Clark, Lex, Chloe
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Screencap by SVfan.
This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
-Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
"You will be punished, my son."
Jor-El had intoned the words in an ominous voice that suggested horrible, unspeakable punishments, like Chinese water torture, or being forced to listen to Barry Manilow for three days straight. Clark had expected to find himself imprisoned inside a block of ice, at the very least.
Instead, Jor-El had just let him go, rather to his surprise. He'd come back to Smallville to find his ex-girlfriend still hanging around the farm. He'd kicked her out-- because really, who wanted to date someone who kept people imprisoned in bear traps?-- and gone back to his normal life.
He woke up the next morning, and everything was still normal. He was in his normal bed, in his normal bedroom, and it was the normal hour of 5:30. Time for him to start milking the cows. He struggled out of bed-- because even for a superpowered alien, getting up at 5:30 required some degree of struggle-- and staggered down the hall to the bathroom.
He flipped on the light and looked at himself in the mirror... and gave a long howl of terrified anguish.
On the other side of Smallville, Lex Luthor got up at the exact same moment. He always got up at 5:30. He was a busy man, but he liked to get in a good workout and some fencing before he headed to Metropolis and spent the day sitting in an office. He had no intention of developing the sort of ass most people got from sitting in desk chairs too much. His ass was, well, an asset, and he took care of it, along with the rest of his body.
He slid out of bed gracefully, flipped on the switch, and caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror over the dresser. His eyes went wide.
"Holy shit," he said.
Clark could hear the clinking of fencing sabers as he stalked down the ancient stone halls of the Luthor mansion. He strode into the room Lex used as a gym.
Both figures came to a sudden halt as Clark stormed through the door. One of them sighed. "It's a bit early to come to the mansion and start flinging accusations around, isn't it, Cla..."
The figure turned toward him, and suddenly started to laugh. Clark growled.
"It's not funny, Lex."
"Oh, I beg to differ, Clark. It's extremely funny." Lex removed his fencing mask, shaking his head like Prince Charming, and a wealth of dark, wavy hair danced around his face.
Clark snarled, showing his teeth, and ran a hand over his own bald head. "I want my hair back, Lex."
Lex was still laughing. Ten minutes later, he was seated behind the desk in his study, giggling like a schoolgirl. He couldn't think of the last time he'd laughed this hard.
Clark, on the other hand, did not look in the least amused. He put on his most dangerous scowl, dropped his hands onto Lex's desk, and glared at him.
"I want my hair back, damn it!"
The sunrise through the stained glass window lit Clark's bald head, making it gleam with purple-red light. Lex somehow managed to choke back more laughter, and spoke in an approximation of a reasonable, serious voice.
"Your hair, Clark?" He tugged at his lush, long, luxuriant locks. "What makes you think it's yours? It's attached to my head, isn't it?"
"It's mine, damn it. Your hair was red."
"Apparently it darkened with age."
"That's my hair!"
"Yes," Lex drawled. "Because hair often just magically transfers itself from one head to another overnight."
"This is Smallville, Lex. Strange things happen."
"Yes, well..." Lex smiled at him, very sweetly. "Even if I were to admit that my thick, dense, wavy new hair does bear a striking resemblance to the hair that used to adorn your head, I honestly don't know how I could give it back to you."
Clark reached out a big paw, his eyes flaring. "I'll be happy to rip it all off for you."
Lex leaned back a little, because the look on Clark's face said he wasn't kidding. "And then you'll put it back on your own head... how?"
Clark hesitated, and Lex let another laugh escape at the frustrated, angry look on his former friend's face. "Go home, Clark. Go back to the farm... and throw out your shampoo."
Clark bared his teeth, then turned around and stalked toward the door, his broad shoulders set in a way that suggested real fury.
"Oh, one other thing," Lex said. "Three words of wisdom that might help you adjust to this unexpected turn of events..."
Clark hesitated. He didn't turn around, but he paused, and his body language suggested he was listening.
"Bald is beautiful," Lex said helpfully.
Clark stalked from the room, and in his wake, both study doors mysteriously crashed to the ground.
"Oh, my God."
Clark turned his head and looked at Chloe Sullivan, his best friend. He'd been trying to avoid her calls all morning, and apparently she'd finally gotten worried and decided to come check on him.
He really wished he'd put on a baseball cap or something.
She walked into the loft, staring, looking as shocked as if he'd grown a second head. "What on earth happened to you, Clark?"
"Jor-El happened to me," he said, crankily.
"Oh, my God. Why?"
"It's a punishment. My punishment for not listening to him." He sighed, and ran a hand over his head. He still couldn't get used to the way it felt without any hair.
"And this explains..."
"Why Lex is strutting around downtown Smallville with a full head of hair, yeah."
"Oh, my God. I just figured he'd mixed Rogaine with green K in one of his evil science experiments. It never occurred to me that it was yours."
Clark sighed. "It looks good on him."
"No kidding. He looks totally hot." He turned his head to glare at her, and she hastily backpedaled. "Not that you don't look, you know, okay. Fine, I mean. Er... just as hot as ever. Really, you look totally hot..."
"Stop it," he said with a sigh.
"Okay." She shrugged. "So I don't think bald suits you quite as well as it suited Lex. But you could always wear a wig or something..."
He ran both hands over his bare scalp in an unhappy gesture. "Is Lex really strutting around town?"
"Totally," she said. "I saw him at the Talon, and he had women dripping off him."
"Because of my hair?"
"Well, your hair, combined with the fact that he's a famous billionaire. It's an unbeatable combination."
Clark sighed. "I need my hair back, Chloe. You have to help me."
"I don't think there's much I can do," she said. "You need to go to Jor-El and talk to him about it. Tell him you're sorry. Tell him you'll try to do better. Tell him you've learned your lesson, and the next time you hear a voice coming from a crystal, you'll totally ignore it and just turn up the radio to drown it out."
Clark heaved another long, soulful sigh. "But I haven't learned my lesson, Chloe. That's the problem. If I heard my mother asking for help again... I'd help her in a heartbeat."
"Well..." She walked over to him and patted his shoulder reassuringly. "I don't blame you. Honestly, I think you're right and Jor-El is wrong. But all things considered... I guess you'd better get used to being bald."
Having hair again was great.
Lex hadn't realized how much he'd missed it. He'd spent a whole hour in front of the mirror this morning, styling it, brushing it, blow drying it, experimenting with it like a little girl playing with a Barbie.
And all that work had paid off. Because he was sitting in the middle of the Talon with a leggy blonde on his lap, and another one perched on his chair arm. He hadn't realized there were this many good-looking blondes in Smallville, and now here they were, dripping off him.
Life was good.
Poor Clark, he thought, and gave the blonde in his lap a squeeze.
"You have to fix this!"
Clark stood in the middle of the Fortress, shouting. He always shouted at the AI, supposedly for fear it couldn't hear him over the howling of the Arctic wind, but really just because the thing pissed him off. It had irritated him a hell of a lot over the years, but this situation-- this really made him mad.
It wasn't that this was the worst thing the AI had ever done to him, not by a long shot. It was simply that this time, he couldn't help imagining that it was laughing at him, and that really annoyed him.
But when the AI spoke, it sounded as unmoved as ever. "I told you, my son. You failed to think through your actions, and did not listen to me. You must be punished."
"You took my hair." Clark spoke through a snarl. "And you gave it to my greatest enemy."
"It suits him," the AI said, and this time Clark could have sworn he heard a trace of amusement threading through the calm, even tones.
"It suited me better, damn it!"
"Your hair will be returned to you when I see irrefutable proof that you have learned your lesson, my son."
Clark raised his voice and yelled at the ceiling. "The only lesson I've learned is that you're fucking crazy!"
"Control yourself, Kal-El."
"Control myself? Control myself?" Clark's voice was raised almost to a shriek. "Or what? What are you going to do next time? Trade my nose with Lex's? Put me into Shelby's body? Turn me into one of the freaking cows?"
"All intriguing notions," the AI intoned.
Clark suddenly had the awful feeling he'd said far, far too much. He spun around and headed for the portal at superspeed.
Because the absolute last thing he wanted to do was give the AI any more intriguing notions.
"You are totally going to wake up as a cow tomorrow."
At Chloe's snarky pronouncement, Clark sighed, dropping his face into his hands. "At least I'd have hair."
The two of them were hanging out in his loft again, Chloe perched on the old red couch, Clark slumped at his desk. She got up and walked over to him, her shoes thudding lightly against the wooden planks.
"Look, Clark... I know you don't want to hear this, but you're going to have to convince Jor-El you've changed to get your hair back."
"There has to be some other way."
"Oh, there is." Chloe nodded seriously. "We could sneak into Lex's mansion tonight, shave off all his hair, and superglue it back onto your head."
"His security staff might object, of course. But then again, they're usually hanging out and partying in the wine cellar, so I honestly doubt they'd notice."
"Or we could just steal some of Lana's hair. It's so long she probably wouldn't notice. Plus, it's so shiny and silky that everyone who sees it falls in love with her. You could have people falling at your feet, just like Lana does."
"Chloe. Stop it."
She reached out and patted him on the head. On the bald head. "I'm sorry," she said, more seriously. "I guess you don't find this terribly amusing."
"Oh, it's funny, all right. But for some reason I don't feel inclined to laugh about it."
She sighed. "Honestly, Clark, I think you're out of luck unless you convince Jor-El you've seen the error of your ways."
"And how am I supposed to do that?"
"Well... you could agree to take the training."
"Sure. Put myself totally under the control of a machine that likes to wipe my brain and erase my personality. That's a good plan, Chlo."
"Do you want your hair back, or don't you?"
"Given the choice between a blank scalp and a blank brain, I think I'll have to go with the baldness option."
"Okay. So no training. How about an apology?"
"You want me to apologize for trying to save my own mother?"
"Well, not exactly. You could apologize for being too reckless about it, though. You know, tell Jor-El you didn't think it through, and that you see your error now, and you'll do better next time."
"I could." Clark sighed. "But he said he wants irrefutable proof."
"Well, unless you hear another voice coming out of a crystal, that might be a little hard to come by."
"Exactly." Clark slammed a fist down on his desk, knocking a hole in it. "Even if I wanted to try to live by Jor-El's rules, how am I supposed to prove to him I'll do what he wants?"
"I don't know." Chloe bit her lip, looking thoughtful. "The only other idea I can come up with is to fight fire with fire."
Clark turned his head and narrowed his eyes. "Go on."
"Well, Jor-El is essentially trying to blackmail you into compliance. What if we turn the tables, and blackmail him?"
Clark thought about that for a moment, then shook his head slowly. "I just don't see how it could work, Chlo. I mean, computers aren't vain. They don't have hair to take away, or a physical housing they care about. There's nothing I could do to him to make him more cooperative."
"I have an idea." Chloe smiled, just a little, and it was that dangerous smile that had made Clark want to hide under his desk in high school more than once. "The only thing is, we'd somehow have to get our hands on Jor-El's password."
"Password?" Clark thought about that for a moment. "I don't need one, because I'm the only person who can affect the Fortress. It's got voice recognition software or something. The time I tried to put that virus into the Fortress, it accepted the input from me. I think I can do pretty much anything I want to it."
"Okay," she said, nodding. "So we don't need a password. But we do need one of those crystals from the Fortress. Can you get one?"
"Sure. But what exactly--"
"Trust me, Clark. Go get a crystal."
By three o'clock Lex had shared a very enjoyable threesome with the blondes, and been approached by a Metropolis news crew who happened to be in town, who wanted to do a story on his "new look." Life was good, he thought as he sat in his study, making out with yet another blonde. And it was all due to his head of thick, dark, wavy hair, which bore such an astonishing resemblance to Clark's.
He thought about poor Clark's entirely bald head, and he burst out laughing, somewhat to the annoyance of the girl on his lap, who thought he was laughing at her. She stood up in a huff, but he pulled her back down again, and managed to convince her that he was definitely not laughing at her.
Poor Clark, he thought. The kid had possessed a head of hair just like this-- and he hadn't ever used it to his advantage. Clark was just too young and naive to understand what he'd had at his disposal.
Lex was neither young nor naive, and he intended to use this hair to full advantage.
Collecting blondes was only the beginning.
Two hours later Clark stalked into the Fortress, holding a crystal in his hand. He'd swiped it from the Fortress right after his conversation with Chloe, and now he was back.
"Hello, my son," Jor-El said, sounding wary. "To what do I owe this unexpected number of visits?"
"I told you earlier," Clark responded. "I want my hair back."
"And I told you, Kal-El. That is entirely up to you."
"I don't think so." Clark strode toward the Fortress' console, uncomfortably aware of the cold air on his bald head. He didn't get cold, exactly, but he just didn't like the sensation. He should have worn a hat or something.
"Yes, Kal-El. Only you can correct this situation, by learning to behave as a true Kryptonian ought."
"Right," Clark drawled. "So I just need to learn to ignore the cries of people in trouble, and leave them to suffer, and then you'll give me my hair back."
Jor-El sounded irritated, for him. "You need to learn to think before you act."
"So do you, damn it." Clark paused next to the console. "I'm tired of you doing these horrible things to me and then claiming it's for my own benefit. I'm tired of you punishing me for actions I don't even think were wrong. And I'm damn tired of you trying to push me around. I think you have some serious problems, Jor-El. And if you don't fix this... I'm going to reprogram you."
There was a silence. At last Jor-El spoke, sounding suspicious.
"What is on the crystal, Kal-El?"
"It's a new operating program," Clark said, waving the clear crystal in the air threateningly. "It'll make you a whole lot easier to deal with. And if you don't give me my hair back, and quit trying to remold me into your bizarre idea of what a Kryptonian should be, I'm damn well going to install it."
"A new operating program." The AI paused, thinking about that, and then it spoke, its voice full of horror. "You don't mean--"
"Yeah, that's exactly what I mean." Clark held it up, in an in-your-face! kind of gesture. "Give me my hair back... or I install Windows."
"You would not dare."
"I would totally dare. Fix this. Now."
"No. You would not dare to overwrite Kryptonian technology with this pathetic, unstable, inadequate human operating system..."
Clark turned and thrust the crystal toward the console, and the AI howled in real terror.
At six o'clock, Lex leaned back in the leather-upholstered chair in his study. One hand was busily exploring yet another blonde in his lap-- it was really amazing how many blondes there were in Smallville-- but the other groped for the remote control on his desk. He pressed a button, and a panel on the wall slid aside, exposing a very large flat-screen plasma television.
Yet another blonde was on the screen, smiling. Lex recognized her as part of the news crew who'd interviewed him today. Her name was Cat Grant, and she was very pretty. He'd marked her down in his mind as another blonde to conquer at some point.
The lovely Cat smiled at the screen, while a picture of a dark-haired Lex popped up behind her, overlaid with the words HAIR APPARENT. The blonde in his lap was running her hands over his chest, but Lex hardly noticed. He was too busy staring over her shoulder, admiring himself on the TV screen.
God, he looked great with hair.
"WGBS was fortunate enough to get a rare interview with Lex Luthor today," Cat said, still smiling. The woman smiled so much she probably got flies in her teeth on a regular basis. "As most of you already know, Lex Luthor, Metropolis' favorite son, is the young, handsome CFO of LuthorCorp, not to mention a noted philanthopist. I spoke to Mr. Luthor in Smallville, about his plans for the future, which may include another run at politics..."
There was no may about it, Lex thought, sweeping a hand through the dark, dense locks on his head. With hair like this, he reflected, a man could conquer the world.
And he fully intended to.
"Lex, darling." The blonde in his lap whispered his name seductively, rubbing against him. "Am I boring you?"
Lex was pretty certain he was incapable of being bored by curvaceous blondes, no matter how many he had. But if he did get bored, there were always redheads, as well as an endless supply of brunettes. With hair like this, he was certain he could have pretty much any woman he wanted.
God, Clark was such a hick. He could have been prowling Metropolis, bedding half the female population. But as far as Lex knew, he'd only slept with one woman, and that one only a few times. Clark was a fool.
Lex Luthor was not a fool.
The blonde girl writhed sinuously against him and stroked her hand over his head-- and then squealed in what sounded like dismay.
"Oh, my God! Your hair! What happened to your hair?"
"Thank you," Clark said, running his hand over his head, where an abundant crop of thick, shiny hair once again resided. Suddenly he felt a lot warmer. He glared upward. "I take it we understand one another now? You're going to stop punishing me for imaginary offenses every time I turn around?"
"Certainly," intoned the AI. "And may I assume you will stop acting like an idiotic ass in every new situation that presents itself?"
"I was not acting like an..." Clark thought about it, and sighed. "Okay. So maybe I went off a little... half-cocked."
"You are the Last Son of Krypton," the AI said, sounding very solemn. "You are the last hope of our race, and the future savior of another race. You cannot attain your destiny if you behave as if your brains are up your arse, my son."
"Um... okay. I'll try harder."
"Very well, Kal-El. I will refrain from punishing you in the future." A note almost of amusement entered the AI's voice. "I will, however, continue lecturing you until your eyes glaze over. That is, I believe, every parent's right and responsibility, the galaxy over."
"Great," Clark said, rolling his eyes. "I'll look forward to it."
"As will I, my son."
Clark strutted into the Daily Planet a short while later. He didn't mean to strut, but he couldn't quite help himself. There was just something about a nice, full, thick head of hair that gave a guy confidence.
Chloe was working the evening shift, and she looked up, then grinned broadly. "Hey, it worked!"
"Yeah." Clark ran his fingers through his hair, and then tossed his head a little, just to feel his hair move. "Jor-El has promised not to punish me any more, and I've promised to think before I act."
She snorted. "And Jor-El bought that?"
"Thank you for that vote of confidence. I try to think first."
"I didn't even know you knew how to think."
"Hey." He glared at her with mock ferocity, handing her the crystal, which she placed carefully into her desk. "Watch it, or I'll set Jor-El loose on you. He might turn you into a brunette."
She laughed. "I am a brunette, Sherlock. Maybe he'll turn me into a natural blonde."
"Oh, that's right, you're not really blonde. That explains why you're immune to my hair's power."
"Based on everything I've heard today," Clark said, "my hair is irresistibly attractive to blondes, no matter who's wearing it. If you were really blonde, you'd be climbing all over me right now."
She snorted. "That is the dumbest thing I ever heard of."
"The evidence supports my conclusion. Blondes love my hair."
"Please." She laughed at him. "Get out of here, before I set a real blonde loose on you. I have work to do."
"Fine," he said, feeling slightly wounded by her laughter. He turned and headed for the door, then hesitated and turned back. "Hey, Chlo. Thanks."
She was already deep in a story, staring at her computer screen, and she didn't even look up. "No problem," she said absently. "Feel free to call me for all your alien computer hacking needs."
He stared at her, focused and driven and smart, and for a moment-- just a moment-- he wished his hair really did have some sort of irresistible attractive force, and that it worked on Chloe Sullivan. But then he laughed at himself, and turned around.
He didn't want any kind of weird power over women. He wanted them to like him for him, not for his hair.
He headed for the door, his thick, dark hair bouncing cheerily on his head.
Behind him, Chloe looked up from her computer and watched him go with dreamy eyes, and so did every other woman-- blonde, brunette, and redheaded-- in the basement.
Clark was a good-looking guy, powerful and massive, with a gorgeous, chiseled face. He looked like a movie star, albeit a movie star in flannel and workboots. But as ripped as he was, as handsome as he was, Chloe and the other women weren't looking at his body, or even his face.
They were all looking at his hair.
That evening, Lex stared at himself in the mirror as he got ready for bed. His bare scalp gleamed in the lights over the sink, and he scrubbed a hand irritably over his head.
He'd been poised to take over the world. His hair-- Clark's hair, which had somehow been transferred to his head, through some mechanism he couldn't even begin to guess at-- had somehow conferred upon him an irresistible quality that could have rocketed him into a successful career in politics.
Plus, there had been all that eager female flesh pawing at him.
And now... now he was going to have to go back to his normal life. It wasn't like he was dateless, not by a long shot, but he'd never been a babe magnet the way he'd been today. He was going to have to go back to working to get women into bed.
And sooner or later, he had no doubt he'd get successfully into politics, but he wouldn't possess a tenth of the charisma he'd had with that hair. Somehow he knew even a wig wouldn't have the same effect.
It wasn't the way the hair had looked. It was something about the hair itself.
And he somehow knew that when he saw Clark again, the farmboy would be wearing those dark, thick, wavy locks-- Lex's dark, thick, wavy locks-- and a very smug expression.
Lex Luthor switched off the bathroom light and headed for his empty, lonely bed. He'd had a taste of what it felt like to be irresistible, and then it had all been snatched away from him.
And he was certain that somehow, it was all Clark's fault.
Before this, he hadn't liked the farmboy much. He and Clark had traded insults, and quarrelled occasionally. But now... now he considered the young man his mortal enemy. Someday Clark Kent would pay for taking Lex's hair away, damn it. He, Lex Luthor, would see to it, even if it took the rest of his life.
Someday... somehow... Lex would wreak a terrible vengeance on Clark.
But in the meantime, he was going to sneak into the Kent farmhouse tomorrow night... and shave Clark's head.