Reflections on the Past

by Adelle

Archive - Smallville Slash Archive. All others please ask. Summery - A much older Clark reflects on his past involvement with Lex.
Author's Notes - Apologies in advance to the DC Comics fans. I did some research on what happens in the comics, but I've never read them. I apologize for any inconsistencies. Many thanks go to my betas Jade and Ellenore. All remaining mistakes are my own. Disclaimer - Unfortunately Clark, Lex, Superman, and everything else that you recognize belongs to someone else, specifically the WB and DC Comics.
Feedback - Greatly craved and appreciated.

Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet and sometimes known as Superman, was sitting alone in his house staring at a photograph. It was a picture of him and Lex Luthor in a much simpler time in Clark's life, before everything had gone to hell. A time when there was no such person as Superman and Clark's biggest worries were passing his midterms and trying to figure out what to give the man who literally had everything. This photo was the only thing Clark had kept to remind him of Lex Luthor as he once was.

The picture had been taken his senior year in high school after he came out to his parents and no longer had to hide his relationship with Lex from them. It was the night of Smallville High's prom and while the two had not gone to the dance, after all this was Smallville, Kansas, Lex had treated him to a fabulous night on the town in Metropolis.

His mother had taken the picture before they left, and the field of the Kents' farm as well as Lex's Porsche made up the background. The two lovers stood side by side, Clark on the left with his arm around Lex's shoulders. Lex's arm was around Clark's waist, fingers chastely hooked onto Clark's belt. Clark's unruly hair had been tamed and slicked back for the occasion and he wore a blue navy button up shirt and black slacks. Lex wore a purple shirt, with a black sports jacket and slacks. The two seemed relaxed and in love.

Clark had no doubt that in the beginning they had both been very much in love. It was almost bittersweet to remember it now, but Clark remembered how Lex had maneuvered the younger man into seducing him. He had even admitted his deception later, after their six month anniversary when Clark had wondered how he had ever got the courage to kiss his very male older best friend. Clark shook his head. Even then, Lex had felt that he needed to control every part of their relationship, even if it was done so covertly that Clark had never noticed it. He was sure that Lex had done it with his best interest at heart, at least in the beginning.

Clark, with the certainty of a teenager, had been convinced that he and Lex would be together forever. After all, Lex had known about his abilities and had even had gone toe to toe with Clark's dad after he found out about his son and young billionaire's relationship. Finally, Lex had won the older man's respect if not approval. Surely, as a test of their relationship, that must have meant that they were intended to be together.

Lex had been a very considerate lover. Almost up to the end, Clark had never doubted the other man's feelings for him. Lex had helped him with his developing abilities and made sure that Clark had never wanted for anything. He had indulged Clark when Clark wanted to go out and see the world, but had seemed happy when Clark had settled down to become a journalism student at Metropolis University.

Until that point, their relationship had remained a secret except to those that the couple trusted the most. This was only partly because of the stigma. Lex had feared what his father would do, either to him, Clark, or the Kents, should their relationship become public knowledge. His fears had appeared justified, especially considering some of the things that Lionel had done to Lex's male lovers in the past, and Clark had begun to share his father's thought that the older Luthor was evil incarnate.

Lionel Luthor had died in a mysterious accident Clark's sophomore year in college and Lex had taken over Luthor Corp renaming it LexCorp. Since he was more of a philanthropist than his father, Lex became more and more popular with the citizens of Metropolis. With his new found popularity soaring ever higher, Lex was finally ready to announce to the world his love for Clark Kent. Clark, however, had not been ready to share in Lex's spotlight and had been beginning to wonder if he ever would.

While Clark had always had an intelligent and inquisitive mind, his journalism classes had been teaching him to probe beneath the surface and see situations from multiple points of view. As a pet project to hone his skills Clark had started to look closer at the LexCorp empire.

He had thought he knew everything about his lover. What he had found shocked him. Not only had been Lex involved in any number of quasi-legal business practices, but also some of his business partners had been involved with outright illegal acts such as extortion and even murder. No one suspected anything because on the surface the newly most powerful man in Metropolis had been all spit and polish and smelled like roses. It was only when Clark had started to dig deeper that he had realized that some of Lex's peripheral business associates had criminal records. When Clark had begun to research what they were up to now, he found that at least a few were still up to their old tricks and many of these "peripheral" business partners had had private meetings with Lex.

Repulsed by his lover's possible involvement, Clark had gathered his information then confronted Lex. Lex had originally tried to deny his allegations but when Clark had demanded the truth Lex had told him that he had done it for them, so they would never want for anything. Clark, who had remained the simple Smallville farm boy at heart, hadn't been able to stand the thought of murder being committed for his benefit and had gotten into a heated argument with Lex. Finally he had told the older man that he was leaving.

Clark still remembered the night Lex had followed him to Smallville vividly. Clark had gone to his parents' house to get his head straight after the breakup. It was then that Lex made it clear that he thought of Clark as his property. Clark closed his eyes, the happiness from the time when the photo had been taken momentarily forgotten. All he could see was that night play itself out in his memory again. The night that everything had changed.

When Lex had shown up at the house Clark's parents had retreated upstairs to give the young men some privacy, but Clark was sure that they had heard everything. It wasn't like he and Lex were trying to be quiet.

"You can't control me, Lex! I'm not some dog who craves every bit of attention that his master gives him. I'm tired of being treated like that!" Clark paced the length of his parents' living room. He had been trying for some time to get Lex to understand how he felt, but he could see no reaction from the man who sat calmly on the couch.

"I'm not trying to control you, Clark. I think that you are overreacting. All I've done is try to make life better for you. Better for us. And it is. The sky is the limit for us! Hell, not even the sky is the limit anymore since you discovered that you can fly!" Lex smiled enchantingly.

"Oh, and I suppose if a couple of laws get in the way, you can conveniently ignore them?" Clark asked, referring to the argument they had before Clark left Metropolis.

Lex got up and touched Clark's arm lightly as the younger man paced by. Clark stopped to look at the man he had once thought he would spend the rest of his life with.

"Clark, I love you," Lex said, with a calmly false, innocent and confused look on his face, "as I've already told you, I don't know what you are talking about..."

"Don't lie to me, Lex. I know you too well!" Clark shouted, interrupting the other man. He pulled his arm away and walked a few feet to stand next to the wall to kitchen before turning to face him again.

"Lex, look me in the eye and tell me that you had nothing to do with Lionel's death," Clark said and surprised himself with how calm he was. He hadn't confronted Lex about this before because he hadn't wanted to believe that it was true. Now he had to know the truth.

There was a flash of something Clark couldn't identify on the billionaire's face before the mask was firmly back in place. That pleasantly false expression was back on his face, and Lex looked at a point over Clark's shoulder. "Clark, I..."

"Damn it, look at me!!" Clark shouted, and something the mask cracked a little and Clark saw a glimpse of the man that he had fallen in love with. Lex finally looked him in the eye.

"Clark, I don't know what you're talking about. My father's death was an accident."

Clark had years of experience and could see the truth through that tiny crack in the mask. Lex was lying. Clark turned his back on the billionaire. The only thing going through his head was the fact that the man that he loved had killed his own father.

"You're lying," Clark said very calmly. It must be the shock, he thought. Anytime now he was going to go ballistic and destroy something. Or someone. "Get out."

"Clark, I didn't kill..." Lex tried again, this time with the mask fully back in place.

"No, maybe you didn't, but your money did," Clark said. The anger at being lied to over the years and especially now was starting to boil up. "You put out a hit on Lionel and who knows how many other people over the years. I actually tracked down and spoke to the one of your hired guns that I thought might have done it. I didn't want to believe that it was true."

Lex's look of disbelief had probably been real, mostly likely because he couldn't believe someone had sold him out.

"I don't know what you're taking about. Who made you believe all these lies?"

Clark had finally had it. He was completely fed up with being lied to by the one person he had trusted most in the world. He punched a hole in the wall next to him and was almost as shocked as Lex when he realized his arm was through the wall up to his shoulder. He hadn't lost control like that since his early teens. Lex had paled and stepped further away.

Clark had been perversely pleased to see the fear on the other man's face. He lowered his voice and let the anger show in his tone. "I know you, Lex. You're the one who's lying!"

"Ok, Clark, I did it," Lex conceded. He had a look of sincerity on his face, but Clark could tell it was just a new mask. "I had to. He had found out about our relationship and was about to come after you and your parents. I had to protect you."

Clark almost laughed. "Oh, and that is supposed to make it all right?!" He stepped closer to the man who was trying not to look anxious. "We've never needed you to protect us, not even from your father."

Lex's face got a completely different expression on it: calm arrogance. It was the look of a man who knew he had the upper hand. Clark had shuddered almost invisibly when he had realized that this new expression was not a mask but as close to a genuine emotion as Lex has allowed on his face since he had arrived in Smallville looking for Clark.

"You've had a lot more trouble than you think. I just took care of it all before it became a problem for you. Even as far back as the murder charge against your father, I've been protecting your family. You owe me!"

Now it was Clark's turn to pale. After a moment he took a deep breath and said, "We don't owe you anything. We never asked for you to help us like that, and we most definitely never asked you to commit murder!"

Clark's anger was beginning to boil again and Clark was afraid that this time he would put his fist through the calmly smiling face in front of him. "Get out, Lex. Get out and pray that you will never see me again," he said, calmly rubbing his fist for emphasis.

"Or what, Clark," Lex sneered, ignoring the implied threat. "Or you'll hit me? We both know you won't do that. Let me guess. You'll go to the cops? I own the cops. Nothing you have on me will stick.

"Now you, you on the other hand," Lex said, calmly moving to stand next to Clark, "have a secret you don't want the world to know." He reached out to touch the damaged wall before turning back to face Clark. "I know a lot of scientists who would kill for a chance to study you."

Clark swallowed and tried not to react to the threat. He was glad he had thought up multiple backup plans before he had confronted Lex. There was one scenario that might still work.

"Lex, unless you leave right now and forget about telling anyone about my abilities, I'm going to the Daily Planet with my proof. You may be able to buy out the cops, but I know that you don't own the media. The charges might not stick, but the public investigation will do a number to that popularity rating that you are so fond of."

The two men had each measured the other one up. It was a draw and neither of them was going to give an inch. Lex slowly backed up and began to move towards the door. Clark followed to make sure that he left.

At the door, Lex turned to give his parting shot. "Good planning, Clark. It is nice to know that my habit for planning good backup plans has rubbed off on you. Know this, though, you will never be rid of me. You're mine, Clark Kent, and I don't let go. Your abilities won't save you forever, and I will never forget this day." And with that said he had left.

In a fit of righteous anger after Lex had returned to Metropolis defeated, Clark had destroyed most of the pictures and momentos of his time with Lex. A single photo, the one Clark held in his hands now, had been spared from the bonfire. He had found the photo a couple of years later, left as a bookmark in an old favorite book. By that time, Clark had been able to see how the two of them were going to drift so drastically apart and he had kept the photo so he could remember that it wasn't all bad between them. No one knew he still had the picture, not even Lois, but then very few outside of the group from Smallville that he had grown up with or his class at Metropolis University knew of his previous relationship with Lex.

After the breakup Clark had hardened his heart against his former lover. He had not allowed himself to react when he had found out the man he suspected of killing Lionel Luthor was found beat to death within a week of Clark's argument with Lex. Clark had set out to make a new life for himself; no easy task considering he had angered the most powerful man in the city. After rescuing a space cruiser and becoming known to the world as Superman, he finally got a job at the Daily Planet by scoring the first interview with Metropolis's own brand new superhero. As time went by, he had also spent his time trying to limit the amount of damage that Lex Luthor could cause while trying to find a way to put the man behind bars for good.

Lex had become obsessed with trying to kill Clark. He had known of his reaction to kryptonite and although Lex had tried to rid Smallville of the strange green rock when he was younger, Lex had kept some to study and he now used it as insurance against Clark. He became increasingly obsessed when Superman always confounded Lex's attempts at world domination. Lex knew Clark was Superman but could not find a way to prove it to the world at large. Lex also had yet to devise a foolproof plan to kill him.

Thus, the former lovers had become archenemies. Clark had married his coworker from the Daily Planet Lois Lane and settled into his dual life as a Superman and as a mild mannered news reporter. Lex, who could manage to weasel himself out of any criminal charge, became even more increasing popular after helping Superman save Metropolis, and was even elected President of the United States when he promised to share new technology that he had gained to the general public. Clark realized that this was a position that Lex must have coveted since Superman had sworn an allegiance to the United States and its leadership.

What the future holds, no one knows, Clark thought as he returned the picture to its hiding place, a secret drawer in a desk he had inherited. A thought crossed his mind unbidden, of a time long ago and an old woman named Cassandra who had been able to tell the future. A much younger Lex had been convinced that he had killed her because she was reading his future when she died of a stroke. At the time, Clark had been convinced it was a coincidence, but he now wondered if it was. What had she seen? Had she actually seen Lex's future and it was so bad that it had killed her? And if so, was the worst still to come?

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