Clark Kent and the Stuff of Legends
by Chris J. Ueberall


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

Summary: What if Clark wasn't an alien, but a wizard? (Smallville/Harry Potter AU)

Notes: I don't do HP, I read the books once, and then I'm done with it, because I don't think the universe works at all. This is a bunny that my HorseHobbit-leader forced on me and everyone who feels offended should take it up with her and not me! Thank you very much, Valentine, not!

A real "Thank you" to my beta readers, especially Tehomet, who put in a lot of work. Any mistake still there is mine, mine, mine ;-) This is a Smallville/Harry Potter AU crossover, I think that speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Feedback: Would be appreciated, as long as it doesn't come by owl.


Clark looked down from the bridge and wondered, for a moment, if he shouldn't just drown his sorrows and all his problems along with them in the river below. Of course, he wouldn't do it. But to think it, even only for a second, gave him a little peace of mind. To be free, to not be hiding what he could do, to not be a freak.

He sighed, and wondered if there was something he could do to become an ordinary boy, just like everybody else. A boy who could play football, get angry or act funny without strange things happening to him or those around him.

God, how he hated being different.

He looked at the horizon. In the distance he could just make out one chimney of Luthor Manor. Those Luthors were different too, or at least the town's people thought so. They were accused of almost everything, from being mafia or aliens to Satanists.

Actually the last accusation was the most popular among the older folk. Because the idea that the Luthors were evil sorcerers who used dark magic to secure their wealth dated back to a century ago, when Llenolim Luthor had suddenly appeared and built a castle in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas.

Rumors had it that the castle hadn't been built at all, but had just risen from the ground, and the Smallville chronicles seemed to support that, for there was no mention of construction work at all, only one day a comment about the castle just as if it always had been there. Strange that. Just one of many strange things that happened in Smallville, and all were attributed to the Luthors. Even a lot of those things happening around Clark now, which was a relief of sorts for him.

Clark shook his head. Strange happenings, yes. And sounding like magic, true. But in today's modern world nobody - except for some freaks and old people - believed in magic. So whatever he was, a mutant or an alien, it wouldn't go away with a magic spell. It probably wouldn't go away ever. Clark sighed and looked towards the manor wistfully.

It would help if he had just one person to talk to. Someone who understood, someone who was different, too. But someone like that didn't fall out of the sky. They were probably somewhere staring at nothing and wishing for a friend as well. That was the point of being different, right? To be alone. Because if everyone was like you then ... Clark closed his eyes and sighed again. But no one was like him.

Lex stepped on the gas and grinned. This was one of the things he truly liked about the muggle world. A fast car and the freedom to just drive, losing himself in the speed, in the humming of the engine, the smell of leather. It was cooler by far than Quidditch. As far as Lex was concerned sitting on a broomstick was a most embarrassing image, while driving a Porsche was ... wow, the modern picture of a knight in full armor on a battle steed. Impressive, deadly. And the best thing was - you stayed on the ground. No heights, yet still the feeling of flying. Perfect.

A beeping sound drew him from his musings. He grabbed his cell-phone and looked at the display. His father's image looked back at him and informed him that he wouldn't return to Luthor Manor for quite a while, as important business kept him in Metropolis.

Lex nodded and tried not to show his impatience, for as he could see a lively miniature self of his father, likewise did Lionel see one of him, and showing distress or boredom - or anything really - always dragged on a conversation even longer. Finally the image disappeared and Lex threw the phone on the passenger seat, wishing, not for the first time, that he hadn't allowed his father to tamper with his cell-phone. In hindsight, talking to Lionel just as muggles could do would be more than enough for Lex's peace of mind.

And after all, it didn't come as a surprise that his father would be staying in Metropolis for some time to come. You couldn't conquer the business world from Smallville. Not even if you were a wizard as powerful as Lionel Luthor.

Lex sighed. He liked the muggle world a lot. Liked the order of things here - like the fact that pictures stayed in their frames, stairs didn't move just to annoy you - liked the technical achievements: TV, phones, PCs, cars. What he didn't like was the business world, the world his father was living in and wanted him to live in, too. Not caring that Lex wasn't interested in conquering the world, not like his father was or like Voldemort - he wasn't afraid of saying the name - had been.

Lex wanted to be a great wizard, or maybe a renowned scientist - or maybe both - wanted to do great things, achieve many things thought impossible. But he did not see himself as a tycoon in the muggle world. That was his father's idea of his future, not his.

Something on the road caught his eye. Wire!

He stepped on the brakes. Heard the tyres screech on the asphalt. Felt himself losing control of the car. He saw the railings of the bridge coming closer and then he saw the boy standing there, looking at him with wide, shocked eyes.

Desperately Lex tried to weave a protection spell, for the boy at least if not for himself, but the time was too short, and his wand unreachable in his inner pocket. Instinctively he closed his eyes, following the old saying that what you couldn't see couldn't hurt you.

He felt the impact when the car hit the railings. His head collided with the steering wheel. There was a moment of suspense. And Lex's last thought - before the shadows claimed him - was that he really hated flying. Especially in a car.

Okay, so he was flying and he was not feeling sick or scared - which meant this was not a typical flight. Lex looked down and, indeed, found no broomstick and his body had a transparent look to it. So he was either projecting an astral body, dreaming, or dead. Considering that his last memory was of himself in a car accident the latter option seemed the most likely.

Lex looked around. Beneath him he saw the river and, steadily sinking deeper, his Porsche. And then he saw the boy - a tall, dark haired teenager - not at the bottom of the river as he had expected, but hovering over the bridge. Still one in body and soul. Unlike Lex.

So obviously Lex didn't hit him. Which meant the boy had managed to levitate before the car ran him over.

'That must have been one of the fastest levitation spells ever spoken,' Lex thought admiringly, 'and without the help of a wand, too.' For the teenager wasn't holding anything in his hands.

The boy was also still hovering and not even sweating. 'The guy's magic power has to be impressive!'

Lex took a closer look and noted the shocked and disbelieving expression on the - 'wow' - beautiful face. As if the boy didn't have a clue how he managed to fly. Which probably meant he hadn't used a spell, but just done it. Incredible.

Lex was in awe. Most wizards relied on their wands when doing magic, not even contemplating doing sorcery without it. Some didn't even know that you could do magic without one - theoretically at least. The wand was not a weapon as a gun was; you didn't need it to throw magic around. It was actually a tool to enhance your own power, to focus it and - the most practical point - to use energy from outside instead of from inside the wizard.

If you didn't use a wand, all the magic had to come from yourself, draining you as you used it. With a wand your own magic was just needed to 'jumpstart' the spell so to speak. Of course, you still needed magic, otherwise you could as well be waving around a stick like muggle children were known to do, but it didn't weaken you.

Still, even being a powerful wizard you needed the right words to control magic, unless - it seemed - you were this Kansas boy, who - without gesturing or saying anything - was now diving head first into the river.

Lex followed automatically, watching the proceedings calmly from the sideline.

After flying and breathing water, the boy was now using a strength-enhancing charm, so that he was able to peel off the car's roof.

Then he dragged a lifeless Lex out of the car and onto the river's edge.

"Come on, don't be dead," the boy said, in a scared, but absolutely unboyish voice. "Please!" He shook the corpse desperately then suddenly leaned forward to give Lex mouth-to-mouth, followed by pressing down on his chest, forcing the heart to beat again.

Lex felt as if struck by lightning when the teenager's breath filled his lungs. He could see green light - coming from the boy's hands - seeping into his chest. There was more going on here than just a muggle revival technique. The boy was using life-magic, just like that, as if it came naturally to him.

'He uses magic almost like an elf does,' Lex realized, amazed.

Then he felt pulled towards his body. A nauseating feeling of disorientation followed. When it had passed, his perspective had changed and he was looking up into anxious-looking sea-green eyes.

A mouthful of river made its presence known and Lex turned aside to spit it out, coughing for a while, before he was ready to turn back to his rescuer. "Thanks," he said then, looking at the teenager. "I'm Lex."

The boy smiled. "I'm Clark."

And Lex fell in love.

Whoa, he had just saved somebody's life. The very idea was stunning, but in a good way. Clark felt like embracing the whole world. Finally his strange powers had done something good. They had enabled him to drag someone from a watery grave, had helped him to bring Alexander Luthor back from the dead. Yes, he knew whom he had rescued. He had never seen the Luthor boy before, but the description fit: Seventeen years old and bald. It had to be him.

'He's beautiful,' Clark thought, not caring that his father would have a heart attack if he knew that he was thinking such things. 'The bluest eyes I've ever seen, the nicest smile ever sent my way, too.'

"I was sure I'd hit you," Lex said, sitting up. "Glad you levitated out of my way."

The words hit Clark like the car hadn't. "What are you talking about?"

"Just what I said. I'm glad you can fly." The older boy said it as if there was nothing unusual about a teenager flying. But Lex couldn't actually mean it, couldn't know the truth. He couldn't have seen Clark jumping in the air and staying there. As he couldn't have seen him ripping off the roof of the car.

"And don't feel bad about the car, I can afford to buy another." Lex smiled and reached out to gently ruffle Clark's hair. "You're quite amazing."

"I ... I don't know what you mean. Your car missed me and then I jumped in after you and got you out, that's all. Anyone would have done that." Clark's thoughts were in turmoil. He didn't want Lex to think he was a freak, no matter how calmly he seemed to take it. Obviously Lex wouldn't automatically attribute anything strange happening to the Luthors ... of course he wouldn't - he was a Luthor!

"I know what you did, Clark, and I hope others, including me, would do the same if they were in your position. But I doubt very much that anybody would've been able to pull off the roof of my Porsche just like that. I certainly wouldn't have been able to do that. Not without preparation."

"You couldn't see that, you were ... I mean, I didn't do such a thing. That would be impossible." But even as he said the last Clark knew he had given himself away.

Lex smirked. "Yes, I was, and yes, you did." He stroked lightly along Clark's face. "As I said, you are amazing."

His shoulders sagging, Clark looked at the ground. "I don't want to be amazing. I want to be normal, like anybody else. I don't want people looking at me as if I'm different. If I could be something it would be inconspicuous."

A hand under Clark's chin forced him to look up into warm sparkling blue eyes.

"If you want to be inconspicuous, you should use a broomstick to fly," Lex said earnestly. "And use a wand like every wizard does. Even if you don't need it."

"What?" Then it hit Clark, Lex was making fun of him or trying to lighten the mood. "Haha. If you say so." He stood and helped Lex to his feet. "Are you all right?"

Lex nodded, but didn't let go of Clark's hand. "Where are you going to school?" he wanted to know suddenly.

"Smallville High. I'm fourteen, just started there. Why?"

"Fourteen," Lex echoed and let go of his hand abruptly, much to Clark's disappointment.

"Smallville High?" If he wasn't mistaken Lex sounded shocked and disbelieving. "You really haven't a clue what you are, have you?"

"What I am?" Oh, Clark had some ideas, but none would explain why Smallville High seemed to come as such a shock to Lex, unless Clark and his parents had missed the announcement of Xavier's School for Mutants or Aliens somehow.

"You are a wizard. Probably the most powerful on Earth." Lex waved to the river. "Everything you did I could do, too. But I'd need my wand or at least the spell words, but you ... I wonder if Harry Potter has as much power as you."

For a moment, Clark considered asking who Harry Potter was, but then he put the question aside. It didn't matter. Lex was obviously crazy. Probably lost his grasp on reality when he lost his hair. Wizards! Wands! Next Lex would be telling him he'd come in a spaceship during the meteor shower - that at least would have sounded plausible. After all he had been found after that night. But magic?

"You don't believe me," Lex stated matter-of-factly.

"Eh ... no." No point in lying.

"What can I do to make you believe me?"


A grimace deformed Lex's handsome face for a second. "Does it have to be flying? I really don't like it. That's why I use a car."

"Oh." That made sense somehow. But he really had no idea what else he should ask for. "Make something else fly?"

Now a wicked smile crossed Lex' features, giving him a dangerous, sexy look. "That I can do." And he reached into his jacket and pulled out a stick, approximately the length of his forearm. He turned towards the river, but then hesitated.

"What is it?" Clark wanted to know, wondering what kind of excuse the older teenager would give for not accomplishing his task. "Forgot the words? Dying might do that to you." He wasn't really mocking, more trying to give him an out, because despite Lex being crazy, he wanted to be his friend.

"No." Lex shook his head. "It's stupid really. But I'm going to school in Britain and there it's forbidden to use magic outside the wizard world if you're underage." He took a deep breath. "But there is no such law in the States, so I guess it'll be okay."

"If you'd better not ..." Again Clark tried to give him an out, but obviously Lex didn't want to take it.

"No. I'll do it. Watch, Clark. And believe." With that Lex pointed his stick at the river and then spoke a word that sounded like Latin and yet not.

For two seconds nothing happened, then the water seemed to boil in one place, and finally out of the river the Porsche rose, damaged roof dangling from its side.

The car left the river, hovered for a moment then moved back to the bridge where it sat down with a "whompf".

Clark looked at Lex who smiled broadly. "Convinced?" he asked.

"You could be telekinetic," Clark said more calmly than he felt. "You have to show me more to prove that it's magic."

Lex grinned. "Like dragons, ghosts and the likes?"

Clark nodded.

"I can't do dragons out of my pocket, but we have ghosts at the castle. You game to meet them?" The challenge in the older boy's voice was obvious.

Never one to resist a challenge, Clark grinned back. "Of course. Lead on, MacDuff."

Rolling his eyes, Lex pointed his stick - wand, Clark corrected himself - at the Porsche again and spoke another word. And in front of Clark's disbelieving eyes, the wreck of a car repaired itself, until it looked as if it had never left the showroom, much less the road.

"Come on, then," Lex said, walking towards his car. He turned back, amused, when Clark hesitated. "What? You thought we'd walk to Luthor Manor? I'm rich and spoiled. I don't do menial tasks." He opened the passenger door and waved to Clark. "Do you want to chicken out?"

"No." Taking a deep breath, Clark walked towards the Porsche. As he looked at the breach in the railings, it hit him. If he hadn't been able to fly, he would be dead. By nature's law he should be dead. Lex and he should be dead. But they weren't. The world around Clark went dark then. And the last thing he heard was Lex's worried and yet stressed voice saying something about "muggles" - whatever that was.

Jonathan groaned as yet another owl appeared on the horizon. What was it with those birds? Or rather, what kind of deranged ... person was sending them. Ever since Clark's ninth birthday, once a year one or more owls had appeared, left a letter behind and flown away again.

Martha and he had found it pretty odd, but had decided that it was nothing but a joke, especially when they had read the letters. Invitations for Clark to join some obscure schools. The New York School of Magical Arts, the Wizards' and Witches' School of Northern America, the High School for Magic in the Modern World, and so on. Clearly a joke. Though Jonathan couldn't think of anyone who'd have the means - like the money and imagination - to pull it off.

For five years, he and his wife had watched the owls come, leave their letters and fly away again. They'd put the letters in the trash and never had they mentioned anything to Clark about them. It had worked up to now, but somehow it didn't work this time.

This time the invitation came from a school called Hogwarts, from England, no less, and for every letter they trashed or burned another owl appeared, bringing a new one. And the worst was that the damned birds didn't leave the farm, but sat on the roof, on the tractor, or in the trees in front of the house. Everywhere, watching his every move. He started to feel like the main character in a Hitchcock movie.

"Enough is enough," he growled and took his shotgun out of the closet.

"Dad!" Clark looked at him with wide eyes. "You can't shoot at the owls. They belong to someone, they're just doing their job by bringing those letters."

"I want them gone!" he replied, trying to edge past his son.

"They'd probably go if they saw me actually getting one of those invitations, Dad."

Of course this time, with so much bird activity, Clark had been a witness to their strange behavior, and even had read one of those letters, though only after fishing it out of the trash.

"You really think so?" Jonathan didn't expect that to work. But it couldn't hurt to try it; maybe those owls were trained to wait for such a sign that their job was done. "Okay, let's do it then."

Holding the door open for his son he stepped out of the house and watched the latest owl drop its letter right into Clark's waiting hands.

"Thanks," Clark said to the owl or rather to all of them, then opened the invitation for all of them to see. He read the letter's contents aloud, and the moment he finished every owl threw itself into the air and left the Kent farm.

Jonathan breathed out in relief. Finally. Maybe now things could get back to normal.

"I'd really like to go to Hogwarts, Dad."

Or maybe not.

"There is no such school," Jonathan said, walking back into the house, followed closely by his son. "Like there are no wizards."

"But Lex says he is one, and I'm one, too."

"Lex Luthor is ..." Jonathan began heatedly, but was interrupted by his wife as she entered the kitchen.

"We know Lex is your friend, Clark," Martha said, walking towards them. "But that doesn't mean he knows everything. He's as much a chi... young man as you, and probably full of dreams and fantastic stories. You can't believe everything he says."

"But ..." Clark piped up, but Jonathan couldn't have that.

"He's a Luthor. You can't trust a Luthor, Clark. They are queer folk. They're not like us."

At that last sentence Clark stepped back, and Jonathan knew he had made a mistake, knew what the next thing coming from his son would be, and sure enough it came.

"I'm not like you, either! What does that make me? A Luthor?"

"Of course not!" Heaven forbid that his son was involved with that family.

"I wouldn't mind that," a voice said out of nowhere and then there was a loud popping and whooshing sound and a crouched figure slid out of - 'hell and damnation' - their fireplace.

"Lex!" Clark smiled brightly at the newcomer, who straightened up and dusted his clothes off, leaving a cloud of ash to rain down on the carpet.

Next to Jonathan, Martha coughed pointedly, and he could see the Luthor boy look sheepishly at her, before he pulled out a small stick, waved it around and said something in not-English. A moment later, the living room was clean, cleaner than even Martha had ever accomplished.

"My apologies, Mrs. Kent, Mr. Kent. I didn't want to intrude, but I thought it might help Clark's case, if I were here to explain some things." Having said his piece, Lex Luthor stood patiently waiting in their living room, giving them time to absorb his words as well as his entry.

Not sure what else to do, Jonathan studied the teenager in front of him. He wasn't as imposing as he had imagined. Not as tall or broad shouldered as Jonathan and Clark, he looked almost skinny, somehow vulnerable.

So this was the boy who had almost killed Clark with his car, who had sent what looked like a futuristic version of a broomstick as a gift. Jonathan had thought it a weird way of thanking someone for saving his life, but not worth sending it back, while Clark seemed almost ecstatic about getting a gift of a Luthor Airwolf - as the markings described it.

This was also the guy who had told Clark that he was a wizard, that a world existed parallel to their own, where people had magic powers just like Clark. And after the way he had entered their house, had cleaned their living room, and considering what Clark could do, Jonathan suddenly found it hard to not believe in magic anymore.

He felt as if his whole world was just coming apart. And as always, when he felt out of his depths, he turned to his wife. Martha looked not even half as confused as he felt, which was at the same time a relief and an annoyance. She smiled at him and soothingly touched his arm.

"Maybe we should all sit down," Martha said, already pulling him down to the couch with her. Obediently the teenagers followed her advice, each of them choosing an armchair.

"Now, tell us how we're supposed to send Clark to this wizard school, Lex," Martha said, "because, frankly I don't see how that is supposed to work. For one thing, England is far away, we could never afford it. And even if it were one of the schools here, we'd need to explain to the authorities where Clark is. How'd he get his SAT, what about college? From what I've seen of the things needed for those wizard schools, I got the feeling maths, physics and all the usual lessons aren't part of their schedules."

Martha looked at Lex expectantly, while Jonathan looked at his wife in astonishment. Had she just come up with all of that within the last minute or had she thought about it for a while? Maybe she hadn't been as totally disbelieving as she had claimed to be all those years. And maybe his our-son-is-an-alien theory hadn't been as convincing as he had thought. Deep in his thoughts he almost missed Lex's reply.

"Let's start with why I think he should go to Hogwarts. Simply because it's the best school, which is proven by the way the American schools didn't care if Clark actually got their invitations or not. Hogwarts always makes sure their potential students get at least one letter. As far as the costs are concerned, you don't need to worry. I have more than enough money to pay for Clark's journey, tuition fees, school books and materials, and ..." Lex raised his hand to stop any interruptions, "I think saving my life is worth a lot more than that, which really isn't that much at all. So please, let me give him that."

There was a small voice in the back of Jonathan's mind that demanded that he tell the Luthor boy off, that he gave a vehement speech about the Kents not being bought. But he ignored it. After all, Lex had a point, the Luthors could easily afford it and the car incident had put Lex into Clark's debt. There were worse ways to pay it off than by financing Clark's education, however strange an education that might turn out to be.

"What about the authorities?" Jonathan heard himself ask instead of saying 'no' to the offer.

"Telling them that Clark goes to school overseas should be enough for them, and that I or rather my father will be paying for it might raise eyebrows, but no questions. As far as the SATs are concerned, when Clark has finished Hogwarts, he'll be allowed to use magic for all kinds of things, even in the muggl ... here. There are spells that will help him learn everything he needs in a short while if he wants to, and besides, it is quite easy to forge any document he'll need, either by magic or by normal means."

Jonathan didn't like it, and he could tell by Martha's expression that neither did she. But they really couldn't act as if they were deeply shaken by the immorality of it all. Because they had done it before, forging documents, lying to the authorities and their friends and neighbors.

Eleven years ago, when a toddler had walked into their lives, they had kicked honesty into the next decade and let secrecy take its place. He hadn't liked it then, either, but thinking of the last years with his wife and his son, he would do it again in a heartbeat - as he obviously was doing now.

"Okay, then," Jonathan said and saw Clark lighting up like a Christmas tree, "where do we start?"

Lex grinned and winked at Clark before turning back to Jonathan. "By sending an owl, of course."

"Are you sure you'll be able to do it? After all, it would be a shame if your grades suffered after all the work you put into them." Dumbledore put his cup of tea down on his desk, leaned back in his chair, and stroked his long white beard.

Lex smiled and nodded. "No problem. I'm way ahead in all lessons. Some teachers might even be grateful if I slow down a bit. And I doubt that Clark will take much of my time. The hardest part is to learn how to trigger the magic, and that he already knows how to do. He just has to learn the words to use so that he isn't too obvious about his powers."

Dumbledore nodded. "But there is more to learn than just that. Especially if you want him to go directly from first class to third class."

Lex had to admit that Hogwarts' headmaster was right, but with Clark being three and looking even five years older than everyone else starting school, he was certain that it had to be done. Clark would feel alienated enough as it was.

"He learns fast, I'm sure he'll be ahead in most lessons in no time. And wherever he has a problem I can help him." Lex knew he sounded arrogant, but he was good, everyone knew that.

"Especially if it concerns Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts, if I've heard correctly." The old wizard looked at him intently. "I doubt Professor Snape will like it that his star pupil takes to other interests." He didn't elaborate, but Lex knew what he meant anyway.

"It would be much easier if your friend became a Slytherin."

Lex nodded then shook his head. "Yeah, it would be easier, Professor. But Clark strikes me more as the Gryffindor type. Anything but Slytherin."

"Neither house will like you befriending him. Slytherin won't like him coming to their part of Hogwarts, and wherever he ends up in won't be happy to see a Luthor visiting, either."

Of course Dumbledore was right, and Lex had to find a way to give him peace of mind about this. Not only because he liked the headmaster, but also because Dumbledore had been more than helpful all along concerning Clark. He didn't need to invite Clark to Hogwarts, but he had done it, when Lex asked. Insisting that Clark would get his invitation like any other student, him being American not withstanding.

And now he was encouraging Lex to be Clark's tutor, while warning him of the consequences. But Lex wouldn't be Slytherin's star pupil if he hadn't already thought everything through.

"Neither Clark nor I need to be running around in another house. We can study in one of the classrooms when no one is there. We'll be less likely disturbed, too. And I don't care what others may think. Clark is my friend, and no matter which house I'm in, I stick to my friends." Lex swallowed, then added more quietly, "Besides, when they learn that I owe him my life, they won't think it odd that I feel indebted."

Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, you've got a valid point there. And everyone will agree that it's uncomfortable for a sixteen-year-old to sit in class surrounded by children so much younger. The necessity for your friend to be privately taught so that he can ..."

"Fourteen," Lex interrupted the older wizard. "Clark is fourteen."

"No." Dumbledore shook his head. "The muggles might have decided that he was three when they found him, but we know that he was actually five at the time, so that would make him ..."

"Sixteen." Lex said the number as if he had a religious revelation. Clark was just one year younger than he. Clark wasn't a child. Clark wasn't off limits. Suddenly the idea of tutoring his friend seemed even more appealing than before.

"Are you listening, Alexander?" the headmaster's question pulled Lex from his thoughts.

"No, sorry, Professor. I was just thinking about some ... lessons for Clark." He tried to look attentive. "What were you saying?"

"That it will still be looked upon strangely. There hasn't been a case like this before in Hogwarts." Dumbledore stroked his beard again.

"Maybe then it is a good thing that Harry Potter is joining Hogwarts this year, too. Such a hero being here will stir up a lot of things, I imagine. That way Clark may not be as interesting as he would be otherwise." There wasn't the slightest doubt in Lex that people would be watching Harry Potter all of the time, for various reasons. Everyone wanted to know how a child had been able to destroy such a powerful wizard like Voldemort, some would want to get some of Potter's fame for themselves, others would want to know his secret to protect themselves against him. If not for Clark entering Lex's life, Lex would certainly be one of those watchers.

"And you know about Harry Potter coming here, how?" Dumbledore inquired.

Lex shrugged. "Doesn't everyone know?" he asked. Of course he had heard it from his father, who kept in touch with a lot of wizards, although he spent most of his time in the muggle world. "It will help to keep attention away from Clark, and that's all I care about."

The headmaster nodded. "Then let us hope that your friend and the Potter boy won't end up in the same house. That might be a dangerous combination, especially for the boys."

Lex hadn't thought about that, and he could only wholeheartedly agree. Clark in the same house as the famous Harry Potter would be a complication he really didn't want to face.

He looked at the Sorting Hat lying on a shelf not far away. Maybe if one talked to the Hat before ...

"It's time to go to the hall, the boat has arrived." Dumbledore stood and walked to the door. "Bring the Hat, boy. Let us see where everyone fits in."

Clark looked around in excitement; everything was so new and different. Though thanks to Lex introducing him to the wizard world, Hogwarts wasn't too much of a shock. He had already met ghosts in Luthor Manor, and after nearly frying one picture of Llenolim Luthor - when it had annoyed him too much - he knew better than to grant moving pictures too much attention. The wizard street in Metropolis, where they had bought his schoolbooks and his wand, had been fun and enlightening. So Clark was truly looking forward to visiting London, the wizard part as well as the muggle part, which Lex had promised to show him when the semester was over.

It was also due to Lex' stories about Hogwarts that he hadn't felt too strange when putting on the Sorting Hat. When it asked if he wanted to go to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, he had been about to say "Slytherin," but then remembered that Lex had been adamant about Clark not going there.

"But you are there," Clark had argued, and Lex had sighed. "Yes, I am. But believe me, I'd prefer being in Ravenclaw anytime. And you wouldn't fit in there. You are a hero inside, and those go to Gryffindor."

So, since the Hat obviously didn't think he was Slytherin material, either, Clark had just shrugged, and had been sorted to Gryffindor, as Lex had predicted.

His fellow housemates had cheered when he joined their table, though some looked at him curiously, obviously wondering about his age. But just as one girl had found the courage to lean towards him and ask, another boy was sorted into Gryffindor. A Draco Malfoy. This time no one cheered. Instead silence overcame the hall.

The blond boy was holding the Hat and stared at it with an expression of shock and anger. "You can't do that. My family's been in Slytherin forever. You're wrong, you've made a mistake!"

The Hat didn't answer.

"Sit down at the Gryffindor table, young man," Professor Dumbledore said from his place at the teacher's table, and although clearly unhappy, Draco did as he was told.

Making room for Draco to sit next to him, Clark scanned the tables and wondered about the shocked expressions on most of the elder students' faces, especially at the Slytherin table. There was only one student who looked clearly amused and content - Lex. For a moment their eyes locked, and the intensity of Lex's gaze raised goosebumps on Clark's skin. Once again he wished to be in the other house.

He had learned that friendships between the houses weren't exactly encouraged, and the thought of being Lex's rival didn't lie well with him. This whole competition thing between the houses seemed rather stupid. Shouldn't they all be encouraged to work together instead? As he sent a smile to Lex, Clark swore to himself that he would find a way to be his friend, Hogwarts' traditions be damned.

While Clark had contemplated that, two girls had been sorted to Ravenclaw, and now the famous Harry Potter had taken the Hat.

The room was quiet, the ghosts didn't move. And then the Sorting Hat announced "Slytherin!" And all hell broke loose.

Most people were jumping up and shouting things like: "That can't be!" "The Hat is kaput!" "But he's a hero!" "I want to be in Slytherin!" while others were just shaking their heads or sitting as if stunned.

Due to all the noise and confusion Clark lost sight of his friend, and when he finally saw him again, he needed a moment to accept that it was truly Lex. Because the older boy was sitting on the ground, holding his sides and laughing.

While everyone was shocked, Lex was beyond amused. Clark made a mental note to ask his friend to explain the joke later.

"This is all so wrong!" Draco Malfoy whined next to him, but Clark couldn't care less.

Lex looked so sexy right then that everything else faded from Clark's awareness. And then Lex glanced up and directly at him.

Clark felt as if pierced by an arrow. "I'm in love," he whispered, then looked around guiltily. But everyone's attention was on Harry Potter, even Draco's, so his declaration went unheard.

"So the bad guys come from Slytherin and the good guys from Gryffindor, is that it?" Clark asked, leaning back against his usual table in the deserted Potions classroom.

"That's the general expectation, yeah. So you can see how the hero, who killed Voldemort, going to Slytherin sets everything in uproar." Lex laughed. "It's even better than a Malfoy ending up in Gryffindor. I bet Draco's father is running amok right now. I really wish it had happened to me. My father would've had a heart attack or have had me disowned, or both."

Clearly Lex liked that idea.

Clark just shook his head. He didn't really get it, neither the relationship between Lex and his father, nor the importance of the Hogwarts houses for some people. Why couldn't everyone just be nice?

All in all it didn't make a difference to him. He had been in Hogwarts for four days now and already he felt as if he'd been there forever. He liked the school, but hadn't yet really warmed up to any of his fellow pupils. Though Hermione reminded him a little bit of Chloe, and he was sure that Ron and Pete would have gone along quite well, he just didn't feel like spending much time with them.

Maybe it was the age difference, or maybe it was his one-track-mind that was set on Lex, but he'd rather sit somewhere alone and think of his older friend, than talk about magic or teachers or flavored beans - especially since Lex had warned him about the latter, telling him what tastes they could have. Clark had sworn immediately that he would never touch one and had no intention of ever breaking that oath.

"So, ready for your first lesson?" Lex wanted to know, drawing Clark from his musings.

"Yes. Oh yesss." He was more than ready. He had looked forward to their private lessons like he used to wait for his gifts on Christmas Eve. To be with Lex, alone, for more than an hour, was as good as getting on to the Quidditch team.

"Did I tell you that I'm on ..."

"The Quidditch team?" Lex grinned. "More than once. I'm glad for you, I know you wanted to play football, and Quidditch is so much more exciting. But don't forget to stay on your broom. Nobody needs to know that you can actually fly without it. A lot of wizards would want to exploit your magic, you must make sure to keep a low profile." The last was said in an earnest whisper, and Clark nodded in agreement.

"So where do we start?" he asked.

"Here." Lex pulled out a paper and handed it to Clark. "These are the spell words of the charms I saw you use. How to fly, start a fire, make you invulnerable, move fast, enhance your strength, and so on. You need to learn them and speak them before you do any of those things."

Reading the words, Clark remembered how Lex had made notes when Clark had fought with that monster book or when he had dodged a falling piano. He had wondered what his friend was doing; now he knew. The knowledge that Lex was constantly thinking of how to protect him warmed his heart.

"Thank you," Clark said and smiled at his friend.

"For what?" Lex looked confused.

"This." He waved the list. "For taking care of me."

Lex smiled, and laid a hand on Clark's shoulder. "You saved my life, I save yours. Seems a fair deal."

"Is this all it is, a deal? A debt to pay?" He hoped it was more for Lex, after all it was so much more for him.

"No, you know that's not all it is." Lex' smile was gentle. And there was a promise in his eyes as well as in his touch as he stroked Clark's arm that set butterflies free in Clark's stomach.

"We are meant to do great things, Clark. You and I. And our friendship ..." Lex winked, "our friendship will be the stuff of legends."

THE END... of the beginning

© 9 August 2003