Title: Talking to the Moon
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Genre: Fix-it, Alternate Universe
Relationships: pre-Clark Kent/Lex Luthor
Author’s Notes: Another one I was thinking about doing for the Quantum Bang but have decided I would much rather just have off my plate. I might expand it into a proper novel someday but right now that seems unlikely. #SorryNotSorry
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo Card 2, Square: Fix-it
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 1,932
Summary: Faced with an unpalatable choice, Clark does what his parents have always told him to do, he thinks for himself. Too bad Jonathan Kent won’t like his decisions.
“Farm Boy Saves Billionaire’s Life! Billionaire Extremely Grateful!” Chloe held her hands up, framing out the imaginary headline. Then she snorted and dropped her hands. “Sounds like the premise of really bad gay porn, not our actual lives.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve got the keys to a shiny new pickup truck to prove it.” Clark held up the keys demonstratively.
“And yet you rode the bus to school today.” Chloe shook her head. “Do I smell a scandal, citizen?” she asked in her cheesiest reporter voice.
“My dad told me to give back the truck.”
“And I don’t want to.” He tugged at his hair in frustration. “I get it. My dad hates his dad and maybe neither of them are good guys but…”
“But?” she prodded.
“But, I feel like Lex is on the up and up. I feel like…like he’s legitimately grateful.”
“Gratitude is great—but do you trust him? He’s not from around here and his dad is…” Chloe shook her head. “His dad earned his reputation, but do you trust his son?”
“Do you think the gift is a trap? Do you think he’s maybe trying to get something from you?”
“I can’t see what he’d be getting,” Clark admitted. “I’m one of a thousand broke farm boys in Kansas.”
Chloe was quiet for a while and he just let her think.
“I think…” she said eventually, “…that you need to do what you think is right. It’s all any of us can do, really .”
There wasn’t really any more they could say on the matter so they focused on the layout for the next edition of the school paper. Their journalism teacher would still have to approve it, but they wanted it ready for class Monday morning.
“So what are you going to do?” she asked as they walked out past the janitors closing the school.
“I guess…I’m gonna return the truck.”
Chloe bumped their shoulders together. Well, more like bumped her shoulder to his pec. “Sorry, Clark.”
“Yeah,” he threw an arm over her shoulder. “You know what? I think it’s gonna be okay.”
She grinned at him and he grinned back. It was totally going to be okay.
Lex left his bedroom clean after his shower but still frustrated. He should be used to Heiki kicking his ass—usually he found it cathartic, actually—but this time it hadn’t helped. It might actually have made his temper worse enough that he snarled when the gate buzzed for the millionth time.
“What?” he growled—
—directly into Clark Kent’s startled face.
“Um. Hi?” his savior offered awkwardly across the video feed from the gate.
“Clark— Mr. Kent, I…apologize.”
“Lex, then. Sincerely, I apologize. I should not have lost my temper.”
“Bad day?” the kid asked sympathetically.
“You could say that.” He had totaled his favorite car and had to oversee a shit factory. Bad week was the least he could call it.
“You wanna go for a drive?” Clark smiled, all apple pie and American dreams. “It’s a pretty day and a friend just got me a gorgeous new truck!”
A…friend. A friend sounded good. Lex didn’t think he’d ever had one of those before. “Let me grab my sunglasses, I’ll be right out.”
Clark nodded and stepped back from the video com.
He was still standing outside the truck when Lex walked out. He wasn’t even leaning on it like a proud, possessive teenager should. Lex couldn’t help but think that was a bad sign.
“I’m not going to like what you have to tell me.”
“Probably not,” Clark agreed. “Shall we?”
“You are sixteen, right?” Because the last thing he needed was to face down a statutory rape charge becasue he spent time alone with the child of parents that hated him.
“Seventeen,” Clark corrected, “I’m a junior in high school. My birthday was Monday.”
“Thanks.” Clark beeped the truck unlocked and climbed in.
Seeing no other options, Lex climbed in too.
Clark backed neatly all the way down his drive then took the turn headed away from his parents farm.
“So…” Lex started about a mile or so in.
“So, I can’t keep the truck.” Clark made a frustrated sound. “But not for the reason my dad doesn’t want me to keep the truck.”
“May I ask the actual reason? I can probably guess your dad’s reasons.”
“Well, yeah, probably. My dad hates your dad.”
Lex nodded, that was what he expected.
“I don’t know the reason, exactly,” Clark continues with a frown. “He said some stuff about flashy gifts and broken promises.”
“Sounds like my father,” Lex agreed. “He thinks the truck is a flashy gift?”
“It is the flashiest gift I’ve ever gotten,” Clark agreed.
Lex thought that might actually be a compliment, coming from Clark at least. “And your reason?”
Clark was quiet for about ten minutes. Everything was quiet. As far as he could tell, Clark hadn’t even turned on the top of the line aftermarket radio he’d had put in the truck.
“My reason is that…I can’t afford the attention,” Clark said eventually.
“You? Can’t afford the…Clark, do you not realize you look like a top male model? And you’re head and shoulders above your classmates. You are always going to draw attention.”
Clark hunched a little in his flannel shirt.
Then Clark made the turn away from town so he clearly did not want to be seen, but Lex didn’t—couldn’t get it. “Why? Why don’t you want the attention?”
Clark opened and closed his mouth several times but nothing came out. Lex waited.
“This is hard,” Clark admitted.
Now Lex was…intrigued. “I can wait.”
Clark focused intently on the utterly empty road they were on. “I need to trust you.”
That was disappointing. He’d thought, maybe, for a moment…but. “That’s fine. I can earn it.”
“No, that’s—” Clark made a frustrated noise. “I do trust you. I just—
“I’ve never told anyone before,” Clark admitted softly. “I didn’t expect it to be this hard.”
“Okay.” Lex turned to look at the road ahead of them, giving Clark the illusion of privacy. He had no idea where they were. He wasn’t even sure they were in Kansas anymore.
“Hmm?” He didn’t turn to face his companion. He knew some things were easier if you didn’t have to face them directly.
“Lex, I’m an alien.”
Lex whipped around to look at him but Clark resolutely did not meet his gaze.
“You hit me,” he confirmed. “Then I pulled you out of the wreck. Sorry about pulling off the roof? I guess? I probably totalled your car. Oops?”
Lex snorted. “At least you’re using your powers for good.”
Clark shot him a small, pleased smile. Like he’d said exactly the right thing.
“Any other abilities?”
“Strength, speed, invulnerability. I wasn’t born with them all though. The strength I had when I got here. Not sure when the invulnerability started, my parents were always careful with me because of the strength.
“The speed is pretty new. Only the last three years, I guess.”
“So your abilities are developing as you age?”
Clark nodded like the entire thing wasn’t fascinating. Lex vaguely wondered what his abilities said about Clark’s homeworld. What kind of monster planet it had to be.
“When you got here?” Was what he finally asked. “What did you mean by that?”
Clark shot him an apologetic glance. “You remember that meteor shower twelve years ago?”
Lex’s hand twitched with the reflex to touch his bald head but he forcibly resisted it. “That was you?”
“Yeah. For what it’s worth—I mean, I didn’t launch my ship or anything—but, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry?”
“Don’t be,” Lex dismissed easily. “Like you said, you didn’t launch the ship.”
He wondered if it was too soon to ask to see the ship. But it would probably always be too soon, if they had to get past Jonathan Kent for him to see it.
Unless he could win over Jonathan Kent. Doing it without any of the flashy gifts he was used to throwing around, promised to be an interesting challenge.
“Do you know why your ship was launched?”
“No. Dad has a card thing that was in the ship? But no one’s been able to decipher it.”
“I could give it a shot,” he offered before he could consciously realize that was probably the wrong move.
But Clark just brightened. “Really?”
“It’s the least I could do,” he demurred easily. “If you trust me with it.”
“I already said I trust you, Lex,” Clark rolled his eyes. “You think I tell everyone I’m an alien?”
“No, I don’t suppose you do.”
“You are the only person I’ve told. My parents knew before I did, for obvious reasons, but you’re one of three people on the planet.”
Lex wasn’t sure what to say to that. Maybe Clark did trust him. It was…a heady experience. And a new one, better than any drug he’d ever tried. He’d have to make sure Clark never regretted it. Or worse, stopped.
“You look completely human,” Lex marvelled instead.
“As long as I have clothes on,” Clark muttered.
Lex was probably not supposed to hear that but he asked, “What?” anyway.
Clark blushed. “I, uh, I have…extra, um, bits.”
Lex opened his mouth to ask but decided against it. That was definitely too soon. He moved them back onto safer topics instead. “So speed, strength, invulnerability. Anything else?”
Clark shrugged. “I can keep you posted, I guess? Flight would be cool but with my luck I’ll get enhanced scent abilities next week or something.”
“That would make the boy’s locker room a special kind of hell,” Lex agreed.
Clark snorted a laugh that shouldn’t have been attractive and nodded.
“What have you been doing with your abilities?”
“Other than my chores?”
“Yes, other than that,” Lex agreed with amusement.
“Trying to not end up on a lab table. I’m not sure they could cut me open but that doesn’t mean I want anyone to try.”
“So hiding,” Lex guessed. “Control?”
“Pretty sure I’ve got what I have under control.” Clark shot him a look that might be teasing, “When maniacs in Porsches aren’t knocking me off bridges, at least.”
Lex flushed in shame but laughed. “Well, if you get anything new…”
“I mean, sure, if you’ve got ideas, I’ll take them. For training or whatever. Dad says it’s better to have and not need—”
“Than to need and not have,” Lex agreed. “And extra training is never a bad thing. I can’t imagine you’re on any school teams or the like?”
“Yeah, right. Dad shut me down so hard when I tried to try out for football,” Clark whined, sounding like the teenager he was.
“Contact sports could be problematic,” Lex allowed. “But we could try…fencing. Or chess. Mental disciplines that may or may not have a physical component.”
“Huh.” Clark gave that a considering nod. “Okay.”
“And I’ll take the truck back physically, but I’m going to keep it for you and it will still be yours. Eventually, you’ll go off to college and a young man with a flashy truck won’t stand out in a bad way on a college campus.”
“Any other advice for blending in?” Clark bit his bottom lip. “I mean, in Smallville.”
Lex considered that. From a physical standpoint, Clark was a devastatingly beautiful young man. How could they possibly make that less in a way Clark wouldn’t be immune to?
“How do you feel about glasses?”
Back to Card 2.