Speak to Me

by Uris

Thanks Elizabeth for your beta
Sequel to Breathe

I use my key to unlock the front door of the penthouse. I hear someone inside the penthouse, probably a housekeeper. As I open the door, I hear a soft voice. "Helen, Dad, is that you?" It is my voice. The tone is a bit more child-like, but I can't deny what I am hearing.

I grab Clark's arm as we enter the luxury apartment. I am face-to-face with me, a clone. My face was looking back at me. The clone was wearing mauve silk pajamas and a green satin bathrobe.

"Hello," says the clone. "You're the original (Dad said you were dead.) and you must be Clark."

"May we sit down?" asks Clark.

"Please, do," said the clone. "Dad and Helen were supposed to come home. They haven't. I've been lonely."

Clark directs me onto the sofa. "Lex, he's an infant." Clark sits next to me and puts an arm around me. "He doesn't understand."

"Dad planned to replace me," I say. The doorman downstairs had looked at Clark and me strangely. I had figured he listened to the press conference and didn't believe my ignorance. It was pretty damning that there were documents signed by me showing I knew of Level Three's existence since the Jenkins incident. I'm no forgery expert but all those signatures were duplicates of each other and my signature varied from second to second. I didn't even use the same name on every document. I had written my name as Lex Luthor, Alexander Luthor, A. Luthor and Maniac in the Porsche. The press wouldn't stop asking about Level Three. I was lucky no one pressed charges. Lex Luthor being taken away in handcuffs would have made the conference memorable.

After Clark's hand slides off me, he walks over to the bar. "I'll get you a brandy."

"Dad says I like brandy. I hate it. I can make you one." The clone starts pouring me a drink. He is left-handed. He would be a bad copy if he were right-handed. "Why did Dad and Helen leave me?"

"Sit down," says Clark. Lionel could have had me cloned the same time he had Emily cloned, but the cave wall technology that made instant learning possible would be recent. Dad just stole the cave from me.

"How old are you?" I ask.

"I'm twenty-three." The clone gives me the drink.

"I'm twenty-three." I hold my drink but don't drink it. My father could have instructed the clone to poison me. "How old are you? I know my age."

"I don't know." The clone sits beside me and I put an arm around him. Whatever his beginnings, he's my brother.

"How many candles were on your cake at your last birthday?" It's worth a shot. My birthday just happened and the lab staff probably couldn't resist a party. They would want the clone to celebrate his birthday on my day, less for the clone to remember that way.

The clone blushes and puts up three fingers. Blushing, he looks so young. Accelerated learning or not, this is a three year old child. "The party is a secret." The clone put a finger over his mouth to gesture "shhh" then giggled. "Dad isn't supposed to know."

"I won't tell Dad," I say. "Did Dad have you sign any papers?"

"Plenty. A dozen or more," says the clone. "I didn't know numbers back then. I know numbers now."

"Were you able to read the papers?" I ask.

"No," says the clone. "Dad hooked me up to this machine and after that I could read and talk better. I also learned my numbers real good."

The clone didn't know what he was signing. We now know who signed those papers. I will have to tell the court about the clone to avoid jail-time. Looking at him sitting there, I feel a bit sorry for him, but I am still not sipping that drink. "Dad isn't coming back. He died."

"Oh," says the clone. "Dad said you were dead."

"As you can see I'm not."

"How do I know that you aren't lying about Dad?"

"We can go to the funeral," suggests Clark.

"How am I going to explain him?" I ask.

"Everyone knows your father was doing cloning experiments," says Clark. "You will have to announce his presence to prove the Level Three documents were forged."

"I don't need my father's funeral becoming a circus," I say.

"Lionel was his father, too," Clark says. "I can't call you Lex One and Lex Two."

The clone says, "Helen calls me Lexi and Honey."

"I don't know what your dad was thinking," says Clark. "The minute he opens his mouth everyone will know he's a child."

"That's why my father was keeping him hidden," I say. "Lexi, I want you to show Clark where you keep your clothes. We're going to take you to meet a few friends."

As Lexi shows Clark to his bedroom, I dump my drink and get a clean glass. Then I pour myself a drink from a sealed bottle. I need a tall one. Lexi is a three-year-old boy in an adult body. The name Lexi will do for now, but the young man needs his own name and identity.

Lexi comes out the bedroom in jeans, a polo shirt and Nike sneakers.

"Looking good," I say, rubbing his head. "You have hair."

"Mrs. Taylor shaves me every morning," says Lexi. "Dad said your lack of hair is an imperfection and I'm his perfect son. He said I could tell people that I had some European hair treatment after I've been you for a couple months."

"Dad tried to burn out your hair follicles, knowing our father probably multiple times, but Kryptonite is a double-edged sword," I explain. The clone wouldn't know our father was the King of Lies. "Your hair grows back because you were exposed to accelerant and you have my healing abilities. Dad wouldn't leave that detail out."

"We should take him to my mother's house," Clark suggests. "She likes taking in strays."

"I better come with you or she will think I was hit on the head one too many times." I open the door.

"No, she won't," says Clark. "He has hair and I would say his physical age is seventeen or eighteen."

"The accelerant cut off when he reached physical maturity," I say. "That makes sense. You wouldn't want a clone to die of old age in a few years."

I lock the door behind us. Since Dad is dead, the penthouse is now mine. After the funeral, Lucas will be licking at my heels. I shall see that I am made Lexi's legal guardian. Right now I need to see to his immediate needs. Lexi stays next to Clark and myself as we exit the building. He looks at his feet a lot and he doesn't hold himself like me. Dad should have trained him better.

Climbing into the backseat of the Ferrari, Lexi says, "Dad said I was supposed to be you."

"Change of plans." Clark gets in the front seat passenger side. "You get to be you."

"Who am I?" asks Lexi.

I buckle him in. "You need to find out for yourself." I buckle myself into the front seat and start the engine. "Mr. and Mrs. Kent are good people."

After I park the car in front of the Kent Farm, I unhook Lexi's seatbelt. "Remember your manners."

Lexi doesn't get out of the car. "I will say 'please' and 'thank you'. Can I hold your hand?"

After I open the door for Lexi, I watch him put his hand in mine. His fingers look the same as mine. I never had a twin before. We stood by the porch while Clark opens the door. Martha hugged Clark as soon as the door flings open. Seeing Martha makes me miss my mom and Pamela. My dad never hugged me like that.

Clark says as his mother is still hugging him, "Mom, Lex has a new little brother. Their dad hid him all his life, so he's a little nervous around strangers."

Martha releases her arms from around Clark and, finally, looks in our direction. "Oh my God."

I say, "Lexi, this is Mrs. Kent."

Lexi squeezed my hand. "Hi, Mrs. Kent," Lexi says to his black sneakers.

"My father cloned me," I explain. "He's my twin, but younger."

"I can see that," says Martha. "Hi, Lexi."

"My dad tried to kill me. Lexi was supposed to replace me. Be a puppet for Dad. We found him alone in the penthouse," I explain. "He signed all the documents the police found when my father's lab was raided. Could you get him something to eat? This must be an exhausting day for him."

"Do you like cold cereal?" Martha asks.

"With milk?" asked Lexi.

"Farm fresh," says Martha, directing him to a seat at the kitchen table. She pours him a bowl of cereal with milk then hands Lexi a spoon.

While the clone is eating, I say, "My father accelerated his growth. We think he is three years old. Emily was cloned six years ago, so we are pretty certain that he is younger than six."

"Oh," says Martha.

"I'll sit with him," says Clark. "You talk to Lex."

I walk into the living room with Martha. "Could you watch him a couple weeks?" I give her a pleading look, using my best puppy dog eyes. Yes, I'm a manipulator but I learned from the best. "I need to deal with my father's will and I don't want Lucas learning about Lexi until the forgery and the other issues are handled. After Lucas is safe in LA, Chicago or somewhere else far from Kansas, I'll take care of Lexi."

"I understand that you don't want Lucas knowing about your brother," she says, "but I can't keep Lexi from running outside when his brother Lucas is here."

"He doesn't know about Lucas."

"He'll be curious about a stranger coming to the house. I can't keep him from Lucas."

"Lucas should have no reason to visit the farm." I don't think Lucas would visit here. He did kidnap me after knocking Jonathan unconscious. The Kent Farm would be the last place Lucas would be visiting.

"I'd like to help you, but I can't promise anything."

I look into her eyes. "It's enough that Lexi is well cared for while I'm dealing with the lawyers."

Jonathan comes into living room through the kitchen. "One of you is bad enough."

"My father cloned me," I say, stating the obvious.

"Lionel cloned his son eighteen years ago? Why? Isn't one of you enough?" Jonathan says.

"He isn't eighteen," I explain. "He told us he had three candles on his cake. My father accelerated his growth. Emotionally, he's a toddler. Dad might have used the cave technology to make a speed-learning device. Lexi says he was hooked up to a machine then he was able to read and do math."

"Lexi," says Jonathan. His low voice is shaking as if he is on the verge of shouting.

"Dad made him to replace me. Helen called him Lexi. She must still have some feelings for me or she wouldn't be reluctant to call the clone by my name."

"He can't use your name," says Martha.

"It's his name, too." I shrug my shoulders. "He'll learn soon enough that even I don't want to be me. Don't be surprised if he is asking you to call him Max."

Lexi walked into the living room. "Can I have some more Cheerios, please?'

"Can you get them yourself?" Martha asks.

"I don't pour so good."

"Lex is a bit of a klutz, too," says Clark. "It's in the genes."

I give Clark an eyeful then I pour Lexi more cereal. I'm not a klutz. The doorknobs are on the right side, the mouse on computer is on the right side, belts buckle on the right. Even the most graceful person would look clumsy under those conditions. "See, Clark, I didn't spill any."

"Do I have to be called Alexander?" asks the clone. "That is his name. Clark says that I can be me. I don't know who I am."

Martha sits the table and smiles in a motherly way. "What do you want to call yourself?"

"I don't know enough names. Can I look in some books?"

"Sure," says Martha. "Can you read?"

"Yeah. I've read lots of books. Dad left me alone for a few days; I didn't know what else to do," Lexi says.

Three hours in a car with me and he doesn't want to use my name. I must have really made a good impression.

"Mr. Kent, we need to talk," I say.

Jonathan and I go outside. "What about?" he asks.

"I need Lexi to stay here a couple of weeks. He can work at hard as any man. You need to keep him busy. His mind might work as fast as Emily's. He hasn't shown any accelerated movement, but he might have been told not to show off."

"He can work as hard as you," says Jonathan. "That isn't saying much."

"I pulled my own weight and never complained. When you shook my hand, I was searching the sky for flying pigs."

"You can't dump your problems on us."

"He likes Clark and Mrs. Kent seems fond of him," I explain. "I'll be back with some clothes for him to wear."

"What if someone sees him?"

"Tell them that I'm staying with you."

"He'll have a five o'clock shadow by tomorrow."

"It will give the neighbors something to talk about."

After Lucas is safe in Chicago with his tenth of the inherence, my lawyer meets with the judge about the forged documents. The judge then agrees to see Lexi in his chambers as I wait outside. My lawyer is with him. Lexi now has a full head of hair and is dressed in jacket and tie, looking very much a normal teenage boy. The couple weeks under Martha's care and feeding caused him to gain weight. The accelerant must have left his body or he would be losing weight like Jody. He now weighs more than me and has some good muscle tone. With the hair, the weight-gain and age difference, he, thankfully, looks more like my little brother than a clone.

My lawyer comes to the door and opens it partially. "Mr. Luthor," she says, "the judge wants to talk to you for a moment."

I go inside. I look my confident best, but something must be wrong or the judge wouldn't want to see me, again. The judge smiles at me. Something doesn't feel right. Judges don't smile. This isn't Night Court.

The judge, an older man, finally speaks, "Your brother wants to tell you something."

"I decided to change my name to Andrew." Lexi smiles. "That way I get to keep my initials."

"There are forms you have to sign as Andrew's guardian," says the judge. "Mr. Luthor, Andrew and I talked about the documents and he told me your father didn't tell him what he was signing. I explained to him that he is underage and can't be held responsible for upholding a contract and he isn't in any trouble."

I signed a number of papers.

The judge says "Hmm," as he looks over the papers. "You should get a copy of his birth certificate in the mail."

I looked at the paperwork making Andrew legally sixteen years old. "You can be in Clark's class in Smallville High. Do you want to go to school?"

"I'm nervous about being around all those people," says Andrew.

"Do you want me to call you Andy or Drew?" I ask.

"Drew is cool." Drew is a quick learner. A few weeks around Clark and Pete and he is talking like any other teenager. He will have two friends when he starts high school in the Fall. Pete doesn't like me because I'm Lionel Luthor's son. However, he feels sorry for Andrew because he's a victim in all this.

On the way out, I stop of the clerk's office to pay for the name change and court costs. I am glad that Judge Ross isn't the only judge in Smallville. A single visit to the judge's chamber and Andrew Jared Luthor goes from an illegal clone to a real person. After his birth certificate arrives, I will take him to get a driver's permit. Hopefully, my clone doesn't drive like the original. .

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