|Clex Fic: Third Life
||[Jun. 12th, 2011|09:51 pm]
After the finale, I really wanted to write a "fix it" fic!
Title: Third Life
Spoilers: All of SV, including the finale.
Plot: The Clone may have lost his memories...but the real Lex never forgets!
"Lex Luthor. You shall awake, Lex Luthor."
The cold voice burrows into Lex's ear. Lex considers the command and isn't convinced he wants to wake up. He opens his eye a crack, flinches at a blinding white light and knows he doesn't want to wake up.
"Lex Luthor." A sharp pain at Lex's side, like an insect bite. Lex sits up; the white room spins around him, finally focusing on a face.
He knows this person. Not a person. Brainiac.
"Where am I?"
Lex looks down and, oh splendid, he's naked, on a table. Again.
"You are in my ship, Lex Luthor. The time has come to return you to earth."
"Why did you take me away from Earth?" Lex says irritably. He flexes his arms, then his legs. All in good order, although now he's awake he's noticing the cold.
"To save you," says Brainiac.
"Save me from what?"
It's a mistake to ask. Brainiac approaches, finger extended.
"No," says Lex. "Never mind-"
Brainiac touches his forehead and memories rush back in a flood. Except they aren't all Lex's memories. Holding Clark while the icy roof collapses, yes. Zod returning in a new form, Tess taking over Luthorcorp, Clark fighting a succession of red-eyed…things: This is new information.
Lex rubs his eyes:
"How long have I been gone?"
"I have infinite awareness of time. Measurements hold no meaning," says Brainiac.
"Nice for you, but I need to know. How long have I been gone, in earth time."
"Two years, nine months, six days, four hours, thirty seven minutes, seventeen seconds."
Lex takes a moment to process this:
"And you kidnapped me – why? You wanted a pet?"
"To keep you safe," says Brainiac. "For my plan. But now you must return. There is another Lex Luthor and he is wrong."
Another press from the finger: Lex sees his office at Luthorcorp, his exact double sitting behind his desk. This Lex looks as weary as Lex himself feels.
"It's a clone?"
"It is multiple clones put together with the heart of Lionel Luthor from a different universe," says Brainiac. "It is wrong."
"No argument here," says Lex. "Now, where are my clothes?"
* * * *
Lex strides into Luthorcorp like he owns the place – which of course he does. There are a few puzzled looks but they are quickly followed by deferential nods. The blonde sitting guard at the reception desk looks thoroughly confused.
"Mr. Luthor? Oh, but I thought-"
"I just stepped out for a minute."
He marches into his office, closes the door, and turns to look into his own face.
* * * *
Lex had expected a fight, a duel of wits at the very least. But there is no fight left in the creature before him.
"You've forgotten everything?" Lex says. "How? You should have all my memories."
The Clone furrows his brow.
"The first thing I remember is being here. A dead woman was on the floor; she had red hair, and the city was falling to bits outside the window."
"But you've recovered some memories since then?"
"Yes," A flicker of pride across the other Lex's face. "There's a camera in this office. I watched the footage. The red-haired woman…I hugged her, then I stabbed her and she smeared her hand across my face. I found out later she was my – our – sister."
Summerholt, thinks Lex. Tess must have continued Dr. Gardner's memory research.
"Why would you kill Tess?" he says. "She was highly intelligent, a valuable ally."
The Clone shakes his head:
"I don't know. I had a lip reader watch the footage; I said I wanted to save her… and then I killed her."
As Luthors do, thinks Lex.
"Are you going to kill me?" asks the Clone.
Lex is startled:
"It hadn’t occurred to me." It's probably what Brainiac wants, which is reason enough not to do it.
"I wouldn't mind dying," says the Clone. "I don't…I'm not enjoying being here. I get these flashes of memory. I don't like them. And I'm not healthy. The doctors say this body is rejecting my heart."
"Given the source, that's understandable," says Lex. He adds: "What you need is some time away. And since I need my office back, that works out well for both of us. Where would you like to go?"
"I don’t remember," says the Clone, helplessly. "Where would I like to go?"
* * * *
A week later, the Clone is relaxing in Switzerland and Lex has settled in at LexCorp. Disconcerting to discover the Smallville mansion in ruins – Lex hasn't quite got to the bottom of that story yet – but he's made himself comfortable in the penthouse and has been busy compiling spreadsheets of what's been happening in his absence. Brainiac's memory boost had been incomplete, only showing Lex what Brainiac considered relevant. But plenty more has happened besides that.
The other Lionel seems to have come and gone. Lex suspects Tess had a hand in the "going" and brings flowers to her grave as a thank you. There are several bouquets of flowers there, one bearing a card from "C.K." Interesting.
Lois has ascended to the upper ranks of the Daily Planet. Lex watches her interview the Water Commissioner and freezes the frame to get a closer look at the hunched figure in a shabby raincoat behind her. Even dressed as 55 year old insurance agent from Akron, there is no disguising the essential beauty of Clark.
What is Clark doing? Lex finds bountiful evidence of both his journalism and heroism but the dual disguises are both excessive and garish – Lois's hand at work? Lex acquaints himself with the back history of The Blur, who seems to have become active in Metropolis around the time Lex himself departed it.
He's eager to see Clark but prepared to be patient. Time will bring Clark to him.
It brings Lois first, barging into reception, hand extended to introduce herself:
"Mr. Luthor, it's a pleasure to meet you. I have a few questions about the restructuring of LuthorCorp."
This is a fishing expedition, thinks Lex, to see what I remember. Had Clark also directed Tess to steal the Clone's memories? Is he getting his girlfriends to do his leg work now? It doesn't seem like Clark.
He sits back in his chair, steepling his fingers:
"It's LexCorp now, Ms. Lane. And I'm delighted to meet you. I'm a great admirer of your writing."
Lois gives him a long, hard look, then fires a series of questions. Lex answers easily and can see her relaxing.
"Thanks very much for your time, Mr. Luthor."
"Do call me "Lex," says Lex. "And Ms Lane, in your line of work, I'm sure you don’t get many chances for to stop for meals. Feel free to stop by the dining hall on the second floor. We have an excellent range of organic muffins-"
Small quiver in Lois's cheek.
"I'm always trying to peddle them to visitors," says Lex, innocently.
"Thank you, Lex," says Lois, eyes narrowed, "I’ll keep that in mind."
Lex leans back and watches her leave. Unsubtle of him but it should be enough to deliver Clark to his door.
* * * *
Superman has had a busy week; Lex tracks his progress around the city. Toyman sets an explosion for Civic Pride Day, which is conveniently defused at the last moment. The Amos Fortune Gang's attempt to rob the Bank of Metropolis is thwarted. Three kittens are rescued from trees before the fire department can get to them.
"Mr. Luthor, you have a visitor," says Hope. "It's a Mr. Kent, from the Daily Planet."
Lex affixes a bland look on his face and then nearly loses it when Clark stumbles in. Up close, the clumsy act is extraordinarily unconvincing. Clark drops his notebook, then a pen, then catches his cuff in the door.
"Sorry, Mr. Luthor…"
"Take your time," says Lex. "Settle in."
"Thank you," says Clark and gingerly lowers himself into a chair. Lex watches, fascinated. The Clark he knew moved like a lithe panther, even in his awkward teenaged years.
"What would you like to know, Mr. Kent?"
Clark looks up; There's a faint flush on his cheek.
"I have just a few follow up questions from your interview with Lois Lane…"
"Of course," says Lex. "Please ask away."
"How much does your past," Clark pauses, "inform your present role as CEO of LexCorp?"
"I prefer to live in the present, Mr. Kent. Indeed, my past is something of a blur-"
He lets the last word hang for a moment.
"But naturally we are all formed by our past experiences. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree – so they say."
He fancies Clark's eyes narrow momentarily behind the glasses.
"Do your work obligations make it difficult to maintain a social life?"
"I manage," says Lex. "As to marriage and children, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Or possibly drive right off the edge. You never know."
Clark is managing to keep his face composed but Lex is surprised the pencil in his hand hasn't snapped.
"And what are some of your interests – outside of work, I mean?"
Lex strokes his chin:
"Well, I'm fascinated by history. It does tend to repeat itself, doesn't it? I love reading the classics. Chess, fencing. Not very interesting for your article, I'm afraid."
"No," says Clark. "It's all good stuff-"
"Stuff of legend?" says Lex. He can't resist.
Clark looks up and meets his eye. The façade instantly drops away and Lex is looking into the face of the real Clark. And the real Clark is glaring at him.
There's a rush of unspooling colour, as Clark hurtles towards him. Clark's arms are around Lex's waist and then abruptly they're outside, soaring through the air. They're moving too fast for Lex's eye to retain any images beyond the blue sky and Clark's furious face above him.
They land in a forest. Lex's knees wobble and he falls onto soft pine needles.
"Well," he says. "That was novel. How long have you been flying?"
Clark towers over him, arms folded.
"How much do you remember?"
"I never forgot," says Lex. He extends a hand to Clark to be pulled up and finds himself pinned against a tree.
"You're not him," says Clark. He peers into Lex's face, seeking confirmation. "Not the clone. Or are you a different clone?"
"No," says Lex.
Clark's hands tighten on his arms:
"The last time I saw you, we were about to be buried under a metric ton of ice," says Lex. He remembers the weight of Clark in his lap, Clark's eyes locked to his.
"Where did you go?" says Clark.
"Brainiac had me in cold storage," says Lex. "I only woke up last week."
Clark opens his mouth, but can't seem to find the words. His hands loosen and tighten on Lex's arms.
"Just so you know, Clark, in case you were thinking of stealing my memories again? It won't work. I will always remember you. Every cell in my body knows you, points towards you like the north star. Drop me at the ends of the earth and I'll still find my way back to you."
Clark stares at him. The years have fallen away and he no longer looks like the superhero, despite the costume, nor the bumbling reporter. He looks like Clark again: Lex's Clark.
"Is that a threat?" whispers Clark.
"It's a vow," Lex says. "An inevitability. You want to get rid of me again? You'll have to kill me."
And since he's thrown everything else to the wind, what the hell? This is his moment. Lex leans forward and kisses Clark.
He expects resistance. Perhaps Clark will fly away, or toss him across the forest. What he gets instead is a tiny gasp and instant capitulation. Clark's mouth opens under his and Lex is startled by how much Clark clearly wants this too, wants him. Lex would think he was dreaming but no, those are Clark's lips crushing his, that's Clark's tongue exploring his mouth. And Clark's hands are on his ass, lifting him up so that they're face to face.
Clark's face: No other face will ever compare. Lex gently smoothes the hair back and cups Clark's chin in his hand. Clark's eyes are uncertain; he ducks his head to hide behind his lashes. Lex tilts the chin up for another long kiss, then presses kisses along Clark's jaw line up to his ear, to whisper:
"I love you. Always have, always will."
"Lex." It's halfway between a plea and a moan.
"Fuck me?" asks Lex. It's embarrassingly close to begging but he doesn't care. "I've waited so long. Can we please, Clark, finally…"
A cool breeze teases across Lex's skin. The skyline does an abrupt semi-circle and Lex is on his back, naked, his own shirt neatly tucked under his head for a pillow. Clark hovers over him, also naked. Lex stares up at him, aware that his jaw has dropped slightly but not caring. Clark is blushing, eyes still lowered, but he's clearly enjoying Lex's gaze.
"Come here," Lex orders. Clark blinks, holding back a smile. He bends down, his lips brushing Lex's ear and whispers:
"You….are not in charge any more."
Lex arches up, trying to rub up against as much of Clark's skin as possible. His arms are around Clark's neck. He can feel Clark's cock nudging his hip.
He finds the pulse in Clark's neck and kisses it. Clark's scent hasn't changed. How many times had Lex managed to bury his nose in Clark's neck when they hugged? Clark murmurs something, then bumps Lex's chin with his nose. Frantic kissing; Clark's not holding back now. There will be bruises later, finger-marks and bite-marks, but Lex doesn't care. His heart pounds against his ribcage. Clark's hair is tickling his cheek.
Lex's hand explores Clark's back, grazing the crack of his ass. Clark shifts a little; their cocks brush and they both gasp. Lex slips his finger into Clark's crack and Clark bites Lex's lip, drawing blood.
"S'okay," says Lex, but he doesn't withdraw his finger, teasing around Clark's hole.
Clark whimpers and kisses Lex's throat. One of his hands is clasped over Lex's ear, the other is stroking Lex's chest. Clark's hand is so big he can rub both of Lex's nipples at once.
"You like that?" whispers Clark, and does it again. Lex closes his eyes. He eases the tip of his finger inside Clark, and Clark makes a rumbling noise in his throat. He kisses Lex roughly. His hand moves lower and wraps around Lex's cock.
Lex gives up all attempts at trying to run things. He is putty in Clark's hands.
Clark moves his hands to Lex's thighs and gently spreads them apart. He kisses his way down Lex's body, settling in between his legs. Lex lets his legs fall across Clark's back and wriggles at the ecstasy of Clark's tongue, there, licking his balls and the underside of his cock.
Then Clark is gone, just for a moment, but long enough for the bottom to fall out of Lex's world. Just as suddenly, Clark is back, with a blush, and a tube in his hand. Oh.
Lex lies on his back, legs spread. Clark kisses him and gently rubs the lube into his hole. Lex opens up around Clark's finger, then Clark's tongue. Nothing could prepare him for the heft of Clark's cock but with Clark's eyes above him, wide and deep as oceans, Lex even relishes the burn: Pleasure and pain, beginning and ending, all at once.
Clark tilts Lex's hips up to drive deeper inside him. Lex hisses. His legs are draped over Clark's shoulders. Clark reaches down to cup Lex's cheek in his hand.
"Lex, you feel…"
And then Clark comes, with a yelp, losing his balance and toppling onto Lex. Between panting breaths, Clark sputters:
"Stop apologizing," murmurs Lex.
He presses his nose to Clark's shoulder. Lex's cock is still hard, the wet tip rubbing against Clark's belly. Clark takes Lex's cock into his hand and jacks him slowly.
"Oh," says Lex. There are fireworks behind his eyelids. "OH."
Lex's cock is in Clark's hand and Clark's cock is still throbbing deep inside him. The thump of Clark's heart seems to vibrate through Lex and shake the earth below them. Clark smiles at Lex and bends down to kiss him; when their lips touch, Lex comes hard, all over Clark's hand and both their stomachs.
They lie together, quiet. Tired. The rush in Lex's head gradually subsides. He strokes Clark's back.
"I really missed you," says Clark, softly. "When you were gone, it took away the hope…that we might find our way back to each other again. I missed my friend. No one ever could take your place."
He reaches for Lex's hand.
"I always wanted to tell you," says Clark. "Even if it was dangerous, I still wanted you to know. Even when we were fighting. That first time I was on red kryptonite, when you were going to take me to Metropolis. I would have told you then. I did tell you in Belle Reve, but Lionel stole those memories."
Lex shivers and Clark holds him tighter.
"I never lie to Lois," says Clark. "I'll have to tell her. About this."
Lex can afford to be magnanimous with Clark in his arms:
"I already lead a double life," says Clark, ruefully. "Guess I can manage a triple."
"A third life…" says Lex. "I'm on my third life now…."
"I just…" says Clark. He rolls over so they're lying face to face. "I need you to be a good man, Lex. I can't allow myself to love you if you're not."
Lex hesitates before answering, wanting to pick the right words:
"That's what I've always wanted to be, Clark, even when I've gotten it wrong. Protect the world, and be with you. I'll try my hardest. But Brainiac said he has a plan for me, that's why he sent me back-"
"We can deal with Brainiac," says Clark. "The two of us together? More than a match for him."
Lex takes a moment to savour "together". He can't quite imagine where they will go from here, but at least he's not going alone. The wind blows through the trees and a few stars are out in the sky. Clark yawns twice, blinks sleepily at Lex, then settles his head on Lex's shoulder.
Lex watches Clark fall asleep and bends down to whisper a promise in his ear.
"I'm never leaving you again."
Clark doesn't wake but his fingers curl around Lex's hand. Lex stays awake, watching Clark sleep. In this silent forest, for the first time in years, he is happy.