"Why do you care? You're not even human?"
Clark blinked, shaken, as images and sensations kept him rooted to the Persian carpet in front of Lex's desk.
//Lex, broken mentally and physically, on his hands and knees in the dirt, looking at him, not with disgust or cunning, but as if he had discovered his own personal savior. His own heart beating so fast that it threatened to explode out of his chest. The sound of a van approaching. Panic threatening to choke the very life from him.//
There was no way Lex could remember.
Lionel had -
The blue eyes that had once danced with suppressed laughter were now colder than anything Clark had ever seen.
Excuses popped to his lips (I was only a teenager. I was scared. I thought you needed help. I didn't know how to save you), but none of them colored the air between them.
"Someone has to care," he whispered, all too aware of the cape which lay heavily over his shoulders.
"Such noble sentiments." Lex leaned back in his leather chair and steepled his fingers under his chin. "But even you must admit you can't save everyone."
"I can try."
A sardonic smile blossomed over Lex's face. "Try. What an interesting concept. I suppose those you fail to save are comforted by your attempts."
Clark raised one hand to cover the ache in his chest and wondered how Kryptonians could be immune to all physical earthly dangers, yet still be wounded by simple words. "No. I suspect they find no comfort in my efforts."
"But at least you find solace in the fact that you tried."
Clark shook his head. "There's never any comfort."
As the seconds ticked by, Clark noticed the walls which Lex had hidden behind for so many years start to lower one brick at a time, until there was nothing but raw, naked vulnerability shining back at him. Clark's breath caught in his throat, suffocating him, but before the pain could sap him of his remaining strength, Lex placed each brick firmly back in place.
And now he understood.
The schemes. The anger. The overwhelming urge to control everything and everyone.
How does a superhero apologize for having been too frightened to save his best friend?
Clark wanted to believe he saw a hint of remorse in his nemesis' eyes, but knew he was probably only projecting his own hopes onto Lex. "I can never stop trying."
The intercom buzzed. Without moving from his position, Lex reached out one arm and absently punch a button on his phone.
"The threat has been eliminated."
Lex released the button and stared at Clark. "Some people have learned to depend on themselves for salvation."
Clark nodded and swallowed hard. "It won't keep me from trying."
Lex shrugged. "Knock yourself out."
As Clark stepped onto the balcony and rose into the air, he wondered if there was even enough glue on the planet to fix that which had been shattered.
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