Lyric: "If I were the king of the world, tell you what I'd do. I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the war and make sweet love to you."
Pairing: Clark/Lex (Smallville)
Author’s note: This is set early in Season 4, before Lex starts going really bad. Mostly for two reasons: 1) I don’t want Lex to go bad! Stay good, Lex, stay good! And 2) I haven’t finished Season 5 yet. But as it’s been a while since I watched early Season 4, there will probably be some elements of later Season 4/early Season 5 in there. Consider this AU.
“Lex, you need to stop this.”
Lex turned, unsurprised at the unceremonious crash of his Great Room doors, and even less surprised when Clark strode in, foregoing anything like a hello. As usual.
“Well, hello to you too, Clark. Glad to see you. Care for a drink?” Lex said dryly, waving towards the wetbar near the windows. “I have mineral water, if you don’t care to walk on the wild side and try some Scotch. It’s a really excellent-“
“Lex.” Clark sounded annoyed. Annoyed and hurt, much to Lex’s surprise. He didn’t think he’d done anything worse than donate new gear to the football team lately. But knowing Clark, he’d dug up some old project of Lionel Luthor’s that Lex hadn’t bothered to cancel because the potential profits were too good to risk. Lex really had to work on hiring better security.
“Yes, Clark? What have I done now?” Lex didn’t bother to disguise the frustration and weariness in his voice. He never seemed to be able to do anything right with Clark. He didn’t know how. How to be a good person - the person Clark saw him as - how to do things right for a change.
How to tell Clark how much he meant to him, without driving him away.
“It’s more what you haven’t done, Lex. We had another meteor freak incident that we traced back to your plant. Why haven’t you stopped experimenting with the meteor rocks? It just causes problems!” Clark’s green eyes flashed and his fists clenched with indignation. Lex thought he was magnificent when he was angry. He wondered if that was why he seemed to do all those things that made Clark angry – he was just so beautiful when he was angry.
“Because they also provide answers, Clark. Those meteor rocks may hold in them the power to rid the world of famine or disease. Ask yourself: if you knew that using the meteor rocks in experiments had even the smallest chance of helping one researcher find the cure for cancer, would you still tell me to stop the experiments?”
Clark hesitated, like Lex knew he would. He was too good a man to say yes, not if it came down to the choice between saving millions of lives or creating one less meteor freak. It wasn’t really a choice, not at all.
“Could it though, Lex? Could your experiments find a cure for cancer? Or famine, or childhood disease, or any of the world’s ills? Or will they just help line your pockets and make your investors rich?” Clark was back in form, certain as ever, his head raised high and his stance firm. Lex admired him for that.
“Why does one have to exclude the other? Why should I give away something for free that has cost me millions to discover?” Lex strolled over to his wetbar and dropped some ice cubes into a glass with a faint tink. He poured some of his 30-year-old Scotch into the tumbler with a hand that wasn’t entirely steady. He found himself afraid of Clark sometimes when they argued like this. It wasn’t that he thought Clark would hurt him, necessarily, but some primitive instinct warned him that Clark could. He had never truly been able to discover the truth behind the car wreck on the bridge, after all.
“You shouldn’t profit from the misery of others, Lex. Poor people can’t afford expensive cures, even for a miracle like you’re proposing! Why do you do it, Lex? Why do you always have to be in control?” Clark had come up behind him, silent as a jungle cat, and Lex jumped, sloshing liquid over his hand. He remained silent, and that seemed to irritate Clark.
“Why, Lex? You bought equipment for my football team to win back my friendship. You bought the Talon for Lana, even though it’s a money sink. You offered me a truck when we first met. You help me with things that only money can buy. You do all these things, yet you act like your namesake, like Alexander the Great, and pretend you have to conquer the world. Why?”
Lex slammed his tumbler down, heedless of the sound of splintering crystal and the sharp shock of pain as it cut into his palm. “Because I have to!”
“Why do you have to, Lex? Because of your father? Because you need to prove to the town that you can buy and sell them?” Clark was yelling now, looming over Lex with his long, muscular bulk, his face blotchy red. Lex felt something inside him snap and crumble. Clark thought he was a monster, that he only did good things to make everyone else like him, or for what they could do for him. Lex knew he had a darkness inside him, but he wasn’t evil. Not like his father. Not yet.
“Because of you!” Lex heard himself shout out the truth as though he was watching a play, unable to stop and unable to care what the truth did now. He wasn’t a monster. He wasn’t. “I have to conquer the world because of you!”
Clark stepped back, his face paling like Lex had slapped him. “Because of me? You’re trying to tell me I’ve driven you to do those cruel things? What sort of pseudo-sibling rivalry do you see between us, Lex?”
Lex caught his breath on something between a laugh and a sob. “I would hardly call what is between us brotherly, Clark.” He couldn’t stop now; wouldn’t stop now. It was time to get this in the open and let the chips fall where they may. He stepped forward, pointing his finger at Clark’s chest like an unsheathed blade.
“I’ve felt it for months, and I know you have too. That heat between us. The jealousy. Do you know how I felt watching you fawn over Lana? Kissing her? You probably thought I was jealous because you had her. I was jealous because she had you, Clark. When you decided to cut me out of your life, I thought my heart would break from the pain. And not because I think of you like my brother, Clark.” Clark’s eyes were wide with shock, his mouth slightly parted in a surprised O. It would have been a sexy look, Lex thought, were it not for the fact that it looked like rejection.
“Do you understand what I’m saying, Clark? I’m saying that I love you.” Lex shut his mouth with a snap, backing up until he bumped against the wetbar and closing his eyes, hearing himself say that words over and over in his mind. He had never admitted it, even to himself, but they sounded so beautiful. “I love you.” He said it again, softer this time, savoring the feel of the words on his tongue. He had said them before, but they had never felt quite so… accurate.
There was not a sound from the rest of the room, but that hardly meant anything. Clark could move so quietly, it seemed fairly likely that he had snuck out while Lex had closed his eyes. The thought was a painful one, but one Lex knew he had to accept. He had most likely driven Clark off for good, but the confession was like a weight off his chest. Confession is good for the soul, he thought wryly, if not for my love life.
Lex was so certain that Clark was gone that the feel of long, powerful fingers sliding under his jaw nearly made him yelp with surprise. He opened his eyes again, looking up at Clark with hope and vulnerability naked on his face. He felt the slight tremor of Clark’s fingers, saw the uncertainty in his eyes. Clark wasn’t sure he was doing the right thing, Lex thought, but he was still here. Maybe there was still hope.
“I don’t know if I love you, Lex. You do too many things I can’t approve of, hide too many secrets…” Clark trailed off, a wry twist to his mouth, before the corners of his lips quirked in gentle self-mockery, “Said the pot to the kettle.” He shook his head slightly before returning his gaze to Lex, still trapped between the gentle prison of his hands. “I don’t know if I love you. But what I do feel for you… it’s different from what I feel for Lana. Stronger, maybe. If you can accept that…maybe we can try this. Whatever this is.”
Lex felt a jolt of hope in his chest, but he tried to clamp down on it. There could still be a catch. “Even if I don’t stop my experiments?”
Clark gave that wry twist of his lips again. “As long as you only do the ones that are searching for a cure for cancer, then I don’t mind.” His lips quivered, and though Lex knew he wasn’t entirely joking, he wasn’t entirely serious either. It was something they could work out. Warmth spread through Lex’s body at the thought they would actually have the chance to work things out. He saw Clark’s head descending, slowly, giving him time to pull away if he wished, but Lex didn’t wish. He wanted. At the first warm brush of Clark’s lips against his, he closed his eyes and simply felt. His last rational thought was, perhaps this is worth the fall.