Title: Of Trust and Promises
Warnings/Spoilers: Slash. Spoilers up to Season 1 Episode 12, "Leech."
Disclaimer: I own nothing that is in any way recognizable from the show.
Author's Note: This just kinda came to me after I watched the episode "Leech." And in my mind, this is how the episode ended. :)
Lex drummed his fingers against the desk. His eyes scanned the files on the computer screen in front of him. He moved his hand to the mouse and clicked on the first one. It was an article about the bus that had crashed outside of the museum in Metropolis. Lex opened the desk drawer, pulling out the picture that had been left with him. It was a still from a security camera of him and Clark.
He looked back at the article. The man that had come to him had said that Clark had witnessed the crash. Implied that Clark had had something to do with it somehow. But that wasn't right, and Lex knew that now. His finger hovered over the delete button for a moment. He pressed the button and the file disappeared.
Looking back at the picture, Lex smiled slightly and slid it back into the drawer. He turned his attention back to the computer and clicked on the next file. Ah, this one was the most difficult to ignore. Experts had put it together piece by piece, working tirelessly on it. But they had gotten it wrong. Lex watched the computer-generated video. A car not unlike his own veered off to the side of a bridge, a man was hit, and they both fell into the water.
But that's not what happened. Clark hadn't been hit. Lex had managed to avoid him, though his car still went into the water. Clark had simply been a good Samaritan. He'd jumped into the water and pulled Lex out. That was all. Lex deleted that file too. And continued to other articles and research he'd done on his best friend.
As he looked through some of the pieces, rereading his own words as well as others, he felt sick. Had he really trusted his best friend so little? The man had saved his life, and his repayment was snooping into his private life and trying to discover some secret that didn't exist. Clark was the best friend he'd ever had, and he was done screwing it up over some obsession. Some miracle that he felt like he needed to explain. He was alive. And Clark didn't hate him. That was enough.
Lex opened the desk drawer and pulled out the picture again. He smiled sadly at the faces in the image. He never thought much about it. But looking at the picture, they stood so close together. As best friends, he knew. But out of context, just looking at the picture, someone could take it as more than that.
A knock on the door made him return the picture to it's place and look up. "Clark," he said, surprised. He stood up and gestured to the chair in front of his desk. "Sit down. Shouldn't you be home resting?"
Clark just shook his head. "I'm fine," he said. His eyes shifted, and he looked uncomfortable, but not from the pain he should be feeling from broken ribs.
Lex walked around the desk and leaned back against the front of it. "Alright, so then to what do I owe the surprise visit?"
Clark took a breath, eyes moving around the room as though he'd find whatever words he needed hidden then. "Um, I just wanted to talk to you." Lex just raised his eyebrows and gestured for Clark to continue. Clark finally looked him in the eyes, and Lex saw sadness there he hadn't seen in Clark before, accompanied by guilt.
"Come on," Lex said, putting a hand on Clark's shoulder and guiding him towards the couch by the fireplace. They sat down and Lex turned, one leg partially propped up on the couch between them so he could face Clark. "So what's wrong?"
Clark laughed humorlessly. He looked up at Lex, then back towards the fire. "You trust me," he said.
"Of course," Lex said. "Look, I meant what I said. I'm sorry about what I said, and I'm sorry for suspecting anything about you. It was unfounded and wrong."
"No, it wasn't," Clark said so quietly Lex almost didn't hear him.
"What was that?" Lex asked.
"It wasn't wrong or unfounded," Clark said. He laughed, shaking his head. "I just can't stand this, Lex. I thought it would be easier once you believed what I told you about the accident that day. I thought, I don't know. That I could stop worrying, and you would just be my friend without trying to figure me out."
"I am your friend, Clark," Lex said. "But I don't know what you're talking about."
"Because of a change of circumstances," Clark said. "You believed the lie I've been telling you for months. And that's supposed to make this easier for me. I get to keep my secret, and no one's suspicious any more. But I hate it." Clark finally turned to look at him, and Lex held his breath, as though any movement at all would stop this moment, this confession that he'd waited so long to hear.
"Lex, I hate that you believed me," Clark said. "I hate that I could just repeat this lie again, and you just take it at face value. I hate that you gave me your trust so easily, because I don't deserve it. I've been lying to you, about all of this."
"Then what's the truth?" Lex asked quietly.
"The truth is that your car did hit me that day," Clark said. "You hit me at sixty miles an hour, and I didn't have a scratch to show for it. I ripped the top of your car back to pull you out."
"But that's not possible," Lex said. "That kid, Eric. He threw you into a car and it broke your ribs."
"Like I said," Clark said, laughing nervously. "Change of circumstances. There was a lightening strike. Eric was there, and—"
"And superboy stole your powers," Lex finished for him. Lex turned, moving his leg back to the floor and leaning forward, elbows on his knees. He stared at the flames in the fireplace, trying to make sense of this.
"Yeah," Clark answered, though they both knew it hadn't been a question.
Lex ran a hand over his face, and clenched his fist against his mouth. He'd suspected as much for months, he couldn't deny that. But now knowing it was true? And so soon after having given up the ludicrous idea. Clark's honesty shocked him more than anything, really. Clark finally had an out. He could finally leave Lex with the explanation, and he would've taken it at face value and left it alone. Only then did Clark choose to tell him his secret. Because he'd stopped looking for it. Figured, though. That was just Clark. If he was being honest, that was one of the reasons Lex loved—Damnit. Things were getting too complicated.
"Is there anything else?" Lex asked after a long silence.
"Anything else?" Clark asked.
"That you can do," Lex said, turning to look back at Clark. "I figured out the inhuman strength. Any other perks to go along with it?"
Clark shrugged, smiling a bit. "Might as well come completely clean, huh? You can add inhuman speed to the list. And X-ray vision."
"X-ray vision?" Lex asked, smirking. "Bet you could have some fun with that one."
Clark laughed and rubbed at his neck uncomfortably. Lex turned back to the fire, rubbing a hand over his mouth to cover the smile. That reaction was just so… Clark.
"Oh! And I floated once," Clark said brightly.
"Only once?" Lex asked.
"It was weird," Clark said. "I was dreaming that I was floating, then I woke up and kinda crashed on my bed."
Lex laughed. "I really am sorry," he said after a moment.
"For what?" Clark asked. "I'm the one that's been lying to you."
"Because I didn't trust you," Lex said. "I should have. Even if I suspected something, I should've just waited for you to tell me, instead of trying to find out on my own. It was your secret, Clark. I shouldn't have tried to pry."
"Well now it's your secret too," Clark said. "Don't ruin my life with it, alright?" He smiled, jokingly, though Lex could still see a hint of fear in his eyes. The secret really could ruin his life if it got out.
"I won't," Lex said. He sighed and leaned back into the couch, an arm moving to rest over the back of it, his hand about an inch from Clark's shoulder. "So, my turn to be honest, I guess. You know that I was trying to find out your secret. But I also had some experts weighing in on the subject as well. Reading articles, putting together pieces from the accident."
"Did any of them figure it out?" Clark asked. Lex was impressed. Clark was hiding his panic fairly well, though Lex could still see it in his eyes and in the way his fingers flexed nervously.
"They generated a video of how they think the accident happened," Lex said. "Based on the way the car looked, and what I told them that I remembered."
"What did the video show?" Clark asked.
"Exactly what you just told me," Lex said. Clark's eyes widened, and he opened his mouth, but Lex held up a hand to stop him. "I told them they were wrong. That the subject was closed and they weren't to look into anything about your family again."
Clark relaxed and flashed him that smile that could outshine the sun. Lex couldn't help smiling as well, as he always did when that smile was directed at him.
"Can I see the video they made?" Clark asked.
"I deleted it," Lex said. "Deleted every article I had, everything I found about you that I thought would reveal your big secret."
Clark laughed. "You were really serious out finding out, huh?"
Lex shrugged. "Once I set my mind to something, nothing can really turn me away from it."
"I did," Clark said, a bit smugly.
"What?" Lex asked.
"I got you away from your obsessive researching about me," Clark said.
"Ah, but you told me the secret anyway," Lex pointed out. "So in the end, I won."
Clark laughed. "Oh, okay. So it was all a ploy. Is that it?"
Lex shrugged, leaning back and smiling at Clark. Clark laughed again, shaking his head. Lex's gaze stayed on Clark, even as the younger man stared into the fireplace. He hated that he'd been so close to losing his best friend because of some secret. And even when they were fighting, when Clark had no reason to trust Lex, he still did.
"Hey Clark," Lex said. He waited until he knew he had his friend's attention before he continued. "Now that all this is out in the open, what do you say we stop keeping secrets, huh? They almost ruined our friendship, and I don't want that to happen. So, promise me we won't keep secrets anymore."
Clark looked away, and Lex saw that sadness in his eyes again. "No secrets," Clark said. "That's a difficult thing to promise."
"Not that difficult," Lex said. "Why? You keeping something else from me, Clark?"
"Just one thing," Clark said quietly.
"So what is it?" Lex asked.
Clark laughed, which Lex was starting to realize was something he did when he was nervous. "It's weird," Clark said. "I can tell you about my powers so easily, and know you'll be fine with it. But this—I don't know. Should be easier than that, but it's not."
Lex slid over on the couch until his side was pressed slightly against Clark's. He put a hand on Clark's shoulder, and felt the man tense before relaxing again. "What is it?"
"I like you, Lex," Clark said.
"Well I hope so," Lex said with a smirk, trying not to take his friend's words too seriously. "This whole friendship thing wouldn't work too well if you hated me."
Clark shook his head, and then turned to look at Lex. "No, I mean, I like you Lex. A lot more than a friend should."
Lex froze as the meaning of Clark's words hit him. He slowly pulled his hand back, which he immediately realized was a bad idea; Clark jumped up from the couch and started for the door.
"Clark, stop," Lex called. Clark stopped, and slowly turned around to face him. Lex let out a loud breath and ran a hand over his head. "Look, it's just that you're—"
"I know, Lex," Clark cut him off. "You don't have to tell me. I'm a freak. I'm a guy. I'm your best friend—"
"You're underage," Lex said loudly. Clark looked up at him, confused. Lex smiled, closing the distance between them. He raised a hand and hesitantly put it on Clark's shoulder. "I wasn't expecting you to say that of all things, but believe me, the feeling's mutual. Unfortunately, it can also land me in jail. Which is exactly the kind of screw-up my father is hoping for, and you know how I hate to prove him right."
Clark laughed, and that smile was back again. "So what?" Clark asked. "What happens from here?"
Lex shrugged. "Well, you got your powers back, so you get to go back to being the secret town hero."
"I meant with us," Clark said carefully.
"I know," Lex said. "From here, we stay friends for a couple more years. And we'll have this conversation again."
Clark pressed his lips together, the smile subdued as he nodded. Before Lex could think too much about what he was doing, his hand moved Clark's neck and pulled him forward into a kiss. Clark tensed at first, but Lex felt him relax. He felt hands clutching at his jacket as Clark kissed him back. Lex moved his lips against Clark's, and licked at the seam of the man's lips. Clark opened his mouth readily, a soft moan escaping when Lex's tongue found his. Clark only kissed him more fervently, and as his chest started to hurt, Lex wondered if Clark's powers also included the ability to hold his breath for longer a normal person. Lex made a note to ask him that sometime as he broke the kiss, both hands on Clark's shoulders as he tried to catch his breath.
"What was that?" Clark asked, looking slightly dazed as he held onto Lex.
Lex smiled at him, running a finger along Clark's jawline before dropping both hands back to his sides. "A promise."