A slight moral slump

by Shropshire

Disclaimer: I come in peace and with absolutely no monetary gain from these characters. Who aren't mine.

Notes: I never manage to write what I intend to. This is just a quick, facetious look at Clark's ever plunging moral compass.

Lex sighed before the phone even rang. He'd recently developed some sort of Kent Sense, which disturbed him whenever he had the time to let it.

"What were you pulled in for this time, Clark?"


Lex had reached his car and was inside before the brief conversation had even concluded. He was strangely unsurprised.

It had all started, Lex surmised, during that wild summer in Metropolis- about which he suspected that only Clark, himself and a young tranvestite called Shirley knew all the gory details. And poor Shirley had been unexpectedly trampled by a herd of escaped llama shortly after learning the full truth about his new friend.

Lex, in retrospect, considers himself lucky to have escaped with only severe brain damage from this dangerous revelation.

Clark had been intoxicated with the freedom and the power and, most of all, the not getting caught.

For his entire life he had been afraid to steal so much as a warm cookie for fear of the disappointed tsking that would result. Now, he had learned that, while all actions may have consequences, they didn't necessarily have to happen to him. Clark had slipped so easily into being a crime-junky that it had been almost funny when he had first excitedly lifted chewing gum, milk and -for some reason- lipstick from local stores.

His little arson spree was more problematic.

"Clark, it is not okay to set fires if they're only doll's houses. Even if the dolls aren't inside."

Lex had tried to persuade Clark to get help, but his own problems with the psychiatric profession had rather hampered his arguments. The ringing-the-doorbells-and-running-away stage had merely been annoying. The toilet graffiti was mostly uninspired (and centred around obscene uses for pie). But the real problems began when Clark started to get careless.

At three a.m. one blurry Monday, Lex got the first call.

"Lex? I'm in a spot of trouble..."

Lex had tried to explain to his friend that, while stealing a car using his superspeed (and new super-hotwiring) powers was morally reprehensible, stealing a car when slightly drunk, right in front of the owner, whilst using no powers whatsoever, was both utterly wrong and supernaturally stupid. Clark had done big innocent puppy eyes. Clark was his friend and friends, said Clark, always helped each other and never judged. Clark had saved his life quite a bit.

"I'll bail you out this time, Clark, but you need to think seriously about what you're doing before you get into something I can't help you with. And you should try to find a way to x-ray your skull. The contents seem to be missing."

Clark had been arrested the very next day for stealing a building society.

And, though Lex had managed to get him off, largely on the grounds that it was impossible (and because the building had subsequently reappeared, looking sheepish) the police were now very much on the alert. Lex had a lot of important business concerns, many dangerous enemies (some, not even related to him) and an addiction to Tetris. Spending his entire time keeping a sulky alien out of trouble was not an option. He had tried discussing things with the Kents.

"Our sweet boy would never do those things!"

Martha wrung her hands. It looked painful.

"I knew it was a mistake for Clark to associate with Luthors!"

Jonathon reached for his gun. That looked painful too.

Lex had retreated, gracefully and very, very fast.

The phone calls after that became regular. Clark seemed determined to cover as wide a range of criminal activity as possible and, even though he was now getting caught more frequently than not, the highs just kept getting better. At some point, Lex was going to have to stop bailing him out. But then, he'd probably just escape by using his powers and there was no way that Clark, increasingly the dictionary definition of buttheadedness, would be able to manage that without the whole of America going on an alien hunt within twenty four hours.

Clark would not look better dissected, Clark would not look better dissected. Lex spent increasing amounts of time muttering to himself. His employees were starting to worry and to leave self-help books lying around. (The one who left a guide to home electrics was fired immediately).

There had to be a solution.

"Sheep worrying. Please tell me that this was a misunderstanding."

The wool in Clark's teeth told a different story.

"Clark, there comes a point when the public safety has to take precedence over yours."

"I promise I'll reform, Lex. Anyway, the sheep enjoyed it."

"Now, I'm really worried about you, Clark."

Lex laid out the gross income of a smallish country and Clark was duly let off with a warning and an court order.

"I can't go within fifty feet of any wool-bearing mammal."

"Lets hope the llamas don't migrate."

They took a slow walk, the evening cool and pleasant. Lex had run out of ways to express the sentiment that crime is bad (Even his illustration using sock puppets failed to convince).

Not entirely reluctantly, he decided that the time had come to steer Clark to his Special Secret Basement, wherein there lurked a massive pointy green rock with Clark's name on it (also the wobbly carved words "eat this"- Lex had been drunk in charge of a hand-drill).

"Uh, Clark..."

"Lex, I'm really sorry to have caused you all this trouble. I just can't seem to help doing ..."


"...inadvisable things."

Clark gave Lex a warm, manly hug. That wasn't playing fair. Lex really wanted just to bury the alien in a pit of Kryptonite and quicklime and jump up and down on it. But he had this nagging sense of historical inevitability. Plus, of course, a major interspecies crush.

Somehow the walk ended up in Lex's bedroom.

"You know, Clark, if you really must commit a criminal act each day, there are one or two other things that are illegal in Kansas..."

It was a sacrifice. But then, Lex would do anything for his friends.

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