Rating: The rating would probably be around K or K+ at best. And the only reason I think it would warren a K+ would be because of all the drama throughout.
Characters/Relationships: Clark Kent and Lex Luthor (15/21) and this fan fiction is based around their brotherly relationship, of course. Other than Kent and Luthor, Ryan James plays a very large role in the plot, and there are brief mentions of Lillian Luthor and Lionel Luthor in the story as well.
Genre: Drama, I would believe. I mean, it's kind of angsty, but there is also a lot of emotion and fluff throughout—so it's sorta not. I really don't know what to call it, so I'm just going to say Drama. :P
Warnings?: At it's worse, the only warning would be for spoilers for a plot line in the second season of Smallville. However, if you really don't care for spoilers or anything, then no worries! Other than that, I think it's completely safe.
World: Canon. (Meaning that it takes place within the actual world of Smallville, I did nothing to the story's continuity expect expanded on ideas that was already there.)
Word Count: I think it was around 3,591 when I was completely finished.
Notes: I have to say that, for me, this story was very interesting to write. First off, as I mentioned above, this happened on a whim! A total and utter whim! You see, last night I was re-watching the second season of Smallville with my mother, and we got up to the dreadfully depressing episode "Ryan". Well, after we were watching through that episode, I brought up one of my own personal head-canon's for that episode.

That, after Ryan's death, Clark went to Lex's mansion and totally broke down in regards to everything that had happened throughout the week with the boy. You see, with Clark, he has this sort of problem…he keeps stuff hidden away inside of him whenever he's depressed. And he just keeps it all locked away inside of him…until—it sort of comes bubbling out. And when it does, baby, it ain't pretty…at all. :P When Clark crumbles, he crumbles hard and it's just heartbreaking.

So, I always figured that that was what happened, and during the night…I opened up MS Word, and this was born. And I find that really strange, considering that I don't often write stories this way. Normally I let the ideas built in my head until I can write them all smoothly with every detail already planned out, but here? I didn't. I just went out on a whim and did whatever my head told me to do! And you know what? I'm really frickin' happy with how this turned out! O_O Seriously, I had no idea it would actually end up being this…decent!

So yeah, that's basically it! This is based around 2x08 – Ryan, and it's all very emotionally crazy and what not! And so, without any further hold ups and rants and what not, please enjoy the fan fiction!

(C): Clark Kent/Superman and all related characters belong to his creator, that awesome dude, you know who he is. The amazing TV series Smallville doesn't belong to me either. Seriously, I don't own him, Lex Luthor, or the series or ANY of the characters in this story! Nope! I have nothing! Nothing at all is mine other than this story! I'm not at ALL daring to claim ownership over Clark, Lex or anybody! They aren't mine, will never be mine, and you should know this. Seriously, I only own this little fan fiction based on the series! Don't sue me for anything, please!


The drive from the Smallville Medical Center to the Luthor mansion was painfully slow for the young farm boy. Clark Kent held his head against the palm of his hand as he parked his family's red '86 Dodge Ram near the side of the iron gate that connected to the path leading up to his friend's home, and sighed deeply, shutting his eyes. Perhaps in hindsight it would have been far easier for him to have merely ran there using his special abilities, but he knew that, if he had indeed chose that route, it wouldn't have allowed him enough time to gather his thoughts and shield away his feelings before he walked directly into Lex's library. And he knew that the last thing he wanted was to look like a complete and utter train wreck to his friend.

He opened his blue eyes after a moment of thinking things over, and leaned over in his seat to grab the small pile of Warrior Angel comic books that rested in passenger seat, and swallowed deeply before opening the door and stepping out onto the pavement. His voice was thick with emotion, and his breathing was noticeably uneven as he informed the Luthor family guard near the gate that he wanted to be let in to talk to Lex. As he was lead inside slowly, the thoughts within his mind were nothing more than a scrambled mess as he tried, so desperately, to suppress his emotions enough to talk to his friend without breaking down.

He had a job to do; he reminded himself, a very important job. Ryan James, his close friend, had wanted him to give back Lex's small collection of comic books – the ones that Lex had generously given to him, hoping to grant him some form of relaxation while he was in the hospital – before he passed on from an untreatable brain tumor.

And even though Clark tried to convince him not to speak that way, that it would be all right…that he would be out of there soon and Ryan could give them to Lex himself…Ryan refused to listen to Clark's naive words of comfort and made him promise him to do this task for him, as well as promise him to keep an eye on Lex – of which made Clark's eyebrows scrunch up in confusion – and despite it all, Clark agreed.

And who was Clark Kent to go behind the boy's back and deny him his dying wish?

As he reached out and placed a hand on Lex's library door, he bit down on his lip and quickly put on a fake smile before opening it and walking inside. When he saw Lex sitting behind his desk, busily typing away on his laptop and lost within his own thoughts, the numbness within Clark subsided momentarily. When his older friend suddenly sensed another presence in the room, he reached forward and closed the top of his computer and looked up at Clark and smiled.

"Clark," He said as he leaned back in his chair. "The guard said you were downstairs. What's going on?"

And suddenly that moment of temporary peace that Clark had found as he walked inside Lex's library faded away, and the reality of the situation came rushing back at him with such force, he felt as though the air had been knocked out of him.

He came to realize that, even though it had felt like it for a second or two, it was not just a normal day for neither of the young men. Clark would not walk in and start a simple discussion with Lex about his day, Lex would not offer him a drink and begin chuckling whenever Clark mentioned his friends, and neither of them would start a game of pool when Clark became far too shy to speak about his feelings in regards to lovely Miss Lang.

No, Clark had suffered a heavy and personal loss this day, and he knew that things were about to turn very complicated, very quickly.

"Clark?"

Lex's voice then reached Clark's ears and he dimly became aware of the fact that he had been standing in the same spot, without speaking a word, for almost two minutes. He shook his head and walked forward, holding out the stack of comic books that he had tucked underneath his arm.

"I…wanted to give these back to you." He mumbled, averting his eyes away from Lex's face and cursing himself underneath his breath when he heard his voice crack.

Lex's eyes narrowed slightly in concern at Clark's actions, but chose not to call him out on them. Not yet, at least. He knew that it was better for Clark's emotions – whatever they may have been – to come out slowly, and not be rushed because of Lex's own curiosity. Instead, he chose another subject to speak on.

"Are these from Ryan?" He asked as he noticed the cover of Issue 66 – the issue that dealt with the backstory of Warrior Angel and his nemesis, once best friend, Devilicus –on the top of the stack. He had been so wrapped up in a rather irritating business deal that he hadn't had a lot of time to be brought up to speed with the details of the boy's illness.

Clark nodded, still looking away, and placed them on the glass surface of Lex's desk. Lex, however, frowned and moved them back towards Clark with a shake of his head.

"Tell the kid to keep them, at least until he's well," He told him, and he had meant it as an act of kindness, but when he looked up and noticed Clark's face suddenly twist into a look of pure pain, his expression sobered.

"What is it?" He asked him with a raise of his eyebrows.

Clark quickly turned around so that Lex couldn't see his face and he placed a hand over his eyes. He tried to hide a whimper as he realized that…Lex didn't know. He wasn't aware that Ryan had died less than three hours ago, and now, Clark had to tell him. Had to explain to him what had happened, how he completely failed and couldn't save the boy he looked to as a younger brother.

Tears began to fill his eyes as his thoughts ran crisscross in his head once again. He couldn't do it; he couldn't speak of what happened. Oh God, Lex – don't make me do this… He thought to himself as he felt his mental walls on his emotions begin to break, but when he looked back over at Lex and noticed that his friend was staring at him with a focused glare, he knew that he had no other choice.

"Lex…" He said slowly, turning back around and trying to keep himself together with great difficulty.

"Yes, Clark?"

"Lex…" He repeated with a slight shiver of his shoulders, dancing carefully around the words he knew he had to say, and yet simply refused to utter aloud. Yet, after a moment, he sighed in defeat and his words finally came out in a quiet, broken and emotional voice.

"…R-R-Ryan's dead, Lex."

Lex's green eyes widened in surprise – more from Clark's voice than the actual news of the boy's passing – his hands slipping from where he had rested them on his desk, and falling into his lap. He knew very well that there was a good chance that Ryan would die from the tumor in his brain, and that Clark's own plan to try and find someone that would be able to cure him was a last desperate act from someone who couldn't accept the actual truth, but he didn't once think that the poor child would end up going this soon. And by the sheer look of heartbreak on Clark's face as he spoke the dreadful news, he knew that his friend was not taking his passing well.

"Clark, I'm sorry, I—" He began to say softly, trying to sound comforting to his younger friend, but when he couldn't think of a single word to bring any form of reassurance to Clark, he stopped short, sighing slightly and rising from his seat. He walked over to where Clark stood in the middle of the room, and simply put a hand on his shoulder with a look of genuine remorse.

"I know how much he meant to you."

And when the young Kent felt Lex's touch, and the soft words spoken to him, something inside of Clark completely shattered to pieces. Every single emotion he had felt as he sat beside Ryan, holding his hand in his own, as he took his final breaths, every memory he been reminded of when it was finally over and he was left alone, everything that he tried to hide deep within himself when he came to the mansion came surging out in the form of harsh, bitter tears that he had pent up for simply far too long.

As the sudden feelings quickly washed over him, he placed his hands over his face and collapsed to his knees on the hard wood floor, sobbing loudly. Lex, obviously taken aback by this sudden act of movement, looked down at Clark with a rather startled expression on his face. Over the year they had known one another, he couldn't recall ever seeing him react in such a way. And frankly, seeing this sort of sorrow from his friend worried him greatly.

He slowly lowered himself to his knees next to him, and placed his arms around Clark's shoulders, not speaking a single word as his young friend continued to cry. After a moment, Clark dropped his hands to the ground and turned his—now reddened—eyes onto Lex beside him and spoke in a shaking voice.

"I…I screwed up, Lex…" He croaked out, as tears continued to fall down his cheeks, "…He counted on me, and I screwed up…"

Lex only shook his head and tightened his grip on his shoulders.

"Clark, don't," He warned him gently, the whole situation suddenly seeming all too familiar to him. "You can't do this to yourself. You can't blame yourself for Ryan's death when it wasn't your fault."

"B-But…I," Clark whimpered weakly, trying to move himself away from Lex's touch but finding that, because of his new found emotional weakness, his strength had suddenly left him, making him feel frighteningly numb. Instead, he cast his gaze away from Lex's eyes, and back down to the floor before he tried to gather enough strength to speak again. "I…should have b-been able to…to save him …"

"Clark," Lex called out softly as he moved closer, and waited patiently until the young man turned his head back around, and when he finally did, he looked him in the eyes and spoke in a more firm voice. "Despite your best efforts, some of which I'm sure Ryan truly appreciates, there was really nothing that could have been done to prevent this from happening."

Clark stiffened slightly at his words, and suddenly felt the tears filling his eyes once more, knowing that it wouldn't be long until his emotions back took over and he broke down in front of Lex again. Lex frowned and quickly softened his voice down to a whisper.

"He knew that he was dying for a while," He tried to explain. "And in the end, all he really wanted was to spend his final days with his friend, and you gave him that. I don't think he truly expected you to be able to save him."

"But I should have been able to do more!" Clark suddenly yelled, jerking away from Lex's touch –perhaps a bit too quickly – and stumbling backwards, landing on the floor on his side with a muffled groan of annoyance. He lifted himself up into a sitting position and placed his head in his hand as fresh tears began to spill from his eyes.

"He thought of me as his hero, Lex," He said he ran his hand over his face, frantically trying to wipe them from his cheeks. "The one person that could protect him from anything that tried to hurt him…"

"Clark..." Lex spoke up remorsefully, reaching out a hand to place it on his shoulder, trying to give him as much comfort as he could, but he stilled his movement and simply allowed Clark to continue to speak.

"But I couldn't protect him from this. I couldn't keep him safe even though I should have – with everything I–" He quickly shook his head, realizing just how close he was to spilling things that he shouldn't. He looked up at Lex after he choked back his emotions, and Lex was able to see Clark's completely exhausted state clearly for the first time.

His eyes were red and bloodshot, his face was streaked and dirty from the tears he had and hadn't yet shed this evening, his lip was quivering and his shoulders shook as he took uneven breaths, and he looked like an utter shell of the friend Lex once knew. Lex tightened his frown and sighed to himself. When Clark opened his mouth and spoke once again, what he mumbled out caught the Luthor in surprise.

"Tell me, Lex," He said to him angrily, his eyes narrowing darkly. "What sort of hero could I possibly be considered if I can't even save my own little brother?"

And that was all that Lex could take. He couldn't just sit idly by and watch his friend suffer in the same manner that he had so many years ago, and not do something to comfort him in some way. He moved forward from where he was sitting across from Clark on the floor, and reached out his hands, grabbing the young man by the shoulders and quickly pulling him into a tight embrace.

Clark blinked in surprise, taken off guard, as he felt Lex wrap his arms around him, and hold him close. The tears flooded his eyes once more, and slipped down his cheeks into Lex's shoulder as he slowly reached his own hands around and held tightly onto the back of Lex's shirt.

"You can't save everyone, Clark," He said softly as he placed a hand on the back of Clark's hair, holding him to his chest as he listened sadly to the young man cry on his shoulder, and cling to him as though he was the only life line he had. "Not even you have the power to do that."

Lex's quiet words only caused Clark to break down even further; he tightened his grip on Lex's back and buried himself deeper in his shirt, his soft tears turning quickly to loud wailing as his whole body shook from grief. He called Lex's name softly between tearful gasps of breath, trying to apologize for all the commotion that he was making, but his friend only placed his hands on his back and rubbed it softly as he whispered to him.

"It's all right," He told him with the smallest of smiles on his lips. "Everything's gonna be all right. Just let it all out…you'll feel much better after you do."

"Lex…"

"Hush, Clark, it's okay. I'm here…I'm right here…and I'm not gonna leave you. You won't be alone, I promise."

Lex grimaced slightly when he heard the emotional tone that his voice had swiftly taken when he finished. Looking down at Clark in his arms, and seeing the distress coming off of the boy in waves of sheer anguish, he suddenly thought back to the time when he, himself, was only a bit younger than his friend and his mother, Lillian Luthor, had passed away.

He remembered quite easily how much it had ached inside during that time, but what he recalled most, more than dealing with the pain of losing one of the most important people in his life, was that during the aftermath of Lillian's death – when Lex's emotions were as battered as Clark's certainly were right now –he was all alone in his suffering.

His father, Lionel Luthor, had become even more distance towards his son after his wife's death, and in the end, had simply chosen to leave the thirteen year old alone for hours on end whenever he felt the heavy loss working its way back into his mind. Believing that, somehow, Lex could work through his emotions on his own, and that in the end, he would become a far stronger man because of it.

However, all that came out of his father's choice was resentment and anger, not strength. And now, with Clark going through the same exact pain, he knew that he wouldn't be like Lionel He would stay beside his best friend, and hold him close until his tears had finally ceased and Clark had enough strength to stand on his own again. It didn't matter to him how long this would take, for Lex knew that he would not abandon Clark in his time of need. That wasn't even an option.

As the minutes went on, most of which consisted of nothing more than the sounds of Clark's crying, and Lex's gentle shushing as he stroked the back of his head, Clark carefully pulled away from Lex, and wiped his face with the sleeve of his jacket, somehow managing to compose himself.

Lex watched him carefully, and when Clark turned his eyes onto his older friend and looked far stronger than he had seemed to be in days, Lex allowed himself a small smile.

"…T-Th-Thank you…" Clark whispered shakily as he began to rise to his feet and off of the floor. Lex followed his movements, and when both men were standing fully, he began to lead Clark to the couch beside the fireplace.

"You're welcome, Clark." Lex replied, still smiling, as Clark took a seat and fell backwards with a weary breath.

Lex turned around when Clark calmed himself enough to relax on the leather, and walked over to his drink counter and called out to his friend from over his shoulder.

"Would you like a drink?"

Clark grinned to himself at Lex's words as he watched him begin to pour a small glass of orange juice and reached out for a second glass. Clark snickered softly to himself at the irony. Well…'lest I was wrong about that… He thought to himself as he nodded his head.

"That sounds great, thanks." He mumbled as he slowly leaned to his right and laid his head upon the arm of the couch, closing his eyes momentarily as he waited for Lex, letting his remaining tired feelings wash over him.

Lex shook his head as he poured the second glass and went about placing the pitcher back where it once was.

"Clark, you don't have to continue to thank me, you know," He said as he picked up the glasses and walked back to where Clark was laying and sat down beside him, placing them both on the coffee table. "It's my pleasure to do all this. After all, that's what friends are for, right?"

When Clark didn't answer him back, he looked over at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Clark?" He softly called his name, and reached over to place a hand on the young man's arm. When he did, Lex became quickly aware of the fact that Clark had, in his own exhaustion, managed to drift off to sleep.

Lex shut his eyes as a smile spread out over his lips, obviously humored by the farm boy's antics. When he opened them and looked down at Clark's sleeping form, a tender look crossed his face and he rose from his spot on the couch, leaving the library. When he returned less than a moment later, he held a dark red Velour blanket in his hands.

He walked back over to Clark and very carefully covered him up with it. He smirked to himself when he noticed him snuggle up against the new found warmth and turn quickly over on his side to make himself more comfortable. When Clark settled back down, Lex bent down and pulled the covers over his friend's shoulders, quite content in seeing the peaceful expression that was now on his face, instead of the one that was wracked with such incredible pain that he had worn not a mere ten minutes ago.

Lex chuckled quietly to himself and ran a gentle hand over the top of Clark's head before he turned away from the couch and walked towards the double doors leading out of the library and into the rest of mansion. He reached over on the wall and clicked off the lights to the room, allowing Clark to sleep in the calming shade of darkness, the only light illuminating very dimly from the flickering fireplace.

As he opened the door, he stopped temporarily in his tracks and turned his head back towards Clark and smiled to himself. Of all the people that he could have come to and unload all his feelings in regards to Ryan's death on, Clark chose to come to him. Lex didn't know whether to be amused by the fact, or be honored by it. After a moment, he ended up settling for the latter, knowing that it meant Clark had trusted him enough with his personal feelings with such complicated things, and to Lex…that was quite an honor indeed.

"Sleep well, Clark." Lex whispered softly to the boy before he walked out of the room, quietly closing the door behind him.