A Change in Habits

by mobiusklein

"I had to take him home," Martha said as she finished making a sandwich and started heating up some leftover soup. "He was lying unconscious on the side of the road. He was alone, Jonathan."

"I know you meant well but . . ."

"I've taken him to the loft. He'll sleep on the couch up there. He told me that he has some relatives in Metropolis and that he'll be leaving tomorrow. Nothing is going to happen."

Early the next morning, Clark went up to the loft and saw someone sleeping on his couch. He was pale and bald, wearing a red pullover top and black jeans. He noticed the scar on the older boy's lip and repressed the urge to touch it. He knew that he shouldn't stare but he couldn't quite help himself.

"Pam," murmured the sleeper.

Clark bent down out of curiosity to see a frown on his face. "Who's Pam?"

The sleeper opened his eyes and they were a bright, blazing blue. "How do you know that name?"

Clark stepped back in surprise. "Uh, you said that name in your sleep." He felt terribly embarrassed about waking him. There was something about him that made him feel flustered and confused.

"What's your name?" Lex said as he sat up and put his feet on the floor.

"My name is Clark Kent, and you?"

"My name is Alexander but call me Lex. Pamela's my mom. Is the red-headed lady your mom?"

"Yeah . . ."

"Your mom probably wouldn't want you up here."

Clark rolled his eyes and pouted. "I know how to take care of myself. What are you doing in my loft?"

"I was on my way to Metropolis when your mom picked me up and told me it would be OK for me to spend the night. Cool place you got up here."

"Uh, thanks." It made him happy that Lex said he thought the loft was cool . . . mostly because the word 'cool' had never been applied to anything of his before.

"Who's Lana?"

Clark looked surprised. "How do you know her name?"

"I'm sorry," said Lex. "I saw the name on the notebook on the desk."

"She's a girl at school. She rides horses, wears pink and she's pretty."

"Ah . . . but aren't you a little old to keep a notebook like that?"

"I'm ten."

"Ten? I thought you were thirteen."

"My parents say I'm big for my age. A lot of kids don't play with me because I'm so much bigger."

"That's too bad."

Clark sat down next to Lex and realized how differently Lex smelled from his dad and everybody else in town. He smelled like some country that was far, far away. "Where are you from?"

"I'm originally from Metropolis but I've been traveling for the past few years. I've been all over the country, even spent a few months in Mexico and Europe."

"Really? I've never been out of Smallville."

Lex paused then sighed. "I guess it can't hurt to tell you now. It'll be all over the news soon, anyway, now that I'm going home."

Clark frowned. "Are you sad?" He wanted to reach out and pat his hand.

"A little. I never wanted to come home."

"Then why are you coming back?"

"Because I wasn't supposed to have gone away. After my mother died, my nanny Pamela was told to leave by my father. But instead of leaving, she asked me to run away with her. She's raised me since I was a child and I didn't want her to leave so I did." Lex stood up and began pacing the room. "He was so furious . . . He had his people chase us for three years. He never gave up."

"He's your dad. He's supposed to look for you. Doesn't he love you?"

"I don't think so." Lex looked miserable and his eyes were wet with unshed tears. "I used to think so but not any more."

"Then why are you going back?'

"Because they finally caught up to us in Los Angeles and they've got her. I was at school and managed to get away. And I know that if I don't do something, they'll send her to jail or worse . . ."


"I just want to charge in there and rescue her but I'm not a superhero. What she did is technically called kidnapping. You don't know my dad like we do. Nobody does. But I'm not going to let them hurt her, not because of me."

"Lex, how about you stay here?"

"I can't, but it's nice of you to offer. Ever heard of Warrior Angel?"

Clark shook his head.

Lex smiled, went to his backpack next to the couch and pulled out a few comic books. "It's my favorite series. There's this hero named Warrior Angel and his nemesis is Devilicus." He handed them to Clark and sat back down next to him.

As Clark flipped through the comics, he noticed something. "He's bald, just like you."

"One of the reasons I like him."



"Are you ever going to come here again?"

"I really don't know, Clark. Probably not for a very long time."

"Could I visit you?"

"I doubt my father would allow it. Besides, it's better not to get mixed up with someone like me."

Clark found himself liking the sound of Lex's voice and the way he smiled when showed him the Warrior Angel comics. "Why don't you tell me more about Warrior Angel?"

Lex smiled again and was about to when a booming voice said, "There you are, Clark. Your mom looked all over the house for you." The owner of the voice came to the top of the steps.

"I'm sorry. I was talking to him about comic books and I guess he forgot to come down for breakfast. I'm Alexander," he said.

"I'm Jonathan Kent. I didn't catch your last name."

"It's Luthor."

Jonathan made a face and recoiled.

Lex sighed at his reaction. "Trust me, it's a name I haven't used in three years and I'm not happy about having to use it now."

"You were kidnapped . . . "

"Yes, three years ago and I'm going home. My father will probably give you a reward if you call him to pick me up."

"I don't want Lionel Luthor's money!"

"Daddy, stop yelling!"

"I'm not yelling . . . Look, just come down to breakfast. We'll discuss what to do after we eat."

After Jonathan dropped Lex off at the train station, things should've gone back to normal.

However, as the days went by, Clark had dreams about Warrior Angel, flying, Lex and traveling that all got jumbled together. They were dreams that made him feel lonely. They were dreams that made him feel confused and longing for something he couldn't name.

When he saw a picture of Lex standing next to his father, looking miserable while the headlines said, "Billionaire and Son Reunited," he kept that picture. He asked his dad what had happened to Pamela and was told that there had been a plea bargain where she had agreed to go to jail and keep away from Lex. No wonder he's miserable, thought Clark.

And months later, Martha noticed that the Lana notebook lay dusty and untouched in a corner when she had gone up to the loft to tidy up. However, the Lex notebook had taken its place. Curious, she opened it and saw that they weren't full of pretty pink girls on ponies but superheroes and adventures in foreign lands, rescues and all sorts of manner of things he had never written about before. Putting the book down, she couldn't say why a wave of incredible grief and sadness swept through her.

The End

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