Post Modern Prometheus

by FayJay

Written in response to Livia's X-Titles challenge.

Disclaimer: Messrs Kent and Luthor are not mine. But you knew that already.

For the foamy ladies of the PPO, with thanks to Ellen and La Lizard for their Beta work.

Written in response to The Smallville X Titles Challenge.

All that the proud can feel of pain
*The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe
Which speaks but in its loneliness
And then is jealous lest the sky
Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless."

(From 'Prometheus' by Lord Byron.)

Afterwards, Clark slept.

Lex lay awake and watched him by starlight, tasting the new knowledge in the sticky aftermath and wondering what it would come to mean: the long-sought secret finally whispered as they lay in a tender tangle of limbs, stray straws prickling against bare skin. The warm satin flicker of Clark's lips against his nape and the ticklish brush of breath as the words came tumbling out at last; ridiculous, bizarre, entirely believable. Clark wasn't human.

Knowledge a belated gift, simple and inevitable as the fall of Newton's apple. Clark came to earth in a comet's tail, trailing clouds of fire in his wake, and marked Lex for life. He was impossibly strong, impossibly fast, impossibly perfect in every way. He could see through walls and walk through flames and remain unscathed by the impact of a speeding Porsche.

Lex watched the smooth, unsullied chest rise and fall, barely a kiss away, and his lips curved in the slowest of smiles. He was in love with an alien whose powers were growing greater by the day; whose limitations were unguessable; whose innocence was inhuman; whose heart was an open door. Heaven-sent. Wholly his.

He should have known that nothing lasted forever and apples were often poisoned. He should have seen that he was stealing his happiness, and expected to be caught; but Lex was brimming with the joy of this one perfect, pristine thing and he forgot to be afraid.

He should have been more careful.

The Kents were surprisingly good about it all. Lex would have been unsurprised to find Jonathan Kent on his doorstep with a gun, but the reality was more prosaic and far more effective. There had been no police to be bought off this time, in spite of Clark's presumed age; the Kents had been compassionate, loving, understanding and utterly unyielding. Clark was too young to know his own mind yet. It was wrong. It must stop. Now.

Clark's guileless eyes had been wet and hopeless as he choked out the apology. The rejection. They couldn't see each other, he had said. It wasn't forever, he had said. They could wait, he had said. He was still in love; he would always be in love; they belonged to each other; but not yet.

Lex had been incredulous, then credulous, then numb. Contempt uncurling in his belly at the weakness of the boy, his stupid selfless readiness to bow before their will. Wholly unexpected pain. Words spilling out that should never have been uttered, could never be taken back. Silence and stubbornness and splendid isolation.

The gods punished those who stole their gifts.

Skating over flawless icefields in a gleaming LexCorp sled he wondered once again whether things could have been different. Had Cassandra seen it all unfold behind her blinded eyes? The thought appalled him; without free will there was no point living. Without control there was nothing at all.

Lex blinked out at the frozen world through protective lenses tinted a shade other than rose and watched the Fortress of Solitude growing in the distance. Superman: his nemesis, his counterpoint, his Ganymede-faced love. Hero to his villain, monster to his man. Always there, tearing holes out of his bleeding empire, but never dealing a clean and crippling wound to end it all at last.

It was a game Lionel would have enjoyed. It was more than Lex could bear.

After all these years of parry and riposte, he was here at last; crossing thin ice, moving towards the future. There were words that should never have been said and could not be taken back; deeds that could not be forgiven and would never be forgotten; but Lex believed that men made their own destinies.

There was still - he clung to this last sliver of hope - time to change his fate.

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