Title: Mutant X
Summary: ClarkLex Fest challenge: We know from canon that the meteors 'cured' a lot of what ails Lex, but how else did they change his metabolism. (Marag)
"Are you all right?" Jonathan found himself asking for the second time that hour. Lex had been injured badly during their fall into this godforsaken cavern.
"I'll live," was the quiet reply, and in many ways it was that sort of response that worried Jonathan. Lex should have shown more concern, even anger but not this, a blank stare and monotone voice that gave little indication of the owner's true feelings. Jonathan gingerly got up, his hands fumbling for a hold among the hard rocks. As he looked up to the opening from where they had both fallen, a part of him wondered whether he should chance it and try to make his way up the steep walls.
Less than an hour had passed since they had dropped into the hole, a long forgotten mine shaft that had probably been used by Smallville's first settlers, if that old oil lamp and rope in the corner were any indication. Jonathan turned back toward Lex who was still staring blindly ahead of him. When they had first fallen he had tried to check Lex for injuries but the younger man had refused. Not wanting to be touched by him. Just as Jonathan turned his gaze up towards the circle of light from the opening above them, Lex gasped slightly, grimacing against the pain, and then becoming deadly silent, hardly moving from his sitting position.
Jonathan settled back to the ground opposite Lex. His own injuries were minor, a few scratches here and there, ripped jeans and flannel shirt. His fall into this cavern had been cushioned by Lex whom he had landed on top off.
"Lex." Jonathan called again, forcing the other man to look up at him, to focus his gaze on something other than a insignificant spot on the rock wall.
Seeing the weariness and the way Lex continued to clench his jaw, biting his lips to apparently keep from screaming, Jonathan let go of his resolve to give the other man space and he quickly found himself kneeling beside Lex, swatting away the hands that tried to stop him from checking the wielder's body and with a hard look at the younger man, the kind a father gives a disobedient child, forcing down most of Lex's protest.
"Mr. Kent, I don't think this is..." Lex tried unsuccessfully to move away from these prying hands, unable to stop the gasps of pain, when fingertips gently grazed along his ribcage on top of his silk shirt.
"Broken?" Jonathan asked, not really waiting for an answer as he took off his own flannel shirt, thankful of the white t-shirt he still wore underneath. Jonathan ripped the long-sleeved shirt, making bandages from it, and then he wrapped them around Lex's ribcage providing him with some temporary support.
Lex just rested his head back against the wall, his breath slightly shallow. "I..." he paused, as though gathering his strength, "will be all right. Just give me a second here...to focus."
Eyelids twitching, a vein along the temple pulsating somewhat frantically, and Jonathan found himself for the first time looking at Lex, really seeing him, noticing the scar on the upper lip, a cut he must have had as a child along the chin and the fact that Lex right now appeared so young.
"Come on, stay with me here."
Slightly amused blue eyes opened to gaze at him. "I'm not going to faint." Lips trembled slightly, seemingly holding back a smile.
"Don't tell me, 'Luthors don't faint'." Jonathan retorted back as he helped Lex adjust to a better sitting position.
"Yeah, something like that." Deep breaths taken, and then Lex relaxed again, going back to the Zen-like trance from earlier.
Jonathan sat back on the heels of his boots, hands coming to rest along his thighs. Aside from what seemed to be some internal injuries there wasn't a mark on Lex, in fact the small superficial wound he had noticed earlier on top of Lex's eyebrow was now gone. Closed. A slight pinkish tint, and some dried blood, the only true indicators where there had once been a gash.
"Is something the matter?" Lex asked, keeping his voice low to an almost murmuring tone.
"No," Jonathan shook his head. "Nothing really." He awkwardly got up and moved away from Lex, desperately trying to ignore the questions that were forming rapidly in his mind.
Since coming down to Smallville, according to his son, Lex had been injured several times. The kind of injuries that put one in a hospital. Injuries that required time to heal...
Another hour passed and still no rescue. Jonathan dusted the soil from his pants, still keeping a close eye on Lex's breathing, noticing how less laboured it seemed.
"You were here before." Jonathan stated, watching the way the younger man reclined against the rocks. Relaxed. Less stiff, as though his body was already forgetting that it had once been injured.
"Excuse me?" Questioning blue eyes gazed back at him, trying to focus.
"Smallville." Jonathan clarified.
"Yes, years ago." Lex shifted, touching his ribcage gingerly. "Don't remember much of it really. Why do you ask?"
Why indeed, except for this nagging thought at the back of his mind that something was not right. If Lex had been changed by those meteorites, if he was a danger to Clark...a mutant...a bomb just waiting to go off.
Jonathan did not want his son anywhere near him.
"Does your father know about your abilities? Does Clark?"
"What are you talking about, Mr. Kent? What abilities?" Inquiring eyes held his and for a moment Jonathan was about to let this go but lately, almost a weekly thing, it seemed he and his wife had found themselves patching up an injured Clark, throwing away clothes damaged during his son's battles with the mutants which infected their small town.
Coaches, teachers, students, people from all walks of life coming to hurt his boy. With this in mind, Jonathan found himself again by Lex's side, his hands coming up to grip Lex by the shoulders, trying to force the truth out of those lying Luthor lips.
"Mr. Kent? Damn it! Let me go!" They struggled briefly and then Jonathan's hand traced what were once cracked ribs, now healed. "Explain this." Jonathan growled at Lex.
"He doesn't know." Lex answered, eyes avoiding his.
"My father." Lex looked down at the hands that were holding his shoulders. "Clark."
Slightly embarrassed, Jonathan let him go. "You expect me to believe..."
"Believe what you want to believe."
"How did this happen?"
"I was in the cornfields when the meteorites came down and afterwards...God. I was in so many hospitals, for one thing or another..."
"And," Jonathan prompted after a time.
"Everyone thought I had outgrown my illness."
"You didn't." Jonathan confirmed.
"I still get sick, Mr. Kent. Injured even. Now, I just heal quicker." Lex told him. "That's all."
"And no one suspects?" Jonathan asked in disbelief.
"Before coming to Smallville the only injuries I had were the self-induced kind," Lex replied, eyes again closed, head resting on the rocks.
There was very little Jonathan was able to say after that comment. And after a while it seemed as if both occupants of the cavern agreed that maybe it was for the best to leave things unsaid. To leave them be ...
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