, when he caught sight of Mercy out of the corner of his eye, and huffed again.

"I believe, today, I'll be riding alone,” Lex said slowly. Mercy dipped her head in his direction, and then she vanished from sight.

Lex sighed with relief as, finally, the feeling of being alone settled wholly over him. The pressure from Lionel lifted, Mercy's silent but foreboding presence was gone, and he just wanted to feel like he was flying.

He strode the few remaining feet to the stable.

He smiled a real smile when he entered the stable and saw his beautiful gray mare, head hanging out of her stall. A little surprised, he faltered a step when Henry, the stable boy, came out from another stall. He was probably tending to one of Lionel's large imposing monstrosities that they had the gall to call horses. Not that Lex blamed them (too much) for their owner.

"Do you need any help, Your Highness?" he asked with a bowed head.

"No, Henry. Thank you, I will be taking Porsche out today, I won’t be needing any assistance ,” Lex said.

"Okay, Your Highness. Call if you need anything,” he said with a respectful bow, before he disappeared back from the way he came.

"Alright. Let’s get you ready, Porsche,” Lex muttered. He stalked over to the wall with all of the saddles and bridles.

His mind went blissfully blank as he went through the process of strapping Porsche into her saddle and coaxing her into putting on her bridle.

She whinnied with reproach when he slipped it into her mouth. She was vastly unimpressed with it, as she always was.

"Sorry my girl, but you have to wear the bridle,” Lex said quietly with a small smile.

Porsche nickered back and she pushed forward to butt her head into Lex's.

Lex patted her neck. "Ready to go?"

She neighed and nodded her head vigorously.

Lex laughed lightly, led her out of her box, and then out of the stable entirely.

She whinnied slightly in annoyance at him, probably from what she perceived, as a long wait for her master to get on her and ride.

"Hold on,” Lex reprimanded before he mounted her a in a smooth movement. He then directed Porsche toward the forest.

Lex slowed Porsche to a trot as they reached a large pond. They had gone farther than they had gone in a while. Instead of being in the mostly empty fields, they were surrounded by lush forestry. It lay west and south of Metropolis. He had some idea that it was also quite near to Smallville, but paid it little mind.

He had put Clark Kent out of his mind since their last meeting. Regardless of how fascinating Lex had found him, after the commotion with Zod, everyone had left in a hurry. In the end, Lex had only had the brief conversation with him in the lounge.

Still, sometimes he thought about the boy. Today was one of those times. He felt an odd pull in his chest as he thought about Clark, and underneath him, Porsche got restless, shifting from side to side and nickering softly.

Pushing Clark from his mind, Lex patted Porsche absently before swinging off of her.

He pulled her bridle off and hung it on a tree. In response, she tried to give him a wet kiss on his face before he pushed her off of him.

"Go on. Go get a drink,” Lex said, waving her off to the pond. He took off his cream colored cape he wore and hung it up with the bridle.

He paused listening for any people. None heard, he turned and made his way over to a large rock sitting by the pond.

Lex was startled out of reverie by a soft yipping. He glanced over at Porsche, who looked supremely unperturbed by anything small enough that it could have yipped.

She looked back at him, chewing slowly at a bit of grass that hung out of the side of her mouth. She blinked as if to say, "There is not a chance I'm moving right now."

Lex bristled a little at the clear look of disobedience. He would deal with her sudden feelings of entitlement later. Or he’d try to.

He turned around to face the forest instead of the blue lake that stretched out a fair distance across.

He eyes darted to where he heard a rustle, and sure enough, the bush near where Porsche's bridle and his cloak hung was shaking slightly.

Lex narrowed his eyes at the bush.

"Go on,” Lex called into the forest, "We've nothing you want."

The rustling noise got louder as the bush shook more. Lex heard the heavy pants of some animal.

He slid off of his smooth perch, and slowly and quietly crept close to the bush.

Lex was startled by a sudden, clear shout.

"Krypto! Where'd you get off to? Come on back here!" a deep voice called from further into the forest.

That got a small reaction from Porsche; she raised her head in the direction of the sound but just snorted once and went back to eating her grass.

Then a midsized red-gold dog jumped out from the bush, latched onto Lex's cloak and high tailed it back to where he came from.

"Give that back!" Lex yelled after the fleeing dog.

"You stay, Porsche,” Lex said, holding up a hand that Porsche paid no mind to.

Lex rolled his eyes at the horse and took off in the direction the dog had run.

Clark was paused in a lush green clearing. He waited and listened for Krypto.

"Krypto! Come here, you silly girl!" Clark called again into the forest.

Finally he heard her racing back to him with what sounded like a large animal behind him.

She burst from the overgrown path that lead down to a large pond that Clark liked to swim in. In her mouth was a slightly battered and definitely dirty length of fabric.

"Whatcha got there, girl?" Clark asked, prying the fabric from her mouth, as she gave muffled yaps and tried to wrench the fabric back from him. Clark finally managed to get the fabric free, and he saw that it had been a well-made cloak before she ruined it.

Clark paled slightly. He didn't feel the horrible nauseating sensation that had happened at his ball. It couldn't be Zod. There was no way he could've found Clark.

He listened closely, and he heard muffled curses as a clearly humanoid shape followed the path that the dog had taken.

Clark breathed a sigh of relief. Zod wouldn't have been so far behind, nor would he be having trouble with the thickly overgrown path that Krypto had taken.

"Stay," he commanded Krypto softly. "We have to give him back his cloak. Which you stole!"

Krypto ducked her head and whined quietly at the reprimand.

Clark breathed out an annoyed sigh but ducked down to scratch behind Krypto's ears.

She yapped happily and wagged her tail, as well as her entire backside, taking the scratch to mean she was forgiven.

Clark chuckled, and the man finally appeared at the opening of the path.

Clark's laugh got lodged in his throat as Clark saw him. Bald, long face, blue eyes, lithe build. Lex. Lex Luthor. He was in front of him.

Lex drew himself up to his full height, and straightened his leaf and twig littered clothing. He was not pleased.

"Your dog has taken my cloak," he said gesturing to the filthy cloak that used to be white that Clark held in his hands.

"I know you! We've met before! Do you remember me?" Clark said with a wide smile spreading over his face, forgetting the cloak

Lex looked startled, blue-gray eyes widening slightly. "Clark Kent. You’re here. In the woods a mere, what? Hour or two from your home.”

"Yes, and it's you. I-I um... I'm sorry about Krypto. She gets excited easily. I um.. I don't have any money on me, but I can send money in a little while...... but you already know that, I guess,” Clark said, feeling slightly sheepish because of the slight drawing tug that was happening in his chest.

Lex looked confusedly at him.

"For your cloak!" Clark added quickly, holding out the muddy cape.

"No need. I've got plenty of them, and if I didn’t have another white one, I would just have one commissioned,” Lex replied.

"Oh...," Clark paused, raising his hand to scratch at the back of his head, "Um… well then… I guess… It’s really good to see you, Lex.”

Lex smiled. “And yourself. It’s good to see you as well. It’s been…”

“Five years,” Clark supplied, “Two months, twelve days.”

“Wanting to go home?” Lex asked, voice dropping lower.

“Yes, and we will be. Soon. Seven months. Then I get to go home. Did you… ah.. Are you….. umm…,” Clark floundered, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Am I? What, Clark?” Lex asked, an amused smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.

“Married? Engaged?” Clark blurted, and promptly turned red.

Lex laughed.

“Not at the moment. I believe I said that I would see you in six years that five years, two months, and twelve days ago.” ,” Lex said, a sultry smile affixing itself to his face.

Clark smiled brightly. "What are you doing out here so deep in the forest? I don't usually see people out here. Well, actually, I never see people out this deep."

"I was riding. My horse is back at the pond," Lex said, his sultry smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.

Clark seemed to run out of things to say. He just awkwardly scratched the back of his head.

“I’dreallyliketokissyou,” Clark blurted out, “I mean. I’m sorry, that wasn’t-”

Lex strode the last few steps that divided them, and slotted their mouths together. It felt so natural to Lex. Like Clark was the one that was meant to be his. And his alone.

Clark moaned into the kiss and pressed back into it. He slid a hand back to cradle Lex’s neck, and his other hand drifted to clutch at the fabric of his doublet.

Lex’s tongue slid inside Clark’s warm mouth with Clark’s gasp. He slowly walked Clark backwards until Clark’s back hit a tree. Lex’s hands, once holding Clark’s hips, were now sliding up and down his sides, over his chest, and just brushing the waistband of Clark’s trousers.

Clark slid his own tongue along Lex’s, groaning softly under the onslaught. The hand clutching at Lex’s doublet left its post to slip around Lex’s waist, and crush him to Clark’s front.

Lex answered with a moan and pressed their hips together harder, rocking slightly as hardness met hardness.

Lex was just sliding his hand down the front of Clark’s waistband when Clark froze up.

Lex immediately stepped back, panting.

“I apologize, Clark. That was-” Lex panted.

“No it’s my fault. I just…. We can’t,” Clark said.

“I pushed you further than you wanted to go,” Lex said, his breath once again under his control.

“No! I liked it. It’s just… we’ve known each other for a total of two days now. But…. Being with you… it feels right. I just need some time… to-” Clark stumbled over his words.

“No. I understand completely. We need more time. I’m going to go. I’ll meet you here in two days?” Lex asked. He tried fervently to tamp down the hope that blossomed in his chest.

Clark nodded.

“Two days. I’ll be here. We’ll talk more,” Clark said, a small smile spreading over his face.

Lex nodded.

“Two days,” he said again before he pressed a quick kiss to Clark’s mouth, and turned down the path back to the pond.

Chapter Text

Lois, Lana, and Chloe were lounging in the living room area of the cabin. Lana was sitting in a large armchair with her feet pulled up and a book in her hands, Chloe was writing in a small notebook on the couch, and Lois was standing in the kitchen area with a cookbook in her hands.

“You know you’re not allowed in the kitchen for at least another week,” Lana said, lowering her book to look at Lois.

Lois lifted her head to glare at Lana. “I’m just trying to figure out how to make a cake. I don’t know where I went wrong last time. I added everything, heated up the oven, mixed everything, put everything in the oven- I just don’t understand how it ended up blackened but still uncooked!” Lois said, growling lowly as she returned to the cookbook.

“A, you forgot eggs. B, you left it in for two hours! And C, you left it in the oven for two hours!” Chloe laughed.

“I just didn’t see that they were needed! And it was soupy! I couldn’t eat cake soup!” Lois defended herself indignantly.

“Yeah. Or you were painting your nails and totally forgot,” Lana crooned, joining in on Chloe’s laughter.

Lois harrumphed angrily. “See if you get any cake. I’m going to make the best cake ever, and only Clark and I can eat it.”

“Good luck with that. But it’s Clark’s birthday so he’s not to do a single dish. Not a single one!” Lana warned, still smiling.

“Where is Clark, anyway?” Chloe asked, glancing toward the windows but not seeing the boy wonder.

“Said he was walking Krypto. Said he’d be back in a couple of hours. He’s already packed up. So it’s just us. We have to get packed up and leave early tomorrow morning,” Lana answered, returning to her book.

On their last meeting at the lake, Lex was late.

Clark shed his shirt, shoes and socks, and laid on the large rock overhanging the pond in the sun. His feet dangled off the side of the boulder. He lay with his eyes closed, listening for the soft sounds of Porsche’s trot.

Krypto was curled up at the base of the boulder, already asleep, her soft snores drifting from her to Clark’s ears.

He fell asleep in the warm sunshine.

Lex smiled as he finally made it to the pond. He saw Clark lying on the boulder with his eyes closed.

“He has no sense of self-preservation, Porsche. Anyone could come across this hapless man,” Lex said with more than a little bit of fondness, while swinging down from his gray horse. “Do what you will. I’ll be taking advantage of the hapless man.”

Lex removed his gloves and cloak, tossing them to the ground. He quietly stalked over to Clark’s prone body. Lex slowly climbed up the boulder and carefully loomed over Clark. He lowered his mouth to Clark’s ear.

“You know, for someone so large, it still wouldn’t surprise me if someone were to try and molest you while you slept, Clark. You are beautiful,” Lex murmured softly.

Clark jerked out of sleep. “Lex!” Clark trilled with a wide toothy smile. “You made it.”

Lex smiled and pressed a kiss to the corner of Clark’s mouth. “I wouldn’t miss your birthday. You’re going back to Smallville tomorrow and your parents scheduled a celebratory ball for the following day,” Lex said, a wide grin spreading over his face when Clark looked horrified. “You did run out on your last ball. Quite rudely in fact. Didn’t even say goodnight.”

Clark’s mouth worked but no sound came out. “But! I didn’t like the first one!” he finally managed to choke out in a rush.

Lex laughed loudly at Clark. “Surely, it wasn’t all bad,” Lex said, grinning.

“Well, I did meet this guy. He’s was kind of great. Told me to call him Mockingbird. White and purple outfit. Bald,” Clark said, with his eyes glazing over in dreaminess.

“Sounds wonderful. Why aren’t you with him?” Lex asked deviously. He let his weight fall on top of Clark and he pressed soft kisses to Clark’s neck.

“Found this better guy- Lex Luthor, you heard of him? He’s smart. Like really, really smart. He happens to be bald and blue eyed too. Just in case you were wondering. Usually he comes to meet me in the forest. Almost every day for the past four months and eighteen days. In all that time, never has he once been late. Not a single time,” Clark said, ending with a groan as Lex latched onto the skin of the juncture between his shoulder and neck, sucking firmly.

“Sorry, my father was trying to quiz me. Because being twenty-seven doesn’t afford me some form of respect,” Lex murmured against his neck.

Clark sighed and wrapped his arms strongly around Lex’s waist.

“It’s odd…” Lex said, pulling back to look at Clark’s neck, eyes narrowing slightly.

“What is?” Clark asked lowly.

“You’re not bruising. You should be bruising,” Lex murmured quietly.

Clark stiffened. He needed to tell Lex. He really needed to, but more than that, he wanted to tell Lex.

“Ah… can we talk for a minute? Then… I’ve –I’ve got something to tell you, Lex,” Clark said, pushing Lex back.

“Clark,” Lex held up a hand, “I get it. You must have been affected by the meteors. The way you act when they’re mentioned… It’s fine. I’ve been affected by them, as well. The effects on me were more beneficial, though I find most of the effects on others are adverse- I lost my ailments. My hair was a side-effect, one that was well worth it. Before the meteors, I would get sick easily and I had asthma. After the meteors, I don’t get sick and I’ve never had an asthma attack since.”

Clark looked at Lex with apprehension before averting his eyes. “It’s not that. It’s… I’m the reason that there was a meteor shower. It was me. I fell with them. I’m not… I’m an… I’m not human. I’m not from here. I’m from somewhere far away- I have no idea where. Mom, Dad, and I can’t make heads or tails of the stuff that fell with me.” Clark paused to take a deep breath. He chanced a glance up to Lex.

Lex pulled his legs into an indian position and blinked at Clark. “You’re an alien? From space? From somewhere up there?” Lex asked, pointing a finger up.

“Yes. I can run really fast. I can lift the harvesters you made…. Easily.” Clark ran a shaking hand through his hair, spiking it every which way. “I can shoot fire from my eyes, freeze things with my breath, fly, I could hear your heartbeat if I concentrated right now, I could see you heart if I focused correctly.”

“And you can’t be hurt,” Lex finished quietly.

“No, I can’t be hurt. I fell down the stairs when I was young- not a single bone broke. I did have Chloe swing an axe as hard as she could at me. Her hand broke. I felt so bad about that. But that happens to people around me. Mom has stubbed her toes on mine before. Dean, one of John’s sons, broke his hand when he wanted to find out if my face could take a punch. I don’t mean to. But I’m different. I’m not normal,” Clark finished softly, slipping off the rock slowly. He bent to gather his things and get away from the pond.

“I wouldn’t want you to be normal,” Lex said, following Clark off the boulder. “I’m extraordinary- I would expect a spouse to be the same. I wouldn’t settle for normal.”

Clark looked at the bald man, hope evident in his eyes.

“Is that the reason for stopping before anything gets too intense?” Lex questioned softly.

Clark nodded, blushing red. “I wanted you to know. I wanted you to know what I was before anything happened. I… I love you. These past months have been amazing. I wanted for us to go further, but every time, I just felt so horrible that I hadn’t told you yet. I hadn’t told you my deepest secret,” Clark muttered.

“What?” Lex said, wide eyed.

“I just wanted you to know. I needed you to know what I was before we went-” Clark started.

“No! The loving part?” Lex choked out.

“Oh. Was that too soon? Do you not?” Clark asked quickly, flushing a darker red. His head hung again in disappointment. “I’ll just go. I’m- I’ll see you-”

Lex pressed a hard kiss to Clark’s mouth, effectively cutting off his rambling. He slid an arm behind Clark’s back, pulling him close.

Clark dropped the shirt he had been holding to groan under the onslaught of Lex’s tongue licking lewdly into his mouth. He brought his hands up to clutch at Lex’s waist as Lex’s one hand buried itself in his hair. Clark backed up slowly until his back hit the boulder.

Lex pulled back slightly to look up into Clark’s eyes. He licked his lips, taking in Clark’s disheveled appearance, blown pupils, and mussed hair.

“Marry me,” Lex demanded.

“You don’t demand someone marry you! You ask them!” Clark exclaimed with a wry smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.

“Marry me,” Lex repeated. “I’ll only ask once more.”

“You’d have to ask. Nicely,” Clark said with a full toothy smile over his face.

“Marry me. Please?” Lex asked quietly.

“Yes. I’ll marry you. We’ll announce it at the stupid celebration ball. Which means you have to be on time,” Clark said, before he dove down to mash their lips together.

Lex broke the kiss and shoved Clark down to the ground. “One time. Once. Out of every single other time. It’s going to be my reputation now won’t it?” Lex purred, dropping down to straddle Clark’s hips.

Clark nodded innocently and pulled Lex back down to his mouth.

Lex’s hands slid down Clark’s bare chest to rest at the top of his breeches. “Is this okay?” he asked, pulling back just enough to get the words out. His lips still brushed Clark’s.

Clark nodded emphatically. “Yes!” Clark hissed and pulled Lex back down to meet his mouth.

Clark woke up naked with an equally naked warm body covering half of him and a sticky feeling on his groin. He smiled as the memories flooded back- Lex on top of him, inside of him. It had been perfect.

“What time is it?” Lex mumbled sleepily, cracking an eye open.

“Shoot! Late!” Clark said, pushing at Lex gently.

Lex groaned but rolled off of Clark for him to get up and gather their clothing.

Clark looked up at the dwindling sunlight and groaned loudly. “I’m going to be so late,” Clark whined, dropping the clothes down beside Lex. Clark sighed and hastily headed to the pond.

Lex rolled over and watched with amusement as Clark ducked under the water and scrubbed quickly.

Clark rejoined him seconds later in a blur of skin tone.

“You’re dry,” Lex commented, a smirk quirking his lips.

“It’s handy,” Clark said, grinning back. “We have to get dressed. Lana, Lois, and Chloe are throwing me a party. A going home/birthday party. I was supposed to be back by now.”

Lex nodded. “Then you mustn’t dally with me.” He stood up and stretched his arms above his head.

Clark moaned at the sight. “You don’t play fair.”

“I never implied that I did,” Lex said, and pressed a quick kiss to the corner of Clark’s mouth.

“Don’t you want to wash up?”

“I’ve the luxury of going home to a bath because I’ve been riding all day- or so I told everyone,” Lex said with a grin.

“I’ll see you in two days?” Clark asked after he was dressed.

“Yes. I’ll be there. On time,” Lex said with a quick kiss to Clark’s mouth.

“Good. I’ll see you then,” Clark said. He watched as Lex rode off on top of Porsche.

In the woods, the fairies stood outside of the yellow cabin they were staying in. Lois held a blue, yellow, and red frosted tiered cake in front of her. The sun was setting behind the trees, leaving them in a pinkish glow.

“Where the hell is he?!” Lois complained loudly.

“Right here!” Clark called through the twilight.

Krypto bounded up to the girls, barking happily. She jumped excitedly around them.

“Where the hell were you?” Lois demanded sharply, glaring at Clark as he entered her view.

“I was out walking. I didn’t realize how late it’d gotten. I’m sorry, guys,” Clark said, shamefacedly looking down at shuffling feet.

“That’s code for, ‘I fell asleep somewhere, and woke up like twenty minutes ago.’ Sorry, Boy Wonder. You have leaves in your hair and you look a little dazed,” Chloe said as she reached for the leaves in Clark’s hair.

“You caught me!” Clark said, blushing scarlet. He had definitely napped at one point. Technically, that was true.

Lana rolled her eyes. “I swear you could sleep anywhere.”

Clark’s eyes dropped to the cake with ‘Happy Birthday Clark!’ written in shaky blue icing on top of the red tier. “Is it edible?” he asked, looking at the cake warily.

Lois made an outraged sound and passed the cake off to Lana to slap Clark repeatedly.

“We’re told it’s actually quite good.” Lana said in lieu of answering directly.

“She hasn’t let you taste it?” Clark asked eyeing the cake skeptically.

“It’s fine. Come on. It’s time to party!” Chloe said happily.

Much later, after an actually edible cake from Lois, and several gifts from all three, all homemade, sans magic, it was kind of a miracle that the house was still standing.

He lay in bed, relaxed and happy. Krypto was already asleep at the foot of the bed.

He had an amazing birthday. The first part with Lex, the proposal, and hanging out with his best friends. And the next day, Clark was going to see his parents again. It was a good day.

Chapter Text

“Alrighty! Up and at’em, Clark! It’s time to get home!” Lana yelled, jerking Clark out of sleep.

Krypto was already jumping off the bed to dart around Lana’s legs, yipping excitedly.

“Get up, Clark!” Chloe called from the hallway. “Everyone’s going to be thrilled!”

Clark groaned, rubbing a hand over his face. The sun hadn’t even risen yet.

“I’m up. I’m up. What needs to be in the carriage?”

“You,” Lois said as she passed the doorway with a bag slung over her shoulder.

“You guys should’ve let me get the stuff,” Clark said, rolling out of bed and stretching slightly.

“It was really not a big deal.” Lana wiggled her fingers at him and his socks leapt up to eat his feet. “Magic, remember?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Clark grunted, “Out so I can get dressed.”

“No more nudity, Clark? Hey! Lois, you remember when he never wanted to wear clothes. Said it felt stuffy!” Lana called down the stairs.

Her statement was met with a roar of laughter.

Clark rolled his eyes.

“Hardy, har, har. It’s hilarious that you knew me when I was a kid,” Clark grumbled and closed the door in Lana’s face.

They rode the magically drawn carriage out of the forest and back home in tension filled silence. Clark was tapping his foot agitatedly.

“It’s going to be fine. Everyone’s going to be ecstatic,” Chloe said, putting a hand on Clark’s knee.

He nodded and gave a strained smile. He wished the sun was out. He always felt stronger when the sun was out.

There was an uneasy feeling in his stomach. It was inordinately foggy, even for morning.

--

The fog let up some but it was still dark when they pulled into town. The streets were filled with people watching the carriage. Clark waved to them, smiling brightly.

He was home.

--

Before they had fully made it up to the castle, Clark jumped out of the carriage and rushed to meet his parents, who were standing at the entrance of the castle.

Martha had tears in her eyes; Clark swept her up, and hugged her tightly.

Jonathan choked out a strangled, emotion filled laugh, and wrapped his arms around the two most important people in his life.

“You’re home!” Martha wept, hugging Clark back tightly. She held him so tight, her arms started to hurt.

“I am,” Clark murmured into her hair.

--

The day seemed to pass in a blur. The sun never came out to truly energize Clark, but he was still happy. Lex would be there tomorrow. He would tell his parents that he was marrying Lex. The love of his life.

Clark woke the morning of the ball, uneasy. He already knew he had woken up late. It was raining heavily outside. The steady patter of the rain against the glass window did nothing to ease the tension stirring in Clark’s stomach.

Krypto lay, completely ignoring everything, still sleeping at the foot of the bed.

Chloe sauntered into the room casually.

“You slept in. Martha and Jonathan wanted to check on you, but I waylaid them. Said I would do it. What’s up, Superman? You never sleep this long,” Chloe said.

“I just didn’t know what time it was. I haven’t seen the sun since two days ago,” Clark explained, stifling a yawn and rolling to a sitting position.

“You should fly up above the clouds. Get some of that nice sunshine,” Chloe said, bouncing down on to the bed beside Clark.

“If the sun’s not out tomorrow, I will.” Clark yawned again.

“Well, tonight’s the ball. Best get up, Sleepy Head. You’ve got a fitting,” Chloe said with a mischievous grin.

“No. Not with the two of them. They take forever,” Clark said, shaking his head.

“Fear not. They already decided that they are putting you in red. You know. Because you’re home,” Chloe placated Clark.

“Fine. But I’m only staying for fifteen minutes. That’s it,” Clark warned darkly.

“You should take that up with them,” Chloe said, leaving the room.

Clark groaned. They were still going to take forever.

Clark sat in his room just before the ball. The nervous tension in the pit of his stomach had developed into full-fledged nausea. His head was resting was resting heavily in his hands. From what he’d heard, Lex had still not arrived.

Whenever he was in their line of sight, his parents descended on him to touch and hug, which was nice, but also extremely nerve wracking. He was going to tell them that he had been secretly meeting Lex for almost half a year, and that they wanted to be wed, but it was kind of hard to do when they were cuddling him. If they gave him a little breathing room, he’d probably have a better chance.

Not to mention that now, they were surrounded by the entirety of Smallville and several visiting nobles while they waited for him one floor below.

He heard a low noise and jumped high in the air.

“Hello?” Clark called.

The small servant door opened, and a green glow emitted from it.

“Hello?” Clark called again, getting up and inspecting the doorway.

He felt an odd sensation under his navel drawing him toward the door.

Clark drew nearer, and the sensation grew until he felt numb.

Clark’s brain rebelled, but his body moved to the servant’s hallway and up the stairs that had not been there before. Toward the green glow.

His feet carried him up the stairs. It felt odd, like a tingling sensation that wouldn’t stop. He tried to look back the way he’d come, but he had no control over his body.

He finally reached what looked like a tower. He felt weak. Directly across from the door was a spindle. The point of the spindle was acid green and glowing brightly.

“Greetings, Clark.”

Clark felt some of his faculties come back to him at the familiar voice. He managed to whip his head in the direction it came from.

There sat Zod. He was relaxed in an overly large black arm chair. He had a small smile on his face.

“I know about your fairies altering the spell. But it is of no matter. True love. It’s a silly concept. There is nothing true to love. It’s chemicals of the brain. Nothing more. There is no such thing as one person for anyone,” Zod said dismissively. “Besides, you will be kept in my tower. I will be here to make sure none can pass, and that you will sleep forever, and never wake.”

Clark tried to summon up the power to blast Zod with heat vision.

“Ah, ah Clark. Unfortunately, as interesting as they are, your powers had to be halted. You can’t be controlled in a way I would like. I would like to have you by my side. To rule from ocean to ocean. But there are just some that are too set in their ways to be controlled. You wouldn’t kill someone. No matter how much I pushed.” Zod sighed heavily. “No matter. You are going to be as good as dead shortly.”

With a wave of Zod’s hand, Clark’s feet started walking forward toward the sickly green spindle. His veins stood out under his skin. They looked black and sickly as he neared the point.

Clark tried to jerk back. Back and away from the evil spindle. The spindle that would take everything from him.

But his hand lifted, reached out and he pricked his finger on the tip. He saw blood well from the small prick before his world went back.

Chapter Text

“Clark? The ball’s starting,” Martha said, entering Clark’s room. Her eyes fell on the servant’s door that was still open and emitting a sinister green glow.

“Oh god! No!” Martha yelled as she raced across the room to reach the door- just as it shut.

Martha yelled and pulled at the handle sharply. “Give him back!” she cried as she slumped against the door.

Guards came crashing into the room, their weapons held high- ready for a fight. “He got him. He took Clark,” Martha whispered. Her eyes were unfocused, looking at the floor.

Jonathan came rushing in. He glanced around the room and focused on Martha, who was slumped against the servant’s door. He crossed the room and gathered Martha up in his arms. “It’s going to be okay. He’s not going to die,” Jonathan murmured into her hair.

Jonathan pulled her away from the door, so that the guards could get to it. John strode forward and pulled the door open. Behind it, there was just a normal servants’ hallway. He glared at the hallway as if he could will it to go back to what Martha had seen.

“Go get the fairies. Maybe they can make head or tails of this,” John ordered gruffly.

Several guards rushed out, calling for Lana, Lois, and Chloe.

When the three fairies rushed into the room, Jonathan had pulled Martha over to sit with him on the bed. Krypto was resting by their feet, looking at the servant’s door and whining softly.

“That son of a bitch!” Lois cried out, hitting the wall. Jonathan looked up to see Lois’s seething face.

“We’ve got a plan, remember? We planned for this,” Lana said quietly. Martha looked up at her with a tear streaked face.

“Even if he got Clark, he’s not dead. He’s just in a deep sleep. It’s going to be fine,” Chloe said reasonably. “The girls and I are going to figure this out.”

The girls huddled close. “The plan?” Lois asked, brows raised.

“The plan B plan. It’s not like there is really a choice at this point,” Chloe said.

“Plan B, as in soulmate plan B?” Lois asked, skepticism heavy in her tone. “I know what we did. But that would require a soulmate to be known. That’s not exactly something we can find easily.”

“It’s Lex,” Chloe said, her voice confident.

“How do you even know that?” Lana asked, eyes narrowing slightly at Chloe.

“They’ve been meeting in the forest,” she said matter-of-factly.

“How the hell do you know that?” Lois asked, her voice strangled.

“I went to find Clark one day and heard them. They were laughing and Lex was leaving. They said they’d see each other the next day. I figured it was a thing. Then when Clark came back late a few days ago, I saw that blush. That wasn’t a ‘I fell asleep’ blush. That was a ‘I got laid’ blush,” Chloe said, shrugging. “How did you guys not catch it?”

“I don’t know. We weren’t looking!” Lana hissed.

“Well, regardless… It’s Lex. And he should be here. Probably trying to find Clark as we speak. So let’s get with the putting everyone to sleep and send Lex on his way,” Chloe said, pulling away from the huddle.

Martha and Jonathan looked at them expectantly. “We’ve got a plan!” Chloe announced cheerfully. “Clark’s going to be back here in no time.”

“What is it? When are we leaving?” Jonathan asked in quick succession.

“That’s the thing. It’s kind of an ‘us… not you’ type of thing. So…. Yeah.” Chloe winced slightly but raised her hand and Jonathan and Martha slumped over in sleep. Lana and Lois were handling the confused guards. When everyone was asleep, Chloe spoke up again.

“Well that was fun. Let’s get this show on the road,” she said and left the room with Krypto hot on her heels, leaving the other two to follow her grumbling.

The ballroom went silent, staring at the door the fairies had just burst through in a flurry of motion. They skidded to a stop at the top of the stairs. “Hello, all. Would Lex Luthor please come here? We have something important to discuss. About his fiancé,” Lana said, strained smile firmly in place.

Lex pushed his way through the crowd and up the steps. Krypto licked his hand excitedly, whole backside wagging furiously.

“Ah, good. You are here. Thank you, folks- you’ve been fab,” Chloe said. As the three fairies waved their hands in the direction of the crowd, the party-goers all slumped to the floor in slumber.

“What’s going on? Have you been possessed?” Lex asked, looking at the sleeping guests.

“No. But Clark has- well, I guess he hasn’t actually been possessed, so much as cursed. But that’s not the point. Only true love’s kiss can break the spell and you are it,” Lois said, hands raised in a ‘what are you going to do’ manner.

“I thought the curse had lapsed,” Lex said, raising a brow at them.

“Here’s the thing about curses- once in place, it’s kind of loose the rules of time around them. Which is why we had a plan B. See, when we took Clark away it was more about what he would happen upon. Because soul mates find each other easier without others present. No one gets confused. It’s like a magnet. If you have lots of metal it’s all going to be attracted to the magnet. But, if you’re only looking for something like, steel, then you’re going to have issues find that particular metal. Okay, I can’t actually figure out how that was going to work out. But you get the picture. You wouldn’t have found him, if you were meant to be,” Chloe said.

“What did that have to do with anything?” Lex asked.

“How about we move as we talk? I think I know where Zod may be,” Lana said, gesturing towards the door.

Chloe nodded and headed that way, leaving the others to follow after her. “Well, you see that was part of the plan. Well, plan B. Plan A was to hope that enough time elapsed that Zod would forget all about the penance stuff. As that’s not the case, plan B became the new plan,” Chloe explained as they strode through the castle.

“Plan B?” Lex asked, his voice taking on an annoyed tone.

“Kick Zod’s ass and break Clark’s curse with true love. You provide the love. We kick Zod’s ass- with your help,” Chloe said with a chipper smile

They got to the stables quickly. Lex saddled Porsche and mounted her quickly, directing her to join the fairies at the front of the stable.

“The dog?” Lex asked, looking at Krypto dancing frantically around their horses.

“He’s coming,” Lana said with a wave in the dog’s direction.

The castle that Zod had chosen had been long abandoned before he took it. Ivy and weeds had taken over the outside. It was only about three hours’ hard ride from Smallville. With magic, the need to stop was negated.

They came to a stop at the entrance.

Lex slid off of his panting horse, patting her side briefly.

“Get Lex a sword,” Lois said sharply, glaring up at the castle.

Chloe touched Lex’s shoulder; he turned to see her holding out a silver sword. “Thank you,” Lex said, taking the sword from her.

“Let’s get him,” Lana said, bringing up the rear.

The doors opened of their own accord.

“Ah. I was expecting more fighters,” Zod said, stepping through the overly large front doors. “You dare challenge me? Zod? The great and powerful? You will be crushed by my might.”

Lex straightened, lifting the sword in a defensive position.

“You are the one to raise a sword? You possess no magic and you dare to think that you could defeat me.” Zod laughed, hands on his hips and head thrown back. “You all make me laugh. Your fairies, making attempts at magic- and you most of all, Prince Luthor of the land of Metropolis. You a mere human- you have no hope of destroying me.”

Lex stood his ground, his eyes narrowed at Zod. He took a step forward. Only to be frozen with Zod’s raised hand.

“Halt. You will bow to your better,” Zod said, glaring at the quartet.

Lex resisted, lowering the sword, his hands starting to shake on the hilt. His arms ached under the strain.

Lana, Lois, and Chloe looked pained but weren’t trembling terribly. Their hands reached out to clutch at each other. They focused past the command to bow, past the halt command echoing in their heads, to the pure white magic deep inside of themselves.

Chloe eye’s darted to her friends.

Lex still stood but a sweat started to break out over his brow.

Lois stood stock still, her eyes facing Zod.

Lana was gnawing on her lip, eyes fixed on Lex’s trembling form.

Chloe started to push at the magic building up between the fairies. Pulling her friends’ magic with it. She focused on freewill. Giving them all back their free movement.

Lex’s was startled when the effort of staying upright was no longer an effort.

Zod growled angrily. “You may have beaten my commands but you shall not beat me. Zod is stronger than you,” Zod intoned deeply.

Lana growled, throwing a heavy burst of magic to cover the ground in fog.

“We will finish you. You can’t fight us if you can’t see us,” Lois cried out into the mist.

Lex stepped forward cautiously. Under the haze of fog, he couldn’t see Zod but he knew the direction. He slowly crept around where Zod last stood. He breathed slowly and slipped closer until he could see Zod’s large dark figure in front of him. Raising the sword high, he slinked close.

“Ah, you didn’t think it would be that easy, now did you, Prince Luthor?” Zod said before Lex was jerked back and thrown into the ivy covered walls.

Lex cried out as his head cracked against the wall. He slid down the wall to crumple on the floor.

“Lex! You okay?” Chloe called.

Lex groaned, rolling to his front. Slowly, he pulled himself up. He rubbed the back of his head, coming back with a red sticky hand. Lex groaned again.

Lex started when he saw a bright flash of light where he knew Zod had been standing.

“Fire cannot harm me,” Zod laughed again.

Lex growled.

“Zod! You are not almighty. Everyone dies,” Lex snarled, teeth bared in a grimace. He limped forward to the dark shape in the mist.

Zod turned in his direction. “You dare to belittle me?! I am Zod.”

“Throw everything at him!” Lex yelled.

Zod was met with a barrage of fire, ice, and lightning. With Zod turned back to deal with the fairies’ magic, Lex rushed forward, lodging his sword deep in Zod’s side with a battle cry.

Zod eyes opened wide, his mouth dropping open in shock. He gurgled and blood came from his mouth, dripping down his chin.

The mist was quickly dissipating. Lana, Chloe, and Lois were striding over.

“Zod cannot die,” Zod choked before he slumped over, eyes open and unblinking.

Lex panted, holding his side tightly.

“He’s dead,” Lois said, kicking Zod’s body gently.

“Where’s Clark?” Lex asked, looking at the fairies.

They looked up at the large castle before them. “In the highest tower, I’d imagine. He was one for theatrics, wasn’t he?” Chloe said, gesturing toward Zod’s body.

“How about we’ll deal with this and you go find Clark. Trust your instincts. It will lead you where you want to go,” Lana said, touching Lex’s arm gently.

Lex winced but nodded and started into the castle.

In the highest tower of the abandoned castle, Clark lay sleeping on a dirty blanket. He was completely still.

“Clark,” Lex choked out, looking at the prone body. He limped forward slowly, his breath caught in his throat. He stood before the bed, waiting for Clark to breathe. He breathed a sigh of relief as Clark’s chest lifted slightly.

“You are going to be the death of me,” Lex said, not unaffectionately. He sat on the coverlet taking Clark’s hand in his.

Lex leaned over to hover his mouth above Clark’s. “I love you too, Clark. It scares me sometimes, how much,” Lex murmured, before he covered Clark’s lax lips with his own.

Clark’s eyes snapped open at the feel of someone’s lips against his.

Lex pulled back to see Clark’s wide unfocused eyes. “You’re awake,” Lex breathed. He almost hadn’t believed it. He’d though that this was only going to end in tears- that he wasn’t meant for Clark.

“Lex. You saved me,” Clark said in awe.

Lex smiled. “I did. I think that affords me some liberties.” Lex lowered his hand to capture Clark’s mouth with his own again.

Clark’s sighed into the kiss, letting Lex’s probing tongue in.

Lex pulled back, to place kisses all over Clark’s face. He returned to hover his mouth over Clark’s.

“We should get you home,” Lex sighed against Clark’s mouth.

Chapter Text

Clark flew alongside the horses as they made their way back to the castle, this time at a much more sedate pace. Even so, Lex winced as he was jostled slightly by Porsche.

“He’s gone? Completely?” Clark asked, reveling in the sunlight.

“Yes. He’s gone. Never to return,” Lois said. She and the rest of the fairies looked exhausted.

“Lex. Are you sure you’re alright to ride?” Clark asked worriedly, looking at Lex’s bloodied head and drooping eyes.

“I’m fine, Clark. I shouldn’t go to sleep right now- I’ve got a concussion. Of that, I am certain,” Lex sighed quietly. He’d really like to go to sleep.

Clark sighed and rubbed Lex’s arm gently.

Chloe surveyed the slumbering party guests as they came inside. The light outside now low. They’d been asleep for two days.

“I say we wake the physician for Lex first and then the king and queen. Then everybody else,” Chloe said.

Lois nodded. “I agree. That would be best.”

“Lana, go with Lex to the physician. You too, Clark. We’ll bring Jonathan and Martha to you,” Chloe said with a shooing motion.

Once they were out of sight. Chloe turned to Lois. “Not it,” she said quickly.

“No. I will not be breaking the news that Lex Luthor is Clark’s soulmate. You don’t get to call ‘not it’!” Lois groaned, shaking her head.

“If it makes you feel any better, Martha has no problem with Lex. They just aren’t too fond of Lionel,” Chloe said with her hands raised defensively. “I can’t take it back. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Nothing can be done about it. Also they were already together. So it’s not really our fault.”

Lois growled. “You are a she-demon,” she said, stalking away in a huff.

Martha and Jonathan blinked awake slowly. Then they suddenly jerked to a sitting position. “Clark!” Martha exclaimed.

“Is fine. He’s down with the doctor. As is his savior,” Chloe said with a sly smile.

“Who? Who is it? Do you know? How’d you find her?” Jonathan asked in rapid fire, standing up.

“We found him here actually,” Lois hedged, wincing slightly.

“Well, who is he?” Martha asked, impatiently.

“Why don’t we all go down and see Clark and his soulmate, hmm?” Lois asked, wearing a strained smile.

Jonathan narrowed his eyes at Lois. “It can’t be Lionel Luthor?” Jonathan said, his tone slightly worried but also incredulous.

Chloe giggled slightly as Lois ran a hand over her face. “He’s younger than that. Young enough to be Lionel’s son,” Lois said, weak smile lifting the corners of her mouth. “Let’s wake up these guards, shall we?”

Chloe was covering her mouth to hold in giggles but helped to revive the guards. Martha and Jonathan looked on in silent shock. When they were done, the fairies turned to the King and Queen. “We put you to sleep so you wouldn’t worry. He dealt with Zod. Won’t darken this doorstep again,” Chloe informed them, helping the last guard to his feet with an apologetic smile.

“You killed him?” Martha asked quietly.

“Lex did. Then he limped up the highest tower to wake up Clark,” Chloe said. “Wow… That…really sounds like Clark is just lazy. Not…you know, cursed.”

“And he’s fine?” Martha asked again.

“Clark is perfect. Wasn’t even in the fight. Not even near it,” Lois supplied.

“I’m going to see my son… and his… Prince Luthor. Jonathan?” Martha said, standing up and looking expectantly at her husband.

“Yes. I’m coming too.” Jonathan nodded, taking Martha’s warm hand.

Chloe and Lois followed, with several knights trailing behind them.

Lana, Clark, and Lex looked up at the soft knock at the door of the physician’s rooms. “Come in!” the physician said cheerily. “Now, Your Highness, I think that you need some rest. But you need someone to wake you up every two hours. I’ve wrapped your ribs- so no strenuous activities for the next two weeks. You could damage your ribs more if you ignore my rules.”

Martha, Jonathan, Chloe, and Lois stood inside the doorway, awkwardly bunched close.

“Mom!” Clark smiled brightly. He left Lex’s side to gather his parents in a tight hug.

“Clark, how are you?” Martha mumbled, throwing her arms around him.

Jonathan patted Clark on the back.

“I’m here.” Clark smiled. “And there’s someone that I’d like you to meet.” Clark pulled back and directed them to come further inside the small examining room.

“Lex, these are my parents. Mom, Dad- this is Lex, my fiancé,” Clark said with a wide smile.

“Jonathan, Martha- it is good to see you again. And in fairly good circumstances this time,” Lex said, raising his hand.

Jonathan took it. “Thank you for saving Clark,” he said earnestly.

“I had to. I couldn’t leave him there. He’s…” Lex trailed off, looking away from the Kent family.

Martha looked hard at Lex then gently wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you, Lex,” Martha murmured, placing a kiss on his cheek even as she pulled back.

Lex looked startled at Martha. He took a deep breath.

“Clark is my everything. I strive to be better because of him. I would like to marry him-” Lex paused glancing at Clark, “-you. I want to marry you. I love you. But I need your permission, Your Majesties,” Lex finished, looking Jonathan in the eye.

“And you have our blessing,” Martha said surely, not even looking at Jonathan. “As long as that’s what Clark wants. However, I would like to make it known that we had better get some grandchildren from you.”

Clark blushed, looking at his feet. “I want to marry him. I want to be with him for the rest of my life,” Clark said softly. Then, to Lex, “I love you.” Clark looked up at Lex with a small smile.

Lex slid off the examining table slowly, wincing as he did so and holding up a hand to waylay Clark from assisting him. When he was standing on his own feet, Lex pressed a soft kiss to Clark’s mouth.

“When?” Lex asked, pulling back from Clark slightly.

“When you’re healthy,” Clark said with another quick kiss.

Chapter Text

Both in dressed in white, Lex and Clark stood facing each other in a full chapel- Clark with a wide toothy smile, Lex with a small secret smile.

“I do,” Lex said, enunciating clearly for the packed chapel.

They were largely ignoring the man that was marrying them- only answering or repeating whatever they were needed to.

“I do,” Clark said with a bright smile.

“If we could exchange rings.”

Chloe stepped up with two simple golden bands.

Lex took Clark’s ring, the larger wedding band, and then took Clark’s shaking hand in his own.

“I love you,” Lex murmured, so only Clark could hear. Clark’s hand slowed its shaking slightly and his grin turned even more blinding.

Lex slid the ring on.

Clark reached for the other ring and, with a deep breath, he picked up Lex’s hand and slipped the ring on his finger.

“I love you too,” he said quietly.

The rest of the ceremony passed in a bit of a blur for the grooms. They heard ‘You may now kiss the groom,’ and with a sly grin, Lex kissed the corner of Clark’s mouth chastely.

Clark laughed and pulled Lex back to press a firm but chaste kiss to his mouth.

They left the chapel to the cheers of their subjects and quick hugs from Martha for both Lex and Clark, a hug from Jonathan for Clark, and a firm handshake for Lex.

Clark moaned loudly as Lex alternated between lapping at his neck and biting down harshly.

Lex was slowly divesting Clark of his clothes while he remained fully dressed.

“Your clothes,” Clark said brokenly as Lex’s hand slid down to his groin, pressing hard against the hardness there.

“I believe that would be your task. I accomplished mine,” Lex said, his smile sharp and teasing.

Clark whined low in his throat. He reached up, gripped the top of Lex’s waistcoat on either side of the front seam, and yanked.

The sharp tearing noise made Lex pull back and glare at Clark. “Those were excellent clothes,” he growled.

Clark laughed and pulled Lex back down to meet his mouth. “Not anymore,” Clark said, pulling back with a smile.

Lex sighed. “What am I going to do with you?”

“Have your way?” Clark asked, tearing Lex’s pants as well.

Lex groaned but nodded. “If I must,” he said. With a heavy, put upon sigh, Lex removed the rest of Clark’s clothes and settled comfortably between his legs.

“I love you, Lex,” Clark said, eyes shining with happiness.

“I love you too, Clark. So much,” Lex said before he descended on Clark.

--END--