Lex caressed the gun absentmindedly and decided that this – Clark and Lana’s wedding day – was a good day to die. No one would miss him. His dad would be upset only for the fact of having to train another heir, though Dominic Senatori was primed and desired to take his place. He was alone at his penthouse in Metropolis and none of the staff would return until morning. By then, a bullet to the brain would have put an end to his misery.
Leaving the bedside table drawer open, Lex stumbled over to the bedroom closet mirror. He wanted to see the face Clark had rejected. Bloodshot, swollen eyes, blotchy red skin, bald and butt-ugly, and three sheets to the wind; he’d reject himself, too, especially for someone like pretty, perfect, princess Lana Lang.
Kent. She was Lana Kent, now.
Lex bared his teeth in the mirror, his face twisted in a painful snarl. He traced the barrel of the silver-plated Beretta from his temple, curved down his cheek to his mouth. He kissed the tip and brushed it back and forth against his lips. One pull of the trigger would be all it took.
Lex drew his fist back and slammed it into his reflection. The mirror splintered, cracking in a spiderweb pattern. Bits of glass cut into his knuckles, blood beading. He stared at his broken reflection - a more accurate mirror of his heart.
“I saw Lana today,” Clark said, tucking into his sandwich. “I asked her out.”
Lex stilled, the knife in his hand halfway through the tomato he was slicing. He swallowed the bile that rose in his throat and was glad his back was to Clark. “What did she say?”
“Yes, if you can believe it,” Clark replied. “I thought my chances with her were shot, with our past.”
“You’re both in different places, now; adults rather than children playing at grand romance,” Lex said. It was the same reason why he’d ventured into the current relationship with Clark – best friends with benefits. He’d hoped it would grow into something more on Clark’s part, as Lex was already in love with him, but with Lana present in Clark’s life again…
“You don’t mind, do you?” Clark said. Lex could feel Clark’s eyes on his back.
“You’re free to date whomever you wish, Clark,” Lex said, sidestepping the question. He forced himself to finish making his sandwich.
“I know,” Clark sighed, “but I always feel guilty having sex with you when I’m seeing someone.”
Fear, hurt, and self-loathing coalesced and lodged like a ball in Lex’s chest. Without that sexual connection, Clark would never see Lex as a love interest. He was going to lose Clark.
Lex swallowed again, closed his eyes, and gave Clark what he wanted. “Then we’ll stop. It’s only sex. It’s not as if it meant more than a release.”
“Yeah. Okay.” Clark sounded relieved. It was a blow to Lex’s heart. “Hey, will you make me another sandwich while you’re at it. I’m still hungry.”
Lex sank to the floor in front of the broken mirror. Sitting awkwardly on his crossed ankles, he loosened his tie and the top two buttons of his shirt. The blood on his knuckles left streaks of orange-red on his white collar. His head spun, making his reflection float crazily in the splintered mirror.
His palm sweated around the grip of the Beretta. He looked down at the gun resting against his thigh. It would be so simple. One pull and his brain would be splattered on the beige carpet behind him, something even his freaky super-healing ability couldn’t fix. Clark wouldn’t have to avoid him any longer (driving sharp knives into his very soul) because he would be dead. It was a win-win situation for them both, a permanent ending to a relationship that had dragged on far too long.
It was Lex’s own fault, really. Silence was the virtue of fools, Sir Francis Bacon had once said, and Lex had followed that advice – to his ruin. He hadn’t been about to let Clark go without a fight. He’d walked a tightrope for months, being careful not to drive Clark away by belittling or doing anything to Lana, like having her killed. Instead, he’d spent as much time with Clark as could be arranged and touched him often, even with the restriction on sexual activities. Clark had seemed to enjoy Lex’s company more than previously and Lex’s plan for winning Clark had been progressing well.
But then one day everything fell apart and not even revealing his feelings had saved him.
“I love you, Clark,” Lex said, as the snow fell around them, catching on their eyelashes and melting on the shoulders of their coats. “I’m in love with you.”
Clark didn’t react as if Lex’s confession was a surprise. Sadness and pity colored his countenance instead, and Lex felt a ball of dread settle in the pit of his stomach.
“I’m sorry, Lex,” Clark said, and Lex could hear the sincerity in his voice, which only made it hurt worse. “I love you, but like a brother.”
“Brothers who have fucked.”
“Dysfunctional brother,” Clark amended, compassion in his eyes, “but nothing more.”
Lex swallowed past the tightness in his throat. “The most successful long-term relationships are based on close friendship. Alexander and Hephaestion—”
“Are not us,” Clark interjected, not unkindly. He stepped closer, laid his hands on Lex’s shoulders, and looked intently at him. “You’re Lex, I’m Clark, and tomorrow I’m going to ask Lana to marry me.”
Lex compressed his lips together and blinked back the sting in his eyes. He knew now he’d never actually been in love before, because nothing had ever felt as painful as this. “I think you’re making a mistake.”
“It’s mine to make.” Clark released him and stepped back. “I’ll call you in a few days. You know you’re still my best friend no matter what, right?”
“Of course,” Lex got out before his voice choked.
“Okay. Goodnight.” Clark hesitated a moment, then turned and walked up the steps and into his apartment building, leaving Lex standing alone in the gently falling snow.
Clark and Lana were married six hours ago in front of family and friends and a miserable Lex. Clark had looked directly at him when the Judge presiding over the ceremony asked if anyone objected. The expression on Clark’s face had not been one of hope for rescue, but of stony warning not to disrupt, and Lex had died a little more inside.
Now here he was, many, many bottles of alcohol later, wanting nothing more than to end it all.
Lex raised the Beretta, put the barrel in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.
The gun was not loaded.
Lex choked on a sob, flung the Beretta across the room, curled in a ball on the floor, and cried himself to sleep.
The next day, a hungover Lex packed some belongings, released the staff, and informed his father that he was going to Europe to oversee the LuthorCorp International holdings. For once, his father didn’t argue after getting a good look at his son.
Lex boarded the plane bound for Britain that night, and prayed that time and an ocean’s distance would mend his shattered dreams.