by Caligo Sidhe
Clark stared at the solemn, nodding faces of Chloe Sullivan and Lana Lang with wide eyes. He shook his pretty head, trying to grasp what he was being told.
"Lex is not gay. I would know if he was gay. He would have told me."
Chloe smiled in the way one smiles at a slightly slow child. "Of course he didn't tell you, Clark. He's in love with you." She patted him gently on his arm.
Chloe noted that if Clark's eyes got any wider they would most definitely pop out of his head. He jerked away from her touch, shaking his mop of black curls vigorously.
"Th-that's insane. No way. Lex is not in love with me. He's my friend. Just my friend. That's all."
Chloe smiled sympathetically. "It's true, he told me when I was still high on that Levitas stuff."
"Wow." Clark slouched back against the locker in the conveniently empty hallway of Smallville High. He slid down to the floor and rested his arms on his knees.
Lana and Chloe knelt down beside him and Chloe stifled a very unladylike snort as Lana slid her hand inside his.
"It's just really...I don't know...intense."
Chloe rolled her eyes, but Lana knowingly pursed her lips and bobbled her doll-like head up and down.
Chloe continued, "Yeah, Clark, sure, intense, right. Anyway, I think you should talk to him."
"Oh no, no way. It's probably better if he doesn't know that I know. I don't want to hurt him." His voice grew softer. "Sometimes you can cause scars on someone's heart that can never fully heal."
Clark and Lana gazed solemnly into each other's eyes.
Chloe hurriedly pushed on, interrupting the moony, googily eyes on her friends' faces. "Well, it's not fair to lead him on. And besides, he thinks you do know."
Clark finally jerked his eyes away from Lana at that. "Why? I didn't know. I really didn't. Why would he think I knew?"
Chloe sighed. "Lex figured that that's why you've been a total ass to him for the last few months. He thinks that you found out, and that you were disgusted."
Clark's eyes widened impossibly further. "Oh god no, he thinks I'm some sort of bigot? Oh god, that's intense. Too intense. I've just had a lot going on...and stuff. I mean, I'm not an ass, Chloe. I'm not. I was just trying to help out my best friend. My dad always says, 'sometimes you have to hurt someone to help them.' It had nothing to do with Lex being gay. I didn't even know. Oh god. It's so intense." He covered his face with his large hands.
"You really didn't know?" Chloe asked incredulously.
Clark silently shook his head.
"But Clark, how could you not know? Didn't you see the way he looks at you? How could you miss all the eyefucks?"
"Eyefucks? Oh god." Clark moaned, his face hidden behind his hands.
Lana scrunched up her pretty face and looked back and forth between Clark and Chloe. "What are you guys talking about. I know what an 'eye' is, but what is an eye-you-know-what? And you know, you really shouldn't say that word, it's really-"
Chloe cut Lana off. "Talk to him, Clark."
Clark started to shake his head but stopped to look at Lana who was slowly bobbing her head again, a very serious expression on her face. "You should, Clark. Secrets between friends can only hurt. If you don't let people to get close, you could miss out on something very special."
Clark and Lana looked meaningfully at each other for what felt like a lifetime. Chloe scowled and snarked, "yeah, well, we're talking about Clark and Lex, and I think the whole point of Clark talking to Lex is to prevent a 'special' bond."
Clark and Lana snapped out of the gaze. Clark shook his head and hastily stood up. "Right," he said. "I have to talk to...um...my parents. They'll know what to do."
Clark took off down the hall and the two girls watched him turn the corner. Chloe covered her mouth with her hands in a hopeless effort to stifle her mounting laughter. Lana silently watched her friend's shaking shoulders.
"Chloe, do you think we took that too far? You didn't say we would tell him that Lex was in love with him."
Chloe surrendered and broke into hysterical giggles. Lana adjusted her pink headband and crossed her arms over her chest. Chloe's laughter slowly subsided as she pulled herself together. She wiped a few tears from her eyes and turned to face the brunette.
"Aw come on, Lana, lighten up. I thought he was going to die. That was too funny. And maybe if we get Clark to just to talk to Lex, they can work out whatever's going on and be friends again. I mean, you know there's something wrong between them. Lex has been spending an awful lot of time with you when before he would have been playing pool with Clark..." Chloe trailed off, eyes widening as she realized her fatal mistake. She watched Lana's crushed expression in fear.
"Chloe...do you really think that if Clark and Lex would become friends again....L-Lex would..." Lana's voice dropped to a soft whisper. "...Abandon me?" Her lower lip trembled and her doe-like eyes began to well up with tears.
Oh god. Chloe began to frantically shake her head. But it was too late. Tears began to freely fall down Lana's perfect face. "He's going to abandon me like everyone else? Chloe, everyone abandons me..."
Chloe looked around in panic trying to find an escape route. "Lana, I know, but-"
"Clark wasn't the only one to leave me. I lost Whitney, Chloe. He left me to join the marines and just died."
"I know, you have the worst luck but really, Lana-"
"And Nel, the woman who was supposedly supposed to be raising me, abandoned me just because she fell in love and wanted to get married..."
Chloe started to back down the hall. "Lana, I just remembered that I have...something to do...for...The Torch! Ha! Yes, I have a thing for The Torch."
The Lana waterworks were freely flowing now. "Chloe, my parents are dead. They left me alone. A meteor....Chloe? Wait. Where are going? Are you leaving me? Chloe!"
Chloe sprinted down the hall, not daring to look back. Lana stood silently for a moment, with tears streaming down her face. Amazingly, her mascara held like the Hoover Dam, not even smearing as the salty water gushed by. Lana turned and walked down the hall slowly. She kept walking. And crying. She turned the corner, walking and crying. She stepped outside the front entrance of the school and walked down the steps, crying. She cried as she walked to the parking lot and continued crying as she got into her SUV. She pulled out of the parking lot, still crying, mind you. She pulled out onto the empty street and drove home. Crying. She kept her beautiful face scrunched up into the perfect 'poor me' expression the whole time. Sadly, no one cared.
"Let me get this straight, Clark...Lex Luthor is gay and is in love with you?"
Clark nodded silently, sitting across the table from his shell-shocked father as beams of sunlight danced through the kitchen window of the Kent household.
"I knew it. I just knew it."
Clark gaped at his agitated father. "You did?"
"Well, no. I didn't, but I knew he had an ulterior motive for being friends with you. I knew he was up to no good when he prevented the farm from going under and when he saved my life. Luthors always have ulterior motives. And apparently, Lex's motive is that he wants to get you in the sack."
Clark looked horrified. "Dad!"
Clark's mom walked over to the table and sat down across from Clark, reaching over to hold his hand. "What are you going to do?"
Clark sighed and looked down at the table. "Well, I think I have to talk to him and straighten things out."
Martha nodded. "You should do what you think is best. I think that's the right thing to do."
Clark began to stand up, only to hastily sit down when Jonathan barked, "No, Clark. I don't think that's such a good idea. Sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie"
Martha pursed her lips together into a small 'o' and nodded. "Your father's right, Clark."
Clark furrowed his brow in confusion. "But, Mom, you just said-"
Martha jumped up as the timer went off and moved quickly over to the oven. She began to pull tray after tray of enormous muffins out of the oven.
Clark and Jonathan continued the conversation as if Martha's absence made no difference. Clark looked at his dad helplessly. "Dad, what do I do?"
"Son, you know that actions speak louder than words."
Clark withdrew his hand suddenly. "Dad! God..." his face blushed deeply until he looked like a tomato with black curls. "I-I really think words are better than actions in this case..."
Jonathan's face reddened to match his son's. "No, no. Not...those kinds of actions. I meant, the message would be clearer if you just stopped seeing him altogether."
"No, Dad, I don't want to hurt him. It's not Lex's fault that he's in love with me."
"Lex is what!?!?"
Clark and Jonathan whipped around to see a very shocked Pete Ross standing in the doorway.
"Lex...as in Lex Luthor, is in love with you? Oh, man, I told you that that guy was no good for you."
Clark looked nervously at his friend. "Pete, look, I know you don't like Lex and all-"
Pete cut him off. "Hell, no, I don't like Lex. My car broke down in front of The Talon this morning. And Lex was there. He was there, Clark. Clark, man, I had no jumper cables and Luthor just comes over like he's some type of royalty and helps me jump my car."
Clark looked confused, a facial expression at which he was amazingly adept. "But, Pete, isn't that good?"
"Don't you get it? Man, Clark, for a guy who can see through walls, you can really be blind sometimes. He was there. Isn't that a little convenient? Huh? He's trying to get on my good side. That's what Luthor's do. They manipulate you. He obviously wants to use me to get to you."
"Pete, I'm sure that's not it. Lex is my friend-"
"And I thought at first maybe that he wanted to get your secret, but now it seems he wants to get in your pants."
The tomato face returned. "Pete! Can people stop saying stuff like that!"
"Sorry man. Geez. You don't look so good." Pete peered closely at him.
"I just feel a little queasy is all. It's been a rough day."
Pete nodded knowingly. "You got gas, don't you? I have some Gas-X in my car, if you want. It will make the bloating disappear and make you feel smaller, so you can feel like yourself again-"
"I do not have gas, Pete. For crying out loud." Clark rolled his eyes.
"Whatever man, I see you don't need my help," Pete snapped. He headed back to the door and stopped to look back at his friend. "I've apparently been booted from the 'best friend' position and been replaced with Mr. Clean. Whatever, that's fine."
Clark stood up. "No, Pete, don't go, I didn't mean it like that."
Pete softened. "It's cool, Clark, it's cool. I think I'm just a little worked up. I'll be fine after a warm bubble bath while listening to The Talon Mix. Those righteous tunes can always make me feel better. See ya later Clark."
Clark nodded. "Bye, Pete." He turned back to his father, who had been waiting patiently. "Dad, I know you just want to protect me, but I really have to talk to Lex about this."
Jonathan nodded sagely. "Okay, Clark. Do what you have to do. Just be careful. We don't want Lex thinking that his feelings for you give him a right to dig more into your life. We can't let him find out your secret."
"I know that, Dad. You don't have to lecture me."
"Well, you're not going to lecture yourself!" Jonathan snapped, harsher than he meant to.
Clark looked down at his hands. "It just seems like you don't trust me," he said softly.
Jonathan grimaced. "I do trust you son, it's Lex I don't trust. Just be careful." Clark nodded silently. Jonathan let out a huff. "Well, I should go check on...the cows. I have...work...to do. And well, there's no time like the present." With that, Jonathan briskly strolled outside, and the screen door slapped shut behind him.
Martha offered her son a small smile. "Be easy on your father. He's had a rough time with his heart and Jor-El and everything. He thinks he's some sort of superman or something and can't stand the fact that he can't control everything. He's been acting withdrawn, spending a lot of time outside with the cows. He loves you very much and he's very proud of you." Martha nodded as she spoke softly to Clark.
Clark managed a weak smile for his mom. "I know, Mom, but...what exactly are you talking about? I'm a little confused."
Martha just smiled and nodded. "I know you're worried about Lex, but you have another friend who has feelings for you too."
"Mom, this thing with me and Lana-"
"I know it's hard, honey. But you can't keep doing this to her. She's a sweet girl and I know you love her. Why don't you go to the Talon right now and talk to her. Why don't you ask her to come over for dinner...in the house...not the barn."
Clark smiled again. "Mom, I care about Lana, but right now, I really need to talk to Lex. Not Lana. Lex."
Martha sighed. Her mouth then formed a surprised 'o' as the oven timer went off again. "That's the cookies. Don't forget about Lana. She deserves to be happy."
Clark nodded again, pretending that he just understood that conversation. He then walked out the door, heading down to the Luthor Mansion.
"Hey, Clark, what brings you by?"
Clark hung uncomfortably in the door of Lex Luthor's office, trying to figure out what to say.
"Hey, Lex. There's something I wanted to talk to you about...if you're not busy, I mean."
The corner of Lex's mouth lifted up. He walked over to the glass decanter and poured himself a drink. He took a small sip. "Sure, Clark, no problem. What do you need to talk about? Need help on a term paper, maybe?" Lex fixed Clark with a steady stare, calmly sipping his scotch.
Clark clumsily avoided Lex's stare. "Um. No, no term paper. Actually, I was talking to Chloe and Lana and..."
Lex threw down the rest of his scotch in one swift gulp. Oh god, one of these conversations. Lex began to hedge toward the door. "Sorry, Clark. I forgot. I need to go wash my hair. Maybe some other time."
Clark stepped in Lex's path. "Wait, Lex. Don't go. I really need to talk to you." Understanding finally washed through the young alien's head. He narrowed his eyes and crossed his hands over his chest, giving Lex his best you've-been-a-naughty-boy look. "Wait, Lex. You're lying. You're bald. You don't need to wash your hair. I can't believe my best friend is lying to me."
Lex rolled his eyes. "Well, then I need to go make my father wash his hair. I think he's forgotten what shampoo is," he snapped. He tried to vainly move around Clark, but found a big Clark-shaped wall in front of him.
"Lex, I just want to talk to my best friend. Is that so much to ask? I know you think I've been an ass-"
"Oh, we're going to talk about you being an asshole? Okay." Lex refilled his drink and sauntered over to the middle of the room. He gestured at the couch. "Have a seat."
Clark smiled in triumph. He flopped down on the expensive leather as Lex gracefully seated himself on an armchair across from Clark. Clark's face grew serious. "Hey, Lex? About what you were saying about your dad's hair?"
Lex stared at Clark in confusion. "My dad's hair?" He repeated.
"Yeah, I was thinking-"
"Oh, good for you."
"-Do you think that he has such long hair just...you know...to rub it in that you don't have any?"
Lex rolled his eyes again. "Gee, you think? That certainly never crossed my mind," he answered dryly.
Clark nodded. "I dunno, it was just something that I noticed. Maybe he just doesn't have time to get it cut though."
"Yeah, that must be it. Hey, maybe you could recommend a good hairdresser for him to go to."
Clark shook his head and smiled proudly. "Oh, sorry. My mom actually cuts my hair."
"You don't say? What's her secret?" Lex questioned in a tone dripping with sarcasm, which naturally went over the head of our favorite farmboy.
"Well, actually, she uses this bowl and..." Clark stopped and sighed. "Lex, I didn't come down here to talk about hair."
"Oh thank god."
Clark shook his head quickly. "Uh, no. I guess I was just stalling." He took a deep breath. "Lex, this isn't something I'm really comfortable talking about...."
Lex narrowed his eyes, looking at his friend expectantly.
"I was talking it over with Lana and Chloe and they think it's best if I be straight with you. Wait, maybe 'straight' isn't the best word....um. Look, I just don't want you to have the wrong idea about what I think of you."
Lex raised an eyebrow. "Clark? What are you trying to say?"
Clark took a deep breath and looked up to meet the older man's eyes. "Lex, I want you to know that I like gay guys."
Lex began to choke on the scotch he'd been sipping. He coughed repeatedly, trying to regain his composure. "What?" he croaked.
Clark smiled. "I like gay people. I know you'd think I'd be totally against the idea, having grown up in a small midwestern town. But I'm not. Gay guys usually seem to be really nice, so I have no problem with it."
Lex stared at the young man with his jaw hanging in a very undignified manner. He blinked a few times before responding, "Okay....but wait, what about Lana and Chloe?"
Clark looked confused. Again. "What about them? They're the ones who told me."
"They told you? Okay, I guess. Clark, I'm glad you told me." Lex smiled softly. "At least you feel you can trust me with some of your secrets."
"It's not a secret, Lex. Like I said, I'm fine with gay people." Clark stopped. He pursed his lips together in a determined fashion. "Lex. Look, I meant what I said and although I like you a lot, as a friend, I don't feel about you in that way. I'm sorry."
Lex remained silent for a short time, trying to decide what to say. "It's okay, Clark. I'm really not offended."
"Oh, good. I mean I'm sure that a lot of guys would find you attractive, but I just don't have those types of feelings for you. I am so sorry. Are you okay."
Lex smiled affectionately at his young, stupid friend. "Really, Clark. It's okay. It's really just as well."
Clark looked at Lex in surprise. "Really? Why's that?"
Lex gazed at Clark soberly. "Because I'm in love with Lana Lang."
Clark's jaw dropped. "Wh-what?"
Lex nodded, smiling happily. "It's true. I guess this is a good time to break the news to you. I love Lana and she loves me. I asked her to marry me, and you won't believe it, she said yes. She actually did. I'm going to Paris with her. We're going to stay there and get married. Can't you picture her pink wedding dress? She'll insist on it. She's amazing. She's willing to knock the tradition of having a white dress. Of course, the church will be decorated in pink flowers...." Lex smiled dreamily as Clark stared on in a shocked stupor. "Can't you imagine the life we'll have together? I'm building her a pink palace because she deserves to be treated like a fairy princess. I'm modeling it after the Barbie Dream Castle she keeps in her room. It will be perfect, with pink carpeting and matching pink his-and-her towels. I really will be the happiest man alive because my bride-to-be is so honest and pure-hearted."
Lex smiled a huge happy grin at the speechless Clark Kent, looking at him with hopeful eyes as he waited for his friend's response.
Lionel pulled his head away from where he had been eavesdropping on his son's conversation through a crack in the door. He took a few moments to collect his thoughts. He began to slowly walk down the hall of the mansion. He ran a hand through his thick mane in a thoughtful manner and then quickly wiped the grease on his pantleg. He rubbed his chin in a very evil manner and grimaced. Lex loved Lana Lang, meaning that Lana Lang was a serious threat. And Lionel Luthor knew only one way to deal with a threat. A man on a mission, Lionel walked purposefully out the door of the mansion.
Clark opened and closed his mouth a few times, unable to come up with an intelligent reply, which was actually par for the course. Clark couldn't believe it. Lana was his soulmate. They were just meant to be. He managed to get out in a small whisper, "you...and...Lana?"
Lex couldn't hold it in any more. His face broke into a grin as he began to shake with laughter. At Clark's confused expression, Lex bent over laughing loudly. Holding his side as tears streamed down his face.
Clark stood up in one jerky motion. "It was just a joke?"
Lex nodded, gasping for breath between laughs.
"So you're not in love with Lana, right? I knew it didn't make sense for you to be in love with her."
"I know...could you imagine me actually being attracted to...Lana Lang?" Lex promptly broke into a fresh round of laughter.
Clark wasn't laughing, though. He crossed his hands over his chest and looked disapprovingly at the laughing man. "Lex, how could you do that? That sounds like something your father would say."
Lex smirked. "My father said he's in love with Lana? That's an image I never wanted." Lex made a face.
Obviously, Clark didn't like that image either. He shook his head in horror. "No, I didn't mean that...."
Lex waved his hand in a dismissive manner, the laughter having subsided. "Relax, Clark. It was just a joke. I'm not going to touch the lovely Ms. Lang. You're too easy."
Clark blushed and smiled slightly. "I guess I am kind of gullible," he offered sheepishly.
"Nah, Clark. But you can't use 'gullible' any more. They removed it from the dictionary."
"Oh, thanks for telling me. I didn't know that."
Lex started to say something, but thought better of it. He resettled himself in his chair and waited until Clark sat back down. "So, Clark, I thought we were going to discuss why you've been acting like, as you put it, an ass. Care to enlighten me?"
Clark blushed again. "Oh yeah, well, I just didn't want you to think it was because we have...differences in sexual preference."
"Okay, fine. But I still don't know why."
Clark sighed and looked down at the floor. "It's just that so much has been going on..."
Lex nodded knowingly. "I know this must be a very confusing time for you."
"Yeah, it is. Not just this whole thing we were just talking about. Other stuff too."
"Well, there's the whole thing with Lana."
Lex looked sadly at his empty glass, muttering under his breath, "God, kill me now...."
"Nothing. You were saying?"
"Well, it's not just that, I mean I don't think things will ever work out between us."
"Anytime. So that's it? You're upset about Lana? What does that have to do with me?"
Clark looked uncomfortable. "I know you've been spending a lot of time with Lana, and I guess..."
"You were jealous?" Lex said incredulously. "Of me and Lana?"
Clark nodded his head. "Yeah, a little. I was just wondering if something was going on. It's not, is it?"
Lex shuddered. "Hell, no. Are you out of your mind? Have you noticed that she has the body of a twelve-year-old, not to mention the mental capacity of a kindergartner. I'm just trying to help her out, so she can maybe grow-up a little. Besides, she's one of the few people who doesn't constantly lie to my face and who actually treats me halfway decent."
Clark smiled slightly, focusing on only a portion of what Lex had said. "I guess her childlike innocence is what makes her so endearing." Lex closed his eyes and began to massage his temples. "Well, I'm glad there's nothing going on between you two. But I thought there was, and it hurt to see Lana moving on so quickly, you know? And I guess I took my hurt out on you."
Lex looked at Clark in disgust. "Clark...moving on so quickly? What the fuck? Clark, you two broke up a year ago. By your choice, I might add. And, if I'm not mistaken, you only dated for a couple days. Seriously, Clark, you need to get over this. It's getting tiring watching you and Lana do this dance. And I can't believe you would jeopardize our friendship over something so trivial." Lex looked a little hurt as he said the last sentence.
Clark felt offended briefly, but then just sighed. "Okay, I guess I wasn't being fair."
"You were being an asshole."
Clark put on his best self-righteous expression and snapped at his friend, who seemed to be forgetting his place. "Maybe I was just worried about my best friend. You know, my best friend who just spent seven weeks in the loony bin? I mean even if your dad drugged you and..." Clark trailed off abruptly hoping that his friend had become amazingly stupid and deaf and didn't happen to have noticed his error. His face assumed the famous Clark Kent Deer-Caught-in-the-Headlights expression.
Lex scowled. "Thanks for rubbing that in my face, Clark. But what the hell does that have to do with anything? And what do you mean 'drugged'? Is there something you want to tell me, Clark?"
Clark's brilliant mind quickly allowed him to come up with a plausible explanation for what he had said. "No, nothing...I mean...I was just thinking about a term paper I'm writing. I guess I have it on my mind."
Lex smirked knowingly and nodded with an expression that anyone with the intelligence of a small rodent would have interpreted as Lex not believing Clark's lie. Naturally, our superhero did not make this leap. He inwardly sighed in relief and then puffed himself up and continued haughtily. "Lex, even if I was harsh about it, there was truth in what I was saying. You do lie to me, your best friend, and the more you try to take down your dad, the more you become like him. I'm just trying to help you. I'm just a guy trying to do the right thing, isn't that enough?"
Lex was beginning to give himself a headache from rolling his eyes so much. He muttered under his breath, "fucking hypocrite." He then raised his voice and met Clark's glare. "Don't get me started on the lying, okay? And seriously, what the hell do you want me to do? I'm working with the authorities to take down my father legally. Nothing underhanded or sleeping-with-the-fishes involved. I had to do something. It was the only way to save myself from going to jail for murders I didn't commit. Clark, he framed me. He betrayed me. What don't you get?"
Clark huffed. "It's all about you, isn't it? Did you ever think of me?"
"Me, Lex. We're going to talk about me for a change. You never think about me. This affects me. You're working with the FBI. You're friends with me. That makes a connection between the FBI and me, which could send the FBI on my trail. How could you do this to me, Lex? Huh? You're best friend."
Lex stared at Clark, speechless. "So, I should have been thinking of protecting your secrets, which you don't share with me, when my ass was being hauled off to prison for murders that my dad framed me for?" Lex finished dryly, "Wow, what a lousy friend I am. I can't believe I was so selfish."
Clark smiled slightly and gave Lex a serious look. "It's okay, Lex. I forgive you."
Lex began to massage his temples again. "Oh my god..." he muttered.
Clark began to shuffle his feet again and Lex looked up at him. "There's more, isn't there?"
Clark looked as if he was going to cry and nodded his floppy head. "Lex, the stuff with Lana and the FBI aren't really why I've been cross lately."
"Clark, you can tell me. What's wrong?"
Clark breathed in deeply and spoke quickly. "Ifoundmydadwiththecows."
Clark met Lex's quizzical gaze with teary eyes. "My dad was taking a long time coming in, so I went out to find him. He was in the barn with the cows. He was mooing at them, Lex. In this very deep tone and he had this goofy grin on his face. And then he started petting a cow and mooing in its ear softly. I ran back in the house as fast as I could."
"Oh Clark," Lex watched his friend with pity. "That's awful. I don't know what to say. I can see why you flipped out."
Clark nodded sadly. "I knew he was spending an awful lot of time with the cows, but it still came as a surprise. And I felt like I couldn't tell anyone, so I guess I took my anger out on you."
"It's okay, Clark."
"I just...I can't believe Dad replaced me with the cows."
"What?" Lex's eyes grew wide.
"Well, isn't it obvious what's going on? Dad doesn't think I'm a good son anymore and so he spends time with the cows instead. You know, kind of like his surrogate children. I mean, what other explanation is there?"
"Um...yeah, Clark, that must be it...I can't think of anything else." Lex became very interested in the floor as he stared at it intently, unwilling to meet Clark's eye.
Clark let out a slow breath and smiled at his older friend. "That actually felt good to get off my chest. So... are we okay?"
Lex smiled back. "Sure, Clark, we're good."
Clark's goofy grin grew wider. "Great, well, I have to go, but I'm glad we had this talk. I'll see you soon. We could play a game of pool, or something."
Lex nodded. "I look forward to it." His eyes followed the happy teenager out of the room. The door swung shut and Lex walked back over to his desk and sat down. "Asshole."
The door opened a few minutes after Lionel Luthor rang the doorbell. His eyes widened upon seeing the small raven-haired girl dressed in a pink jogging suit, pink Nike's, and a wide pink headband. She bore an uncanny resemblance to a pink Easter peep. Lionel was awestruck by the perfection of her face. Such a perfect, flawless creature. He fleetingly wondered what she looked like behind the 20 layers of makeup on her face. Her head would probably be much smaller without all those layers...
"Mr. Luthor? Can I help you?" Lana asked inquisitively, breaking into his thoughts.
Lionel quickly composed himself. "Hello, Ms. Lang. I hope you can help me. It has recently come to my attention that-"
Lana cut him off, reaching out to take his hand. "It's okay, Mr. Luthor. I know. Please come with me."
Lionel stared at the pink child in confusion, but found himself following her up the stairs as though hypnotized by her pinkness. Lana led Lionel into a room at the top of the stairs. Lionel halted in the doorway. Never before had he seen anything like this. The room was completely pink. It was extraordinary. Pink bed, pink pillows, pink wallpaper, pink carpeting. Hell, even the ceiling was painted pink. It was like being inside a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Lionel Luthor had seen many wonders in his life, but never before had he seen so much...pink. Lionel then allowed Lana to pull him gently toward a corner of the room where there happened to be a pink sink, pink mirror, and pink hairdresser's chair.
Lana smiled at him and sat him down on the chair. "Just relax, Mr. Luthor. You're in good hands."
Lionel nodded dumbly, still speechless from the utter pinkness of the room.
Lana turned her back and began to retrieve some supplies from a dresser door. She decided to start a conversation with her guest to help him relax. "Mr. Luthor, did you know that my parents died in a meteor shower? Squashed flat, like pancakes. It's true. Here's the story..."
Clark walked by The Torch office and came to a halt upon seeing Chloe busily at work piecing together the next issue. He stepped in to talk briefly with the young reporter. Chloe turned around in surprise at hearing his footsteps.
"Oh, hey, Clark." Chloe greeted him nervously, laying down the front page of the school newspaper that she had been working on. The headline read TALON SOLD: NEW IHOP TO OPEN SOON. Chloe bit her bottom lip certain to hear an explosion about her little joke on him earlier that day.
"Hey Chloe," Clark smiled easily. "I'm glad I caught you. I wanted to say thanks."
Chloe jaw dropped. "Uh, you want to thank me?"
"Yeah, you know, for making me talk to Lex."
Chloe stared at her mentally challenged friend and then smiled in relief. At least he wasn't mad. She grinned sheepishly. "Sorry about all that. But I'm glad you guys talked. Did you work everything out?" She headed over to her computer as she talked, sitting down to open up an article in progress.
Clark stuck his hands in his pockets, nodding happily. "Yep. We talked. I think we came to an understanding."
"Oh, good, I'm glad. I knew you guys were having a rough time and I felt bad that you were, you know, drifting apart. Although maybe my methods weren't so great." She flashed him a small grin.
"No, I understand. Tough love and all. My mom is the same way when she's trying to get me and Lana together. So it's okay. We were able to talk and I told him how I feel about him, even though he doesn't feel the same way."
Chloe smiled uneasily at her friend. "Um, he doesn't?"
"Yeah. We're going to stay friends. I thinks it's just kind of hard when one person wants more out of a relationship than the other."
Chloe's eyes widened. "Wants more out of the relationship..." she echoed.
Clark sat down on a nearby chair. "Yeah, but it's okay. You know, I asked him if he wanted to get together sometime this week."
Chloe's jaw dropped. "Y-you asked Lex Luthor out?"
Clark thought that was a strange way of putting it, but being used to the feeling of confusion, decided not to ask any questions. "Well, yeah. He said we could play pool sometime. Just as friends."
Chloe breathed out the breath she didn't know she had been holding. It was a lot to absorb. "Oh, wow, well at least he was nice about it."
"Yeah, he was cool. I don't think he was too happy, but he's accepting it."
Chloe smiled softly. "I can accept it too, Clark. I'm glad you told me." She walked over to the very confused Clark Kent and leaned against the desk he was sitting by. She gently put her hand on top of his. "I'm glad you two are staying friends. If there's anything I can do-"
Clark's face clouded over and he glared at his friend angrily. "What is it with you and butting into my life? You just always have to be a reporter, don't you, Chloe?"
Chloe's eyes widened in shock as she hastily withdrew her hand. She started to cry, tears streaming down her face. She choked out a few sobs trying to think of how to answer.
"Your silence is deafening."
Chloe started to giggle between her sobs, managing to conceal her laughter upon seeing that Clark was actually serious when he said that. "I-I'm sorry, Clark. I didn't mean anything. I just wanted to support you. That's all."
Clark's anger dissipated, although he wouldn't know that because he doesn't understand four-syllable words. He offered Chloe a soft smile and took her hand again. "It's okay, Chloe."
Chloe wiped away her tears and grinned into those baby blue, although rather vacant, eyes. Before she could say anything, Clark's pants started to ring. After a few moments, Clark understood what the sound was and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, releasing Chloe's hand. "Hello?"
After listening to the speaker on the phone a few moments, Clark leaped to his feet. "What is it?" Chloe asked him worriedly.
Clark turned a panicked face to her. "It's Lana. She's in trouble. Some guy at school fell in love with her and started stalking her. He turned out to be a meteor mutant though, and now he wants to eat her!"
Chloe rolled her eyes. "Well, it must be Wednesday. Why doesn't she call the police?"
Clark furrowed his brow. "The what?"
"You know, blue uniforms, drive the black and white cars, sirens, enforce the law?"
Clark nodded. "Oh right, them. Well, I guess Lana just knew she could count on me."
"Right, because you're Mr. Dependable."
Clark smiled, completely missing her sarcasm. He waited until Chloe blinked to zip off at superspeed. Chloe sighed upon realizing that he had magically vanished again. She started working on the paper again, trying to sort out the information she had just received.
"Oh my god, Dad, what happened to you?"
Lex looked at his father in alarm, who stood in the doorway of his son's office. The sun shone brightly through the enormous stained-glass windows, making the pretty colorful lights tap dance on top of Lex's shiny head. Lionel stood in front of his son with a huge grin and wild eyes.
"Lex, I have the answer." He took a step to his son, who hastily backed away from the outstretched arms.
"Dad, your hair."
"I know the secret."
"I-it's not greasy anymore. Dad, did...did you wash your hair?"
"It's all so clear now..."
"And it's shorter. You cut your hair. Dad, oh my god, are you okay?"
Lionel's smile grew. "I'm perfect now, Lex, perfect and flawless. I feel wonderful. Like a fairy princess."
Lex bit back a gasp. "Dad, what the hell...oh my god, you're wearing a pink headband!" Lex's horror was quickly mounting. "Dad, who did this to you?"
Lionel grabbed his son by his lapels and pulled him close. Lex fought to get away but his father held tight, inching his face closer with a crazed gleam in his eye. "Lex, I know the secret now."
"Wh-what secret?" Lex gasped out.
"The secret for world domination."
Lex stopped struggling and simply stared into his father's beady eyes, terror written across every inch of his face. "World domination? Dad, what's going on? Are you-"
Lex breathed hard, his heart racing. "Pink," he repeated.
Lionel nodded vigorously. "Pink is the key, Lex." He gripped harder on Lex's shirt. "I never realized it's power before."
"The power of...pink?"
"Yes, son. It is extraordinary. With this knowledge, I can make the world mine. I need to change LuthorCorp. Make everything pink. The building will be rebuilt with pink bricks. The carpeting and walls will be all pink. Obviously, the sign out front must be pink." He looked at his son frantically. "Join me, Lex. Join me. Together we will be a force to be reckoned with."
Lex tried to smile. "With the power of pink."
"That's right, son." Lionel nodded excitedly, releasing his grip on Lex, who quickly took a few steps backward. "We can finally be a family. We have the power. You don't understand, Lex. I know it's seems like pink is for girls, but it's not. You know, in Greek mythology, the blind prophet Tiresias was both man and woman. And he could see the future Lex." Lionel leaned in closer to his frightened offspring, focusing his wide-eyed gaze intently. "See the future."
Lex shook his head and backed away some more. "Dad, um, don't you think you're kind of grasping at straws with that classical allusion?"
"Did you hear me son? He. Saw. The. Future. We have our masculine power, especially me because I am extremely fertile and have fathered children across the globe. But like Tiresias, we will also embrace the female side. We will possess the power of pink. It is a female power, but it is dark and powerful. We will have the combined force of male and female, yin and yang, we will be unstoppable. With this knowledge, we will step toward a bright new pink future with us at the helm." Lionel spread his arms out in a grandiose gesture, indicating the expanse of their power.
"Dad, look, I think maybe you need to lie down." Lex reached out a shaking hand to his father. His father impatiently brushed the hand off.
"No, Lex, you don't get it." Lionel began pacing the room, waving his hands around in an excited manner. "This pink is amazing. If we harness its power, people will think that we are perfect. They will bend to our every whim, they will adore us and worship us. We will be able to manipulate them into doing whatever we want. We will also possess the ability to be in two places at once. For example, we could manage a coffee shop full-time, while riding horses, being on the cross-country team, and attending high school at the same time...and get all A's, might I add. But that's just a random example, there's so much more. Son, the possibilities are endless..."
Lex nodded and smiled as his dad rambled on about The Pink. He slowly backed over to his desk and reached a hand over to the phone.
Lex leaned against the frame of the mansion door, watching the Belle Reve orderlies maneuvering his father into a black van. His father was complaining that his straightjacket wasn't pink. Lex was surprised at how sad he was at seeing his father's downfall. He knew he should be happy. He knew the evil and criminal things his father had done but no one, not even Lionel Luthor, deserved to be driven mad by The Pink. Lex had known its evil, but had neglected to warn his father. He couldn't help but feel slightly despondent as he watched the van drive off into the distance.
"Maybe I'll buy myself a new car, that will cheer me up," Lex said, thinking out loud. He had driven the same car twice in one month, and he was starting to get bored. Lex smiled as he imagined the various foreign automobiles that he might want to purchase. He didn't realize that he wasn't alone until he heard a soft voice behind him.
"So, that's the end of Lionel Luthor."
Lex smiled and turned around to face the blonde reporter. "Yeah, I guess so."
Chloe smiled back. "You okay?" She asked in a concerned voice.
Lex shrugged, smiling a little sadly. "I will be."
Chloe nodded in sympathy. She walked up to him and, standing on tiptoe, wrapped her arms around the neck of the surprised man. After a moment, he returned the much-needed hug.
They pulled apart and smiled at each other. Chloe flickered her gaze self-consciously to the ground then back up to meet his. Lex leaned back against the doorframe and Chloe walked over to stand next to him. They stood in silence, enjoying the peaceful quiet and the soft warm colors of the setting sun.
Chloe was the first to break the silence. "So...Clark Kent is gay."
Lex laughed softly. "Clark Kent is gay."
"Wow. Though I guess it sort of makes sense. What with him chasing after Lana, but never wanting to do anything with her."
"Yeah, I just can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner."
Chloe grinned. "So I guess we know Clark Kent's Deep Dark Secret."
Lex raised an eyebrow and turned to look at Chloe seriously. "You think that's the secret?"
Chloe snorted and met Lex's gaze. "Yeah, right, I'm not stupid. We both know Clark isn't exactly normal."
Lex nodded. "So you know about his 'abilities'?"
"Like I said, I'm not blind or stupid."
"What's your theory?"
"Meteor mutant," Chloe responded crisply. "What's yours?" She questioned, seeing Lex shake his head.
"Hmm." Chloe looked thoughtful. "I can kinda see that."
"Yeah, I gathered a lot of data. It's the only logical conclusion. I can show you. We can compare notes."
"I'd like that." Chloe smiled up at him. She then huffed and shook her head. "What a liar. Does he think we're stupid?"
Lex scowled. "I know. It makes me mad too. Sometimes I just think about ending the whole friends faade and becoming his arch nemesis."
"Can I help?" Chloe asked hopefully.
Lex smiled at her affectionately. "Sure, every evil genius needs a beautiful assistant."
Chloe grinned happily, but then sighed as she remembered. "Well, our plans will have to wait until another night. Clark saved Lana from another meteor mutant stalker and Lana said she was going to visit him at his loft tonight."
The happy expression on Lex's face quickly vanished and he scowled. "Damn it. Lana's going to visit him? Now I feel bad for the idiot. I can't plot against him when I pity him."
Chloe patted him on the arm sympathetically. "So, do the whole arch nemesis thing another time?"
Lex smiled again and sighed resignedly. "Yeah."
Chloe cocked her head to the side, examining the young man. "Then you're free tonight?"
Lex raised an eyebrow. "What do you have in mind?" he asked, intrigued.
Chloe grinned mischievously, an evil glint in her eye. "Well, that depends. How are your animal impersonations?"
Lex smiled a slow, sexy smile. "Excellent. My specialty is barnyard animals."
"Perfect. Sometimes when I'm bored I call up Lana and whinny like a horse. She completely freaks out. I was wondering if you would like to join me."
Lex smirked his trademark smirk as he considered the suggestion. "I'd love to. And while we're at it, we can call up Jonathan Kent and moo seductively into the phone."
Now it was Chloe's turn to arch an eyebrow. "Something I should know?"
"It's an interesting story. I'll tell it to you inside. Shall we?"
Lex offered Chloe his elbow and she slid her arm inside his. They exchanged smiles, turned, and walked through the door.
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