Memoirs Of An Alien Who Fell To Earth

by Dayspring

::I am Clark Kent, and I am Superman. By conventional methods of counting, I am not yet thirty years old. But since convention and I parted company at my first birth, I merely say I am past legal and leave it to the reporters and other "wise" men to debate, derive, and dissect my age from appearance, intellect, and behavior.::

I stop typing, reach for the mouse, and see the cord disappearing over the side of the bed. If Lex was around he'd laugh and ask if he needed to order a gargantuan-sized bed since it appeared even a kingsized bed wasn't big enough for me and my laptop when I was in sprawl-mode. Ha. Not all of us can be as elegant as he when we relax. His sprawls are decadent, sexy, yet...contained. But not as contained as he is when he's sleeping without me--tightly coiled, arms wrapped around his torso, knees drawn up. Sometimes when I return from patrol, I watch him, my heart bleeding because I know there must be a reason he's so defensive, a reason why he shies away from casual touch. Even after more than ten years of being lovers, if I reach for him unexpectedly, he flinches. Immediately I'll receive an apologetic look or a distracting kiss, but in the still of the night, with his hand resting on my heart and trusting me to protect him, I often worry about the dangers I'm too late to save him from, the freaks that had nothing to do with alien rocks, and the fears of a child that even age can't erase.

Sighing and berating myself for getting lost in thoughts of Lex when it's my own thoughts I'm supposed to be writing down, I tug on the cord to retrieve the mouse, highlight the text, then click delete. Pure dreck. The opening sounded like I got my degree from some J-school advertised in a colorful spam message rather than the prestigious Metropolis School of Journalism. Maybe nobody would ever read my memoirs, except Lex, but still, it didn't have to sound so...forced.

Keep it real, Kent.

Well, it could have started with "It was a dark and stormy night."

May have sounded better.

Shut up and write.

::If someone searches my records they will say I'm almost thirty, but the records aren't totally accurate because I was born four times. My first birth, my birth in fact, occurred on a planet the translations claim was named Krypton. Oh, I forgot to mention I was an alien, didn't I? Yes, a card-carrying, spaceship in the garage, talking-to-crystals alien who is only green when in the presence of a particular variety of meteor. Okay, maybe the card is a press card, the spaceship is more of a pod and is in a fortress in the middle of an Antarctic expanse, and the crystals actually talk back, but yeah, I'm an alien.

Because of some planetary peril/calamity/snafu, I was crammed into a small metal capsule and hurled through the universe, with a tagalong gaggle of galactic material trailing behind like royal attendants. I landed on Earth in a place called Smallville, and I was born for the second time when I toddled out of my tiny rocket and into the arms of Jonathan and Martha Kent. They took me into their hearts, christened me Clark, and I was reborn in love. Whatever happened in that first life no longer existed for me. Sure, it had made me different from Jonathan and Martha, in ways that far exceeded simple skin or eye coloring, but I didn't know why, and more importantly, I didn't care. I was loved, cherished, and wanted for nothing that actually mattered in life. Why question the differences? Why risk what I already had? I was comfortable in my second life, happy, loved, secure.

And then, I was born again.::

I smile and look around the room. Everything here--the comfortable mattress beneath me, the robe draped on the chair next to the window, the single comb on the dresser--reminds me of this birth and the importance of it to my life. Damn I was lucky to be exactly where I was that day--in the "rightest" wrong place ever.

::My third life began as dramatically as the second. Instead of landing to earth in a spacecraft, I was borne to it by a car at sixty miles an hour. A moment of introspection, typical teen angst if I'm honest, on a county bridge that was abruptly aborted by an out of control auto--and a pair of eyes that showed equal amounts terror, sorrow, and regret. To save the eyes, for another chance to look into their depths, I was reborn in strength. I'd known I was stronger than the general public for years, but that day I became something--more--than what I had been. I ripped back the roof of the car as easily as my mom opened a can of sardines, and from the depths of a cold river, I carried my prize and gently laid him on the shore. I looked at him, I performed life-saving techniques on him, but it was only later that I realized he was different, peculiar, odd. Bald, yet striking, dripping but looking less like a drowned kitten and more like he meant to be wet, and coolly--the word they used to use about a century ago was continental. Savvy, sophisticated, and utterly out of place in Smallville.::

Continental. Sometimes when I see movies set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, I picture Lex. I can see him as one of the aristocrats on the Titanic--my mom got the video when it went for half price at the video rental place and played it so often that I gave up on tuning it out--but he isn't one of those who shoves women out of the lifeboats. Lex, and he'd probably get mad if he knew I thought this, is a gentleman. People who've seen this side of him think it's an affectation he adopted as a business tactic, but it really is who he is beneath the surface, beneath the shell he's grown because of his father...and mine as well.

Dad obsessed on his name from Day One, as if by knowing Lionel Luthor, he instantly knew the singular soul of Alexander "Call-Me-Lex" Luthor. The sins of the father cast down upon the son. I didn't like it, never liked it, and even now, it's the only disappointment I have in my dad. I don't think he blames Lex for all my choices in life, but that he blames him for any of them is enough to cause the kind of tension I never wanted. No, we are not estranged. My parents are still my parents, and if I don't see them at least once a week, I call. Still, there is a hesitation and an uneasiness in our manner when we broach too close to certain subjects. Innocence lost--on both sides.

::That day was full of revelations. Pulling the roof off the car was incredible, but even more incredible was that I had survived the accident without so much as a bruise. What was I, I demanded of my mom and dad. And that was when I heard the story of my arrival with the meteors. The meteor story itself was a comfortable tale, talked about among the Smallville natives with a sort of "where were you when" attitude. Lana Lang, the proverbial and literal "girl next door," even seemed to feel her parents were somehow exalted when they were killed by the stones from heaven. So, I'd never really concentrated on why the meteors had fallen, or contemplated that maybe there was some taint to their presence.

The landing of my space pod, however, was not a omfortable story. I was fifteen, already feeling alienated because of being neither fully boy nor fully man. To find out I wasn't even human broke my heart. I pretended I wasn't completely blown away by the news. I pretended that as long as I had the love of my parents, I would be fine. But I wasn't fine. I was an alien, a freak. So what else could I do but seek out the only other freak in Smallville?

Okay, as a side note, I would soon realize that saying Lex and I were the only freaks in Smallville was similar to saying that the Nile was only wet in spots. But foresight is not one of my many gifts.::

My fingers pause on the keyboard. It wasn't one of my gifts but it could be one of Lex's. No, Lex hadn't come to earth in a spaceship--at least I don't think he did-- but gifted, yeah, he's that. Nearly fifteen years ago he said that he and I had a destiny, that our friendship would become the stuff of legends. So far, he hasn't been wrong. Despite all the things and people we are to each other, we are still friends.

We always will be.

::My alien gifts were mainly of the physical variety-- exceptional strength, sight, hearing, and the ability to move faster than the human eye could see. The only time I delved into the metaphysical was with the help of a seer by the name of Cassandra. By holding her hands I tapped into her visions and basically, I hated what I saw. Graves. Lots of graves. Graves of everyone I loved--except for Lex's. I still don't know what that means, but even then it gave me hope.

In the months and years that passed, I discovered that the meteors, my attendants, weren't as benign as many thought. They caused--mutations. Lex was hairless because of them, and several of my classmates suffered much worse changes. A girl named Tina sucked fat from people. A boy turned into an insect. Another boy became invisible. Even the teachers weren't immune. The football coach could cause stuff to burst into flame. And what all these freaks, and many more, had in common were the meteors--and me. I was the one who stopped them. I was the one who had to save Smallville from the evil I had drawn down upon it.

A big responsibility for a then fifteen-year-old. But I had my parents...and I had Lex. Lex was strong in ways I had never considered. Strength to me meant having the muscle to lift bales of hay and shove meteor-monsters around. Lex's strength came from a different place--his mind. He thought his way around obstacles, and his will was indomitable. He was then, and still is, a force of nature. Even those in Smallville who hated the Luthor name had to respect Lex. He demanded it from the carriage of his body to the deliberate facial expressions. Despise me, fear me, but give me my due-- that was the aura Lex projected. It was very similar to his dad's personal message board but different. Lionel was a tornado, simply destroying everything in his path. Lex was a strong wind--leaving nothing uprooted, but everything leaning his way. A kinder, less destructive force, but no less powerful.

So yes, I freely admit that Lex "bent" me, and I thank him for that. His influence was probably the only reason I didn't snap when the next storm blew through, the only reason I was reborn again and not miscarried.::

I get up and pace the bedroom, ignoring the computer for a moment as flashes of memory assault me. After all these years, it--still--hurts. None of it had to happen. It was just timing and fate and fucked up kids and lost dreams....

I lower myself to the bed and scrub at my eyes before I continue.

::This next birthing section requires more exposition, possibly because it is the most recent, or maybe because I was older and able to understand actions and occurrences that I would have overlooked earlier. It's also the most painful of my births for it involves death and broken beliefs.

It was my senior year of high school. I'd had a crush on Lana since I was old enough to have a crush. She was a year older and managed the Talon, a coffeehouse Lex owned. She had a boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, who was a year older than she was. He'd been a football player in high school but joined the Army after graduation as a tribute to his father who'd died his senior year. Less than six months later he had returned to Smallville, discharged when a heart defect made its presence known during basic training. He was extremely bitter about the situation.

"I'm never going to get the fuck out of fucking Smallville," he'd said to me one evening at the Talon. It was obvious that the coffeehouse hadn't been his first stop of the evening. Even Lana's less-thanperfect expresso couldn't cover up the smell of alcohol on his breath.

"You could go to college," I offered. Whitney and I had been sort of friends when he was in school, well as friendly as two guys can be when one lusted after the other's girl. In my favor, however, was the fact that I'd saved his ass on more than one occasion, so we'd pretty much called it even and parted as pals.

He laughed without a hint of humor. "With what? I'd already lost my football scholarship. I didn't stay in the Army long enough to qualify for money from them. And thanks to bad planning on Dad's part, the store is barely making enough to cover his debts. No fucking way I'm doing anything other than work for crumbs at that fucking money pit."

I wasn't sure whether it was his continued use of the word "fucking" or just his general fatalism that made me uncomfortable, but I quickly said the first thought that came to my mind. "Lex could--"

"Continue that sentence and die, Kent. I'm serious. I'm so fucking tired of hearing about Lex fucking Luthor. Lex said this. Lex did that. Every other word from Lana's mouth is Lex. If she's not complaining about him, she's complimenting him. Between her and Nell, I can't figure out if they want him in a casket or in their beds. Tell you which one I'd opt for."

Screw uncomfortable, and screw being his friend. I stood up, grabbing my backpack. "I think being in Smallville is the least of your problems, Whitney. If I were you, I'd ease up on the alcohol."

"Fuck you, Kent."

I shook my head, waved bye to Lana, and went home.

A phone call at midnight could only herald bad news in a farmer's household. I tensed when my mom answered and although it wasn't particularly nice of me, I secretly hoped it was about a real old relative or even an old friend of my parents that I had no connection to. But as soon as I heard Mom gasp, I knew it was bad. Dad took the phone from her. He "uh-huh"ed a couple of times, sighed, nodded, then hung up. Mom flung herself into his arms, and it took all the control I had not to yell, "What!"

Finally, Dad looked over Mom's shoulder, his eyes wet and red. "Son, Lana is dead."

I was suddenly glad I was leaning against a wall. "What...what happened?" Traffic accident? Household accident? Suicide?

"She was murdered," Dad said gruffly.

No! I took a deep breath, preparing myself to go after the latest meteor mutation. At the beginning, they'd all focused their attention on Lana, but for a long while Lex had been their target. Maybe they were alternating between the two. Maybe there was a glowing green calendar somewhere that had Lex's name written in purple and Lana's in pink.

Okay. Getting hysterical wasn't going to help the situation. "Do they have any idea who--who did this?"

Dad growled and his eyes stared daggers into mine. "Your best friend, Lex Luthor!"

"They're lying," I said. It was automatic, but true. I knew Lex was innocent.

"He was found next to--next to the body, the baseball bat still in his hands."

Bat. Blunt force trauma. Blood? Although there didn't have to be, I mentally pictured lots of blood. For all the power of my super lungs, I couldn't seem to catch my breath. "I don't believe it. Lex wouldn't--"

"I told you he was bad news, didn't I, Clark? Yet, you became friends with him, made your friends trust him, and look at what happened. Just look!"

"Jonathan, stop it," Mom said firmly. "Now is not the time."

The rest of the night was a blur, the only sure thing to me was that Lex hadn't killed Lana. He wouldn't. What my parents never got was that I knew Lex wasn't perfect. He'd learned a lot of bad habits at his father's knee, and yes, maybe--and this is a big maybe-- if Lana had irritated him enough he would have thought about "removing" her from his life. But he wouldn't have killed her because he knew it would hurt me, and Lex would never do that intentionally. Even before we became lovers, I knew how much I meant to Lex. I was his friend, and he would do anything for a person to whom he'd given that title--including tolerating said friend's friends. No, he wouldn't risk losing what we had just because he disliked Lana. Lex didn't think in terms of immediate gratification. Even at his wildest, he wasn't focused on how high he could get but on how far he could push his own limits...and how far he could push his father's. Lex believed in long-term goals, end results. Lana wasn't part of them, so Lana was indulged, put up with, endured for the sake of a strategy that was probably calculated within hours of our fateful meeting at the bridge. Lex would never give her the power to derail his ultimate agenda. Never.

Even more telling was that Lex wouldn't dirty his hands by killing her himself. It wasn't his style. And he certainly wouldn't have allowed himself to be caught with the body. During that long night I admitted to myself that, in a lot of uneasy ways, I could picture Lex having homicidal tendencies. But--there was no way in hell Lex had gone stupid in the course of an evening.

My parents made me go to school the next morning. The school board had arranged for counselors to be on hand. Mom told me not to be afraid to talk to the counselors if I needed. Dad just muttered things about Lex under his breath.

School was awful. Instead of mourning Lana, everyone was too busy dissing Lex. Maybe I lived too much inside my own head, but it wasn't until then that I'd realized how much everyone resented him. They hated him because of his money, the cars he drove, the clothes he wore, the rumors of his wicked past. No one remembered he'd given the school computers, kept the workers on at the fertilizer plant in spite of his father's orders, and that he'd exchanged himself for us when our class was taken hostage at the plant. Chloe Sullivan had to beg me to release Pete Ross after I pinned him to a wall for mouthing off about Lex and what he deserved. I knew Lionel Luthor had hurt the Ross family, but Lex wasn't Lionel. He never had been.

I finally ditched and went out to the bridge where it all started. Torn between what I was hearing and what I thought I knew, I realized I had to see Lex. The trick was how. He was in the Lowell County jail, bail denied. It wasn't exactly maximum security, and I knew I could get in with ease. But I needed to see Lex, to talk with him, not just whiz by. How to do that without getting caught by guards or on the security cameras?

While I pondered this on the outskirts of the jail, I heard laughter and for some reason, I knew I should overhear the conversation.

"Rich bastard got what he deserved. Perverted son of a bitch."

"Probably liked it."

"Yeah, just like what he used to pay for. Guess that'll teach him to mess with the good people of Smallville. The Lang girl was so sweet. A perfect princess."

"Yeah, and after what happened to her parents, she deserved better than to die at the hands of a fucking Luthor. Still, I don't know if it's smart to get on Lionel's Luthor's shit list."

"Probably did him a favor. The freak's got to be an embarrassment. This way he can just write him off as damaged and try again."

"Damaged, heh. More like ruined for life. Damn, Moose did a bang up job on him."

"Bang up job. How--appropriate."

They both laughed and walked away.

My anger was so great, I felt sick to my stomach. They'd hurt Lex! I had to--I had to stop and think before I did something foolish. I needed help. No, Lex needed help. Once that thought popped into my head, I knew what I had to do. I pulled a quarter from my pocket and headed to the nearest pay phone.

Lionel Luthor did not let me down.

Twenty minutes later, a car pulled into a No Parking space in front of the facility, and three men in dark business suits climbed out. When they entered the building, I was right behind them. Papers signed by the governor, by the state legislators, and the U.S. Attorney General. In shock, the cops let the men and me descend to the cells in the basement of the building.

Lex was in a cell by himself, but it was soon obvious that that was a recent development. Lex had opted for a filthy corner instead of the filthy bed. Defensively, he was sitting with his back against the two walls, his knees drawn up with his arms wrapped around them. His face was puffy and bloody, his eyes completely swollen shut. When the officer with us fumbled with the keys, I almost shoved him aside to open the barred door myself.

While two of the men argued with the officer, throwing out threats that consisted of words of five or more syllables, the other guy and I focused on Lex.

"Mr. Luthor, I'm Dr. Madison. I'm here to help you."

I saw Lex stiffen and fold into himself even more.

"Lex, it's me, Clark."

A tongue appeared, trying to wet dry, cracked lips. "Clark?" Lex whispered.

I knelt beside him and reached for his arm, but pulled back when I saw the bruises on his wrist. A squint revealed the joint was broken. "I'm here, Lex. I got here as soon as I could."

"I didn't," he began, his breathing hitching as he straightened to look at me. The bright orange jumpsuit and fresh bruises against his pale, pale skin reminded me of a modern art piece I'd seen at the Luthor Gallery in Metropolis. The painting had made me slightly queasy; this was making me ill all over.

"Clark, I didn't kill her. I didn't kill Lana." Slits of blue burned through my skin. Invulnerable, yes, but never to him.

So I was right. He hadn't killed her. Lex never told direct lies. His father had taught him better than that. "I know, Lex. I believe you."

"I need you to tell me what hurts, Mr. Luthor."

Lex ignored the doctor.

"I can't remember what happened, Clark. I don't know what happened at the Talon."

"Lex, that doesn't matter now. The doctor wants to know how badly you're hurt."

"I didn't kill her."

I needed to touch him, but there didn't seem to be a safe spot. Finally, I laid my hand lightly over his. "I know. I believe you," I repeated.

I shifted a little to the right as the doctor pushed in closer. A light flashed across Lex's face and Madison sighed. He turned to the others in the cell. "This man needs to be in a hospital, now!"

The officer started fussing about something, and the others shouted back. Lex's finger brushed against my palm. "I didn't do it," he whispered again.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to wrap him up in my arms and just take off. I wanted to kill whoever had done this to him. I wanted to kill the entire Smallville police force. I wanted so much in that very instant. Instead, I just leaned forward and whispered against his ear. "I believe you, Lex. I believe you."

"Can he stand?"

I knew Lex was seriously hurt when he didn't berate the doctor for not asking him directly. "Can you get up, Lex? Can you walk?"

I stiffened my arm for him to balance against as he struggled to his feet. The tremors in his body told me he couldn't remain upright for very long. Also, since he was standing, I could see that the jumpsuit was unzipped. There were scratches on the pale, hairless chest and I wondered--no, I knew that the assault had gone further than a simple beating. "Can you walk?" I asked again, my voice trembling as I fought a deep, burning anger.

"I might need help," he admitted. I tightened my arm around him. "Clark?"

"Yeah, Lex?" I led him past the officer and the men who were still arguing.

"I didn't kill her."

I kissed one of the bruises on his head and guided him out.::

My hands are shaking too much to continue with this. Lex would freak if he came in and saw me now. It scares him when I get emotional. He was raised to think of emotions as weaknesses and although he knows better now, he's still uncomfortable in their presence. His biggest worry is that the world is going to break me, that the weight of all the people I can't save will build up and crush me. I'm worried about that, too. I've seen so much death, violence, loss of human spirit. Children are the worst. Superman makes all these appearances at schools and charities and organizations, taking pictures with smiling and laughing children. But beneath his sunny smile, he is seeing--I am seeing--the faces that would never laugh again, faces locked in final horrified grimaces. I try not to let it show when it gets to me, but Lex knows. On those days, nights, he wraps his arms around me like I'm the most fragile and precious thing this world holds, and in a voice that is part soothing silk and part warm, comforting cotton, he whispers reassurances against my ear. Later, when we should both be totally enervated after proving that joy still exists, his arms surround me again, and I know this is his comfort, his reassurance.

Someone once wrote something about who guards the guardians. It's not a question I ever have to ask.

::"Lex didn't kill her."

Lionel Luthor stared at me as he pocketed his tiny cell phone. We were in a private waiting room, and he'd just finished talking to Lex's lawyer, illegally using the phone on hospital property. He'd told the attorney to find whatever loopholes he could to free Lex so he could take him out of Smallville and to somewhere safe.

"You're the one who called me?" I nodded. "And you don't think Lex killed the Lang girl? That's cute."

I didn't like him. Didn't like all the hair because I knew it was a silent taunt at Lex's expense. Didn't like the way he'd taught his son to behave, to think, to love. Yes, Lex was handicapped, but it had nothing to do with being caught in a meteor storm and everything to do with having a jackass for a father. But the jackass was a brilliant man, and I knew he would understand what I was saying. "Lex told me in these exact words, 'I didn't kill her. I didn't kill Lana.'"

"His exact words?"

"Yes."

Lionel pulled out the phone again. "Find out who killed Lana Lang. A bonus if the answer is acquired within twenty-four hours." The phone disappeared again. "So...?"

"Clark Kent, sir."

"You were the one in the plant with Lex and Jenkins. And you were the one who pulled Lex out of the car when he went off the bridge."

"Yes, sir."

Lionel nodded and pulled out a checkbook. "You are a fortunate young man. No need to get an after-school job to pay for college now." He handed me the strip of paper. "If you want the Ivy League, use that for other expenses and I'll just contact someone on the college's board."

Five million. So that was a son's worth these days. At least Lex had been classy enough to offer me something useful, like a truck. "Lex is my friend. Payment isn't necessary."

Lionel grinned and ignored the check I held out to him. "Lex hasn't been too much of a friend if he hasn't taught you not to turn down money that is free and clear. Or has he taught you the value of non-traceable cash? No IRS worries."

I folded the check and stuck it in my back pocket, my dad's advice about beating dead horses popping into my mind. Lex was always being invited to charity events; he'd make sure it went to where it would do the most good.

Maybe it was because I was used to reading Lex, but I noticed something was off about Lionel Luthor's behavior. He was--edgy. And then I realized what it was. "You didn't know," I said wonderingly.

"What?" he asked abruptly.

"You didn't know about the murder, that Lex had been arrested." I was shocked. Guess Lex was just being paranoid when he claimed his dad had him under constant surveillance. Then I saw what had to be a flash of guilt on Lionel Luthor's face.

Maybe Lex wasn't paranoid.

Fear for Lex made me bold. "Sloppy," I accused. "He could have been killed."

"The situation has been dealt with."

"Oh, like you dealt with the other foul up when that guy from Club Zero kidnapped him?"

I knew then I'd hung around with Lex too long when I felt a trace of glee at the shame that flickered in Lionel's eyes. Guilt and shame. Two emotions which Dad, Lex, and the entire world thought Lionel didn't have. All of a sudden the glee became warmth as I realized what it meant. Lionel was also capable of another emotion: love. Lionel loved Lex enough to feel guilt and shame because he'd let him be hurt, had failed to protect him.

Damn. It was no wonder why I had recognized the feelings in Lionel. I felt them as well. How many times had I failed to protect Lex? While I'd been gloating about busting a girl who'd obsessed on Lex, Lex had been assaulted by her brother. Lex had been kidnapped from my farm twice--by the chauffeur who wasn't a chauffeur, and by a man from his past who really wasn't from his past. My friend Pete had been able to get into the mansion and point a gun at Lex because Pete was "Mr. Kent's friend and Mr. Kent's friends were always welcome." Then there was the arrest. Lex had been arrested, and I had gone to school instead of immediately checking on him.

Shared guilt, shame, and love commiserated with each other as Lionel Luthor and I waited for a report.

A couple of hours passed before the doctor walked in. "Mr. Luthor?"

"Yes?"

Madison looked at me, then back at Lionel. Lionel indicated that he didn't care if I overheard. I thought Madison was a prick to ignore me now after he'd used me to get through to Lex at the jail.

"I've completed the examination of your son. He was severely beaten and...sodomized. I've contacted the police--"

"Waste of time since they are the ones who did it," Lionel said. "But if you want to save your evidence and fill out all that paperwork, feel free, doctor. However, I assure you that the guilty will be punished whether you fulfill your 'duty' or not."

"Is Lex going to be okay?" I asked, wanting to know the bottom line.

"Answer the question," Lionel demanded when Madison looked as if he wanted to take an attitude with me.

"Physically, yes. Emotionally--"

Lionel and I shared a look. Lex was tougher than a beating and a rape. Sure, he looked fragile, all denuded and pale, especially when you couldn't see his eyes. But I didn't need Cassandra's vision to know that Lex was a survivor.

"When Lex was nine, the sky fell on him," Lionel said. "For two days he did nothing but lay in a hospital and shiver. Exhausted, my wife and I went home for a quick nap. We were awakened by one of the servants. 'It's Master Lex, sir,' he said. I was instantly alert, prepared for the worst. 'He's on the phone, sir,' the man continued. 'He wants me to send the car for him. He says that the hospital staff are fucking boring, and he's getting track marks from the I.V.s. What should I do, sir?' I looked at him and told him to send the car."

Lionel's eyes narrowed. "The one thing I and a hundred thousand dollars worth of shrinks have learned about Lex, is that he bends, but never breaks."

"With all due respect, Mr. Luthor, this is more than a hail storm or whatever happened to your son--"

Lionel lifted an eyebrow. "New to Smallville, are you? I suggest you check the history of this place before you talk of things you know nothing about." He turned to me. "Lex is going to eat this little shit alive."

I shrugged. "It'll help him rebuild his confidence."

Lionel smiled, an evil thing truly, but I was in the mood to appreciate it at the time. "I think I'm starting to understand what Lex sees in you--besides the obvious."

I could have said the same to him.::

Those hours spent with Lionel changed my opinion of him forever. Sure, he's a ruthless bastard, capable of shocking cruelty and pathetic spitefulness. But he loves Lex. Badly, mind you, and a bit obsessively, but, yeah, it's love. Most people want a son in their own image, but don't forcibly manhandle nature and circumstance to achieve their desire. Most are like my dad, slyly brainwashing their children from birth. But of course Lionel had to be different.

Luthors always were.

::Being reborn in truth sucked. Blinders, rose-colored glasses, wool--all of that was ripped from my eyes in less than a twenty-four hour period. By the time I was allowed to see Lex, my innocence was just a bloody pile of strips heaped around my feet. The first strip was peeled away by my dad. Then my so-called friends at school had hacked away at more strips. The police, those I'd been taught to always respect--unless they were controlled by the meteor rock--had continued the process.

And Whitney Fordman? Whitney wasn't so gentle as to yank off my innocence. No, he used a hacksaw.

As soon as Lionel told me what his investigators had found, I knew what had happened. A blond hair snagged on Lana's fingernail. Lionel had been prepared to bring in every blond person in Smallville for testing, civil rights be damned, and I could hear my dad screaming to high heaven as Lionel's men snatched one of his hairs from his head. I pictured myself asking him who had been violated more--he or Lex?

Hmm. Channeling Lex wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

The Search for the Mysterious Blond never took place. I told Lionel about my earlier conversation with Whitney, and the state police swept in to take over the investigation of both the murder and the local cops.

Whitney was strangely forthcoming.

"Did you kill Lana Lang?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"She was with Luthor."

"Lex Luthor?"

A nod.

"What do you mean by 'with' Luthor?"

"They had their hands all over each other."

"That upset you?"

"He had everything. Why did he need Lana, too? She was all that I had."

"But you killed her?"

A shrug. "Didn't mean to. I hit Luthor first. Then Lana sorta freaked out on me. I only wanted her to be quiet. But when I checked her, she was dead."

"What happened after you discovered Ms. Lang was dead?"

"I put the bat in Luthor's hand."

"Didn't you think people would wonder about the concussion he had?"

"The man was a freak. He could have hit himself or hired someone to hit him as an alibi."

"Why frame Mr. Luthor?"

"The arrogant bastard deserved to go down for Lana's death. He was responsible for it. Lana--Lana was a good girl. She wasn't strong enough to resist his seduction. He always took what he wanted. Always. So I took what I wanted."::

I still get a chill every time I remember hearing Whitney's confession. He was so--distant, as if it had happened to someone else. I don't know if he ever cried for Lana, for himself. I don't want to know. He became my enemy that day, and I make sure that I never run into him during my infrequent visits to Smallville. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter--a crime of passion, a ruling that got him three years for killing Lana and nothing for setting up Lex. When he got out, he'd gone back to working at Fordman's like nothing had happened.

I know he's tried several times to get out of Smallville, but the job offer is suddenly rescinded or his potential employer hears the gory details of his past or a necessary loan doesn't come through. It adds to Whitney's frustration that he knows why it keeps happening. Smallville is Whitney's hell, and the Court of Luthors has unanimously sentenced him to life without parole.

Screw Lionel Luthor in business, and he buries you. Mess with Lex, and he's not as merciful. Victoria Hardwick is going to learn that the hard way. She's married to the Earl of Something now. He's eighty-six, complains in public that she's a cold fish in the bedroom, and has her followed constantly in case she thinks she's going to get "hot" with someone else.

She's hoping he'll die soon.

What she doesn't know is that his entire estate is held by LuthorCorp. Lex and Lionel had celebrated with champagne the night the deal went through. They had laughed together, talked like two adults, and dinner had ended with both of them still at the table.

I could almost like Victoria for that.

Almost.

::Whitney went off to prison, and although the state found inconsistencies in the arrest of Lex Luthor--lost paperwork, a convenient "glitch" in the computer system, a "mix up" in cell assignments--there wasn't enough hard evidence to warrant an indictment against the Smallville P.D., especially since Lex refused to file charges against them or "Moose", the habitual rapist who'd been brought in for questioning a mere hour after Lex and let go immediately following the cell "mix up."

A collective sigh of relief could be heard a mile away from the police station after they found out about Lex's refusal. Idiots. The "S" in S.P.D. must stand for "Stupid". Even if I hadn't been as personally involved with the Luthors as I was, I would have known this was not an offense they would just let go.

Two years after the incident, not a single cop that I'd named remained on the Smallville P.D. roster. Some were in jail, others in unexpected retirement, and still others--were resting in peace.::

That's another hard-to-take truth I learned from that time in my life. I learned that I'm not as alien as some think Superman is. While I'm not an advocate of revenge, retaliation, and retribution, I am human enough to appreciate them. I know I should have felt something when I realized how conveniently troubles fell upon these men, how their lives just seemed to fall apart. I should have said something to Lex on their behalf. He couldn't stop his father; however, he knew the buttons to push to get him to back off a little. But I didn't say a word. And even now, as I relive this again in my mind and on paper, I can't generate any compassion for those involved in hurting Lex. If that makes me a monster, if that makes me as bad as they are, then so be it. Lex huddled in that jail cell, body bleeding and soul battered, is an image that will haunt me forever.

It should haunt others as well.

::The ironic thing about the whole situation was that Lex was never putting a move on Lana. After the effects of the concussion wore off, Lex remembered everything. Lana had been crying over something Whitney had said to her and she'd flung herself into Lex's arms. He'd been trying to convince her to forgive Whitney--and extract himself from her clinging--when Whitney had seen them together. Another five minutes and Lana would have run back into Whitney's arms, and death and destruction would have been avoided. Timing, as usual, had been everything.

And there was one more truth that completed my birth. The truth about Smallville. Even after Whitney's confession, they blamed Lex. If he hadn't given Lana the job, if he hadn't been so sinfully tempting... In a contest between Eden's famous serpent and Lex, I think the good folk of Smallville would have cheered for the serpent. Lex and his father seemed to know this would happen, and therefore Lionel had already moved Lex's things out of the castle and into a Metropolis penthouse before Lex was released from the hospital. Lex would never set foot in Smallville again.

LuthorCorp Fertilizer Plant #3 was sold, and Lex was put in charge of all Midwestern LuthorCorp properties. The new owners of the plant went bankrupt within eighteen months, and thirty-four hundred Smallville citizens found themselves out of work. I tried to feel sympathetic, but my bitterness was too strong.

Up to this particular point in my life I was still na<ve about my hometown. I'd thought Smallville would be ashamed of itself when they realized how wrong they'd been about Lex. I thought that maybe they would understand the inherent evil of being prejudiced and judgmental. I thought--I'm not sure what I thought but the continued bashing of Lex disgusted me. Smallville disgusted me. I spent the rest of my high school career angry and disillusioned. I went off to Metropolis U the next fall and only returned to Smallville for a couple of days at Christmas.

I didn't miss Smallville because Metropolis had my favorite attraction--Lex, and when I checked out of the dorm at the end of my freshman year, I moved into his penthouse. Our intimate relationship had begun much like our friendship. One evening as I lay sprawled on the sofa at his penthouse studying for my first set of midterms, he'd sat on the floor reading a report on his laptop. He looked up, I looked down, and our eyes locked--followed by our lips and our bodies. Making love to Lex completed me, strengthened me, formed me. No, it wasn't another birth, but an evolutionary leap. Loving Lex gave me the power to face who and what I was.

I told him everything--what I could do, what I had done, what I thought might be possible. Together we explored the secrets of the space capsule, my dad staring thin-lipped as I loaded the thing into the back of the SUV Lex had given me for Christmas. In a secret lab beneath LuthorTowers, I became Superman, my mission helped as much by Lex as by the alien technology revealed by the capsule.

Despite nights of learning how to fly, a three-month sojourn in Antarctica, and long fierce battles with Lex over my costume, I graduated at the top of my class. Two summer internships at the Daily Planet led to an offer which I gladly took. Thanks to years of keeping secrets on both our parts, no one other than our families and the immediate staff knew Lex and I were together. My official address was a basement apartment a block away--with a convenient Superman-made tunnel to the LuthorTowers parking garage. Lex made public appearances with rent-a-babes, and I occasionally escorted my mentor at the Planet, Lois Lane, to charity events and company functions. I didn't mind the women hanging on to Lex's arm because that was all they were doing--hanging on. And Lex didn't mind Lois...eventually.

"She's too old for you," he said the evening I was to escort Lois to the Annual Writers' Hall of Fame banquet.

"Who? Lois?" A nod. "Yeah, I know."

Silence.

"She's my age."

"No, she's not."

"She and I are the same age, Clark."

"No, you may have been born the same year but you are not the same age. You have never been the same age. She was called LoLo as a child. She had a pet monkey, and she adores her father. You were never the same age, Lex." It wasn't a criticism, just a fact. Lex never had a childhood. There were moments of time spent with his mother that could be considered something "like" childhood, but nothing more.

Lex conceded the point. "I'm too old for you."

"You're just right for me."

"You and she can talk about the office and stories."

"You and I can talk about home and commit various sexual acts."

'You and she can commit various sexual acts."

"Not even if you break my heart."

Silence, then a soft, "I love you."

"Which is why I wake up with a smile on my face every morning."

"Wear the gray suit to the banquet. It'll go nicely with Lois' rose gown."

"How do you know Lois is going to wear a rose gown?" No reply. "Do I have to tell you I love you?"

"No."

"No more spying?"

"No more spying on Lois Lane."

It was a start. "I love you."

A raised eyebrow. "I told you you didn't have to tell me."

"Which is precisely why I did."

I was rewarded with such mind-blowing sex that Lois complained that a mannequin would have been a better and more attentive escort.

The next morning a mannequin was propped between our desks.

Sighing, I called Lex to discuss the term "not spying" in more detail.::

"Clark, if you don't put that laptop away in the next five seconds, I'm going to pitch it off the balcony."

I jerk, hit the backspace button a couple of times, then press SAVE. Sometimes it can be a pain in the ass to live with the one person on the planet who I can't hear coming a mile away. Another one of his gifts. Normally Lex has a very loud presence. When he enters a room, everyone knows he's there. Whole restaurants have been known to descend into silence when he appears. And it's not just his looks because he doesn't have to be seen to be felt. LEX LUTHOR IS HERE, his spirit screams to anyone or anything in its vicinity. But Lex can silence his presence when he wants to, so much that even Superman can't sense him. And he uses his gift shamelessly to sneak up on me when he needs amusement.

I've threatened to bell him like a cat.

I close my laptop, glance at him, and find him grinning like a Cheshire relative. "Haven't you heard the expression 'you catch more flies with honey instead of vinegar'?"

"Oh, God. You aren't planning on becoming Jonathan when you grow up, are you? Why aren't you dressed? Where's your tux?"

"I am grown up," I say, stretching seductively as I take off my sweater. Just as I pull it over my head, Lex blows a raspberry against my bare stomach. I can't help it; I giggle.

Lex stands back and smirks. "As I was saying..."

I start to give him a smart reply but for the first time since he interrupted me I really look at him. He's already in his tux and...he's beautiful, gorgeous, handsome, breathtaking... And mine. I reach for him, and he nimbly dances out of the way. "Lexxx," I whine.

"Clarrrk," he mimics. Relenting, he beckons me over and drapes his arms around my neck. "If you don't want to do this, just say so, okay? I'll understand."

Tonight, we are "outing" ourselves, doing the full, public "I belong to him" routine. And we aren't just doing it for the locals. There will be an international audience looking on. Some will say that it's just like a Luthor to tout his lover at the opening of the North American Economic Summit. But I'm the mastermind behind this. I'm the one who wants the world to know. From the beginning Lex said that the decision was mine, and I'd kept it a secret all these years for what amounted to selfish reasons. I wanted to be known as Clark-Kent-thereporter before being relegated to Clark-Kent-Luthor'sLover. I've done all right for myself: first page bylines, a few awards, and it was all due to what I was doing, not who. The bylines I'd gotten were because I was a good reporter. The awards I'd won was because of the words I'd written. There is proof-- tangible, black and white evidence--in the archives that Clark Kent was a reporter. Nothing can take that away.

So, now I'm ready to profess that Clark Kent is in a monogamous, "vowed" relationship with Lex Luthor, the sexy, young billionaire. That's not a bad byline either. "I want to do this. I don't want you to think I'm ashamed of you."

Lex shakes his head. "I don't think that. I know what it's like to live in the shadow of the Luthor name. If you don't want to, I totally understand. I love you, Clark Kent. You know that. Whether the world knows is not my concern."

There are only two opinions that matter to Lex--mine and Lionel's. Which brings up another concern. "Lionel won't be happy if we back out now."

"Fuck Lionel."

I make a face. "Ewww! I will never understand how Victoria went from your bed to his. But then, I'm not a whore like that tramp."

Lex laughs. "Tell us how you really feel about her, Clark. And as unsettling as it is to think about you being intimate with Lionel, it's almost equally unsettling to think about how much he likes you. The first thing he said when I told him of our plan was that at least now you could come with me when I visited him in Paris."

Lionel had moved to Paris to take the helm of LuthorEurope, leaving the entire North American operations to Lex. And he doesn't exactly like me. It's more of a toleration. And the feeling is mutual. "He's sorta okay in small doses, Lex."

"And therein lies the major 'un' in 'unsettling.' I can't believe you're friends with my father."

"We're not friends, Lex. We just have a common interest."

"Which is?"

"You."

Lex shakes his head and releases me. He unzips the suit bag hanging on the closet door. "Will you ever tell me the truth about what went on while I was in the hospital in Smallville?"

Poor Lex. I tell him the truth every time he asks. "Just what I told you--Lionel and I realized we both love you."

"Yeah, right," Lex snorts. He looks at the tux. "So, are we doing this or what?"

"Yes," I say firmly and in the blink of an eye, I'm dressed.

Lex frowns and shakes his head. "No," he murmurs.

"No, what?" I glance into the mirror, trying to figure out what's wrong.

"I'm not letting you out in public looking this good," he replies. "Someone will ogle you the wrong way, and I won't be responsible for my actions."

"Territorial?" I whisper, loving the fierce look in his eyes.

"Very."

"Good."

He stretches and reverently presses his lips against my forehead. I'm not sure if he's worshiping or blessing me. All I know is that I am where I belong.

I also know that Lex can only put up with so much "sappiness." Right on cue, he steps back. "As much as I would like to continue this, I am the host and as such, I can't keep two presidents, a prime minister, and a multitude of dignitaries waiting," he says with a rueful smile. "Dad might be so rude, but as you continually tell me, I'm not Lionel."

I pick an imaginary piece of lint from his lapel. "No, you're not. Sure, I can picture Lionel as a dictator, but not the benevolent one you're poised to become."

"I'm not a dictator."

"You just want to rule the world."

Lex shrugs and adjusts the stone at my neck. We're in nearly matching tuxes. No ties, but above a long column of hidden buttons is a single tasteful jewel. Mine is an emerald. Lex apparently wants my eyes to be green tonight. His is an amethyst, keeping with the dark, purple hue of the shirt he's chosen. The dark colors make him appear much brighter, almost as if he's glowing. He would garner second, third, and fourth looks tonight. Maybe he shouldn't be the only one territorial at this affair.

"So what big expose made you forget about this evening?"

"Not an expose, but the beginning of my autobiography."

"You're writing your autobiography?"

"No, not really, but it's a way of remembering who I am and how I came into being."

"You need notes for that?"

"Counting blessings is a time-honored tradition, Lex."

"And dwelling on regrets?"

I cup his chin and lower my lips to his. "Not on the agenda." A languid kiss starts something I know we can't finish until many hours from now. Ah, the sacrifices a dictator's consort has to make. Reluctantly, I pull away. "Besides, after tonight, personal writing might be the only writing I do." I have no idea how my boss, Perry White, is going to react to the news that one of his reporters is sleeping with the biggest newsmaker in the region, if he will believe that said reporter can remain unbiased.

"You can always stay home and raise the children," Lex says flippantly.

"So can you," I argue.

Lex rolls his eyes. "If you're half as smart as I think you are, you won't let me near a child. Please remember who my parental role model is."

I rub a finger across his lips. "He made you you, Lex. I can't hold that against him."

He snorts. "Maybe you can't, but I sure as hell can. So feel free to raise all the little Kents you want, but no little Luthors."

"I don't even know if I can impregnate a human, Lex."

"Fine. I'll father the little buggers, but you raise them. And by all means, keep them away from my father."

"Lex?"

"Yes, Clark?"

I can tell he thinks I'm about to sing Lionel's praises, but I'm not that naive. I know that if we do have kids, they won't be spending any quality time with "Grampa Lionel." Holidays, maybe. No. Holiday dinners. With both parents present. "Lex, we're talking about children," I point out with a grin. "Our children. Guess that means we really are ready to do this."

Lex looks at me, his eyes boring into mine to read my soul. Another gift of his. I had always noticed he looked straight at people. I thought it was for effect; it surely rattled my dad on occasion. It wasn't until we made love the first time face-to-face that I realized the fierce gaze was penetrating me as much as I was penetrating him, questing for reasons and motives and purposes. He had been raised--conditioned--never to trust, and although he fought valiantly, he couldn't overcome everything Lionel had taught him. And like I just told Lex, I'm okay with that. Because that is Lex.

He nods solemnly as he finishes his thorough appraisal. Once again, I've passed. With relief, I follow him to the elevator.

*****

The trip to the LuthorCenter is quiet as we contemplate what we are about to do. I know Lex's worry is for me. He's been at the eye of media hurricanes before. As a reporter, I've only been in the side walls, part of the peripheral winds. But tonight I will stand with Lex and be swept into the heart of the vortex. Am I ready for my life to change so drastically? Yes.

My fears--are completely for Lex.

//"Rich bastard got what he deserved. Perverted son of a bitch."

"Probably liked it."

"Yeah, just like what he used to pay for."//

Those had been the words of the cops back in Smallville, and I know there have been rumors about his sexuality for years. I have no idea if by ending the speculation, an openly gay Lex will become yet again a target of hate and bigotry.

"Let me get out first and inspect the crowd," I say anxiously as the limo begins to slow.

"Relax, Clark. My security is in good hands."

He's talking about my hands. After what happened in Smallville, I had become obsessed with his safety. Finally, Lex had called in the head of his security and told her that I was her new boss. Now, everything relating to security is channeled through me. I handpicked every person working the Center tonight. The protesters to the trade agreement Lex is brokering have had extensive, yet covert, background checks. The caterers, their staff, the wait staff, and even the drivers of the other limos have been checked and rechecked. All of Lex's known enemies and detractors have been accounted for and are being monitored for any sudden or suspicious activity. Last, but not least, I am going to stick like glue to Lex all night. To get to him will mean getting past a highly vigilant Superman, and that's no easy task.

But all my careful plans will be useless without Lex's cooperation. "Please stay in the car until I say it's okay?"

"It's not fair when you beg."

"That's not what you said the other night."

He laughs and leans back against me. "You're paranoid."

"Only when it comes to you."

"I'll wait."

I grin and lick the back of his head.

"Stop that. You're going to ruin the lines of my tux."

Ruin two, actually. Licking the bald head is a major turn-on for both of us. Maybe I should check Lionel's basement for a matching space pod. "I love you," I say simply because I can. "And I can't wait to see Lois' face when she sees you get out of the limo."

I'd been teasing her all week. She'd asked if I'd gotten my press pass for the opening ceremonies of the summit. I'd told her I didn't need a pass; I was going as the date of one of the attendees. Every day she'd made a guess as to the identity of my date, looking disappointed when I shook my head. If any of her choices had been higher in rank than someone's personal assistant, I might have given in and told her. But if she thinks I can't do any better than a secretary...hmph! She's in for a rude awakening.

The noise and glaring lights are a slight shock as Lex's personal bodyguard opens the door. I step out and use my X-ray vision on the crowd. No detonators, miniature guns, or other weapons are spotted. But Lois is. She's just to the right, and she's staring.

"Good evening, Lois."

She grins and shoves another reporter out of the way as she comes up to the braided rope separating the dignitaries from the crowd. "I'd almost given up on you."

"My date likes to make an entrance."

"So, where is she?"

I bend back into the car and although he doesn't need it, I offer Lex my hand. He understands and when he exits the limo, our hands are deliberately linked. My sensitive hearing catches Lois's faint, "Holy shit!" and I lean over to brush my mouth against Lex's ear.

"The thunk you just heard was Lois' chin smacking the concrete," I say gleefully.

Lex smiles, and the crowd just goes silent. Lex looks at me curiously, but I know what's happening. A real smile from Lex is as rare as a neutron bomb and just as devastating. I let go of his hand and slide my arm around his waist, just in case someone wakes from their stupor and comes after him--or it isn't clear enough that he belongs to me. "What? No questions about the summit?" I ask loudly.

That reminds everyone of their purpose for being there and the reporters, protestors and other assorted glam groupies do what they do so well. Lex answers questions without really answering them, makes a brief statement to the protestors, and virtually poses for the cameracarrying groupies. He knows how to work a crowd, and I briefly wonder about my place in his life when he naturally segues into the politician he was born to be.

Born to be. I wonder how many births it took him to be where he is today. I wonder how many more births are in store for us. But as long as it is his hands that catch me as I slide out of the birth canal, I can handle it. We can handle it.

"Wishing you were back home working on your memoirs?" he asks as we leave the reporters behind and face an even more demanding audience, the summit attendees. Lex's subjects. Whether they know it or not.

I smile and hold my head high. "I'm writing the best parts at this very moment," I tell him, a hand possessively laid upon his back.

//The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.//

When I'd first read this passage from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, I thought it was the saddest thing I'd ever read. But I understand it now. What has been written has made me and Lex who we are. I'm glad it can't be changed. And what is to be written, well, I'm looking forward to that, too. Destiny. The stuff of legends.

It's going to be a hell of a read.

THE END