A/N: Okay, so the first story I came up with, the prequel to this (Protecting You), was the one that popped into my head and was gonna be entirely separate from this one, but then I started writing this one and they started to merge. The whole inspiration for this one was a story I read by ibelieveinloveeverlasting called The Easiest Thing, which has the same basic set up with the whole Lex-bashing-in-a-class-Clark-standing-up-for-him-Teacher-telling-him-to-prove-it thing. There was nothing wrong with that story (except the very unsatisfying ending) but this one begged to written. It'll be Clex, eventually, but it starts out as really close friends. Lex is OC, but that's because of his dad being dead (prequel) and Clark playing a bigger part in his life. He's a veritable good guy, but still has that Luthor Slither every once in a while, so he's a fabulous businessman. Anyway, here you go, enjoy, review if you like (I don't depend on it, I post just in case somebody wants something good to read). It's pretty AU, obviously.
Stuff of Legend
Clark Kent hurried into his class. They were discussing business ethics, and there was very possibly a pop quiz today, too. He found his seat in the middle of the room, four steps up, and pulled out his book. The rest of the class filed in at a sedate pace, followed by the professor, who immediately began passing around the pop quiz. Clark glanced at the single page, but it was only a single question repeated ten times with space for a lengthy answer after each. The questions confused him. It simply said "Reasons:". Assuming the teacher would explain, he looked up in wait. He wasn't disappointed.
"Now, as we all know, Lex Luthor is the leading business mogul in the entire world. I want you to give at least five reasons as to why this may be, and then give an explanation, if one is necessary. I'm going to give you the first reason, and it will tie into our discussion for today. The reason is as follows:" He said, the entire class taking up their pencils and poised to write. "Lex Luthor has a low business ethic and is not above exploitation, blackmail, and all manner of evil things. The explanation, if you feel you need one, is simply that Lex Luthor is a soul-sucking leech who will do anything to get what he wants." Clark balked at this, loudly, making the professor turn to him in surprise. "You have a problem with my assessment, Mister…" He checked his roster. "Kent?"
Clark swallowed nervously, but sat up straight despite it. "Well, yeah, I think you're being unfair. You just described Lionel Luthor, certainly, I can't argue that, but he's dead, and Lex Luthor is really a nice guy. He is more likely to resort to smooth negotiations than he is to do something 'evil'. He only does something like you accuse him of if he feels threatened, or if the person he's negotiating with is doing something that could hurt somebody else. He's a well-known humanitarian, and is currently financially backing several hundred labs around the world that are working on finding cures for things like Leukemia and famish," He said confidently.
The professor chuckled indulgently. "Don't believe everything you read or see on TV, Mister Kent, Lex Luthor is the embodiment of evil, the same as his father."
Clark reigned his anger in, but just barely. "You're wrong! I know Lex, he isn't like that. He's my best friend, and you have no right to accuse him of things with no proof!" He shouted.
The professor rolled his eyes. "There is always one," He muttered. Clark heard him only because of his super hearing. "Look, Kent, just because you dog his every step doesn't mean you know the real Lex Luthor, and it certainly doesn't mean he's your friend. What would a man like him want to do with a stupid farm hick like you? He's an, albeit evil, genius, and you're deluding yourself if you think you're anything but a starry-eyed admirer."
Clark stood violently. "We've been best friends for years!" He insisted angrily.
The professor smirked. "Oh, really, then why don't you call him up for us?" He asked smoothly, gesturing to the office phone. Clark hesitated visibly and the teacher chuckled darkly. "Either admit you're lying and that you're wrong, or call him. If you choose to do neither, you can leave this classroom now and not bother coming back."
Clark sighed, he really needed this class so he could take that journalism course next semester. He glared at the teacher, who looked like he'd just won the gold medal, and stepped purposefully out into the aisle. The professor looked triumphant, as though certain Clark was leaving the classroom, and turned back to the class. "There is one like Mister Kent in all of my classes. They worship the ground Lex Luthor walks on and then can't back up their claims of being close to the man. I've never had one who's fought as vehemently as Mister Kent, and they are generally girls who are more physically attracted to Mister Luthor than anything, but they never have a way to back up their claims. Now…" He trailed off as the sound of the phones speaker clicking on and loud dialing echoed in the room. Clark was dialing on the office phone. It rang twice before the line was picked up.
"This is Clara, how may I direct your call?" Came the sweet female voice.
"Hey, Clara, it's me," Clark said confidently.
"Clark?" She said, genuinely surprised. "I'm sorry, I didn't recognize the number or I'd have patched you through immediately." She admitted softly, sounding like she felt foolish.
"It's okay, Clara, this isn't my phone. If he's not too busy, could you patch me through to Lex?" Clark asked, blushing under the weight of everyone staring at him, most in shock, some in disbelief. He didn't dare look at his professor.
"Of course, just a moment," Clara said. There was a beep as the call was transferred.
There was a short ring, then a click of the line being picked up again, then the deep, rumbling baritone of the businessman in question. "Luthor," He said, all business.
"Hey, Lex," Clark said, suddenly nervous.
"Clark? Why didn't you call my cellphone?" He asked, his voice losing all sense of business.
"I wanted to make sure you weren't busy," Clark told him, fidgeting now under the stares in the room.
"I'm never too busy to talk to you, Clark, you know that. What's- wait, aren't you supposed to be in Business 101 with…" Lex paused in thought. "Mr. Erwin?" He finally supplied. There was an audible gulp from the teacher at being known, but Lex continued in a teasing tone, completely unaware. "Am I going to have to cancel that trip to Rome because you skipped too many classes and had to make them up over Spring Break?"
Clark chuckled, relaxing slightly. "C'mon, Lex, don't be a jerk," There was a collective gasp around the room. Nobody insulted Lex Luthor. "You know I've been looking forward to that trip," He said, grinning.
Lex laughed, the soft, honey-coated sound reverberating in the silent room. "Alright, so what's up? Need me to convince your dean to excuse your absences?"
"Hey, I haven't missed any classes this semester…yet. I'm in class right now, in fact," Clark pouted.
"Why are you calling me in class?" Lex asked, sounding sincerely confused.
"Well, my professor was insulting you and calling you evil incarnate…"
"Sounds like your dad," Lex teased.
"So, naturally, I jumped to your defense and told him you were my best friend…"
"Then he asked how a, quote, 'stupid farm hick' like me could know you and made allusions to me being a stalker…"
"Did he now?" Lex growled, anger audible in his tone.
"I asserted that we'd known each other for years…"
"I'm starting to see where this is going," Lex muttered, audibly annoyed. Clark thought he sounded like the man had a headache coming on.
"Yeah, he told me to prove it, gestured to the phone on his desk, and, well, here we are…I'm really sorry for bothering you with this, but you should've heard the things he was saying about you," Clark finished apologetically.
"I can probably guess, but thanks for standing up for me. Are you satisfied, Mr. Erwin?" Lex asked distastefully. The teacher jumped at being addressed by the man.
"No," He said, surprising everyone in the room. "How do I know this isn't some elaborate hoax?" He asked hotly. "In fact, I'm sure it is. Lex Luthor is an inhumane, soulless bloodsucker, he'd never be laughing and teasing with some down-home fool," He announced decisively. "Mister Kent will be written up for this silly disturbance and you're lucky you aren't being arrested for impersonating one of the most important, evil men of our century."
Lex sighed. "I see," He muttered thoughtfully. "Clark, how much longer is your class? Forty-five minutes, right?"
Clark chuckled despite himself. "You're such a stalker for knowing my schedule. Yeah, it's got about 45 minutes left. Why?"
"I'll be there in ten, and don't argue with me on this," Lex told him.
Clark glanced at his teacher, who was visibly seething. He idly wondered why the man hadn't hung the phone up yet. "I wasn't going to, I know how protective you get. Do you need me to tell you what building and classroom number I'm in?"
Lex chuckled. "You know I don't. I'm your stalker, remember?" Clark snickered, as well as a few students in the class. "I'll see you in ten." There was a click and the dial tone sounded through the speaker until Mr. Erwin reached over and hung it up.
"See, there you have it. Lex Luthor's closest business is 30 minutes from here, and I'm sure that after class Mister Kent will come to me with some excuse about traffic. There is simply no way Luthor could make it here in ten minutes," He said matter-of-factly.
"You've obviously never seen Lex drive," Clark said before he could bite his tongue. The professor leveled him with a glare.
"Get out of my classroom and don't return until you've learned the meaning of respect," He said, pointing to the door. Clark rolled his eyes and shrugged. He walked up the subtle ramp to his seat and gathered his things. He looked at the professor just before he opened the door.
"Give it about 8 minutes, and you'll realize you don't know the definition yourself," He said dismissively. The teacher scoffed and turned back to the class. Clark smirked, walking out of the classroom, and sat on the bench beside the door. True to his word, 8 minutes later Lex Luthor was striding up the hall with his body guard and some woman following him closely. Clark studied the woman, who was an unfamiliar red head. She was pretty, but not incredibly attractive, and wearing a crisp brown pant suit. She carried about her an air of superiority that rivaled Lex's.
Lex glanced at Clark and gestured him to follow him into the classroom. Clark couldn't help the evil smirk that blossomed. Erwin was really in for it. Lex walked a few feet into the room and paused, hands in pockets, completely relaxed but exuding confidence. He waited patiently for the teacher to turn away from the board. He smirked in barely contained glee when the teacher did a double-take, making Clark snicker. "Are you satisfied now, Leslie?" Lex asked. The class giggled at their professors first name, making the man flush in embarrassment, but he continued to stare, flabbergasted, at the hairless entity in his classroom.
Clark chuckled and laid a hand on Lex's shoulder. "You didn't have to come all the way down here, Lex, really, I know how busy it's been at LexLuthorCorp lately," He admonished lightly.
Lex gave him a soft smile. "I don't suffer fools, you know that, and the ignorant are just as abysmal," He told him.
Clark grinned. "You've put up with my dad since I was fifteen," He pointed out gleefully.
Lex waved the comment off. "That's different, that was for you."
"Did we meet?" Lex supplied smoothly for the teacher who was still suffering from shock. The man nodded dumbly, snapping his mouth shut.
"It's a long story," Clark muttered, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment.
"I nearly hit him with my car, flew off a bridge, he saved my life, I gave him a truck, which he gave back," Lex shot Clark a glare, still not over the rebuff, and Clark shrugged, still not giving in. Lex turned back to the professor. "That intrigued me, since no one had ever done something for me without wanting something in return."
Clark sighed. "He's got a low sense of self-worth," He stage-whispered conspiratorially with the class, making them snicker at the glare he received.
"In any case," Lex said loudly, expounding on each word pointedly. "We've been best friends ever since."
"Despite: attempts by certain people," At this, Lex coughed and it sounded suspiciously like "our fathers and Lang". Clark shot him a glare. "Smooth, Lex," He muttered before continuing. "The small trust issue we eventually got over, and the numerous meteor mutants threatening his life. Helped that he saved my life in that cornfield that one time," Clark muttered the last part and was met with confused looks from his peers, who were looking over his well-muscled form and wondering how his life could ever have been in danger.
"Group of jocks, scarecrow tradition, large aversion to glowing green rocks," Lex said in way of an explanation. He shrugged at the even more confused looks and murmurs of the class and looked back to Clark. "I'm actually curious as to why our friendship, from the very beginning, hasn't been covered in the news. Now that I think about it, you've never been mentioned in any news about me, even though we're together all the time."
"I have too!" Clark said indignantly. "Sort of," He admitted when everyone looked doubtful. "Apparently, a farm boy isn't important enough to be considered special, no matter how much he's around the most important man of the century. I don't even think they notice me except the occasional reference to the 'tall brunette nearby who refused to give comment'."
Lex elbowed him playfully in the ribs. "I thought I just had a stalker," He teased. "Maybe we should plan an interview, get the story out there."
Clark shoved his shoulder gently, laughing. "Shut up, don't you have work to do? You've officially taken up the first half hour of the class."
Lex huffed indignantly, but the air was lost when he cracked a grin. "It's been a slow day, and you know I hate paperwork. Mind if I stick around? We could go to that movie you wanted to see after your class is over."
Clark eyed him carefully and was about to respond when the teacher squawked in protest. "I don't know who you are," He began haughtily, "But I'm completely certain that the real Lex Luthor is not this approachable. You do a good impersonation, probably had plastic surgery just for it, but Mister Luthor is a cool, detached, uncaring young man."
Lex barked a laugh. "Normally you'd be right, but he brings out the best in me," He said, pointing to Clark who cooed and was slapped playfully on the chest for it. "Shut it, Clark," He pouted (though only Clark could tell it was a pout). "I haven't been an impersonal, emotionless wretch since I was 21, when I met Clark."
"Well, there was that one time with Lana, and that other time at your Dad's funeral, and don't forget-oof!" No one got to hear what Lex shouldn't forget, as he had elbowed Clark in the stomach, effectively cutting him off. Clark had faked the gasp, obviously, but he stopped talking nonetheless.
"My point, Clark, is that I am the real Lex Luthor, and you are, quite honestly, a moron, sir," Lex said, aiming the last part at the stunned professor.
The man straightened. "It doesn't matter if you are, which I still highly doubt, or are not, which I'm positive of. I do not want you and your little entourage in my classroom, you're a distraction. You, the muscle bound silent movie, the creepy red head, and yes, Mister Kent, are to leave my class immediately, before I call security," He waved them off and turned back to his class as though that were final. The muscle-bound silent movie (Ricky, Clark thought, really would do well in one as the hero) leaned over then and whispered into Lex's ear. Lex nodded and muttered a thank you, drawing the attention of the teacher. "Still here? You leave me no choice." He reached towards the phone.
"There is no need to call them, they'll be here in a minute. The only reason they've taken this long is because of some disturbance in the mess hall," Lex said smoothly, slipping his hands into his pockets and looking for all the world as though he owned everything (which he could, if he tried, Clark thought).
"They are coming to escort you to your office so that you may pack your things and leave on a permanent vacation," He explained indifferently.
"I'm being fired?" The man screeched. "For what? Who would they get to replace me?"
"Mrs. Crenshaw has graciously offered her services," Lex said, gesturing to the red head. "She is entirely unbiased and competent, unlike you."
"Probably in your pocket," Erwin muttered loudly, crossing his arms over his chest in an angry pout.
The woman snickered. "Not at all," Lex said. "I owed her a favor. It's bad business to be indebted to a former corporate rival, so she told me if I gave her your job we'd be squared away."
"I've been watching you," The woman said in a heavy British accent, "And you are positively horrid at your job."
The man balked at this, but Lex continued his explanation, ignoring the angry rebuke. "As to why you're being fired," He said with a put-upon sigh, "Well," He smiled softly. "I'm evil." He accompanied this statement with his scariest sneer, earning him a thump to the ear and his name being hissed warningly by Clark. He grabbed his ear and glared angrily at the 20 year old, who simply glared back. Everyone in the room was suddenly aware of a silent conversation passing between the two and flushed at experiencing the intimacy. The thought passed through the room that there was something between the two that was below the surface…something passionate, and raw (and, in the minds of most of the girls, something involving naked, sweaty, well-toned bodies, which made them flush worse and want the two men even more). After a few moments, where no one dared to speak, Lex turned back to Erwin looking properly chastised.
"Your superiors have been looking for a reason to get rid of you since it came to light that you were failing any student who stood up to you and your, admittedly, twisted views," Lex explained coolly, maintaining his 'nothing bothers me' attitude, while still looking like a kicked puppy. "Apparently, insulting the most influential man in the world, who also happens to be the biggest financier of this college, is a very solid reason for your immediate termination. The governors of the university wanted you to make a public apology, but I insisted that wasn't necessary."
Erwin visibly bristled, but deflated when Ricky stepped forward. "You can wait outside the room for security, sir. I think Mrs. Crenshaw would like to get on with her class," He said politely, his rumbling voice making it impossible to mistake the subtle command for anything but what it was.
Erwin nodded and gathered his things off his desk. As he scurried past Clark and Lex, he muttered "Fucking fags." Lex grew angry at this and Clark backed off. He knew that Lex could stand being called every name in the book, but the older boy seemed to take personal insult if he was the target of ridicule.
"Leslie Erwin," Lex growled, making the man turn, gulping in fright. "Do not think I am finished with you. It is uncommon for me to indulge in my father's teachings, but I take great pleasure in tapping into the distinct evil that is my blood right when it comes to protecting my friends. You have now insulted Clark Kent several times in my presence and you will face the consequences." Clark didn't have to look to know that Lex's eyes were flashing an icy blue that typically instilled sheer terror in the person they were focused on. He was not disappointed when his former teacher paled to near translucency and fled from the room. Lex visibly brightened when the door closed behind the ignorant fool and gestured for the red-headed woman to continue the class as she wished.
The woman smiled gratefully and turned to the class. "I will have to review what you've been over so far, which shouldn't take long since it's only the third week of the semester. Enjoy the rest of your Friday, if you don't have another class after this, and I'll see you next Tuesday. We're going to skip Monday because I'll probably have to rework your lessons to fit my own plan, but include what you've already learned. Dismissed," She announced sweetly. The class cheered and hurried out of the room, Lex and Clark among them (at a much more sedate pace).
"So, movie?" Lex asked nonchalantly as they stepped out of the building.
"You already reserved the theater for the afternoon, didn't you?" Clark responded chuckling.
"Who, me?" Lex said innocently.
Clark shoved him lightly, and Lex shoved back, making Clark stumble and fall onto the grass beside the sidewalk. He was still laughing, so Lex knew he wasn't bothered, and the bald billionaire reached his hand out to help him up. Clark sat up and grasped his wrist, both of them laughing now, and Lex grasped the flannel clad arm, pulling the man to his feet. Clark stumbled into Lex with the force of jumping to his feet at the same time as being pulled forward, and they both blushed (Lex's blush was only visible to those who knew him best, i.e. Clark) and backed away.
~Clark and Lex loves!~
The next day Clark burst into Lex's office, startling the man. "Hey, Clark," He said, taking in the nervous stance of his friend.
"Lex…have you read the Planet yet? Have you seen this?" Clark asked, chewing on his lower lip. He was brandishing the front page as he walked up to Lex' desk.
"Yes…" He started slowly. He was interrupted by his intercom.
"Mister Luthor, Chloe Sullivan is here from the Daily Planet, would you like me to have her wait until you're done with your meeting?" Clara asked through the speaker.
Lex leaned over and pushed the button. "No, send her in, Clark needs to be here for the interview."
A moment later a very bashful Chloe walked into the room, glancing back and forth between an amused Lex and an embarrassed, but angry-looking, Clark. She shuffled up to them slowly. "What were you thinking, Chloe?" Clark demanded, shoving the paper under her nose when she was close enough.
She took the paper and studied the picture she'd taken the day before at Met U, of Clark stumbling into Lex after having fallen to the ground and being pulled to his feet. The headline read 'MYSTERIOUS BRUNETTE MORE THAN JUST A BACKGROUND CHARACTER?' in those bold letters that said so much more. The article had gone on to speculate that the "mysterious brunette" was Lex Luthor's secret lover, as the billionaire had been the most eligible, yet least attainable, gay bachelor (bachelor period, really) for a few years now, ever since he'd publicly announced his sexual preferences. She had the sense of mind to look ashamed at supplying the picture.
"The editor told me to get pictures of the 'mysterious brunette'!" She said defensively. "I just happened to see you two goofing off yesterday on campus and snapped several photos. I'd assumed he'd use the one of Lex helping you up, not that one! And I most certainly didn't think that he'd print such a speculative and scandalous article to go with that picture!"
Lex chuckled as Clark collapsed into one of the chairs in front of his desk with a groan. "It's alright, Clark, Chloe is here to fix it. I called the editor when I got the early edition and he agreed to send Chloe for a definitive interview. It'll be printed on the front page of the evening post, after I've approved the final edit. I was only joking yesterday when I said we should get our history out there for everyone to see, but I don't see any other option if you don't want your every step dogged by reporters looking for some insight into your life and our relationship. If we do this, I can demand that you be left alone, so none of your special secrets are revealed. The only other option is that we claim to really be lovers, and I don't see that as an option, as you'd never have a chance at a real relationship with anyone." He said softly.
"It's not me I'm worried about, Lex, I've learned how to be discreet with my powers, and a gay farm hick in the big city doesn't really scream 'relationship material', so that's not a problem either. It'll be years before I ever find someone I trust enough to tell my secret, besides you two, and I don't really want to anyway, everyone I meet is too immature after being around the two of you for so long. The issue is that our being best friends since I was fifteen may provoke some people into thinking you're a pedo-bear because of this stupid article. What'll that do to your career and public relations?" Clark asked, starting to panic at the end.
Lex hurried around the desk and crouched beside Clark, soothing his arm as he spoke. "Don't worry, it'll be fine. I'm Lex Luthor, I'm above what common mortals think."
Clark started to argue again, but Chloe suddenly jumped in. "I know how to fix it!" She exclaimed. They looked at her expectantly, hope shining in Clark's eyes. "I can't tell you what it is, because you'd never agree to it. It's nothing seriously embarrassing, and it's not even a little bad. You'll just have to trust me. It's a little blurb from all of your friends about the two of you that I'll put at the end." She said, nervous under their speculative stares. Finally, Clark nodded.
"Okay, I trust your journalism skills," He said softly, taking a deep breath.
"And, crazy as it is, I trust Clark's confidence in you," Lex announced dryly, standing up straight. "I'll tell the editor to publish your article without a single change made, unless I make it. I expect he'll throw a fit, but I'll give him no other option. And I expect you to throw a fit, should he try and make any changes whatsoever. Just send me the finished article, minus the blurb at the end, and I'll approve it with minimal changes to it, if any at all."
"Thank you," Chloe said softly. She dug into her coat pocket and pulled out a tape recorder. "Shall we begin?"
~Clark and Lex loves!~
The evening report came out and the city was enthralled by the sudden insight to the exclusive life of the richest man in the world. The front page, as well as pages 1-3B, was taken up by the story of a weird, but exciting friendship between two of the most unlikely of people. There were occasional comments from the family members of one, and friends of both, including the reporter that wrote the article. The thing that had everyone in a state of awe, though, was the admission of all the people close to the two friends that they were both blind to their own feelings. According to everyone who commented in the article, it was obvious to all of them that there was something between the two, but neither of them could see it. One thought went through most of the city, men and women alike, upon reading this: Lex isn't good enough for Clark. Good thing I can show him what he really needs. I'd never go against Luthor, but I can get Clark to see reason before they realize what's between them.
Clark burst into Lex's penthouse, startling the man on the couch. "Lex, you've gotta hide me!" Clark said, leaping behind the couch.
The bald billionaire turned and looked over the back of his leather furniture piece currently being used as a hiding spot. "Clark…not that I don't love having you visit, but, why are you hiding behind my couch?"
"Because being under it would feel awkward?" Clark offered with a shy smile.
"Very funny, Clark, but seriously, you're safe here. I own the air space around the building, and there's no one allowed up here besides you and myself. What are you hiding from, anyway?" Lex asked, as the broad man stood and brushed off his flannel shirt and jeans.
"They're at my apartment, Lex! You remember when that article came out a week ago and suddenly everyone around me started hitting on me and stuff? Well, I haven't been able to walk into a class, or even around campus, without being surrounded by people who all of a sudden want to date me. The only time I've gotten any peace is when I'm hanging out with you. I've always managed to ditch the group of admirers before I got to my apartment, so they wouldn't know where I live, but somehow they found out…it's on the internet! There's at least a hundred admirers at my apartment, outside the building, inside the building, and when I x-rayed my floor…they…they were in my apartment! I called the cops, gave my statement, got hit on by what must've been half the force, then ran over here. What do I do?" Clark demanded. He moved around the couch and sunk into the cushions beside his best friend, laying his head on the boney, lavender silk-clad shoulder.
"Well, you're safe here while I think of-Oh! Duh! You'll stay here! And I'll make an announcement at my unveiling tomorrow. I've got that ribbon-cutting thing for the new research lab, you'll come with me, and I'll make an announcement about your new abode…I have to go write out that new speech…" The man pat Clark's hand absentmindedly and stood, moving down the hall to his study.
"But…I don't have any clothes or anything!" Clark protested. "And I can't go back to my apartment…this city is insane, I'll be mobbed the minute I step foot out of that elevator."
Lex paused in his stride, and moved back into the living room, grabbing his keys. "Well, then I guess we have somewhere we need to be, don't we?"
Clark stood and looked at the man questioningly. "Erm, where?"
Lex chuckled darkly. "Do you remember when your mom made you that superhero costume? So you could rescue people in something other than civilian clothes? The one that earned you the title 'Blue and Red Blur' or 'The Blur' for short?" Clark nodded. "I managed to coax the measurements from her, and now we're going to the mansion to get the results, then we have an old friend we're going to see."
"Lex you didn't…" Clark started, groaning.
"I did, and you'll love it all, I promise. Now come on. I'll let you drive if you promise not to complain and simply accept the gifts for what they are. They are not bribes, they are not me trying to buy your friendship, they are not even my attempt to make you look more gorgeous to get you a proper date," The older man said, negating all of Clark's previous arguments to a wardrobe revamp. "I did it for the purely selfish reason that, while flannel is incredibly soft, I abhor the fabric. You look good in it, but I can think of a thousand fabrics and colors that would better suit your body," He grabbed Clark's hand, and the farm boy allowed himself to be dragged to the back elevator that went straight down to Lex's personal level of the underground parking garage. The ride in the elevator was quiet, and when they stepped out, Lex turned to Clark, grinning. "Which car?"
Clark bounced with glee over to the Lexus. "This one!" He announced proudly.
"Why that one? It's got speed, sure, but not like the Porsche, or the Corvette," Lex asked, unsure about Clark's intentions.
"Because I think it's funny when Lex is in the Lexus," He told his friend, grinning cheekily.
The billionaire bachelor rolled his eyes and walked over to the key-case, unlocking it and tossing the chosen car keys to the alien. "Whatever, just don't grind the gears, alright?" He teased. He climbed into the passenger seat, and watched as his friend folded himself into the driver's seat, sliding the seat back, and starting the car. The 21 year old peeled out of the garage towards Smallville.
~Clark and Lex loves!~
"I want to thank you all again for joining me on this auspicious occasion, and would like to make an unrelated announcement. Recently, there was an article released in the Daily Planet written by my friend, Chloe Sullivan," He gestured to the blonde girl and she waved as the other reporters looked at her. "Since this article, my close friend Clark Kent has been hounded by admirers who seem to think they need to keep him away from me. As much fun as it has been, watching him stumble around the pretty girls and boys vying for his attentions, these admirers have recently invaded his apartment. I do not tolerate a breach of privacy, especially one this severe, and against my friend no less. As it would be bad for business to threaten, and subsequently follow through on threats against, the entire population of Metropolis, I have taken some…necessary security measures. Clark will be staying with me in my penthouse for the next month, until everything is complete, and I expect that our privacy be given the same respect as I have always been afforded. Thank you," Lex finished. He stepped away from the podium, but froze when a voice boomed over the many questions from the gathered reporters.
"So, Lex, have you and Clark finally realized what's between you?"
Lex just barely stopped his jaw from dropping in shock. "Et tu, Bruce?" He asked incredulously. The crowd turned and one of the females screamed happily.
"Oh my God, it's Bruce Wayne!"
Clark stepped up beside Lex from the shade he'd been standing in as the reporters began snapping pictures of the tall, broad, and reclusive billionaire. The dark man walked up to the podium. "Come now, Lex, if everyone around you is thinking it, there must be truth in the assessment. You taught me that, my young friend," Bruce admonished, shaking the younger billionaire's hand.
Lex stepped away from the microphone. "So, you and Dick finally saw reason?"
Bruce chuckled and nodded. "Thanks to you. We're much happier now, and work better together in reference to our…nightly activities. Why can't you and Clark do the same?"
Clark blushed. "Bruce…it's not the same with us like it is with you and Richard. We've been friends for so long, and if there were something between us, but everything went south…our friendship would be ruined."
Bruce chuckled. "You'd be surprised," He replied softly. Clark looked confused and Bruce sighed. "I suppose you could tell him, Lex, if only to help you two be happy."
Lex nodded and leaned over to Clark, whispering so low only the alien could hear him. "Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson are also privately known as Batman and Robin. Get it?" Clark screwed up his face and smacked his forehead in a 'duh' moment.
He reached over and grasped Bruce hand. "I'm…"
"I know, Lex told me when he was trying to figure out how best to keep your secret from the public after that first article with the damning photo. I have an idea I'd like to try out to help you with your traveling issues, if you two wouldn't mind coming 'round the mansion this weekend," Bruce said, stuffing his hands into his pockets with a mischievous grin.
"Sure, Bruce. Do you want us to come out tomorrow night, or would you prefer us wait until Saturday morning?" Lex asked, moving away from the podium and ignoring the reporters as he moved to his car.
"Well, if Clark doesn't have any classes tomorrow, I could use his help with a…pest problem in South Gotham. I finally found their hole, but if I don't strike tonight, they might disappear again. Think I could gain some assistance from this esteemed farm boy?" Bruce asked, clapping a hand on Clark's shoulder.
"Well, Mrs. Crenshaw has an optional review before mid-terms, which are after Spring Break, which is next week…" Clark muttered slowly. "I already have the class memorized, since Lex introduced me to the business world long before now, so I guess it's not a problem with me. Only thing is, I left my suit in that Eye.D safe you gave me...at my apartment."
"Not a problem, I'll have Ricky and a few other trusted guards retrieve it. We'll be there around 6, if that's alright, Bruce?" Lex said, already pulling his phone from his pocket.
"Of course, Lex, I'll have Alfred set two more places at dinner," Bruce told him, starting to walk away.
"Huh, Bruce Wayne eating at a dinner table…will wonders never cease?" Lex whispered, dialing Ricky on his phone. The billionaire got behind the wheel of the Porsche as Clark walked around and got in the passenger seat. After a few minutes talking to Ricky and giving explicit instructions, he started the engine and pulled away from the building. "You're going to start wearing those new clothes, starting tonight, Clark. I don't want to hear anything against it. At least as long as you're living with me, I can't have you looking like a ragamuffin. I can't believe you found those clothes you left at my penthouse; I thought I'd hidden them really well."
Clark chuckled and ran a hand over the sleeve of his flannel shirt. "X-ray vision comes in handy," He admitted. "But don't worry, I have no problems with wearing those clothes you bought me. I've always admired your fashion sense, and it's not like I can just give them back, considering they're tailored specifically for me. I only wore my usual today because I wanted to postpone the questions that'll arise when I start wearing high-end. People are going to start to talk…more than they already are…when they see you've completely revamped my wardrobe."
Lex nodded thoughtfully. "Why don't you seem bothered by what people are saying about us? I know you said it'd be awhile before you could expose yourself to someone new, but that doesn't mean you couldn't casually date. Having people think we should be dating, or trying to come between us for that same reason, has to be hard on your love life," He said.
"I…uh…well…um…I don't really mind, I guess. I've always thought you were incredibly attractive, and if everyone thinks I'm good enough for you, it's an ego boost. It sucks that so much of the city seems to think you're the one not good enough for me, when I know for a fact I'd be lucky to have you. You're perfect. You're suave, sophisticated, a genius, funny, hot as hell…" Clark trailed off when he realized Lex was blushing. "Sorry…" He muttered.
"No, it's okay. I'm flattered that you think so highly of me. But you're the one who's perfect. You're innocent, you're selfless, you're intelligent, wise beyond your years, you've got a great moral code that you stand by firmly…and you're more attractive than anyone else in this universe. It's not from your heritage, either. I've seen that automated holograph of your alien father, and you're attractive just because you're you," Lex admitted softly. "I've always thought you were too good for me, and have never understood why you hang around. Maybe that's why I have such an issue with our family and friend's assessment of our relationship…you could do a lot better than a tainted soul like mine."
Clark huffed and grabbed Lex's hand from the gear shift. "You're not tainted, Lex, you're so much more than you give yourself credit for. And, even though it's impossible to do so…what if…what if I don't want to do better than you?"
"What're you saying, Clark? Don't tell me you're putting in stock in the ridiculous notions of those we're closest too?" Lex asked, moving his hand back to shift into a higher gear.
Clark sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, leaning his forehead against the window. "It's nothing, just forget it…" He squeaked when the car suddenly swerved into an empty parking lot they'd very nearly passed. Lex threw the car into park.
"I thought we were done with lying to each other, Clark?" The bald billionaire demanded angrily.
Clark banged his head gently against the glass, his unnecessary breath ghosting across the cold pane. "I'm not lying, Lex. It really is nothing. You obviously think the idea is ludicrous, so it doesn't matter…" He opened the car door and started to get out. "I'm going to walk back to the penthouse, I need to clear my head," He explained softly. He got out of the Porsche, ignoring Lex's plea for him to stop. He closed the door, careful not to slam it, and began shuffling his feet in the direction he assumed led to the third tallest building in Metropolis.
Lex smacked his forehead into the steering wheel and stripped off his driving gloves, before getting out of the car to follow his depressed friend. "Clark, wait!" He called, jogging after the golden Adonis. He stopped the younger man with a hand on his shoulder. "I don't think the idea is ludicrous, I just think you're confused. You've always depended heavily on what your parents think…and I think what they said in the article has you seeing something that isn't there."
Clark barked a bitter laugh that made Lex cringe inwardly. No one as beautiful as Clark should ever sound that world-weary. "For a genius, Lex, you can be really clueless sometimes," The taller boy said, turning to face him. "You really don't get it…I've been in love with you ever since you pulled me off that cross in that cornfield. It isn't some misguided hero-worship, either, like my dad said it was. You were the first person, outside of my parents, who ever cared about me. I mean, I had Chloe and Pete, but…they've kind of been obsessed with their own undertakings for as long as I can remember, and you make time for me no matter what you're doing. Admittedly, I'd been falling for you ever since I pulled you from that river. You'd made that comment about our friendship being the stuff of legends, and I couldn't help but think that…if we, you know, were more, it'd probably be the stuff of myth. Something people only dream about could be our reality. In History, we were learning about Alexander the Great and Hephaestion… and I realized that with your resources and my suddenly discovered powers…our story could be put in the history books right next to theirs. You were the reason Whit turned into a jerk, because he realized why I spent our whole date talking about you. I'd…I'd never…I wasn't going to tell you any of this, not ever, but after what you said in the car…I thought…" He trailed off, taking a step back and shaking his head slowly, staring resolutely at his feet. "It doesn't matter what I thought, I obviously got the wrong impression. I'm sorry I dumped all of this on you…"
Lex stepped forward, grabbing Clark's wrist to keep him from walking away again. "It does matter, Clark, and you weren't wrong," He said insistently. "It's just…" He took another step forward, into his friend's personal space, staring resolutely at the chest in front of him. "I don't deserve someone like you. You deserve to be with someone who is as good, and bright, and beautiful as you…and that's not who I am. No matter what, I'll always be a Luthor, Clark. I don't want to taint your innocence with the evil that was born into me." Lex suddenly found himself engulfed in muscular arms.
"You're not a Luthor, Lex, not to anyone who knows you. Not to anyone in Smallville, at the very least. Ever since Lionel died, you've changed for the better, and even my dad says you're more of a Kent than anything, now. If I had the chance, I'd spend the rest of my life trying to show you the wonderful, kind-hearted person I see when I look at you," Clark said.
Lex sighed and stepped away from his friend, but only enough to look up into his glowing green eyes. "You've always been able to see the good in me, Clark. That's why I fell in love with you the day you gave the truck back and said you'd rather be my friend. You knew then that I could be something more than my father's clone, be my own man. You've always had such faith in me, and I don't know why. I still think you could do better than me, but since you seem so convinced, I wouldn't mind keeping you until you come to your senses and leave me in the dust."
Clark cupped the back of the bald head and leaned forward with a teasing smile. "Leave behind the biggest contributor to my hero-complex? Not a chance, Alexander," He murmured, kissing his one and only. Lex returned the passionate kiss happily and only pulled away when breathing through his nose no longer provided enough oxygen to his brain (i.e. ten minutes later).
"Duly noted, Hephaestion," He muttered breathlessly. "But I think it's really more of a neurosis at this point."
Clark chuckled and pulled Lex into another breath-stealing kiss. There would be trials…but there wasn't anything that could really come between them. After all, he couldn't get sick, and Lex had never had so much as a stuffy nose…no risk of typhus. Everything else? They'd take it as it came. They were the stuff of legend, destiny molded to them…it would all fall into place. Together, the world was just a playground.
(A/N): Okay, so, I didn't expect this to get quite so long. It took on a life of it's own. But I'm really mostly happy with it. If anyone wants to see the visit with Bruce...and his idea for Clark's traveling issue...I've already written it. I don't know if I'll post it without some want from the readers, but I might, since it's really funny. Hope you enjoyed!