Monday, January 28, 2008

Redshift, Chapter 9

Season 7
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 8 here.
Read the story from the beginning here.

There is a long, long silence. At last Lex speaks.

"Yes," he says, very softly. "I was afraid that might be the case. I wanted to deny it, but the susceptibility to the meteor rocks-- and all your powers--"

There's a wariness in his eyes that worries Clark. As much as Lex is afraid of meteor freaks, he's even more frightened by aliens, and Clark knows it.

"Look," he says reassuringly, "I'm not here to hurt anybody. Okay?"

Lex stares at him steadily. He's still in Clark's lap, but he feels stiff and unyielding in Clark's arms. "How can you say that? You're clearly here as an advance scout of some sort."

"No." Clark shakes his head vehemently. "It isn't like that, Lex. The planet I was born on-- it blew up when I was a baby. My parents sent me here to save me. That's all."

The phrase Rule them with strength runs through his head, but he pushes it away. He doesn't want to tell Lex about that little detail, not when Lex is already so paranoid about the world being taken over by aliens.

Deep down, he worries that Lex is all too right about Jor-El's intentions.

"Your planet blew up," Lex repeats. His hysteria seems to be under control, and he talks about Clark's alien origin in the same cool voice he'd use to discuss the stock market. "How many other refugees are here on Earth, Clark?"

"Kara and I are it, Lex." He takes a deep breath, and spits out the truth. "I'm not an advance scout for some kind of alien armada, Lex. There's no armada. In fact, none of my people are left. Believe me, no alien invasion is on its way."

A wrinkle appears between Lex's eyebrows. "I don't believe you, Clark."

"It's true."

"But I've had dealings with other aliens. The one that apparently somehow took over my body. The one that called itself Milton Fine. The two that came out of that spaceship and slaughtered all those police officers."

Unfortunately, the Kryptonians who have visited Earth haven't exactly been shining examples of galactic neighborliness. Clark shrugs, acknowledging the truth of Lex's words. "Okay. There have been a few... stragglers. But they're all taken care of now."

"And over this past year," Lex persists, "I've gotten reports of several entities who are believed to be aliens, based on the DNA samples my people have managed to get from law enforcement agencies."

"Yeah, well, that's sort of my fault, actually, but they weren't invaders. Most of those aliens weren't even from my home planet. It's kind of hard to explain, but... see, they were all kind of locked up in this interdimensional prison, and on Black Thursday, I got trapped there too. Eventually I managed to get out, but I let some of them loose by accident. It's taken me over a year to take care of them all."

"So there are aliens out there." Lex frowns. "How many were there in this prison?"

"I have no idea, Lex. I didn't get to take the scenic tour. I was just trying to avoid being killed by angry prisoners long enough to get the hell out."

Lex frowns, and Clark can practically see thoughts racing through his brain. "In this prison, there are aliens from how many different planets?"

"Uh..." Clark shakes his head. "I'm not sure. I was told there were criminals in that prison from twenty-eight inhabited galaxies, but..."

"Galaxies," Lex repeats. "Clark, do you know how many stars there are in a galaxy?"

Clark sighs. He's studied astronomy on his own since he was a kid. "Anywhere from ten million to a trillion," he answers.

"Exactly. And if twenty-eight galaxies are inhabited, and there's some interdimensional way for those people to come to Earth... then there could be literally billions of hostile species out there. We're not safe from invasion. Not at all."

Clark nods slowly. He's never thought of it in those terms, but he has to admit Lex could be right. Maybe Lex isn't as paranoid as he's always believed. Maybe Lex just thinks things through more carefully than he does.

"Okay, Lex. You have a point. But me, personally? I'm not here to take over the world. I just want to blend into society and have a normal life. That's all I've ever wanted."

Lex studies him. There's another long silence.

"I don't know if I can trust you," he says, very softly. "You never trusted me, after all. Even when I was one of your best friends, you never told me the truth. Even when we were lovers, you never told me. How can I trust you, Clark?"

"Lex..." Clark looks at him earnestly. "I'm sorry I never told you, but I always figured the fewer people who knew my secret, the better."

"And I wasn't one of the chosen few."

Lex sounds bitter, and Clark thinks about counterattacking-- when we were friends, you were snooping into my life, keeping information about me in a locked room, and when we became lovers, you lied to me, you hurt me, you drugged me-- but decides that escalation of hostilities won't help matters.

"I tried to avoid telling anyone," he says, as calmly as he can manage. "But even though I'm an alien, you have to believe I won't hurt you. I've saved your life more than once, Lex. You know I won't hurt you."

Lex lifts his hand to his throat and touches the bite mark there.

"No," he answers. "I don't know that at all, Clark."

Clark winces as if Lex had struck him with kryptonite, and barely holds back an angry retort. It isn't his fault he was drugged, after all.

"Lex." He speaks almost in a whisper. "Please. I won't hurt you, I swear."

He lowers his head and brushes a very gentle kiss over Lex's lips, but Lex yanks his head back. There's something burning in his eyes, and Clark isn't sure if it's anger or fear... or disgust.

He wants desperately to get their relationship back on some kind of intimate footing. Intellectually he knows it's a complicated problem, and sex probably isn't the solution, but emotionally, he has the hope that maybe they can work past this, if only Lex will come to bed with him.

"Lex, please. I know this is a lot to accept, but please... let me make love to you."

"I can't." Lex's gray eyes are wary and watchful. "I'm sorry, Clark. I just... you're an alien, and every alien I've met or heard about has been violent. I can't... I can't trust you not to hurt me."

"I'll never hurt you, Lex. Not on purpose. I promise."

Lex closes his eyes, looking unhappy. "I have only your word for that, Clark. And I'm sorry, but I have no reason to believe you at this point. Not after you've lied to me all these years."

Clark draws in a long breath, trying to calm his angry response. Looking at the situation from Lex's point of view, he can understand Lex's reluctance to trust him.

The truth is, their relationship has never been built on trust, and he doesn't really trust Lex, either. Every time he makes progress with Lex, Lex turns around and attacks him.

And this time, he's deathly afraid that if Lex decides to attack, he could wind up in a LuthorCorp lab.

Lex knows everything about him now. Lex knows what he is, and how to hurt him. If Lex wants to dissect him... he can. Clark wants to believe that Lex cares about him too much to do that, but the truth is that he finds it hard to guess what Lex might do.

He doesn't trust Lex, and Lex doesn't trust him. As close as they've become lately, as emotionally entwined as their lives have grown, they still don't trust each other.

Somehow, if they're both going to get through this without becoming mortal enemies... they're going to have to learn.

He thinks about it, then gets to his feet, scooping Lex into his arms again. He blurs briefly into top speed, and a fraction of a second later, they're on the steps leading to his loft.

Lex stares around, wide-eyed, as Clark puts him down on the stairs. "How did you--"

"It's called superspeed," Clark tells him. He turns his back on Lex and walks up the remaining stairs, into the dimly lit loft.

The green kryptonite bracelet is still there, lying on the rough wooden planking of the floor. Clark grits his teeth, steeling himself, and paces toward it, slowly and deliberately.

Lex walks up the steps and watches him curiously. "Clark," he says. "What are you doing?"

Clark doesn't answer. He can't. His teeth are clenched against the pain that's starting to spike through him as he approaches the bracelet. Using every bit of self-control he's got, he marches toward it.

Three feet away from it, he drops to his knees, gasping, and the green stone begins to glow, emitting a high-pitched noise that humans can't hear, but that drills its way agonizingly into Clark's eardrums.

"Clark," Lex says again. "Stop it."

"No." Clark reaches out, and despite the awful sensation of his blood boiling in his veins, he manages to pick up the dainty silver bracelet in one hand. He holds it out to Lex and speaks in a raw rasp. "Here. Put it on."

Lex stares at the bracelet. "Why?"

"You know why. As long as you're wearing it... I can't hurt you, Lex. I can't. It takes away all my strength. If you can't trust me not to hurt you any other way... you can trust me when you're wearing that. You know I can't hurt you while you're wearing it. Hell, I couldn't swat a fly with that stuff near me."

Lex stares at him. "You're asking me to put it on and make love to you?"

Earlier, Lex had come to the loft and used the bracelet to all but force Clark to have sex with him. They'd both enjoyed the encounter, in a weird and perverse way, but it's clear Lex didn't expect Clark to voluntarily get near the meteor rock again. The pain it causes outweighs any pleasure he might get out of it.

Clark shudders, because Lex still hasn't taken the bracelet, and the radiation seems to be burning the skin of his hand. He wants to drop it and crawl away, but he can't. Somehow, he has to convince Lex he's trustworthy, even if he is an alien.

"Yeah, Lex," he says through his teeth. "If that's the only way you can trust me, if it's the only way we can be together... then put on the bracelet."

Read Chapter 10 here.


Moria Polonius said...

I hope you write ten more stories with the two of them - mostly Lex - overcoming their issues and becoming a superteam. :P

Your story here reminds me of what xparrot wrote about season five Lex.

I'm enjoying this series so much, thank you!

bluecimmers said...

I see you did a few changes to your site. Like the new pictures. And Redshift so far: what a rollarcoaster ride!

Erin said...

See, this input doesn't suck at all, you haven't let me down in the least, another wonderful installment. I can't wait to see what happens next. I believe your story is basically the only one that deals with this situation like this, so realistically, and I second moria's proposal.

orchidluv said...

And that's the fundamental problem, isn't it? Lex is afraid of Clark and doesn't trust him. Dangerous solution on Clark's part.

Rushes off to read last part.