As We Lay
As we lay
We forgot about tomorrow as we lay.
Clark’s eyes flew open, then squeezed shut in deference to the light glinting off the array of surrounding crystals. The next time he opened his eyes, he was more cautious. Morning. Was it the intensity of the polar sun that had woke him?
A hummed whimper gave him the answer.
He looked over to see that he wasn’t alone. Next to him, in Superman’s secret abode, was none other than evil mastermind Lex Luthor. Both were naked on the crystal platform with nothing to cover them. Coverings weren’t needed; the A.I. kept the environment at a comfortable temperature no matter the circumstances. The room had been cooler when they had been, um, more energetic, and when they’d fallen asleep, the temperature had been raised. It was increased again as Lex gave a shiver.
But Clark knew the shiver was not because Lex was cold. It was because Lex was in shock…and heartbroken.
“It’s okay,” he whispered as Lex whimpered again, stroking the lean back curled away from him. “It’ll be okay.”
It was a lie, but Lex settled down and Clark kissed his shoulder, wrapping his arms securely around him.
The Justice League as a group turned from the large screen to stare at their returning member. “It’s bad, Kal-El,” Wonder Woman said softly.
Only Martha’s upbringing kept him from telling the Amazonian princess, “No shit, Sherlock.” Bad could not explain the sight of Lex Luthor in a room, surrounded by bloody, and obviously dead, bodies. Bad could not explain the body he was hunched over, a small body equally bloody, equally dead, but different in that it belonged to Lex’s nine-year-old daughter.
“The tape is live. We used a backfeed to tell us what happened,” Batman stated matter-of-factly. “The five dead men present in the room kidnapped Luthor and his daughter. They were sent by the Alazar Alliance.”
The Alazar Alliance wanted Metropolis as its North American drug headquarters. They thought if they could waltz into Superman’s territory and set up shop that they would be unstoppable. But Metropolis was more than just Superman’s territory; it was Lex Luthor’s, and it hadn’t mattered to him whether their actions were aboveboard legal. Superman cared about justice. Luthor cared about getting them the hell out of his city.
Apparently two unmovable forces had met when the third force had been offworld.
“Why didn’t someone here stop it?” Superman asked, keeping his tone rather reasonable.
“We hoped they would take each other out,” Batman said calmly.
“Despite the presence of a nine-year-old innocent?”
Superman cocked an eyebrow at Wonder Woman, surprised at her impassivity. She usually showed some caring when it came to female children. Seemed to him it was past time she went home to her gynocratic island.
“If this is live, why hasn’t someone gone in and cleaned up your ‘error’?”
“You can’t see it from here, but Luthor has a gun. He threatens to kill himself when anyone enters.”
“And that’s a problem?” Superman asked bitterly.
Batman shrugged and the rest looked at the floor.
Superman closed his eyes as he felt the fury building up inside him. When he opened them, he knew he’d never see the inside of Justice headquarters again.
“Fuck all of you,” he said quietly and left.
“Luthor.” He’d moved quickly to Lex’s side so that if he went for the gun he could stop him.
But Lex left the gun on the floor and looked up at Superman. “They killed my baby, Clark,” he said softly and away from the camera.
Clark knelt beside the distraught father. “I’m so sorry, Lex. I was with J’onn J’onnz, a problem with the lunar station.”
Lex straightened the bodice of his little girl’s dress. It was stiff with the blood that had poured from the gash in her neck. “She was all I had. She was going to be the best of the Luthors, you know. I tried to raise her to be like my mother…and yours. I always meant for them to meet. Martha would have liked her, don’t you think?”
“Mom likes all children. She wanted to meet her, too. The announcement of her birth is in the family album.” Clark gave a weak smile. “Although we went separate ways, Mom still considers you part of the family.”
“Every family has its black sheep.”
Clark cleared his throat. “Speaking of family, your wife is outside. She needs you.”
“Upset is she?”
Clark was puzzled by the acerbic tone of Lex’s reply. “Her daughter’s dead. What do you think, Lex?” he asked harshly.
“I think she’s upset because she’s lost her meal ticket. I paid Laura to get pregnant. She got a bonus when she delivered safely. I paid for the plastic surgery to correct the ‘ill effects’ of pregnancy on a previously perfect body. Yearly bribes got her to be present for Lena’s birthday parties, and there were extras when she managed to make it to a parent-teacher conference or the Mother-Daughter Day at Lena’s school.”
Clark stared at both father and daughter with horror and pity.
“Lena was MINE--she didn’t need a mother, except for appearances. I promise you she was happy, Clark, and well-adjusted. Nothing like me when I was nine. Except that she’s dead, and I should have been. Where’s a radioactive meteor when you need one?” he asked with a sniff.
Clark swallowed hard and glanced at the cameras, knowing they were being watched. “We need to get out of here, Lex. Lena--“
“I know. I want her taken separately, not with the vermin who--I killed them, you know, after they... If I had done it sooner--“
“You were trying to protect her.”
Lex wet his finger and scrubbed at a spot of blood on Lena’s cheek. “And did a piss poor job of it, didn’t I? Maybe you were right in not trusting me.”
“I’m going to let the authorities in, okay?”
A nod as hands arranged the dark red curls that were eerily similar in color to the blood that pillowed her head.
A few hasty whispers and the room filled.
“Mr. Luthor, can you--“
“Mr. Luthor, where do--“
“Lex, I’m not a brood mare. I hope you don’t expect--“
Superman stepped between Lex and the horde. The horde merely stepped around Superman and continued their barrage of questions.
Superman scooped him up in his arms and flew away.
“Is it tomorrow?”
Clark looked at the sun. “Not in Metropolis.”
Lex gave him a deep kiss as he straddled him.
“Crystal power? Interesting.”
Clark watched Lex take in the structure of his Fortress of Solitude. He hadn’t really thought about where he was taking Lex when they flew off. He just wanted to take him somewhere--away.
“It is theorized that the lost civilization of Atlantis used the power of crystals. I’ve done some experiments, but they’ve been disappointing.”
“Considering Krypton blew up and Atlantis is lost, maybe crystal power isn’t the way to go,” Clark said dryly.
Lex just nodded and Clark knew he was doing calculations in his head.
“How long have you known? About me, I mean?” Clark asked curiously. He thought he had outgrown underestimating Lex.
“When have I not?”
Clark was stunned. “So your hatred of Superman was aimed at--“
Lex held up his hand to silence him. “I don’t hate Superman or any of the League. I just think you need reminders that you aren’t gods.”
We erred. Lex had a valid point--just as he had years ago when he speculated that Naman would get full of himself and Ziget would be the hero. There were no gods; just puffed up fools and their victims. “I’m quitting the League.”
“Because of this?”
“Among other things. We have set ourselves up as gods--judges and jury of all of you.”
“And you think that letting a self-righteous and overly-smug vigilante and the Queen Bitch--sorry, Princess Bitch have complete control is going to improve the situation?”
“Follow the lead of the three of you. Stay, and force everyone to think about their actions.”
“Beneath the costume, I’m still me, Lex.”
Lex smiled grimly. “I know exactly who you are. You are your father’s son, and I’m not talking about Jor-El. Just channel Jonathan when you need to kick the Bat’s ass. And if you can’t do it, call me. Bruce tends to actively forget that I knew him before he donned the rubber suit and cowl.”
Clark blinked. “Do you know everyone’s secret identities?”
“Your source of power is a yellow sun; mine is knowledge.” Lex leaned forward to study a set of crystals.
“That sounds like something your despot of a father would say.”
“Tsk, tsk. It isn’t kind to speak ill of the dead.”
“Lionel isn’t dead. Defanged a bit, but not dead. I’ve always wanted to ask--why in the world did you let him retain his holdings overseas after you took over LuthorCorp?”
“The euro was a horrible idea; they needed to be punished.” He moved over to stand before a viewscreen. With a wave of his hand, the screen came alive with a newsfeed.
“How--?” Clark started to ask. It had taken him weeks to figure out how to control the crystals without engaging the A.I. “Never mind.” He didn’t want to know just how close Lex was to harnessing crystal power for his own use.
“Lena didn’t like Lionel. Hated his facial hair.”
Clark was glad that Lex was mentioning Lena freely. Maybe he was starting toward grieving. “Because she wasn’t used to men with it?”
“Because she saw it as a mask to hide behind. Youth have a certain clarity to their thoughts that’s lost when clouded by the expectations and experiences of adulthood.”
“I would’ve liked to have met her.”
Lex snorted. “She thought Superman was pretentious and had bad fashion taste. She liked Clark Kent, though, when he wasn’t badmouthing her daddy.”
When Lex moved to peer at another set of crystals, Clark noticed his hands were still streaked with blood, and his clothes as well. “I know it looks pretty alien around here.” He ignored Lex’s eye roll. “But I convinced the A.I. that I preferred a traditional Earth-style bathroom. Would you like to take a shower or a long soak?”
“Kal-El, I think there’s something wrong with your guest.”
Clark didn’t wait for more information. He sped into the bathroom and found Lex curled into a ball beneath a torrent of steaming water. He snatched him from the shower and sat him on a towel-covered toilet lid. Lex’s skin was hot to the touch and bright red.
“Burn cream,” Clark ordered aloud. The A.I. could make any chemical compound.
“Unnecessary,” Lex said, his head bowed and eyes closed.
“But--“ Clark stopped. The redness was already fading. “Wow.”
“The healing has become much faster as I age.”
“But you’re not. Aging, I mean. You still look the same as you did when you were thirty.”
“So do you.”
Clark nodded. No longer afraid to touch Lex’s back, he lay his hand on a thin, but muscled shoulder. “What happened in the shower?”
Lex shrugged. “Concentrating on pain keeps me from--concentrating on other things.”
“Oh, Lex, there has to be a better way,” Clark empathized.
The kiss took Clark by surprise, but he didn’t pull away--nor did he stay passive.
“For what?” Clark asked as he stroked the long back displayed before him.
“You broke your wedding vows.”
“My dad always did accuse you of being my greatest temptation.” The muscles beneath his fingers tensed. “I’m an adult, Lex, and I’m one of the strongest people on this planet. I’m not here with you by force or device.”
Lex remained silent.
“My mom had an affair.”
Lex raised up on his elbows to peer at him with concern. “You knew?”
“She told me. After Dad died.”
“Did you know--“ Lex shook his head.
“That the baby she lost would have been your brother or sister as well? I figured it out after her confession. The timing, and the way she reacted to your father after that--well, it all added up.” He urged Lex to lie flat again. “I don’t think any less of her, Lex. Your father was a compelling man, just as you are. Do you know why she told me?”
“Was she feeling guilty after Jonathan’s death?”
“No, she’d made peace with it. But you’d just ‘exiled’ Lionel to another continent, and I was blasting you for sending your father away when I would have given everything just to have mine back again. She told me you were probably being kind, getting Lionel out of the way while she was so vulnerable.”
Lex snorted. “I just wanted the old bastard gone.”
Clark licked one of the knobs marking Lex’s spinal column. “Tell me another one, Luthor.”
“How about--I think Lois is perfect for you.”
“I really do love her. You know that, don’t you?”
“I know, Clark. Trust me, I’m not about to go all Fatal Attraction on you after you drop me off at my penthouse.”
“The penthouse? But--“
“I bought the estate because of Lena. I’m never setting foot there again.”
All Clark’s tender ministrations were shot straight to hell as the sadness and tenseness descended upon Lex again. Damn, it looked like he was going to have to start from scratch.
“More lubricant,” he called to the A.I.
A superhero’s work was never done.
Although he felt as weak as if he’d been bathing in kryptonite, he could feel the tremors in the legs draped across his shoulders and knew he had to move before Lex had major cramps. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d come so explosively--if ever. There was a certain freedom in fucking a man, he thought as he gathered his strength, or at least in fucking a man who was as fast healing as Lex.
“Don’t,” Lex whispered as he moved to pull out of him. “Don’t leave me.”
“Your legs are tired,” Clark reminded him gently.
“Help me,” he begged as he tried to lower his legs without dislodging Clark. It helped that Clark was well-endowed and still snugly fit even without being in full erection.
“Better?” Clark asked when Lex’s legs were in a more natural position.
“You can’t take my entire weight, Lex.”
Clark found the full weight of Lex laying on him not only comfortable, but right. His arms wrapped around him and held him close.
Although they tickled, he made no remark about the warm tears that dripped quietly onto his chest.
Lex was a fierce lover, forcing Clark to feel sensations he’d never experienced before. Lois was very creative, but delicate in her actions. Lex was determined to push all three of them--himself, Clark, and Superman--to their very limits.
“I will be. We Luthors know how to roll with the punches.”
“You know if I could have--if I’d been here--“
“No. I thought losing Julian was bad, but this… I’m not strong enough to risk it again.”
“Your heart will heal eventually, Lex.”
“No. There’s too much scar tissue. In fact, I think that’s all that’s left--scars and scabs.”
“Which am I?”
“Definitely a scar. Scabs peel away; scars are immutable. Even when they are cosmetically removed, the damage remains.”
“You’ve been scarred, too.”
“I’m Superman; I’m invulnerable.”
“You’re Clark Kent; you bleed where the blood doesn’t show.”
“Were we too young for this before?”
“The question is--are we old enough now?”
“I’m not ashamed.”
“I haven’t felt shame in twenty years. So yeah, I guess we’re old enough.”
“Can you do that thing with your tongue again?”
“That ‘thing’ with my tongue? I might have to rescind my earlier assessment. Maybe we aren’t old enough.”
“I think you might be right.”
“What-- Oh! Jesus, Kent, if you have this recovery speed now, how the hell did you walk around when you were sixteen?”
“It wasn’t just kryptonite that had me tripping all the time.”
“’Thing’ with the tongue, right?”
“Ooh, yeah, Lex. Just like that. Mm, yes!”
“Is it tomorrow yet?”
“Do you want it to be?”
“Then tomorrow’s still a day away.”
“You wouldn’t be fucking me because you have a Daddy Warbucks fetish, would you?”
“Daddy--Oh, the song from Annie! Jeez, Lex, I must not be doing something right if you can still make connections like that. We’ll have to change that.”
“Oh shit, oh fuck! Claaark!”
“If the Superhero business doesn’t work out, you can always turn your A.I. into a dry cleaner. You’d never know I wore this suit to slaughter my daughter’s killers.”
Clark slid his arms around Lex’s waist and pulled him close to his chest. “Are you sure you’re ready to go back?”
“I have a child to bury, an enemy to defeat, and a League to publicly chastise. That should keep me busy for a while.” He rubbed a thumb across the hands meeting at his waist. “What are you going to tell Lois?”
“That Superman had to take Luthor away to calm down or else he would have destroyed the world.”
“There’s still a chance of that, you know.”
Clark shook his head. “You wouldn’t do anything to permanently mar your favorite toy.”
“I’m warning you now: I’m not interested in justice, but retribution.”
Clark flashed to the image of Lex bowed over the bloody body of his daughter. “Understood. I’ll keep the others out of your way.”
Lex smirked. “What happened to Martha’s curly-headed little boy?”
“A Luthor knocked him off a bridge and into another world.”
“Those Luthors are sons of bitches, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, but cute.”
Lex rolled his eyes. “Striking, perhaps. Handsome, if you push it. But cute? Thppt!”
Clark hugged him tighter. “If you need me, if you need this at any time, you have only to ask.”
“I won’t. Ask, that is. I’d fuck up Superman’s life in a heartbeat, but not yours, Clark.”
“And if one day I need you?”
“Have I ever been able to turn you away, Clark?”
They kissed, then Clark stepped back and Superman took his place. “Ready to go, Luthor?”
“Luthors are always ready, Superman.”
“Mr. Luthor! Mr. Luthor! Did Superman kidnap you to prevent you from getting your revenge on the Alazar Alliance?”
“Superman took me somewhere so I could grieve without your intrusive cameras.”
“Mr. Luthor! The people of Metropolis are living in fear of the Alazar Alliance because if they can destroy you, no one is safe in the city. Do you have anything to say to your fellow citizens?”
“As you can see, I am not destroyed. And as far as the Alazar Alliance is concerned, there’s nothing to fear there. Absolutely nothing. That is a promise I make in the name of my daughter.”
“Mr. Luthor, the Justice League--“
“Was not very helpful in this instance. One would hope that their prejudiced opinion of me did not get in the way of rescuing my young daughter. If that were the case, I’d say they were no better than the Alazar Alliance.”
Across the city, Superman watched Luthor disappear into the LuthorCorp Building, and Clark Kent smiled. Lex was strong. Lex was resilient. Lex was a survivor.
Lex--even though tomorrow had arrived, even though Laura was waiting in the penthouse and Lois was waiting in the newsroom, even though they were Superman and Luthor--Lex was his.
The sun had indeed come out.
As We Lay (as sung by Shirley Murdock)
And we slept the night away.
Now we can't turn back the hands of time (oh no).
Yes we've stolen this
We forgot to face, one simple fact--
We both belong to someone else
As we slept, the night away
Sunlight shines across your sleeping face (uh huh)
A new day,
Brings reality that we must go our
What a lovely night, we had (yeah yeah)
As we shared each other's love
We forgot about all the pain we'd cause
As we slept the night away.
As we lay
We forgot about tomorrow as we lay.
As we lay
We didn't think about the price we'd have to pay
( oh no, no no no no no no no)
And now it's time for us to say goodbye
Goodbye baby, you're leaving me,
I know you got to hurry home to face your wife
I would never, never want to hurt her no
She would never understand
You belonged to me for just one night
As we slept the night away
As We Lay
We forgot about tomorrow as we lay.
We didn't think about the price we'd have to pay...oh no hey
We should have counted
up the cost
But instead we got lost
In the second, in the minute, in the hour…
Hey hey, hey as we lay
We forgot about tomorrow, as we lay