Clark stood silently his back to the old house behind him, his eyes on the barn that had for so many years been his `fortress of solitude`. He had been home for two days now, two of the worst days of his life, in fact they had pushed the worst day of his life out of sight. He had been at work when he got the call, Lois as always had thrown herself across the desk to answer the shared phone only to hand it to him with rolling eyes, if it wasn't a scoop, it wasn't worth notice. His mother's voice had greeted him on the other end, flustered and upset she had struggled to tell Clark what was wrong, it took Clark a good ten minutes just to calm her down.
Now here he stood, listening to his mother move around the kitchen, she hadn't stopped baking scents he arrived, his father was in the hospital, heart attack, and Clark blamed himself. He had been so self-centred to have even think about leaving the farm, but after the fall out, he had to get away, Smallville was just too much of a reminder. Now he was regretting every minute, what had he been thinking? In the last two days he had Pete, Lana, and Chloe come to see him, to make sure he was all right, and ask if there was anything they could do.
But none of it helped, their hollow comments only made him realise how wrong it had been to leave, to make his father care the farm without him. Clark sighed and dropped his head as he heard the phone ring, another well wisher for his mom, telling her they were there for her, but no one was coming out. He heard her answer it and went back to his thoughts, looking over the farm and noting what needed doing, the last two days had been too hectic to even think of working, now he could see the fence starting to wear, the cattle that needed tending, and the barn that needed cleaning.
He ran his hand through his hair and started into the house when he heard his mothers voice, "Just one second, he's coming in right now," Clark looked up as Martha held the phone out to him and he gave her a curious look, this was the first person to actually call him and he wondered if it was Lois looking for a good scoop. He took the phone as his mother shrugged and moved to take the laundry out to hang, and Clark waited till she was out of earshot to speak.
"Clark?" The voice made Clark almost drop the phone, it couldn't be, that voice hadn't spoken directly to him in well over three years.
"Yes," it couldn't be, surly it was a mistake.
"I just heard Clark, I'm so sorry."
"Lex?" Is that really you?"
"Yeah, it's me," a deathly silent fell, discomfort falling between them. "Look Clark, I would like to come visit you for awhile," Clark couldn't speak, "you know get away and out of this city."
"Lex," Clark didn't know what to say and silent fell once more
"Maybe I shouldn't have called, but," a pause fell across the line, "look Clark, someone had to be the first to break," he fell silent once more and Clark nodded, he was right.
"What were you planning?"
"Jesus Clark, I don't know, we can go sit on your back porch, relax, talk about anything, it doesn't matter," Lex sighed softly, strain sounding in his voice.
"I'll be courageous if you can pretend that you've forgiven me," Clark answered softly and heard Lex's sudden intake of air.
"Do I need to forgive you Clark? Because I don't know you anymore, I don't even know myself," Clark heard him shift, cloth against expensive leather, "I don't recognize this place, the picture frames have changed for Christ's sake. Everything around me is changing, and I'm not sure it's for the better, even you have changed."
Clark was silent for a moment, "I have?" He asked softly, his voice a gentle drone.
"Your attitude has changed, your personality, and so has your name. We don't talk much anymore we don't talk at all," he added quickly as Clark puzzled over Lex's words.
"That's because we keep running from the pain, we didn't part on exactly good terms Lex. I'm sorry," he said softly and he heard Lex shift again.
"I don't think you need to be," his voice answered and Clark felt like he could almost reach out and touch him, that face, those hands and he closed his eyes to get rid of the image, "Gods what I wouldn't give to see your face again. How are you?"
"How am I? Lost I guess, you know how it is springtime in the city," he sighed again, his voice sounded tired like he hadn't slept in days, "always such relief from the winters freeze, the snows more lonely then cold, if you know what I mean."
"I do," Clark nodded and looked out at his mother and the peace and quiet around him, "Everyone's got an agenda, they don't see the rest of the world around them, the pain and unhappiness," Clark swallowed against the forming lump in his throat.
"Don't stop Clark," Lex's voice quickly called out to him, supportive and caring.
"I hated it there Lex, I still do, I can save the world a thousand times but no one would ever notice," he didn't notice the slip, he was too tired and too upset to care.
"Keep that chin up, Clark, you'll be all right, and so will your father, I will have the best doctors there to look after him," he heard Clarks soft laugh, "you don't believe me?"
"No, I do, its just, its so you Lex, and for some reason I never noticed before."
"I know," another lengthy pause and Lex cleared his throat softly, "Can you believe what a year it's been?" Lex chuckled then became sober once more, "Are you still the same? Are you still the person I knew? Have you changed? More importantly, has your opinion changed?"
"I don't know Lex, I don't know anything anymore, and I don't know how to answer you, because I don't know you anymore, and you know what? I don't recognise this place; even the picture frames have changed."
"And so has your name," Lex repeated softly, "We don't talk much anymore, we keep running from these sentences, its like were afraid of what might come. Afraid of one another."
"Of Lex, but what I wouldn't give to see your face again, not the face you show the public, but the real you, the man I grew up with, the man that...," he trailed off unsure of how to word it.
"Its alright Clark, I know, I know I let you down, again, and again, " he paused, "I never really treated you right, there were too many secrets, on both our parts, and a relationship built on lies can't last, and I've paid the price for my deceit, I'm still paying for it everyday." He stopped again and Clark was absolutely silent, finely Lex spoke again, this time his voice was full of uncertainty and anger, "So maybe I shouldn't have called."
"No Lex," Clark spoke quickly, "Your right, there were too many lies, and that made it difficult for a real friendship, or anything else. Lex," he stopped again. "Your right, I do have another name," he listened to the silent, "was it too soon to tell? Oh what the hell it doesn`t really matter, Lex I am Superman."
"I know Clark, others may not, but I knew you, I knew you before the glasses and the suit, I knew you before the job, I knew you when you were just Clark Kent." He sounded like he was almost smiling, "Clark, how do you redefine something that never really had a name?"
"I'm not sure Lex."
"Clark, has your opinion changed?"
"Lex," he stopped, no more lies, "Lex I've loved you from that day, I just couldn't say it, I couldn't admit to myself that you were what I really wanted."
"God Clark," he whispered the words, "I always thought," he stopped again, "I really didn't think," another pause, "Can I come see you? Because I don't know you anymore, but I want to get to know you again," the sound of movement once more, "I don't recognize this place, the picture frames have changed, and so has your name, and we don't talk much anymore, we keep running from the pain, but god Clark, what I wouldn't give to see your face again." He looked across the living room at the paper on his table a picture of superman on the front page, "I see your face, Clark, I see your face."
Clark once more looked at Martha's back, "When can you get here?"