by Adelle

Pairing - Lex/Clark, pre-slash
Author's Notes - Thanks to Ciandra for the beta. All remaining mistakes are my own. Feedback - Greatly craved and appreciated. =) Disclaimer - Characters and some dialog from the show used without permission. Not doing this for money, so please don't sue. Spoilers - Major spoilers for Hug, previous episodes possible.

Lex woke up in a cold sweat. He'd had the nightmare again, the same one that he had been having almost every night since the incident with Rickman a week ago. He never really remembered what happened in the dream just some of his feelings. He knew that in the dream he felt as if the world was totally against him, the way he did before he met Clark. He also thought that he had been trying to kill Clark.

Lex got up from his bed and walked over to the small minibar in his room. Victoria didn't even stir but then again, she was always a fairly heavy sleeper. He watched her sleep as he poured himself a scotch. She had been becoming more distant lately, not that he really cared. Their plan and his own separate plan would go into motion soon and then she would be gone. He was actually kind of looking forward to not having her around anymore.

He turned to stare out the window as he sipped his scotch, his mind going back to last Tuesday night. Or what he could remember of it anyway.

Rickman had showed up at the manor unannounced, somehow getting by the security guard at the front gate. He had just walked right into Lex's office as if he owned the place. Lex had been highly annoyed.

"I didn't realize that we had a meeting on the books," Lex had said in his not so subtle way of asking what the jerk thought he was doing there. He had seen no reason to waste time on pleasantries.

"We don't," Rickman had conceded. He had tried to look sincere but Lex wasn't buying it. "I came with an olive branch. I just want you to know you can call your lawyers off. I'm dropping the Kent farm as a proposed site."

Lex had been surprised that Rickman was backing down. The man had faced lawyers before and won so that shouldn't have scared him off. He had to have been up to something.

"What's the matter? Losing your touch?" Lex had asked, sneering just enough to be considered rude.

Rickman had actually found the comment amusing. Looking back there had been some irony there. "No, I've just decided Smallville isn't worth the hassle. At least I know where I'm not wanted."

As a not so subtle jab, the comment had failed to anger Lex. He had actually learned to put up with the small minded people of this town. People like Clark and his inquisitive friend Chloe actually made up for them. Still, as far as he was concerned, Rickman had long overstayed his nonexistent welcome. "Ok, then. Thanks for stopping by," he had said in obvious dismissal.

Yet Rickman hadn't left. "Well, since you won, how about it? Truce?" Rickman had offered his hand. Lex had know that he was still up to something so he had shaken Rickman's hand to move his plan along and had unwittingly played right into his hands.

The day that Lex had gone over to tell him that Rickman's lawyers had ripped up the contract that Jonathan Kent had been convinced to sign Clark had explained what had happened. "When they were in the meteor shower together they got the power to coax people into doing whatever they wanted them to do. All they had to do was shake their hands. I saw Kyle do it, and Rickman must have done it to you and my dad."

Lex had been morbidly intrigued. "What did Kyle do to prove his power?"

Clark had blushed and looked away.

Lex had been fairly certain that he had heard him right, but he had just wanted to make sure. "What?"

Clark had still refused to meet his eyes. "He convinced Chloe to kiss me. So you see, he could convince people to do things they wouldn't normally do."

"Uh huh," Lex had said, not as convinced as Clark on that point. He had seen the way the younger woman looked at Clark. Kyle and probably Rickman could conceivably get people to do things that they wouldn't normally do, but not something that was completely against their will. At least Lex hoped so.

Lex came out of his memories when he realized that his glass was empty. He quickly poured himself another glass then returned to his contemplation of the world outside his window. The conversation had gotten dark after that.

"Where did I come into all of this?" Rickman had probably tried to convince him to call off his lawyers on the Kent case but Lex had a feeling that more had happened than that.

Clark had not wanted to tell him. "It doesn't matter. It wasn't you."

Lex had looked at Clark and had realized how tense the boy was. "Clark, I need to know. I don't like not being able to remember what happened, especially since I seem to have upset you."

Clark had taken a deep breath. "Kyle wanted to go to the press to tell how Rickman made his business deals. Rickman didn't want that to happen. He tried to use you to keep us quiet."

'To kill us,' Lex had translated in his head, feeling the blood rush from his face. He had sat down on the couch and had been suddenly uncertain if he would be able to stand without swaying. "What did I do to you, Clark?" he had asked, disturbed but needing to know the truth.

Clark had refused to meet his eyes and had stated again, "It wasn't you. It was Rickman and he can't manipulate people like that anymore." Clark had refused to say anything else on the subject and they had moved on to other happier subjects.

Lex didn't need Clark to tell him some of what he had done, though. The evidence at the Route 7 Gas Station had spoke horror stories. One of his cars had been set on fire and had exploded. According to his investigators who had cleaned up the site before the Smallville police had been informed of Rickman's suicide it looked like the fire had been set intentionally. Lex imagined that he had tried to lock Clark and Kyle Tippet in the car, but they had managed to get out somehow.

The most frightening evidence of what he had done had been inside the repair shop, though. One of the cars there had been shot up and an Uzi that had Lex's fingerprints all over it had been recovered. Luckily the shop owner and the owner of the car had been relatively easy to buy off so none of this information had reached the Smallville police.

However, when Lex closed his eyes he could see the scene play itself out. He's holding the Uzi and standing not too far from the car. Only in this vision, Clark was standing in front of the car. Lex watched unable to do anything while in the vision bullets caught his friend and Clark went down, dead.

Lex shook his head forcibly to clear his mind of the image then drowned the rest of his scotch. As he poured himself another drink her reminded himself that Clark was ok, and whatever the shot up car meant, he hadn't shot anyone. For a short while, he had been concerned that he had killed Rickman but Clark had reassured him that Rickman had killed himself, likely with the help of Kyle Tippet.

He still wished he knew what he had done. All he had to go on other than that evidence was barely remembered nightmares that he thought had something to do with what had happened. The feelings of the nightmare came back. He was all alone in the world and everyone was out to get him. It was a familiar feeling. Lex had felt that way often before coming to Smallville and meeting Clark. Rickman had probably used his prior feeling and experience with

betrayal to help convince Lex to do whatever he did. He had most likely convinced Lex that Clark was no different than anyone else in this town.

Lex chuckled softly, wondering how long it had taken Rickman to convince him of that. First Rickman would have had to get past the growing attraction that Lex was starting to have to the younger man. Lex shivered. If he was right and he had tried to kill Clark...Lex shook his head and tried not to think about it.

It didn't work. As far as he could tell, Rickman and Kyle had not been able to convince people to do something that they would not have done willingly given the proper motivation. Chloe had kissed Clark because at some level she was attracted to him. Jonathan Kent had sold the farm because at some level he was concerned about a farm that was not doing well at the moment and the financial wellbeing of his family. Yet where did that leave him? Did he at some level want to kill Clark?

As he thought on the younger man the boy's face appeared in his nightmare and scotch blurred mind. Lex realized that he could not have actually tried to kill Clark. Not only would the young man likely be dead if Lex had really tried, but Lex would have likely taken a couple of the meteor rocks that Clark had such an odd reaction to as well. No, whatever he had done, he had most likely been following orders as Clark insisted rather than actually trying to kill his friend.

Feeling marginally better Lex drained the glass of scotch he was holding in a long continuous drought determined that he would relax enough to sleep some more tonight. There was nothing he could do right now, anyway. Tomorrow or rather this afternoon he would go by the Beanery to spend some time with Clark like he had everyday for the last week. It wasn't much but at least Clark was less jumpy around him the last time they saw each other. It was an improvement over that afternoon in Clark's loft when Clark had been watching him out of the corner of his eye and had refused to let his guard down while Lex was around. That had hurt Lex because he had become accustomed to the easy friendship and the feeling that there could be something more between them. Lex seriously missed that, but he knew they would get it back in time. Maybe he could get Clark to tell him what happened this afternoon or at the very least, maybe he wouldn't look at Lex with that passing glint of fear when Clark first saw him. Maybe then the nightmares would go away.

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