The Other Clark

"Hello, Lex."

Lex Luthor's startled gaze shot up, and he saw Clark Kent standing in the doorway to the study. His heart skipped a beat, like it did each time he saw the teen. "Clark, you surprised me. I didn't hear the bell."

"I'm inside, aren't I? So I must've rang it," Clark said, shutting the door as he entered the room.

Lex closed the report he was reading and tossed the folder onto his desk. The three computers on the desk showed comparative reports from the LuthorCorp. Plant, and he shut off the screens so as not to be distracted by work while Clark was at the manor. Normally, it was the opposite problem and Clark was the distractant for reasons involving hearts and flowers and other sappy feelings, but the plant was working on a new biochemical compound and Lex was a well-disguised science nerd. He had to be to earn a degree with honors in biochemical engineering from Princeton.

"What can I do for you?" Lex smoothed his wrinkled white Oxford dress shirt as he crossed to the fireplace. He picked up a poker and stirred the crackling fire. A single lamp was on by the desk, but it was not bright enough to penetrate all the dark corners of the study, so the fire helped to banish the gloom. "It's a bit late for you to be out."

"I wanted to see you," Clark answered with a smile that was a little off.

"Oh?" Lex set the poker aside, tucked his hands in his pockets, and studied Clark. The teen's midnight hair was windblown and his cheeks were ruddy from being outside. No coat, which was odd for winter, but the blue-checked flannel and faded jeans were normal farmboy wear. Still, something was not right and it was making Lex uneasy. He suddenly had the strong desire to leave.

He should've listened to his gut.

"Tell me...," Clark walked over and stopped directly in front of Lex, "...what would you do if I kissed you right now?"

Startled for the second time by Clark, Lex blinked at him in confusion. "What?"

Clark didn't repeat his question. Instead, he gripped Lex by the shoulders and caught his gasp in a kiss.

Lex was struck dumb. Not only was Clark kissing him, the boy was doing it with more expertise than an innocuous fifteen year old should possess. His tongue flicked along Lex's parted lips, darting inside to tease him into reciprocating. There was the perfect amount of pressure against his mouth, with nibbling for spice.

He felt something prick his neck and immediately started to get dizzy.

"Clark, what...?" Lex croaked when the teen's mouth moved from his to nip along his jaw. He was gently but firmly lowered to the carpeting in front of the fire. His head was spinning, and he couldn't get his limbs to function. Something was wrong -- the whole situation was wrong, but more specifically something was physically wrong with him. "Clark..."

"Just be still, and enjoy," Clark whispered in Lex's ear, tugging at the lobe with sharp teeth.

Lex's shirt was unbuttoned and pushed partway down his arms, effectively trapping them at his sides. He felt Clark's fingers undo his trouser buttons. Panic infused him, giving him the strength to struggle. "Stop!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing?!"

Clark put a single hand on the center of Lex's pale chest, easily pinning him to the ground. Blue eyes that usually shined with innocence glinted with maliciousness. White teeth slashed the tanned familiar face in a cruel smile. "I know you want me, Lex," Clark said, squeezing the older man roughly through his trousers. "I've seen the way you look at me. Tell me I'm wrong."

He wasn't wrong, but Lex didn't want him like this. "Don't."

"Don't?" Clark laughed nastily. "C'mon, Lex, you've been practically begging for this since we met."

Rough fingers ripped at Lex's trousers, and he bit the inside of his cheek, drawing blood. He had been drugged somehow -- that sting on his neck -- and now he was going to be raped on the floor in his own home by the boy he'd thought he was falling in love with. That would teach him to let his heart in the driver's seat.

Crack. The study door splintered as it flew open, the ornate knob imbedding into the side wall. Lex jerked in shock, his eyes widening when a blur tackled Clark. He struggled to move as heavy cracks and crashes exploded in the study outside of his line of sight.

The showering crystalline tinkle of the glass window breaking and the abrupt silence that followed caused Lex's heart to slam up into his throat. He needed to move now, but he couldn't make his body cooperate. He could only flop around like a fish on the carpet.

Lex managed to swallow his scream when warm hands touched his bare skin. He froze and stared up into blue eyes filled with a mixture of anger and worry.

"Dodge F-150, red," Clark hissed quietly as he rapidly fixed Lex's clothing. Then, like he weighed nothing, Clark lifted Lex into his arms and, in a blink, they were in a dust-coated room in another wing of the manor.

Lex was lowered onto a sheet-covered chair. Clark gently squeezed his hand. "I'll be back," he whispered, then was suddenly gone.

The outdoor security light barely cut through the draperies over the windows, leaving Lex mostly in the dark. Hysteria bubbled on his lips but he held it in. He found he was able to move somewhat, and pulled the edges of his unbuttoned shirt together. Elsewhere in the manor, he heard more crashes.

Something obviously abnormal was going on under his own roof and he was helpless to do anything about it. He hated not being in control, and here he was unable to even move his own body. He forcibly ignored the shattering of his heart.

The door to the room opened, and the hallway light spilled in, outlining a shirtless Clark. "Lex, are you okay?" he asked, quickly coming towards Lex.

Lex shrank back in the chair as far as he could, looking warily at the teen. "Clark?"

"It's really me." Clark crouched in front of Lex and put his hands on Lex's knees. "Did that... person... hurt you?"

"It was close," Lex replied roughly.

"I'm sorry."

"Get away from him."

Lex's eyes shot to the door, and widened when he saw another Clark gripping the doorframe. He had the same face, same hair, same body, and same lack of shirt as the Clark crouched in front of the chair. Lex sucked in a sharp breath, his trembling hands twisting the material of his Oxford. "Holy crap."

The Clark in front of him stood and placed himself between Lex and the other teen. "Don't even try it," he warned.

Two Clarks. Lex wondered if he had fallen asleep at his desk again and was having a nightmare. Or a really whacked fantasy.

The Clark in the door took a step forward into the room. "I won't let you have him." Another step.

The other Clark's hands bunched into fists at his sides. "And I won't let you hurt him."

"And if either one of you takes another step, we'll shoot you both."

In the open doorway, two uniformed Sheriffs held their weapons pointed one at each Clark. What do you know?, Lex thought. His security system actually worked.

"On your knees, hands behind your heads, both of you," one of the Sheriffs barked.

Lex watched as the twin Clarks simultaneously put their hands on their heads and sank to their knees. They still glared at each other, neither saying a word. The Clark closest to the officers was handcuffed first, then the one kneeling in front of Lex.

"Mr. Luthor, I'm Sergeant Hartley. Are you all right?" asked the officer who'd cuffed the identical teens.

"Yes," Lex replied, releasing a slow breath. He found he was able to move more, but doubted he could stand yet. "One of these two drugged me and I want him arrested. The other is my friend."

"Well, who is who?" Sgt. Hartley asked.

Lex suddenly felt like he was in a PBS mystery. Any moment, Miss Marple was going to come through the door and announce whodunit.

"Sir?" Sgt. Hartley prompted.

Lex focused on the Clark facing him, then at the back of the other Clark's head. How the hell was he supposed to know who was real and who was the imitation? His head was still spinning from whatever he was drugged with, reminding him of when he'd come to on the riverbank and seen Clark close up for the first time.

The proverbial lightbulb went on above Lex's smooth head and he channeled his inner-Miss Marple to ask, "The answer is a red Dodge F-150. What's the question?"

"What you gave me as a gift," the Clark facing Lex said.

Lex opened his mouth to tell the Sheriff to remove the cuffs when the other Clark spoke.

"It's what my parents made me return."

Lex slumped in the chair. Now what?, he asked himself. Both answers were right, although one was more specific. He wracked his brain for another question that 'his' Clark would know. "Have either of you kissed me before today?"

The two Sheriffs gave Lex an odd look, but he ignored them. "Well?" he prompted.

"No." "No." The two Clarks replied, one a half-second behind the other.

Then, the Clark in front of Lex turned and looked over his shoulder. "Unless you're counting the 'Kiss of Life,'" he said.

And then he blushed.

Despite everything, a smile curved Lex's lips at that unreproducible, innocent blush.

Lex shifted his gaze and reeled back at the rage twisting the other Clark's features. He saw the imposter shift his weight and yelled, "Look out!"

Things happened almost faster than Lex could sort out. The real Clark broke his handcuffs like they were silly string as the imposter launched himself forward. The Sheriff in the doorway, who had not holstered his weapon, raised the revolver and fired.

Clark rose and spun, covering Lex with his bigger body. The Sergeant's revolver fired, and Lex felt Clark jerk slightly. The retort from the discharged weapons rang loudly in the room.

Lex's heart stopped, and he said in a fearful tone, "Clark?"

Clark lifted his head and gave Lex a beautiful smile, one which never failed to curl his toes. "That would be me, for real."


Clark straightened and put his hands on top of his head again before turning. Lex stared at the broken handcuffs dangling from each of Clark's wrists, making note to ask about it later. He turned his attention to the prone body sprawled on the floor near his feet with a bullet wound in its back. The pale face turned towards him no longer resembled Clark's.

"That's Phil Mason. He worked for me at the plant," Lex said, surprise underlying his tone. In fact, Phil Mason was one of the scientists working on the new biochemical compound Lex had been reviewing when this nightmare began.

"Mr. Luthor, should we arrest this man?" Sgt. Hartley and the other officer had their weapons still aimed at Clark.

"No, no," Lex said immediately. "Clark isn't the intruder."

He stood and almost fell over, but Clark was there with a strong arm wrapped around his waist. It was a good thing, too, because Lex's knees still weren't functioning properly and he very much wanted to leave. "I'll leave you to do your job, gentlemen. Thank you," he said, prompting Clark to escort him from the room.

"I'm sorry," Clark said, assisting Lex onto the only unbroken chair in the study, where Lex had chosen to wait. Lex knew he'd have to give the Sheriffs a statement before they left, and he wanted time to invent a plausible one that wouldn't get Clark into trouble or lead to questions Lex wasn't willing to answer.

"For saving me? Again?" Lex questioned, glancing dispassionately at the trashed study.

"No, I was talking about the mess," Clark said. He uprighted a small statue and the head broke off in his hand. "I'll fix all this... somehow."

"Don't worry about it, Clark. I can have everything replaced with a phone call." Lex leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. The world spun. "Fuck."

"Lex, are you okay?"

"No." Lex inhaled slowly through his nose and exhaled through his mouth. "Do you have any idea what happened, or why?"

"Yes, actually," Clark said. "Mr. Mason apparently ingested some new chemical at the plant that allowed him to kind of absorb a person's DNA by touch, and he could practically become that person. Pretty scary, if you ask me."

"Interesting," Lex said. Possibly profitable, if Phil's notes or a sample wasn't missing. "But why did he come after me pretending to be you? Why was he going to...," he left the sentence unfinished, hands clenching the material of his shirt.

"The only thing I can figure is that when he touched someone, he absorbed more than just their DNA, like, um, hormones and-and stuff."

Lex cracked an eye open. Clark was sitting on the floor in front of him, chin down, picking on a frayed thread on his jeans. "Clark, are you saying Phil came after me because you like me as more than just a friend?"

Clark abruptly stood and shoved his hands in his pockets. "I'd, uh, better call my folks and let them know where I am," he said, looking studiously at his sneakered feet. "And maybe borrow a shirt?"

"Use the phone in my bedroom and grab a shirt while you're there," Lex told Clark, a smile pulling at his lips.

Clark left quickly, and Lex sighed. He leaned his head back on the chair and closed his eyes again. This was a night he was definitely not going to forget. Face-changing chemicals, broken handcuffs, Clark not having a scratch on him in spite of the study looking like a tornado hit it, Clark liking him as more than just a friend...

Huh. Maybe his heart hadn't steered him wrong, after all.


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