I learned early in life that wanting something and needing something had little in common with actually having something
In my life, I have wanted for nothing. Somewhere in my callous youth, I began to feel that as I had everything I wanted, perhaps that meant that I had everything I needed
Then, one day, I drove my car off a bridge.
On that day, I learned that everything I thought I knew, was wrong.
Clark Kent brought me back from the dead.
How can anyone who even pretends to know me be surprised that I became obsessed with him.
I may not be Lionel, but deny it as I will, I am very much his son; the need to know and understand everything runs thick in my veins.
For years, I lusted after him. Not for his body, not even for his soul. For him, that unique, whatever it is that makes Clark, Clark.
Then I did something that astonished even me.
I fell in love with him.
One day I looked up and I realized that I didn't give a damn what he was hiding. I simply, didn't, care.
Somewhere along the line, I had accepted Clark on his terms. If his secret was important enough that it had to remain a secret, then so be it.
So I did what any self respecting red blooded man would do when he realizes that he is deeply and forever in love with his best friend.
I married someone else.
Not one of my better moments I'll admit, but I can do denial as well as the next man.
There were other women after, for both of us. Every time I saw him with someone I died a little inside. Every time I was with someone, I was thinking of him, and I felt guilty and soiled.
Clark hurt me a lot those early days. His friendship meant the world to me.
His love meant even more.
His lies damned near killed me. He had quite the way with words. He used me, never for himself, always for others.
I ached, and I damned near went over to the dark side.
Something kept me hoping. Something kept me sane.
What that something was hit me one day - somewhere around my ninety-fifth birthday.
It would be another two hundred years before I finally stopped laughing over the sheer irony of the fact that what kept me human, was my love for an alien.
I figured out Clark's secret late one night exploring the Na-man Caves. The restoration and preservation was almost complete and I knew that I wouldn't have the same unlimited private access that I'd been enjoying.
It just hit me. It all fell in to place.
I hadn't been expecting that.
Well... well... COOL!!
The day I realised that my father was dangerously close to figuring it out was also the day I almost lost Clark forever.
Shortly after I watched Clark leap off the Daily Planet and not fall to his death, I confronted Jonathan. My father had described a ship, I'd seen the key... I demanded the truth, and I demanded that the ship be moved to LeXcorp for study and protection.
He took it amazingly well; he didn't even try to shoot me. He calmly asked me how long I'd been in love with his son, and was I planning to tell said-same anytime soon?
Dumbfounded is not a good look on me.
He clamped his hand on my shoulder and we walked out to the storm cellar together. I don't remember saying anything, but I guess I must have because he started answering questions I wasn't aware of asking. Including the big one.
"You can keep him safe."
I remember wondering if he wasn't confused, wasn't I the person who Jonathan kept insisting that Clark needed to be kept safe from?
It was years before I understood something Jonathan had known instinctively; that the person Clark most needs to be protected from, is Clark.
Somewhere in the middle of that conversation with Jonathan, I finally realised that I needed Clark more than I wanted him.
It was then that it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, having him wasn't outside the realm of possibilities.
So I set out to seduce him. It was pathetically easy, all I had to do was stop running; so I did. I just stood still, opened my arms and offered him my soul. That first time I kissed Clark, and finally grasped that he was kissing me back, I thought I just might die from happiness. No one had ever made me feel the way I felt in that moment.
No one ever could.
In retrospect it was a damned good thing I'd figured it out in advance or the first time I saw Clark sexually aroused I would have been; well, I'd like to say bemused, but the reality is closer to terrified.
Clark is most definitely not from around here.
That first time was rather traumatic for both of us as I tried to assimilate several things at once.
Clark is... impressive.
Clark's reactions are... different.
Amazing, awe-inspiring, mind numbing.... and very different. I was delighted and stunned. I felt like an awkward virgin.
And through it all there was a little part of me that was doing a happy dance because I knew that no matter what Clark had implied; no matter what I thought I had seen; this was Clark's first time.
I never said anything; about his virginity, or the differences. About six months later he told me the truth. He was delighted at how easily I accepted it all.
Anytime I feel guilty about my deception, I remember the look on his face the first time I woke up and caught him watching me sleep.
I can live with the guilt.
The first time I saw the outfit Martha had come up with for our wannabe superhero I nearly threw up.
I swallowed hard, and forced a laugh.
"Martha - that costume...."
"I know - but Clark has a point - who the heck is going to be afraid of him? And aside from the - colours - it does look like the outfits that his... parents, were wearing."
Pete and I both responded to the wistful tone and found our arms tangled together as we both reached for Martha at the same time. We exchanged sheepish grins, finally I think understanding each other, and then we simply held her for a moment.
"Martha, nothing you and Mr Kent own looks like that getup."
"Lex is right - now flannel..."
"That's not ...."
"You said it looked like something Clark's parents would wear. Mr Ross, you've known them longer than I have - they ever...?"
"QED - you can't use that as an excuse - Martha, I love you like I did my own mother, but that getup sucks meteorites."
Even Jonathan laughed at the look on his wife's face.
Years later, Pete told me he'd had the same reaction I did. It had nothing to do with the outfit, and everything to do with the man who would be wearing it. A man who was going to try to save the world.
Try, and fail.
When my father finally released his tenuous grip on reality and began hiring "henchmen" rather than "executives", I didn't sleep for weeks.
Clark doesn't cry.
Knowing the blood that all but obliterated the stylized "S" wasn't Clark's did nothing to alleviate my soul-deep terror that one day it would be.
I longed to take Clark into my arms - to soothe him, to help him to forget the sorrow and pain of those he couldn't help -
"For I in spirit saw thee move
Thro' circles of the bounding sky,
Week after week: the days go by:
Come quick, thou bringest all I love."
I remember opening my arms and just standing there - wishing - praying that tonight was the night that Clark would take what I offered.
"From belt to belt of crimson seas
On leagues of odour streaming far,
To where in yonder orient star
A hundred spirits whisper "Peace."
Clark watched me for a long moment, then stepped into my embrace. The smell of the blood... I shuddered.
"Maybe you should be quoting me Nietzsche instead of Tennyson."
"Talk with the wild Cassandra, for she says
A fire dances before her, and a sound
Rings ever in her ears of armed men.
What this may be I know not, but I know That, wheresoe'er I am by night and day, All earth and air seem only burning fire."
Clark hugged me tighter. "I know Lex, I know."
I'm honestly not sure who was comforting whom at that moment because Clark doesn't cry.
But Superman does.
I had my first and, thank the universe only, mid life crisis the morning I woke up and realised that I didn't know how old I was.
I grabbed the morning paper, read the date, did a few calculations and realised that I was about six weeks away from celebrating my one hundred and thirty second birthday.
I looked thirty. I felt thirty.
I bellowed for Clark, fifteen minutes later we were at the Fortress to see Jor-El.
"When will I die?"
"Your body will die with Kal-El's. Your soul? That is a question only you and my son can answer."
I looked into Clark's eyes.
My mid life crisis lasted a total of an hour.
How do you thank someone for simply being alive? Three hundred years of unconditional love, which I soak up like the emotional sponge I am, and the best I've ever been able to come up with is "I love you."
There has to be a better way.
I apologised for Desiree once. I took Clark's hand in mine, made sure I had his full attention, and told him that I must have been insane to imagine that Desiree could be the one, when he already was.
I thanked him for saving me. I meant from more than my homicidal ex.
He looked deeply into my eyes. Then he very slowly and carefully rolled up the newspaper he had been reading and hit me with it.
I have never felt more loved.
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