Saturday, March 28, 2009
Ebony, Chapter 1
Season 4, "Onyx"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Based on a prompt by tariel22.
It's all right. It's over now.
Lex Luthor stared at the rubble of his laboratory, remembering Clark Kent's words to him, and sighed.
Clark was right. It was over.
He'd been so inspired about this project. One might even say excited, although that wasn't a word people usually applied to him. He prided himself on being calm, cool, almost emotionless, and rarely let his true enthusiasms show through the unflappable demeanor he cultivated.
But when this project had finally gone online, after months and months of research, he'd felt like a child on Christmas morning.
He still remembered his eager words to Clark and Chloe Sullivan: It's about the future. If I can find a way to make this work, LuthorCorp could put and end to hunger and famine forever.
This project could have changed the world. He could have been the savior of millions, helped feed the poor and the hungry all over the globe.
He looked at the rubble, and blinked hard.
Behind him, he heard footsteps. Familiar, comforting footsteps, the sound of ridiculously large workboots picking their way through the rubble. A slight smile curved his mouth, despite his sorrow.
A moment later a hand came down on his shoulder. The hand was just as oversized as the feet in the workboots were, a massive paw that was nevertheless remarkably gentle. The voice that spoke was every bit as gentle.
"It’s not much to look at, is it?"
Lex turned his head to see Clark looking at him with intent emerald eyes. Warmth filled him. Clark had been his friend for years, ever since he'd come to Smallville and Clark had saved him from drowning. They'd had a falling out, but they were slowly knitting their friendship back together, much to Lex's gratitude. Clark meant the world to him. Clark was his best friend.
No. If he was going to be honest with himself, Clark was more than just a friend to him.
He looked back toward the rubble, and sighed.
"Broken dreams seldom are. Clark..." He hesitated, very aware of Clark's huge hand resting warmly on his shoulder. "I want to say thank you for saving me, but words seem too small. Without you, I would have been lost. You’re a true friend."
"It’s too bad your other half didn’t think so."
Clark sounded aggrieved, almost bitter, and Lex couldn't blame him. His other self had beaten the crap out of Clark, then stood over him with a sword. He knew that dark fragment of his ego had disappeared, but he was afraid it was still very much a part of him. The thought gave him a cold shiver.
"I’m sorry for what I…" Lex hesitated. "He put you through."
"How much of it do you remember?"
"Nothing, really. Once we... divided... we were two different people."
He found that thought somewhat reassuring. He remembered exactly what good Lex had done, but bad Lex's thoughts were a mystery to him. He wanted to think that was because the bad part of himself was alien to him, but he guessed it was probably because it came from a deeper part of his consciousness.
A man could bury his evil deep inside, but that didn't make it any less a part of him.
He remembered the other Lex's snarled words: You can’t kill me! I drive you. I give your life meaning... I’m your soul.
God, he hoped that wasn't the case.
He sighed, and Clark's hand squeezed his shoulder in gentle reassurance. "Don’t be too hard on yourself. It really wasn’t you."
"God, I hope not." Lex stared at the rubble for a moment longer, then let the words bubble out. "But that’s what I’ve been standing here trying to figure out, Clark. Did the accident create an evil Lex, or is that what’s really lurking inside of me, just waiting to get out?"
Clark was silent a long moment. At last he said, "Lex, do you remember everything you said to me and Chloe this morning? As the good you, I mean?"
"Do you remember showing us this lab? Telling us everything you were going to do, everything you'd been working for?"
Clark's hand dropped away from his shoulder, and Clark walked around him, very slowly. He stopped right in front of Lex, and looked into his eyes, his gaze serious and intent.
"Lex," he said softly. "You've been working on a way to end famine. To feed humanity. To save people. Do you really think that's the work of an evil man?"
Lex stared back at him, startled by the sincerity in Clark's tone. Clark went on.
"What you were doing here--" He waved a hand to encompass the lab. "It wasn't evil, Lex. It was good."
Tears prickled unexpectedly at Lex's eyes. He blinked them back. "Thank you," he said, very softly.
"I just can't believe you never told me." Clark looked at him with a touch of reproach. "You've been working on this for months, and you never said anything."
"I didn't want to talk about it until we got it right," Lex answered.
"Yeah, but Lex... if I'd known..."
Lex looked at him and smiled, his best sardonic, indifferent smile. At least he tried for indifference, but he suspected his hurt showed through. "You might have thought better of me, Clark? You might not have been so suspicious of my every action? So concerned I was turning to the dark side?"
Clark sighed. "Lex," he said, "ever since I found that room in your mansion, I have to admit, I've thought you were headed down a dark path. But now I realize I was wrong. You're still one of the good guys."
"Maybe. Maybe not."
"Lex... you saved me. He was about to run me through with a sword."
"I was about to run you through with a sword." Lex turned and stalked away, a sudden anger filling him. "That was me, Clark. As much as I'd like to believe it was just something the experiment created... it was me. Something deep inside me, so deeply ingrained that I can never get rid of it."
There was a pause. Then Clark spoke, his voice soft and understanding.
"Deep inside," he said, "we all have our dark side. Believe me, I know that better than anyone. But I figure it doesn't matter what's deep inside us, Lex. What matters is which side of us we let out into the daylight."
Lex looked around at the destroyed lab, and sighed. "I hope you're right."
"Of course I'm right. My dad likes to say that we're known by our actions. That it's our actions that define us. And everything you've done here, everything you've worked for, everything you've fought for... well, the dark part of you had nothing to do with all this. Trust me."
Lex felt the prickling against his eyelids again. "Thank you," he whispered.
"Anyway..." The workboots thudded against the concrete, and then Clark's hand came down on his shoulder again, warm and reassuring. "You can remember what the good part of you did, but not the bad part. I'm figuring that means the bad part is really buried deep inside. As long as you keep it there, you'll be fine." His voice dropped almost to a whisper. "That's what I do."
Lex smiled, a little sadly. "I don't think you really have a dark side, Clark."
"Oh, believe me, I definitely do. I've even seen it up close and personal, the same way you did."
Lex frowned, and turned to face him. "You mean you were split in two once, too?"
Weird things happened in Smallville, so it wasn't beyond the bounds of possibility. But Clark shook his head.
"No," he answered. "It was more like I was taken over by my dark side. I didn't like it, Lex. It's not easy to come to grips with the idea that something that dark is inside you somewhere. Something that only cares about itself, something that would hurt people without a second thought. Something that might even kill."
Lex remembered the sight of the other Lex-- himself-- standing over Clark with a sword, and shuddered.
"I wish I could get rid of the darkness," he whispered.
"We all do, Lex." Clark's hand squeezed his shoulder, holding him tightly, almost possessively. "But it's part of us, too. Maybe it's even... I don't know... necessary."
Lex remembered the other Lex's words: I drive you.
If he was going to be honest with himself, he knew the dark side of him sometimes did come to the surface, showing itself through hungry ambition and manipulation and egotism. The same way that Clark's dark side manifested itself through a tendency toward hot anger and intolerance and a stubborn inability to forgive.
But those traits didn't make them bad men.
They just made them... men.
He looked up into Clark's face. Clark had beautiful eyes, like emeralds shot through with gold. Those eyes watched Lex now, full of a compassion and affection Lex hadn't seen in them for too long.
"Can you forgive me, Clark?" he whispered humbly.
"There's nothing to forgive, Lex. That wasn't you. Not really."
"Not for today. For everything else. For... the room. For the intrusions into your privacy, the prying and the probing. For the way I've kept picking at you, trying to find out more than you wanted to share."
"We all make mistakes, Lex." Clark gazed at him steadily. "My mistake was in not seeing who you really are. I caught a glimpse of your dark side, and I... well, I guess let it blind me to the fact that most of what you do, most of what you are, is good." He lowered his gaze and spoke very softly. "I think I'm the one who should be asking for forgiveness. I'm sorry, Lex."
Lex reached out and gripped Clark's shoulders.
"It's all right," he said, and meant it. It was all right. For the first time in a long time, it was all right.
Clark lifted his eyes and looked at Lex. They stood there for a long while, staring into each other's eyes. And then, slowly, they leaned toward each other.
Lex couldn't have said if he made the first move, or if Clark did. All he knew was that they were moving toward each other, drawn as if by magnetism.
And then their lips met.
He'd dreamed of this so many times, dreamed of kissing Clark. He'd dreamed of it almost from the day they'd met, when Clark had been far too young, and just the thought of it weighted him down with guilt. And now that Clark was older, old enough to make his own decisions, old enough to enter into an adult relationship, Lex had dreamed of it almost daily for this past year.
But none of his dreams had ever felt this good.
Clark's lips moved on his, very gently, exploring almost hesitantly, as if he wasn't quite sure what he was doing. Lex doubted Clark had kissed a lot of girls yet, and he was almost certain Clark had never kissed another guy. That made him Clark's first, in a way. The thought sent a bolt of warmth through him, and he leaned into the kiss, letting his lips part just a bit.
Clark's mouth opened, and suddenly their tongues touched, brushing softly together, and a shiver tingled down Lex's spine. He felt a tremor run through Clark, too, and his arms slid around Clark's neck in an automatic response.
Clark leaned into the kiss a little more, his arms encircling Lex's waist, and Lex felt rather than heard a low moan rise from him.
The kiss went on, growing deeper and deeper, and their bodies pressed more closely together, melding together. Lex heard another moan, and realized that this time, it was from him.
"Clark," he whispered, uttering the name like a prayer, a talisman against the Stygian darkness deep inside him. Clark's arms tightened around him in wordless response, and their lips met in another kiss.
Lex dug his fingers into Clark's hair and held him closer than ever before.
Read Chapter 2 here.
Posted by Meg at 9:43 AM