In the Know
Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville.
Clark was surveying the room around him in dismay when a voice rang out from behind him.
"Hello, Clark. Can't say I love what you've done with the place."
Clark spun around. He would know that voice anywhere. "Lex."
Lex smirked slightly as he stepped forward. "You still say it the same way. Astonishment mixed with a hint of dread yet with a hopeful finish."
"You're alive," Clark breathed. This was far from the first time that Lex had returned from the dead but it had been awhile and, unlike the last time, Lex looked to be in peak physical condition.
Hopefully this meant that he'd be back in peak mental condition, too, and not do anything crazy like killing his entire board because he didn't like a business decision or make him and Lana unable to go anywhere near each other without leaving him in crippling pain. Granted without the helpful push he probably never would have just been able to let go of her and find love with Lois but was that really the best way to do it? And it wasn't like that was even Lex's reason for doing it, either. Well…probably. Lex always did try to help him even when they were at their worst.
"Seems my father had a…change of heart," Lex said cryptically, explaining nothing. If he even knew. This was probably a clone or something that evil alternate dimension Lionel got working. Where was he anyway? He'd worry about that later. "And I got a second chance at life."
Clark knew that what he said and did next would be very important, possibly a defining moment between them. They hadn't been on good terms since, oh, it must have been the second meteor shower. Lex had done so many terrible things in the name of…What had it been again? He usually hadn't been paying attention to Lex's attempts at justification since he was so off base. Knowing Lex, it was probably something about saving the world.
But that was before he knew Clark's secret. Clark might not have willingly told him (who had he actually willingly and intentionally told aside from Lana that one time that he proposed and she died so it didn't even count) but now that Lex knew things were different.
He really should try to plan out the perfect way to tell Lex that things were different now but he was having a difficult time concentrating on that.
Practically before he knew it, he had Lex engulfed in a hug.
"Clark?" Lex asked uncertainly.
"I am so glad that you're okay!" Clark exclaimed.
Lex was a little stiff but he patiently waited for Clark to finish and step back before he said, "Are you feeling alright?"
Clark cocked his head as he considered the question. "I don't know. On the one hand, you're alive and that is great but on the other hand Lois and I didn't get to get married because Oliver got possessed or something and ruined it. Oh, and then there's the massive planet Apokolips that is hurtling towards us right now and will probably kill us all but you may have noticed that on your own."
Lex nodded. "I did, yes. And given that things are so bleak, we really don't have time to sit and talk this out but…" He shook his head. "I don't actually think I can send you out there without asking what the hell is going on because experience has taught me that if I let you leave you're going to pretend that this whole thing never happened."
"What whole thing?" Clark asked, bewildered.
Lex's eye twitched. "You're doing it already!"
"No, I'm just honestly not sure what you think I will be pretending didn't happen," Clark tried to clarify.
Lex closed his eyes briefly. "Let's try this again. You seem glad to see me."
Clark nodded. "I am glad to see you. I don't quite understand how you're here alive right now but trust me when I say that this is a good thing."
"Clark, the last time we saw each other we were trying to kill each other," Lex reminded him.
"Lex, I have never actually tried to kill you," Clark argued.
Lex just stared at him. "I can list at least half a dozen attempts off the top of my head."
"As a super-powered alien, if I wanted you dead you would have died," Clark insisted. "In fact, I actually had to be very careful even while manhandling you for you to have not so much as broken a bone in all of our confrontations."
"And now you're just admitting the fact that you're from another planet, something I tried for seven years to get you to do!" Lex exploded.
"Well, yeah, Lex," Clark said, not sure why he had to explain such a basic concept to Lex. Then again, he had just come back from the dead so maybe he should try and cut him a little slack. "You know the truth about me now."
"I have known the truth about you for years," Lex countered.
"You suspected," Clark disagreed. "And you kept dropping gigantic hints and that's really not the same thing at all."
Lex rolled his eyes. "Far be it from me to expect you to actually trust me with something like that."
"Look, it's not like I don't get where you're coming from but I don't just tell people about being an alien," Clark said placatingly.
Lex gave him a disgusted look. "Oh please. You told my father before you told me."
"That guy that you killed?" Clark couldn't resist asking.
"Fine, yes, the guy that I killed. Years after, might I add, he had me drugged and institutionalized and then brain-fried because I found out that he had his parents murdered. Also after he attempted to blow up the lovely Miss Sullivan and her father. And did you know that he gave your father a heart attack? Not intentionally but that still seems like a nasty thing to do," Lex said casually.
Okay, when Lex put it that way Clark did kind of have to remember that Lionel was kind of a sociopathic asshole. But to be fair, he had only been trying to forget about that for his mother's sake after she had clearly gone crazy following the loss of her husband.
"Wait, what?" Clark asked, his eyes bulging out. "When did he-"
"We can talk about it later after you've saved the world and I've pulled up the relevant files," Lex cut in smoothly.
"And I never actually told your father!" Clark said indignantly. "He, like so many people, pretty much forced me to acknowledge the truth since he already knew. Chloe, for instance, was apparently told by Alicia nearly a year before she admitted that she knew because she was waiting for me to tell her. And it was never going to happen. Maybe I should tell people, I don't know-"
"You really should," Lex interrupted.
"But the fact that I don't is pretty well-established by now. You really should have forced the issue," Clark declared.
"So because I tried to respect your privacy and wait for you to come to me, somehow I'm the bad guy?" Lex demanded, narrowing his eyes.
Clark almost laughed at the thought of Lex respecting his privacy given the numerous investigations he'd launched over the years. But then he realized that Lex had, in fact, attempted to respect his privacy. He had just been very, very bad at it.
"Not the bad guy, no, but it is why you were the only one who didn't know," Clark said carefully.
Not carefully enough, it seemed, because Lex's nostrils flared. "You always yelled at me whenever you found out that I was investigating you! How was I supposed to piece it together and confront you with the truth if I didn't investigate you?"
"Well, you weren't," Clark said matter-of-factly. "It's just that if you had ignored that – which you did – and confronted me – which you didn't – then I would have just accepted it."
"I hope you realize just how screwed up your logic is," Lex said flatly after almost a full minute of just staring at him.
"I do," Clark conceded. "But fortunately, now everybody that matters knows the truth. And to get back to what I was saying…if I can ever remember…Oh, right. The first time that you tried to kill me you were so upset about that you couldn't even just kill me and walk away. You had to go down with me."
Lex looked distinctly displeased by the reminder. "You just walked away from that and I was never the same."
"I lost my powers and ended up spending the summer trapped in a slave labor camp," Clark argued. "That was hardly any better."
"Well you were just fine afterward and I was not," Lex reiterated.
"And you look just fine now," Clark said pointedly, nodding at him. "Besides, you were the one who blew us both up."
"I was trying to save the world," Lex said indignantly.
Clark nodded. "I know. And you were lied to. I know that Kara telling you something bad about me is a very trustworthy source because she's my cousin and wouldn't lie about something like that but it wasn't actually Kara. It was Brainiac – Fine, remember? – who wanted to cause trouble. So of course I don't blame you for that."
"That's a first," Lex muttered.
"And then afterwards I sort of assumed you had severe brain damage and so can't be held accountable for your actions. But now you seem to be fine!" Clark said brightly.
"I did not have severe brain damage!" Lex snapped.
Clark looked at him pityingly. "Lex, you put cameras behind Tess' eyes."
"…On second thought, you may be right," Lex quickly conceded. If he wasn't actually brain-damaged, Clark knew that he was definitely going to claim that should anyone actually try to hold him accountable for that. Getting himself declared alive again should be annoying for him but it's not like he's never done it before so he should know how to do it.
"So, really, we're not that bad on the trying to kill each other scale," Clark concluded.
Lex looked lost for a moment before remembering what Clark had initially been saying. "Clark, don't you think the fact that we're on the scale at all is rather worrying?"
Clark nodded. "I agree. We should really not try to kill each other going forth. And by 'we' I really mean you because, like I said, I've never actually tried to kill you."
"Well I'm not agreeing to anything like that until you agree to stop doing what any sane person would call 'trying to kill me'," Lex said stubbornly, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Clark sighed. He did so enjoy adding weight to his argument by being physically intimidating but he supposed that fair was fair. If Lex couldn't try to kill him then he could at least contribute this. But he wasn't always in his right mind or in full control of his actions when that happened and he didn't want to face the consequences of breaking a promise if he couldn't help it.
"I'll make a sincere effort," Clark offered lamely.
The look that Lex gave him was decidedly unimpressed. "I appreciate that, really. And I'll endeavor to the same."
"What, so you can't even promise to make a sincere effort? You'll only try to make a sincere effort?" Clark demanded.
"Is that one degree from an actual promise too much for you?" Lex asked innocently.
"I don't see why we're making this so complicated," Clark said suddenly, rubbing his forehead. "You're back and you know my secret and so, ruined wedding and Apokolips aside, everything's okay. Hey! Will you be my best man assuming we survive all of this?"
Clark had honestly never seen Lex so shocked. "You want me to be your best man?" It was like Clark had professed his desire to marry Lex's father or something.
"Well, it's only fair after all the times you asked me to be yours," Clark reasoned. "And while I know intellectually that it isn't Oliver's fault that he totally ruined my wedding, he still did it and so he is lucky if he even gets invited to the next one."
"Are you sure you're feeling alright?" Lex asked, looking like he was trying to decide which one of them was having the psychotic break.
"Aside from the two things I just mentioned, I'm fine," Clark assured him. "It's nice of you to worry, though, and just reassures me that this is the right thing."
"So everything I've done is just okay because now I know your secret?" Lex demanded.
"Well, maybe not okay," Clark amended. "But really, it's all in the past. An entire lifetime ago for you, technically. Why dwell?"
"You always have before," Lex pointed out.
"You didn't know my secret before," Clark countered.
"Is that really all it takes?" Lex still couldn't believe it.
"Look, do you want to be friends again or what?" Clark asked, begging to get impatient. "Because I'm starting to get the feeling that you don't." It was very odd and un-Lex-like. Maybe this clone didn't come out as perfectly as he seemed.
"No, I do," Lex said, practically before the words had finished leaving Clark's mouth. That was more like it. "I just…we have so much baggage, you and I. It can't be that easy just because I know your secret."
"Lex, it's always that easy when you know my secret," Clark told him.
Lex looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"Lex?" Clark asked, concerned.
"Your friends will never accept it," Lex declared.
"Sure they will," Clark said, shrugging. "Well…maybe not Oliver. But the rest will just be glad you're no longer trying to kill me and they've had years of practice putting up with our friendship besides."
"Just…just go save the planet, okay?" Lex asked, shaking his head. "I need a minute."
Despite the fact that everybody up to and including his dead father had been telling him to do just that for hours now and he just wasn't feeling it, once Lex told him he should do it he felt ready to take the world. Quite literally in this case.
"Will do," Clark agreed, nodding. "Just don't go near Tess until I get back, okay? She's still mad about, well, everything and she can be quite creative with her vengeance."
"I don't think I'm even going to move from this spot until you come back," Lex said, still looking like he wasn't sure what was going on.
"That's a good plan," Clark replied. "Unless, of course, the ceiling collapses in which case you should definitely move." He headed towards the door and then stopped. "Oh, and you never did give me an answer about the best man thing!"