For Chris Ueberall. Thank you for introducing me to a
brand new fandom, and for being a good friend. Happy Birthday, sweetpea.
Author's notes: A huge thank you to Sherri and Tehomet for
beta'ing this for me. Any final mistakes are mine.
Summary: A different ending to 'Exodus' and season 2.
It's never too late - in
fiction or in life - to revise.
Lex looked at his watch for what had to be the hundredth time, torn
between worry and annoyance. The chapel was beginning to fill with guests
and his best man was nowhere to be seen. Not a good omen for one's wedding
Walking over to Clark's parents, who were seated in the front row, he
whispered, "Any word on Clark? Helen's already circled the church five
Martha gave him a weak smile, the misery in her eyes doing nothing to
ease Lex's anxiety. "He was coming with Lana," she said, her voice
He was about to make light of the tense situation by commenting on
Clark and his tardiness -- a feeble attempt at assuaging the worry he
could see in Clark's parents' eyes -- when he heard someone walking down
the aisle. Looking up, he resisted the urge to curse. It was Lana --
He rushed over to her. "Lana, where's Clark?"
"I just came from the Kents' farm," she replied softly. "He said he had
something to do and would meet me here. It seemed important."
Lex ran a hand over his scalp, trying to hide the fear suddenly gnawing
at him. That didn't sound like Clark. The occasional hurdles they had been
forced to overcome in their friendship didn't matter. Clark would never
miss Lex's wedding unless something was terribly wrong.
Remembering the last few days, filled with Clark's awkward silences,
recalling the sorrow shining within those wide green eyes and the strange
migraine that had made Clark miss the rehearsal dinner, Lex knew he had to
be right. Clark was in trouble.
He was moving to the exit almost before the decision was consciously
made. Jonathan's hand on his arm hindered his departure.
"Lex, where are you going?"
"I know you don't understand or approve, Mr. Kent, but Clark's my best
friend," Lex gritted out, knowing he should probably tone down the fire in
his words, but for once not caring. "I have to go."
A frown creased Jonathan's face. "He's that important to you?"
"More important than Helen, than this wedding?"
Lex blinked. For a moment, he had forgotten all about Helen, and their
wedding day. He had been ready to spend the rest of his life with her, to
share as much of himself as he could, genuinely wanting to make her happy.
Loneliness was something he was far too familiar with and he didn't want
that for himself anymore. Not after watching the Kents and seeing what a
true family was like, of touching and being touched by their warmth and
Helen had stormed into his life, just at the right moment, with just
the right qualities. Beautiful, intelligent, feisty, and more than capable
of setting him straight if he screwed up.
And, of course, because the alternative was unthinkable.
The alternative -- a six feet tall Adonis, disguised as a Kansas
farmboy, with perpetually disheveled hair and soul-deep green eyes. An
enigma Lex just couldn't let go, didn't really want to let go, if he was
honest with himself. But Clark was sixteen, nšive, and Lex had invested
too much time and effort into their friendship to risk destroying it. Not
to mention that Jonathan would probably beat him to a pulp with a shovel
and then let Martha finish the job.
Thrusting all those unwanted thoughts to the back of his mind, Lex
turned his attention back to the man standing in front of him. "Yes," he
admitted in a hushed breath. "More important than Helen, than this
wedding. That important."
He saw shock, then respect, and finally acceptance in Jonathan's blue
eyes, even as he nodded curtly. "We'll follow you in the truck," was all
They were rushing out of the church when Lex saw the limousine that was
to take him and Helen to the airport after the wedding. It parked in front
of the house of worship and the window on the right side of the back seat
rolled down just enough for Lex to see Helen's profile. She obviously
didn't want him to glimpse her gown.
"Lex! What are you doing out here?"
"I..." What could he say? What could he tell her that would make this
moment easier for her?
Helen closed her eyes for an instant, a weary sigh rippling through the
space between them. "It's Clark, isn't it?" she asked. "You're going after
"Helen, I'm sor --" he began, guilt eating at him.
She shook her head. "Don't. I guess I always knew, I just... I didn't
understand how much you loved him."
"I love you too." His protest sounded weak even to his own ears.
"Yes, but you're not in love with me, are you?" She gave him a nod. "Go
to him, Lex. I hope you find what you're looking for."
Helen gave him a rueful smile. "Oh, I'm sure I'll find someone to keep
me happy. Goodbye, Lex."
He watched as the limo drove away, a little wistful about what might
have been. But he and Helen weren't meant to be, and he realized now that
settling for second best hadn't been the right thing to do. It was time he
went after what -- and who -- he really needed. He was a Luthor, and
Luthors always got what they wanted.
He ran to his Porsche, seeing Clark's parents climbing into their truck
on the other side of the road. He got behind the wheel, gunned the engine,
and burned towards the Kent farm at top speed. It wasn't long before the
red truck belonging to the Kents had disappeared from his rearview mirror
and he was all alone on the asphalt, his car eating away at the miles that
would take him back to Clark.
Clark opened the door of the storm cellar. His hands gripped the box
containing the Kryptonite key tightly as he climbed down the stairs.
Approaching the ship, he took a few deep breaths to battle the growing
panic ripping through him. Maybe he should have told his parents what he
was about to do, but he knew they would never agree. And he wasn't about
to allow a ghost from the past to rule his life. He had found a home here,
a family and friends he cared for. He wasn't going to leave it all behind
for the sake of a dead man's hopes and dreams.
He crushed the lead box in his hands, immediately falling to his knees
with a pained gasp as the key began to glow. It took all of his strength
and will to fit the key into the groove in the ship, the Kryptonite
setting his whole body aflame from within, the pain almost more than he
He fell back onto the ground, crawling away weakly as the ship began to
react to the Kryptonite, its surface beginning to fester and burn, while
the sound of scraping metal became almost deafening. Clark swallowed
thickly as he watched the ship rise jerkily into the air, vibrating
violently, the burning surfaces sending out a green glare that filled the
His eyes widened fearfully as the noise grew to a crescendo, the ship's
trembling worsening until it suddenly disappeared in a flash of blinding
white light. The ground rumbled and shook fiercely and Clark moaned as a
burst of pure energy coursed through him, flaying at him, pinning him to
the floor with its intensity. Just when he thought he couldn't take
anymore, the world exploded all around him and everything went black.
Lex was almost at the farm when he saw it, a huge ring of... something,
shining and transparent, coming straight at him. He swerved the Porsche to
avoid it, but it was too late to avert disaster. The impact tipped his car
over as if it were a mere leaf in the wind, causing it to roll over again
and again, until it finally landed upside down.
Lex lay still for a moment, winded, panting in harsh breaths. A trickle
of blood dripped from his temple, a consequence from hitting his head
forcefully against the side of the car. Thanking whatever deities watched
over bald millionaire freaks for yet another narrow escape, he crawled out
of the open window, dragging himself away from the Porsche. It wouldn't do
for him to evade death by... whatever the hell that thing was, only to be
blown to pieces as his car exploded.
Rising to his feet took some doing and he was fortunate no one was
there to watch his drunken staggering towards the farm. When he finally
did reach it, he was unable to prevent a horrified gasp from escaping him.
The Kents' cellar had collapsed onto itself somehow, creating a wide
crater that contrasted shockingly with the green fields surrounding it.
There was rubble and pieces of wood everywhere and only the stairs that
once led to the ground level had been left standing.
Frozen by the destruction facing him, Lex was abruptly hit with the
thought that Clark was in there somewhere, that this devastation had been
his doing in some way.
"Clark?" he whispered brokenly. Nothing. He tried again, louder this
His shout seemed to echo for miles around, but no reply was
forthcoming. Ignoring the threat of injury, Lex stumbled down the side of
the crater until he was at its very center. His heart nearly stopped
beating as he spotted the unmoving form of his friend. Clark's clothes
were shredded to rags, and his whole body was smeared with dirt.
Dropping to his knees, Lex carefully removed most of the rubble
covering Clark, feeling almost dizzy with relief as he witnessed the
muscled chest rise and fall in a steady cadence. His hands did a brief
examination of the unconscious form, finding no visible wounds or broken
bones. Perhaps the same deities that kept an eye out for bald millionaire
freaks also protected wayward farmboys, he mused somewhat whimsically.
"Clark?" He shook his friend gently.
Lex watched eagerly as Clark moaned softly, beginning to move
sluggishly as he slowly came to. He coughed a few times, shaking his head
to clear it as he started to sit up. They were suddenly face-to-face, and
from Clark's startled expression, Lex knew he hadn't been expecting to see
"Lex?" Clark's voice was hoarse. He frowned. "What are you doing
Lex sat heavily on the ground. Now that the adrenaline rush had faded,
he felt strangely drained. "You didn't show up," he said, as if that
Maybe it did, for Clark's eyes widened. "The wedding! Lex, why aren't
you -- You didn't -- Why?"
"I couldn't. I knew you wouldn't miss my wedding, not unless there was
"B-but -- Helen -- You have to go back -- I can't be --"
"Clark," Lex interrupted. When he saw he had Clark's full attention, he
said softly, "The stuff of legend, remember? I made the right choice."
"Clark! Son, where are you?"
It seemed that Clark's parents had finally arrived. Lex wondered for a
moment how they had made it past that weird wave of energy, then realized
that whatever it had been, it would probably have dissipated as it moved
away from the farm.
"Come on." Lex teetered dangerously as he rose, but remained standing
by stubbornness alone. "We'll talk later." He offered Clark a hand up.
They climbed the battered stairs carefully, arms around each other,
although Lex suspected Clark was the only one actually doing the
supporting. He saw Jonathan and Martha running over to them and knew there
was something wrong the moment he started seeing double. The headache he
had so far been ignoring returned with a vengeance, bile burned at the
back of his throat and his legs gave up on him. He had one last thought
about the mortification of passing out in Clark's arms like a heroine in a
bad romance novel, and then he embraced sweet oblivion.
Doctors and nurses scurried back and forth outside the hospital room,
their voices sounding nearer before drawing away again. Clark paid them no
heed as he sat staring at the insensible man on the bed. Lex would be
fine; just another concussion in a long line of head injuries sustained
since his arrival in Smallville. It still hurt Clark to see him so pale
and listless, to know that it was his fault, that once again someone he
cared about had been caught in the whirlwind that was his life.
He closed his eyes tightly against the ache inside. It was done; his
ship was destroyed, Jor-El was gone, and so was the Kryptonian symbol
Jor-El had burned onto Clark's chest. Somehow, when the ship had exploded
the 'mark of his ancestors' had vanished as well. He only hoped that meant
he was truly free.
So why did he feel so lonely? So empty? It wasn't a novel emotion for
him by any means. Even before his parents had told him the truth about his
origins, he had felt a constant yearning, a craving that never really went
away, for some obscure thing he couldn't name. Most of the
time it wasn't too bad. He had his parents, his friends, and between
school and the farm he kept pretty busy.
But now, thanks to Jor-El's ghost, he knew what it was he had been
searching for all of his life -- normalcy. He had wanted desperately to be
normal, to be just like everyone else on the planet. To be able to play
sports with his friends without fear of hurting someone, to grow up
without the weight of a heritage he wanted no part of. He had wanted the 9
to 5 job, the house with the white picket fence, the wife and the 2.4
kids. Most of all, he had wanted to be able to feel like he wasn't so
utterly alone in the universe.
Until Jor-El had blundered into his life, Clark had thought that maybe
Lana was a part of the simple life he longed for. But she didn't really
understand him, she never would. There was too much
wrongness between them, a chasm they couldn't seem to
bridge, no matter how hard they tried. And maybe his guilt at her parents'
deaths had something to do with it as well, because he could see that she
would never really let them -- along with the pain and the loss -- go.
Clark frowned in confusion, realizing that somewhere in the last few
minutes he had taken hold of one of Lex's hands. He rubbed his thumb
gently over the warm palm, allowing his thoughts to center on his best
friend. Their often complicated friendship notwithstanding, Lex had become
important to him, one of the very few good things in his life. Someone he
trusted, in spite of everything. Someone he could go to when he needed a
break from being Smallville's self-appointed White Knight. Someone he
could easily relax with.
In a flash of insight, he suddenly got why they had bonded so easily in
the beginning; because Lex understood. Understood what it was like to be
alone, to be apart from those around you.
"A freak like me," Clark murmured, remembering the title of a song.
He looked up to find Lex awake and watching him with a rueful smile.
Their eyes met and held, and for the first time Clark dared to acknowledge
the feelings shining within Lex's eyes, humbled by the love and acceptance
meant for him alone.
"We're two of a kind, Clark," Lex told him, his voice hoarse.
Clark smiled, silently agreeing with that statement, even as he checked
his friend over. "You okay?"
Clark reached for the glass of water resting on the nightstand,
supporting Lex's head gently while he managed a few sips. "So, no married
life for you, huh?" he asked, when Lex had settled down again.
Lex shook his head, then grimaced at the pain in his skull. "It would
have been a mistake. I did love Helen, but not enough to make it work. We
would have made each other miserable within a year." His eyes narrowed and
Clark knew he was about to be questioned. "You want to tell me what
happened back at the farm, Clark? It looked like a bomb went off in the
Clark took a shuddering breath. "It did, in a way. I did that, I caused
There was no judgment or suspicion on Lex's face as he asked, "Why?"
"I wanted to cover up my past, to push it away," Clark murmured. "I
didn't... I didn't want the future being laid out for me."
"You mean you didn't want to rule the world?" When Clark gave him a
startled look, he laughed. "Dr. Walden told me about it, remember? How the
'last son would rule the planet'."
Clark sighed unhappily. "So you know? About me?"
"Hmmm," Lex hummed noncommittally. "Come here."
Clark allowed himself to be pulled closer, until he realized Lex meant
for them to share the bed. "Lex, don't. The bed won't hold --"
"Shhh. Shut up and enjoy the moment, grasshopper," Lex admonished, his
voice rich with amusement.
They wiggled this way and that until Clark was lying on the covers,
head resting on Lex's shoulder. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply as
Lex's fingers began to card tenderly through his hair.
"We okay?" he whispered against Lex's neck.
Lex cuffed him lightly on the head. "Stupid question, Clark." He
exhaled slowly. "You know, I used to think that maybe you were the result
of an elaborate -- and very top secret -- lab experiment. Considering some
of the projects locked within the LuthorCorp vaults, it wouldn't have been
too farfetched. Then I got to know you better and knew there was nothing
artificial about you, so that theory was out. My next theory was that you
were a mutant, especially after some of the things I'd seen you do. You
being an alien is much better, though."
"You seem very blasť about this whole thing," Clark commented with some
"Well, the thought's been lurking in my mind for a while now, so it
wasn't a total shock. Besides, I'm the Warrior Angel buff, remember? I
love the idea of my own personal superhero."
"I'm not a superhero," Clark protested.
"You have the heart of one," Lex said, his voice oddly hushed.
Clark raised his head, gazing deeply into Lex's eyes. He wasn't sure
who moved first but somehow his mouth ended up pressed against Lex's,
while he found himself fully on top of him. Lex's warm arms wrapped around
his waist, and the kiss deepened as the heat between them flared. Clark
tasted Lex's mouth eagerly, nipping at his lips while his hands traveled
over cloth-covered flesh.
He finally broke away, grinning at the slightly dazed expression on
Lex's face. "I brought you fresh clothes," he said, enjoying the way Lex
squirmed beneath him as he laughed at the non-sequitur.
"Thank you." Lex chuckled for a moment, then sobered. "We need to talk
about this, Clark. We have to think about your parents and my father and
you're only sixteen and --"
Clark touched a finger to Lex's kiss-swollen lips. "I know," he
interrupted. "But not right now. Let me call the doctor, tell him you're
awake. They'll probably let you go, as long as someone stays with you.
I'll call my parents and let them know I'm spending the night at the
mansion. We'll talk about the future, and what we're going to do, then.
But I need you to understand something right now, Lex. We can wait until
I'm 100 for us to do more than kiss, and I don't really care if we tell
anyone or not, although I'd like my parents to know. But any future for me
has to include you in it. I'm not giving that up. Get it?"
He waited while Lex gave it some thought. "Very well," Lex eventually
said. "But I want to know about you, Clark. About that past you mentioned,
about what you can do. No more secrets."
Clark rose from the bed reluctantly. He walked over to the door before
turning to face Lex. "No more secrets, Lex, I promise. I'll be right
He left the room, realizing he no longer felt lonely or empty.
Apparently, what he had been searching for had been right under his nose
for the past two years. Now all he had to do was convince Lex that they
could make it work. The worst part was already over; Lex knew who and what
he was and didn't care. And while he wasn't nšive to the point of thinking
everything else in the future would be as effortless, he had no doubt they
would end up the winners.
Extract from "The Daily Planet" Metropolis, May 20th, 2003
A jet plane carrying multimillionaire Lionel Luthor was reported
missing Saturday morning by Florida airport officials.
The aircraft, property of LuthorCorp, left Metropolis Airport early
Friday night en route to a private island on the Caribbean. Jack Macer, an
operations specialist at Miami International Airport, said the plane lost
radio contact and disappeared from controllers' radar screens at about 4
a.m. Saturday morning.
Dr. Helen Bryce, friend of the family and ex-fiancť of Alexander 'Lex'
Luthor, the son of the magnate, was reportedly on board the aircraft as
The U.S. Coast Guard said it has picked up signals from the aircraft's
locator beacon and an air and sea search is underway off Miami.