Pete wondered what he’d done to get a big, dumb, gay alien for a best friend. Had he been someone horrible in a past life, like a murderer, or a child molester, or a dancer on Soul Train? Was fate playing a cosmic joke on him? Or was God testing his strength of character, like Job, only with a Kryptonian twist?
Pete sat and watched Clark like he always did, as Clark circled the track on his dirt bike. Clark’s tongue stuck out to the side in concentration before the third jump and Pete refrained from warning him that he’d bite it off. His tongue was probably as invulnerable as the rest of his alien ass.
Pete sighed. Clark’s heart wasn’t invulnerable, though, and he’d been wearing it on his sleeve lately. It was why he’d dragged the big doofus out for a ride on the bikes. Clark had hit a wall of depression recently, wondering if anyone would ever like him as a boyfriend. Considering girls pretty much swooned when Clark beamed a thousand-watt smile at them, Clark could have his pick.But Clark didn’t really like girls. Only, he hadn’t figured that out yet.
Pete knew, though. Clark was a card-carrying member of Homosexuals Anonymous. At first, Pete thought maybe it was a comparative alien thing, but after the tenth day in a row he’d caught Clark checking out the other guys in the locker room, he’d figured it out. It was subtle, and he doubted even Clark noticed he was doing it, but since it was Pete’s job to watch Clark it became obvious rather quickly.
Sometimes, Pete was glad Clark hadn’t figured it out yet. Clark was different enough without adding being gay on top of it. He had trouble fitting in to begin with, considering his size and always-checked strength. He couldn’t play sports, an automatic negative on the coolness scale; he was empathetic to everyone, which went against the Code of Manliness all high schools had; he was stuck saving Smallville from mutants while everyone else was out partying or at school events; and his best friends were an offbeat rabble-rouser, one of the three black kids in school, and Lex Luthor.
Pete frowned unhappily, because if anyone were going to get Clark’s heart, it would be Lex. Blind tribesmen in Uganda knew that Lex had it bad for Clark. And Clark already loved the guy, even though he was too dumb to realize it. Pete could foresee devastation if Clark got wise and hooked up with Lex; the only way those two would ever get together was if Clark told his secrets to Lex, and that was a disaster in the making.
But Pete could also see total happiness, for both of them. Lex would, and could, protect Clark using his name, power, and money. Clark could, and would, protect Lex from the Black Widows and Lionel Luthor’s machinations physically and morally. They’d be checks and balances for each other, and find safety from the world in one another’s arms.
Pete rolled his eyes, as Clark rode to a stop before him. He was getting melodramatic. Besides, it wasn’t up to him whether or not Clark and Lex hooked up. His job was to sit and watch.
“Hey, Pete?” Clark said, straddling the humming dirt bike and looking down at his hands. “Do you think maybe Lex likes me? I mean, like-likes me?”
Pete half-smiled. Maybe Clark wasn’t so dumb after all.