Title: "Stone by Stone" by mako
Category: Story, Slash, Angst
Disclaimer: These characters are owned by the WB network and their creators. No copyright infringment is intended.
Summary: Things are falling from the sky.
His dreams that night were the usual jumbled mass of unhappy images. From the terror of his childhood, to the recent sensation of flying unfettered by machines, to the building of the castle he lived in: a hodgepodge of ancient bricks, imported from Scotland, uprooted and refitted together on alien soil by the whim of his wealthy father.
Moldy, dusty, drafty walls whistled with wind all night long as if hissing in anger over the abduction from their homeland. It gave Lex Luthor nightmares sometimes, the furious walls crumbling and killing him where he slept, but he'd quashed those fears ruthlessly by daylight just as he'd done with all other fears since the day "it" happened.
The day the sky fell down on him and changed his life forever.
They were just stones too really, the flaming meteors that roared out of the clear blue sky and decimated the provincial little town where he still lived, in an almost perverse challenge to fate. Unlike the other residents, Lex didn't have to live in Smallville, he choose to live there, even if he, like almost everyone else who'd survived the horror of 1989 still flinched at any strange or sudden sound that emanated from above.
Twenty-three people were killed the day the meteors fell. Perhaps not a lot compared to some disasters, but the damage went much further than simple death. Their little world had changed forever and not for the better, as an entire town suddenly felt different, removed, somehow outcast from the rest of the world. A town that had thrived on conformity was now set apart forever and it was mainly for that reason he stayed on.
For in Smallville, Lex Luthor wasn't liked, but he was understood.
He had his place there, his role, and as distastefully dull as it often was, he could play it for the time being. It was oddly comforting in a way, being the rich son of the town pariah, reveling in his small-town mystery, in his still ambiguous morals. Was he his father's son: ready to lie, cheat and steal his way to greater wealth? Or was he a good man, scarred by tragedy and abuse, ready to change the world for the better?
Or was he something much, much more?
Still half-asleep, Lex Luthor smiled. Only time would tell but he knew in his heart that he was only waiting -- waiting for the next catalyst to roar down from the sky and hit him like the proverbial ton of bricks, but this time, oh this time, he'd be ready.
Ready to take it for all it was worth.
Even if it was no bigger than a bright green bauble dangling from a little girl's necklace.
The phut-phut-phut of a wood chipper was the only sound heard in the Kent's massive barnyard and Lex made his way toward it, sidestepping bales of hay and a broken bag of corn meal, where a hen pecked mindlessly. "Hello?" he called out. "Anyone here?"
"Lex!" The smile that greeted him was bright, white and All-American. Clark Kent carefully wiped his hands on his jeans before sticking one out. "It's good to see you."
The handshake that followed was surprisingly strong. "Likewise. I just came by to see how you were. You really gave me a scare out there, you know." Truthfully said, since Clark looked like death the last time Lex had seen him. Being tied half-naked to a pole in the middle of a freezing cornfield didn't do much for any man's complexion. "How's it going?"
"I'm fine." Clarks' hands jammed self-consciously into tight jeans' pockets and he looked at the ground as if embarrassed. "But thanks, really. I owe you big time."
"No more than I owe you." That was also the truth, after Clark had pulled what should have been Lex's corpse out of the river less than a week before. It wasn't Lex Luthor's first near-death experience, but it had been the better of the two, especially when he saw the face of the angel he'd been soaring over Smallville with during those minutes he'd hovered between life and oblivion.
Besides, if he was going to die, doing it in Clark Kent's arms was an excellent choice.
"In fact," said Lex meaningfully. "My debt to you can't be repaid ... ever."
Clark flushed deeply, his cheeks reddening hotly, and Lex silently marveled at him. He'd always felt himself a good judge of potential and this young man had more of it than anyone he'd ever met. Clark had few, if any, of a Smallvillian's typical bad traits: the pettiness, the greed, the limited intellectual capacity.
Not to mention he was as beautiful as the sun and didn't seem to know it.
Lex had appreciated that aspect of Clark's charm from the first minute of examination. A perfect face framed by hair so black and soft it made the silk of his bedsheets look positively coarse in comparison. A bit on the thin side, but again, the potential was certainly there, not to mention the bright, guileless eyes that looked at Lex with an incendiary combination of curiosity and trepidation.
Gorgeous, and Lex wondered how hard it would be to seduce him.
Quite difficult, probably. This one wasn't like the rest: money, power, status -- none of it seemed to appeal to Clark on any important level. He had a disturbingly absolute sense of propriety, an inner world of right and wrong ingrained in stark lines of black and white, leaving no room for the gray that Lex reveled in.
Maybe Papa was right to warn his son away from the Big, Bad Luthor but then again, good boys were no fun without the bad ones to tempt them along, were they? Lex leaned back against a hay bale, watching appreciatively as Kent bent over to retrieve another piece of wood.
"Tell me, Clark. What would you rather do this afternoon than chip wood?"
Clark straightened up, then laughed. "Just about anything, I guess."
"Would a visit to the Luthor compound interest you?" A stray piece of straw bit into Lex's uncalloused fingers. "We can have a bout of fencing if you'd like, or a few rounds of hoops."
Clark's face brightened momentarily, then faded into something darker - - sadder. "I'm not really, um, into sports," he muttered with a distinct hint of bitterness.
Lex blinked at the obvious lie, but let it go and smiled instead. "In that case, for your intellectual pleasure, there's always the Luthor Laboratory, fully equipped for all your scientific quires."
"You own a lab?" A hungry, desperate, look suddenly filled Clark's eyes. "What do you study at this lab?"
"Anything. Everything. Whatever you want," Lex shrugged, growing excited as Clark's expression closed off, obviously trying to hide something.
Our farm boy has a secret, Lex thought, a bright spark of possibility humming through him. Men with secrets were almost always profitable, in more ways than one. "I have a full staff of scientists there who can explain just about any mystery you throw at them. They can also turn corn into gas, but that's old news isn't it?"
"Yeah," Clark said distractedly. He shook himself and then bestowed a dazzling smile on Lex, one that made the other man wobbly. "I'd love to come by. Is now okay?"
"No time like the present." Lex took a deep breath, forcing his heart to be still. Can't fall for this one -- it wouldn't be wise, to say the least. He reached for the keys to his Porche and tossed them to Clark. "Why don't you drive?"
Clark beamed as if Lex had handed him Christmas in July. "Wow ... thanks," he said, nearly running to the car. He ran a reverent hand over the car's hood. "Wow," he repeated, before taking his place behind the wheel.
Lex smiled as he ambled to the passenger side and climbed in. Nothing like simple men with their simple pleasures ...
And their not-so-simple secrets.
Nothing of interest was noted by Lex that afternoon except for Clark's halting questions about astronomy, installer bodies and the mechanics of space travel. Lex took him to the Luthor Observatory where Clark gaped at a telescope the size of his father's barn and took the set of keys Lex offered with an awed expression.
"I can come here ... anytime?" Clark asked in amazement.
"Anytime. Day or night -- though I would recommend night," Lex replied wryly. "Simplifies things." His tone softened. "I can show you the quasars on the edge of Andromeda, where the light bends just about in half. Or, there are some footprints on the moon." Lex leaned in conspiratorially toward the younger man and whispered: "If you look carefully you can see the words "Size Eight" in the middle of them."
Clark slid a suspicious glance at him. "Yeah, right." Perfect lips twisted derisively, and they both laughed.
Later, they shared lunch and Lex watched with amusement as Clark took his first tentative sip of wine, enjoying his surprised look of appreciation at its complex flavors. "Australian," Lex explained and he stared at a tiny crumb that lingered at the corner of Clark's lips, resisting the urge to nudge it off with his fingertips. Imagine, touching those lips ...
"It's good," Clark agreed, slightly tipsy after just one glass. "It's better than beer."
"The German in me would disagree, I think." Lex poured more wine. "What are you, by the way?"
Clark blanched. "What ... what am I? What do you mean?"
Lex studied him carefully. Now here was something interesting. "I mean, what are you? Your ancestors ... where did they come from?"
"From ... they came from ... I don't know," Clark stammered, the glass shaking in his hand.
Yes, definitely something was odd here, thought Lex excitedly. "You don't know? Surely they must have come from somewhere." He casually leaned back in his chair. "I mean, you just didn't fall from the sky, did you?"
The glass slipped from Clark's hand and shattered against the table. They both jumped up as red wine dripped onto priceless carpets. "Oh God," Clark said breathlessly. "I'm sorry."
"No, I'm sorry," Lex reached out and grasped Clark's trembling hand. The skin was cold, clammy. "It's all right, no harm done."
Clark shook his head, tears welling. "It's just ..." Deep breaths as he fought for control. "I was adopted, that's all."
Ah, one secret uncovered -- but was that the only one? "Forgive me," said Lex quietly, an unusual feeling guilt stealing over him. "That was inexcusable of me."
"I have to go home," said Clark suddenly, pulling his hand away. "Thank you for the hospitality," he said stiffly. "But I really have to go."
"Randy will drive you home." Lex buzzed for the house chauffeur. He hesitated. "Clark, please, I'm sorry for what I said, but I didn't know." He shrugged helplessly. "Proper social behavior wasn't a big part of the Luthor School of Life."
A tense moment passed between them, then relaxed. "You can come over my house then," said Clark with a weak grin. "Mom and Dad run a manners boot camp out of the basement."
"I'll sign up first thing tomorrow." Lex took a chance and reached for Clark's hand again. This time his skin was warm and he squeezed the fingers tightly before letting go. "Friends?"
Clark smiled his brilliant, perfect smile once more and desire flared hotly through Lex's body, shocking him to his core. How could anyone be that beautiful and still be innocent? Could he dare to even think of corrupting him?
Could he possibly resist?
"Friends," replied Clark firmly, as if convincing himself as well. "Always."
Lex Luthor just smiled in reply.
That night the dreams were different. Lex was flying again, soaring over Smallville, the cold wind exhilarating, the horizon stretching out past what seemed like eternity.
Laughing, crying, he turned the man, the superhuman creature, that was holding him aloft and covered his face with kisses filled with gratitude ... and desire.
They descended slowly toward the Earth, tumbling into its warm embrace. More kisses then, passionate ones, too many to count and Lex fought to see who it was he'd taken the flight of his life with, the one whom he'd devote whatever was left of his life to, forever. The moon cut through the clouds and he saw him then in the moonlight, perfect and beautiful.
It was Clark Kent ... and yet, it wasn't.
"The secret is here," whispered Clark, running a finger along Lex's neck, coming to rest at his throat, where the blood pounded hotly through his veins. "Straight from the sky itself."
Lex looked down at where he touched and saw it then. A stone -- flawless, cold and hard as diamonds.
A bright green bauble that once dangled from a little girl's necklace.
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