Nemesis

by Jojo


Thanks to Karen T. for betaing.
[Site] http://sv.randomleaves.com


Lex is the worst arch-nemesis, ever.

"My father seduced my FIRST GIRLFRIEND!" Lex shouts, as lightning strikes all around them and the weather device frizzles with electricity. He looks pretty crazy, actually, and if he had hair, it would probably be standing up.

Clark lands on the top of the building, hands on hips, and gives Lex a stern glare. "I'm the last freaking son of Krypton, Luthor. Give me the remote."

He holds out his hand expectantly but Lex's chin is firm. He throws it off the building.

"Oh for..." Clark dives after it, knowing that when he returns, Lex will be gone.

Fast forward three days. Clark Kent and Lex Luthor are avoiding each other and their respective dates at a charity event Clark was forced by Lois to attend. He was also forced into a tuxedo that's rented and has to be back at the rental place in pristine condition, so 'No running off to save people's lives, Clark. Understand?'. She'd even fussed with his collar. Like his mother. It is no wonder he doesn't see her in a sexual manner.

However, he is not - not - gay.

Clark bumps into Lex at the buffet and knows he'd taken a wrong turn by a palm tree (Hawaiian theme, complete with hula dancing waitresses) and should have taken a left at the champagne hut instead. He smiles calmly at Lex but ruins it by saying Lex looks hot in his tux.

"You too, Clark." And Lex's eyes look him up and down. It is not a brotherly look.

Clark's toes tingle.

Dammit.

"Lexy? Where've you been all night? I've been looking for you all over!"

Lex's eyes widen. Fear? Revulsion? Maybe a mixture. He leans forward quickly. "My father has seduced all of my girlfriends, except this one."

Clark nods seriously, glancing at the petite brunette. She has very thin lips, he notices, and has obviously used all surgery for her breasts. He tilts his head towards Lex and the words sort of, well, fall out. "I'm still the last son of Krypton."

Lex narrows his eyes. As revelations go, it's pretty anti-climatic, Clark decides as he waits for some kind of a reaction.

"Lex," his girlfriend presses.

"We'll talk about this later," Lex threatens. Clark toasts Lex with his glass and goes to find Lois.

Five days later, Lois looks out of the window and comments that it's still raining. Clark's eyes widen at his computer screen. The network has been down all day and his article on the Strange Case of the Missing Cats (working title) is, surprisingly, not going very well. According to Chloe, Gotham is overrun with cats at the moment and if Metropolis is feeling the loss, Clark should feel free to rent a van and collect a few.

Clark pulls the weather device remote from the drawer of his desk and eyes it. Then he x-rays it. Then he shakes it. Technology has never been his friend and his cell phone sometimes beeps for reasons he can't quite comprehend.

Some days, Clark thinks he would be happier being a farmer.

"Um. Back in ten, Lois."

Lois waves a hand at him distractedly and pulls a bottle of nail polish from her desk.

Clark super-speeds home, changes, super-speeds to Lex's office and hovers outside the window until Lex lets him in.

"You look like crap," Clark says, somewhat accidentally. He floats in and drops down gently on the thickly piled carpet.

"Ugh." Lex winces and carefully goes back to lying on his couch. There's a pile of paperwork and a tall glass of water on the floor. "Late night."

He leans against the edge of the desk. "I thought you recover quickly from these things."

"I think I'm fighting something off as well."

"Oh." Clark shakes his head, remembering what he's here for. "Luthor. You haven't turned off that device."

Lex drapes a hand over his forehead and sighs. "Sure I have."

"It's still raining."

"It's winter."

"It's been raining since you started that storm."

Lex's mouth purses. "That doesn't change the fact that it's winter. Besides, I don't think it even worked. You got there before we could properly test it."

"I should report you."

"It's not like I was doing anything bad!"

Clark rolls his eyes. He puts the remote on Lex's desk, next to the rather alarmingly large photograph of the girl he saw with Lex at the charity event. Her eyes are dark brown and kind of threatening. He puts the photograph face down on the desk.

For some reason, though, he doesn't leave. The breeze from the open window plays with his drying hair, which the rain had flattened to his head, and it's pretty nice. He notices for the first time that Lex's office looks nothing like his one in Smallville. There is nothing of Lex around, no strange books in weird languages, no artifacts, no fancy office toys. Just grey carpet, tall windows, black couch and glass desk.

He wonders if Lex ever gets any work done in here, or if he's got a lab somewhere - a lab with metal worktops that are shiny enough to practice his evil genius expressions.

Lex sniffs. "He still hasn't, you know."

"Hasn't what?"

"Seduced her."

"Um..." Clark isn't sure what to say. 'Sorry' seems inappropriate. And apparently they're not going to discuss Clark's secret identity. Or, rather, Superman's. "Is that bad?"

"No. Well, yes. No. Maybe. I don't know."

Lex is definitely coming down with something. He isn't usually this indecisive.

"Maybe I should marry her."

Definitely coming down with something.

"I think you should see a doctor. Immediately."

For the rest of the week, Clark pays particular attention to the society pages. Okay, so he pays particular attention to the wedding announcements column. And he finds out that the girl in question is called Katherine. And when she was twelve, she got her first modeling contract and at eighteen made the newspapers when she posed naked for an aging rock star's amateur photography session.

Clark is grumpy, therefore Superman is grumpy. Everything suddenly becomes Lex's fault. The decaf coffee that Perry insists everyone should switch to, the holes in his socks, the bolognaise he spills on his carpet. But try as he might, he can't link the current hostage situation at the mayor's business function to Lex. And he does try. A lot.

Even when the leader hoists Lex up to the top of the building where Lex's helicopter had been commandeered, Clark still mentally tries to find some way to blame this on Lex.

"I can't believe you let them crash my favorite helicopter," Lex mutters as Clark helps him up off the floor afterwards. There's an explosion from the street below and Lex winces. "Goddamn."

"Next time, I'll let the bullets hit you and save your transportation instead."

Lex sniffs and brushes down his pants. "At least it's not raining." He gives Clark a sly look. "Which, by the way, happens. Sometimes. You know. In winter."

Clark grinds his teeth. "Has your father slept with your girlfriend yet?"

"Got any living blood relations? Oh, wait, no, I forgot. You're the last son of Krypton, boo-hoo."

Clark throws up his hands and flies off.

Katherine doesn't even look like Clark at all and it's really annoying him.

Lois gives him an impromptu shoulder massage one afternoon. "You're obsessing."

"I am not. I'm just concerned."

"I can see that." She eyes the print-outs of everything Clark could find about 'Katherine'. "I think maybe it's time you took a little vacation. Go home. See the cows. Feed a few chickens. Um. Drive a tractor."

Perry agrees. Clark goes home. His mother makes his favorite meals and Jonathan slaps him on the back a whole heck of a lot. He uses the home computer and discovers his father's been searching porn. At least he hopes it's his father.

He shudders and decides his email can wait and that nine really isn't too early to go to bed. (His bed is too short; his toes hang over the end.)

Superman has to patrol, though, and he gets up before his parents, slips on his suit and zips around. Katherine is walking around her apartment naked, but that's okay because Lex is out of town. He x-rays the diary locked inside Lex's desk and finds out that Lex is in Smallville.

He stops a bank robbery with a little less charm than usual and speeds home. His parents hadn't even noticed he'd been missing.

The order for produce comes in the following afternoon and Jonathan's brow wrinkles more than it already is. He mutters to himself, even as he sets out the boxes. "Well, I'm not taking it," he says. "Clark can do it."

Martha sighs and gives Clark a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry, Clark. Would you mind?"

Clark wonders for a moment why this might possibly be a problem. Then he remembers that he and Lex aren't friends any more. "Uh. Sure. It's not like I'll see him."

Lex, of course, opens the side door for Clark rather than some nameless servant like all the times before. He's drinking a cup of coffee and wearing black pants and a white shirt open at the collar. They stand in silence while Clark unpacks. Lex sips his coffee very loudly.

"You'll notice its still not raining," Lex says when Clark is nearly out the door.

Clark's shoulders tense.

"It wasn't the machine."

Clark isn't sure whether to believe him, even when the truth is hitting him in the face. "Okay. I'll probably see you around."

"Probably."

As it turns out, they don't see each other for another two weeks and by that stage, Lois and Clark are deep undercover at a resort for the rich and/or famous in the Maldives. Much to Lois's misery, it was decided that Clark had the lesser-known face so he would be the 'rich, burned-out artist' while Lois played the role of a maid.

Clark is really enjoying all the lounging around in the sun and is secretly gleeful because only that morning he'd emailed Jimmy photos of Lois in the maid's uniform and he knows they'll be pinned up in the press room. There's nothing more he likes than toying with Lois.

A shadow falls over his face and he looks up from the book he's not really reading. "What are you doing here?" Lex, by the way, has not got an inch of excess flesh on him. Anywhere.

Focusing on Lex's upper arms, Clark abruptly remembers his love of freckles.

"Recovering from my traumatic break-up." Lex sits on the edge of Clark's sun-lounger, even though there are four free ones around them. Clark can smell Lex's expensive suntan lotion. He wonders how odd it would be to ask Lex to remove his sunglasses.

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Did she..."

Lex snorts. "Oh yes."

Clark isn't sure why Lex is smiling in quite that way. If his father slept with one of his girl - well, that was never going to happen now, was it? "I'm sorry, Lex."

"It was inevitable; he always gets what he wants." He stands and brushes his hand across the hip of his dark green swimming trunks. "The maitre d' in the restaurant?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm fairly sure he tried to offer me the services of a prostitute last night."

Clark blinks. "Okay."

"That is why you're here, right?"

He glances around, making sure no one is looking. But, of course, this is Lex Luthor. Everyone is looking. "Can you keep that part quiet?"

Lex smirks. "Sure. Who am I going to tell?" He walks off, hips moving in a way that must be illegal in certain states. Clark tries to look away. But, well. Lex Luthor.

He has a very interesting dream about Lex Luthor's hips that night. He changes his sheets before Lois arrives to 'clean his room' the next morning, but needn't have bothered, really. She turns up with one black eye and a story to tell and Clark loses his temper and nearly blows the whole deal by breaking the maitre d' in half.

Lois sits in sullen silence all the way home but Clark doesn't care. No one hurts his friends, after all. He does apologize for losing his temper, though, but this leads to Lois's long, long lecture on how she can take care of herself and how everything had been under control and how he shouldn't let his Messiah complex get in her way.

Clark tries to pay attention but finds his concentration slipping, particularly when, in certain lights, shades of her black eye match the dark blue of her eyes.

Superman takes out his frustration on a group of recently fired Cadmus lab employees who used a strain of red-kryptonite to create a new drug. He scoops them up.

"Nice cummerbund," Lex says, the next time they see each other.

Clark narrows his eyes, in no mood to play games. "It's the same color as yours."

"Well, mine's nice too." Lex sighs and delicately eats a small, crust-less sandwich. "You make conversation difficult."

"You tried to buy out The Daily Planet last week."

"But I didn't, did I?"

"I'd really rather you didn't own my place of work."

Lex smiles smoothly and inclines his head at a passing couple of women, both of whom flush when he does so. "I think it's probably time to admit I own your building."

"Oh Jesus." Clark gulps down a mouthful of champagne.

"And your insurance company is a subsidiary of LuthorCorp."

"God."

"And..."

Clark closes his eyes. "And?"

"I think that's it, actually. Yes, that's it. Oh, no. I just remembered that your scholarship to MetU was sponsored by me."

It's a good thing Lois turns up then because Clark might have upended his glass of champagne over Lex's head. And that really would have made the papers.

A tip off three weeks later has Superman swooping down on the clandestine meeting of Lex Luthor and the Joker, and carting Lex off to the police station. The Joker, Clark knows, is being dealt with by Batman - who apparently has no problem with the fact that all of his enemies have stupid names.

"Try as I might, I can't come up with a good name," Lex shouts in his ear, wriggling around. "You're holding me too tight."

Clark drops down on the top of an apartment block and adjusts Lex in his arms. "I think 'Luthor' is scary enough. Hold still."

Lex eventually puts his arms around Clark's neck. This brings his face in close contact with Clark's. "They won't be able to charge me with anything," he points out, smugly.

"I don't care. I can't keep letting you off like this."

Lex rests his head on Clark's shoulder. They are not cuddling. "Okay. By the way, you forgot to gel your hair."

"You are the worst arch-nemesis, ever."

And Lex really is. His evil plots always seem to go wrong, his scary world-altering devices never work, and in a moment of true dumbass-ness, he even manages to blow up his lab one week.

Clark hovers out of reach of the flames, watching the building burn with a slightly singed Lex wrapped around him. Lex is trembling, just a little. Are arch-nemeses supposed to tremble?

"Did anyone get hurt?" Lex asks, swallowing around the words.

Clark shakes his head, though he x-rays the building once more. In the distance, he can hear the fire engines racing down the street. "The security team was doing a sweep of the perimeter and the guy at the front desk was too far away to be hit. What were you doing this late at night?"

"I wasn't doing anything bad," Lex says, but he has to clear his throat first. "Shit. Well, it might have been a little illegal, I guess. But not bad."

Clark sighs. He's not sure, but the trembling seems to make him believe Lex. "You yelled my name."

This appears to shock Lex somewhat. "I did?"

"That's how I got here in time. I heard you yell my name."

Lex licks his dry lips and continues to stare downwards. "Where were you?"

"Nova Scotia."

"What the hell were - never mind. Have you ever even tested your hearing range? You know, that would be a really useful thing to find out, for future reference. I could help."

"Will it keep you out of trouble?"

Lex considers. "Probably not."

"I'm taking you to the police station."

"I thought you might."

Lois thinks it's funny. Whatever 'it' is. She refuses to say, just smiles at him too-broadly and occasionally pats his hand. When she catches him staring at the LuthorCorp towers, she full-out laughs and he blushes like he's fifteen and in love with Lana again.

He eats lunch on a bench across the road and stares at the towers, nibbling his chicken and mayo sandwich and wishing he were cooler.

Lois manhandles him to a movie premiere, knowing full well Lex would be there. "Just go talk to him, for God's sake," Lois snarks after the movie, chewing gum manically, her eyes flickering around the room as she takes in all the VIPs and minor celebrities. "What have you got to lose?"

"My dignity?"

"You might as well do it now. Katherine's story is going to break tomorrow." Lois glances back at him and smirks. "Despite your attempts to the contrary."

Clark mutters to himself as he walks through the press of people. So what if he thinks printing Katherine's story is low for The Daily Planet? It's true. Just because The Inquisitor couldn't publish it, because of its ties with the Luthor family, doesn't mean the The Daily Planet has to.

Clark sidles up to Lex and has no idea what to say.

Lex looks at him expectantly but when Clark doesn't say anything, he tilts his head to the side and looks amused. "I don't even merit a 'hello'?"

"Hello, Lex."

Lex takes him by the elbow and walks him over to a couch in a slightly more private area adjacent to the bustling lobby. They sit side by side and it's even vaguely un-awkward. "Haven't seen you around recently."

"That's because you've been behaving yourself."

Lex gives him a shrewd look. "Have you come to tell me off?"

Clark shakes his head and touches Lex's thigh lightly. "No. Just to warn you. Katherine sold her story to The Planet and it'll be published tomorrow."

"I know, Clark," Lex says gently.

This shouldn't really come as a surprise. But, somehow, it does. Maybe because he wants a reaction, some kind of acknowledgement that Katherine is bad and Clark is good. "You know what it says?"

"I'm sure I can guess." Lex takes a long drink of his wine and Clark watches his throat move. "Is that what you came to tell me?"

Clark nods slowly and then ends up shaking his head. Lex confuses him and his body doesn't know what to do. This isn't even a job for Superman. He slumps in the couch and pouts. "I don't know, Lex. This is screwed up."

Lex sighs and puts his arm around his shoulders. "Come on, Clark, it's you and me. When would it ever be normal?"

"This is so wrong," Clark mutters, thinking of Luthor and Superman and enemies and nemeses and best friends who lie.

"Or..." Lex leans in close and Clark's head turns as if Lex is holding all his strings. "It could be really, really right."

The leather couch creaks as Clark leans forward until they're nose to nose. He pauses there, thinking. He's never kissed a guy before and he wants to remember everything. Lex's eyes, up close like this, look less like blue and more like grey, his eyelashes tipped with ginger. There's a tiny little scar on his cheek that is oval shaped, and Clark's eyes rove down to the scar on Lex's lip. Lex's tongue touches it briefly, knowing Clark is watching, and Clark's stomach jumps with attraction and, wow, Lex smells nice, too.

"You are such a fucking tease," Lex announces, rolling his eyes. "I knew it." He makes the first move and presses his lips to Clark's and when he does, Clark is smiling.

Somewhere nearby, someone snaps a picture and Clark doesn't notice.



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