AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY
*Originally posted 9/02 at other sites*
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me; they are property of D.C. Comics, Warner Bros., and Millar/Gough.
Notes: This is a one-shot story. I got to thinking how Clark would evolve into thinking of himself as 'saviour to the world' and this story grew out of that...I wrote this off-and-on for a while so I hope it makes sense. It is set a few years in the future...Clark's in college, Lex is a workaholic.
(For loyal readers/friends...I promise to have the next chapter in the 'Source Figure' series up A.S.A.P.)
As for this story, I hope you dig it...
@ New Orleans
Tell me what you think--
"So where do you want to go first?"
"I have no idea. Why don't you pick?"
"I chose last time. It's your turn, Lex."
"I don't want to bore you."
"You never bore me, you know that. I think you were bored the last time...I wanted to go to all the Disney parks around the world and you just rolled your eyes."
"Clark...don't you know by now I am always happy when I am with you. And your Mom loved that Minnie Mouse keychain we bought her."
"Yeah. I know...I just thought--"
"Fine...I'll choose...we'll do a little history this trip...it'll help you with that paper you're writing on global conflicts."
"Awesome! I do really need to write that paper...I'm gonna fail World Civilization if I don't....OK....ready to go?"
"I'm always ready for anything with you, Clark. I love you."
Lex kissed Clark gently on the mouth, slightly grabbing his crotch...
"Awww...Lex...you're making me horny and that makes it hard to fly!"
"OK...first stop, Clark..."
Lex leaned in close to Clark and whispered in his ear...
"You do know where that is, right?"
A nod. A grin.
Clark enveloped Lex in his arms.
"We're off!" Clark called....but Lex didn't hear him...he was too wrapped up in strength, in wonder....in a trance...Lex was far too much in love with life and the powerful, dazzling experience that was life with Clark Kent...
Although Clark flew faster than instruments could measure....Lex always dozed off...and dreamed...
"We're here, Lex."
Lex opened his eyes. It was dark but faint yellow lights surrounded him.
Antique gas lamps that resembled tiny candles. Like Christmas.
He heard water everywhere.
Like an endless bath.
Heavy, verdant plant smells filled his nose... Like Eden.
Yes...Clark had brought them to the right place.
"I never knew this place was so beautiful, Lex. You described it perfectly."
"Next time we'll have to visit in daylight, just before summer."
The Villa d'Este spread out before them...the gardens and terraces bathed in moonlight...
The splendour and passion of Italy.
Lex had been here. So many years before. As a child, holding his mother's hand as she told him stories of gods and technology...his little eyes widening in delight.
"Can I kiss you?"
Clark looked at Lex longingly....
Lex did not speak.
He took his hand and held it out to Clark's....their hands intertwined, Lex pulled Clark to him, pulled his mouth to his, felt the spark that always shot through him when Clark's tongue lapped at his own...
They stayed that way for a while...
"Glad to hear you still like it."
"Lex, it's only been two weeks."
"I know, Clark...but...I mean...you're in college and all and I don't expect you to sit around pining for me while I'm off on business. You need a life apart from me."
"How can you say that? My whole life I felt I was missing a part of me and then you came and everything eventually made sense. You are all I need."
"You've been saying that since you were seventeen."
"It was true then and it's true now. What is this, Lex? Are your feelings changing?"
"Never, Clark. It's just....I realize at times you must get tired of taking care of me."
"I will take care of you the rest of your life, Lex. Remember our promise. Remember that I love you."
"Is love enough? Is it, Clark?"
"Yes! Yes! Damn you....Lex...please don't do this...here we are in a beautiful garden and you have to question what you mean to me? Lex...I not only want our love to last forever, I want you to someday, somehow....learn to love yourself!"
Clark hugged him.
And Lex knew, for the fifty-thousandth time, that Clark was right. Lex was worthy of love. Clark's love.
"I'm sorry, Clark. The whole merger thing with Beaumont Industries has me so stressed. I know you love me and I will try never to question it again."
"It's OK. I know the war that burns in your mind. I know your pain. It's like when I found out about what happened to my planet..." A lone tear fell from Clark's eye...Lex wiped it away...
"Clark...you had nothing to do with that...you must know. From what the ship told us, Krypton itself was dying. Your birth father tried to do everything possible to save it...or at least save the population...but...no one would listen. Sadly, Krypton sounds a lot like Earth."
"Yeah...he tried his best...and she....she...was beautiful..."
"Yes, Clark, she was. Just like you."
They kissed again.
"No more regrets this trip, Clark, at least not about us."
"No more, Lex."
"We're perfect, Clark. We are."
They walked the gardens. For how long, they cared not. The Villa had been allowed to decay over time, but still possessing grandeur of landscape design unknown in America.
"Wow...Lex...is that the water organ you told me about?"
"Yes. Isn't it exquisite? They just restored it recently."
"This place is like something out of those movies you had me watch."
"You mean those Esther Williams movies?"
"Yeah! I really dug the one...umm...about the swimmer in that big theater in New York..."
"The Million Dollar Mermaid. My favorite for sure."
"Those scenes with her in the water were awesome...all those colors and fountains and she was....err...she was kinda hot, Lex."
"I think so too, Clark. Esther was a babe."
"So, Lex...how does this place help me with my history paper?"
"Well, Clark...this place was built in the 1500s for a Borgia heir. It was always conceived as what it is-- a decadent paradise of greenery and cascades. But think, Clark, what the average man in the world lived like in the year 1500....Imagine his life."
Clark looked around at the marbled walkways and illuminated channels of water...
"I doubt he lived like this. I know he didn't live like this, Lex."
"The average citizen of the world lived a life of pain, Clark. Pain and horror and disease, compounded by oppressive religions and warfare. Pestilence, Clark. Child labor...slavery. Dogs living better than people."
"Some people still live that way, Lex."
"Yes they do...but I think more options are available nowadays...at least, I hope there are. I don't want you to see this place as just a hedonistic playground for the rich, though...I want you to also pay attention to the fine craftsmanship of the gardens...the rich architectural details...the intrinsic, legitimate aesthetic glory."
"I love it when you talk like that, Lex. You know so much. I wish I knew more."
"You will, Clark. Trips like this and more time at the MetU. Library will see to that. But don't sell yourself short, kiddo. You know how to fly! How could book smarts ever compete with that!"
Clark smiled brightly.
(Lex...will you ever know how much you mean to me?)
"I'm so hungry."
"What would you like?"
"Is there a good pasta place around here?"
"Of course, Clark," laughing endearingly, scratching his chin..."...but I'm thinking of some heartier cuisine."
"At the next stop?"
"Yeah. The next stop."
Clark glided down easily...Lex wrapped about him... The fog hung heavily over a city Clark didn't recognize...he could make out a river...many bright lights...traffic...
"Set us down over there....in that park."
A huge swath of lush forest, dotted with fountains and buildings lay beneath them. Clark gently landed the both of them on the pedestal of a huge monument.
"Welcome to Berlin, Clark."
The Siegessaule column loomed above them.
"Wow. What is it?"
"A victory column. The golden lady on top represents triumph."
"Why don't they build things like this in the States? It's amazing."
"Well, Clark...remember when we went to New York and Washington? They do have some things like this. But our country is a newer one, and our city design is not big on ornamentation or monumentalism."
"Yeah...but people need things like this. Beautiful statues and parks...to look at, to believe in...to make them hope....right, Lex?"
"Of course. To make them hope. To make them aspire. But remember where we are, Clark. This column was erected to celebrate a victory in the days of Imperial Germany. But it was also used to celebrate the ascendance of the Third Reich."
Clark thought for a moment. His face suddenly filled with sadness, confusion, a touch of anger...
"You mean this is a Nazi statue?"
"No, Clark. Like I said, this statue predates that era. But it once sat in front of the Reichstag--"
"That's the place that burned down! I remember that from freshman history!"
"Yes, Clark...the Rechistag is the German capital building, only recently refurbished. It burned mysteriously in 1933...one of the major events that helped Adolf Hitler to take power."
"Damn. Hitler. Lex...man...this place...the things that have happened here."
"Many things have happened in every place, Clark. Good and bad. Don't judge an entire city based on some people's actions. If we were to hold the modern inhabitants of cities accountable for their ancestors transgressions...well...look at Metropolis, for example."
"Yes....Clark...at one time Metropolis was a successful Cherokee village...a pacifist agrarian society without war, without disease..."
"Yes. Then the colonists came, Clark. Some Luthors in that group, of course. They systematically wiped out the native population and today all that remains is a plaque at City Hall commemorating the lost culture."
"This is a lot to think about, Lex. Damn."
(I've thrown to much at him. Clark, please forgive me...)
"Maybe this isn't such a good idea. I have a way of getting too deeply into things."
"No....Lex...I want to go deep. You and I...that's what we do...dig down and see where the truth is...you've taught me that you have to know as much as possible before making a decision."
"Yes...information is power, my love. But maybe--"
"But nothing, Lex. Show me everything. Let it shock me. Let it make me laugh or stare or make me cry. Let me live as you do."
Lex leaned into Clark for a quick kiss. And a beaming smile.
"I love you so much, Clark Kent. And even more because now you can be a history nerd like me!"
"I'll be anything for you, Lex. Actually...if you don't feed me in the next five seconds I'm gonna be an evil boyfriend who flies off and leaves you in Berlin!"
"Good food coming right up!"
After a gigantic meal of zander, schnitzel, and radish stuffed pancakes, Clark was a happy coed.
Lex felt like he was going to throw up for a decade. But seeing the look of contentment on Clark's face was enough. Plus...there was mustard on Clark's face and Lex was going to get to lick it off...hooray!
"Want a pretzel, Lex?"
"A brezel? Clark...listen. If I eat anything more I will die."
"Sure you don't want my currywurst?"
"Stop it!" Laughing as Clark puts the food nearer to him... "Stop it or I'll tickle you all night once we're home!"
(Tickling me makes me happy, Lex...but I will never let you know that!)
"Alright, baby. No force-feedings. God, though...the food here is delicious."
"We'll come back sometime. I want you to see the museums and stuff."
"Great! So where to know?"
"Let's not take off from here, Clark. A little too crowded, ya?"
Clark grins and nods happily...mouth filled with currywurst.
"Let's go back to the Tiergarten...let's leave like we came in."
So Clark and Lex rose off the ground from the deserted base of the victory angel. Clark made it a point to stop and hover as they reached the peak of the sculpture...
He eyed her intently...
"Triumph....people have to learn to triumph only over that which is good for all."
"Clark...that was beautiful." Lex looked into his eyes....and saw contemplation...
"Next stop?" Clark asked.
Lex purred...his head nestling into a strong chest...stopping just for a second to nibble at the mustard on Clark's lips....watching the fog beginning to hide them in the sky...
"East, Clark. East."
Clark & Lex landed atop a gentle slope. Beneath them lay a bustling city.
"Where are we now, Lex?"
"Think 1945, Clark. Think Fat Man. Little Boy."
Clark's mind raced....
"From what the history books said, it was destroyed."
"It was. Along with Nagasaki. Virtually fried and baked by man's invention-- the atomic bomb."
"But it looks O.K. now, Lex. I mean...I'm confused."
Lex took his hand.
"It was rebuilt, Clark. But this is it. The place where human beings were literally blasted out of existence, only their shadows surviving..."
"Yes...I remember...the books, they had pictures...of the shadows. Lex..."
Clark began to cry.
Lex held him.
"Maybe I would have been better off if I had died on Krypton. I can't handle all the pain humans cause each other. Cause you."
"Baby...stop. Humans have a huge capacity for destruction and likewise a marvelous ability to create. Everyday we are surrounded by both beauty and horror and I just wanted you to see both, alive, around you, so you could better understand human motivation. Don't you ever say you wished you were dead. I'd be dead if that were the case. I only came to life when you decided to go mope on that damned bridge!"
Clark chuckled sadly.
"I just...I just don't know what to do...I mean...what can I do?"
"All I know is that we have to use whatever power we have, as individuals, to better our surroundings. People like my father abuse their power to control, to acquire. Many others simply remain ignorant to the problems of the world, choosing to live in comfortable ignorance, in naive bliss. We have to strive daily to be better than that, Clark. To transcend all the bullshit mediocrity status quo. To be fully alive, every moment, and to help those around us."
"Is that possible? I mean...can we do that?"
"You and I can do anything, Clark. Anything."
"But there are so many problems, Lex. So many tragedies. So many greedy, hateful people."
"Yes. And it seems there are more everyday. I could have shown you Bhopal, or Love Canal, or Jonestown, maybe Bergen-Belsen...and maybe I will show you all those places...show you the horrors that man can do.... But I will also show you Petra and Giza, the Amazonas and the Atacama, the Eiffel Tower and the Great Barrier Reef....the wonders, the essences of hope themselves...man's dreams as well as his defeats...I will show you it all, Clark...so long as you never charge me airfare."
"I want to change the world. I want us to change the world. To do that, you must see all of it. The positives, the negatives. This trip was probably a little too heavy on the latter...I promise, next time we'll have some fun."
"Oh yeah, Clark. From now on, everything is learning for us. From now on we are going to change things. From here on, we look upon a new world."
"Awesome, Lex. Did I ever tell you I love you?"
"With every breath."
So Lex and Clark flew away from man's mistakes and over that magnificent ocean....eventually crossing the purple peaks and valleys of the west, the shifting sands and pine-filled canyons....flying onto Lex's balcony in Metropolis.
"I'm hungry again, Lex."
"Shut up, you!"
And they started kissing and groping and smiling and everything in the world just might work out alright because....well, because their love was just about perfect.
(Our love is perfect.)
"What time is it, Lex? The pizza's not here yet!"
"Just before midnight, Clark. Come here, giant." They snuggled on the bed.
Just before midnight...
...It had only been one day.
(Imagine what they could do with a lifetime...)
"Around The World In A Day"
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