Disclaimer: Smallville and all related elements, characters and indicia © Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television, 2002. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situationssave those created by the authors for use solely on this websiteare copyright Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.
A steaming hot cup of tea was placed on Lex Luthor's desk and he nodded his thanks to the morning servant, Terrence. Two more spreadsheets signed off on and he was free for the day, thank God. A scalding sip of lemon flavor against his tongue and Lex motioned for more sugar.
Terrence complied quietly and efficiently. "Will you be going out this morning, sir?"
"Yes, but not to the plant. I might actually head into Smallville proper for some pancakes, bacon and a good corn cob pipe smoke." Lex glanced up wryly to see if this got a reaction out of the unflappable man beside him, but no such luck.
Not even a blink. "Very good, sir. I'll pull the car up front?"
Lex smiled into his tea cup. "Sure. The Mercedes this time. It's been rattling a bit and I want to get it looked at."
Terrence bowed his head, disappearing as smoothly and silently as he'd arrived. Lex leaned back and swiveled around in his leather chair, looking outside the huge bay windows that lined his office. The grounds were no worse for wear after the little "incident" of a few nights before and Lex frowned at the memory of its untimely interruption.
Just when he was this close to getting the Kents to take his offer ...
A deep puff of annoyance, and Lex forced the memory away. One lost battle does not a war make, this he knew, and he could contemplate the Kents' eventual agreement to his "generous offer" at his leisure. He'd have to show extreme restraint when the inevitable finally happened and not force His Holiness, Father Kent, to eat too much humble pie the day Lex owned his uptight ass, permanently.
Well, maybe just a little, but that was all.
Wouldn't do to upset Clark, the poor boy who loved his father so.
It was another of Clark's most endearing traits, one of many. Love of family, love of honor, pride in his good name ... all things Lex should have been furiously jealous of and would have been if Clark wasn't, well, Clark.
Clark. Smiling, sweet, whimsical, courageous, caring, gorgeous ...
Lex choked on his tea at that last train of thought. Oh, don't go there, Alexander. No, no, no ... that is one prize you are not going to reward yourself with when all is said and done. He's just a boy, he deserves all the choices you're going to present him with and you, you horndog, will not be among them.
Even once you get him over the lifeless Lana Lang.
It was proving difficult, getting Clark to take Miss Smallville 2001 down from the undeserving pedestal he'd placed her on. Lex's lip curled in derision at the thought of her and her football "hero" stumbling into his house, whining over yet another nowhere-near-fatal accident, not even noticing Lex's supreme irritation at Clark's absence from their pathetic little love-in.
Oh, the ill-fated plans of mice, men and Luthors who wanted farmboys to grow up ... now.
God, he couldn't wait until Clark's teen angst days were over and done.
Another long sigh and Lex squinted out the window, noticing something strange in his immense "backyard." The west lake ...
It was frozen.
Lex peered more closely at the lake's bright, white top. The weather had been relatively mild for days, so there was no way the lake should be frozen solid. The scientist in him came to full attention and he rose, reaching to a lower credenza for his walking boots. Strange things were happening in this town almost on a daily basis and finally, one was happening in his own backyard.
He pulled on the boots, smiling as he shrugged into his jacket. It was about time Luthor Manor got a little action.
He'd been starting to feel left out.
Lex stared out over the shining frost that covered his lake. A relatively warm breeze blew against his skin and he experimentally tapped at the ice sheet with his walking stick. Hairline cracks spread out from the impact, but only on the very surface and Lex pressed his foot against the cold top, debating taking the chance on a little walk to the lake's center.
That was dangerous, very dangerous, but when had that ever stopped him?
He took a single step forward and rocked back and forth on his heel, closely examining the result of his movements. No sign of water seepage, no sign of any water at all and Lex put both feet on the lake's edge, making sure not to slide further toward the interior.
No cracks again; nothing but solid ice. Lex took a deep breath and jumped in the air, coming down hard with both feet. Some deep set fissures appeared but they were closer to shaved ice than anything resembling a major break in the frozen table.
All right, now this is impossible, he thought, unable to resist the urge to move further out onto the lake. It had been slightly over fifty degrees for three days and there was no way this lake could be frozen solid.
Of course, there was no way he could have plunged over a bridge doing sixty and lived, so maybe this was just one more par for the course in this strange town.
Slowly, Lex made his way closer to the center of the lake. The ice showed zero signs of giving way and there was still no water to be seen. His eye caught sight of something very unusual, seemingly stuck in the middle of the frozen lake like a piece of fruit suspended in a bowl of clear Jell-O.
It was red, white and blue all over and Lex grimaced as he advanced toward it, his curiosity turning into a thumping terror when he noticed what looked like the outline of a Smallville football jersey's large "S" pressed against the ice.
Good lord all mighty.
Lex started to run toward it, forgetting he was on ice and his arms windmilled frantically as he fought to maintain his balance. A short struggle, and he fell with an undignified plop right atop the floating jacket. To his abject horror, Lex saw it wasn't just an empty jacket but an entire Smallville football player, his bright blue face and hands pressed against the ice top, as if begging for release.
Lex yelped and slid backwards, bile burning the back of his throat. "Holy shit," he breathed to no one in particular. Then he remembered. "Sean."
Hands shaking, he slapped against his pockets for his cell phone and grimaced when he saw it sitting around twenty feet away, a casualty of his fall. He debated getting up and walking toward it but all thought stopped as a cracking sound began to shake the lake around him, like the sound of an ice cube tray being emptied.
He scrabbled frantically forward, keeping his entire body as low as possible so he could spread out over the ice and maybe not get killed. Crawl, scramble, duck and Lex had only gotten a few feet away when he felt something latch onto his left ankle with an iron grip.
In a panic, Lex flipped onto his back and screamed aloud for what might have been the first time in his adult life. A real piercing sort of scream, the kind of scream you make when you see a frozen thing in a Smallville football jersey latched onto your leg, leering at you from beneath bright blue eyelids and dragging you closer to the hole it had risen from.
Holy shit, indeed.
Lex clawed uselessly at the ice, screaming at the top of his lungs knowing that no one would hear him and felt himself being dragged across the lake, his entire body scraping along like a fish caught in a trawler's net.
He tried twisting, kicking, and more screaming but nothing worked. Sean, the Smurf-Faced Killer Popsicle Boy had him and it was the end. Part of his brain wondered what his father would think when they found him dead, broken into tiny little Chunks O' Lex but the other part was too busy bursting into bright fireworks of sheer terror, then shut down completely in self-defense.
This was not happening ... this was not happening ... this was ...
The dragging stopped, a terrible, searing pain shot through his captive leg and Lex screamed again, this time in agony. He propped himself up in his elbows, panting with pain, horrified to see that the lower part of his leg was trapped at the lake's edge, completely encased in ice from his calf down.
Lex fell back onto the bank and struggled to catch his breath. Okay, he wasn't dead yet and if he calmed down, he might have a chance. Gotta live ... gotta live ... gotta ...
"Hey there, Mr. Luthor," said Sean, leaning in over him, his red hair contrasting clownishly with the comic-book blue of his face. "It's nice to meet you."
"Let me go," Lex gasped. "Just let me go, Sean and I can help you. I know doctors ... in Metropolis ... they can save you, Sean. You don't have to do this."
Sean laughed, a hee-haw sound that made Lex want to scream again. "No one can help me, Mr. Luthor. Well ... " he said snidely. "Except for your friend." He sat down companionably next to Lex, his legs creaking as they folded Indian-style beneath him. Violent shivers shook him but he seemed to take little notice. "And I'm expecting he should be arriving any minute now."
The burning sensation in his leg was almost unbearable, but Lex focussed on Sean instead. Survival of the fittest, Lex, that's what it comes down to, said his father's voice, even in a situation as insane as this. You are a Luthor, boy, and you will survive.
Whether he liked it or not. "Who?" Lex asked, swallowing hard and squeezing his eyes shut against the pain. "Who's coming?"
"Clark Kent, of course," replied Sean brightly, wrapping his arms around himself, quivering ceaselessly. "No offense to you, Mr. Luthor, but Clark's got more heat in him than a few dozen of you. He'll be worth the wait."
Lex gaped at him as his terror turned to anger. This blue-faced bastard wanted Clark? His Clark? "No," he ground out, the pain feeding his fury. "No fucking way. Over my ...."
"Cold, dead body?" Sean mocked. "That can be arranged, Mr. Luthor."
It was probably the last thing he'd ever do, but Lex reached out and grabbed at Sean's collar, twisting it with all his might, hoping against hope the freak might be vulnerable to a choke-hold. Sean coughed, then growled with rage, grabbing Lex's wrist and holding it, only for a moment, but it was long enough for Lex feel his hand begin to freeze, turning blue before his eyes.
He screamed in pain.
"Now, now ... " said Sean, his eyes glinting coldly as he let go of Lex's hand. "Don't make me kill you before Clark shows up. I need him nice and close so I can feel the heat and he won't do that if you're already dead."
Lex fell back breathlessly, his chest heaving, his hand numb. "You're insane. What makes you think Clark will show up here?"
"Because you're his friend," replied Sean matter-of-factly. "Because he's got ... " Another donkey wheeze of a laugh. "Shall we say, the 'hots' for you."
Lex blinked, then stared at Sean, not believing what he'd just heard. "What?" His mind raced. Survival first, questions later. "That's ... that's not true," he stammered. "Clark's a delivery boy here, nothing more."
Sean rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He shrugged. "When I take the heat, I can sense what generates it, you know. It's the weirdest thing," he said rapturously. "And when I touched Clark here by the lake, he was thinking about you most of all. His parents too, but that was an angry, protective heat. No, the other heat, the good kind, that was all about you." He smiled, his teeth weirdly white against a deepening blue. "You're what makes him hot, Mr. Luthor. That deep soul-kind of hot that seems to last forever." He rubbed his hands together. "And that's the kind of heat I need. Because I'm cold, real cold."
Jesus, Lex thought, as Sean rocked back and forth, muttering to himself. He had no idea which was worse. The pain in his leg, the fear of the killer next to him or the slightest possibility that Clark ... his Clark ... might actually desire him in any way, shape or form.
Oh, no, no, no, Alexander. Do not even think that, ever. Because then survival would really be on the line for you. Survival against Clark Kent's charm, his beauty, his courage, and if that was the case ...
You were a dead man, Lex Luthor.
In the end, Clark did show up and ignoring Lex's screams to stay away, came straight up to Sean and with one backhand slap, sent him slamming into a tree. Lex was nearly crazed with pain by this time and couldn't be sure, but he might have sworn that the tree actually cracked in half upon impact as Sean's limp body slipped down to land unconscious at its base.
Because it was frozen maybe, that had to be it, and Lex was delirious by the time Clark had freed him from the lake, covering his eyes with one hand, ostensibly to protect them from shards of flying ice. The terrible pressure on his leg eased and he felt himself scooped up into a pair of impossibly strong arms, the warm touch of freshly laundered crimson wool rubbing against his cheek.
"Shhhhh," soothed Clark, and Lex fought against hysterical giggles. His hero had come to the rescue again and here he was; the big, bad Son of Luthor being carried off into the sunset.
Lucky him. "What? No white horse?" Lex said hoarsely. "And where's my hat with the veil?"
"Hush," replied Clark, laughter lurking in his tone. "Before I make you walk."
A warm blast of air from inside the house against his face, and Lex wound an arm around Clark's neck, making a small noise of disappointment when he was lowered onto the couch and the heat of Clark's body faded into a memory. "Oh, not here," Lex insisted giddily, his entire left leg throbbing mercilessly. "How about the bedroom instead?"
Clark raised an eyebrow at him and dialed 9-1-1. "How about I call for help. You seem to need some."
"I don't need help, Clark. I have you," Lex insisted as the room spun lazily around him. "The amazing Super Clark. Able to smack down killer jocks with a single slap. Able to put up with a high school full of morons." He paused. "Able to like a Luthor ... even me."
"Yes, that's right," said Clark into the phone, waving at Lex to be quiet. "Luthor Manor. He's conscious at the moment but he'll need some medical attention for frostbite to one leg. Yeah, I think you'd better hurry. He's getting a little out of it."
"You like me, don't you, Clark?" Lex asked hazily as Clark hung up, wondering why everything seemed so slow and faraway. "Sean said you did."
Clark put down the phone and knelt next to Lex, his eyes warm. "Of course, I like you," he said, rubbing Lex's shivering hand. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Oh, I dunno," Lex replied thickly, feeling oddly drunk. The room was too warm and Clark was holding his hand so gently and ... "I'm kind of a weasel. Aren't I?"
Clark burst out laughing. "Hardly. Weasels are covered with fur." His voice gentled. "I like you a lot, Lex. Don't ever think otherwise." He flushed a bright shade of red then looked away. "Now where is that ambulance?"
An overwhelming rush of dizziness overtook Lex and he had to shut his eyes against the pulsing lights that were flashing everywhere. "I have to say there's never a dull moment around you, Clark. You leave conversation pieces everywhere you go. Like frozen football players in my lake."
"I guess so," Clark replied, running soft fingers along Lex's cheek. Sound of the den door being flung open and chaos after, as a team of paramedics took over. Blood pressure cuff working, straps laid across Lex's chest and the squeak of gurney wheels were the last thing Lex heard before letting himself finally, blessedly, fall into darkness.
"Flowers for you, Mr. Luthor," called the candy-striped volunteer, placing a vase of bright late autumn blooms at Lex's hospital bedside. "My, aren't they pretty?"
He nodded his thanks and pushed away an ignored tray of food that screamed "lawsuit" the second it arrived in his room. The volunteer took it away with a click of her tongue and Lex examined the card that came with the flowers, neatly tucked in between their long stems.
"Get well soon. Always your friend. Maniac in the red sweater."
Lex smiled widely and reached for his pen as well as a sheet of hospital stationary. "My hero. Owe you everything, forever. Love you always, the likable Luthor."
He folded the note and rang for the volunteer. Imagined Clark's face when reading it; the grin, the embarrassment, perhaps even the pleasure as he tried to figure out exactly what Lex might possibly have meant. He'd probably have to figure it out himself at some point, but until then ...
Clark finally had a little conversation piece to call his own.