Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville, its characters, or anything associated.
Author's Note: I love end of the world fics where it's just Clark and Lex. This is my attempt at writing one.
PLEASE REVIEW. Honestly, it means so much to me, and I'd really appreciate it. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.
It was beautiful, as much the shining glorious utopia as it had always been. The sky was a placid shade of blue, and the sun gave off its rays in an aura of tranquil peace, the kind written in storybooks but rarely seen out of the written pages. A few spare birds littered the landscape, only the stubborn ones left behind in the last southern rush.
It was a magnificent scene; if someone managed to catch it on canvas, it would've fetched millions in auction, even if the artist was still breathing. It was too bad there weren't any left.
Lex Luthor watched from his balcony, hands curled loosely over the railing. He stared down at the empty streets, perfectly unmarred concrete that no longer risked fracture. His sharp eyes took in the impeccable automobiles lining the streets, reflecting the silver stories of the skyscrapers above them.
He had spent so much time crafting Metropolis into perfection, and it was all for naught. What was the purpose of a city modeled after heaven when there were no people to live in it?
Perhaps it should've been expected, or so he thinks, but Lex had had grander dreams and more important disasters to handle at the time. Spandex-covered, self-righteous problems to be exact. He hadn't noticed the almost negligible gradual clime in not only the city, but the world's death rate when it should've been decreasing due to his and other companies' advances in medicine.
But then again, he had been so deep into the forest that he could only see the bark of the trees.
Humans forgot, in all their self-centered splendor, that they weren't the only creatures roaming over the earth, and as such, they weren't the only beings evolving and changing. Previously stupid beasts grew in intelligence every year, and unknowingly to man and all his pompous bigotry, so did those microscopic organisms never given a second glance.
Not one who claimed genius, not even Lex Luthor himself, had noticed harmless bacteria changing into deadly, powerful things, sporting diseases that could wipe out human life within days. By the time anyone had noticed...well, medicine was a manmade creation, and manmade objects couldn't evolve, now could they? Man himself had to advance them, and how was that even possible when the only ones who could were dropping like proverbial flies?
No one had a response, not to the devastating phenomena newscasters had broadcasted was the likes of the Bubonic Plague. Lex had laughed when he'd seen those stories, as what had been occurring made the Europe's old troubles seem like an epidemic of the common cold. People were dropping dead by the minute, and not just that. In the weeks that had followed, Lex could look out the window, watch a woman die on his street corner, go take a drink, and return to find her body completely decomposed to dirt. 'Ashes to ashes,' he'd think, before throwing back the liquor and imaging the burn that had long since faded.
No one was spared; not common peasant, nor the middle class family, not even presidents and kings. No one was spared besides the richest corporate businessman, who had luckily managed to catch himself a nice prepackaged bottle of kryptonite radiation on a chance trip to Smallville. A man who never got sick, a man who barely even aged. A man who was now the last human on the planet. A man who was now alone.
Or he would be, if the only alien on the planet had not survived as well.
It had been darkly entertaining at first, watching a panicking Superman desperately race convulsing people to hospitals, only to have them rot in his arms. Lex had always had a fondness for black humor, but soon enough even that image had become tiresome. Those were his only glimpses of the superhero for a while, as Lex had placed his so called nefarious schemes on hold when the world began to fall ill. There was no point in world domination if there was no world to dominate. He had spent weeks holed up his lap instead, forcing himself to ignore when his colleagues collapsed around him, watching single-celled organisms writhe underneath his microscope while he shot it with every substance and combination he could think of.
None of his experiments had had any success. One mixture had paralyzed the bacteria for a short while, but upon awakening, it's potency only seemed to double and increase the destructive process. There really had been nothing he could seem to do, even if Lex hadn't been able to admit that even when his sixteenth microscope was reduced to a frustrated collection of glass and dented metal.
On the Last Day, which really had been the end of everything, Lex had come up with something. He'd never know if it would've worked, because he had been unable to find one living test subject, one person to possibly save. There might be the devil's irony in that somewhere, one more mystery he would never, ever solve. It picked at his brain in a loathsome way, but Lex had become accustomed to bury the itch under other more important thoughts.
The most common, if not most useful, being, 'What now?'
It had been one week since the last human had passed. The logic in Lex probed at him and told him that he couldn't really be sure, but inside, he was. It was a feeling, a thick choking feeling like an impossible weight on his lungs. He just knew.
He had not seen Superman yet, not since the last news station displayed him flying across the world with his incredible speed, doing everything he could but really doing nothing at all. Lex knew Superman knew he had survived, would survive. It may have been an emotional thought, but it was something he was sure of. They had always had a connection, let it be that of friendship or the recent animosity they had grown to share. Two beings, destined for godly things.
Two beings now left completely and utterly alone.
Lex expected him to come around sometime, the thought resurfacing in his mind as he stepped back inside, and he knew that he could wait.
He had no other option.
Lex had always hated being bored. It was one of the downsides of having one of the most capable minds the world had ever seen, which was not a prideful boast but only a simple truth. He could never stand being left idle, which may have been one of the reasons supposedly unsolvable questions had constantly piqued his interest. They were a challenge, an effort to uncover and comprehend. What more could an insatiable genius ask for?
For some time, the mystery of Clark Kent had been the greatest secret he had ever uncovered. It had taken years of investigation and planning, years of reshaping guarded minds and subtly directing wills where they would be most useful. Years, where most of his conquests took mere minutes or days. Yet still, in the end the fortress fell, and Lex had finally managed to stride over the drawbridge and into the highly filled treasury.
Maybe it was for that reason that Clark Kent was not the greatest question Lex Luthor found the answer for. There was another, much more personal and protected mystery, one that he had carried with him for almost a decade later than the aforementioned. In fact, Lex had never found a plausible answer for it at all. It joined the other rare anomalies in the once revered mind of Lex Luthor, lying in wait until the time where Lex could not silence its frustrated chorus.
But back to the matter at hand, Lex was undeniable, painfully, and dreadfully bored. He had read every book on his shelves at least twice and now knew volumes of Voltaire and Aristotle by heart. Each form of entertainment in his home, and in others, had been absorbed and tossed aside, and Lex felt like a leech that couldn't suck out enough of another's blood.
It did explain though, why Lex was walking down the unoccupied highway, hands resting lightly in the pockets of his coat. He had no particular destination in mind, but his legs were moving and Lex had confidence that no threat other than a primitive one waited for him on the sides of the pavement where the foliage still grew sparsely.
For so long, Lex had never been able to leave his penthouse without the security of at least four security guards; all directions covered. Though they came as a cost of his success and world renown, he had always preferred to handle situations on his own and as timely as possible, and his pleasant entourage often made that a strenuous task. There had been brief moments where Lex longed for the luxury of privacy he had not cherished fully in his youth. It was something he had taken for granted, and when it was traded up for a grander status and fancier title, Lex had mourned its loss.
Now Lex had privacy to spare. He could sell it and make a fortune if there was anyone left to sell it to. As he dutifully followed the fresh white lined that ran starkly down the two halves of black, Lex remembered that privacy had had its drawbacks to. Sure, he could step into a room without sixteen heads already turned in his direction, but it wasn't a perfect setup. Privacy had been a code name for loneliness, and loneliness was something Lex hadn't missed.
Of course, Lex could call himself lonely in his later years, too, but it was of a different kind. As he grew older, Lex came to understand being one brilliant man in a room of manipulated and manipulative drones and fools. He learned to comprehend how to partake in the embrace of a wife he did not love and feel nothing but a cold emptiness.
It was a vastly different feeling to be alone among people or alone among stone walls. Or evergreen trees, as it now stood. Honestly, Lex knew not which one he preferred, or loathed more.
Taking a glance at his watch, Lex noted that he had been walking for two hours. The figure surprised him faintly, as his feet and legs barely ached, and when he looked over his shoulder, Metropolis still stood proudly. The sun was beginning to slip peacefully below the horizon, and once there would've been enough bright and colorful lights for it to still feel like daytime. Today though, the world was beginning to fade to a silent black, and Lex knew that if he did not turn around there would not be enough light for him to find his way home.
Heaving an uncensured sigh for the first time in years, Lex turned around.
Standing at the railing of the balcony of the top floor of his one hundred and ten floor building, Lex scientifically concluded that it was a long way down, and if he threw himself over the edge, there was absolutely zero chance of his survival. That was, of course, without averaging in the possibility of a tight-wearing superhero dropping by just in time to save him, but since it had been about a month with no sign of said alien, Lex decided not to waste time contemplating that variable.
The sidewalk looked very far away from so high up. The lines in the street were tiny and blurred, and the street signs appeared to be little toothpicks waiting to skewer his body. He could picture the impact; his bones shattering within milliseconds, maybe his spine snapping in two depending on his position during impact. Overall, it could be very painful or not at all. Then again, there was also the off chance that his healing ability had gone far enough to cease injury from such situations. However, Lex had seen himself bleed three days ago when he accidentally sliced a cut on his finger while turning the page of Renault's Fire From Heaven. The infliction had healed in mere seconds, yes, but it did prove that wounds could still be sustained.
And how could a shapeless splatter on the street reform itself, even with his...gifts?
Lex did not know if he wanted to die. He was lonely, he was bored, and he could feel himself languishing away each hour that slipped by without an opportunity to somehow remedy his situation. Then again, suicide was not a thought he had entertained lightly, not a thought he had pondered over for quite some time in fact. One didn't have time to indulge in such ideas when he was conquering the world one day at a time, not as he watched the White House embrace him with the respect of the people others had told him he would never receive.
Yet here he was now, the wind whipping at his face with a strength that would become a discomfort as it turned his skin raw. His hands were curled along the railing tight enough to dye his knuckles white. Lex could see them in his peripheral vision but made no move to reign in the sign of stress, of anxiety. There was no one to pretend for.
At that moment, Lex believed he would give up everything to have a reason to relax his hands, to play a part that he had become so used to. So used to that now, now without it, Lex didn't really know what to do, or who he was. It was disconcerting.
Shifting his thoughts back to the matter at hand, Lex glanced upwards to the cloudy sky.
He had flown twice in his life; once when he thought he wad going to die and once when he felt himself being brought back.
The first time had been terrifying, just these slowed down seconds where he could see the frightened stalks of corn rolling beneath him while his lungs heaved for breath. He'd been terrified, sure that life was about to be torn from him, and he had tried to picture his mother's face because that had been the last thing he wanted to see.
The second time he flew, he had felt free. There was nothing holding him back, none of his problems or emotional baggage. It was just him, whatever that was, floating above the rural town of Smallville. It had looked like a land of opportunity, the fresh, fertile start that he had never had. He learned better later, but at that moment...well, Lex had been sure that he was going to accomplish great things. He still had, just not the light thoughts of the man who had flown.
Lex wondered if he would fly if he jumped. Would he feel the wind carry him up and away to wherever it was the dead had gone? Would he be gripped with an uncontrollable terror, unable to picture his mother's face? Or would there be the relief, the joy at experiencing something no mortal man had ever been able to experience?
Deep inside, Lex was terrified that he would not fly, that he would fall. Lex had fallen many times in his life, morally, physically, emotionally. But during each of those times, each trip and stumble, he had known, even if it was a knowing that was pushed to the darkest recess of his mind.
Falling when he thought he could fly was not something Lex wanted to experience.
So he stood and considered if it was worth the risk, the possibility of falling compared to the horror that now was his life. What was there worth staying for, worth the metaphorical agony? The only living being left on the planet was the elusive Superman who had not, as of yet, deemed him worthy of an appearance. Lex chuckled bitterly. Would he take the feud with him even now, when it was, quite literally, the two of them against the world? Then again, Lex wondered how he would react if Superm...Clark did decide to stop by. Would he welcome the company or dig out the kryptonite ring placed in the second drawer on the right side of his desk? For all his contemplation, Lex found that he wasn't exactly sure.
Before he registered it, his feet were stepping back from the railing, and the frigid metal slid away from the grip of his fingers. Perhaps he would wait, give the pigheaded superhero a little more time to make an appearance.
After all, Lex couldn't stand a mystery.
Lex was in his office when Clark finally came, walking through the doors with a powerful gait that betrayed none of his content. He himself was behind his desk, books piled around him in a deliberate castle, and when he had peered through the window he had created with four perfectly white angles, Lex had almost laughed at the scene. It seemed cruelly ironic. How many times had he watched the man striding towards him, who had been a boy then, step into his office in a way almost exactly the same? Shaking his head to clear it, Lex decided his brain must have rotted with lethargy if nostalgia was able to creep upon him so easily.
Clark was in costume, blaring blue and righteous red a blinding mix Lex hadn't seen in such a long time. He was almost sickened to discover that he had missed it, and there was a pool of anticipation in his stomach. Small part of him was hoping everything had been a scotch-induced dream. Superman was going to barrage him with accusations over his next power grab, and Lex was going to take his gun with the kryptonite bullets and land an impressive hit. Then again, he wasn't so far gone as to free the reigns of logic, and Lex knew such a desire was not true.
"Lex," Clark said, his tone bland of any emotion. Lex blinked at his own name, which he had not heard in what seemed like an eternity, a name he had not heard from that mouth even longer still.
"Not Luthor?" he couldn't help inquiring. "I'm surprised."
For once he inwardly cringed at the uncaring drawl of his voice, but he could not help it. It was like a reflex. Clark Kent appears and Lex Luthor morphs into the bastard he had become accustomed to. It was a reaction that he found he couldn't really control, and Lex feared that he would drive the other away. The loneliness had been intolerable before Clark had appeared, but now that Lex had actually seen another living face...Well, he could say that the street would gain much more appeal upon Clark's surefire exit.
"No," was the only reply, "just Lex."
The apparent calmness unnerved him, and Lex stood to walk around his desk, not enjoying the vulnerability he felt while seated.
"Are you planning on giving me a reason for your visit, or am I supposed to guess?" Lex questioned, leaning against the wood and mentally calculating how quickly he could grab the lead box in his drawer.
"You know why I'm here," Clark stated, arms loose at his side where Lex was used to time crossed over his chest. "We're...the last ones left."
For the first time Clark faltered, bravado fleeing to give Lex a fleeting glimpse of Clark Kent, the boy, still screaming inside. Lex barely stopped himself from replying, 'No, I'm the last one left. You're an alien who, for some reason, hasn't yet abandoned my planet.' It was just the insight Lex needed to understand Clark's arrival, even though he had been sure of its inevitability.
Clark couldn't be alone. He couldn't. He couldn't exist in the emptiness the way Lex had and did. First it had been his family, then his stalwart companions in Chloe and Pete. For a brusque while it had been Lex, and for an even shorter time, Lana. While his parents stayed with him, Clark moved on to the trustworthy Lois Lane, reporter extraordinaire.
Clark needed people, needed people around him. People to talk to, people to care for, people to protect. All his friends, his family; they were all gone.
So Clark was here.
"I suppose I do, Clark," Lex finally replied, and the one in question lifted his gaze off the floor at the mention of his name. That was all he said, and the two stayed in silence, staring at one another as the seconds ticked by, each seeming to try to find some answer in the time wasted.
Breaking the moment by stepping over to his liquor cabinet, Lex poured himself the drink he could feel he was going to need.
Taking a long sip, he turned around and asked, "Where've you been, Clark?"
"I was...in my fortress," Clark explained after a long pause. "I thought I could find some way to-"
"Bring a pile of dirt back to life?" Lex interrupted before he could stop himself, thus finding himself under a heated glare. Raising his glass, he motioned for Clark to continue.
"I thought maybe I could, I don't know, do something," Clark shrugged, looking out the grand window that made up the wall behind Lex's desk. "I've gone through everything, but..."
"There's nothing you can do," Lex finished when the flow of words halted. Clark nodded, unable to hide the shine in his eyes. After a minute, Lex heaved himself straight and dropped the glass next to the cabinet. Clark's eyes followed his journey to the doors, where he glanced over his shoulder at his guest.
"Come on, Clark. I'll show you to your room."
Clark looked startled for a moment, but he followed, his steps slow and cautious as if he expected Lex to spin around and attempt to strangle him. Lex mentally scoffed at the idea, knowing from experience that the action would be completely futile and only serve in making him look ridiculous.
Then again, how more ridiculous could he look, escorting his nemesis to a suite in his own home. Unfortunately or not, Lex knew it had to be done, whether it had an explanation or not.
Lex still hated Clark; that much he knew. It lay like a viper in his gut, curled and spitting acid and venom. He still bore the scars of Clark's betrayal, his own abandonment, to speak nothing of the wounds given from the world's beloved Superman. Such actions could not be forgiven at the drop of a hat, if ever, and Lex knew he was not a forgiving man.
A part of him knew that that was a storm long since coming. They both knew they could gain nothing by fighting now, and if nothing else, Lex disliked wastes of time and energy. But they would fight, sooner or later, when reality caught up with them, and they could break away from the spell that seemed to have wrapped around them in courtesy and trepidation. Years of enmity, of living with a loathing that continuously crawled under his skin; that could not be washed away by one tragedy, no matter the size.
On the other hand, there was a microscopic part of Lex that had never been able to hate Clark, that had mourned his loss, that had bled at each of their confrontations. It was that part who was in control now, and perhaps Clark's subdued response signaled that the same situation ailed him.
So Lex led Clark to a room that he didn't remember setting aside. He took in the bags under the man's eyes, the pallor of his skin that had nothing to do with a lack of sun, and he told him to rest.
Then, before he was forced to see the first tear slip out of Clark's eyes, Lex returned to his office and, ignoring the still half-full glass, grabbed the bottle.
"Why are you still wearing the suit, Clark?"
Green eyes slid towards Lex from the couch where Clark sat.
"What reason do I have not to?"
Drumming his fingers on the top of his desk, Lex thought of an answer to the cryptic reply.
"It was part of your disguise, to keep your 'secret identity,' correct?" Lex scoffed his response. "Who's there to hide from now?"
"It wasn't for me to hide-"
"I apologize. Let me clarify. Who's there to lie to now?"
Clark's glare was heated, and Lex almost expected his nose to burst into blame when he saw the embers of fire in previously blank eyes. The words sizzled in the air, weighty and bitter, but Lex refused to lower his gaze in submission, whether he'd lose a limb in the process.
At first, it seemed like Clark was going to argue, but then he let out a heavy sigh and let his tired eyes slip shut. Apparently, he was not yet ready for such a confrontation. The adrenaline that had begun bumping through Lex's veins began fading, and he was somewhat relieved. It was pitiful to want to say behind a white picket fence of courtesy for as long as possible, but Lex hoped to taste the forbidden fruit for as long as he could keep himself in Eden.
"I can't be Clark Kent right now."
Lex's head shot up from where he had transgressed into his thoughts, uttering a, "What?"
"I need to be strong right now, and I can't do that if I have to be Clark," Clark, or maybe he should be referring to him as Superman, or Kal-El. "He's lost everyone, and I-He couldn't take that."
Lex nodded slowly, thinking of Martha, her red hair streaked with gray; Lois, with her ever present ballpoint pen and the snap of her reporter's notebook opening to a fresh page. Unlike Lex, Clark had people to miss and mourn over, and knowing Clark's scope of responsibility, he was probably taking the weight of every death on his impressive shoulders.
"You're not two people, Clark," Lex said eventually. "Wearing tights doesn't give you a brand new identity. Wishful thinking isn't going to get you anywhere."
"Where is there to go, Lex?" the other replied sharply. Lex stared at him in silence for another few moments, wondering why he had missed conversations with Clark. Maybe they hadn't always been this difficult, or maybe his untrustworthy imagination had made the interactions more appealing.
"I'll have get back to you on that," Lex promised, clasping his hands on the top of the desk, ignoring the half-hidden pack of playing cards that had become his best companion. "But I sincerely doubt living in denial is going to help you."
"I'm not in denial!" Clark shouted, springing to his feet so quickly it was almost blurred. "There's no way to deny any of this! Everyone's dead, and I couldn't do anything! I let all those people die, and I couldn't even go with them! My mom, my friends-"
His throat closed off while his words came out choked, hands clenched at his sides like fists, needing an outlet for the pain welling inside his invincible body. In a remote corner of his mind, Lex wondered if, but really when, he was going to become than outlet.
"I let the world down," Clark continued, his words once again breaking off while he did nothing to quell the tears brimming in his eyes.
Lex watched, not yet ready to formulate a suitable response. He watched the man cry, wondering if the other couldn't see that he obviously wasn't being strong, whatever name he gave himself. Sure, Clark could lift tons more than any other man could imagine, and he had stopped more natural disasters than probably God himself, but Clark had always been strong physically. Emotionally he left much to be desired.
"It seems denial was the wrong word," Lex spoke while Clark wiped his eyes feverishly. "It would've been better to say delusional."
Clark opened his mouth to speak, but Lex overrode him with a gall he was sure frustrated Clark to no end.
"Once again, wearing a costume doesn't change who you are. If it did, you wouldn't be crying all over my office and probably ruining the furniture while you're at it. Call yourself whatever you wish, but you'll always be Clark Kent. You miss the people you've lost, and hiding beneath a cape isn't going to allow you to escape that loss. That's cowardly, Clark, and I was always under the impression that heroes are supposed to be brave."
Before Clark could reply, Lex stood and gestured to the window.
"Go home and get some clothes, and not those tasteless abominations you found decent enough to wear to work. I don't want to see you again unless it's in flannel."
He headed out of the room, suddenly feeling exhausted enough to sleep for a week uninterrupted. Dealing with Clark had always sapped him of energy, even during the best of times.
As he passed Clark's stupefied form, Lex was shocked that he had to resist the urge to lay his hand on the other's shoulder, a gesture of comfort he had given and personally indulged in what seemed to be lifetimes ago.
"Go on, Clark," he ordered instead. "The world doesn't need Superman anymore. If you can't be honest with me, have the courage to be honest with yourself."
Looking over his shoulder, Lex caught a glimpse of a rapidly disappearing figure flying into the distance, moving at such a speed that tree branches were shaking and swaying uncontrollably.
Rubbing his temples to quell the headache beginning to blossom, Lex wondered if he could stand a confrontation with someone he hadn't seen in years; the real Clark Jerome Kent.
Clark did not return. Lex told himself he wasn't keeping track, but with every hour that past, his eyes were drawn to the clock ticking ominously on the wall. He watched seven sunrises and sunsets, congratulating himself on his incredible patience before leaping into one car of his many and speeding down the road. He hadn't checked its model, probably a Lamborghini or Ferrari. Hopefully it wasn't a Porsche.
The city degenerated into the suburbia, his nose wrinkling at the perfectly matched yards and brightly painted houses. Soon enough, though the minutes sped by when the rest of the world faded to a colored blur, he received the outskirts of Smallville. Speeding through the streets, he ignored the ghosts standing on the streets, staring at him with empty eyes.
He drove past a silverly Pete on the roadside, a gaze full of hatred watching his progress and sending goosebumps all along his skin. A transparent Chloe awaited him at Smallville High, muted copies of the Torch piled in her pale hands. As he passed her, she tossed them into the air, and the pages fell apart and collapsed around her like snow. Lana sat on the curb by the Talon, the cracked sidewalk visible through her dark tresses of hair. Her betrayed eyes bore into his own, her mouth slowly forming words that he refused to decipher. Slamming his foot onto the gas, Lex sent a cloud of dust behind him at his departure.
When he approached the bridge, Lex half-heartedly expected the ghost of Clark to be leaning over the edge, waiting to be hit by a speeding maniac. Only when he was halfway across that he let out a crazed laugh, something he would later deny came from his lips, when he recalled what he was doing in the town in the first place.
The Kent Farm came into view, as picturesque and salt of the earth as he had remembered. It was easy to pull his car to a stop and shift into park, but not so easy to convince himself to open the door and get out. Eventually, his legs did decide to become muscle again and he stepped onto the dirt path, feeling just as much an outsider as he always had, even under the pretense of friend.
The door opened at his touch, and Lex almost mentally chastised Clark for not having the intelligence to lock it. Of course, who was going to come knocking, obviously not any thieves or murderers? Well, besides the one at the door now, but Lex didn't group himself in that category.
Lex had thought that he would have to find Clark, use some effort to track him down. His best bet, he reasoned, was in the loft, which was where he knew Clark had always gone when things became too complicated or unbearable to handle. To his surprise, Lex found him seated at the kitchen table, facing two empty chairs on the other end. Glancing that way surreptitiously, Lex was grateful that he was spared the eternal scorn of Jonathan Kent, or worse, the pity of Martha.
It appeared Clark had taken his advice. He was dressed in the familiar plaid that had always suited him, always made him look like he was still an innocent teenager, just fighting his way through high school.
When Lex stepped inside, Clark's head turned towards him, the blankness of his stare a disturbing sight.
"They're not here," he whispered, as if Jonathan Kent had not passed years before the world did. "They're not here."
His glittering green eyes turned back to the table, which was covered in the kind of checkered table cloth one would see on black and white sitcoms.
"It's all just waiting for them," Clark explained, gesturing weakly with one of his large hands, "but they aren't coming back."
"No," Lex affirmed, his voice sounding sterile compared to Clark's. "They aren't."
Abruptly, Lex found himself against the wall, a powerful arm almost cutting off his air supply. He struggled to breathe, clawing at the restraint while staring into Clark's furious but desperate eyes.
"What did you do?" he demanded crazily, his gaze unfocused. "How do I fix it?"
"I...didn't," was all Lex managed to spit out before
"It's always because of you!" Clark was still accusing, his tone unstable and wracked by grief. "Everything that goes wrong; it's your fault. What'd you do this time, Lex? Did you plan to destroy the world or was that just an accident in the name of science?"
As he struggled weakly, Lex briefly wondered if he was going to die here. Lex Luthor, envied billionaire who had climbed as far as one man ever could, strangled to death in a kitchen in canvas. God, he could practically hear is father laughing.
His thoughts were interrupted when Clark began shaking him, causing his head to smack against the wall brutally.
"Tell me how to bring them back, Lex! Tell me how!"
"What makes you...think..." Lex gasped roughly, "I could...possibly...know?"
Clark's snarl turned even more animalistic at his reply, and Lex could see reason and logic slipping out of the man's brain.
"You're still here," Clark condemned, still holding him a few inches off the floor with an iron grip. "That's a hell of a coincidence."
"You can..." Lex grimaced, his own anger beginning to boil and replace the panic. "Thank yourself...for that."
At Clark's confused face, Lex's throat constricted around a dry laugh.
"Or should I...be offering...you...gratitude."
For a moment, Clark's grip tightened, and black spots began surfacing to block out Lex's vision. He couldn't breathe and the mania returned, his hands clawing at Clark's invulnerable arm and only resulting in cuts of his own that healed almost as quickly as they split. His legs kicked desperately, but it was to no avail.
As suddenly as Clark had grabbed him, Lex felt the grip leave his neck. He plummeted to the floor, gasping and coughing in an unimportant haze of pain. Opening his eyes, he waited for his sight to repair itself before glaring up at Clark, who was staring down at him with eyes impassive and without a speck of remorse.
"Look me in the eye, and tell me you had nothing to do with this," Clark ordered, a hint of desperation lacing his imperial tone. When Lex paused in his struggle to refill his lungs, he took it as a sign of guilt.
"Do it, Lex. For once in your life, tell the truth!"
If Lex had the energy, he could've had a great deal of fun with a statement like that. Instead, he focused his returning energy on finding a reply that would not result in him scrambling to keep himself alive. Shockingly enough, it was rather simple. Clark had given the answer to him.
"I had nothing to do with this."
Sincere blue eyes met disbelieving green, and Lex pulled himself to his feet, fury raging at both the physical treatment and now the question of his integrity.
"Goddamn it, Clark! I was in my lab collaborating with the best scientists at my disposal!"
Lex's words would have normally erupted in an intimidating volume, but his abused throat reduced them to low rasps.
"I worked for weeks straight trying to find a cure! I watched men who had been on my team collapse every hour because our efforts weren't good enough! I did everything I possibly could to save the people of this planet, even when you were off zipping to hospitals who couldn't do a damn thing about it!"
Clark's eyes widened with what might have been the old Kent family guilt, but Lex was not finished, and he was grateful that his stance was a little straighter. He could use whatever dignity he could salvage.
"And if you can't believe that," Lex chuckled painfully, the noise warped and rough, holding out his arms as if he was about to be crucified, "think of the soulless politician you're so sure I am. What could I gain with the entire world dead? What corrupt power could I steal, what innocents and fortunes could I murder and pilfer from the deserving, if my victims are dying on the sidewalk? Is that not enough for you, Clark?"
Clark said nothing at first, and Lex stood there trying to catch the breath he had just wasted on deaf ears. When Clark did speak, his words were tainted with sorrow.
"I wish I could believe you, Lex, but after so many lies-"
"Don't you dare preach to me about lies!" Lex growled, pointing an accusatory but shaking finger at Clark's chest.
"All these years, you've acted like you're a saint, and I the spawn Lucifer himself! You lied everyday, Clark, everyday. To my face! To everyone's face, to everyone you said you cared about!"
"Yes, Clark. I lied, too. But I never pretended to be someone, or something, I wasn't. You knew what you were getting, Clark, a Luthor. I didn't attempt to hide that from you, and the lies that you speak of all stemmed from your own dishonesty!"
"And then," Lex couldn't stop himself from laughing again, frozen and bitter and falling out of the air to crash along the ground.
"And then you take up this mantle of Earth's savior. You, an alien from a planet galaxies from our own! And what do you do? What else; you keep up the Kent tradition of deception and treachery. You deceive your coworkers, the people you call your friends. Every aspect of your life, Clark, was and is a lie. So, again, disabuse yourself of the notion that you have any right to lecture me about the subject!"
Clark's eyes glowed with hurt and bruised pride, but Lex had seen enough. Pushing past Clark, who mercifully allowed himself to be moved, he staggered towards the door and scrambled to find the keys in his pants pocket.
"Lex!" Clark called out unconvincingly from behind him, but Lex didn't even grace him with a falter.
He stomped his way to his car and jammed the keys into the ignition, mentally apologizing for his rough treatment as the engine roared in protest. He could see Clark's anguished face, a picture of conflicted torment, reflected in his window, but it had never felt so right to press the pedal as far down as it could possibly go. If Clark really wanted to stop him, Lex had no doubts that he could and would've already.
Lex raced out of Smallville, leaving behind a boy who had never grown out of his black and white world imagery, who had never attempted to understand a version of the world that didn't paint him as a suffering martyr. For once, Lex wasn't thinking about logic, his next move. He wasn't predicting what would come later and how to prepare for it.
All he wanted to do was get back to his penthouse and go to sleep with a specific green ring at his bedside.
Occasionally, Lex had difficulty managing his anger. The moments came rarely, but when they did, one could often tell by the remnants of crystal glasses lining the fireplace. Today however, smashing six of them hadn't been enough, and since Lex had no desire to travel to the store down the street to replenish his supply, Lex had been forced to come about to a different method of relief.
He had spent the day down in his lab, messing with serums and concoctions that had been floating around his mind half formed, whether they would have a use or not. By two o'clock he had developed a cure for three varying types of cancers. By six o'clock, he had created a medicine that could cure asthma, arthritis, and muscular dystrophy with one sip. At six thirty, Lex mixed them in one huge vat to create the most delicious energy drink that would've ever been known to man.
All in all, Lex could call it a vaguely satisfactory day. He'd dispersed his anger into test tubes and variants, not to mention the sea of glass that was no doubt scattered around his room since he had no staff. Lex was still furious, still frustrated and indignant, but at least he had cleared his mind enough to think without every other word being some type of profanity or sacrilege.
When he took the time to sit down into a comfortable armchair, a drink in hand and the glass finally being put to good use, Lex began the visit back to the day before. He couldn't settle on a distinct reason for his outburst.
Perhaps it had been the physical stress relating to a similar mental state of disarray. Maybe it had been a cumulation of saying nothing more to Clark for years than the answer to his mediocre journalism questions and death threats to his obnoxious alter-ego. It was possible the situation, being the last man on Earth, was simply catching up with him and his emotions needed some way to be freed since he would never allow them freedom willingly.
Or maybe it was just something that had to happen, words that needed to be said. Maybe Lex just needed a minute to be human, a minute to be hurt, just one minute before he went back to being the inscrutable Lex Luthor again.
Lex hadn't spoken to Clark, or anyone for that matter, in that way for an incredibly long time, not since his days back in Smallville. His words weren't calculated; they were wild and purely emotional, unable to be constrained. It had been quite a rush to experience that again.
It only helped that each of the words had been true. Lex had never hidden who he was, and even if he had tried, his name would have revealed it all to any willing to look. He'd been honest and benevolent as long as he could, until Clark's lies led him to forming his own half-truths and don't tells. When Clark found the room, Lex explained it all, unlike Clark who only threw out more falsehoods at any and all confrontation. Lex was not to blame.
Lex's hatred for Clark had been born that night. Previously, there had been frustration, agitation, and only cruel whispers of betrayal. Over all that, which Lex normally did not reflect on, there had been something akin to love. Clark had been only the third person Lex had ever loved, and even then it wasn't like the affection he cherished for his mother and Pamela. It was immensely different, a brand that he held for Clark alone.
For the first time in his life back then, Lex had allowed himself to hope for something besides surpassing his father and standing at the peak while the man tumbled down. Lex had given Clark his trust, some of his most dear secrets, tales of his mother and what she had meant to him; Lex had given all those things to Clark. Lex had seen Clark and thought he'd found someone who would never betray him, someone incapable of something as soiled and dirty as a lie.
Lex had hoped for more, and now the thought humiliated him. He watched the boy grow and saw their looks morph into something else, something that a part of him hadn't wanted to classify. He'd happily watched Clark's interest in Lana Lang ebb and flow, at times almost completely disappear. As said, Lex opened his heart then, something he had been taught never to do. There had still been traces of rebellion in him, for a rebellious nature is not so easily quelled.
But then the lies began, the fantastical accidents that simply could not happen by nature's laws. The way Clark began to avoid his eyes when he asked questions he knew Clark held the answer to. Clark's words became short and angry, his own curt to hide a layer of hurt.
It was a well known story now, the fall of the friendship of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. It was a worn fairy tale, a storybook that been handled so many times that the pages were fraying at the corners.
For a time there was nothing, just too many arguments and fights to think about in one sitting, too many vindictive marriages and people caught in the crossfire of a battle between two men.
Even years later, when he'd ventured high and Clark had settled for low, Lex was forced to see that face every day, either soaring through the air or crushing his ambitions. An alien; that had been a blow to discover. An unstable, dangerous alien sent to his planet to conquer it for a race that hadn't even managed to keep itself alive long enough to invade. He had feared that, feared and loathed what he couldn't understand or wouldn't be given the chance to comprehend. He despised the fact that Clark had hidden from him when once upon a time Lex would have given up his life to protect him.
Lex had tried to kill him, kill them both. He failed; they lived. They moved on to hate and keep on hating, to cause pain and receive pain, to dance around each other like two unstoppable gods.
And now they were here, the last of it, the end of it all.
And when he thought about it, maybe he had lost it because he had seen Clark in that kitchen, in clothes that had become too familiar in his eyes...and he had remembered how good it used to feel, how right. He had remembered all the things their friendship could and should've been; all the games of pool, all the cups of coffee. He remembered the feeling of Clark's arms holding him in a friendly embrace, of how secure he felt, how trusted, how grounded to the earth he sometimes debated leaving. At that moment, Lex remembered all those things, things he had forced him to hide, lock, and bury away because if he hadn't, he probably wouldn't have been able to survive.
Upon remembering those beautiful, terrible, overwhelming things, Lex found he couldn't hate Clark anymore. He could feel the betrayal, the pain of placing his trust in someone's hands and watching them smash and mangle it. He could feel the years of regret, the heavy cloak of sorrow. Above that, he could feel the pitiful burn of unrequited love, of could've beens and would've beens and should've beens, all the maudlin wonderings he thought he had left behind.
Now he was being forced to deal with those things, to leave behind a mantra he had forged in stone the day Clark turned his back and walked those steps to leave Lex in the dust.
Though he was loathe to admit it, Lex wasn't sure that he could.
There was a whoosh of air and an almost tentative "Lex?" that revealed the return of America's old Man of Steel. Lex spun around in his chair to see Clark, still dressed in his casual clothes, standing on the terrace with a confusing mix of awkwardness and bravado. Perhaps it was a mix of the two identities, or maybe Clark just wasn't sure if he was supposed to return triumphant or modest, to rub salt in Lex's wounds or offer to bandage them. Lex decided to attribute it to a mixture of the two.
"What do you want?"
The question was blunt and lacking any form of courteous decoration, which may have thrown Clark off guard by the narrowing of his eyes. Even at their worst, during his proudest moments of downright villainy, Lex had been nothing if not loquacious.
"I..." Clark trailed off, taking a moment to stride inside until he was next to Lex's desk. "We really screwed things up, didn't we?"
Turning his eyes back to his desk and ruffling up the papers containing his self matches of tic-tac-toe, Lex replied in a stiff tone, "I suppose we did."
"Can we," Clark's expression was one of apprehension, as if he was still sixteen, "fix them?"
"Why now?" Lex asked with slight exasperation and a wave of the hand. "After decades as enemies, why repair our nonexistent friendship now?"
"Maybe it just took the end of the world to put things in perspective," Clark grinned weakly but with a spark of hope, an even fainter ember of possible truth. 'Or maybe your fear of loneliness outweighs your hatred of me,' Lex thought and half wanted to say, but instead he swallowed the words.
"What makes you think we can nurture a friendship now when we failed before?" Lex pressed, watching a smile crumble slightly.
"We grew apart last time because of our lies," Clark said slowly, as if the statement was strenuous to speak. "There's nothing to lie about anymore."
"Are you sure of that?" Lex asked, knowing he was being somewhat petulant but thinking it well deserved.
"Look, Lex," Clark snapped, irritation clouding his tone. "You know I'm an alien. I know all the terrible and just plain wrong things you've done. There's no people out there for me to protect and then make up excuses about, and there aren't anymore people for you to make 'mysteriously disappear.' This is it. It's really all we have."
Clark made it sound so simple, but things had always been stripped to their basics in the eyes of Clark Kent. One was either good or evil, kind or cruel, honest or dishonest. There were never any shades of gray, never any places of explanation or understanding. Perhaps now was a circumstance where the trait could be of good use.
"So," Lex finally said, leaning back leisurely in his chair. "Do you have any propositions on how to save our shattered friendship?"
Clark's answering smile lit up the room.
"What did you want, Lex?"
"What did I want?"
"Back in Smallville, before..."
"Yeah, before everything."
"I'm still not understanding your question, Clark. I wanted many things back then."
"I know that, but I remember you doing a lot of things...that you didn't have to do. Good things."
"And you believe I must've had some ulterior motive for such acts?"
"Well, didn't you?"
"What did you want, Lex?"
Lex broke the stare he had been sharing with Clark, instead taking a sip from the bottle of water balanced in his hands. Sometimes the refreshing quality surprised him, as he'd become accustomed to drinks that dull the senses, not heighten them. Still, it was a small relief that he had less of a need for such spirits now.
"I wanted to be accepted. Smallville wasn't a place that I wanted to be, I can admit that, but since that...well, I looked at it as my second chance."
"Since the day on the bridge."
"So keep going."
"These aren't novel concepts, Clark. You've heard them all before."
"I know, but... I just want you to refresh my memory."
"Why is that, Clark? Forgetting already that there was a time-"
"Don't do that, Lex. Just tell me."
There was an overly embellished sigh, but besides that, there were no further interruptions.
"I wanted to prove myself, that I could and would do great things. I wanted to break away from my father, show that I was my own man with a destiny I was going to forge myself. I wanted..."
"I wanted to be a good person. I was going to show the world that there was more to the name Luthor than manipulation and wallets stuffed with cash. I was going to help people."
"You were a good person, Lex."
"So you say."
"You were, Lex. You were my best friend."
"Ah, and the key word there is were."
"We changed. Things...got in the way."
"It seems they did."
Clark looked up from where he had been staring at the ornate paneling on the walls, his green eyes bright and a little wary.
"Do you ever wish you could go back?"
Lex glanced up and met his eyes.
"Why did you think I was a menace?"
Turning his head to face Clark's curious but disapproving look, Lex allowed himself to roll his eyes.
"You're an alien, Clark."
Clark crossed his arms when he frowned in reply, his stance obstinate.
"So? That doesn't prove anything."
"You're an alien who was sent here to conquer the planet and bring Earth to its knees for another race."
"You knew that Krypton was gone, Lex."
"In some cases, one man can be greater than an army."
At the allusion to his abilities, Clark scowled, the uneven line marring his features.
"I was raised here, Lex. I have my parents, my friends. How could you think I would hurt them?"
"Promises are easily broken, and friendships aren't strong enough obstacles in the way of fate, Clark. I would know."
"Not everyone reacts to things the way Lex Luthor does."
"But some would. It was possible you would. Imagine the damage I could have done if I was the one who could flatten bullets with the palm of my hand."
"If you were the alien we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place."
"Maybe, or maybe everything would just be reversed."
"Like a parallel dimension?"
"Exactly. Actually, it's an interesting theory..."
"Lex, I think we've gotten off the original topic."
Lex sighed, picking back up the book he had lain closed when Clark had sparked the conversation. His eyes roamed along lines of text while he made his replies.
"It's a topic we've treaded over many times over. It's a well-worn road, Clark."
"Then why don't we ever settle anything?"
"What's there to settle? You were an alien sent here to destroy the human race-"
"And you were too paranoid to remember that I was raised by Martha Kent."
"No one can deny their heritage, Clark."
"You don't have to deny it, just overcome it."
"I'd have to say that's easier said than done."
"It just takes a strong man, Lex. It's not an easy thing to do."
"It's simple to have such ideas when you've never had to implicate them."
"You don't think I've ever had to stop myself from conquering Earth?"
"You said yourself-"
Clark stomped forward, the booming steps cutting off Lex's words. Moving from the window to in front of Lex's chair could've taken mere seconds, but Lex was so used to the speed by now that it would've lacked dramatic effect.
"Look, Lex. Yeah, it was a part of me, and it will always be a part of me. I was sent here to make this planet my new home and rule it better than humans ever could, yes. But the point is, that's not who I was, or am, and I wouldn't ever let myself hurt the ones I care about. It's not something I ever wanted to do, so I didn't do it. I'm Clark Kent, not Kal-El, and that was my choice."
"Just like it was my choice to see your abilities instead of ignoring them like every other hick in Smallville?"
"No, like it was your choice to follow your father's path."
Lex almost sneered at the sentence he had heard enough times to make his ears bleed, still amazed by how ignorant people could be.
"I made my own path. The two intertwined in some places, but it was distinctly my own."
"If you followed your own path, you wouldn't be so unhappy, Lex."
"Really? What makes you say that?"
"Because you would've waited, and I would've told you. We'd still be best friends, the world might not have ended, and..."
"And what, Clark?"
Clark's eyes turned completely solemn.
"We wouldn't have wasted our lives fighting a battle neither of us wanted. We would've been happy."
Lex looked up from his chessboard, fingers hovering above the rook when he turned his attention to his interruption.
"What is it?"
Clark looked almost sheepish, but he leaned against the doorframe to mar the image.
"You said once that you've only ever loved two people in your-"
Lex turned his attention back to his board.
"Things have changed since then. I've loved three people, Clark."
"Who's the third person then?"
Feeling the cool marble head of the piece, Lex tried to go over his strategy again but found it somewhat muddled.
"That's not something I'd like to discuss."
"Did I say not something I'd like? I meant not something I'm willing to discuss."
"Come on, Lex."
"Look, Clark. I've closed the book on it long ago. There's no reason digging up issues I'd rather stay buried."
"Love isn't like that, Lex. You can't just tell it to go away when it's inconvenient for you."
He almost let out an undignified snort at Clark's romance novel portrayal of something as fickle as love, but Lex knew all he'd be granted were more words of protest. Clark must've noticed because his brow was furrowed in what might've been deep thought.
"Trust me. I can, and I have."
"If you didn't love this person anymore, it wouldn't bother you to talk about it."
"And where did you come to that unfounded conclusion?"
"It's always harder to talk about someone you care about-"
"Yet easier to discuss someone you hate?"
"Or someone you don't have feelings for anymore, yeah."
"Clark, just drop the subject."
"No, this is important."
Moving the queen forward instead, Lex studied the playing field.
"I can't find any reason why this would be an imperative topic of discussion."
"How can we be friends again if we aren't honest with each other?"
Ah the guilt card, and old favorite of Clark's.
"I am being honest. I'm quite honestly telling you that it's not something I'm going to talk about."
"Since when have you had any trouble talking about anything?"
"Stop pushing, Clark."
"You're acting like such a kid, Lex. We're adults here."
"No, I'm an adult. You're an alien."
Clark's glare almost set the wood on fire.
"Don't bring that up again."
"Oh, so it's only okay for you to dredge up unwanted topics?"
"At the moment I have to say yes."
"Well, at the moment, my response is too bad."
"It's me isn't it?
Growling in frustration, Lex took a sip of the water he had just retrieved to quell his agitation.
Grunting from years of masking his strength, Clark lifted himself on the counter with a mix of uncertainty and smugness that sent Lex on edge.
"The third person. It's me."
Although his heart was beating a little faster than normal, Lex forced himself to scoff.
"You flatter yourself, Clark, really you do."
"No. You're just not as unreadable as you think you are."
"Clark, just because you presume-"
The cockiness from Clark's tone faded and was replaced with what Lex would've thought was a deep yearning, at least, if he wasn't in his right mind. Clark leaned forward, piercing him with his stare and setting Lex on a tense edge.
"Lex, please. I just need to know."
Slamming his bottle on the counter next to Clark, ignoring the drops that spilled on the polished surface, Lex threw up his now-freed hands.
"Fine, yes, Clark! It was you! Are you satisfied now?"
"Stop lying, Lex."
"What are you talking about? I just said-"
"No, you said was. Be honest, Lex."
"I am being honest-"
"Just because your inflated ego has you believing-"
"Alright. You are the third person. Happy?"
"I didn't expect you to be-"
Clark slipped off the counter until he was standing directly in front of Lex, looking down at him with an unreadable expression, which annoyed Lex since he would've had a doctorate in reading people if such a thing existed. He also hated when Clark used his height in an effort to get an advantage in the situation, never appreciating when someone tried to make him feel small.
"Lex, I've been in love with you since I've had to settle for best friends because you wouldn't say anything. I loved you even through all the lies, and that's why it hurt so much. I loved you when I was walking away from you, and I've loved you during every fight we've had since."
Lex swallowed to rid of the sudden dryness in his throat, wishing he had his drink back. Unfortunately, it was trapped behind Clark, and Lex quickly decided the trip wasn't worth the risk.
"And I know you love me, too. I can see it. And if you wanted me dead, I'm sure you had enough Kryptonite to finish the job.
"Very romantic, Clark."
"I've never been great at romance, Lex."
"I can't say I've had much luck in the area myself."
Clark grinned as he leaned down.
"That's just because you weren't with the right person."
The railing was thin underneath the soles of Lex's expensive shoes. The breeze was light and soft, not pushing him in either direction but simply lifting the stuffiness of a static atmosphere. One step forward would leave him plummeting towards the street, which was still in the perfect condition it had been in months before when he stood in the same spot. Albeit, then he had been on the solid footing of the balcony, but it was close enough.
Lex didn't look down. He stared out at Metropolis, at the city that had been his home for almost every year of his life, besides a precious few that he was only beginning to see as lucky again. The only sound were the calls of the birds late from their return to the south, the beating of their rushed wings to avoid being left behind.
The peace was broken by the sound of a door slamming open, hitting the side of the house and sending a few feathered bodies to the sky in a furious uproar.
"Lex?" Clark cried, slight terror lacing his words. Lex could feel Clark's eyes focused on the fabric of his shirt, but he didn't risk turning around. That step could be his last if he wasn't careful and precise.
"Yes, Clark?" he replied smoothly, his tone betraying nothing but a deep calm. Clark took a few steps forward, as if afraid he would startle the other into taking that fated leap. For a moment, Lex wondered why he bothered, as he was sure Clark could rush up and grab him with that speed of his. Perhaps he was afraid that the quickness of the touch would trip him, or something along those lines. Lex tucked it in the back of his mind to ponder over later.
"What are you doing?" Clark demanded, arms wide in question. He was probably hoping Lex would fill them, as he had a few hours ago. Waking up in Clark's embrace was a rather amazing thing, and if it would've have ruined everything, Lex would've reassured Clark that it wasn't something he was willing to give up so soon, especially when he had waited years to experience it.
"An experiment," Lex said simply instead, knowing Clark was glancing from him to the pavement, his mind whirling with slight panic.
'Time to prove my thesis.'
Lex took the step, and the next thing he knew, the air was rushing passed him with enough strength to sting. His eyes squeezed shut on reflex, and his teeth clenched as he pictured the pavement racing up to meet him.
Or else it would've, if those wonderful arms hadn't encircled his waist and jerked him to a stop. Opening his eyes again, Lex found himself buried against Clark's shoulder. Peeking over the side, he watched the building zip passed them, everything moving in a blur until they were on the balcony again.
Clark set them down carefully, as if he was handling fine porcelain or glass, but his hands stayed clamped to Lex's shoulders. He was shouting something about maniacs and whys and what the hell is wrong with you, but Lex couldn't answer yet, not when there was only one thought floating in his mind.
For the third time in his life, Lex flew.
It wasn't the terrified flight he had experienced as a child, but the peaceful yet shockingly beautiful soaring that had led him to the arms that held him now. The experience still shocked him with its perfect intensity.
And he was able to feel that all again, thanks to Clark.
Looking up at Clark's nervous yet pretty enraged face, Lex decided he might just ask Clark next time. It seemed like it would save them a great deal of trouble.
However, from the way Clark was kissing Lex due to his apparent fear at Lex's stunt...
He might just have to try the balcony again. Trials should always be done more than once.
That's just a basic rule of science.