Family, Friendship, and Love



Part Ten

 

 

Eighty-three guests accepted the invitation to Lex Luthor's dinner party held at the end of May, including Clark. The party, in celebration of LexCorp breaking the top one hundred of the Fortune-500, was being held at Lex's sprawling Metropolis apartment. The house staff had hidden away all of Sam's gadgets, but the black plastic penguin from the zoo was left untouched on the front hall table between two crystal vases filled with freshly cut flowers. Sam had been left with the nanny, though it was close to his bedtime when the guests started to arrive.

Prominent Metropolis government officials and business owners, as well as some out-of-state guests, mingled in the modern, opulent apartment, dressed to the nines in semi-formal evening gowns and tuxedos. Lionel appeared briefly, somehow conveying congratulations and berating Lex at the same time, before leaving for a "more pressing engagement." Lex was happy to see him off, though Clark could tell that Lex was equally as happy that he'd bothered to stop by at all. Theirs was a relationship Clark didn't think he'd ever understand.

Clark spent most of the evening with Laura, who looked stunning in her burgundy high-collared gown. She received lavish praise from Lex, but Clark learned she felt as out of place as Clark did at the party. They were the people behind the scenes, Hephaestion and Craterus to Alexander the Great. They were there to support Lex in his celebration, and because he invited them personally.

Lex was in his element, cool, confident, and debonair. He circled the party, shaking hands, paying compliments, and discussing business other than his own. Besides Clark, Lex was the youngest person at the party, but his sophisticated charm put him at level with his guests. Clark noted Lex's smile and laugh were all show, however, until Sam sneaked out in his blue cartoon pajamas and joined the party.

Sam went directly to Lex, knowing that Clark would simply send him back to bed. Clark saw Sam, however, and was going to collect him, but was halted by Lex's warm, open, wholly real smile.

Lex picked up Sam, perching him on a hip, uncaring of the wrinkles the action caused. Lex introduced Sam to the Mayor, to whom he had been talking, calling Sam his ‘pseudo son.' Clark kept back, watching and listening unobtrusively as Lex continued his rounds with Sam firmly ensconced in his arms. At one point, Lex saw Clark and sent him a private smile, but did not indicate the desire to unload Sam. In fact, Clark caught the two of them sneaking off to the kitchen for ice cream just before the late dinner was to be served.

It was with that, that Clark knew he could no longer keep the truth from Lex. The dinner party was important to Lex, both personally and professionally, yet he ditched it because Sam wanted ice cream, even though Clark was right there and a call away from the nanny (who had been waved off when she'd come to retrieve Sam after noticing he was gone from bed when she'd checked on him). Lex truly loved Sam like a father, although he thought he was nothing more than a caring friend.

After the last guest had gone, Sam long since tucked back into bed, Clark knocked on the door to Lex's bedroom. His tie was unknotted, the top two buttons of his shirt undone, but that was his only deference to comfort. He held Sam's baby book in his hand.

Lex answered the door, expression openly curious. He was partially undressed already, feet bare, jacket, tie, and cummerbund gone, his shirttails hanging loose and collar unbuttoned. "Clark, is something wrong?"

"Can I talk to you?" Clark requested in reply, his stomach tied in nervous knots.

Lex stepped back, opening the door wider, and Clark entered the bedroom.

Lex's bedroom was decorated in subdued mauve, rose, and beige, with framed lithographs on the walls. A desk was in one corner, covered with neat stacks of files folders, mail, magazines, and pictures of Clark and Sam. An easy chair and a freestanding lamp were in another corner, trade-sized soft-cover book open facedown on the armrest. The bed was king-sized, taking up most of the room, and was flanked by matching nightstands with small lamps. There were two other doors beside the one leading to the hallway, which led to a bathroom and an enormous closet.

Lex invited Clark to sit, but Clark was too anxious to do so. Worry was immediately evident on Lex's face. "What is it, Clark?"

Clark looked at the man standing in front of him for the last time before everything changed. His best friend, the single person outside of his family that he trusted with everything he was personally and unconditionally with Sam.

"I need you to know," he began slowly, "that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone this until I turned eighteen, and it goes without saying that I pretty much always obeyed my parents."

Lex's expression went from worry to dawning understanding to completely blank. It was not comforting. "Go on," he said.

Clark lowered his eyes, focusing on the baby book in his hands. "After I turned eighteen, I didn't know you anymore. Not really, even after we became friends again," he said. "Plus, I had Sam to think about, and I had to be completely certain that I could trust you with his life before I confided in you."

"I would never harm Sam," Lex said, anger lacing his voice.

"I know that. I never would have moved in with you if I thought otherwise." Clark kept his head bowed. "I should have told you months ago, but I know the truth is going to change things between us and...," he trailed off, not wanting to admit out loud that he was a coward.

"Just tell me, Clark."

"I'm not human."

Dead silence. Clark peered up at Lex from beneath his lashes. Lex's face was still a blank mask, stormy blue eyes never leaving Clark. Clark pressed on.

"My birth name is Kal-El. I am the last living son of Krypton, a planet that was light years from earth. It was destroyed, but not before my birth parents sent me here. I can tell you more another time."

He raised his head and looked at Lex. "I may look human, but I'm not. And neither is Sam, not fully." With trembling hands, Clark held out the baby book to Lex. "On the inside, Sam looks like me. On the outside... he looks like his father."

Lex took the book. He continued saying nothing, and his expression remained unreadable as he started to page through it. Clark was on pins and needles as he watched Lex skim Sam's birth page, the hand-drawn diagram of Clark's torso and an unborn Sam in his egg, pausing briefly on Clark's family page in the mother's section, before skipping through the photograph pages to the father's section.

Abruptly, Lex went unnaturally still. He stared at the father's family page, the stoic mask shattered, a completely poleaxed expression in its place. "Is this a joke?" he asked finally, in a whisper of disbelief.

"No. No joke," Clark said. "I've had sex with one person in my entire life, and that's you."

"I remember," Lex said faintly. He ran his fingers over the page in the book. "I'm Sam's father? For real?"

"Yeah, you are," Clark said. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but..."

"I...," Lex began, and changed his mind. "Can you leave? I want to be alone."

Fear and hurt slammed into Clark, but he nodded. "I'll be in my room if you have questions." Lex didn't acknowledge him.

He left, the door closing behind him shattering his heart.

*****

Lex was a father. Clark wasn't human. Sam was Lex and Clark's child.

The words kept circling in Lex's brain. It was nearly incomprehensible. Lex was a father. Clark wasn't human. Sam was Lex and Clark's child.

Soon, he'd feel hurt and anger over missing the first three years of Sam's life. Then, he'd feel true fear because Sam was different, only half-human, and there were a lot of bad people out there — Lex knew most of them by name. He'd also realize that, if he had been in Clark's place, he never, ever, ever would have told anyone that he was an extra-terrestrial.

At the moment, however, Lex was in shock. He was a father. Clark wasn't human. Sam was Lex and Clark's child.

Lex sat down hard on the floor, right where he'd been standing. He'd received shocks before in his life: when he'd lost his hair, when his mother had died, when he'd died. This one was right up there, a triple-punch to the gut. Lex was a father. Clark was not human. Sam was Lex and Clark's child.

His hands were unsteady as he continued paging through the baby book. Magazine and newspaper clippings of him filled the father's section, from the past and present, including as recent of one about LexCorp breaking the top one hundred of the Fortune-500. After that, the book was divided by age, and Lex saw Sam grow and change through neatly labeled pictures.

He didn't realize he was crying until a teardrop splashed on a photograph of him and Sam at Sam's third birthday party.

He was a father.

Lex flipped back to the beginning of the baby book. Samuel David Kent, born August 8, 2002. He was so tiny in the newborn picture. So fragile looking. A brand new life that Lex created. His son.

Lex turned the page and studied the concisely labeled hand-drawn diagram. It was an anatomical drawing, Lex guessed of Clark. There was also a detail of the embryo, a little frog-like thing that had grown inside Clark.

Clark was not human.

Many things were explained and many questions answered by the revelation that Clark was an alien. The lies, the unexplained feats of strength, the fact that he was alive at all, made sense now. The family page in the mother's section had information on the Kents but also on Clark's biological parents, Jor-El and Lara-El. There was a notation by their names to access the AI for a complete family tree. Lex would have to ask Clark later about the AI. He assumed it meant artificial intelligence, that Clark had access to a computer from Krypton. If so, he would also have to ask it how two different species created a child.

Sam was Lex and Clark's child.

Lex was in love with Clark, a recent discovery that had slipped upon him unaware. He doubted he would ever have his feelings returned, but Sam was a tangible piece of them both, proof of something wonderful made by their friendship that Lex could cherish and love without fear of reproach.

He was a father, he was in love with Clark, and Sam was their child.

Overwhelmed, for the first time since his mother died, Lex lowered his face to his hands and wept.

*****

"Sign these."

Clark jumped, startled, as two reams of paper, six-inches each and bound at the top, were dropped on the table by his elbow. He looked up from his magazine, as Lex sank into the chair beside him.

Lex looked wan, the purple shadows under his eyes matching his shirt. This was the first time Clark had seen him since telling him the truth. Sam had said that Lex had left at six o'clock in the morning, while Sam was watching early Sunday morning cartoons. It was now 3:45 in the afternoon. Clark was seated at the round table in the family room, keeping an eye on Sam, who was in his workshop next door.

The family room, formerly Lex's den, was the most oft occupied room in the apartment. Matching blue-green fabric sofas sat at angles in front of an enormous entertainment center. A table and four chairs, where they ate their meals, was set up near the double sliding doors that led to Sam's workshop. On the opposite side of the room, another set of sliding doors led to Lex's office.

Clark had been in the family room nearly the entire day. He hadn't slept the night before, and was too anxious to eat. Fear and worry gnawed at him, as he wondered what was going to happen now that he'd told Lex the truth. He was about to find out.

"What are they?" Clark picked up the first ream of paper, which was marked with a multitude of bright tabs fanned along the side that read: "sign here."

"Secondary parent adoption papers," Lex replied. "Once you sign and they're filed, I'll also legally be Sam's father."

Clark was surprised. "You can do that?"

"It's not common practice in the State of Kansas, but yes, it can be done," Lex said. "Now sign. I paid my attorneys a lot of money to get these papers drawn up today."

"Don't you think you should ask me to sign?"

Lex leveled him with a look.

Clark nodded. "Right. Sam's as much your son as mine." He picked up a pen, flipped to the first tab, and paused. "Do I need to read this first?"

Lex's expression was impassive, his eyes unfathomable. "I don't know. Do you?"

"You're mad at me, aren't you," Clark stated.

"Yes," Lex said coolly, in antithesis of his answer.

Clark nodded again, and signed.

It took several minutes to affix his signature in all the indicated places on both reams of legal documents. Clark noted absently that the second bundle was titled differently, but signed nonetheless. When he finished, he slid both to Lex, folded his arms on the table, and asked, "Anything else?"

"Your solemn promise that you won't tell anyone else about your origins. No one."

"What about Sam?" Clark said. "I was planning to tell him when he was old enough to understand. He already knows that I have special abilities and how to keep a secret."

"We'll discuss it when the time comes," Lex said, "but until that happens, you will keep your origins a secret even from Sam." He looked away, focusing on an unseen spot across the room. "I wish you hadn't told me, either."

"What? Why?" Clark was baffled. "You were rather determined to learn the truth when you lived in Smallville."

"Clark, do you understand what certain people would do to get their hands on a real extra-terrestrial?" Lex's voice was lowered so as not to be overheard. "Ignorance is the best protection. The truth can't be tortured out of someone if they don't know it."

Clark's stomach dropped as pure terror washed over him at the thought of Sam, Lex, or Clark's parents being tortured because of him. His face became ashen. "Oh, God."

Lex put his hand on Clark's forearm, leaning closer to him. "A healthy dose of fear is good, but don't let it overpower you."

"What do I do?" Clark grasped Lex's hand. "How can I protect you guys?"

"Just promise that you won't tell anyone," Lex said. "And if you have the need to play hero, like you did in Smallville, wear a disguise. My money will take care of the rest."

"I promise," Clark agreed readily. "I don't use my abilities much anyway, not since Sam was born. Before, it was just around my parents' farm mostly, and now when I fly home for a visit during my lunch breaks."

Lex's eyes widened. "You can fly?"

Clark's smile was shaky, but real. "Yeah, since I was seventeen. Cool, huh?"

Lex burst out laughing. "Yes, just a little bit."

"Are we okay?" Clark asked tentatively, after Lex's laughter trickled off.

Lex squeezed Clark's hand, which was still being held. "We're okay. I'm mad at you for making me miss out on a part of Sam's childhood, but I understand why. I also have a ton of questions."

"Questions about what?" It was Sam who had spoken, appearing at Lex's elbow. In his hands was his notebook of preliminary schematics, and he had pencil smudges on his face.

The worries Clark'd had faded. He and Lex were going to be fine, the truths hadn't scared him away, or turn him into a mad scientist, and Sam was going to have both his parents in his life.

Clark glanced at Lex, squeezed his hand again, and smiled. "Questions like: how would you like to have two dads, Sam?"



Continued