This wonderful, wonderful cover was made by lilwitchy. Thank you so much!! *wiggles toes*
Disclaimer - DC and WB own them, etc etc.
It's the fic that KILLED ME DEAD. It hit me with a car, gave me a dose of food poisoning, then made me stab myself with a fork. *blows raspberries at fic*
Many many MANY thinks to danvers, who was there when I said OMGYOUHAVETOREADTHISFORMENOW. Or something *smooch*. Thaaaaank you. Eternal gratitude and piccies of my nekkid Lex go to you and *only* you.
And a special mention to my friends on LJ - thank you so much for encouraging me! You rock!
Clex, angst, and screwed up. May or may not make sense. Rated R to be on the safe side. Feedback would calm my fevered brain (okay, so it probably wouldn't, but it'd still be faaaabulous).
Lex will kill himself with a bomb he built five hundred and forty three years ago.
The device will still work because Lex knew there was every chance it would be centuries before it was activated, and he took the appropriate precautions. Metals that wouldn't age quickly, an explosive that wouldn't become too unstable if left to sit for a millennia.
Lex is very good at planning ahead.
Clark will smash into the room, because even hundreds of years later he still hasn't grasped the fine art of subtlety. Lex will mock him about this - will always mock him about this - as he stands over the writhing form on the ground, the kryptonite Lex holds in his right hand the only thing stopping Clark from interfering.
Not even telling Clark that he loves him, that he's doing this for *him*, will stop him interfering.
Clark always has been somewhat dumb.
Moving across the bare room, Lex will activate the device. Still on the floor, Clark will gasp, pleading that he doesn't have to do this. Laughing for the first time in centuries, Lex will say this is the only thing he can do, then worry that he's becoming cliched just before the device explodes.
When Lex dies, he'll be reborn into a moment nine hundred years earlier.
Lex will wake gasping for breath, confused at the hard feel of the floor beneath his body. Clark will be next to him mere moments later, eyes wide as he touches him, asking if he's okay.
Clark will be older, broader, and the crowd gathering around them makes Lex suspect that wherever he is, it's Clark's place of work.
Most perplexing of all, Clark will be wearing glasses.
"Oh my God," someone will say, a woman with dark hair and fascinated eyes, "is that Lex Luthor?"
Clark will hide him away from them, taking him into an office and barring the door. Closing the blinds, Clark will turn and Lex will suddenly be enclosed in strong arms, more powerful than ever.
Clark will whisper his name and touch his head, and Lex will keep frowning until Clark explains that Lex Luthor vanished to the world at large twelve years ago.
Clark will kiss him, then, which is another surprise because they've certainly never done *that* before, but it'll feel like the least insane thing in a very insane world as Lex holds on.
"I've been waiting for you," Clark will say when he draws back, "I didn't know when you were going to come back - I haven't seen you since college. I guess holding you didn't work," he'll finish, bizarrely.
Pulling away, Clark will spin quickly and suddenly he's dressed in bright, colourful lycra.
Clark, apparently, will not have lost his fondness for primary colours.
Clark's apartment will be filled with books and home made science projects. Many of the volumes Lex owned himself - if this was actually happening, perhaps they *were* his own copies - and he'll run his fingers over the spines in remembrance.
"I've been trying to figure out a way to bring you back," Clark will enthuse, opening notebooks and plopping them down in front of him. The pages will be filled with Clark's familiar scrawl - equations, mathematics, and the doodles Clark draws when he loses focus. Lex will see his name written in the margin more than once.
"But I'm not as smart as you," Clark will continue. "I'm hoping you can look over these and tell me where I'm going wrong. I kept your calculations from before - they should help. But as far as I know, you're still the only person who's travelled through time, and subsequently the only expert we have."
Lex will have no news, no insight he can share - this is his first time jump, and if Clark is right he's the only person who's made one. But Lex thrives on difficult situations, so he'll start going through the notebooks, refining what he can of the calculations.
He'll be a little disturbed when he'll see his own handwriting in a notebook and doesn't remember putting it there.
Fifteen hours later Clark will make him stop, literally pulling him away from the books. Falling gratefully onto the bed, Lex will feel solid hands tugging off his shoes, then stripping his clothes and he won't even care. He'll burrow under the covers until the bed dips next to him and warm arms hold him close until he sleeps.
Lex will wake with Clark mouthing his shoulder, dick hard against Lex's side.
"It's been so *long*, Lex."
For Lex it's never been at all, but it's something he's always wanted and working at LuthorCorp taught him to accept change. To start with Lex will let Clark do all the work, because Clark has done this with him before even though it hasn't happened yet. Clark is so good at knowing what he likes that Lex will wonder what the hell they actually got up to when Clark was in college. Were they even trying to bring him back at all?
Clark will touch and taste, and Lex will clutch at him, numbers and formulae spinning through his mind. When he comes it'll be with the theory of relativity in his head and Clark's name on his lips.
"I hope you'll stay this time," Clark will whisper heavily, pulling him close, a selfish moment when they should be getting back to work.
Lex won't be able to blame him at all.
"Clark," he'll say, brushing a brief kiss against firm lips, "I think-"
Lex will stumble on the steps in the Kent farm, the noise drawing Clark's attention.
"Lex!" He'll greet happily, broadly, moving down towards the steps. His smile will freeze when he sees that Lex is naked. "What happened? What's wrong?"
Lex's hand will flex, still expecting to feel naked skin that's not his own. "Everything." He'll have no idea when he is, but a good barometer for the passing of time is standing right in front of him, so Lex will study Clark's hair closely.
Not yet seventeen.
Clark won't have told Lex the truth, yet. This Clark's Lex will probably be at the castle.
"I need to talk to you," Lex will say after Clark carefully passes him a blanket. Clark will stutter, and deny, but Lex knows everything and there's no possible way Clark can avoid it forever.
When Clark accepts it two hours later, he'll sit on the edge of the sofa nervously. "Maybe...maybe if I go to him now, tell him about me now..."
"He's going to run the experiments no matter when you tell him. You need to make sure he doesn't. You - my Clark - originally told me the truth on your eighteenth birthday. I started planning the experiments the next day. We should probably mess with the timeline as little as possible before then."
"You," Clark will blink, "you want me to wait until I'm eighteen? I have to keep this a secret until I'm *eighteen*?"
"Just stop him from running the experiments after you tell him," Lex will insist. "That's all that matters." He will think now, theorising in a way he wasn't before, getting past the original shock. He's time travelling and he has to find a way to stop it. Not that the idea is entirely unappealing, but he only wants to travel through time if he can control it. He's more than willing to admit he's quite anal. "Clark, I need some kryptonite."
Clark will frown. "Some what?"
This Clark won't know that yet. "Meteor rock, some meteor rock. I know you keep a small lead box with some in. You like to test yourself with it." Clark will eye him cautiously and Lex will sigh. "Clark, I'm not going to use it against you, I swear. But the meteor rock was there when this all started, and I think I'll need it again to end it."
A hesitation and then Clark will move, rummaging at the other side of the barn until he returns with the box. Taking it, Lex will quickly check the contents before slamming the box shut and holding it close.
"Thank you," he'll say, tugging the blanket tighter around him and deciding he'll have to ask for some clothes soon. "I know this can't be easy for you to-"
It will be dark, and Lex will be standing in a room.
He'll hold the box in his left hand and the blanket around his body and mentally complain that time travel should be more dignified.
But he'll have proof of two things - he can apparently bring at least small objects with him, and there's no set time for how long he'll stay in one place.
A sleepy voice will mumble from the bed he'll only just realise he's standing next to.
"Gavin? You were out late aga...oh my God, Lex?!"
Lex will be pulled into a hug even as he wonders who the hell Gavin is.
"God, I was worried I'd never see you again," his friend but not yet lover will murmur. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," he'll say, thinking that he's dealing with all of this remarkably well, "although I need a shower and some clothes." He's still sticky from the sex with Clark two jumps ago.
Clark will take him to the dorm showers and as it's the middle of the night they'll be alone. Clark will watch him the entire time. It won't really be a surprise when he's pushed against the tiled wall and Clark breathes, "I've been thinking about this for more than three years," against his mouth.
It'll be the first time for Clark. Lex already knows what his best friend sounds like when he comes.
By the glow of electricity, Clark's room won't look entirely different from his future apartment. There will be the books - though not as many yet - and as he holds one Clark will announce proudly that he's taking physics.
And journalism courses.
Lex will lift his eyebrows, newly dressed in clothes a little too big for his frame. "Interesting combination."
Lowering his head, then, Clark will admit that he didn't stop Lex from running the experiments. "But only because you lied to me!"
"I lied to you?"
"You told me you wouldn't - you *promised*. And then you went and did them behind my back anyway!"
Lex won't be sure what to say or if he should feel guilty. He has no recollection of that, and if things had been different this time wouldn't he have that memory? Or did the difference mean that there were two Lex's jumping around in time now?
One thing will be sure - he's tethered to Clark, somehow. Clark hadn't been there for the tests, but his blood samples and DNA were, and was that what was tying them together, somehow? That when Lex appeared, it was always wherever Clark was?
That isn't the point Clark will focus on. Clark will be more interested in the fact that he brought the blanket and the box with him. "You can take things with you," he'll say. "Can you take something that'll stop this?"
"I don't know," Lex will shrug. "Carrying the kryptonite when I jumped this time didn't seem to make any difference. Although that would've been too easy anyway." He'll think that maybe he needs to re-create the accident, or more specifically reverse it. Something to neutralise it, to cancel out the fact that it ever happened in the first place.
When Clark wraps his arms around him unexpectedly, Lex will frown. "Clark?"
"I'm going with you this time."
Lex will freeze. "Clark,"
"You can take things with you. Take me. Maybe it'll stop it from happening again."
"And maybe it'll kill you. Or us." He'll try to struggle but Clark is the strongest man on the planet, and though Lex is holding the box Clark will make sure he can't open it. "Dammit, Clark!" He won't let Clark die, and he won't fate him to this, either.
"I'm not letting go, Lex," Clark's voice will insist. "I'm not leaving you alone again."
Lex will try to convince him otherwise, will tell him that there are things Clark has to *do* - he learnt that much from his first jump, when that Clark explained why he wore the outfit. What he was trying to do.
"You told me you didn't know how to save me, Clark, but that you were trying to make up for it by saving everyone else."
This Clark will be as stubborn as he always was.
This time, he'll stay for four days.
Clark will skip all of his classes and ignore his roommate, and they'll spend all of the nights and most of the days in Clark's bed. When they're not fucking they'll be reading, writing, formulating. Lex has taken to keeping the lead box tucked somewhere in his clothes almost all the time, and Clark never stops touching him.
Inspiration strikes, and Lex will start calculating, planning. He won't want to tell Clark his plan because Clark always overreacts, but Clark will be content to sit with his arms around Lex's waist, quietly nuzzling his neck as Lex works.
Lex will be content like that too. Lex will seriously wish that he wasn't going to jump again, then reaches up to scratch at the side of nose-
Lex will be standing in the middle of a field; the biggest he's ever seen.
Clark will be sitting on the grass, wearing nothing at all, and he won't even look surprised when he realises Lex is there.
"Lex," he'll greet warmly, looking up at him peacefully, "you came today."
The touching won't have worked. Lex will have travelled alone, and he'll almost feel sad. "Clark," he'll reply, bending down to kneel next to him and almost afraid to touch, "how long has it been?"
Clark will look amused. "Since the last time I remember, or the last time you remember?"
Lex won't even allow himself to feel the faint humour. "Since college."
Turning thoughtful as if he can't quite recognise the word, Clark will frown heavily and look away. "A long time, either way. I...can't remember exactly how long. I stopped keeping track a while ago."
Fear will trickle down Lex's spine as he studies the contours of the land. "Where are we, Clark?"
The responding sigh will be heavy, wistful. "This was my home."
Clark will look at him, and frown. "Is that what it was called?"
The fear will turn into a knot, lodging itself inside Lex's stomach. "Are there other people here, Clark? Where is everyone else?" He'll both dread and expect the answer.
Shrugging, Clark won't even hesitate. "They died."
Licking his lips, Lex will try to wrap his mind around the enormity of it. "All of them?"
Lex will try to comprehend how much time has passed. Tens of thousands of years? A hundred thousand? A million?
"I've been looking after the land," Clark will continue, "to make sure it was liveable for you when you came back." His nose will wrinkle in faint disgust - or maybe disappointment. "Humans are messy."
All of this time - however much that is - Clark will have been alone. *Alone*. Lex won't be sure he'll ever come to terms with that. "Clark, you...you can do anything. You could have left the planet. Gone in search of other intelligent species. Found someone else to be with." He'll have moved, leaning towards Clark, grabbing his shoulders.
Frowning his confusion, Clark genuinely won't understand as he looks at him. "But I knew you were coming back."
It will be the first time in his life when Lex actively wants to die.
Lex will look over the city, wondering when he realised he didn't want it anymore.
There won't be any trees left in Metropolis. Machines he won't recognise - even if he does grasp their function - will fly past.
He'll ignore all of it to study the man standing next to him. "Clark?"
The familiar gaze will turn towards him, features smoothly transforming into a smile. "Lex." Strong arms will move, holding him in a gentle hug. "I've missed you."
"Clark," he'll pull back to look at his friend, needing to ask, "how long has it been?"
"Since the last time I saw you? Three hundred years."
Three hundred. That won't be so bad. Lex will think there's still a chance that Clark won't have lost his mind yet. "I need your help, Clark. I need you to get me some things. Can you do that?"
Clark will smile and shrug. "I can do anything, Lex."
He'll start to build the bomb in the room Clark found for them. It'll have all the equipment he needs - he won't know where Clark got everything for him, and he won't ask. Lex will work quickly; having no idea when he'll jump again and praying that if it does happen he'll only go forward a few years.
Standing nearby, Clark will watch but not really observe, bringing Lex food and water occasionally. At one point Lex will order him out of the room when he needs to work with the kryptonite. He'll promise Clark that he's not trying to recreate the accident, which will be a version of the truth.
He'll ignore this glimpse of the future, this world around them and the advantages the knowledge could bring if he ever manages to get home and remember all this. In the past Lex may have wanted to own the future, but knowing it in advance feels too much like cheating. It'll be too easy a victory.
And Lex won't really want to own much of anything anymore.
Eventually, Lex will call Clark back into the room, placing the kryptonite he didn't use back in the box. "It's almost done," Lex will say, trying not to feel the anticipation because it'll almost be over, it'll almost be *done*, "I just need to-"
Lex will see nothing but white walls.
It won't be Belle Reve again, but it'll seem just as inviting with nothing there and nothing to look at, until he turns around.
That's when he'll see the baby, sleeping inside a strangely designed crib. There's only one person it will be.
The woman will literally appear from nowhere, and though he'll jump in shock and she won't be speaking English he'll understand every word she says. "Who are you?"
Her smile will be all the answer he needs. "Lara,"
Staring at the baby, Lex will think a little dumbly that Clark's really not going to be much help like this. "This is Krypton."
It'll make no sense, but then it never will. It's one thing to appear wherever Clark is on Earth, but on another planet? In another galaxy? All of this will be impossible. "I'm having a very strange week."
Her smile will remain in place. "I understand the sentiment."
"You know my name," he'll say, finally realising. "You know at least some of what's going on here. Can you stop it?"
"No," she'll reply sadly. "We can monitor these things but not interfere. Keep doing what you are doing, Lex. I am certain you will triumph."
But Lex will be unable to look away from the baby, sleeping so ignorantly. "Do you have any idea what he's going to go through if I don't?"
Her voice will move closer to him, reassuring. "Continue, Lex. One day you will be successful. Your planet was only one of many choices. We sent him to Earth for a reason."
Confused, he'll want to ask more but know already that she won't tell him anything else. Instead, he'll simply close his eyes.
He'll open them again to see Clark standing next to him.
Clark will greet him simply. "Hi, Lex."
There will be buildings, a lot of buildings, and he won't recognise any of them. They won't matter. "Clark, do you still have the device?"
Rolling his eyes like it's a stupid question, Clark will nod his head. "Of course I do. You left it with me. I wouldn't let anything happen to it."
The relief will be palpable, and Lex will try not to think that if his plan works, Clark shouldn't have still been waiting for him in the distant future. Or did nothing make sense when it came to travelling through time?
Coming to the conclusion that time travel is not meant for humans, Lex will exhale heavily. "Take me to it, Clark."
More than half a millennium will have passed since the last time Clark saw him, and Lex won't want to take any more chances; telling Clark to fly him there as fast as is safely possible.
When they're there the room will remind Lex of Krypton, though he won't mention that to Clark, and then he'll claim he needs to be alone again for Clark's protection.
Clark will complain, but his mind will be malleable now so he'll go, waiting outside.
A few more adjustments will be made and then Lex will prepare to activate the device, knowing that if he does this wrong he'll die and won't come back. He'll think there are things he should have said to Clark but if this works he can say them a thousand, a million times over.
He'll move to turn it on, but then something will happen. Clark will have seen - through the wall - or simply just realised what Lex is intending to do. An explosion and kryptonite and Lex, and it'll be the only thing Lex can think of that might fix everything, because they were all there when it happened before.
Clark will yell from outside, but that won't stop Lex from acting. He'll be determined.
He'll kill himself with the bomb he built five hundred and forty three years ago.
Lex will place the kryptonite on a table in the lab, determined to find a way to neutralise it. It's the only thing on Earth that can hurt Clark and as Lex plans on both of them living forever, he'll have to make sure the problem is eradicated.
He'll run every scan he can think of, every kind of test imaginable. He'll know that Clark doesn't want him to, but he'll also know that he has no other choice.
Lex will do anything to protect his friends.
leave a comment // e-mail // sv fic