I blame this on Hugh Grant. Or maybe it was the movie "About A Boy". I got the urge to do comedy after watching it hence this was born. Either way, it's his fault. Many thanks to BJ and Jean for beta.
Warnings: Not to be taken seriously. I mean it. I think I had a screw loose when I wrote this... and that screw has since gone missing since I'm actually posting this.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not making money, don't sue!
The One With The Fish
It was ten past mid-night and I was just finishing some paperwork when it struck me. In the last year, I've had two marriages, two annulments of said marriages, and two homicidal ex-wives.
Now, normally when people referred to their homicidal exes, they meant it in a figurative way. However as a Luthor, we don't do things the normal way.
Desiree Atkins, the first wife, set me on fire, literally.
The second missus, Dr. Helen Bryce, went through a bit more trouble than merely drenching me in brandy. She actually drugged me, set a plane on a collision course with the Pacific, before she parachuted out of there, leaving me with my intended watery grave. Even came back for a second round with a nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun three months later. Beat that Britney.
On second thought, it's definitely one of the signs of an impending apocalypse when I start comparing myself with a pop princess. Or maybe I've just been spending too much time with high school students who have bad taste in music.
My mind started to wander as I stared blankly at the computer screen. I'm only twenty-two, why on Earth am I in such a hurry to get hitched? Hell, a year ago I hadn't even contemplated being in a relationship that would last for more than two dates, much less getting married. Twice. In one year.
There must be something in the water... or blunt force trauma to the head has a cumulative effect, or a combination of both. In Smallville, anything's possible.
The blinking email icon on the computer caught my attention. It was one of those automatic emails ebay sent out. Someone had outbid me on the life-size, fully functional X-Wing replica by... a dollar. Cheap bastard. I added another hundred to my bid and watched in satisfaction, as I was once again, the highest bidder.
Threat eliminated, I went back to contemplate about my life. I realised it had somehow turned into a soap opera when I wasn't looking. Like Passions. Of which I've had the misfortune of catching while recovering from one of the above mentioned blunt force traumas. The minute I see a midget in town, I'm calling the pilot and heading back to the city, fear of heights be damned.
Thus, it's established that I have a thing for tall, gorgeous brunettes, and so far, all of them had tried to kill me. Clearly time for me to re-evaluate my life. Checking my email one last time, I shut the laptop down, gotten up, and poured myself a drink. To date, the only tall, gorgeous brunette that hadn't tried to kill me is my best friend, Clark Kent - the sole reason for my familiarity with Britney. There is just something universal about the teenage male psyche that I'm not prepared to go into at this juncture. Although, his father and his best friend had both tried shooting my head off.
Conclusion: Tall, gorgeous brunettes are bad for my health and I should stay away from them.
However, as a scientist, I also cannot ignore evidence of the contrary. The first time we met, even though I still don't really remember it, Clark's parents saved my life. Twelve years later, when I drove off the bridge Clark saved my life, and has continued to do so regularly since then. Much too regular for my liking, but true nonetheless.
Amended conclusion: Tall, gorgeous brunettes of the female gender are bad for my health and I should stay away from them.
Of course, also implied within that conclusion is that I should probably stay as close as possible to Clark, which is where the problems come in.
Problem 1: Clark's sixteen.
Problem 2: Clark's in high school.
Problem 3: Clark's parents hate my guts.
Problem 4: Clark's hiding something from me, i.e. he doesn't trust me.
Problem 5: There is a possibility that I might be falling in love with Clark.
Problem 6: We're in a small town right in the middle of the Bible belt.
Problem 7: It's highly probable that Clark's straight.
I knocked back the scotch I had in my hand. I'm Lex fucking Luthor, I can deal with problems; I eat problems for breakfast. Which leads us to -
Problem 8: I'm Lex fucking Luthor.
Before I can formulate a strategy to tackle said problems, a loud bang echoed from down the hall, followed by a high pitch scream from Madeline, the maid on duty tonight. Just as I set the crystal glass down on the table, on my way out to see what the hell's going on, the doors to my study burst open. Clark came running in, soaked. Cue thunder and lightning, courtesy of the guy upstairs, who must have thought it'd be fun to mess with my head tonight. I was half expecting the theme from Plan 9 From Outer Space to start playing on my stereo and Bela Lugosi appearing in the study, bony hands outstretched, going "Bevare! Bevare!"
"Did you see it?" Clark asked, looking around frantically.
That's helpful, Clark. "That thing?"
"Yeah, it's... it's huge! It's like this giant fish, with alligator feet or something, with this antenna that glows, and it's green."
Just to make sure I've got everything correct, "There's a green, giant fish with alligator feet and glowing antenna walking around my house." I repeated slowly.
"Yes. Have you seen it?"
I stand corrected. My life's not a soap opera, it's a B-rate horror movie. The scream, the thunder, the lightning; all of them should've clued me in. How silly of me.
"No. But I was just about to head down the hall when you came in. Madeline was screaming her head off a moment ago." Cue further screaming from the maid and off we went, running down the hall towards the kitchen. "Clark, what exactly do you mean when you say 'giant'?"
"Right. Giant. Huge." I skidded to a halt in front of the kitchen doors, which were lying on the floor, its hinges torn off. Dad would be furious; he had just gotten the new doors installed after they found traces of termites in the old one. Even had it flown in all the way from Scotland.
"It's almost as tall as me and maybe nine to ten foot long." Clark's measurements had come a little too late but from what I was seeing, it was fairly accurate.
Excellent. I've got a ten-foot long walking green mutant fish in my kitchen. Seeing as how Clark's leaning against the door frame, turning the same shade of green as the fish, he's not going to be much help getting rid of that thing.
I spotted Madeline huddled underneath a table from the side closer to Clark, merely inches away from that thing's tail. I motioned for her to get out of there and come towards us. The fish really wasn't paying that much attention to us. She started to crawl, but a wave of the tail sent her scampering back underneath the table and Clark had to move back to avoid getting hit in the face.
Rolling my eyes, I looked around for a suitable weapon, finding a craving knife lying not far away from my feet. I picked it up. The fish was still engrossed in... just what the fuck's so fascinating with my fridge? How did it managed to get it opened in the first place? And did it just eat that chocolate cake I was saving for tomorrow?
That was the last piece of cake from my favourite bakery in Metropolis, I was looking forward to having it after the meeting with my father tomorrow, how dare it decimate it. "For that, you're Sashimi." I muttered under my breath, mentally adding The Fish into my list of adversaries to be dealt with. But before I could do anything, it started to make this gurgling noise. Instinct tells me whatever that's going to happen, it's going to be bad. I took a few steps back from the door and put a wall between us.
"Clark, get back!" I hissed at him, gesturing for him to copy my moves and shield himself against the exploding fish that I knew was coming. He looked at me, clearly confused. I briefly wondered if this was why he had all these powers: to compensate for his lack of common sense so he wouldn't get himself killed. "Get back!" I repeated.
"We need to get Madeline out." He hissed back at me, still looking green.
True, but it could wait till either the gurgling stopped or after the thing ate itself to death. It suddenly occurred to me, did someone put meteor rocks into their goldfish tank to create this creature? If they did, they owe me a chocolate cake from Le Gateau.
The gurgling didn't stop, as a matter of fact, it got louder and louder until The Fish let out something that sounded like a huge fart, a big whoosh, then a splat.
Okay, so it didn't exploded, the smell itself was enough of an indication of what just happened. There was no way I was using this kitchen again. I'm going to call in a biohazard team, decontaminate it, and seal the place shut with stainless steel doors. The Fish was now on the top of my list. My father would not be amused if he was to learn that a giant green mutant fish had bumped him off the top spot.
Breathing through my mouth, I turned towards Clark, only to feel an inappropriate urge to laugh. His pants and shoes were all covered in green fish crap.
"I told you to stand back."
"How the hell should I know it was going to - "
"Shit all over the place?"
Clark seemed to be turning greener. "Are you ok?"
Right, and Lionel Luthor had just been declared Saint. Meteor mutant fish produces meteor-laced crap, which Clark is now covered in, and where there's meteor, Clark's sick. He thinks no one knows, but I do. "Clark, you're turning as green as that fish in my kitchen."
"I'm fine. We need to get Madeline out of there and kill that thing."
He can barely stand on his own two feet yet he's still playing hero.
Stubborn, pig-headed, noble idiot.
"Clark, Madeline is fine. Dirty, but fine. You, on the other hand, look like you're going to fall over any minute. You need to get away from this thing and get out of those pants." This was definitely not the situation I had in mind when I briefly entertained the thoughts of getting Clark out of his pants.
"Go. I'll deal with this." Stupid fish still has its head in my fridge.
"At least go over to the armour room and grab us some weapons." Clark finally nodded and headed off, stumbling and slipping as he went.
I'm going to have crap footprints all over the place. Wonderful.
The Fish has stopped gurgling at this point, I hence deduced it was safe for me to abandoned my shelter for the moment. That antenna Clark mentioned was on top of The Fish's head, like a modified fin, and it was starting to emit a green glow. The scientist in me couldn't help wondering if it was meteor induced or some sort of natural bioluminescence. Getting a closer look at the thing, I realised that it bore more than a passing resemblance to the deep-sea angler fish, ugly creature that can only be found 3,000 feet below sea level, but they were usually less than five inches long. So how the hell did this one grow to this size and end up in the middle of small-town Kansas raiding my fridge?
Madeline was still huddled under the table. From what I can see, she couldn't seem to decide whether to be scared out of her wits or disgusted, the poor girl was covered from head to toe in fish crap. I once again gestured for her to get out. This time, she obeyed, narrowly missing the fishtail when it wiggle almost happily at whatever it discovered in my fridge.
By the time Madeline made it to the door, she was neither scared nor disgusted. As a matter of fact, she was furious.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." She snarled. I had to stop myself from taking a step backwards. It's unseemly for one to be intimidated by one's maid. Although, in my defense, it's partly due to shock. Madeline always came across as the gentle type. "I'll be even better when that thing's sushi."
I'm giving her a raise.
I turned around to see Clark running back with two broadswords, one in each hand. He slides to a stop next to me and handed me one of the swords.
"May I?" Madeline indicated to the carving knife I now held in my right hand. I gave it to her. "Thanks," she said before turning back to face the kitchen. "Hey, pea brain!" She yelled at The Fish. Oddly enough, it seemed to have understood her and took offence at the insult. The Fish abandoned my fridge and made a 180-degree turn, wobbling on its tiny legs. It looked even more hideous from this angle, and in all honesty, scarier too, with long fang like teeth filling its mouth. "This is for messing up my kitchen and shitting all over me." Madeline growl at the fish and flung the carving knife at it like a Samurai out of some Hollywood movie.
The knife sailed through the air in a perfect arch, embedding itself in what would pass as a forehead of The Fish, and it let out an ear splitting screech.
She's getting a big raise.
"Would you mind if I..." She gestured to the sword in my left hand.
"Be my guest." I handed the weapon over.
"Lex!" Clark, eyes wide with shock, looked scandalised by my action.
"She's obviously more than capable of taking care of herself." I shrugged, more than contented to stand back and watch.
My statement was proven correct almost immediately. Grabbing the sword with both hands, Madeline charged the creature, thrusting the weapon into its gaping jaws until I could see the tip emerging from the top of its head.
I'm never letting her go.
The Fish let out another ear splitting screech, which cause Madeline to take a few steps backwards, before it began to sway from side to side. I was pretty amused with the scene, and then the eventual outcome of the scenario struck me.
"Get out of the way!" I yelled at both Clark and Madeline even as I made a mad dash towards my shelter. My back safe against the wall, I turned around just in time to see the puzzled glances the two of them sent me before a loud bang and squish signaled the fall of The Fish. I could see both pairs of eyes widen in horror when they saw the rain of greenish fish crap heading their way.
I would have been highly amused by the spectacle if not for the sight of Clark kneeling over in obvious pain. If it wasn't for the sword that was supporting him, there was no doubt he would be lying on the floor.
"Madeline, grab the kitchen hose," I ordered, rushing towards Clark, heedless of the mess. "I think he's having an allergic reaction. We need to get him clean fast."
The sound of pots falling and Madeline cursing had me looking up from Clark. "I can't get the hose! The damned fish is lying on top of it!"
"Shit." I grabbed Clark before he could fall over. "Help me get him to the bathroom." I yelled back at Madeline, trying to hoist Clark onto his feet. "Clark, you need to lose some weight." He only moaned in reply. "Madeline!" I yelled.
"I'm here, I'm here!" She grabbed Clark's left arm and together we managed to drag him to the nearest bathroom downstairs.
Lifting Clark into the bathtub, I grabbed the detachable shower hose and turned it on full blast, washing away as much of the meteor laced crap as possible.
"Should I call an ambulance," Madeline asked, standing behind me.
"No ambulance. I can handle this. You go get cleaned up, then call someone to take care of that mess in the kitchen."
She closed the bathroom door when she left, leaving me to deal with Clark by myself. Up close, I was able to see the effect of the meteor on Clark. The veins on his neck, arm and hands were standing out and pulsing in a sickening green colour.
"Clark, we need to get you out of your clothes." They were completely soaked with fish crap and God only knows how much meteor the fabric had absorbed. Clark struggled to sit up, only managing an inch or so before collapsing back into the tub.
Right, completely helpless. I reattached the shower hose, turning it to face Clark and then rummaged through the cabinets for something to cut his clothes off with. I hit jackpot when I found a pair of scissors in the first aid kit. Scrambling back to the bathtub, I wasted no time in getting rid of the shirt, throwing it as far away as I could in the bathroom. With the shirt gone, Clark looked better almost instantly.
"Clark, you need to get out of those pants and your shoes. They're pretty much ruined anyway."
Clark let out another moan, once again struggling to get up. "Help me up." He groaned. He's talking though, which was a vast improvement from earlier. I leaned into the tub and grabbed his hand, feeling the water soaking through my shirt. Slowly, Clark stood up, unsteady on his feet. He undid his jeans and managed to get it off halfway before it was caught on his shoes.
"Sit down." I directed and Clark obeyed. I bent over and tugged his shoes, socks and then his pants off, tossing them over my shoulders in the general vicinity of the ruined shirt.
With the contaminated clothing gone, it only took a few seconds for Clark to recover. He finally managed to stand up in the shower under his own power. It was then I realised I had a very wet Clark standing in my shower... in his underwear. My breath was caught at the back of my throat at the sight before me, while other parts of my body decided they were very interested in discovering more about the work of art in front of me. My mother had taught me that it was rude to stare; she had never met Clark Kent.
"Are you all right?" I finally managed to croak out after what seemed to be an embarrassingly long silence, dragging my eyes back to Clark's face.
"Good. You uh... wash up, and I'll go uh... clean up myself and grab you some clothes." I wasn't stammering. I did not stammer. Luthors never stammer.
"Um... ok. Thanks."
"Don't worry about it." I made a hasty retreat before I could embarrass myself further, fleeing to the sanctuary of my room.
I stripped off my wet and slightly contaminated shirt the moment I reached my private bathroom, dumping them into the trash. Despite being in charge of a crap processing plant, I wasn't about to wear anything that had come into contact with them. The pants were the next to go, and within seconds, I was in the shower, trying unsuccessfully not to yelp when the cold water hit me. As I felt myself calming down under the cold shower, I had to resist the urge to stay under the clean spray of water for the rest of the night, reminding myself that Clark was still waiting for me downstairs. Of course, that line of thought did nothing but to bring back the image of a wet, mostly naked Clark. Definitely wasn't helping.
In the end, it was only the self-control so many claimed I lacked, that made it possible for me to be dressed and on my way out of my bedroom in under ten minutes, with t-shirt and sweat pants in my arms.
"I hope this would fit you, I - " What I was going to say died at the back of my throat. Clark was already out of the shower and had one white towel wrapped around his waist while drying his hair with another. My brain was too dazed to come up with anything other than the clichd "debauched Angel" at the display before me.
Wet Clark, semi-naked Clark, Clark in a towel, Clark in flannel and jeans, apparently I like Clark in whatever package he comes in. Like with the gurgling fish, I have a feeling that I'm in trouble, only this time I'm not too sure what to do. It's disconcerting.
Mutely, I handed the clothes over to Clark.
"You're welcome." The reply was more of an automated response due to years of conditioning rather than any real higher brain functions. "I'll wait outside." I congratulated myself for managing to get that out. Waiting outside was a brilliant idea. My self-control would've snapped if I had to watch Clark change.
"Lex," damn, two more steps and I was out of the lion's den, so to speak. I turned around to face Clark once more. "Are you okay?"
"You look a little flushed."
And whose fault is that? "I'm fine really, it's the steam in here. I'll be in the study if you need me." I barely managed to stop myself from running out of the bathroom.
It was still raining outside when I got back to the study, though the thunder and lightning show had died down and someone had cleaned up the puddle of water on the floor from Clark's earlier dramatic entrance. I poured myself a double shot of scotch draining it in a gulp. The feel of alcohol burning its way down my throat was strangely calming.
I was pouring myself a second helping when Clark turned up in the study. The t-shirt was tight across his chest, the pants were a little too short, and he was bare footed. The overall effect should've been funny, but it didn't stop me from wanting to jump his bones. Maybe loaning him my old clothes wasn't such a good idea. A voice at the back of my head was telling me it was better than a naked Clark, or a Clark in towel, wandering around the place. Couldn't decide whether it was right or not.
"How are you feeling?" I asked. After what he went through, it was a reasonable question. Of course it wasn't the only thing I could come up with.
"Good." Damn it, focus Lex, we're about to tackle Problem 4, Clark and his trust issues. "I guess you're allergic to fish crap."
"Yeah, I guess." Clark was looking at his feet. He might as well have put up a blinking neon sign with alarms on it, announcing to the world he was lying.
"Clark," I will have to proceed with caution. "You were sick before The Fish lost bowel control."
"The Fish?" He looked up at me, looking half amused and half terrified. I'm not too sure how someone could manage both expressions at the same time, but Clark did. "Lex, I can hear the capital letters when you say it."
"Well, it certainly has earned it, don't you think?" I smile wryly.
"Yeah, I guess."
"And don't change the topic."
"Lex, I - " Feet shuffling, looking around the room as though it was his first visit.
"Clark, you know I'd do anything to protect my friends." I put the glass down on the table and walked towards him.
"I know." Still looking at his feet, Clark seemed... vulnerable, and for the first time in a long time, I felt the urge to hug someone. A comfort hug, with absolutely no ulterior motive.
Problem 5 (Amended): I'm in love with Clark Kent.
With that amendment came -
Problem 9: Jonathan Kent is going to introduce me to his shotgun.
Looking at Clark looking at his feet, I let out a sigh. "I won't push you Clark, but I want you to know that you can trust me."
"I know," he said, finally looking up.
"Lex - "
Whatever he was going to say was cut off by me. "Clark, your parents have been telling you not to trust the Luthors from the moment I set foot in this town. Your friends have been telling you I can't be trusted, and more than half the town's convinced I'm Lucifer reincarnated - "
"Actually, I think that's your dad."
" - so forgive me if I think the odds are kinda stacked against me. And I beg your pardon?"
"My dad," I parroted like an idiot.
The image of dad with horns growing out of his mane of hair, clad in a red leather suit with a pointed tail, surrounded by smoke, fire and brimstone popped into my head. I blinked at the mental image; the desire to giggle was overpowering.
Luthors don't giggle. They laugh, they chuckle, but they never giggle.
According to dad, I don't deserve to be a Luthor.
Clark looked surprise at my outburst. Frankly, I was too, but the giggle was turning into a full-blown laughing fit.
"Lex, are you all right?"
I was too busy trying to breathe to reassure Clark.
"Lex, come on, you're starting to scare me."
I could feel Clark's hands on me, I was literally doubled over. My sides hurt from the exertion and my vision's clouded from the tears in my eyes. Squeezing my eyes shut, I let gravity take hold of me; no longer having the energy to stay standing, only to feel myself wrapped in Clark's strong embrace as we sank to the floor.
"Calm down, Lex, breathe. Just breathe."
My lungs knew it was good advice and tried to follow, but my brain was not cooperating. Instead, it sent me another mental image: Devil Dad against The Fish, waving his pitchfork around like some psychotic farmer or ill fated fisherman.
"Lex, please." Clark sounded scared, but I couldn't help it. I felt his arms tighten around me, and I hung on to him. I opened my eyes, the laughter slowly died as I looked into concerned green eyes merely inches from my own. "You scared me." I can feel his breath on my face.
"I've never seen you like that before."
"It's a pretty rare occurrence. Generally only when I'm either stoned or drunk, or both."
"Are you now?"
"A little buzzed maybe, but not drunk."
"Good." Clark replied with one of his dazzling smiles. I was tempted to say something completely stupid at that point. Like 'you're beautiful', but I managed to control myself.
"Clark," I said instead.
"My ass is getting numb."
It was Clark's turn to burst out laughing. I couldn't help but smile at the sight.
"Lex," Clark started to get up from the floor, pulling me up with him. "You're something else."
"What did you expect?"
Clark shook his head, still smiling. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"What's wrong with me?"
"It's just, I have never seen you like that." Like what? I raise my eyebrows in question. "The way you were laughing, you're more... relaxed than I have ever seen you before, and...." Clark trailed off, sparking my curiosity.
"And I... uh...I like it." Clark was again looking at the floor, but I could see a slow blush rising on his face. "Lex," he looked up again before I could reply. "I do, you know. Trust you, I mean. It's just... I can't... I'm afraid that - "
"Clark," I stopped him before he could splutter on. "I want you to remember that I've been called a freak for most of my life." I wouldn't do that to you, and we could be freaks together. Those words were just a little too... banal for me to say them out loud, but from the look of things, Clark understood. "Besides," I shrugged. "My life's been turned into a Hollywood B-rate horror film, how much worse can it get?"
Clark groaned at the comment. "Lex, you just had to jinx it didn't you?"
"Yes. Never ask how much worse it could get, because it always gets worse." The power went out on cue, then three quick flashes of lightning briefly illuminated the room. It was followed by the loudest thunder I'd ever heard. "I told you!" Clark exclaimed.
"The back-up generator should come online soon." It didn't. "I think - " I was interrupted by a loud screech that was unmistakably familiar. "Clark," I asked slowly. "How many of those mutant fish did you say there were?"
"I only saw the one in your kitchen."
"Any chance that there might be more of them? Because I think I know what happened to the back-up generator." I'm beginning to consider the option of moving out of the mansion. This place attracts more mutants than garbage attracts flies. I still have the frozen lake in my backyard to prove it. "Where did it come from anyway?" I asked, slowly making my way towards my study table once my eyes got used to the darkness. There was a flashlight in one of the drawers.
"The lake I think. There was a party by the lake, when it started raining, everyone left. I was on my way home when it attacked Lana," Clark explained.
Miss Lana Lang, I should've known. Maybe it's not the mansion; maybe it's people with the initials "LL". Maybe I should seriously consider going by my full name instead of just Lex. Alex was too... ordinary. Xander was also a possibility, but I don't want to be mistaken for a Buffy fan, even if I seem to be living in a reality that bore more than a passing resemblance to the series. I have to say, the Sunnydale crew had it easy.
"Lex, what are you doing?"
"Looking for the flashlight." I felt the round tube in my hand and grabbed it, switching it on even as I shove the drawer closed. "Stay here, I'm going to see what the hell's going on out there."
"I'm coming with you." Clark followed me. I stopped at the doors of the study, turning to face Clark, flashlight pointing up between us.
"To do what? You can barely stand when you were near the first fish, what makes you think this one's any different?"
"You can't go out there alone!"
"Don't worry," I smirked. "I'm bringing Madeline along." Turning, I walked out of the study.
"What?! You can't bring her out there!" Clark was stomping along right beside me.
I stopped, turned and faced Clark once again. "Clark, you get sick when you're near that thing, you nearly died from fish crap exposure - "
" - what help could you possibly be out there? Besides, you don't even have shoes." I pointed out reasonably, aiming the flashlight at his bare feet.
"Lex, I grew up on a farm. A little mud won't kill me."
But meteor fragments might, I wanted to say, but refrained. "Fine." I replied instead, letting out a sigh as I walked down the hallway. Not even a Luthor could deter an alien farm boy with an over-developed hero complex.
"Lex," an arm across my chest stopped me from going any further. "Maybe you shouldn't be out there."
I shouldn't - "What?!"
"It's raining out there - "
"Believe me, I noticed."
" - it's going to be muddy and slippery, and you could get hurt."
"Clark, your concern is appreciated, but need I remind you that you were the one who almost died earlier."
Stubborn, pig-headed, noble idiot.
We were halfway across the main hall when Madeline came rushing towards us from the other end of the hall, a torch light in her hand.
"Mr. Luthor, did you hear that? I think there's another one of those... things outside." The way she said it was... feral, it almost made me pity the other fish. It was then I noticed the sword in her other hand.
Madeline's wasted in the kitchen. I'll have to talk to my head of security tomorrow to see about transferring her over to his team. With some training, she could be the perfect bodyguard. I sure as hell wouldn't suspect someone as petite and gentle looking as her to be capable of slaying a ten foot mutant fish.
"Wait a second, it wouldn't be its mate would it?" Clark asked.
I stop short of opening the door. Mate? Don't tell me there's a bunch of little mutant fish at the bottom of the lake waiting to be hatched, or worse, already swimming around, growing up. I'm not too sure what to make of the mental image I have of a school of giant mutant fish terrorizing downtown Smallville. Sometimes, having an overactive imagination can be a curse.
"I hope not." I replied, finally yanking the door open and was immediately greeted with a face full of rain. Blinking, I let my eyes adjust to the new environment and move towards the side of the mansion, with Clark and Madeline following.
Couldn't say I was surprised by the sight of a second giant mutant fish wobbling its way across my backyard. Maybe it's the lighting, or the lack of it, but this one looked even bigger than the one in my kitchen.
"Is it me or is this one bigger?"
"It's bigger," both Clark and Madeline replied in unison.
With the rain, lightning and thunder, it looked scarier too. Now that we're face to face - in a matter of speaking - with the creature, I was at a lost. We need a plan. Think Lex, think! I've always prided myself as a strategist, I'm sure I can come up with some sort of battle plan Sun-Zi would be proud of.
Can't charge it head on since it could probably swallow all three of us in a gulp. Attacking from the back is out of the question, too, since its tail is no doubt strong enough to whop our collective ass in a swipe. If I've had the foresight of bringing my gun with us, we could probably shoot it. Then again, shooting it might just annoy the damn thing. It's big, slow, and got eyes at the sides of its head. There are three of us who are significantly smaller, bipedal and definitely faster. A plan began to form in my mind.
"Madeline, do you think you can manage a repeat performance?"
"Oh, yeah." Might be the rain clouding my vision, but I could've sworn there was a vicious glint in her eyes when she said that.
Someone needs to drag Clark into the twenty-first century, or make him watch Buffy, but that could wait. We've got a mutant fish trespassing on my property.
"Clark and I are going to distract it," I said to Madeline. "And when you see a chance, you just... do what you did before." I gestured vaguely with my hand before turning to Clark. "You want to take the left or right?"
"Lex, you can't... this is too dangerous, you might get hurt!"
"You have a better idea?" I took his goldfish impersonation as a no. "I'll take the right, you go left."
We slowly made our way closer towards the fish, trying not to draw its attention.
"Lex," Clark hissed. "You do realise this is insane."
"Clark, I've got a ten-foot, glowing green fish wandering around in my backyard."
We stopped about three meters away from the fish. "We'll try to confuse it," I turned to my left to face Clark. "Distracting it from both sides. Throw stones at it or something, I don't want you passing out from getting too close." His hair was plastered on his forehead and I had to resists the urge to brush it back with my fingers. Damn it, Lex, focus! Now's not the time to daydream.
"Ok. On three then," Clark said, grabbing some stones and bricks around the flowerbed next to him, passing some of them over to me. "One, two - "
" - three!" If anyone asks, I will deny all knowledge of charging a giant mutant fish like some medieval peasants armed only with rocks.
I will also deny all knowledge of slipping, hitting my head on the ground, and passing out.
I think I might have moaned. God, this is embarrassing.
"Are you all right?"
When I opened my eyes, I realised we were once again in my study. I was lying on the couch, the power was back on, the rain was still pouring. Clark was kneeling beside me, completely soaked, again.
"Yeah." Other than the pounding headache, I'm just... peachy.
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Uh...since when did you have six fingers?"
He looked so concerned that I couldn't bring myself to continue the joke. "Just kidding. Three fingers. Other than a bit of a headache, I'm fine. I've suffered enough concussions to know the difference." I smiled, slowly sitting up. "What happened to the fish?"
"You might wanna call someone to clean up your garden tomorrow."
"She's fine." Clark looked a little confused. "I think she was having fun. Couldn't believe she actually killed that thing."
"Tell me all about it tomorrow. Right now, all I want are dry clothes and painkillers. Not necessarily in that order."
The room started to spin when I stood up, Clark managed to steady me.
"Easy there." I never thought anyone like Clark could possibly exists before I came to this God forsaken, mutant infested town. No wonder I'm in love with him.
Thunder rumbled in the distant, and it was then that it hit me like a 1.21-gigawatts bolt of lightning: I'm in love with Clark Kent.
"Lex? Are you ok?"
I think I might have stopped breathing for a moment.
"Yes. I'm fine. Just stood up a little too fast."
"I think we need to get you to bed," Clark said, his hands supporting most of my weight without effort. He was standing so close that I could feel his breath on my neck. So I kissed him.
And promptly blamed it on the sumo wrestler that was stomping around in my head, while brandishing a drill to my skull.
Clark was looking at me, eyes wide with shock. "Lex..."
I think I need to keep Madeline close for when Jonathan Kent shows up with the shotgun.
"Clark, I... I'm sorry." I lied. To the day I die, I will never regret having kissed Clark Kent. The surrounding circumstances, maybe, but not the act.
"You must've hit your head harder than I thought." Clark said. He sounded a little... tense. I don't blame him; the drill is getting louder in my head.
"Yeah, that must be it." Blame it on the non-existing concussion. It always works.
Slowly, I extricated myself from Clark's support. "I think I might need that painkiller first," I mumbled, making my way towards my room. I can feel Clark following me close behind.
It took more effort than it should to get to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. I swallowed two pills and changed into my bathrobe. From what I can see from the mirror, Clark was hovering around the bathroom door, trying not to look.
Under the circumstances, anyone else probably would've found an excuse to leave, but Clark was still here. On the other hand, Clark was the type who would stay to make sure I was all right even if it was uncomfortable for him.
I don't know what to make of his reaction. All this thinking is making the headache worse.
"Clark," I said, sitting down on my bed, watching him watch me. "About - "
"Get some rest, Lex," he interrupted.
"Lex, we'll talk about it tomorrow." It was the 'obey-me-or-else...' tone that I've heard Martha use once or twice.
Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, trying to come up with something that would hopefully make him forget about the whole incident of me kissing him; of a way that would preserve our friendship, but before I knew it, my head was on the pillow and I could feel Clark drawing the covers up around me.
A quiet murmured "sweet dreams" and the feel of soft lips on my forehead sent me off to sleep.
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