Lex Luthor is trapped between a disgruntled madman with a gun and a Metropolitan highway and as far as he can tell, there's really no escape; he stumbles backwards edging away from the gunman towards the traffic and for some reason this near-death situation makes him want to laugh of all things. Funnier still is that blur of blue smearing at his peripheral vision, because for a moment Lex actually believes that it's Superman, Superman come to rescue him as if he were some sort of innocent bystander, some sort of wide-eyed adoring Lois Lane, something other than the self-affirmed villain of the story. His days of being worthy of rescue ended when he walked out of Smallville, after all. If he were thinking logically, he'd know this, but he's about to die, listening to shouting voices and honking car horns and the faint click of a gun swallowed up in the sounds of the city.

And then, it is quiet.

And his first thought is that he's dead, except for then he knows he isn't, because Lex knows enough to know that you stop thinking when you've died and so this must be something else, a rush of motion and blueness and. Flying.

They land at the top of a skyscraper and all of a sudden Lex's standing alone and staring up at Superman, actual honest-to-god-Superman who's giving him this shocked concerned kind of look. "Are you all right?" asks Superman, and Lex just mutely nods. "Good," says Superman, who's still standing very close. Close enough to kiss him, Lex thinks, and then a split-second later Superman does.

This is the most surreal thing that's ever happened in his whole entire life. Given that this is Lex's life, that takes a lot; nothing that ever happened even in meteor-rock strewn cornfields could compare to this. It's over far too quickly; just as Lex starts to enjoy kissing Superman, the other man's pulling away.

Lex sighs, involuntarily almost. "What was that for?" he asks, because - unless he's fallen into that Warrior Angel dream again - superheroes simply don't pick you up and carry you off and kiss you on rooftops.

Superman's changed – all of a sudden he's not some blue-eyed larger than life god; all of a sudden he's blushing and smiling almost sheepishly. "It seemed to work the last time," he admits. And this is when Lex finally puts it all together – that Superman really is Clark Kent, that the similarities between the two aren't just a figment of his imagination conjuring up imaginary rescues from corruption and monotony and heartbreak.

"Oh," Lex says, remembering from somewhere far away the crunch of steel and bitter river water and the feel of Clark Kent's lips like something so much better than dying. The last time his life had gone so bitterly off-course, Clark was there to lift him up and turn him around, yeah. And for the first time since Lana Lang flounced out of his life, Lex smiles. "Thank you for saving my life," he says. "Again."

Superman laughs like the Kansas farm boy he used to be, once upon a time, and Lex finds himself laughing too. The sun is starting to set; light glints blindingly sharp off of the swirling globe of the Daily Planet. Behind that is the harbour; the blue of the lake meets the blue of the sky meets the blue of Superman's arm settling around Lex's shoulders. "You can almost see Smallville from here," he says, "If you squint."

Lex shifts in closer to Clark. "Do you miss it?" he asks.

His voice has gone all soft and serious now, so when he says "I missed you," Lex knows he means it. Anything he might have said would have sounded trite, and he does the only thing that makes sense: he tilts his head up and kisses Superman – no, he kisses Clark, and they're both poised here on the edge of a new beginning.