AN: I love "Lex never gets transferred to Smallville" AUs. Don't get me wrong, their epic friendship is awesome, but there's so much one can do with a clean slate.
Doublethink, for those who don't know, is from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and is "the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct." (Wikipedia)
Chapter One: Now With Half the Evil and Twice the Confusion
For about two weeks after Clark started the whole superhero gig, things went pretty well. Pretty well, that is, except for the part where Lois thought Superman was a good name. This was partially because his first official act of heroics was fairly conspicuous, saving the Metropolis Museum of Modern Art from a terrorist bombing, and partially because his second official act was saving Lois from being shot by said terrorists when she stuck her nose in where it really didn't belong. The article she wrote about him, or "Superman" rather, after that was just hard-hitting enough not to be considered a love letter. In retrospect, Clark probably should have found a way to work the fact that he was gay into the interview. But, his co-worker/best friend's cousin's awkward romantic advances (well, awkward for Clark at any rate) on his alter-ego aside, Clark was feeling fairly good about his decision to go public with his people-saving thing. And then Lex Luthor "attacked" Metropolis with his robot monkey army, of all things, and it all went to shit.
After that Clark had to deal with Lex's evil plots on a weekly, and sometimes bi-weekly, basis. This was confusing, because Lex didn't even seem like the villain type. His actions weren't exactly above reproach per se, but he was still cleaner than most corporate executives and much cleaner than his father. In fact, after Lionel had died of liver disease a while back, Lex had spent over well a year cleaning-up after his more questionable projects. Not to mention Clark had saved Lex from a kidnapping attempt on his second day on the job as Superman and had, while flying Lex back to his penthouse, had a very pleasant conversation with him. Clark had got the distinct impression that, underneath the cool exterior, Lex thought the superhero thing was just as cool as everyone else.
That was another confusing thing. Clark liked to think he was a good judge of character, which probably wasn't true, but he knew he was good at spotting the evil ones. Years of practice in Smallville makes perfect, after all. And Clark hadn't gotten any "criminal mastermind" vibes when he was talking to Lex. To the contrary, Clark had been getting "please rip off my clothes and have sex with me right now" vibes, though that may have just been Clark projecting. And, on top of him being sex personified, Clark had actually liked Lex. The only reason he hadn't made a move before Lex started his attempt to win the Guinness World Record for Most Evil Plots Hatched by a Single Person, is Clark had been debating the benefits of approaching him as Superman, which would have been faster, but with less chance into developing into something real, or as Clark Kent, which would be harder, but better in the long run. And now Lex was on his supervillain kick, and Clark was pissed at himself for still not having learned to not procrastinate on this kind of stuff.
The strangest thing, though, was the plans themselves. Not that they weren't good plots, provided they were perfectly executed, but they just didn't make sense. Sure a weather machine in the middle of Kansas farmland, which is essentially where Metropolis was situated for some inexplicable reason, would be good for extorting money out of farmers, but why would the CEO of a multinational company worth billions of dollars need that kind of money? Plus there were all the obvious weak spots in the plans that Clark was pretty easily able to exploit in order to stop Lex. And they were completely ostentatious, so that they always caught Clark's attention before anything worse than minor collateral damage was done. Collateral damage that LexCorp always paid to fix. In fact, Clark might have thought the whole thing was an elaborate bid for good PR if it wasn't completely obvious to everyone, if not legally provable, that Lex was doing all these "evil" things.
All of which brought Clark here, flying through the air above LexCorp tower, thoroughly confused and dodging some sort of laser gun Lex had. Clark thought he had heard Lex call it a death ray, but that seemed a little too comic book-y even by Lex's standards. Then again, that pigeon that had stupidly flown into the cross-fire was definitely dead, so maybe it really was a death ray. Luckily, it, whatever it was, was similar to most other weapons in that it didn't work on a yellow sun charged Kryptonians. This was something that Clark learned when he misjudged the angle of the gun and flew right into the shot instead of out of it.
Genuinely angry now – Lex had just shot him – Clark sped down to the rooftop where Lex had dropped his gun and was throwing out obscenities left and right. Clark touched down, but before he could get into a lecture about how you do not shoot people, Lex was yelling at him.
"What the hell were you doing up there? You could have died!"
"What." Apparently Kryptonians lose the ability to properly form a question when adequately shocked and confused. Go figure.
"You flew right into the path of the death ray" – so Clark had heard him correctly – "and if it weren't for the fact that this thing seems to only work on lab rats and pigeons you would be dead right now," Lex admonished him.
"But I thought you wanted to kill me," Clark said tentatively. Because, between the "alien scum" epithets and the death rays, that was kind of the impression Clark had been getting.
"Of course I want to kill you," Lex told him. "That doesn't mean you're actually supposed to die."
"What," Clark said. He really needed to figure out where his question marks had run off to.
Lex sighed, and then explained, in a tone that suggested he thought Clark was a very small child. Or just particularly stupid. "You are a superhero. I am your arch-nemesis. As such I want to kill you, but you are supposed to beat me whenever I try."
That made it sound like Lex was trying to play cops and robbers with him, or superheroes and supervillains rather. And that sounded vaguely kinky and definitely like something Clark could be up for, but Lex seemed so earnest about his desire to kill Superman that Clark wasn't entirely sure he was playing. But if Lex wasn't playing, then what was with him setting himself up as Clark nemesis anyway?
"Why?" Clark asked, which wasn't the most articulate he had ever been, but hey, at least it actually came out as a question this time.
"Because you're the good guy," Lex said impatiently, which wasn't what Clark had been asking or even a particularly helpful answer if he had been.
"No, why are you my arch-nemesis?" Clark clarified.
"Because you keep thwarting my evil plans." Clark wondered if he could maybe shake some clear answers out of Lex. It would probably be more effective than asking was proving.
"But the fact that you didn't actually have any evil plans before I showed up would imply that you had a specific reason for wanting to be my arch-nemesis," Clark said, deciding he would try the logic tack before he went to physical violence.
This was apparently the prompt Lex had been waiting for, as he stood up straighter and even preened a little bit. "You're right Superman; I do have more personal reasons for my hatred of you. You see, as soon as you showed up I started doing a little research on you." Clark's eye twitched. Technically the point of the whole Superman thing was so that he didn't have to hide anything from people who might be interested in his powers or abilities, but that knowledge did little to affect his Pavlovian response to the word research. "You being an alien immediately put me in mind of the meteor shower in Smallville in 1989. These suspicions were confirmed when I found out about Clark Kent, the adopted son of the Kents of which there is no record of prior to the meteor shower, and who shows up in an alarming number of police reports."
"You know my secret identity?" Clark exclaimed in disbelief.
"You really should get a better disguise," Lex told him, looking mildly pissed that Clark would interrupt him for something that he clearly deemed unimportant.
"But what are you going to do with that information?" Clark pressed. Just because Lex didn't think it was important, that didn't mean Clark did.
"Nothing," was Lex's automatic response, which, after a few seconds thought, he amended to, "I'll probably kidnap Lois Lane at some point."
Clark heaved a sigh of relief. Lois got kidnapped or put into some other form of jeopardy just about every Friday anyway. At least Lex didn't seem like he would actually hurt her. "Okay then," Clark said. "You were saying?"
Lex glared, as though making sure Clark wouldn't try to interrupt him again, something about which Clark was making no promises, before continuing. "On the day your ship came down to Earth I was in Smallville and got caught up in the meteor shower."
"You and everyone else in Kansas," Clark muttered. Lex shot him a look and Clark apologized, but seriously, the number of people who "just happened" to be in Smallville on the day of the meteor shower was currently teetering on the border between ridiculously excessive and physically impossible. Plus, once the guilt wore off, the whole "I'm also a meteor mutant" thing started to get really old, really fast.
Still, Clark wondered what kind of power Lex had gotten. He would guess super-sexiness, except that hardly seemed like the kind of thing someone would be upset over.
"If you're done interrupting me," Lex drawled and Clark still wasn't making any promises on that one because he did have a tendency of just blurting things out. "During the shower one of the meteors almost landed on my head and a side-effect of the radiation has left me bald to this day."
Clark bit back his initial response, which was something along the lines of an incredulous "that's it?" and decided to save his second thought "bald is a really good look for you," for later, before settling on a contrite, if a bit confused, "Sorry?"
"It's too late for that Superman," Lex said, which was totally unfair since up until about ten second ago Clark had just assumed Lex shaved his head or something. "It's your fault that I lost my hair, which makes all torture I went through at school for being 'the bald kid' your fault, and as such I've sworn my vengeance."
Clark gave Lex a long look. Considered x-raying his brain, but discarded the idea as unhelpful since Clark's knowledge of neurology was limited to one college class he had taken on human anatomy. Considered x-raying through his clothes, but discarded the idea as an invasion of privacy and, more importantly, far too distracting. Considered the high incidence of insanity in meteor mutants. Decided that yes, Lex was crazy and, additionally, that crazy was a good look for him.
"So to be clear," Clark said, "you want to kill me, but not really-"
"No," Lex corrected, "I really do want to kill you, I just have no expectations of success." God that was confusing. Clark fucking hated doublethink.
"Okay," agreed Clark, more so he could stop thinking about it than because he really understood it. "And the reason you want me dead is revenge for the fact that when I was a toddler my spaceship, which I had no control over because, I reiterate, I was a toddler, crash landed near you and made you go bald." And because Lex was probably a bit obsessed with comic books, but Clark kept that tidbit to himself since it would likely be detrimental to Clark's seduction plan. A plan that was so back on now that Clark was sure that Lex wasn't actually evil, just confused. Or maybe just confusing. One of the two at any rate.
"Correct," Lex said.
"Okay, then I have one more question for you," Clark told him.
"Go ahead," Lex sighed, sounding eminently indulgent.
Back when Clark had been a freshman in college, and still new to the whole gay thing, he had complained to his roommate Adam about his failure to get some guy or other to notice him. Adam had looked him in the eye and said "Clark, excessive brooding aside, you're a good guy, but you do interested like other people do mixed signals. My advice is to be subtle as a MAC truck and that's what's gonna work for you." It was with this in mind that Clark asked his next question:
"Does this arch-nemesis thing in any way preclude us from having sex?"
Given Lex's recent and very vocal claims of his desire to kill Clark, Clark was fully expecting to be turned down. As such, he was already planning out some heavy-handed flirting for Lex's next evil plot. It was undoubtedly due to this distraction that when Lex launched himself at Clark, Clark went down like a ton of bricks. He had a brief moment to wonder if Lex was actually a good deal straighter than Clark had initially thought, given the violent nature of his reaction to being hit on by another man, before Lex was kissing him and Clark suddenly didn't have enough blood left in his brain to wonder anything at all.
Lex kissed like Clark was a foreign country he was trying to conquer, which was sounding really good to Clark right about now. Clark wasn't exactly sure how long they had been lying on the roof of LexCorp kissing before Lex pulled away, other than a strong conviction that it wasn't long enough. At least, until Lex leaned back down to growl in Clark's ear "I'm going to fuck you until you can't see straight." At that point Clark lost any grasp of time or anything at all but Lex writhing on top of him and making good use of his mouth to colonize Clark's neck.
Clark fucking loved doublethink.
AN2: I feel it's important to note that Lex swearing vengeance on Superman because Superman is accidentally responsible for Lex being bald was not my idea, but real comic book canon. Yay for canon!crack!