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Second Chances

Title: Second Chances (Re-write of "Thirteen Going on Thirty")
Author: Hope Roy
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 11,870
Warnings: None, really.
Summary: Lex realizes that he didn't know what he had until he lost it. Written for the undermistletoe challenge!


At the sound of his name, Lex set down his newly poured scotch and turned towards the door. He really hadn't been expecting visitors, nor did he particularly want them.

"Clark," he greeted automatically, plastering a smile onto his face. "What are you doing here?"

Clark's smile brightened. "It's your birthday! C'mon, Lex, even you shouldn't be so depressed that your idea of a happy birthday is getting drunk."

Lex didn't think it wise to tell Clark that for most of his teenage years he'd added being high and having lots of sex to that list. But now, exiled to a backwater crap factory, he was reduced to simply getting very, very drunk. He was well on the way to doing so as well, though not nearly close enough, because the hurt he was feeling was still there.

He was a Luthor, and he wasn't supposed to feel hurt. But weren't birthdays supposed to be happy for everyone—even Luthors? Why should he have been the person who had to look back on every single birthday and remember how bad they'd all been?

His fifth birthday memories, for example, consisted of his dad needing to go to a meeting and then yelling at Lex for being disappointed. "Big boys don't cry, Lex," he'd snapped, pushing Lex off of him as he left.

Or his seventh birthday, when his mother had let him get a puppy. She'd said Lex needed a companion, but Lionel had taken one look at the floppy mound of brown hair and had commanded that it be taken away. No son of *his* was going to be so sentimentally attached to something that, in his eyes, held no value.

His ninth birthday hadn't been any better either, because that had been the year he'd lost his hair. Everyone had looked at him like he was a freak, and so he hadn't even had a party. Nothing had been right that year.

His thirteenth birthday was particularly fixed in his brain (though, certainly not in a good way), because that was his first birthday without his mother. His father hadn't even brought him home for it, and he'd been left at school, his friend Duncan his only companion. He could remember looking longingly after the main group of popular *normal* kids, wishing that for once he could just be like them.

By the time he hit his fourteenth birthday he'd started the happy tradition of not expecting his birthdays to be a joyous time, and so, figuring he might as well try and numb the hurt, he went out to get drunk. Actually, to be fair, his birthday wasn't so bad, but the morning after was hell.

On his sixteenth birthday the popular kids had beat him up, which just served to remind him that he wasn't one of them, but a peculiar outcast. So much for sweet sixteen.

For his eighteenth birthday Lex had gone clubbing, had gotten high, and had woken up in a back room covered in vomit and various other substances. Only his father's name had kept that one out of the press.

Sighing, he turned his attention back to Clark. "I stopped believing in happy birthdays a long time ago, Clark," he told his friend stiffly.

Clark frowned, but stepped forward anyway. "Not everyone is as cold as your dad," he told him seriously. "It's normal to just relax sometimes. Look, why don't we go out and do something? You know, to celebrate?"

Lex felt his chest unexpectedly tighten. What did Clark know about normal? "You're one to talk about normal, Clark," he replied darkly. Yes, perhaps he'd already gotten himself slightly drunk.

Clark's face crumpled, and wasn’t that really just an amazing thing? Clark, who lied all the time, who hurt people with his lies (though, admittingly, it was inadvertently) was hurt because Lex had told the truth to him.

Clark stepped back, a hurt look in his eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?" he asked, his voice quiet and wounded.

Lex laughed and swung his glass around a bit, letting some of the amber liquid slosh over the sides. It didn't matter anyway, because he could afford more since he wasn't *normal*. "You know exactly what I mean, even if you try and hide it."

"I may not be the epitome of normal, Lex, I know, but--"

"But what, Clark?" he asked sharply, cutting him across. "You lie all the time. I know there's something different about you, but you just don't trust me enough to tell me."

He knew it was irrational to be lashing out at Clark because of his hurt, but, damn, it felt good. Because, even if he was saying these things for the wrong reasons, Clark did lie, and he did do it all the time. Lex wanted to know why he was lying, because Clark was supposed to be his friend, and the lies really hurt.

And there was a good possibility that he was much more drunk than he'd thought.

"Lex, that's not true! I do trust you; you're my best friend!" he protested, looking slightly annoyed.

"I'd hate to see how you treat your acquaintances then," Lex replied.

"What's wrong with you!?" Clark snapped, reaching out a hand to touch Lex's shoulder. "Why are you acting like this?"

Confused, too pretty face, and wounded eyes, still too beautiful. Clark was lucky in so many ways—good friends, good family, an inconspicuous life—the list went on and on. Frustrated at that realization, Lex spun around and hurled his drink at the wall. He took great pleasure in watching the liquid splash out, staining the walls, as well as seeing the glass shatter. Clark jumped, looking at him like he'd gone crazy.

"What's wrong with me, Clark?" he shouted, shoving Clark's hand away from him. "I have had enough with trying to prove to the world that I'm good enough. And then you walk in here and tell me I'm not normal! Then, to top it all off, you have the audacity to lie to me *again*! Go to hell, Clark!"

He was too angry to feel guilty at the flash of pain he saw in Clark's eyes. Unfortunatly that just wasn't something he could deal with right then, and so he spun around and began to head out of the room. He heard Clark call after him, and a moment later Clark's footsteps could be heard behind him.

"Lex, come on—" Clark tried to say, placing a hand on his shoulder as he caught up to him.

He never finished the sentence, because Lex turned around and shoved him hard, resulting in Clark's falling back into the wall. "Get the hell out of my house, Clark!" he snapped, turning in the next door he saw.

Once again, not the most rational thing to do, but it felt so good to slam the door behind him, muffling Clark's cries for him to come back. "Shit," he swore softly, closing his eyes and leaning against the wall. *I'm really drunk*, he thought with a muffled laugh. And, damn, it felt good to be so. He just didn't want to think right now.

Still hearing Clark's yells from the other side of the door, he finally opened his eyes. In his haste to be alone he’d apparently ended up in a servant's apartment, at least if the décor was any judge. If he wasn't mistaken it might even have been the one that had been lived in by the gardener he'd fired after the whole fiasco with Jeff Palmer. Apparently after Jeff had begun talking again he'd told about some weird green rose that he'd found on the mansion's ground. Lex had gone to investigate and, low and behold, it was there. He'd fired the gardener on the spot.

"Stupid man didn't even clean the place out," he mumbled angrily, walking further into the apartment.

The place really was a mess. There was dust everywhere, and there were even some boxes still left sitting around. Sighing, he noticed that one was only half in the closet. He'd probably left a most of his garbage in there, Lex thought bitterly as he went to investigate.

Lex pushed the door to the closet open, sighing when he found more boxes on the floor. Another quick perusal revealed that the gardener had left some on the shelf as well. Grumbling all the while, Lex reached up to pull them down. As he did so, his watch—the one his mother had given him—caught on the shelf and snapped off. He swore softly, annoyed at having yet another thing go wrong for him that day.

He was so preoccupied with the watch that he didn't see the weird green dust until it was already too late to stop breathing it in. As soon as he did notice it, though, he quickly tried to get out of the closet. In the past few weeks he'd learned far too well that breathing in anything green in Smallville was a very, very bad idea.

Unfortunately, his retreat out of the closet got as far as the wall outside it before he began to feel suspiciously tired. The wall was solid beneath him, and so he grasped onto it, his fingers seeking a hold as he sank to the ground. "Stupid man," he mumbled again, refering to the gardener. What kind of moron kept green dust in his closet?

Lex's eyes began to feel too heavy to keep open, and he couldn't help but relax against the wall. He knew he really should stay awake, because it was bad to fall asleep after coming in contact with an unknown substance. And, damn, he could still hear Clark pounding on the door outside.

It would probably be a good thing if Clark broke the door down and came to check on him right now, he thought blurrily. Or, maybe not, he corrected himself, because he was tired and he wanted to sleep. Yes, he really, really wanted to sleep...


Lex could feel the morning sunlight on his skin, as well as the soft sheets against his naked body. Stretching slightly, he discovered that he felt good and not at all like he'd gotten as drunk as he had the previous night. Perhaps Clark had found him after all? Maybe the boy had a remedy for hangovers that he didn't know about. It wouldn’t surprise him, as Clark was truly a unique individual.

Thinking back to how he’d treated Clark the previous day, he inwardly groaned. He’d had no right to treat Clark like that, and he knew it. Perhaps he’d have to cut back on the alcohol, or, at the very least, bar visitors from his home when he was getting drunk.

Rolling over, Lex opened his eyes, fully expecting the dark wood and stained glass of his mansion. What he did not expect was exactly what he got: white sheetrock, standard glass, and a room that was obviously the best of the contemporary style that money could buy.

He hadn't expected the girl lying next to him, either.

Damn it, he thought bitterly as he rolled over. Where was Clark? Nothing was making sense, as he'd had to have gotten out of the gardener’s apartment somehow. Or maybe he'd woken up and Clark had been gone? Had he later gone to a club or something? And why couldn't he remember anything at all?

"Morning," the girl said from next to him, her eyes flickering open. Lex swore when he realized she was awake. This was not what he wanted to deal with right then.

"I know this was supposed to just be a one night thing," she said smoothly, "but maybe we could try again sometime."

Lex quickly wrapped a sheet around his waste and climbed from the bed. "I don't think so," he said dismissively as he shed the sheet for a pair of what he assumed to be his pants, which had been lying at the foot of the bed.

Her pretty mouth turned down in an annoyed scowl, and she quickly got up to retrieve her dress from beside the bed. Unlike Lex, she didn't bother to cover herself at all, but gave him a full show. When he still didn't respond to her provocative manner, she scowled more and put on her dress.

"I heard you were a real prick," she said malevolently as she headed for the door. "Have a nice life."

He watched her go out the door before hurrying from the room, going through an adjoining door to what he'd guessed correctly to be a bathroom. "Where am I?" he muttered softly. This definitely wasn’t his bathroom, nor was it any bathroom that he recognized.

There was a bathroom mirror that hung over the sink, so, suddenly having been struck with the fear that he’d mysteriously swapped bodies with someone or something, he looked to see if he was himself. He breathed a heavy sigh of relief when he saw that he didn't look too different--a little pale perhaps, but he assumed that was from the shock of waking up somewhere he didn't recognize.

His thoughts were interrupted by a tiny ringing sound, and if Lex had to guess he would have said it was a cell phone. The noise irked him, and so he tried to discover its source. After a few moments of looking through the bathroom, he realized that the noise was coming back from the bedroom.

He moved back out into the bedroom, letting his hearing guide him to where the phone was lying on the dresser. Strangely enough, he didn't recognize the phone, as it was obviously not his own. Perhaps the mystery woman had left it?

The only problem with that theory was that the caller ID said that the call was coming from Luthor corp towers.

Lex ran a hand over his head in frustration. He could account for waking up in a strange place with a strange woman, but having a different cell phone? Nothing was adding up.

He wanted some answers, so he reached down and answered his phone. "Hello?" he said. It took a little work to make his voice sound authoritative, and he was quite pleased when he succeeded.

"Where the hell are you!?" an angry voice snapped at him from the other end. "I can't protect you if I don't know where you are!"

Lex swallowed heavily, feeling like he'd just stepped straight into the Twilight Zone. As strange as things were, though, other people seemed to know what was going on, and so maybe it was best to try to play along. "Look, I'm not exactly having the best morning either," he replied irritably.

"Whatever, just get over here now."

Lex had to force himself to hold in a groan. Here he was on the phone with a woman he didn't know, and she was ordering him to go somewhere that he had no idea about. "Sorry, where am I supposed to be?" he asked, doing his best to make his voice sound irritated and annoyed.

"Whatever you took last night must have been good," the woman spat into the phone. "Damn, don't you remember? The roof Luthor corp towers? Superman?"

"Yes," he replied quickly, though he had no idea what she was talking about. And Superman? Was that some kind of code word? Had he been reading Nietzsche and just didn't remember it? "Yes, alright, I'll be there," he agreed, though he didn’t have to feign irritation this time.

It took him a moment to realize that she had hung up. As soon as he realized that he hurled the phone at the wall and watched as it made a significant dent.

He was in so much trouble.

At a loss for what else to do, Lex headed around the apartment until he found all the pieces of his suit that he'd apparently stripped out of the night before. He assumed that he'd stripped out of them the night before, anyway. Actually, the only thing he was really sure of right now was that Luthor corp was still in existence. He could only pray that Luthor corp towers was in the same place, because it didn't look like he had much of choice in having to go there.


Luckily for Lex, Luthor corp was in the same place. The building still rose up, cold and intimidating, like a foreboding guard over the plaza below. His father really had always known how to intimidate people, right down to the very architecture he used.

Lex had been relieved to find that he had ID cards in his wallet. While he'd never seen them before, and he certainly didn't remember posing for those pictures, they still allowed him access to all things that were apparently his. When no one looked at him strangely he became fairly certain that what he was doing wasn't a strange occurrence.

However, what it seemed that he was doing on the roof was definitely a strange occurance. Or, to put it more clearly, it wasn't at all normal. Of course, neither were the two woman who were waiting for him, at least judging from the serious amount of weaponry and the angry looks that they wore.

"Well, good morning, Mr. Luthor," the first woman greeted him sarcastically. Just from the way that she held herself Lex could tell she was strict and attentive to detail; her expression let him know that she was also not someone who took things lying down. "Hope and I were beginning to think that you'd dropped off the face of the earth."

The woman who was standing next to her shot him an annoyed expression, her lips pursing. Like her companion, she was dressed meticulously, right down to the way that they both had their hair tied back in tight braids, devoid of even a loose hair. Like someone I'd hire if I wanted a bodyguard, Lex found himself thinking.

"Right, well, while you were off sleeping, Hope and I set up the ray like you'd asked yesterday."

The ray? Lex didn't remember that either. Had he perhaps been sent to a parallel universe of some kind? Everyone here seemed to know him, though, so perhaps it was just best to play along and see what he could find out.

"Yes, please run through how the ray will work again," he requested firmly. Apparently this woman wasn't easy to fool, however, for she raised her eyebrow and looked at him like he'd gone crazy. "I don't want there to be any mistakes," he snapped, trying to sound like someone he thought this woman would listen to.

She rolled her eyes, but began. "The ray is programmed so that its beam is laced with trace amounts of Kryptonite. That building," she pointed to across the street to what Lex recognized as the Daily Planet, "is going to have a bomb threat in fifteen minutes. Superman will, as he always does, rush in to save the day. At that point we deliver him a nice little shot from this thing," she gestured to the ray, "and he will suddenly find his powers quickly diminishing. He will have time to land somewhere, but he will otherwise become unable to function for a time that we know to be longer than twenty-four hours. From there you will be free to conduct the rest of your business without interruption."

Superman? And he could fly? What was Kryptonite? Lex was beginning to get the distinct impression that he'd woken up in a nightmare. Still, what could he say? It could end up being detrimental to give away the fact that he didn't know very much about what was going on.

Knowing this, he simply nodded instead. "Is everything ready?" he asked, keeping his words steady. He would have really liked a glass of water, as his mouth had gone very dry.

"Right down to the last detail," the woman assured him, looking out to the sky. "We've only got to sit back and wait."


Waiting, Lex found, was the hardest part, especially when you didn't know what was about to happen. Still, it gave him time to think and figure things out, and he really did need to do that.

Nothing was making sense. One moment he'd been in the mansion, looking through the things that an old gardener had left. Clark had been outside the door trying to talk some sense into him. After that, well, he remembered breathing in some green stuff, falling asleep, and waking up...in bed with a woman that he didn't know.

He'd first considered the possibility that this was a dream, but he was now beginning to think that a dream was out of the question. It might seem plausible at first, but now as he thought back and remembered that the dust was green he thought he might have a better explanation.

Meteor rock was known for warping things. Would a time jump really be so out of the question? Clark had been there, after all, and strange and bizarre things did seem to follow the boy around.

The problem remained, however, that if this really was a time jump or an alternate dimension then he’d have a job getting home. Besides that, he had no idea if anything was the same here at all. Had he still been exiled to Smallville? Was Clark Kent still his best friend? Was his father still a controlling bastard?

"Mr. Luthor!" the woman shouted out, breaking Lex out of his thoughts.

Lex was on his feet in moments, running to the edge of the roof where the woman and her companion (Had the name been Hope?) were standing. "He's coming," Hope announced, moving away to get in position behind the ray.

What, exactly, was coming, though, was anyone's guess—or at least Lex's. He could tell that whatever it was, though, was something with no fashion sense. But even stranger than the bizarre costum was that it looked as though the man was flying. Lex quickly revised his theory of what had happened; maybe he'd just been really, really drunk and this was a side effect, because men just did not fly.

The sounds of metal groaning could be heard from behind him, and suddenly the man froze in mid-air. He was still too far away for Lex to really see his face, (or anything besides the fact that his costume was horrendous and that his hair was dark, for that matter) but he saw the hesitation as the man stopped flying. It almost seemed like he'd stopped to listen.

"What's he doing?" Lex asked, oddly fascinated.

"Shhh!" the woman hushed him angrily, though it seemed to be too late as the figure was already flying towards them. "Oh, shit," she swore. "Hope, get ready."

And, wow, could that man fly fast. And at the speed he was baring down on them at, Lex sincerely hoped he could stop just as quickly.

Lex was able to make out more of him as he zoomed in closer. It seemed strange, but there was an odd "S" shape on his chest, and it looked like he was wearing his underwear on the *outside* of his costume. That, Lex thought, may have been one of the oddest things he'd ever seen.

The man's hair was most definitely of a darker shade, just as he'd thought earlier. He was clearly well built too, thought Lex didn’t have too much time to think on that, as he was quickly close enough so that Lex could begin to make out his features.

And he'd be damned if this person didn't look a hell of a lot like Clark Kent.

A split second later Lex was convinced that it most definitely was Clark Kent, as very few people in the world had Clark’s looks. And if this person truly was Clark, then Clark was about to get shot by some sort of energy ray. "Don't shoot that ray!" he shouted, spinning around to face the two women.

Both looked at him like he was insane, though neither stood down. Still, their hesitation seemed to be enough to give Clark time to reach the roof and smash the ray gun to bits with one powerful swing. Wow, Lex hadn't seen that coming yesterday.

"Will you never stop endangering people, Luthor!" Clark shouted, grabbing Lex by the lapels of his suit and giving him a slight shake.

The anger in Clark's eyes was unbelievable. It was so shocking that, for a moment, Lex forgot to breathe. This was not Clark Kent from Smallville who had just last week brought over the produce. No, this Clark Kent had an intimidating presence, sheer confidence…and was he ever breathtaking.

This, apparently, was what the edges of youth had been polished into. If possible, Clark's muscles had become even more well defined, and he'd managed to shake off that slight slump that he'd had. And his eyes—they'd sharpened to the point where they were crystal clear and looked like the sea when it was slightly green. This more adult Clark was perfect, even if the teenage one had also been in his own way.

"Clark," he whispered before he even had time to think of the repercussions.

That, it quickly became clear, had been a mistake. His words may have been quiet enough so that no one other than the two of them had heard it, but that didn't seem to matter. At Lex’s words fear jumped into those magnificent green eyes, and Clark's grip suddenly tightened. "You—how do you—?"

And then Lex was shoved away. A loud boom accompanied Clark's hasty retreat a moment later as he took off flying away from the roof, apparently having broken the sound barrier.

"What was that?" the woman spat angrily as soon as Clark was gone. "We had him—actually had him—this time. We spent months on that ray, and you let him win?"

"Mercy, we've got plans back at the lab," Hope pointed out. "We can build another."

"That's not the point!" she groused, glowering at Hope. "We actually had a chance this time."

Taking a leap of faith and hoping that Mercy might be some sort of assistant, Lex cut in asking. "Mercy, can you get some information for me?"

Taking a deep breath that seemed to be an attempt to calm her nerves, she nodded. "What do you need?" she asked, though her voice was still irritable.

"Everything you can find on Clark Kent," he replied quietly, his eyes going to the sky. "Everything."


Clark was, of all the possible things he could have been, a reporter. Lex didn’t think he could have picked a worse field to be in, as reporters were unbearably nosy, always getting into the personal life of others. There had been more than one occasion where Lex had wanted to kill one of them.

And his best friend actually was one.

Except that, whatever time period he was in, Clark didn't seem to be his friend. Actually, the opposite seemed to be true—in both of Clark's sides.

He hadn't had Mercy research Superman, because he wasn't sure if she knew he was Clark Kent. It didn't matter, though, because when Mercy had shown him back to the lab he'd found plenty on Superman. Clark was his enemy, and from what Lex saw in his lab, Clark probably had very good reason to be so.

The real Clark Kent—the one the world knew—worked with his partner and fiancé, Lois Lane. Winners of the Pulitzer Prize, they apparently often shared not only bylines, but the satisfaction of adding as many blemishes to his company’s records as was possible.

Lex didn't know what had happened or how, but somehow his world had turned upside down. He was surrounded by people that he didn't know, and, therefore, he could get no answers. The only place he could get answers from was the one person he still trusted and cared about, even if it seemed that his new (or was it current?) self did not share those feelings. Despite that, he knew he'd have to try to talk to Clark.

But would Clark even talk to him?

Lex had no idea what had happened between them, but he knew he'd be a fool if he didn't try to find out. Clark would undoubtedly have answers, and Lex needed them badly, because, no matter what they'd both done, he wasn't sure how he'd ended up in a world where he was Clark's enemy.

He suspected that Clark would be the only one who truly knew.


Clark lived in a nice apartment in a good area of town. Nothing special, really, but on a journalist's salary he probably couldn't afford much more. (Even if he could, Lex doubted that he'd want to live in a snobby uptown neighborhood.)

Using the information that Mercy had given him, he selected the correct flight of stairs that would take him to the apartment he wanted. Lois and Clark's apartment was supposed to be number twenty-two, and so Lex found the door with that shiny gold number on it. Taking a deep breath, he knocked firmly.

There was a slight commotion from within the apartment that sounded remarkably like something breaking. A few muffled swears could be heard, and then a woman's voice said, "Just let me see who that is. We'll figure this out, Clark, I promise."

The sound of muffled footsteps reached Lex's ears, and then the door creaked open to reveal a very attractive woman. She couldn't have been more than thirty, Lex reasoned, at least not if her utterly wrinkleless face and bright eyes were any indication. The way her dark hair framed her face did nothing to make her look older either. If this were really Lois Lane then Clark had apparently done well for himself.

As soon as the woman's eyes fell on him, however, they narrowed and her pretty mouth turned down in a scowl. "What the hell do you want?" she spat out. Apparently Clark had scored a personality to match the looks, Lex thought wryly.

"I want to talk to Clark," he replied, trying to keep the anxiety out of his voice.

"I bet you do!" she snapped, her eyes scintillating with anger. "But the last thing he needs right now is to speak with you." She paused and then said simply, "So get out."

"Hey, wait—" he attempted to protest as she went to shut the door. She would have succeeded in locking him out, had not a large hand caught the door and held it open.

"I'll take this," a voice that he knew all too well said darkly. "Just go back inside, Honey."

Lois spared him one last glare before glancing at Clark as she retreated. He gave her an affirmative nod and so, while she still looked skeptical, she turned and went back inside.

Clark's gaze turned on him, and for a moment Lex thought he was going to die. The same changes that he'd noticed in the face of Superman were there, though now they were somewhat obscured by glasses. Still, Clark’s eyes were fully visible and they were just as breathtaking as ever.

"Clark," he said, at a loss for words.

"What do you want, Luthor?" Clark asked coldly, and Lex had to flinch at the dislike in Clark's voice. Had things really become this bad between them?

Deciding that holding anything back really wouldn't help this situation, Lex immediately asked, "What happened between us, Clark?"

Clark's brows winkled in confusion, and his mouth turned down in a frown. "Excuse me?"

"I want to know why you so obviously hate me now!" Lex clarified, watching Clark carefully for any reaction.

"You know exactly what happened between us, Luthor," he replied icily. The way his face was filled with something akin to disgust made Lex flinch.

When Clark shook his head and turned to go back inside, Lex grabbed his arm. "No, wait!" he protested. "Clark, please."

Clark hesitated, and Lex immediately capitalized on his uncertainty. "Listen to me, Clark! When I woke up this morning I didn't know where I was! The last thing I remembered was getting drunk on my birthday, having you come to the mansion, and getting in a fight with you!"

Clark took a step back. His face was full of sheer surprise, and he looked at Lex like he'd gone crazy—at least until the look melted into skepticism. "I don't buy that," he said, once again turning to go.

"No, Clark—look, just, I don't know, go get a cup of coffee with me. We can talk, and if you still don't believe me than I'll leave you alone."

For a moment he was certain Clark was going to say no, and by the way his green eyes narrowed, Lex thought he still had quite the list of reservations. Even so, he counted it as a victory when Clark nodded, leaning back into his apartment to call, "I'll be back in a bit, Lois," before shutting the door and looking at him expectantly.

Lex swallowed down the bout of nostalgia that he felt as he looked at Clark. "You won't regret it," he murmured as he turned to lead the way to the street. "I promise."


Clark kept shooting him accessing looks as they made their way down from his apartment to the street below, but he said nothing. Clark’s silence was grating on Lex’s nerves, and so by the time they'd reached the street Lex couldn't stand the silence anymore.

"What happened, Clark?" he asked. "Why are we enemies?"

Clark laughed bitterly, but kept his eyes fixed on the ground. "People who view the world as we do—in two so very different ways—could never be friends."

"We were once," he reminded Clark as the coffee shop loomed into view, its cheap sign hanging out over the street in an urban greeting.

"There was a time when you were a truly good person," Clark told him with a shrug.

"What happened? I mean, when did we...stop being friends."

Clark laughed again as they walked into the coffee shop. The tiny bell over the door dinged, though no one looked up to see who entered. Typical city life, Lex thought disinterestedly as he watched Clark for his answers.

Clark was silent for a moment before saying, "You say the last thing you remember is getting drunk on your birthday and then ending up in the gardener's quarters? Well, do you remember coming out of those quarters and telling me to get out of your house and never come back? Or maybe you remember the part where, when I followed you upstairs, you threw your glass at me? Or maybe you remember a week later when you shut down the plant and went back to Metropolis?"

Lex swallowed hard. It seemed hard to believe that he'd done all that. Was this really who he turned out to be?

"Clark...I'm sorry."

"Small coffee, two creams and a sugar," Clark told the person at the counter. He glanced over at Lex expectantly.

"Um, same, except only one cream," he ordered without concern. He could care less about coffee at the moment.

As they waited for their coffees, each man was silent, lost in his own thoughts. Once the coffees came they selected a small table and sat down, still silent.

Lex was the first to break the stalemate. "Do you believe me when I say that I really don't remember?"

"Honestly?" Clark asked, glancing at him. "I don't know. You aren't exactly on my most trustworthy person list. In fact, I'm still not sure what I'm doing in a coffee shop with you."

Lex bit his lip slightly. To have become a person that even Clark Kent didn't want to be around—that was a pretty big insult. "It's the truth," he said, watching Clark carefully for a reaction.

Clark sighed, playing with the cardboard holder on his cup. The edges of it were beginning to fray a bit, and Lex guessed that Clark was putting a little more strength into it than a normal man was capable of.

"Let's say I believe that, Lex. Why come to me?"

"Because you're the only one that I trust," he answered honestly. "You were my only true friend, and now when I suddenly wake up in a world that I don't even know? Who else should I have gone to?"

Clark surprised him by laughing again, though the sound was not at all like the laugh of the kind, innocent fourteen year old boy that Lex had known. "Mercy or Hope maybe? They've been your closest confidents for years now," Clark pointed out.

"They're on my payroll," Lex replied blankly.

"That's the way you like it now," Clark responded bluntly. "That way you don't have any messy emotional attachments."

"What can I do to show you that I've changed?" he asked earnestly. He hated the way Clark was looking at him, like he’d lost all chance at redemption.

Clark, having apparently had enough, stood from his seat and made to go to the door. "Honestly, Lex, why does it matter? What are you hoping to gain now?"

"I want my best friend back," he said, surprised to find that it was an honest answer. "And I want to know how this happened—why my life is a total void, not to mention how I ended up like this."

Clark sighed as Lex accompanied him to the door. "Well, you developed a theory that Lois and I discovered a few years back. Actually, you were beyond pissed about the exposé we wrote on it." He paused to open the door and head out onto the street, Lex with him. "It was about the meteor rocks."

Lex nodded. "Alright."

"You theorized that whatever a person desired most at the time that they came in contact—though the type of effective contact was different for everyone—they would get. Like Jodi Melville got a way to become thin? Like Sean Kelvin got a way to get heat? Or like Ian Randall got the way to be in two places at once?"

Lex ran a hand over his head in frustration as he realized what Clark was saying. "The day of my birthday I was feeling like I wasn't in control of my life…and I was tired of you lying to me."

Clark nodded. "You're very much in control now, and you gave yourself the means to find out all you ever wanted to know about me."

"I've known you're...Superman for a while, haven't I?" he asked slowly, trying not to make it sound too terrible. The things he'd obviously done to Clark...

And what was worse was that a part of him was almost proud at what he'd accomplished.

He'd obviously accomplished so much, even if that wasn't a good thing. It seemed he'd done great things, yes, but not all great things were also good.

"Yeah, you've known for a while," Clark confirmed after a moment of silence.

"Why haven't I told anyone?" he asked hesitantly, almost afraid to hope for the answer he wanted. Because he really, really didn't want to believe that he'd betray Clark, no matter what the circumstance.

Clark shrugged. "Lois thinks it's because you don't want to loose that hold on me."

Lex nodded. "And what do you think?"

"I think that you worked so hard for so long to find out my secret that you're not willing to share."

That, Lex thought, feeling very embittered, was the much more probable reason. Even now, becoming what he'd become, he didn't want to share Clark.

Now, seeing Clark again, older like this, had caused him to take a good look at some of the things he'd kept hidden. Projecting what he thought his past must be like—at least based on what he had been up to the point he could remember and on what he was now—Lex wondered if he'd ever wanted to share Clark.

He'd been so deep in thought that he hadn't even noticed that they'd reached Clark's apartment building. Only when Clark stopped walking did he notice, and then he immediately felt a strange disappointment.

"Clark, I don't know what I did, but I want to make up for it," he said quickly.

Clark sighed and only looked at him sadly. "I'd truly like to believe that, Lex, I would. But even I've lost my faith after it was tried too many times."

Lex forced himself to swallow down his emotions. That was probably a knee-jerk reaction and the result of being raised by Lionel, but he couldn't stand to let Clark really see what he was thinking at the moment. So instead he simply settled for calmly and evenly saying, "I'll prove it to you."

That made Clark smile softly. For a moment Lex thought he was going to say something in reply to that, but then the moment was gone and he only said, "I'll see you later, Lex."

Lex watched as Clark turned to go back into his apartment. "Yes," he murmured quietly as he watched him go. "You will."


Part II



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
this is seriously just THE BEST THING EVER!!!!!
I came up with the idea of CLexifying this movie like over a year ago, and have BEGGED people to do it - its FINALLY been done - and SOOOOOOOOO *fabulously*!!!!

Small thing: several times you've written the word 'loose' (as in 'this tie is loose') instead of 'lose' (as in 'win or lose')
Dec. 7th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words! And you know what? I've always had trouble with the word "loose". I have no idea why, but I can never seem to pick it up when I go to look over my own stuff. That's usually why I use a beta, but I was kind of pressed for time here. Anyway, thanks for letting me know! (I'll fix it when I have a spare moment.)
Dec. 7th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
yay! I'm so loving this. Off to read Part 2.
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
This was too good. Now, I'm off to read part II. *g*
Dec. 8th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
I like the way Lex immediately started trying to prove himself to Clark, and him telling Clark that he never wanted to hurt him-sad that it didn't actually work out that way.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )