A Day on the Fringes
by Chris J. Ueberall


Pairing: Lex/Clark
Rating: R
Spoilers for: Nocturne
Disclaimer: Lex and Clark are not mine, but I treat them better than WB, so maybe they won't go back.

Summary: The Kent men contemplate their family, love, Lex and choices.

Notes: My first try at a Smallville story, certainly not what I planned to write, but obviously my muse decided that ranting was in order. A big 'Thank you' to my betas, especially Jen, who had a lot of good ideas to make this story better, but finally had to accept that my muse and I wouldn't cooperate. Sorry. And thanks, Tehomet, for a quick last beta and encouragement, you're a gem!

This is an entry for the "Blow it with feeling" challenge. The emotion is 'affection'.



I've never been an outsider. I was always one of the cool boys. I was a quarterback, my girlfriend was a cheerleader, guys wanted to be like me and girls wanted to be with me. I'd like to say I wasn't mean enough to put up a younger boy as a scarecrow - and I never did, but I didn't exactly stop my teammates, either.

My life didn't change much when I went to college in the big city. I was still a good player, I wasn't too bad a student, just good enough to let the girls realize a brain came with the body, but not too good so my buddies wouldn't accuse me of being a grind.

I was always part of a group, never hung on the fringes, never knew what it meant to be the one people whispered about. Even when I fell for Martha I was still one of them. Although she wasn't part of our usual crowd, she wasn't exactly an outsider, just a girl in a different league, and the fact that I dared to go for her, defied her father and came out the winner, wasn't exactly bad for my image.

When I brought the city girl home nobody said anything. Of course many had expected me to marry Nell or some other Smallville girl, but since Martha didn't act as if she was a princess stuck with a peasant, but rather like a woman happy to start a new life, nobody resented her - except maybe Nell - and in less than two months everyone was charmed by Martha's personality, just like I had been. Even when it became clear that our childless state wasn't of our choosing, nobody commented on it. There was sympathy, probably pity, but no snide remarks about bad bred city girls and my choice of one. People liked Martha, and I was still one of the golden boys.

Then the meteorites came. Lives were destroyed, others rearranged. The Kents came out of the tragedy with a child out of nowhere, while children lost their parents. I guess there was some resentment somewhere, but I never felt it. If Martha did, she didn't tell.

Some of the things I did for Clark and Martha, a lot of which - then - didn't seem so bad, but are now weighing heavily on my shoulder, would have given my neighbors reason to hate me. But they never realized what I had done, never even wondered if I had sold them out. A Kent would never do that, after all.

That I wouldn't let my son play with other children, that I almost chained him to the farm, didn't raise any voices. After all, it was my son, I would know best. My opinion was worth a lot in the community. Who I said was acceptable had to get a chance. Whom I didn't give a chance, others certainly wouldn't give one, either. My hatred for Lionel Luthor was a given, my decision not to take anything from a Luthor, not even a car for my son, well looked upon. Here I was, Jonathan Kent, an immovable rock that no money could buy.

So what, if my son decided to hang out with the Luthor heir? Everyone knew I didn't like it. At least Clark wasn't running around in black clothes, pierced everywhere and worshipping Satan or doing anything else outrageous to show his independence. I could count myself lucky, people had told me, that all Clark did was hang around with someone I didn't like. Even those who warned me that Lex wanted more from Clark than friendship, and that it would end badly, had to admit that you could do only so much against teenage rebellion. At least with me grudgingly allowing their relationship, the whole town could look out for Clark. It would be so much worse if Clark was defying me by sneaking out in the midst of the night to meet with his friend.

It showed my parental capability that I made sure to have an eye on my son's doings. What a laugh. It seemed I couldn't do wrong. No matter what I did, people found a way to excuse it or turn it around long enough till it was actually a good thing.

Even though I'm beyond paranoid that someone finds out about Clark and tries to hurt him, I never truly thought it would be one of my neighbors, not deliberately. I was sure that my friends and neighbors would see that I did a good Christian deed by taking in an orphan, by protecting Clark - strange as he is - by not telling anybody. My friends would find a way to excuse all my lies, probably find a way to feel good about being such an understanding community to give an alien a solid upbringing.

I always knew danger would come from outside, from people like the Luthors, and everyone who traveled in their wake. Those strangers were a danger to Clark, but not to me, not to my standing in Smallville. I was, and always would be, an admired member of the community. Nothing would change that.

Today I learned a valuable lesson. Things do change. Today I found out what it is like to be the town pariah, and I didn't like it one bit. Today people stopped talking when I walked into a shop, began to whisper the moment I turned my back. Some more honorable neighbors even left without so much as a greeting. Neighbors who had been buying our produce almost from day one terminated their contracts, others hinted that they were looking for alternatives.

It is a good thing that Martha is paid so much in her new job, because our income has just decreased a lot. Oh yeah, I'm aware of the irony in this. She took a job because we needed money, but it's the cost of said job that's put us in an even greater financial bind. Because her job puts the Kents on the fringes of Smallville's society. Because Martha now works for Lionel Luthor. Lionel Luthor!!! Jonathan Kent's wife works for a Luthor.

It wouldn't have been such an offence before the tornado. After all, back then a lot of people worked for Lionel. The plant was and still is the town's biggest workplace. But then Luthor closed the plant, put a lot of people out on the street, a lot of our friends, and for no other reason than his screwed up game with his son. Lionel probably believed that, saying it was due to bad management - therefore implying that it was Lex's fault - would redeem him in the eyes of the workers. But it didn't work.

Sure, folks didn't jump in to defend Lex. But neither did they forget that it had been Lionel's decision to fire them. There was no one in Smallville who had a word of pity for the blind rich man, but more than enough voices saying that his blindness was well deserved, a devil punished by God for his crimes. And you don't go and work for the devil and believe people will still see you as an angel.

I don't think Martha realizes was she's done. She probably felt pity for Lionel. She tries to see the good in everyone, believes in redemption, in second chances, in helping the less blessed. She thought it would help us with the farm, probably believed that it all happened for a reason, that she can make a difference.

It all happened so fast, she didn't take the time to really think it through, and now she's so excited, so overwhelmed by her new job, that she actually doesn't have the time to think about the repercussions this will have on our family. Between working for Lionel in the castle or in Metropolis, and doing some last household things when she comes home, she won't find herself in Smallville anytime soon. She won't hear what people say. Won't see their looks. And I haven't the heart to tell her, because as much as I hate to admit it, her new job really makes her happy. I haven't seen her so excited in a long time.

Maybe things will get back to normal soon. Maybe our neighbors will come around. Maybe ... Maybe it is a lesson I have to learn to become a better man. To see myself for the hypocrite I am.

I can't really remember where it happened, all I know is that when Pete's mother turned her back as if I wasn't there, and someone spit out while looking at me, I was suddenly close to shouting: "I didn't do anything! My wife works for Luthor, not me! It was her decision! Do you think I like it? It isn't my fault! I'm not my wife!" Of course I didn't do it.

But as I drove away from there, the words were still on my mind, and I stuck with the last one - I'm not my wife - suddenly hearing other voices in my head: "I'm not my father." "He's not like his father." "He's not Lionel. We have to give him a chance."

I looked out of the window passing Reilley's field. I didn't actually see a scarecrow, but suddenly I could imagine myself strapping somebody on a cross. A picture appeared in my mind, a vivid imagination I didn't know I had. But somehow I wasn't surprised to see that my victim was Lex. Still, I nearly ditched the truck then. It took me almost five minutes to get myself enough under control to drive again.

When I came home, the first thing I did was send Clark on an errand I had forgotten in my flight from town, then I put my purchases away. Afterwards I took a beer and sat down. Only for a moment. Only to calm down. To think it through. I have no idea how long I sat there doing nothing, looking out the window, seeing nothing. I went through a lot of emotions as I sat there, from being angry to feeling almost detached. Finally I settled on feeling like shit. On that note I stood up and got another beer.



I can run faster than a bullet flies, can do high mathematics in seconds, but if there's one thing you can say about me, then it's that I'm slow on the uptake. Maybe the fact that you can hit me with a Porsche without scratching me accounts for not seeing the obvious, for not getting the hints - not even those flashed with neon lights across the sky - I don't know.

Fact is, I had more than enough evidence for months now that Lana isn't 'the one' for me, is truthfully just another friend and not so special after all. But it took until yesterday to actually get through to me. Maybe it was denial, but I think it's plain stupidity, and I feel the urge to hit my head on concrete repeatedly. Not that I think it would help.

I mean, in the beginning it really wasn't my fault that I thought I was in love with Lana. She was the girl next door when we were children, always sad, but always kind. As we grew up I realized that I felt different around her than I did around others. I was always holding back, but only close to her I became a klutz. Whenever she got near I felt sick, my knees would give in, I lost coordination of my muscles. What other explanation could there be but love? It fit the description.

When I found out that it was a reaction to her necklace, I was already trained like Pavlov's dog. My reactions purely automatic whenever I saw Lana: stop - stare - lovesick puppy look - slobber - stumble over or into something. At least so Chloe told me once, in her charming way. Maybe the not-falling-on-my-knees-if-she-doesn't-wear-the-necklace should have given me a clue, but I think our meeting at the cemetery should have been even more telling.

In retrospect, that night was a revelation in more ways than one. For one thing, I found out that Lana is weird in her own way, which isn't a bad thing at all. Makes her more interesting, actually. And the weird thing isn't that she talks with her dead parents - at least I don't think it is - but that she does it in the middle of the night. But then again, wearing a fragment of the meteorite that killed your parents as a lucky charm doesn't exactly seem normal, either. Whatever. The second revelation hit me shortly before Lana left for her house, not that the significance of it registered until now. It was the realization that this was Lana I was talking to. Lana Lang, as in 'the girl I was totally in love with'. But the whole time in the graveyard and even on the way home, that fact didn't register.

Surely, even when you've just made a major discovery about yourself, some part of your brain should start to cheer when you're not only alone with the girl of your dreams, but actually become her confidant, right? But the thought didn't occur to me at all. She could have been anybody. For all it's worth, I think if I had met Whitney that night talking to his father - not that his dad was dead then - we might have parted close buddies. Lana was special that night because she was there, not because she was Lana. Not in the love interest way anyway.

So obviously I didn't get it then. But hey, I was fifteen, confused, and so many things seemed to happen all at once. I guess I can cut myself some slack for not getting it right away. It was kind of subtle, really. The scene in the school swimming pool on the other hand was more sledgehammer-like, but then again, you can hit me with a car and it doesn't hurt. Not long anyway.

I can still recall Lana in her sexy underwear, seducing me, taunting me. And my mind was going: Wow, Lana, almost naked, wow Lana, here, in my arms, she's hot, she's willing .... I could even feel my mouth go dry. But the rest of my body was just saying: So what? In a totally unimpressed way. I really didn't need the bath.

And if that wasn't obvious enough, my non-reaction to Desiree and Tina should have made it clear. But did I get it? Of course not. Okay, so Desiree was hot - everything was hot that week. Yet I'm not sure what was the reaction to what. My parents think my heat-vision is linked to hormones, me getting turned on by my teacher triggering it. Still, I wonder if it wasn't the other way around.

Sure, I looked while we watched that stupid education film - but who wouldn't? There was a teacher, who'd obviously never heard of our school's dress code, good looking and sweating. But it was all a mind thing - until the fire came out of my eyes, I mean. But maybe the fire was already building before that. Maybe it wasn't the reaction to, but the reason for the looking? I didn't exactly have problems with my heat-vision when I was on that red meteorite trip, you know, and hormones were all over the place then. And I didn't set the barn on fire when Desiree came on to me, either.

And Tina - now a girl looking like Lana kissing me, and me not even slightly stirred by that, should have put an end to my Lana obsession long ago, but no ... Clark just doesn't catch the clue bus. Me wondering what would have happened if Tina had come disguised as Lex should have kicked me out of denial-land in superspeed fashion. But did I get it? No.

Hey, it's not that I didn't get the fact that I was - am - attracted to Lex. I'm not that dense. My favorite fantasy is of Lex leaning over me, calling me "angel", his blue eyes locked with mine, while his hands slide over my body, caressing me as if I were the most precious thing on earth. It always has me hard and coming fast. And not even I can misinterpret the meaning of that, though I know where the images come from.

Most of them are actually from our first meeting, from the day he hit me on that bridge. I never told anyone, and I don't think Lex did either, but after I had brought him around I keeled over. It's a bit embarrassing, really, but I'd say after getting hit by a Porsche, saving somebody's life, and realizing that you should be dead yourself, passing out for a moment doesn't make you totally uncool.

I was probably only out for a few seconds, but long enough to scare the hell out of Lex, as he admitted to me later. When I woke up though, I felt his hands on my body searching for injuries, he was thorough yet gentle at the same time, and all the while he was talking to me, calling to me. Since he didn't know my name then, he had to call me something else, obviously. It sounded like 'angel', which I found kind of ... nice. I never asked him what he actually said. I didn't want my fantasy destroyed.

Now, if I wanted I could tell myself that my reaction to Lex is based on tactile memory or on the extraordinary way of our meeting. Chloe's kiss in 8th grade not taken into account, he was the first person I kissed lips to lips; no matter that it wasn't that kind of kiss, my memory recalls perfectly how he felt, how he tasted beneath that river water. He was without a doubt the first person I brought back from the dead, and he's still the only one who looks at me as if I were a miracle or something.

Maybe my parents look at me that way and I'm just not seeing it, but something in Lex's gaze always gives me the feeling that I matter beyond everything and everyone. It's a good feeling. Okay, so he's not always looking at me like that. But often enough. And even when he looks skeptical and angry, or hurt, or secretive, there's also something in his eyes that says 'I care. It shouldn't be like this'. And I know exactly what he means.

So no, I'm not in denial concerning my feelings for Lex Luthor. Or my sexuality for that matter. But I was in denial over my non-feelings for Lana. Hit me with a jet next time, Lex, maybe then I'll get it.

The funny thing is, what finally opened my eyes - so to speak - was a little thing, something easily missed, and actually it took me a whole day to figure it out. Ingenious me. But hey, at least I figured it out. Fact is, when Lana got a poem from a secret admirer, I was jealous. Jealous that Lana would share his letter with Chloe and Pete, but not with me, jealous that someone would do something romantic and it wasn't me.

Okay, I admit Lana had good reason to be pissed off with me. The way I treated her while under the influence of that red meteor ring was mean. But hey, it wasn't that different from the way she had acted when influenced by that nicodemus flower. Maybe I should have reminded her of that, or should have explained that I had been under some kind of drug. She lives here in Smallville after all, she knows how weird things can get. But of course I was just doing my usual 'can't explain' routine, which sucks at the best of times and that was not the best of times. Maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something all along?

So, as I said, I was jealous and not very subtle about it. Though I don't think Lana, nor Lex for that matter, realized what Lex reciting a poem to her was doing to me. On the one hand it turned me on, on the other hand I was fiercely hoping that Lex didn't look as seductive as he sounded just then, because he was looking at Lana! And not at me! Okay, possessive much? And indecisive, too. I know.

And then there was Byron, hurt because I scared him, spouting poetry about Lana's eyes, and all I could do was not starting to snicker, because it seemed so ridiculous, really, but Lana soaked it all up. I felt like a dork. Most of all I felt superfluous. I should have gotten the hint then, but hey, we did establish I'm slow.

No, what finally made me climb on the clue bus were the thoughts I had while visiting Byron in the hospital. Here was the girl of my dreams holding another guy's hand - and was I wishing she would let go? Did I want to beat him for touching her? No. I was thinking that they looked good together, that they fit somehow. It was such a fairy tale cliche - the beauty and the beast - and Lana was just the right girl to take it upon her to help such a tragic boy like Byron. Lana needs to be needed and Byron needed to be accepted. They would be perfect for each other. And where did that leave me and Lana? Nowhere.

I'm different, but not in a tragic, help-needing kind of way. While I cherish Lana's advice, and often am awed by her insight, she wasn't and will never be the one I turn to when everything really goes awry. When it comes to the really important questions, I need someone who's able to think outside the box, who would not only accept me, but challenge me at the same time, someone like Lex.

It's really not a great surprise that it all comes down to Lex, is it? It wasn't for me. I knew about me and Lex for some time now. It took me a while to learn about Lana and myself though, but finally I know.

I told Lana that those sonnets do nothing for me, and of course she accepted it, even complimented me on my honesty. She didn't get what I was really saying. But that doesn't matter as long as I finally know what I'm feeling, or not feeling. I don't like Lana - that way. If Lex ever asks my opinion on poetry, my answer might differ. Differ a lot.



A car driving up in front of the house startled me from my stupor, and I realized I couldn't have sat there for too long, because it wasn't Clark. I didn't need to actually look to know who was there - even I can hear the difference between a truck and a Ferrari - but I got up nevertheless, and watched as Lex exited his car and looked around. I'd never before really taken the time to just look at him, to try and judge the person he was by the way he stood, talked and looked back.

At our first meeting he was the maniac who had just driven his car from a bridge, somehow endangering my son, though I hadn't really been clear on the how. And afterwards he was already Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor's son, and I had a clear picture in my mind of that person. I knew what I would be seeing so I never actually looked.

Today was a day for firsts. I looked and didn't like what I saw, because the arrogant, self-assured playboy I had come to dislike so much wasn't there. In his stead stood a quiet young man, apparently unsure if he should be here at all, looking around with an expression of ... sadness? wistfulness? on his handsome face. Six years really didn't make such a difference at all. With twenty-two I will still expect Clark to come to me for advice, still think of him as a boy. In another six years the age difference between Clark and Lex won't matter at all. Not that it matters to them now. Never has.

Teenage rebellion, maybe, my parental capability, without a doubt. My son has taken all my lessons about doing the right thing, about not judging without evidence, about trusting his instincts, to heart and acted on them, even though his teacher was suddenly turning hypocrite on him. I'm so proud of my son. I just wished it hadn't needed a day like this to make me realize it. But then again, Kents are known for being hardheaded and stubborn. Just kicking us isn't enough, you have to shake our world. My world had been shaken today, that's for sure.

"Hi Lex," I greeted him, opening the door.

His face lost the insecure expression as he turned to me with a light nod. "Mr. Kent. I was looking for Clark?"

He wasn't actually asking if Clark was here, since he could see that the truck was not, but wondering if there was a chance for Clark to return soon. It's a little bit pathetic, if you think about it, how much it means to him to speak to his sixteen-year-old friend. But it's somehow reassuring, too, to know that it isn't just one sided, that it isn't only my son.

"I sent him into town to get something," I said and even from this distance I could see the disappointment crossing his face, and I could almost see him weighing his options: Going back to the castle where his father and my wife were haunting the place, driving to the Talon on the off-chance that Clark might stop by, or - his glance towards the barn made that thought obvious - asking if he could wait.

Yesterday I wouldn't have said anything and made it clear that he wasn't welcome, but yesterday seemed a long time ago, so I added: "But he should be back in a moment. Care to come in and wait?"

A look of surprise, but he nodded and followed me in.

"A beer?" I offered, already opening the fridge and taking two bottles out.

"I won't say no," he said with a wary smile, taking one. His gaze locked on the bottles on the table then shifted to my face as I handed him the opener. "Bad day?" he inquired, saluting me with his beer.

I nodded. "You can say that. You?"

His smile turned from wary to wry. "You can say that."

And just like that we settled down on the couch, nursing our drinks in companionable silence. My thoughts drifted back to other meetings with Lex, other conversations - only this time I was actually listening to what he said, and the more I did the more I liked and respected him, while I wondered what kind of shit-headed idiot had possessed my body that time.

Not so much because I was pretty unfair to Lex - I know I can be a real stubborn bastard if I want to be - but mainly because I did a lot of absolutely stupid things. The most outstanding one my spontaneous decision to return the check for our killed cows, just because Lex happened to do something on Baker's field. Beside the point that we really needed the money, was there a better way to make Lex suspicious? Could I have been more obvious? Probably, and I don't think Lex really got it. But one day he'll have enough pieces of the puzzle and then he'll make sense out of it, thanks to me being an idiot.

I looked at Lex then, wondering how many pieces he might already have, and was struck by the realization that he looked tired to the bone. Immediately the question came up why was he here instead of at the castle? Surely if he was tired and wanted to relax, the castle with all its comforts would have been the better choice. But then again, perhaps not.

Even when you have a good relationship with your parents it is hard at times to relax when they are in close proximity. I do remember how it was when my father was still alive. It had seemed the moment I had put up my feet to take some rest he was suddenly standing there, giving me the feeling I was lazy and uncouth. He didn't even need to say anything. After all, I knew his lectures by heart.

Now the castle is big, but Clark told me that not all the rooms are used, so I'd guess that the chances of Lionel suddenly standing in the doorway just when Lex decides to take a break are pretty good - or bad if you look at it from Lex's point of view. I can just picture Lionel having a lot to say about concentrating on business and not on fun, or something like that. Probably cutting into his son with every word in a way I cannot even imagine. Yeah, I guess such a situation would make the Kent farm look quite comfortable in comparison, even if you have to put up with me here.

"Must be hard to have your father breathing down your neck all the time," I found myself thinking out loud.

A sarcastic smile crossed his face. "You can't imagine. Though the actual breathing down my neck scenario has decreased since he is blind."

Obviously my expression showed that I didn't get it, so he elaborated.

"One of my father's favorite tactics to intimidate someone is to step up behind him so close that, when he talks, you can feel his breath like a cold breeze on your neck - figuratively speaking of course. He's not doing it right now, probably afraid he might bump his nose against me or something equally undignified." He grinned shark-like at that, looking for all the world untouched by the situation.

But he couldn't fool me. Maybe today he wasn't impressed anymore by his father's games, but as a child he certainly had been. Clark once told me that Lex sometimes seemed to shy away from being touched. I hadn't paid it much attention then, but now I wondered what other tactics Lionel might have used against his son.

"Still, he's getting on your nerves," I concluded, just to say something.

"Yes. Though I have to admit that Mrs. Kent's presence is making my father act a little more ... malleable would be too much ... let's say polite. And that is a relief of sorts." Even though he smiled I knew that he didn't like the situation with his father and my wife anymore than I did.

I guess Martha believes that Lex is glad to have her at the castle. After all, she knows that he likes her very much and she likes him. What she never realized is that Lex liked her that much because she was being nice to him, despite him being a Luthor, despite me being an asshole. He always thought that Martha saw something in him worth her while, worth her love. But now she's nice to his father, to a man who hurts him at every opportunity, if you believe what Clark says. And he draws the conclusion that it had nothing to do with him, being nice is just what Martha is. So she is still a beautiful, loveable, remarkable woman, but he is just another charity case for her, nothing special.

I can't help but feel sorry for him. But at least he can be sure where Clark's loyalties lie. There is no question that for Clark, Lex is more than a stray he picked up and brought home.

We sat there in silence for a while - and I wondered where his thoughts had taken him - as he finally broke it. "What did ..." he started, but stopped shaking his head. "Never mind." He looked away, swallowing hard.

Strangely enough I knew exactly what Lex had been about to ask: 'What did I do wrong? How come you wouldn't take fair money from me, but from my father? What did I do?'

I felt ten times like shit as I realized how insecure the boy was and how many times - though unknowingly - I had fed his insecurities. Somehow I had to make it up to him. I always preach that a man has to take responsibility for his actions, now was my time to follow through with that.

"It's not your fault, Lex," I said, and he turned back to me so fast that I heard his neck protesting. "It's mine for being a stubborn jackass, who couldn't admit that he's been wrong."

His gaze focused on me. It was unnerving. He has a way of looking directly at someone, as if trying to decipher the very soul of his opponent. And yes, it always gives me the feeling of being an enemy. But then again I probably was.

"If it is any consolation, I'm not happy about Martha working for your father. I told her what I thought of it in great detail - she ignored me." I could just stop myself from saying "as usual", which would have made me sound like a wimp, and anyway it isn't true. Martha never ignores me, she listens to me, accepts my opinions. She just doesn't always share my view of things or my solution to a problem, and then sometimes - not always, mind you - she does her own thing as I do mine. It's called compromising.

"Mrs. Kent is an impressive woman." His comment was neutral enough, but I could see him suppressing a smirk.

On any other day it would have raised my temper. This time I found myself grinning ruefully. "That she is."

We shared a smile, but it lasted only a few seconds before his features smoothed out again. I don't know how else to describe it. A lack of expression maybe, even in his eyes. Not that they looked coldly at me, more as if his gaze had turned inward. A highly intelligent mind working, and I knew what it would come up with.

That Martha must have found the job offer important enough to defy me at all cost, while none of Lex's offers - to become a silent partner, to give me a loan, even just to pay for the cows - had led to her taking a stand. His father had succeeded where Lex had failed. The pain flashing through his eyes told me he had reached the conclusion.

I grabbed his upper arm. "It's not that, Lex!" I said a little louder than necessary.

He flinched, but didn't withdraw. I gentled my hold.

"Martha was always on your side, always telling me to accept your offer, whatever it was. But I wouldn't do it."

His eyes widened and I could see that he was as irritated about the fact that I had been able to follow his train of thought as I was.

"But Martha couldn't just take it up despite my decision. As far as the farm is concerned the final decision is mine. But I cannot forbid her to take a job, no matter how much I'd like to. And I'd really like to, because I hate that she works for your father. I really hate it."

"You don't exactly like me," he pointed out, smoothly freeing his arm.

"I might not have liked you much, Lex," I replied in my diplomatic style, "but I never hated you. Not you." The "it was always your father" went unsaid, but not unheard.

He nodded, then finished his beer.

I followed his example, then stood and asked if he wanted another one, while simultaneously reaching for his bottle.

That moment my son stormed into the house with a worried "Lex?" followed by an inquiring "Dad?" as he appeared at my side.

It occurred to me that my towering over a sitting Lex must have raised Clark's protective instincts, and I found myself caught between laughter and anger. I settled for a sarcastic quip. "Relax, Clark, I didn't touch a hair on your boyfriend's head," I said, grabbing the beer bottle before turning to my son.

Clark blushed and looked contrite, mumbling something that could have been "sorry", but I wouldn't bet on it. I wondered if Lex's expression might mirror Clark's, but when I heard his wry comment I knew it didn't.

"That's not really reassuring, Mr. Kent."

I turned around again, not certain how to take that until my gaze fell on his bald head. Oh - right. I squinted embarrassed. "You know what I mean," I said to the room in general.

Not looking anywhere specific, I somehow met Lex' eyes. Amusement shone brightly in them. It was catching. I grinned, then laughed. Then looked at the bottles in my hand. "How many of these did I have?" I asked aloud.

Lex shrugged. "I don't know, but you were about to get us another one," he reminded me.

"Right." I nodded and headed towards the refrigerator. When I passed Clark I saw his gaze wandering from me to his friend and back again. There was confusion for a second, but then a wide smile lit his face. It pierced my heart in a wild mix of pleasure and pain. I hadn't seen Clark smile like that in quite a while, and it made me proud to know I had brought that smile out again, but at the same time it hurt to know I could have seen it more often if I hadn't been such a pigheaded idiot.

Now I couldn't erase the past, but I could try to learn from my mistakes. "You want to stay for dinner, Lex?" I asked casually, watching the boys out of the corner of my eye. They shared a surprised but pleased look, and I could see Clark turning what Martha calls 'puppy eyes' on Lex. I had no doubt that Lex would stay. So his answer baffled me for a second.

"I'm not sure I can stay that long, Mr. Kent. But thank you for the invitation." He didn't make a move to leave though and that made me realize that he expected us to wait for Martha.

I looked at him, slightly amused. "I admit my wife is the better cook, but I can do a sandwich, or heat up something, Lex. It won't take long."

He smirked. "How can I say no to such a tempting offer. I'll stay." He turned to Clark then, as if looking for approval. There was no question he found it, for my son was positively beaming. Sure enough an answering smile softened Lex's face. Lord, they had it bad. And yes, I noticed that neither had contradicted the 'boyfriend' remark. I'm stubborn, not stupid.

Between the three of us dinner was ready in no time, and soon enough we sat in companionable silence around the kitchen table, diminishing our meal. It was a nice, homely scene, one I know Martha would have appreciated, and it made me wonder if there wasn't something good coming out of this mess after all.

I looked at my son and although I saw him smiling between munching away, I also saw something in his eyes that didn't look happy. Remembering that I had sent him to town earlier and how my day in town had been, I asked tentatively: "Get everything?"

Clark looked surprised for a moment, as if his mind had been far away, but caught on fast. He nodded. "Yeah. No problem."

Sure. And he can't shoot fire with his eyes, either. Damned. I wished I hadn't been such a coward and gone myself, but somehow I had hoped they would leave Clark alone, wouldn't talk bad about Martha in front of her son.

I hesitated a second to inquire further, very much aware of our guest, but then reminded myself that Lex was Clark's friend and if anyone could relate to this situation then it would be the Luthor heir. "What happened?"

Clark shrugged. "Nothing." And he actually had the gall to look at me with his I-am-too-naive-and-good-to-lie expression. The expression I encouraged him to use when confronted with questions about his abilities, the expression which reminds me every time that I'm raising a liar while preaching honesty and trust.

"Okay." I swallowed my anger, it would only make it worse. "Then don't tell me what, just who." I had to know who else had turned their back on us.

He shook his head. "It was nothing really, Dad." And this time it was my son and not the actor talking. "Just some looks, you know. They didn't say anything to me." Which meant that he heard them talk, nevertheless.

"Except for Mrs. Gardener."

That threw me totally. If there had been one person in town who I'd bet would have nothing bad to say about Martha - or anyone else - it would have been sixty-two-year-old Mrs. Gardener. Then I caught the slight grin on my son's face and waited for the punch line.

"She was actually quite sympathetic, said it must be hard to have my mother working for my best friend's dad. Must make me feel like a child again, always under mom's watchful eye."

I could see that he had meant the story to break the tension that had risen around the table, but I felt as if punched in my guts. And a look towards Lex told me I wasn't the only one.

Another flash of insight and I knew that Martha's new status was costing Lex more than a mother figure. With her in such close proximity with his father the chance was good that whatever Lex told Clark would somehow reach Lionel's ear. Even if he didn't tell Clark anything important or made him swear not to tell us, Lex coming here was telling enough. Our farm - or more to the point his friendship with my son - had been a sanctuary of sorts for Lex. No matter my attitude.

With Clark he could be himself, could relax, could rant about his father, but more importantly could admit of being weary, even afraid sometimes. He was without a doubt aware that part of his talks with Clark eventually found their way to us, he knows how close our family is. Knows that Martha is Clark's confidante. Hell, she had become Lex's confidante at times. But whatever was said or shown, it wouldn't leave the farm. Now that wasn't so sure anymore.

I remembered how he had looked around before I had asked him in, realizing now that he had seemed like someone trying to memorize a place he was about to leave for good. I couldn't let that happen. Clark would never forgive us.

"Don't, Lex!" I made sure to catch his eyes. "Don't let him take this from you. Don't let him win. Martha won't tell, she's not a chatterbox."

He was confused for a moment, but then showed that he can read me just as easily. "Mrs. Kent is a loveable, honest, good woman. She believes there is something good in everyone, including my father. She won't gossip, but she might speak about ... things, if she believes my father knowing would help our relationship. She has the hope to make a difference and right now it actually seems as if she can."

He swallowed but didn't look away, his gaze holding me captured like a snake might hold a mouse. "My father is ruthless, but he can be charming, if he wants. He will get the information he seeks one way or the other. Your wife won't even be aware of how much she is telling him."

He knew his father - I couldn't find a counter argument. But my son wasn't giving in so easily. "Then we won't tell her anything!" The vehemence in Clark's voice startled me, but it was the fury in his eyes that had me flinch. I hadn't realized how angry he was with his mother.

He hadn't said much when she told him of her decision to work for Lionel. Instead Clark had looked at me, obviously waiting for my protest, but by then I had already given up. He had mumbled something about it being unwise, Lionel being dangerous, nothing I hadn't already said, nothing that had Martha rethink. Yet his face had been clouded, his tone brisk, and he had left the room fast and with an unnaturally stiff stride. But since neither of us had expected him to cheer we didn't think much of it. Lord, we should have! When did we become so unobservant?

"Clark ..." Lex began, his voice soothing, but Clark wouldn't let him speak.

"No, I don't want you to stay away! It's not as if Mom will be around here most of the time now, will she?" he pointed out, making it clear that he knew what we'd been talking about. "We're farmers, we're early up, early to bed, there's not much time to talk, not with her schedule. And I won't tell her anything, and neither will Dad!" He sent me a look then that was clearly a warning, but unnecessary, because for the first time in quite a while we were actually on the same page again.

I nodded. "He's right, Lex."

"And it would really look odd if you suddenly stopped coming here, like you were doing something wrong before," Clark added, calmer now, his gaze totally focused on his friend.

Lex looked towards me, then at Clark. He swallowed, and his jaw was working. He wet his lips then nodded. "You have a point. I'll ... think about it."

"Lex." My son wanted more than that.

"Clark." They looked at each other, having a silent discussion, which I couldn't follow, but I could see the tiny self-deprecating smile appear around Lex's lips that told me Clark had won. "Okay. I won't stay away."

My son beamed, satisfied. He can be quite the manipulator when he wants to. Not really something I want to think about, but then again, it means at least that he'll be able to deal with Lex even when he's being a Luthor. I have to take comfort in that.

We were starting on the dishes when we heard the limousine approach, bringing Martha home. We shared a three-way look and for a moment I felt as if I was conspiring against my wife, but I shoved that feeling away. This was about damage control. If Martha had been aware of all the facts she would have been part of it. Whatever 'it' was.

I wasn't surprised when Lex put his plate away and then grabbed his jacket.

Clark, though, wasn't happy about it. "Lex, please, ...." He interrupted himself when his mother walked in. "Hi, Mom." Could he have sounded any less enthusiastic?

Fortunately Martha was preoccupied with Lex, who greeted her with a smile and a polite "Mrs. Kent" and was obviously about to leave.

"Lex." She smiled warmly back. "We missed you at the castle."

He didn't reply, just turned towards the door.

"Do you want something to eat, honey?" I asked, distracting her from Lex's unusually rude behavior.

She shook her head. "No, thank you. I ate with Lionel."

I can't even begin to describe how that sentence made me feel. It was all I could do not to let my temper get the better of me and tell her exactly how much her new job was costing this family - and I was including Lex here.

Fortunately, Lex drew my attention then. "Good-bye, Mr. Kent. Thank you for an interesting evening." He sent me a lopsided smile. "Clark." A final nod and he was out of the door.

"Lex, wait!" Clark was close behind him.

Martha looked after them, then turned around and noticed the beer bottles. Her eyebrows rose in question.

I shrugged. "Not all mine," I said, as if that would explain anything.

She waited for a moment, obviously hoping for more, but when nothing followed she let it go. Under normal circumstances her next line would have been "bad day?" or something like that, but really, with the beer out in the open, the answer was clearly "yes". Anyway, she knew better than to ask, because then I would have to ask her about her day, and we were both quite aware of the fact that I didn't want to hear about her day. Especially not if she had a good one.

So she said nothing, just put the empty bottles away while I finished the dishes, pretending that it was just an ordinary day. We Kents are good at pretending.



I followed Lex out of the house, barely restraining myself from using my speed. I knew that - promised or not - it would be a while until I saw him again if he got into his car before I could stop him. As nice as it had been to sit together with my dad and Lex, without them bitching at each other, I really wanted time with Lex alone.

Fortunately, great minds think alike and all that, because Lex hadn't climbed into his car, but stopped in front of it, looking into the night. I stepped up behind him, wondering if he was looking at something specific, but there was nothing. Guess he was just contemplating the world.

There are times when I'm more aware than usual of my strength and height, of the fact that other people are so breakable. Usually it happens around girls, especially if they are in danger. Then I get into total protector mood - okay, get more protective - and often enough I make a fool of myself. It almost never happens around Lex, no matter that I've saved him quite a lot. I guess it's because he's older, drives cool cars, runs a plant, never looks scared for long, and all in all is most of the time a grown-up. And luckily the times he didn't act quite so old were peaceful.

Still, although there wasn't a mutant or killer in sight, at that moment I was suddenly aware of our differences. Of me towering over him, of me being able to toss him through the barn if I wanted to. I was also aware of how tired he seemed, of how stressful the talk with my father must have been. Lex doesn't do weakness well. And he had admitted to quite a lot of weaknesses today. To my father no less. I was pretty amazed. At my dad, too. Mainly about the way he had looked right through Lex, as if he were me.

It didn't stop me from being pissed at my dad, though. And I was, part of me still is. I couldn't believe how easily he let mom get away with that job. Lex and I have been friends for over a year now and his "he's a Luthor, he isn't good for you" speech is almost as bad as on day one. Hopefully today marked an end to that.

Maybe I should've felt like cheering, but I didn't. After all, the turnabout hadn't happened because my father had finally listened to me. No, it happened because my mother did the unbelievable. She just went and started working for Lionel Luthor. As if my father and all our neighbors - the Ross family on top of the list - weren't thinking of him as a devil incarnate. Not to mention that I've told her quite a bit about the things he did to Lex. But she acts as if becoming blind makes Lionel a good guy, as if nothing that happened, nothing I told her matters. It hurts and it makes me furious.

She was always nice to Lex, but she never made dad shut up, and she could've, if she'd really wanted to. But obviously that wasn't important enough. My friend wasn't important enough. But that damned job was. I don't think I've ever felt this betrayed before. I'm usually at cross-purposes with my dad. My mom's normally the one that understands - guess that's changed. And she doesn't seem to have a clue what she's done. Certainly not about what her decision did to Lex.

That thought brought me back from my musings. I looked at Lex, who hadn't moved, and gently touched his arm. "Come to the barn," I said, forcing myself to speak quietly, because my mind was still in turmoil over my parents and I didn't want my anger to show.

He nodded and followed me, probably having similar thoughts.

Up there he went straight to the couch and sat down. He had never done that before. Usually he stands close to the stairs awhile, maybe walks as far as the center, and always ends up in front of the telescope first, before finally taking a seat.

I wondered if today was an exception because he was really tired, or because he knew that he would stay longer than a few minutes and therefore didn't need his usual strategy. Because that's what his lingering around the stairs is. He's securing the area first, then he's making sure that he's welcome, always ready to leave immediately if he isn't. Not that he ever was or will be unwelcome here.

I sat down beside him, turning so that I could see his face. He looked back expectantly, silently telling me that he wouldn't start the conversation.

So I just said what was on my mind. "Quite the shock to see you and my dad as drinking buddies." A good shock though. Not to mention the 'boyfriend' comment from my dad, and no protest from Lex to it.

Lex grinned. "Believe me, I was wondering if he'd been exchanged for a pod man, but I liked it too much to care."

I could imagine. If it had happened two weeks ago, I probably would have looked for something green in the beer bottles. But today I knew what had brought it along, partly at least. "I don't really understand why Mom working for your father makes such a difference. I mean, you're still Lex Luthor. What changed?" I asked.

"Before I was the stand-in for my father," Lex began, thinking it through as he spoke. "While your father hates mine for probably a lot of good reasons, he didn't actually have a concrete reason at the time, nothing tangible. Yet all the time I showed up he was reminded of his hate for my father and he poured that feeling onto the one tangible thing available. Me."

He rubbed his eyes, then continued. "Now my father has personally stepped onto your father's toes by offering your mother a job. Lionel Luthor is no longer just a hated name somewhere in Metropolis, he's now his adversary right here in Smallville. Your dad doesn't need to look at me to be reminded of Lionel, he only needs to look at your mom, or rather look around and notice her absence. I've become quite unimportant compared to that."

It made sense in a twisted kind of way, but I didn't like it. It was totally unfair to Lex and so wrong on so many levels. I wanted to tell him that, make him see that it shouldn't be like that, that he shouldn't have to put up with it. But I didn't know how. "You are not your father," I stated finally, feeling totally inadequate somehow.

"I know," he replied and smiled at me, as if he knew exactly what I tried to say. "But it is an old tradition to kill the messenger." Leave it to Lex to bring Greek history into a modern drama.

"That doesn't make it right," I pointed out, reaching for his shoulder. He didn't flinch or try to avoid the contact, more the opposite, actually. Then I was gently rubbing his shoulder, and it wasn't my imagination that he leaned into the touch. His gaze was locked with mine and he had this look in his eyes that said that I mattered above anything, everything. It unleashed tornadoes in my stomach and sent sparks over my body - not literally of course. Kind of as if a storm was coming.

"So, Clark," he wanted to know, still smiling, "what's next on the agenda?"

Gosh, I knew what I wanted, wasn't quite sure how to say it though. Wasn't quite sure if I wasn't maybe misreading Lex after all. My mind was desperately searching for a line that would make my interest clear, but would put the ball back in Lex's field. Channeling my father actually helped at that moment - though I'll never tell him that.

"Don't know. Thought maybe my boyfriend would have an idea." I grinned at Lex, hoping that I sounded and looked as cocky as I meant to.

His eyes darkened as he leaned forward, his smile turned feral. "Oh, I'm certain your boyfriend has plenty of ideas, but are you sure you want to know?" He was lowering his voice, suggesting, seducing, and at the same time warning me, giving me a way out. But I didn't want an out. I wanted in.

I nodded and let my hand glide from his shoulder down his chest. It might have been more cool if he hadn't been wearing a jacket, but I made my point.

His hand came up and caressed my face, followed its contours. My skin prickled wherever he touched me. I'd have closed my eyes if not for his gaze mesmerizing me. He looked intense, totally focused, like he was making a lifetime decision. I guess he was.

My eyes closed when he kissed me. And 'wow', that was a revelation. I thought after Jessie I knew what a real kiss was like. I had no idea. My boyfriend though - and I can't get enough of that word - had more than ideas, he had experience, and in that moment I didn't mind. Not at all.

I felt dazzled when the kiss ended, disoriented in a good way. Still I had the presence of mind to hold on to Lex, grabbing his jacket, lest he thought my silence was shock or disgust or something equally absurd.

"Be sure, Clark," he said, meeting my eyes again. "I don't play." A warning again, but for me it sounded like a promise, like all I ever wanted to hear.

"I am," I answered, touching his face the way he had touched mine. "I am."

I could feel him shiver under my hand as I traced his cheekbone to his mouth. Then his lips parted and his tongue flicked over my fingers, sending an electric charge directly to my groin. I moaned.

I guess that sound must have triggered something in Lex, for suddenly he kissed me again, while at the same time pushing me down on the couch. Now that thing is pretty large, but I'm very tall, and I would have sworn that I couldn't lie on it without dangling over at least one side, and that a second person fitting there with me would be impossible. Which only proves that no laws of nature or physics have any meanings as far as I'm concerned. Because except for the one foot on the ground, I was lying on that couch, and no part of me was hanging over its armrests.

And Lex was on top of me. Straddling my hips, ever so slightly grinding against my rapidly growing erection. His hands pushed my T-shirt up to get free access to my chest and all the while he was kissing me.

I'm not sure how he managed to breathe through it all, I was certainly having problems, but I was too excited by the fires his hands created on the rest of my body to care. Gosh, my fantasy hadn't come even close to this. My hard-on was poking into Lex's thigh, and I was bucking under him, nearly throwing him off, when he finally released my mouth.

"Lex ..." I didn't say any more, just looked at him, pleadingly I'm sure. I had no clear idea what I wanted, all I knew was that I was ready to explode, teetering on the edge and waiting for him to push me over.

I did not expect him to leave the couch, or to drop to his knees beside it. His lips ghosted over my chest, teasing my nipples, while his left hand unbuttoned my pants and freed my cock. I felt relief for a moment, then his fingers curled around it and pumped. I gasped, moaned, begged for more and then shouted his name as he sucked me.

The rest is a hazy memory of pleasure that almost hurt and fireworks exploding. That feeling was so intense that I actually checked for fire and burns when I was coherent again. Luckily, it had only happened in my mind.

For all I know I might have knocked Lex over when I came, or started to hover at some point, I can't tell. I blacked out for good. When I came around again Lex was once more leaning over me, his blue eyes looking straight at me. I couldn't find any words, so I just stared at him.

"Angel?" His voice sounded strange, somehow hoarse, somehow coaxing. I liked it a lot. "Are you with me again?"

Nod. I could nod.

He smiled, a brilliant, only the slightest bit smug smile. "You scared me there for a minute."

I flashed back to our first meeting and then it registered. "Angel?" I echoed.

He didn't blush, but he did look shy for a second. Then his expression turned challenging. "Why not? Isn't that what you are? My guardian angel? It certainly seemed that way on the riverbank."

I grinned. "Me an angel?" Okay, I was fishing for compliments here.

He sighed. "You have no idea what you looked like. Here I was, rising from the dead, looking up into the most beautiful face, not to mention the halo the sun was casting behind you. What else should I have thought?"

Okay, I was blushing, fiercely. I hadn't expected that. Mushy much? But this was Lex talking and I knew he meant it. It was overwhelming.

"Of course, when you fainted that image had to be adjusted a little bit." He smirked.

We were back to teasing, I could do that. "Only a little bit?" I asked.

He nodded. "It's not my fault if angels aren't as beautiful as you. You definitely earn the title."

Luckily he kissed me then, so I didn't need to react to that. Because, really, what was I supposed to say? I'm a sixteen-year-old male teenager, I can only stand so much romance, no matter that it made the experience that much more special.

After the whole red meteor thing with Jessie I'm not exactly a virgin anymore when it comes to blow-jobs, or actually more a hand-job. But Jessie was pretty clumsy, probably a little scared by my earlier caveman-act, so maybe it doesn't really count. I surely hadn't done much to her. Not that I had done much for Lex ...

At that thought I sat up, nearly throwing my friend off the couch.

"Clark?" He scanned my face for any clues of what had upset me.

"What about you?" I asked, not really confident enough to reach for him and find out personally.

"I'm all right, Clark. Perfect actually." He pressed me down again and then settled over me, his whole length covering me like a man-shaped blanket. I noticed with surprise that his jacket was gone and that his shirt was unbuttoned. Then I noticed his arousal.

Naturally, he noticed that I noticed. He shifted a bit - forcing a new moan from me - to get more comfortable, then grabbed my hand which had automatically risen and placed it on his back. Not where I had expected it would go.

"It will keep," he said smirking. "I like to savor the moment."

I had my fantasies about making love with Lex, of course, but somehow they were pretty vague when it came down to me touching him, especially anywhere below the belt. I was quite more interested in imagining him touching me than the other way around. So I wasn't exactly protesting his masochistic tendencies. Instead I slipped my hand under his shirt and slowly began to stroke along his back. I liked it. His skin felt smooth and warm. But much more, I liked the sighs of contentment I heard from him.

Lex smiled at me, fussed with my hair for a moment, then pillowed his head on my chest. "I love you," he murmured, closing his eyes. One of his hands ended up under his chin, the other somewhere near my head, probably anchoring him to the armrest.

I could only stare and smile and keep caressing while he dozed.

I wondered if he had interpreted my father's boyfriend remark as a kind of acceptance of this - like I had - or if he was just too plain tired to care that anyone could walk in on us at any moment. Because, though I like to call this place my 'Fortress of Solitude', there are times when it seems to resemble Smallville central, people blowing in and out as if it were a public railway station.

I looked down at us and decided that we wouldn't be too embarrassed if anyone looked in. Okay, the situation was obvious and we were cuddling, but we were both still dressed, though a little disheveled, and Lex's loose pants would probably hide his arousal if he had to get up. Besides, I really didn't expect anyone to stop by. It was too late for Lana, and I didn't think there were any problems worth speaking about right now anyway. Also, I was pretty sure that dad knew what we were doing and would know better than to interrupt or let mom look in on us. No, it was quite safe.

But it would be getting cold, and while I wouldn't feel it, Lex would. I looked around and luckily found a blanket within my reach, though I had to hold up Lex with one hand as I grabbed it. It took quite some maneuvering to spread the blanket over us without dislodging Lex, but I managed. Super strength and speed have their value, after all.

I know that Lex wasn't actually asleep through all of that, but he didn't say a thing or open his eyes, just let me handle him like I wanted, trusting me to not let him fall. It's a heady feeling to know someone trusts you like that. Especially when said someone doesn't know all the facts.

I know I have to tell him eventually, maybe not everything, but at least I have to tell him that there are things I can't tell him. That I'm not quite ... ordinary. Though I guess he had to be brain-dead to not be aware of that. And I believe his lying down on top of me without even asking if he might be too heavy is his subtle way of telling me exactly that. It fits with his non-reaction to my lifting him with one hand earlier. Considering how much has happened to him in Smallville and how often I was involved, he has probably gathered more than a few facts, because he really isn't stupid at all. Maybe that talk won't be too bad.

Hey, he said he loves me. Oh and maybe I should tell him that I love him, too, somewhere between secrets and powers, especially before mentioning aliens and green rocks. Guess the talk would go even better then. Pretty sure it will. I know it will.

"Clark?" His eyes are only halfway open.

"Shshsh. Sleep, Lex." His eyes close again. "Everything will be all right," I whisper, and it will be. I'll make it so. We will make it. Parents, society and Kansas law be damned.



Lex is still up there, his Ferrari a telling sign. Which should probably alarm me, but it doesn't. Might alarm Martha though, I've to make sure she's occupied with something else. I've been in the barn earlier, only as far as the stairs, and believe me, of all the things we don't want her to know, this is certainly on top of the list.

I guess most people would expect me to be shocked about my son being a homosexual, or gay or bi or whatever the definition. I'm a white Kansas bred farmer after all. And maybe, if Martha hadn't married me, if Clark had never come along, I might have turned out that way. But it's hard to call something 'unnatural' or 'against God's will', when your child is an alien who defies the laws of physics every day.

No, my problem with Lex was never about him being a guy, though I admit I'd prefer a daughter-in-law to a son, but always about him being a Luthor and my conviction that Luthors don't know how to care for other people.

Right now, if I had to choose between my son being Lex Luthor's lover or my wife working for Lionel Luthor, you'd see me hoisting a rainbow colored banner on my roof in no time. Unfortunately it's not my choice to make.

Still, Clark being with Lex might not be too bad. Lex truly loves him. I saw it in his eyes today, and I think I realized it even before. And hopefully this will hold true when he finds out what Clark is. I'm sure he'll put the pieces together eventually, if Clark doesn't tell him first. I hope my son will take his time, but I won't bet on it. And maybe Lex's love for him will actually become his best protection.

Clark once told me that Lex would do anything to protect his friends. I thought it sounded way over the top then, but I can actually believe it now. I only have to think of the things Lex did for Clark and his friends, or tried to do for our family. Or to remember how Lex risked his life to save the children when Earl held them hostage. If he was prepared to die for a bunch of kids, or just for his friend Clark back then, then he'd certainly move heaven and hell to keep his lover safe now. Especially from his father. And being a Luthor, he has a lot more ... choices open to him, than I have.

No, it probably won't hurt to have Lex on our side. It might actually have some benefits. Perhaps I should tell him about our first meeting, that it was me who carried him from that cornfield, not his father. Maybe I'll do it when he knows about the meteors and Clark, and hasn't turned on us. One more thing that connects him with Clark, Martha and me, and one more thing to bring up against Lionel. It's not nice, but all is fair in love and war. And I have the feeling this will become a war.

I'll do whatever is necessary to protect my family. Even adopt a Luthor into it. No matter that it probably puts me further on the fringes of Smallville society. Anything to keep my family safe. Anything.


© 6 July 2003 (2. January 2004)