Author’s Note: This chapter is for Sandy and Jenna. Thank you both for the friendship and inspiration. 4/6/05

Smallville Friendship Chapter 7


Lex felt his father’s private jet take off and sighed. He had completed his first year of college, and summer break had just begun. He had wanted to spend all three months with the Kent’s, but Lionel had said no. Lionel had agreed to let Lex spend half the summer at the Kent farm if, and only if, Lex completed an internship at Luthorcorp for the first half of the summer. Lex had agreed, because even when he wanted to deny it, he knew he would someday work for the company, and probably run it. He wasn’t sure what horrid job his father had lined up for him, but as long as he didn’t have to see Lionel on a daily basis, he was pretty sure he could handle it.
Lex looked out the window and thought about the last conversation he had with his father. It had been a few weeks ago, right before the end of the term. Lionel had called him to ask about his summer plans. Lex had been surprised that Lionel had called him in the first place, because they hadn’t had contact since the Christmas incident other then messages passed through their assistants. Lex had even avoided him when he paid for his spring term tuition.
Lex gave a small shudder as he thought about the fall out from the Christmas incident, and remembered ‘hell week’. Even if it was really more like ‘hell month and a half’; the most vivid part of the whole thing was the week Jonathan had stayed with him. As usual when his mind started thinking about that week, all other thoughts went away until he had gone over the entire week in his head. It went something like, ‘God, I still can’t believe I called him and confessed. Stupid. Then he was there, and so pissed. But he made me go to class, and talk to my teachers. That was good. And he believed in my innocence and in me when no one else did. And now I can believe it myself. But then that night…’
That was where the shudder came again. Lex thought, ‘Don’t lie, and it won’t be a problem. Then sitting in classes the next day was awful. At least the TA’s all agreed to meet at the deli where they have cushioned booths. Except for Professor Bennett.’
Lex smiled because he had grown quite fond of Professor Bennett, and he was now his faculty advisor. Lex thought, ‘He always has to be difficult. But then coming home and having Mr. Kent there to give me a hug, and ask how the day was…that made everything else worth while. Except for Wednesday.’
Lex gave another shudder as he remembered that.

*******

Lex was tired, but it was a good kind of tired. He parked his car, and walked into the condo knowing Jonathan would be there. He walked in and said, “Hello?”
Jonathan came out of the kitchen and smiled at Lex. He went and gave him a hug and said, “How was the day?”
Lex hugged him back tightly and then let go. He said, “It was okay. I met with Professor Bennett today after class. He was actually a good tutor, even if I don’t want to admit it. And today was better then yesterday, because I could at least sit down without having to shift positions every few seconds.”
Lex noticed Jonathan’s frown, but wasn’t sure what it was about. Jonathan said, “So what are you working on tonight?”
“History, since it’s fresh in my mind.”
Jonathan nodded and said, “Go ahead and get to it. I’ll start dinner.”
Lex smiled at that. They had decided Lex didn’t have time to cook for the both of them, so Jonathan had gone to the store and practically bought out the frozen food isle. Jonathan wasn’t a good cook, but he could read the directions and put something in the oven without burning it. Lex had offered to have the cook come back, but Jonathan wanted as few distractions for Lex as possible. Lex went to the couch, and got out his history book. He started reading the next chapter while Jonathan looked through the frozen dinners.
When dinner was ready they both sat at the kitchen table, and Jonathan asked Lex what he had learned that day. Lex dutifully told him all about his classes and tutoring sessions. When he was done Jonathan said, “You’ve been studying none stop yesterday and today, and you’re catching up nicely. I think you can have a little break tonight if you want.”
Lex was surprised, but nodded his head. Jonathan said, “There’s a game on I was watching right before you got home. It’s probably more then half over, but if you want, we can watch the end together before you finish studying for the night.”
Lex nodded again and said, “Thank you Mr. Kent.”
Jonathan smiled and said, “But you have to call Martha first.”
Lex looked surprised but said, “Um…Okay.”
“She called, and wants you to call. Don’t look so worried son, she’s not gonna yell.”
Lex looked down at his plate and muttered, “Yeah, but is she gonna make me cry?”
Jonathan put his hand over Lex’s and said, “I doubt it, but the only way to find out is to call her.”
Lex nodded and went to the phone. Jonathan went out to turn on the game. Lex dialed the number and Clark answered. “Hello?”
Lex said, “Hi Clark, it’s Lex.”
Clark sounded concerned and said, “How are you Lex?”
Lex was pretty sure that even if Clark didn’t know the whole story, he knew Lex was in serious trouble. Lex tried to sound reassuring when he said, “I’ve been better, but I’m really okay now.”
“I’m glad. Mom’s been worried, and….I guess that makes me worry too.”
Lex didn’t know what else to say so he said, “Your dad told me to call and talk to your mom.”
“Okay, hold on.”
A few seconds later Martha said, “Lex?”
“Hello Mrs. Kent.”
“How are you doing today Lex?”
“Better then yesterday.”
“Good. How were your classes?”
He told her about history class and his tutoring session. When he was done Martha said, “Good. It sounds like you’re starting to catch up at least. Do you have your flight arranged to come home this Friday evening?”
“Um….not yet?”
“I expect that to be done by tomorrow.”
“Okay.”
“I have to go do the dishes, so I’ll let you go. I’ll expect a call tomorrow, and an update on the flight.”
“Okay.”
“Bye sweetie.”
“Bye.”
He hung up and went to find Jonathan. Jonathan was watching the game and said, “There’s only ten minutes left on the score board.”
Lex sat next to Jonathan and they had a good time watching the game. When it was over Jonathan turned it off and said, “Okay, back to studying.”
Lex nodded and opened his history book back up. Jonathan went to clean up the kitchen, and then brought out a novel to read on the couch next to Lex. Jonathan kept an eye on the clock, and when there was an hour left before he usually went to bed, he put his book down and said, “Finish up Lex, I want to talk to you about something.”
Lex thought that was a little strange, but finished the page he was reading and then put the book down. Jonathan sighed not really wanting to bring it up again, but believed it was the right thing to do. He said, “We need to talk about the things you were putting into your body for the three weeks that you were lying to us.”
Lex immediately stood up and backed a few steps away. He said with a fair amount of nervousness and a touch of anger, “And when you say talk, do you mean with words?”
Jonathan pointed to the couch and said, “Sit.”
Lex glared at him but sat down. Jonathan had thought for a while about what he wanted to say to Lex, so he was ready. He said, “I know we haven’t had a serious talk about illegal substances, but I do know that I’ve told you I don’t approve, and that I don’t want you to do it. Besides the fact that it’s illegal, it does horrible things to your body. And worse then that, because it’s illegal, you never know exactly where it came from, or when you’re going to get something that’s not exactly what you paid for. So I’m telling you now, that I don’t want you taking anything that you can’t buy over the counter or get with a prescription ever again.”
Lex opened his mouth to say something but Jonathan held up his hand and said, “Just wait, I’ll let you have a say in a minute. Now, I know our arrangement is for school, and you’re probably thinking that if you go to a party and want to get high on the weekend, I shouldn’t have anything to say about it as long as it doesn’t interfere with school. And you’re probably thinking that in four years when school is over I shouldn’t have any say in it at all. But I just don’t care.”
Lex’s eyebrows raised at that. Jonathan smiled without apology and said, “Like Martha said, you’re our son now, and my son isn’t going to take drugs while I’m around to prevent it. That’s all there is to it, so just get used to it.”
Lex didn’t know what to say. Lex’s thoughts were racing, ‘How dare he try to tell me what I can do in my life. We have an arrangement for school and that’s it……He can’t control my life ten years from now. Of course my dad will still be trying to run my life, so why not Mr. Kent too…..Oh. I guess because he says we’re family now too. So maybe in ten years I’ll still be going to the Kent farm for holidays and spending time with them. That would be nice.’
Jonathan said, “Lex, I hope that in a few years you won’t want to take any drugs. I hope that you’re happy enough in your life, that the thought won’t really cross your mind. But I think to get to that point, you need some help.”
Lex whispered, “Okay.”
Jonathan said, “Good. You and I both know that you knew what you were doing during those three weeks was wrong, but I think we also know you were trying to drown out your emotional pain. And you were up front and extremely honest with me about what you had done, which I’ll give you credit for, even if it was because you thought I was walking out. But given all that, I’m still going to spank you.”
Lex jumped up again and backed away, as he said, “No, please don’t. I’m still sore from last time.”
Jonathan said, “I know, and I’ll go much easier on you this time because of that, and the extenuating circumstances. But if there’s a next time, I won’t.”
Lex just shook his head and could feel the tears starting already. Jonathan beckoned Lex to him with his index finger moving in a ‘come here’ motion. Lex stayed where he was and shook his head again. Jonathan got up and walked over to Lex. He pulled Lex over to the couch and had him over his lap in short order. Lex said, “Nooooo!”
Jonathan didn’t waste any time, and brought his hand down over the slacks twenty times hard and fast. Lex was almost in tears before it started, and was sobbing when it was over. Jonathan picked up Lex’s upper half and pulled him into a hug. Then he shifted Lex’s legs so that soon Lex was sitting in his lap and clinging to him with a death grip. Jonathan held onto him and after a while murmured, “All done. I know that hurt, and I know you didn’t want me to do it, but I don’t want to loose you. I don’t want to read in the paper one morning that you were found dead on the bathroom floor in some sleazy bar from an overdose. Ever since you told me about those three weeks, I can’t get that picture out of my head. Martha and I love you, and it would kill us if something like that happened to you, so you aren’t going to do it any more. This is a nonnegotiable, absolute, black and white rule. Are we clear on this?”
Lex nodded and got out a, “Yes.”
Jonathan nodded and continued to hold Lex until he pushed to get up. Jonathan said quietly, “Time for bed.”
Lex nodded and headed down the hall to brush his teeth and climb in bed. Jonathan sat on the couch for a little while longer feeling old and tired. After a few minutes he heard Lex coming out of the bathroom, and Jonathan got up and knocked on the bedroom door. Lex said, “Come in.”
Jonathan saw that Lex was already in bed. Jonathan said, “I’m going to bed too. I just wanted to say good night first. If you have bad dreams or can’t get to sleep tonight, you come get me okay?”
“Okay. Good night.”
“Night.”
********

Lex was startled out of his thoughts by some rough turbulence. He yelled up to the captain, “Is everything okay?”
“Sorry about that Mr. Luthor. Just a rough spot, nothing to worry about.”
“Okay.”
Lex leaned back and thought about the rest of ‘hell month’.
*********

The rest of the week had gotten steadily better, and by Friday Lex was about half way caught up in all of his classes. He arranged for the flight home to the Kent farm for both himself and Jonathan. When they got home Lex was hesitant when going up the steps of the porch. He wasn’t sure what kind of reception Martha was going to give him. Before he got half way up the stairs Clark launched himself at Lex. Lex, not expecting it, almost fell back down the three steps. Once he got his balance he hugged Clark back and said, “Jeez Clark, I just saw you a few weeks ago at Christmas.”
Clark laughed and said, “I’m just happy to see you.”
Lex patted Clark’s back and let him go as he said, “Me too.”
Lex looked at Martha and said, “Hi Mrs. Kent.”
“You know Lex honey, now that I’ve decided you’re my son too, you’ll have to think of something else to call me.”
Lex was at a loss for words. He wasn’t sure if she meant what he thought she meant, so after a few seconds of silence he half jokingly said, “So should it be Aunt Martha?”
“Try again.”
“Um….just Martha?”
“Nope, and if your next guess has anything like ‘Grandma’ in it, I’m gonna swat you myself.”
Lex was quiet for a few more seconds and then said, “Do you mean….you want me to…I mean you’d be okay with me calling you…..”
“Mom.”
Lex had a hard time breathing for a few seconds. Then he said, “I…..I….”
Martha said, “It’s okay if you don’t want to Lex. If it makes you think about your mom, or if it brings up bad memories for you, then you don’t have to. But I wanted you to know that it would make me happy if you did want to.”
Lex whispered, “Okay.”
Jonathan had been behind Lex, and at that point walked around him to pick up Clark in a big bear hug on his way up the steps. Jonathan put Clark down and turned to Lex when he said, “It would be fine with me too if you want to call me Dad, but since you already have one, I’ll understand if you don’t.”
Lex just nodded not knowing what to say.
Clark grinning big said, “Wanna come in and play the new game you got me?”
Martha answered before Lex could. “No Clark, remember we talked about this. Lex is going to be spending his time studying and doing chores. No fun for him this weekend, and actually for the next few weeks until he’s caught up.”
Lex got a little red, but nodded and said, “Sorry Clark.”
Clark shrugged and said, “It’s okay. It’s good to see you anyway.”
They all headed in and Jonathan asked Clark, “Were you good for your mom?”
Clark rolled his eyes and said, “Yes Dad.”
Jonathan turned to Martha and said, “Was he good?”
Martha smiled and said, “Stop teasing Jonathan.”
Jonathan smiled and pulled a soft nerf football with the college logo on it out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Clark. Clark said, “Thanks Dad.”

After dinner that night Lex did homework until it was time for bed. Martha noticed the time first and got up. She said, “Bedtime. Clark, Lex, let’s go.”
Clark was playing solitaire on the floor. He groaned and said, “Just a little while longer, pleeeease Mom. It’s Friday.”
Lex could tell Martha was thinking about it. He made sure his voice was slightly teasing and not very serious when he said, “Yeah, Pleeeease Mom?”
Martha smiled and felt her eyes start to water as she said, “I guess another half an hour wouldn’t hurt.”
Clark at first had just been looking between his mom and Lex, but when she agreed to let them stay up he said, “Yes!”
Jonathan who had almost fallen asleep in his chair while reading a book got up and said, “Okay guys, but just half an hour.”
As soon as his parents were up the stairs, Clark picked up his cards and sat down next to Lex. Lex could tell Clark wanted to talk, so he put his homework away and said, “What’s up?”
“Dad and Mom won’t tell me what happened. Will you tell me? Why did Dad go stay with you for a week? Did your dad do something to make you….unhappy?”
Lex sighed. He didn’t really want to go over the whole thing, but he also did think of Clark as a younger brother now, so he decided he would tell him. Half an hour later he had told Clark everything. He told him about Christmas with his dad, thinking he had killed his brother, the things he had done to make himself forget, and what Jonathan had done about it all. Clark didn’t ask many questions, he just sat and listened. When Lex was done talking Clark nodded and after a while said, “Thanks for telling me Lex.”
Lex said, “Will it bother you if I……”
“What?”
“If I call your mom ‘Mom’?”
Clark shook his head and smiled. “Nope. Mom would love it, and I like having you for a brother. You should call Dad ‘Dad’ too.”
Lex shook his head and said, “I don’t think I could say ‘Dad’ without it being snide. Too many years with my real father.”
Clark bounced up and down a little on the couch as he said, “I know! Call him something like Pa, or Pop.”
While Lex was thinking about it Clark laughed and said, “Better yet, call him your old man!”
Lex rolled his eyes and said, “Are you trying to get me smacked?”
Clark laughed again and said, “Dad would think it was funny.”
“Then you try it.”
Clark shook his head still smiling and said, “No way.”
Lex looked at the clock and said, “It’s been a little longer then half an hour. Let’s go to bed.”
Clark groaned and said, “How about just one more game of solitaire?”
Lex shook his head and said, “You’re just full of bright ideas tonight aren’t you. I’m going to bed. You feel free to take your chances if you wanna stay up.”
Clark looked disappointed, but headed up the stairs with Lex.

********

Lex smiled as he looked out the window of the plane. That had been six months ago. He usually called Martha ‘mom’ now, and often called Jonathan ‘pop’. He was going to stop at their house today to visit and spend one night before heading off to Metropolis to work at Luthorcorp for the next month and a half. When the plane landed he got in the Porsche that was waiting for him and headed to the Kent farm.


At the Kent farm they were all done with lunch, and talking about Lex coming to spend the night. Clark said, “I still think it sucks that Lex has to go work at Luthorcorp for a whole month. I wish he could stay here the whole summer.”
Martha smiled and said, “Us too honey, but Lex is getting to be an adult, and if he’s going to run the company one day, he has to start getting to know about it.”
Clark sighed and said, “Mom…..Dad…..I was thinking.”
They waited, and when he didn’t say anything else Martha said, “What about?”
“Maybe we could tell Lex…..about me.”
Martha looked at Jonathan and said, “Well, I’ve been thinking about that too. What do you think Jonathan?”
Jonathan frowned and said, “I’ve thought about it more then once. On the one hand I think we should tell him since he’s part of the family now, but then I have to wonder if I’m thinking about telling him to make myself happy, or because it’s the right thing to do. Is the real reason I want to tell him because I don’t want to feel guilty about lying to him? Is this a burden he can handle with all his other problems? Lex has a ton of his own issues to work through, and would this just be another burden for him to deal with? I just don’t think he’s ready yet. I was thinking maybe after he’s done with college, and a little more settled.”
Clark said, “But Dad, it’s wrong to lie to him all the time! You’re always telling me not to lie, except really I have to lie to everyone every day. If he’s my brother now, then he should know.”
Martha said, “I think it could be helpful for both Clark and Lex. Clark could really use some one else to confide in, and I think Lex will feel like his place in our lives is more concrete when we tell him about it."
Jonathan said, “I’ll think about it. Maybe when he comes home for the summer after his internship. But definitely not tonight, because he’s only got the one day, and he’s going to need a few days to process the information. And if he takes it badly, I don’t want him off on his own for the next month doing God knows what.”
Clark said, “Thanks dad.”
Jonathan pinned Clark with a look and said, “I didn’t say yes Clark, I said I’d think about it. I may still decide that it needs to stay a secret until Lex is done with college. I want to be 100 percent sure that we are doing it because it’s the right thing for him, and not because it’s what we want to do.”
Clark was pretty sure that his mom would talk his dad into it over the next month, so he nodded and said, “Okay Dad. I understand.”
As soon as the lunch dishes were done, they heard a horn honking in the driveway. Clark dashed out yelling, “It’s Lex!”
Lex was barely able to get out of his car before Clark was hugging him. Lex hugged him back and said, "Man, you’re getting tall.”
Clark laughed and said, “The clothes I got for my birthday don’t fit anymore.”
Lex let go of him and smiled as he said, “By the time you’re fifteen, you’ll probably be as tall as me.”
Clark looked back towards his mom, who had come out on the porch, and said, “I’m already an inch taller then mom.”
Martha smiled at Clark and said, “Who thought I’d be looking up to my thirteen year old son? I suppose that’s what I get for marrying a man who’s over a foot taller then me.”
Lex smiled and went to hug her as he said, “Hi Mom. How have you been?”
“I’ve been good.”
Lex looked over at Jonathan and said, “Hey Pop, do you have some horrid chores set up for me today?”
“You bet.”
Lex laughed and got his over night bag out of the passenger seat. He took it up to his room with Clark following and asking things like, “How was your flight?” “Do you think your grades are going to be good this time?” “What do you think your dad is going to have you do at Luthorcorp?”
Lex dutifully answered as he changed into some work clothes that they kept in Lex’s bedroom for when he stayed over. Soon both boys were out helping Jonathan in the field.
The rest of the day went very well, and as usual, Lex had no trouble sleeping that night. The next day Lex helped with the morning chores, and ate some breakfast before he headed off to the mansion to pack some things for his trip to Metropolis. He hugged everyone goodbye and told them he would see them in late July. He smiled when Martha said, “I’m calling you every night this first week, and you’d better not even think of lying to me about how things are going young man.”
“Okay Mom.”
Martha could tell Lex thought it was funny. She said, “I’m serious Lex. If something goes wrong, you call us and tell us. No covering it up no matter what.”
Lex got serious and nodded when he said, “I know Mrs. Kent.”
She went up to him and gave him a hug and a kiss. Jonathan said, “I hope you learn a lot about the company, but don’t forget to work out now and then so you’re still in shape a month from now when you come to help us out.”
Lex nodded and said, “I’ll try.”
Clark gave him a quick hug and said, “I wish you didn’t have to go.”
“Me too. But I’ll see you soon, and maybe I’ll bring you a new game.”
“Awesome.”
Lex got in his Porsche and drove towards the mansion.

After Lex was gone, Jonathan sighed and said, “Come on Clark. I need you to help me work on the tractor today.”
Clark muttered something about wanting it to be a school day, but headed out to the tractor, which had died in the field. Jonathan went to get his toolbox and then followed Clark.

Halfway back to the mansion Lex blew a tire. He screeched to a stop on the side of the road and said, “Crap!”
He sighed and got out of the car to change the tire. He got out the spare and after a few minutes of grunting, and getting himself hot, sweaty and dirty, he had the tire changed. Then as soon as he lowered the car down from the jack he noticed that the spare tire was flat too. He lost it, kicked the tire and yelled several obscenities. He went back to the driver’s seat and looked around for his cell phone. When he got it, he found that it wasn’t charged, and was beeping low battery at him. He tossed the phone on the floor of the car in frustration and got out of the car. He was on the road to the main town of Smallville, but he could sit there for hours without anyone driving by. He slammed the car door shut and said out loud to himself, “Just fucking great. Now I’ll have to walk.”
It was about the same distance to Smallville as it was to the Kent farm, and because he was having a bad day, and needed the comfort of his family to make him feel better, he decided to go to the farm.
He had to walk for almost an hour to get back to the farm, and by the time he was there, he was hot, thirsty, and tired. He walked up the driveway and caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned and looked out to the field where Jonathan and Clark were working on the tractor. Then try as he might, his feet wouldn’t move, and his mouth wouldn’t close. There in front of him was thirteen-year-old, skinny, Clark picking up the tractor, and holding it above his head as he walked towards the barn with Jonathan following him.
Lex shook his head a couple of times trying to get the image to change, or at least to look more real. He couldn’t hear them yet, but he could tell they were talking and apparently having a conversation as if everything was normal. They got closer, and Lex still couldn’t move. He watched as Jonathan guided Clark into the barn so the tractor didn’t hit the sides of the door as Clark brought it in. Once they were in the barn, Lex couldn’t see them anymore. He looked around to see if anyone else had seen this shocking event. Then he found he could move again. He slowly walked up to the barn and stood against the wall right beside the open door. He heard Jonathan explaining what he was doing, and how that was hopefully going to fix the tractor. Then he heard Jonathan say, “Could you go into the house and see if I left my wrench set under the sink?”
Lex thought maybe he should hide, but before he could blink Clark appeared in front of him holding the wrench set. Lex gave a startled yell, and then they just stared at each other for a second. Clark had a look of horror on his face, and so did Lex. Lex said, “What just happened? How could you carry that tractor?”
Clark stammered, “I….I….”
Jonathan, having heard Lex’s, voice came running out of the barn. He went up to Lex and stood next to him as he said in a calm voice, “It’s okay Lex. Let’s just go into the house and talk about things.”
Lex backed away from Jonathan and Clark and shook his head no. Jonathan took a step towards Lex, and Lex took a few more steps away while holding his hands up. Lex said with panic in his voice, “Stay the fuck away from me.”
Jonathan backed up a step and held his hands up. He said, “Okay. I wont come any closer. Will you at least listen to me?”
Lex nodded. Jonathan said, “Clark is adopted. We found him.”
Lex shook his head and said, “What? What do you mean found him? This doesn’t make any fucking sense!”
“Do you remember the meteor shower?”
Lex reached up to touch his bald head. He couldn’t forget the day that had happened. He nodded. Jonathan said, “We found Clark out in the field that day. We think he was about three.”
Jonathan paused and thought about things. He hadn’t even told Clark the whole truth about the space ship, and he didn’t really want to yet. He wanted Clark to get a little older before he had to be burdened with that, and he thought Clark deserved to hear that alone for the first time. Jonathan said, “Actually he found us. My truck had rolled over when I was trying to dodge a meteor rock, and Martha and I had crawled out the windows. We were sitting on the side of the road when we saw our truck lifted up off the ground. Clark was there in front of us, holding our truck over his head. He couldn’t speak a word of English, he was completely naked, and there was no one around for miles. Martha and I searched the immediate area for any other people, or any clue as to what had happened. When we didn’t find anything, we brought Clark home with us.”
Jonathan looked down and hoped Lex would believe this next part and not think too much about it. He said, “I know it was wrong, but….Martha and I had wanted children for a long time, and Clark obviously had no one…..and we didn’t want him ending up in some lab with people experimenting on him…..so we kept him.”
Lex just shook his head again. The silence lingered and Jonathan said, “Clark, why don’t you go get your Mom.”
Clark disappeared, and Lex sucked in some air because he was surprised again. Jonathan said, “Clark’s speed didn’t show up until a few years later.”
Martha and Clark came out of the house and ran over to Lex and Jonathan. Martha said, “Oh honey, we didn’t want you to find out this way. We wanted to wait until we thought you were ready.”
Lex looked at Clark and said, “You’re not even human…..”
Clark hated the way Lex was looking at him. He knew that his parents had always told him the reason he couldn’t tell people about his abilities was that they would see him differently, but he had never experienced that first hand. He started to cry as he said, “I’m still me.”
Jonathan said, “Those meteor rocks have changed more then one person Lex. Clark is stronger and quicker then you or me, but he still has the same feelings, hopes, and dreams. He’s the same kid you’ve gotten to know over the past year.”
Lex looked over at Clark who was wiping at his eyes and looking away from him. Lex could tell that Clark was hurt by his reaction. He said, “I’m just going to need a few minutes to take this in. I….I’m gonna go get a glass of water.”
Lex walked around the Kents and walked into the house. Martha and Jonathan looked at each other helplessly. Clark moved closer to his mom and said, “He hates me now.”
Martha pulled him into a hug and said, “No honey. We just need to give him some time. Eventually he’ll see that you are the same person he knows and loves.”
“You didn’t see the way he looked at me. Like I was some kind of…..monster.”
Jonathan said, “Lex can’t help but be shocked. He’ll come around after a while.”
Clark let go of his mom and wiped his eyes again. In the house Lex mechanically got out a glass and poured himself some water. He downed it and then just stood there looking out the window at the Kents. He could see that Martha and Jonathan were both comforting a distraught Clark. He thought, ‘What the hell is he? Could the meteors really do that to someone? How can he hide it so well? All this time I’ve thought he was normal. It’s amazing. The things he could do! But then like Pop said, people would want to lock him away and experiment on him. I can see why they would hide it to protect him. I wonder how strong he really is.’
Lex thought back to the last summer when he first stayed with the Kents. He tried to remember any times when he saw Clark doing something that seemed unusual. He thought, ‘All those times we were unloading hay, he never even lifted one. Jonathan and I did all the hard work, because they were pretending that he was normal. In fact I never saw Clark even try to lift a bail of hay. He could have had the whole truck unloaded in a second, and we could have been doing something else. In fact, he could have probably dug that hole for the septic tank in half an hour or less instead of the week that it took us to do it in the hot sun.’
Then Lex had an epiphany. His mind screamed out at him, “They LIED to me!”
Lex felt his heart rate go up and he started breathing hard as his anger built and his mind raced, ‘They fucking lied to me every fucking second of every fucking day! How many times did Pop spank me for lying? What a fucking hypocrite!!! Family my ass. I can’t believe how blind I’ve been. The whole time they’ve been pretending to care. Pretending to include me in their fucking family, but the whole time they had this huge secret. My father was right! We were just playing house. None of it is real.’
Lex was too angry for tears at that point. He picked up his empty water glass and hurled it against the far wall. The Kents had been heading towards the house and heard the smash. Jonathan raced up the steps and into the house. He saw Lex and said, “Are you okay son?”
Lex yelled, “Don’t fucking call me son. Don’t you call me son ever again.”
Jonathan took a few steps and was a little angry when he said, “Hey, I think you need to calm down.”
Lex almost laughed. Instead he glared and said, “You know what, I’m perfectly calm now. I see things clearly. You and YOUR family have proved to me that I don’t belong here, Jonathan.”
Martha said, “Lex, no…”
Jonathan took a step towards Lex as he said, “It’s not like that at all.”
Lex backed up a few steps and yelled, “DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME!”
Jonathan stopped and held his hands up in surrender. He said, “I wasn’t going to, we’re just talking.”
Lex shook his head and said, “Don’t ever fucking touch me again. All those times you hit me, and told me not to lie to you, and you were ALL lying to me every day! Were you all laughing about it behind my back?”
Martha raised her voice and said, “NO Lex. We never laughed at you. We love you. We hated lying to you. We were trying to protect you…and Clark.”
Lex glared and said, “I don’t believe you anymore!”
Clark was just standing in the doorway crying and feeling sick. Lex said, “I need to get out of here. I can’t look at you people any more.”
Martha said, “Please stay Lex.”
Lex dashed past them and got to the door. He stopped and looked down at Clark. He said, “I don’t hate you Clark. I know you were doing what your parents told you to do, but I need to be alone for a while.”
Lex pushed past him and down the stairs. He broke into a run down the driveway, and out to the road.
Martha looked to Jonathan and said, “What are we going to do?”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “I don’t know. He feels betrayed, and he has a right to feel that way. You guys were right, and I was wrong. We should have told him.”
Clark said, “Don’t just stand there Dad! Go after him!”
Jonathan went and sat down at the kitchen table and said, “I don’t think so Clark. He’s an adult, and no matter how much we may want him to be, he’s not legally our child. I can’t just run after him and force him to come home.”
Clark yelled, “Yes you can! You have to!”
Jonathan beckoned Clark over to him. Clark went over to where his father was sitting. Jonathan pulled Clark into a hug and said, “It’s gonna be okay Clark. We’re not going to let Lex go without a fight. I just think he’s gonna need a day or two to think about what he’s seen. It’s going to take a while to really sink in. I’ll call him tonight, and if he doesn’t answer I’ll leave messages. Then tomorrow I’ll try to go see him.”
Clark sniffed and said, “But what if he won’t see you?”
“Then I’ll try to make him.”
Martha came up beside Clark and put one arm over his shoulders and the other over Jonathan’s as she said, “I feel so bad that he found out the way he did. It’s going to take a while to get the trust back.”
They all stayed like that for a few seconds and then Jonathan said, “Why was he here?”
Clark let go of his dad and said, “What?”
“He was on his way to the mansion. Why was he here and on foot?”
Martha said, “Car trouble?”
Jonathan nodded. Martha said, “Then I guess we have to go get him.”
Jonathan thought about it and then got up to use the phone. He called the mansion. The butler James answered, and Jonathan said, “Hello, this is Jonathan Kent. Lex’s car broke down on the way to the mansion. He is going to need someone to pick him up.”
Jonathan nodded a couple of times, said okay, and then hung up. Martha glared at him and said, “Are you doing what’s best for Lex, or what’s best for you?”
Jonathan looked surprised and said, “What do you mean?”
Martha said, “I think you feel guilty for lying to him, but you shouldn’t. We were protecting both of our boys, and the lying Lex had done was a completely different situation.”
Jonathan looked away and thought for a second before he said, “Maybe. When I spanked him for lying, I didn’t really think about the fact that we were lying to him too. I believed that lying to him was the right thing to do at the time. But now that he’s made the connection, it makes me question what I did. Maybe I am a hypocrite. Maybe I’m the one who needs a day to think about things.”
Jonathan walked out of the house and out to the barn without responding when Martha said, “Jonathan, we both were doing what we thought was right. I still think we were right to keep it from him.”
When Jonathan was half way to the barn Clark said, “Should I go after Lex Mom? Ask him to come back home?”
Martha thought about it and watched her husband retreating to the barn. She said, “No. We’ll wait a day.”

Lex was running as if he were being chased by demons. He went at full speed for as long as his lungs would let him. As he was running, he would look behind him every few minutes, as if he expected someone to be following him. Then as suddenly as he had started running he stopped and collapsed on the ground at the side of the road. He lay in the dirt breathing hard. A few minutes later when his breathing was more under control, he sat up and looked down the road towards the Kent farm. He wasn’t sure why, but he kept expecting one of them to come after him, no matter what he had said. A few minutes later the empty road blurred, and Lex was soon sobbing with his head in his hands. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there crying. He couldn’t think about much besides the fact that they had all lied to him, and that no one was coming after him. When the sobs tapered off he wiped at his tears and snot with his shirt and got up on very shaky legs. He headed towards his car still thinking the same things.
As he was walking, a car pulled up beside him. He recognized it. James pulled the car to a stop and got out. He said, “Mr. Luthor?”
“James?”
“Mr. Kent called to tell us you would be needing assistance. He said you had car troubles.”
Lex thought he was going to be sick for a minute, but the nausea passed. He said, “Okay.”
Lex got in the backseat of the car James was driving and said, “Take me to the mansion. Take me home. Have someone else get the Porsche later. It has a flat.”
“Very good sir.”
James got in and started driving. Lex looked out the window for a few minutes. Then he pulled the compass that Jonathan had given him out of his pocket where he usually kept it. He fingered it for a while as he often did. Then he put it on the seat beside him and said, “Please stop at the post office in Smallville on the way home.”
“Yes sir.”
Lex asked, “Do we have any paper in the car? Maybe in the glove box?”
James looked in the glove box, but only found a paper napkin. Lex took it and scribbled something on it. When they got to the post office Lex handed the compass and the napkin to James. He said, “Have this delivered to the Kent farm by 10am tomorrow.”
James nodded and went into the post office. As soon as James was in the post office, Lex put his hand on the handle of the car door. But then stopped himself from going after James. He let go and leaned back to rest his head and close his eyes. When James got back and started driving again Lex regretted not keeping the compass to at least remind him of what had been. He sighed and watched the scenery go by and wondered How he was going to cope without a family.
As soon as they got to the mansion Lex poured himself a stiff drink. Then as he was about to take a swig he stopped and looked at the liquid. He took a deep breath and put the drink down on the table. He walked up to his room and started tossing clothes into a suitcase. He finished as quickly as possible and went to the garage to get a car. He put his things in the back and took off for Metropolis. He went as fast as the car could go on the freeway, and barley had the patients to pull over long enough to get the speeding ticket from the cop before taking off again. He made it to the hotel his father liked to stay at in record time. He got himself a room and made arrangements for his things. He got a driver and went straight to Luthorcorp.
He spoke to no one once he got there, and went straight into his fathers office ignoring the protests of the secretary. His father turned to the man he was having a meeting with and said, “It looks like our meeting is finished. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Once the man was gone and the door was shut Lionel said, “Lex, I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow.”
Lex knew he wouldn’t get the response he wanted from his father, but he couldn’t help himself. He said, “You were right.”
“Excuse me?”
“The Kents were just pretending.”
“Oh. I see.”
They were silent for a few minutes while both men thought. Lionel had been able to put the past back in the past since their last meeting, and was ready to try and have some kind of relationship with his son again. He said, “I’m sorry if they hurt you, but I do believe I told you that would happen.”
Lex nodded. Lionel said, “You are a Luthor son, like it or not. You have to start acting like one. You have to keep yourself distanced from everyone, because in the end, blood relatives are the only ones you can count on.”
Lex nodded again. Lionel, considering the conversation over, said, “I have a busy schedule set up for you this summer here at Luthorcorp. Are you up for the challenge?”
Lex looked lost for a few seconds and then slowly nodded and said, “Sure Dad.”
Lionel smiled and said, “Wonderful. If you’d like to have a seat, I’ll get my notes, and we can go over what you’ll be doing together.”
Lex nodded and went to sit on the couch. Lionel got the notes and before he sat down he said, “It’s good to have you back Lex.”
“Thanks Dad.”
As they went over the plans, Lionel was more and more pleased with how agreeable Lex was. Old Lex surely would have balked at the plans. Lionel had him working at the bottom level of each department for a week, and then moving to the next department to start again. But this new Lex was passive, agreeable, and malleable. By the time the talk was over Lionel asked Lex if he would like to have dinner together. Lex agreed to meet him at a restaurant they both enjoyed in a few hours. Lex went back to his hotel room and sat on a chair by the window. He had a very nice view of the city. He watched all the people going by way down below him, and tried to think about the jobs he would be doing for Luthorcorp over the next month.
That night at dinner Lionel bought a very expensive bottle of wine to celebrate, and didn’t notice much when Lex didn’t drink any and mostly pushed the food around on his plate. Lionel kept up a constant stream of conversation about the company, and Lex tried very hard to focus on everything his father said.
When they got back to the hotel the front desk clerk stopped Lex and said, “You have several urgent messages from a Mr. Kent sir.”
Lex took the papers from the clerk and said, “Thank you.”
Lionel watched with disbelief as Lex walked over to a trash can and tossed them in without looking at them. Lex turned to his father and said, “I’m going to need a prescription for sleeping pills. Starting tonight.”
Lionel immediately got on his phone and called his personal physician. Half an hour later Lex had taken two pills and was in bed waiting for them to take effect.


Jonathan was nervously pacing the living room at 11:30pm wondering why Lex hadn’t called. He had spent much of the evening making phone calls just trying to find out where Lex was. When he did find out, he left a message asking Lex to call. An hour later he left a message telling Lex that he was very sorry about everything, and that he would really like for him to call. An hour after that he had left a message saying that Martha and Clark were very upset about the whole thing, and that they really needed to talk to him. An hour after that he left a message saying that if Lex didn’t call he was going to drive to Metropolis and see him in person.
None of them ate much dinner that night, and they had all stayed up waiting for a call. As it got later and later they all started to worry more and more. At 11pm Martha and Clark had gone to bed. Martha had tried to coax Jonathan to bed too, but it didn’t work.
Jonathan stopped his pacing and sat down on the couch. He looked down at his hands in his lap and heard Lex in his head yelling at him and calling him a hypocrite for ‘hitting’ him because he had lied. Jonathan decided that he had to go to Metropolis in the morning to try and work something out with Lex. Once that was settled in his mind he went upstairs and tried to get some sleep.


The next day the phone woke Lex up. His felt kind of foggy as he reached for the phone. He murmured, “Lo?”
Jonathan on the other end said, “Lex? Is that you?”
Lex shook his head and said, “Mr. Kent?”
“Did you get my messages? I have been trying to talk to you since early last night.”
Lex quickly remembered everything and said, “Why?”
“What do you mean why? Because you’re hurt, and unhappy, and I want to talk to you and try to explain.”
“I told you before, I understand perfectly. Please don’t call again.”
Lex hung up before Jonathan could respond. Lex looked at the clock. It said it was 7am. The phone was ringing again, but Lex didn’t answer. He went and got in the shower. As he was washing he thought about the Kents, and Clark in particular. He thought about what he had seen, and what Clark was capable of. Once he was dressed he called his father and asked if he would like to have breakfast together. Lionel invited Lex up to his room for breakfast.
Before he went to his father’s room he went down to the front desk and told them he did not want to talk to or see Mr. or Mrs. Kent at all. He said didn’t want phone calls, messages, or letters from them, and if they showed up, he didn’t want to see them. The hotel clerk nodded and made some notes for all the other staff to see.
At breakfast Lionel talked about the mailroom where Lex would be spending the next week, and Lex tried to make the Kents get out of his head by concentrating on his father’s words. Once they got to Luthorcorp, Lex gave the front desk the same message about not wanting contact with the Kents just in case.

His first day on the job at Luthorcorp went pretty well as far as Lex could tell. His boss for the week was Mr. Webber. Max Webber had been with the company for over ten years, and Lex didn’t remember him, but he remembered Lex. Lex had been to the mailroom on his own, and while following his father more then once. Max had always disliked him. The first day Lex just sorted mail. Mr. Webber yelled at him a couple of times to tell him he had to go faster, and Lex just nodded, apologized, and tried to be faster and still accurate. Lex found it easy to put the Kents in the back of his mind when he was concentrating on a new job.

After Jonathan realized that Lex wasn’t going to answer again he slammed the phone down. Martha jumped a little at the sound. She went over to him and said, “I take it the conversation didn’t go well.”
Jonathan snorted and said, “There was no conversation. He hung up on me, and wouldn’t answer again.”
Jonathan looked at Martha and said, “I should have gone after him the second he ran out of the house.”
Martha hugged him and said, “Enough regret. Let’s decide what we’re going to do now.”
Jonathan nodded. “I’m going to Metropolis to see him.”
“What if he won’t see you?”
“Then I guess I’ll come home depressed, and we’ll keep trying to get in touch with him every day until we do.”
Clark had come down the stairs as they were talking and he said, “Can I come with you to Metropolis?”
Jonathan thought about it but shook his head no. “I don’t think so son.”
Clark whined, “Why not? It’s summer break, and I’m the reason this whole thing is happening anyway.”
Jonathan let go of Martha and went to put an arm over Clark’s shoulders. He said, “No, you’re not the reason it’s happening Clark. Your mother and I were the ones who decided to keep it a secret from Lex this whole time, not you. I don’t think he’s having much of a problem with you having amazing abilities, he’s having a problem feeling like he’s not part of the family now because we lied to him.”
“I still don’t see why I can’t go.”
Jonathan patted his shoulder and said, “Because I said so.”
Clark rolled his eyes and said, “That’s not a reason.”
Jonathan pinned him with a look and said, “Wanna bet?”
Clark glared at the floor and said, “Fine. I’ll stay home.”
Jonathan said, “I’m sure your mother can find plenty of things to keep you busy while I’m gone.”
“Great. That’ll be fun.”
Martha broke in with; “You won’t be having much fun if you don’t drop your attitude.”
Clark just kept quiet. Jonathan went and packed an overnight bag just in case.

Jonathan had a quiet trip to Metropolis. He went to the hotel Lex was staying at, and went to the front desk. The front desk clerk smiled and said, “How can I help you sir.”
“I would like to speak with Mr. Lex Luthor. Could you call up to him and let him know Jonathan Kent is here to see him?”
The clerk nodded and then looked through some papers on the desk. When the clerk looked back up at Jonathan, his friendly smile was gone, and had been replaced with a look of disdain. The clerk said, “Mr. Luthor does not wish to speak with you sir. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Jonathan just stood there for a few seconds not knowing what to do. He said, “Could you please just call up to him. Tell him it’s very important.”
The clerk picked up the phone and said, “Security to the front desk please.”
Jonathan held up his hands and said, “No need. I’m leaving.”
The security people followed Jonathan until he walked out the door of the hotel. Jonathan got back in his truck, and tried to decide what to do. He drove to a fast food place and got himself some lunch. After lunch he decided to call Martha and see if she had any other ideas before he headed for home.

Martha and Clark were weeding her garden together when the mailman came up to their house. Martha took her gardening gloves off and smiled as she said, “Where’s Sam? Is he sick today?”
The man smiled and said, “No, he should be by later. I have a special delivery for a Mr. Kent.”
Martha looked surprised but said, “Did you need me to sign for it?”
He nodded as he handed her a clipboard and pointed to the place to sign. She handed it back, and he gave her a small padded envelope. “Thanks.”
Martha noticed it had no return address. She went into the house and put it on the kitchen table for him.
Later, after lunch Jonathan called. Martha said, “Hello?”
“Hi. Lex won’t see me. He actually left word with the front desk about me. They wouldn’t even let him know I was there.”
“Oh no.”
“I don’t know what else to do. I was already escorted out by security, I don’t know what else to try.”
Martha felt like crying and had to sit down. She said, “Do you want me to try and call?”
“No. I don’t think it will do any good. I’m on my way home. We’ll keep calling, sending letters, and emails, until hopefully he agrees to see us.”
Martha nodded to herself and said, “Okay. I’ll see you soon.”
After she hung up she did start to cry. Clark came in and saw her crying. He said, “Mom?”
Martha wiped at her eyes and tried to smile for Clark. She said, “Your dad couldn’t get in to see Lex, but we’ll keep trying with phone calls, letter, and emails.”
Clark didn’t like to see his mom cry, and he was getting angry at Lex for running off, and for not talking to his dad. He went and gave his mom a hug and hoped Lex would come to his senses soon.

Later that night after Jonathan had gotten home and finished the chores he noticed the package for him on the kitchen table. He opened it and found the compass that he had given Lex and a napkin. On the napkin in Lex’s handwriting was: ‘I can’t find a home that isn’t there.’
Martha was starting dinner and looked over to Jonathan who had sat down hard in one of the kitchen chairs. She asked, “Is something wrong?”
Jonathan held onto the compass and whispered, “He sent it back.”
Martha came over and saw what Jonathan had in his hands. She gasped and put her hand over her mouth. After getting over her initial surprise, she slowly took her hand down and put it on Jonathan’s shoulder and said with conviction, “Then you’ll have to give it back next time he comes home.”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “I don’t know if he will come home Martha. Maybe he’s gone for good.”
“No. We’re not giving up. We’ll keep trying until something works.”
Jonathan took a deep breath and nodded in agreement. He put the compass away before Clark came in.
That night at dinner no one ate much, and the table was unusually quiet for the Kent household.

Over the next few days Lex got into the rhythm of the mailroom. Mr. Webber’s yelling got on his nerves a little, because it seemed to only be directed at him, but for the most part it didn’t phase him. Lex would have never put up with it a week ago, but now he couldn’t bring himself to care. The Kents occupied his mind at all hours. Even when he was concentrating as hard as he could on the job he was doing, thoughts of them would sneak in. He missed them. He knew he would miss them if they ever kicked him out, and even though he was the one who had walked away, he still felt the loss deep in his soul. Going thorough the motions of the day was just something to do while he thought about them.
On Thursday Lex was more preoccupied then he had been before, and he sorted the mail incorrectly for two different departments. The mailroom grew silent and people stared as Mr. Webber yelled at Lex for a good five minutes before making him sort the mail again and deliver it all personally. At lunchtime one of the women who had been working in the mailroom for over a year caught up with Lex as he was headed out to have lunch with his father. She said, “Excuse me, Lex?”
He turned to her and said, “Hey Sally. What’s up?”
She looked a little embarrassed and said, “I know it’s not really my place to say or anything, but…..Max is being unreasonable. He has some kind of personal grudge against you. I’ve never seen him yell like that, and I’ve made worse mistakes then you did. You should tell your dad what’s going on. I’m pretty sure you could have a harassment case against him for the way he’s treating you.”
Lex thought about it for a second and said, “You think so?”
She just looked at him like maybe he was kidding. Then when she realized he wasn’t she nodded and said, “Yes I do.”
Lex shrugged and said, “I don’t really care. Tomorrow will be my last day in that department.”
Sally shrugged and said, “Okay then. I’ll see you in an hour.”
Lex nodded and headed out.
As Sally was headed out, she went to see Joe. He was the front desk security guard and had been with the company for a long time. He had always been very nice to her, and had even walked her to her car one night when she worked late. She almost just said ‘hi’ and then went to lunch, but she changed her mind at the last minute. She said, “Hi Joe, you got a minute?”
Joe looked at her and smiled. “Sure Sally. What’s on your mind.”
Sally explained what had been going on, and finished up with, “I guess I just wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening to me.”
Joe smiled again and said, “Any time you need to talk to someone, you come see me.”
She nodded and went to lunch feeling better. Joe thought about it, and then called one of his friends who was doing security duty in the main hub of security for Luthorcorp. Joe had been there a long time, and everyone liked and respected him. He had no trouble getting another security person to cover his spot while he went to the monitor room that got the feed from all the surveillance cameras in Luthorcorp. He had them play back the last hour of surveillance from the mailroom while he watched. He couldn’t hear what was going on, but it was clear enough with the visual. He sighed and thought about what to do. Sally had told him that Lex didn’t really care, but he knew that Lionel would. He called up to Lionel’s secretary and asked to speak with Mr. Luthor. Lionel answered with, “This is Mr. Luthor, how can I help you.”
“This is Joe in security Mr. Luthor.”
“Yes Joe, what seems to be the problem?”
“I have a tape down here I think you should see.”
Lionel didn’t know most of the people who worked for him, but he did know Joe, because he did the night shift for many years, and was often one of the only people left in the building when Lionel left. Lionel trusted Joe as much as he trusted anyone, so he said, “I’ll be right down.”
When Lionel got there he shook hands with Joe, and Joe said, “Thanks for coming down Mr. Luthor.”
He indicated a screen for Lionel to watch, and then played the part of the tape with Mr. Webber yelling at Lex for a while. Lionel saw right away that everyone in the room thought what was going on was odd, and then he couldn’t believe it when Lex just nodded and got back to work. When that part was over Joe said, “I hear tell it’s been going on all week. I just thought you would like to know.”
Lionel nodded and said, “Thank you Joe. I’ll see that you get a bonus.”
Joe shook his head and said, “No need for that Mr. Luthor.”
“Nonsense. It will be on your next check.”
Joe nodded and didn’t say anything else as he headed back out to the front desk. Lionel turned to his head of security who had been watching and said, “I want video and audio surveillance of the mailroom in my office within the hour, and I don’t want anyone to know it’s happening besides me and you.”

By the end of the day Lionel had gone from angry to confused, and then back to angry again. He had been having dinner with Lex every night that week, and Lex hadn’t said a word about it to him. Lionel had been enjoying the way his son seemed to hang on his every word lately. He had been thinking it was a positive thing that Lex seemed to be so agreeable and passive. He had even noticed that Lex wasn’t taking any drugs or drinking except for the prescribed sleeping pills. But the thought that Lex was being that way to other people disturbed him.
When Lex got off work he went to his father’s office and said, “Hey Dad, do you want to go to dinner again today?”
“That would be nice, but could you come in and sit down for a minute first?”
Lex nodded and shut the door behind him. He sat down and looked at his father expectantly. Lionel said, “You’ve been working in the mail room for almost a week now, and you haven’t told me much about it. How do you like it?”
“It’s fine.”
“What have you been doing?”
Lex looked at Lionel with a puzzled look on his face as he said, “Sorting the mail.”
“And how do you like the people you work with?”
“They’re okay.”
“Has anything unusual been happening?”
Lex leaned back and said, “If there’s something specific you’re trying to get at, just say it.”
Lionel paused for a second and then said, “I’ve heard that your boss is singling you out to harass, and being unprofessional in front of the other staff.”
Lex shrugged and said, “So what?”
Lionel got up and sat next to his son on the couch. He said, “Lex, you already own part of this company, and some day you will own the majority of the shares. You can’t let some low ranking manager walk all over you while people watch. It’s unbecoming to your actual position in the company, and in life.”
Lex sighed and said, “I’m tired. Maybe let’s not go to dinner.”
Lionel got a little angry. “We don’t have to go to dinner, but tomorrow, you will fire Mr. Webber in front of the mailroom staff.”
Lex sat up and almost yelled, “No I won’t.”
Lionel said, “You will. I don’t know where your spine or your pride went, but you need to get them back. Since you’ve been here you’ve been less then a Luthor, and it needs to stop.”
Lex was torn. On the one hand, he had been having a pretty good time with his Dad this week. It was nice to feel like his father approved. But his last comment sounded very familiar, and his automatic response was to rebel. He leaned back, closed his eyes and said, “Fine. I’m going to bed.”
Lionel was silent as he watched Lex get up and leave.
Lex went back to the hotel, and up to his room. He didn’t feel like eating. He didn’t feel like drinking or getting high. What he really wanted to do was talk to the Kents, but that was out of the question. And since he couldn’t do that, what he really wanted to do was sleep and forget. He looked over at his sleeping pills on the nightstand. He went to sit on the bed and just stared at the innocent looking bottle. He got up and walked to his window. He knew he should try to go out and eat some dinner. He even thought going out to drink would be better then what he was doing, but he just didn’t feel like he had the energy. As he was standing there he felt something on his cheek, and wiped at it. He realized he was crying again as he did pretty much every night now. He went back to the bed and got the bottle of sleeping pills. He carefully poured them all out on his hand and counted them up. He usually took two a night, and he had thirty left. He thought about taking all of them, but decided against it. He took a deep breath, and shook his head. He put twenty-six of them back. He decided a double dose would help him sleep from now until morning, and then maybe he could get up the energy to eat something and go to work.

Thursday night at the Kent farm Martha started crying as she was washing the dishes. Clark saw this and knew it was happening a lot since Lex had left. He had been getting more and more angry about it. Jonathan was out in the barn, and Clark decided to go talk to him. The Kents had all three sent letters to Lex every day, and Clark had sent him a ton of emails. They stopped trying to call after three days, but they kept up with the rest of it. Nothing had worked.
On his way to the barn Clark was thinking about what he was going to say to his dad. He was going to try and convince his dad to drive him to Metropolis, because he knew he could get in to see Lex whether Lex wanted him to or not. He didn’t think his dad would go for him using his abilities, but he had to try something. As he got to the barn he heard his dad talking to the horse Lex usually road when he was there. As Jonathan brushed the horse down, he said, “……good girl. Does that feel good? Maybe when we’re done here I’ll get you an apple.”
The horse whinnied. Jonathan said, “You miss him too don’t you. I know Martha and Clark do. I do too. If I had just gone after him that day…..That’s something I’ll regret for the rest of my life. I don’t know what else to do now. We’ve tried everything we can think of. All I can think about now is…..what if he doesn’t come home…..ever again….”
Clark had stopped right outside the barn when he heard his dad talking. He wasn’t sure why, but it seemed like a privet moment. But then it got very quiet, and a few seconds later he heard a sob. He realized that his father was crying. He had never heard his father cry before. Not even when one of the cows had kicked him and broken his arm. Clark quietly walked away, not wanting to hear or see it.
Clark went back to the porch and sat down on the stairs. He thought about Lex and what was happening to his family. He thought about how his abilities had caused all of this. Whether his parents wanted to believe it was true or not, Clark knew it was. He stood up and said quietly to himself, “It’s enough. I’ll bring him home tomorrow….no matter what.”
Clark walked into the house and saw that his mom had finished the dishes, and was just staring out the window at the barn. Clark said, “Mom?”
“Yes honey?”
“Can I go fishing at the covered bridge tomorrow?”
Martha was slightly surprised by that, because since Lex had left, Clark hadn’t wanted to do much of anything. Martha nodded and said, “I suppose that would be alright, if your dad can spare the time away.”
“No, I mean just me.”
Martha thought about it. Clark was thirteen now, and she thought he probably needed time away from them since they were all obviously still upset about Lex. She slowly nodded and said, “Okay, but later in the afternoon. I have to take some eggs and vegetables to the market tomorrow, and I was hoping you could come with me and help.”
Clark would have rather gone first thing, but nodded and said, “Okay.”

Lex had a hard time waking up when the front desk gave him his wake up call. But he did get up. He took a shower and ordered some breakfast from room service. After it came he ate half a piece of toast and three bites of omelet before he couldn’t stomach any more. He looked at the clock and thought he would be late for work, but didn’t care. He went and looked out the window for a few minutes before dragging his feet to his car. He drove to Luthorcorp and parked next to his father’s car as usual. He didn’t get out right away. He seriously thought about getting back on the road and just driving. He didn’t care which direction, or where he would end up, as long as it wasn’t there. He sighed and got out of the car. He went in the front and walked to the mailroom.
The second he walked in Mr. Webber started yelling at him for being late. Lex stood and listened to it. Then he thought about what his father had said. But he just didn’t have the energy. He nodded when Max was done, and got to work.
At noon Max got a call. He said, ‘Yes sir.’ a few times, and then hung up. Then he yelled out with a slight sneer, “Lex, your daddy wants to see you.”
Lex shook his head and before he left the office he muttered, “You’re really not very bright Mr. Webber.”
Lex took the elevator up to his father’s office. His dad was standing at the door waiting for him. As Lex walked through Lionel told his secretary, “We are not to be disturbed.”
She nodded, and Lionel closed his door. He spun on Lex and grabbed both of his upper arms and shook him roughly a few times. Lionel said, “I told you to fire him!”
Lex put his hands on his father’s arms to try and steady himself after the shake. Lionel let go and walked a few steps away. He said, “I don’t understand you Lex. When you arrived to work here for the summer, I thought you were more mature. I thought you were becoming a man. I thought that at the very least I wouldn’t have to be ashamed of you quite as often. But I can see I was wrong.”
Lex said, “I guess so.”
Lionel walked back to Lex and said, “What happened to you Lex? It’s like you are someone else entirely. It’s like all the fight just went out of you.”
Lex looked up at Lionel and said, “I just don’t care.”
Lionel had a sense of deja vu at that. He could remember his wife saying that right before the doctor prescribed her medication for depression. He looked closely at Lex. He didn’t look all that good. He had dark circles under his eyes. Lionel wasn’t about to go thorough that again. He slapped Lex.
Lex wasn’t expecting the blow, and stumbled to the side a couple of steps to catch himself. He put his hand up to his face and looked at his dad again. Lionel had a very familiar look of hate on his face. Lionel said, “You better start caring. If you don’t go down there and fire him right now, I’m cutting you off. You can forget about college. You can forget about owning this company. You can live out of garbage cans for all I care. You decide.”
Lex looked down at the floor. He didn’t think he cared about college anymore. He knew he didn’t care about the company. But the thought of living out of garbage cans was too much for him. He nodded and quietly said, “I’ll fire him.”
“Do it now, and then take his place until we find his replacement.”
“Okay Dad.”
“Go.”
Lex left the office and went back down to the mailroom. Sally came up to him and said, “What happened?”
Lex said, “What?”
“The side of your face is all red.”
Lex tried to think of some excuse. “Oh….I….It’s nothing. I’ve got to talk to Mr. Webber. I’ll be right back.”
As he was going to the office he kept trying to think up some reasonable excuse. He knocked on the door and Max said, “Yeah?”
He went in and closed the door behind him. Before Max could say anything, Lex said, “You’re fired Mr. Webber.”
“Excuse me?”
“You’re fired. You have until the end of the day to clean out your desk, and you can pick up your last check in accounting.”
Lex watched as Max’s face got more red then his own. Max yelled, “You can’t fire me!”
Lex sat down on one of the chairs across from the desk. He looked at Max and said in a very calm and clear voice, “My father can make things very unpleasant for you Mr. Webber. I would advise you to be grateful that you are only fired.”
“Is that a threat?!”
“No. It’s the truth.”
Max got up and as he was walking out the door he said, “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.”
Lex leaned back in the chair and willed his headache to go away. Then he heard a tentative knock on the door. He opened his eyes and looked over to see Sally. She said, “Is everything okay in here?”
Lex gave her a weak smile and nodded. He stood up and walked out to the main mailroom. He said, “Can I have everyone’s attention please?”
Everyone looked at him. He said, “Mr. Webber is gone. I will be taking his place until we find a replacement. If anyone is interested in the position, please give your resume to human resources. I’ll be in the office if anyone has questions.”
He went back to the office and hoped that no one did have questions, because he probably wouldn’t know the answers. He noticed Sally still standing in the doorway, and he said, “Hey Sally, could you come here for a minute.”
She went in and sat down. He said, “I would be very grateful for any help you could give me over the next week or so.”
She smiled and said, “Sure.”

Clark was getting very impatient with his mother. She was taking forever in town. She kept visiting with people, and then decided to get a coffee and visit with a couple of friends she had met in town. Clark knew that he could run to Metropolis any time, but he wanted to be there during working hours, because he figured Lex would be at Luthorcorp during that time. At night he could be out anywhere.
They finally got home around three and Clark said, “Can I please go fishing now?”
Martha gave him a smile and said, “Thanks for coming with me today Clark. You can go ahead, just make sure you’re home by five so you can help your dad before dinner.”
Clark nodded and then sped out of the house. Martha smiled at the empty spot in front of her, and hoped Clark was able to have a good time for a few hours.
Clark was in Metropolis and in front of Luthorcorp twenty minutes later. He fixed his hair and went inside. He smiled at the friendly looking guy at the front desk. Clark thought he looked a lot like Pete’s grandpa, and liked him right away. He said, “Hi, I’m hoping you can help me.”
The guy smiled and said, “Sure thing kiddo. What do you need.”
“I want to see Lex Luthor. Is he working here today?”
The man nodded and said, “Yes he is. Can I ask why it is you want to see him?”
“It’s kind of personal.”
“Okay, can I tell him who is here to see him?”
“Well…..that might not be a great idea.”
“Why not?”
“We kind of had a fight, and he’s mad at me.”
“I see. Well, I have to tell him something to get him down here.”
Clark thought about it and said, “Okay. You can tell him it’s Clark.”
“Okay. Hold on just a minute.”
Clark watched while the man got on the phone. The man said, “Mr. Luthor? There is a boy here who would like to see you. He said his name is Clark.”
There was some silence and then the man said, “Yes sir……Yes sir.”
He hung up and smiled at Clark. He indicated a chair in the lobby and said, “If you just take a seat, Mr. Luthor will be with you in a few minutes.”
Clark was pleased it had been so easy. He nodded and said, “Thanks.”

Lionel had been putting off his normal duties most of the day, so that he could keep an eye on his son. He wanted to make sure Lex was following his orders, and that he wasn’t doing anything unseemly. Then when he was looking at some papers on his desk he heard Lex’s voice over the monitor say, “Clark’s here?….That can’t be good. I guess I’ll have to see him. Shit. I’ll be down in a few Joe.”
Lionel wasn’t sure exactly why, but now that he had Lex actually following his orders, he didn’t want the Kents messing it up. He called down to the front desk and said, “Joe? Toss that Clark boy out. I don’t want Lex to see him.”
There was quiet on the line for a few seconds and Lionel said, “Joe, did you hear me.”
“Yes sir.”
Joe put the phone down and sighed. Some days he hated his job, but it paid well, and was putting his granddaughter through college, so he kept at it, even when he had to do things he didn’t like. He stood up and went over to Clark. He said, “I’m sorry son, but I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”
Clark looked confused. He said, “But I thought you said Lex was coming.”
“He is, but you can’t see him. If you won’t leave, I’m gonna have to make you, and I really don’t want to do that. Please just go, and see Lex another time.”
Clark shook his head and felt like crying. He said, “You don’t understand, I have to see him today….right now. It’s really important. Please.”
Joe stood and towered over the boy. He said, “No. You go now, or I toss you out by the time I get to three.”
Clark just sat there. “One….Two….”
Clark shook his head. “Three. Sorry about this kid.”
Joe put his hand on Clark’s upper arm and started to pull him out of the chair. But to Joe’s amazement, the boy didn’t budge. Joe said, “Now I don’t want to get rough and hurt you boy. You come on with me.”
Joe pulled harder, and couldn’t believe that the boy just stayed put, and didn’t even look like he was having a hard time staying in place. Joe shook his head and used both hands to pull the boy up. He ended up picking up the boy and the chair at the same time. Joe said, “Fine. That’s the way you want it, we can do it your way.”
Joe set the chair down long enough to get behind it, and picked it up. He lifted the chair with Clark in it and started carrying both to the front door. But before they got there Clark jumped out and ran back to the front desk. Joe yelled, “You get back here.” and set the chair down as he went after him.
Clark was standing there looking wary, and thinking that he had to stay and see Lex no matter what. Joe was on him in a second and tried to pick him up. Clark pushed Joe away, and used a little of his strength to do it. Joe was tossed a few feet back, and landed on his side on the floor. Clark immediately felt bad.

Lex hung up the phone and sighed. He didn’t really want to see Clark, but he didn’t think Jonathan would let Clark go to Luthorcorp by himself, which meant he shouldn’t be there. He walked out to the main mailroom and said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
He got in the elevator and went to the bottom floor. As the doors opened he saw Clark shove Joe, and his eyes got bigger as he saw Joe fly a few feet back and land on his side. Lex’s first thought was, ‘Please don’t let my dad see that.’
Lex raised his voice and said, “Clark!”
Lex hurried over to where Clark and Joe were. Clark had jumped a little at the sound of his name. He looked over at Lex, and Lex could tell that Clark felt guilty about what he had just done, but that only lasted for a second. The look quickly turned to anger. When Lex got to Clark’s side he leaned down and whispered fiercely in Clark’s ear with anger of his own, “I don’t care how angry you are with me, it’s not an excuse to expose yourself in public.”
Clark wasn’t sure what he was expecting Lex to say, but that wasn’t it. Lex quickly walked over to Joe and helped him stand. Joe was rubbing his shoulder. Lex said, “Are you okay?”
Joe looked at Clark with a little fear and said, “I’m okay.”
Lex saw the look and said quietly, “Joe…”
Joe turned to look at Lex. Lex whispered with desperation, “Please, I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll pay you any amount of money you ask for. Just please if anyone asks, especially my father, you tell them you slipped and fell. Clark just wants to see me, and you’ll never have to see him again.”
Joe looked over at Clark, and even he could see that the boy was ashamed. That was enough for him. He said, “I don’t need anything. I did slip and fall.”
Lex felt gratitude for the older man and couldn’t think of anything to say that would adequately explain how he felt, so he said, “Thank you.”
Lex looked over at Clark and said, “Come on. We’re going.”
Clark walked towards Lex and as he passed Joe he said, “Sorry.”
Lex walked out the main front door, and Clark followed. As soon as the door closed behind them Lex turned to Clark, leaned down a little so they could be eye to eye and said, “Where is your father?”
Clark glared at Lex and said, “At home.”
“What?!”
“I came by myself.”
Lex straightened up and looked up at the sky as if it would have answers. He looked back at Clark and said, “How did you get here?”
“I ran.”
Lex looked at him carefully and then said, “Really?”
Clark nodded. “It took me about fifteen minutes, and then another five to find this place.”
“Wow.”
They were quiet for a few seconds and then Clark said, “You need to come home.”
Lex looked around and said, “We can’t talk here. Let’s go to my place.”
Lex walked back into the building and made sure Clark stayed right by him. He went straight to the elevator and took it to the parking garage. Lex and Clark both got in his car. On the way to the hotel Lex said, “Do your parents know you’re here?”
Clark looked out the window and said nothing. Lex said, “Clark, are your parents going to be worried, and wondering where you are?”
Clark shook his head. Lex was getting tired Clark’s unresponsiveness and said, “You wanted to see me bad enough to come all this way, so tell me why.”
“I did. You need to come home.”
Lex said quietly, “I know you want me to be there Clark, but I can’t go back. Things can’t go back to the way they were. I…..I put my trust in your folks, and I hadn’t done that since I was really little. I can’t just pretend like they didn’t betray me.”
Clark looked over at Lex and said, “I can’t believe you Lex. How many times did Dad forgive you? How many times did you lie to them? Now Mom and Dad made one mistake, and you can’t forgive them. And besides that, you lied for your own selfish reasons while they were only lying to protect me. And it probably doesn’t seem like it to you, but they really were trying to protect you too. We all sat around the table talking about wanting to tell you the same day you found out. Mom and I wanted to tell you, and so did Dad, but he was worried that we wanted to tell you for our own selfish reasons, and not because it was really the best thing for you. He was trying to protect you, because he thought you had enough to deal with already.”
Lex had to think about all the things Clark had said, and was quiet all the way back to the hotel. He parked and Clark followed him up to his room. Once they were behind closed doors Lex said, “Call your parents and tell them where you are.”
Clark shook his head and said, “No.”
Lex was more then a little irritated at that. He said, “I may not want to call your folks, but I’m not about to let them sit around and worry about where you are, so you call them, or I will.”
“Great, so call them. Or better yet, drive me home, because I’m not going back without you.”
Lex just looked at Clark trying to see if he was serious or not. He said, “And what do you think your father is going to say about this when I tell him what you’re doing?”
“I don’t care. Neither one of you can make me go home if I don’t want to, but if you don’t come home with me, I CAN make you.”
Lex glared. “So you’re a bully now? Just because you’re stronger then me, you’re gonna force me to do something I don’t want to do.”
“Yes.”
Lex crossed his arms and said, “I don’t buy it Clark.”
Clark glared at him and yelled, “Well you better believe it, because you ARE coming home with me, and you ARE going to talk to OUR parents! Mom has been crying on and off all week, and last night you made Dad cry too! You owe it to them to at least let them explain.”
Lex did want to believe Clark, but it was hard. But then Clark was the most honest person he knew. He said, “They’re really upset about it?”
Clark had been trying to hold his temper in check, but that last comment made him loose it. He went up to Lex and shoved him backwards. Lex flew a couple of feet through the air and landed on his back on the bed. Clark yelled, “You are so stupid! How do you think they would feel if I ran off for a week and wouldn’t talk to them? It’s the same thing when you do it!”
Lex sat up and looked a little wary of Clark. He said, “It’s really not the same thing Clark, even if you want it to be.”
Before Lex could blink Clark was in front of him. He barely had time to register the fist coming at him before he passed out.
Clark watched as Lex fell back onto the bed. He looked at his own hand; not quite believing he had just punched Lex in the jaw. He waited a couple of seconds and said, “Lex?”
“Lex? Lex are you okay?”
Clark was starting to panic. He looked closely at Lex and noticed that his chest was moving up and down. Clark hadn’t expected Lex to get knocked unconscious, and realized too late that he had hit him too hard. Clark said, “Crap. Sorry Lex.”
Clark thought about calling his dad, and telling him what had happened. He was sure his dad would tell him what he should do about Lex, but he was also sure that his dad was going to be royally pissed off at what he had done. As he thought about all the things he had done that day, Clark started to shake, and feel sick. He said to himself, “What should I do? If I call Dad, it will take him a couple of hours to get here. Damn.”
Clark looked at Lex and thought, ‘I could carry him. We could be home in less then twenty minutes. I wonder if I’d get more tired carrying him. But maybe that’s not such a good idea with him hurt. Maybe I should take him to the doctors. And tell them what? Damn, damn, damn!’
Clark decided to try and carry him home, because what he really wanted was for Lex and his parents to have a chance to talk. He picked Lex up and made sure Lex’s head was resting against his upper chest and shoulder so that it wouldn’t flop around as he ran. Clark got to the door and realized he was going to need his hands to open doors until he got to the street. He shifted Lex and put him up over his shoulder and let his head and arms dangle. Then he super sped out of the hotel using the stairs, and stairwell exit. Once he was out of the hotel, he shifted Lex back to the original position and started for the freeway.
Even with the extra wait of Lex, which he barely noticed, Clark ended up going faster on the way home then he had on the way there. Mostly because of the adrenaline from being nervous and from scared because Lex still hadn’t woken up. It took him a total of ten minutes to get from the hotel to his front porch, but by the time he got there he was breathing hard, and sweaty. Both of which were rare occurrences for him. He took a deep breath, and opened the front door. Both of his parents were in the kitchen. Martha was baking cookies, and Jonathan was taking a break from working to have a couple. They both stopped what they were doing and looked at Clark standing there damp and out of breath holding Lex. Jonathan said, “Clark?”
Clark walked over to the couch and lay Lex down. Martha and Jonathan quickly followed and Martha knelt down by Lex. “Clark what happened?” Jonathan asked.
Clark took a few more breaths and said, “I went to Metropolis and brought Lex home.”
Both Martha and Jonathan said, “What?!!”
Martha turned to Lex and rubbed his shoulder as she said, “Lex honey, can you hear me?”
Clark walked into the kitchen to get himself some water. Jonathan followed Clark and said, “What’s wrong with Lex?”
Clark quietly poured the water and drank some. He really didn’t want to go into that part, but knew there was no avoiding it. He set the empty glass down and said, “I punched him.”
Jonathan was too surprised to know what to say. Martha looked at her son with genuine anger and said, “How dare you hit your brother! With your strength you could kill someone. How long has Lex been out?”
Clark looked down at the floor and muttered, “Ten or eleven minutes.”
Jonathan went over to where Martha was kneeling by Lex. He checked Lex’s pulse and breathing rate. He said, “Where did you hit him Clark?”
Clark slowly walked to where his parents were. His parents could barely hear him he was talking so softly when he said, “On the jaw, on the left side. I pushed him in the chest too.”
Jonathan looked down at Clark and said, “And while he was out, you ran all the way home with him, bouncing him around after he was already injured?”
Clark wasn’t able to meet his father’s eyes, and he nodded at the floor. Jonathan looked at Martha and said, “We’ll have to take him to the hospital.”
Martha nodded and got up. She said, “Let me get a little bucket incase he wakes up and is sick from shock. And I’ll get a wet washcloth with some ice to put on his jaw. That should help with the swelling.”
Clark felt sick himself, not fully understanding the reality of what he had done until now. He said, “He’s gonna be okay though….right Dad?”
Jonathan looked at Clark who was on the verge of tears and said, “I don’t know son. I hope so.”
Jonathan leaned down and started to pick up Lex with the intention to put him in the truck when Lex started to stir. Jonathan put him back down and said, “Lex?”
Lex’s eyes fluttered open for a second, and then he winced in pain. He said, “My head.”
Jonathan said, “We’re going to take you to the hospital. Do you think you can stand to walk to the truck?”
Lex’s eyes flew open and he said, “Mr. Kent?”
He looked around and winced again as pain shot through his neck. He looked over at Clark who was quietly crying and still looking at the floor. He said, “How long have I been out?”
Martha was back with an ice pack and said, “About ten minutes. Here, hold this to your jaw.”
Lex said, “But then how…..”
Lex looked back at Clark with awe. He said, “You brought me here that quick?”
Clark said nothing. Jonathan said, “Lex, we need to get you checked out. You took a hard blow to the jaw, and we need to see if you have a concussion or whiplash.”
Lex took the ice pack and held it to his jaw. Then he looked up at Jonathan and said, “I’ll be fine after I rest for a few minutes and take some aspirin.”
Jonathan said, “You can walk, or I can carry you, but we’re going to the hospital.”
Lex’s head and neck were throbbing, and he didn’t feel all that well. He gave in and said, “Okay. I’ll walk.”
Lex tried to get up and immediately felt nauseous. He sat still and tried to get it under control. Jonathan bent down and picked him up. Lex concentrated hard on not vomiting. Jonathan said, “Let’s go.”
Everyone got in the truck, with Clark sitting in the back, and Lex between Martha and Jonathan. It was half an hour drive to the hospital. Four minutes into the ride Martha pulled Lex down to rest his head on her shoulder as she held the ice pack to his jaw. Lex was in too much pain to argue. But as he lay there against Martha he began to think about all the things Clark had said and done. He also thought about the fact that Martha and Jonathan were obviously worried about him, and how Martha was trying her best to comfort him. She was humming a little and rubbing his back in slow circles. He wasn’t sure what started it, but he found himself crying. Martha heard it and set the ice pack down on the seat. She put both her arms around Lex and held him while she said, “We missed you so much Lex. I’m glad you’re home, even if I don’t like the way you got here.”
Lex put his arms around her too and cried the rest of the way to the hospital. Jonathan parked the truck at the E/R entrance. He looked over at Lex and said, “Can you walk in?”
Lex let go of Martha and wiped at his face. He said, “What are we going to say?”
“What do you mean?”
“We can’t tell them Clark knocked me out.”
Jonathan gave Lex a look of gratitude and said, “No matter what else happens between us Lex, I’ll always be grateful to you for keeping Clark’s secret.”
Lex gave him a glare. “Did you really think I wouldn’t?”
Jonathan shrugged. “We haven’t exactly talked about it. I wasn’t sure.”
Lex put a hand on his neck when he felt some sharp stabbing pain. Jonathan said, “We’ll tell them the cow kicked you when you were cleaning out her stall. Can you walk?”
Lex nodded, but ended up with his arm around Jonathan to help steady him as he walked.
Clark had also spent a good portion of the trip crying, and feeling excruciatingly guilty about what was happening with Lex. When they stopped he jumped out of the back and waited by the side of the truck. He watched his Dad helping Lex. Then he jumped a little as he felt his Mom put her hand on his shoulder. She patted his shoulder and said, “Let’s go see what the doctor says.”
The E/R was surprisingly empty, and they got in to see the doctor in record time. They were all relieved to know that Lex didn’t have a concussion or whiplash, and that while he would have a nasty bruise and a headache that was about it. The doctor prescribed a strong painkiller for the next two days, and sent them home. They got the prescription filled at the hospital’s pharmacy, and Lex took one before they headed back.
The trip back was quiet. Lex leaned his head back on the seat and tried not to let the pain in his head and neck overpower him. By the time they got back to the farm the painkiller had started working, and Lex was able to think a little more clearly. They got out, and Lex was able to walk by himself to the house. As soon as they got in the house Jonathan said, “Let’s sit down at the table and talk.”
Martha looked at the time and said, “It’s almost six, so I’m going to start some dinner while you guys talk. I’ll still be able to hear.”
Jonathan nodded. First he looked at Clark and said, “You told your mom you were going fishing. How did you end up in Metropolis?”
Clark muttered to the table, “I had it planned since last night. I decided I had to bring Lex home, so I ran to Metropolis and went to Luthorcorp.”
Jonathan said, “Since when did it become your job to decide what was best for Lex?”
Clark muttered again, “Since he started being stupid.”
Martha stopped what she was doing, and the entire house was silent while Jonathan counted to ten in his head, and then counted to ten again. Clark squirmed. Jonathan finally said, “Clark, if you don’t drop the attitude and start showing some respect, I can spank you now, and then again after we’ve gone over things.”
Lex snorted a disbelieving laugh. Jonathan looked over at him and said, “Is something funny Lex?”
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to do, but I already know about Clark. I don’t see how you spanking him can have much effect when he can lift a few tons of tractor.”
Lex glared at Clark and said, “I have to give you credit for a good act though. I only overheard your supposed spankings twice, and I believed you were actually getting hurt.”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “I know we hid things from you Lex, but we would never put on such an elaborate act. Clark was getting spanked, and he was feeling it.”
Lex looked away and said, “Sure. Whatever.”
Jonathan turned back to Clark and said, “Since when did it become your job to decide what was best for Lex?”
Clark couldn’t believe that Lex thought they would be so deceitful to him. He said quietly, “It’s not my job.”
“And what did I say last time you ran to Metropolis by yourself?”
“That it better not happen again.”
“How did you get Lex to see you?”
“I just told the guard to call him, and he came down to see me.”
Lex and Clark shared a look. Clark’s look was pleading, and Lex’s look was expectant. Jonathan said, “So then how did you get from seeing Lex to hitting him?”
Clark said, “He drove me to his hotel room so we could talk.”
Lex interrupted with, “You left something out Clark.”
Clark shook his head slightly and again gave Lex his best ‘please don’t’ look. Lex looked at Jonathan and said, “When I arrived at the lobby the security guard was trying to throw Clark out, and Clark pushed him away…..a few feet away.”
Martha again stopped what she was doing and the house was quiet. Clark glared at Lex. Lex said, “Hitting me wasn’t very nice Clark, but we were brothers, and brothers sometimes fight. Exposing yourself in front of the ten people that were in the lobby, and in a place where my father might have seen you, was just plain…..stupid. It was by far the worst thing you did tonight in my opinion.”
Clark looked down again and Jonathan said, “You still are brothers Lex.”
Lex looked away and didn’t respond. Jonathan said, “Was the guard hurt? Did Lionel see it?”
Lex said with confidence, “I know the guard. He’s a good man, and he’s worked for my father for a long time. He’ll keep his mouth shut. I don’t know if my father saw it or not. I hope to God he didn’t.”
Jonathan turned back to Clark. “You were going to leave this part of the story out?”
Clark started crying again and said, “You’re already so mad…..”
Jonathan put his hand over Clark’s and said, “Yes I am, but you know that no matter what you do, I’ll always love you. Leaving part of the story out is the same as lying. Don’t do it again.”
Clark nodded. Jonathan said, “So you pushed the security guard, and then what?”
It took Clark a few tries to get out the next part because he was crying. “Lex took me to his place. We argued, and I……I hit him.”
Jonathan looked at Lex who nodded. Jonathan said, “And then while he was passed out you carried him home?”
Clark nodded. Jonathan said, “Why didn’t you call me and tell me what was going on as soon as you realized Lex was unconscious?”
“Because he wasn’t gonna come home, and it’s my fault, and I couldn’t stand it anymore!”
Lex felt bad about that. He hadn’t thought that much about how Clark was dealing with the whole thing. Lex said, “Why do you think it’s your fault?”
“If I wasn’t the way I am, none of this would have happened!”
Martha went over to Clark and put her hand on his shoulder as she said, “And if you didn’t have your abilities, Lex would have killed you that day on the bridge, and he would have killed himself along with you.”
Lex and Clark were both quiet as Lex realized what had really happened that day, and as Clark realized the truth in what she had said. Jonathan got up and went to get the dreaded box from the cupboard. He saw Clark watching him and he said, “Go to your room.”
Clark disappeared from the table. Lex jumped a little and said, “Jeez, do you ever get used to that?”
Martha said, “Not entirely.”
Jonathan sat down and opened the box for Lex to see. He said, “This is what makes Clark feel it when I spank him.”
Lex looked confused. Jonathan said, “It’s a tiny piece of the meteor rock. He’s severely allergic to them. When he gets around one he gets weak. If I went up there without this rock, I could spank him for hours and he wouldn’t feel any pain. But when he’s around this rock, he is as vulnerable as you and me.”
Jonathan sighed and said, “I know the trust you had with us has been broken, and I hope someday it can be repaired. For now, come with me, and see for yourself.”
Lex wasn’t sure what to do. The thought of watching Clark get spanked was unpleasant at best, but at the same time, he really didn’t believe what Jonathan was telling him. He got up and followed him.
Jonathan knocked on Clark’s door and went in. Clark was sitting on his bed and trying not to cry. When he saw Lex was with his dad he shook his head. Jonathan ignored that, opened the box, and set it down on the nightstand. He sat down next to Clark, who could already feel the effects of the meteor, and said, “I am ashamed of what you did today Clark. You lied, you went to Metropolis without telling us where you were going, you exposed your abilities in front of people, and worst of all you bullied Lex into coming home and hit him. I’m going to spank you tonight for what you did to Lex. Then I’m going to spank you again tomorrow for lying.”
Clark got very pale. Clark had never been spanked two days in a row. In fact he hadn’t been spanked since the last time he had run to Metropolis to save Lex. Clark said, “But he wasn’t gonna come home, I had to.”
“No Clark you didn’t. If you had told me your plan, I might have driven you to Metropolis, and we could have tried to see Lex together. None of us were giving up on Lex. We all sent him letters and emails every day, and we would have kept trying to see him and make contact with him until it happened. What you did was wrong Clark. Just because you’re stronger then your brother, it doesn’t give you the right to make him do things he doesn’t want to do.”
Lex didn’t know that the Kents had been sending letters or emails. He had put a filter on his emails and he had told the hotel he wanted no contact with them. But he figured they would have given up after a couple of days. Jonathan said, “You’re also grounded for two weeks. See if staying at the farm and in your room helps you appreciate the trust we put in you when we let you do things by yourself like go fishing.”
Clark didn’t say anything. Jonathan said, “Stand up.”
Clark reluctantly did. Jonathan undid Clark’s pants and quickly pushed them down along with his underwear. Clark shot a look in Lex’s direction thinking how much worse it was to have someone watching. Lex wasn’t sure what the look Clark gave him was. Maybe anger mixed with panic or fear. Jonathan pulled Clark over his lap and started spanking. Clark tried not to yell out, because Lex was watching, but after the third swat he couldn’t stop himself. As the swats continued, his legs started kicking, and his yelling got louder.
Lex stood transfixed for the first few swats. He could clearly see that Clark’s skin was getting pink, and that his body was twitching and jumping in response to the swats. Then when Clark’s yells got louder, Lex had to turn away. He didn’t want to see it. He felt conflicted because he was both distressed that Clark was in obvious pain, but at the same time relieved and even happy that the Kents hadn’t lied to him about this too. After the first ten swats Jonathan paused and said, “Listen up Clark, because if I have to go over this with you again, I’ll be using my belt. You are not going to be a bully. You don’t force people to do things they don’t want to do just because you’re stronger. Do you understand me?”
Clark got out a “Yes Sir.”
Jonathan started spanking again even harder then before. Lex jumped at the noise and his eyes went back to Jonathan and Clark. Clark yelled as his whole body jerked in response to the resumed spanking. Lex really wanted to not be there, and didn’t see how Jonathan could do it. He took a close look at Jonathan’s face. He expected to see confidence, but instead he saw resolve mixed with sadness.
Clark was crying and trying to get out apologies at the same time. Jonathan knew that Clark felt pretty guilty about what he had done to Lex, because he hadn’t asked him to stop, and he always had before. Clark had been trying not to, but a couple of seconds after the spanking started again he reached his hand back to cover his butt. Jonathan was expecting it, and caught the hand as he kept spanking. When Jonathan got to twenty swats he slowed down and increased the force of the swats for the last few. In between swats he said, “You…..don’t…..hit…..your……brother.”
Lex had tried to turn away after seeing Jonathan’s face, but couldn’t. He watched and his mind raced. When it was over Lex let out his breath and realized he had been holding it. He watched while Jonathan let go of Clark’s hand and rubbed his back. Jonathan said, “All over Clark. I forgive you, and I’m sure Lex does too.”
Lex could see that Jonathan’s face showed uncertainty and worry about what had just happened, even though his words sounded confident. A few seconds later Jonathan reached down to pull up Clark’s clothes. Then stopped and looked at Lex as if realizing again that he was still in the room. Jonathan let go of the clothes and closed the lid to the box that held the meteor. Lex watched Clark’s butt change from a slightly red color back to his normal skin tone in a couple of seconds. Then Jonathan pulled Clark’s clothes back up. He picked Clark up and held him on his lap. He didn’t say anything, but rocked him slightly and rubbed his back while he cried. Lex stepped out of the room as quietly as he could.
Lex stood in the hallway for a few seconds letting himself calm down. Then he walked downstairs and found Martha finishing up dinner. Lex could tell she was upset too. He said quietly, “Need any help?”
She shook her head. “No thanks. You should be sitting down and relaxing anyway.”
He sat down at the kitchen table and thought about things. He noticed she had set the table. He picked up a spoon and fiddled with it while he thought. A few minutes later she came over to him and patted his shoulder as she said, “How’s your jaw?”
“Not bad. The medication is working. How does it look?”
“Not good. It’s gonna be a big bruise.”
Martha went back to cooking, and ten minutes later, she was putting food on the table. She looked towards the stairs and said, “Let’s eat. They might be a while, and they can warm it up when they’re ready.”
Lex hadn’t been eating much since the day he left the Kent farm, but tonight he found he was starving. He finished everything on his plate before Martha had eaten half of hers, but then was too stuffed for seconds. As Martha was finishing up, Jonathan came down the stairs followed by Clark. Martha got their plates ready and heated them up in the microwave. The table was quiet, and Clark wouldn’t make eye contact with anything except his plate. When Jonathan was done eating he looked over at Clark and noticed he wasn’t really eating any more. He said, “Clark, go take a shower and get ready for bed.”
Clark didn’t argue or say anything. He kept his head down as he went up the stairs. When he was out of the room, Jonathan looked at Martha and said, “He’s grounded for two weeks, and I’m going to spank him again tomorrow.”
Lex watched Martha, and could tell she wasn’t one hundred percent in agreement with the prescribed punishment, but she nodded her head just the same and said, “Okay.”
Jonathan turned to Lex and said, “I guess we should talk.”
Lex nodded, “I guess we should.”
“I’m sorry you found out the way you did, and I’m even more sorry that I didn’t go after you the day you found out. If I could do it again, I would.”
Lex held up his hand and said, “Let me say something first.”
Martha and Jonathan both looked at Lex expectantly. Lex took a deep breath and said, “I never want to watch you punish Clark again, but I’m glad I saw it tonight, because it made me realize something important.”
When Lex paused Martha said, “What did you realize?”
Lex looked at Jonathan and said, “You just spanked Clark because you said he was being a bully by bringing me home just because he was stronger then me.”
Lex paused again and Jonathan prompted, “And….”
“But if you look at it from another perspective, you could say that you were the bully, because you’re forcing Clark to do what you think is right, by spanking him while you are bigger and stronger then him. So, I guess I realized that those times you spanked me for lying, you really were treating me the same way you would your son.”
Jonathan sat back and looked hurt.
Martha saw it and said, “Lex, look at me.”
Lex did. Martha said, “You haven’t been part of a stable family for a long time, and I know that sometimes it’s hard for you to understand things. But trust me when I tell you there are different sets of rules and different realities for parents and their kids. Jonathan and I lied to you about Clark, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Most parents lie to their children once in a while, especially when they think it’s in the child’s best interest. As adults, we have more experience, and a better understanding of the world around us then our children do. Then add that to the fact that we have a strong need to protect our children, and it means that the rules we set up for our kids are not always exactly the same as the rules we live by. It doesn’t make us hypocrites. It makes us parents. Some parents lie to their kids about how their pets died. Lots of parents lie to their kids about Santa Claus. Some parents lie to their kids about things they have done in their past to protect them. The list could go on and on.”
“You say Jonathan is bullying Clark into behaving. I say Jonathan understands that especially because of Clark’s abilities, he needs to learn how to control his temper, and Jonathan is helping him learn how to do that. Clark hauled off and punched you because he was angry. That’s not the same thing as Jonathan calmly explaining to Clark why what he did that was wrong, and then spanking him to make him change his behavior.”
Jonathan smiled at Martha and put his hand over hers. After a few seconds Lex slowly nodded. Martha then said, “And the same is true about us hiding Clark’s abilities from you. It’s just not the same as you lying to us about how Christmas was with your father, or about how much you had to drink, or about leaving the farm when you were told to stay here. We didn’t lie to you because it was the best thing for us, we lied to you because it was what was best for you and for Clark at the time.”
Lex had been looking at the table while Martha was talking. But now that she was done he looked up and said, “I…..I didn’t see it like that. When Clark came to see me, he said that I should forgive you, because of all the times that you had forgiven me, and I could see the logic in that, and I was ready to do that……but……now I think that maybe you didn’t do anything that needs to be forgiven. Sometimes it is hard for me to understand the way a family should work, because……well you know what my dad is like.”
Martha nodded and said, “I think it shows a lot of maturity that you can understand my perspective. And you’re right, that I don’t think we did anything wrong. We were going to tell you about Clark as soon as you came home for the summer a month and a half from now.”
Jonathan said, “We hadn’t decided that yet.”
Martha gave him a look and said, “I had.”
Jonathan gave her a look that said he wasn’t pleased, but kept his mouth shut. Jonathan turned to Lex and said, “But we both felt horrible about the way you found out. When we see either of you boys hurting we hurt for you. And I was too caught up in second guessing myself to go after you and help you see things our way. Then when I couldn’t get in to see you and explain…..”
Lex said quietly, “Were you really still trying to get in touch with me?”
Martha nodded and said, “Come in the living room with me.”
Martha turned on the computer that Lex had bought Martha for her birthday. She opened the email and clicked the sent file. She said, “Sit down and read it for yourself Lex.”
Lex did sit down. As he started to read, Jonathan and Martha cleared the table and did the dishes. A few minutes later Jonathan said, “I’m going to go check on Clark.”
Martha said, “Tell him I’ll be up in a few minutes to say good night.”
Martha went to the living room and sat on the couch to do some sewing while Lex read. A while later Jonathan came down, and Martha went up to say good night to Clark. Jonathan went to stand next to Lex. He said, “We have some returned letters too if you’d like to see them.”
Lex stood up and shook his head no as he hugged Jonathan. Jonathan wasn’t really expecting it, but he put his arms around Lex and could tell he was crying. Jonathan said, “It’s gonna be okay Lex. We still love you, and you’re still a part of the family. I hope you never have a reason to question that again.”
They stayed that way until Martha came downstairs. She smiled at them and Lex wiped at his face. He muttered, “It seems like I’m crying all the damn time now.”
Jonathan patted his shoulder and said, “We all cry sometimes. It’s nothing to be ashamed of son.”
Lex felt a rush of happiness at Jonathan calling him son again. Lex nodded and smiled. Martha said, “Come tell us what you’ve been doing this week.”
They all sat on the couch, and Lex told them everything. Martha and Jonathan exchanged more then one look when Lex told them about the things his father had said and done. By the time Lex was done telling his story Jonathan had a hard time restraining himself from going to beat up Lionel. Jonathan put an arm around Lex and said, “I’m so proud of you Lex.”
Lex looked confused. Jonathan said, “You didn’t go out and take any drugs while you were upset. You didn’t even get drunk. That’s a huge step forward for you.”
Lex nodded. “I suppose that’s true.”
Martha said, “But it sounds like you were pretty depressed Lex. We should all try to think of some things you can do to help with that if there’s ever another time when you don’t think you can talk to us, but you’re in emotional distress.”
Lex nodded again. “That would probably be good. I felt lost and hopeless. I don’t know what would have happened if Clark hadn’t come by. My father would have tried to make sure I didn’t……Shit.”
Jonathan and Martha both looked at Lex. Lex looked a little sheepish knowing that neither one of them really approved of him swearing. He said, “I have to call my dad and tell him something.”
Jonathan said, “Tell him I had driven Clark there to see you, and that you decided to come home to spend the weekend with us.”
Lex said, “I don’t want to go back…..but I think I’ll have to. I already promised Dad I would do this internship, and he won’t let me get out of it. And I’m too much of a chicken shit to go without his money.”
Martha said, “Lex, don’t put yourself down please. And I’ve heard enough language for the night. Not many people can go without money, I don’t think less of you because of it.”
Lex got a little red at the reprimand and then said, “Okay…..sorry.”
Jonathan said, “Do you want to call him down here or in our room?”
“Down here.”
“Go ahead whenever you’re ready.”
Lex didn’t think he would be ready any time, but he went over to the phone and dialed anyway. When Lionel answered Lex said, “Hi Dad.”
“Lex, where are you? You can’t just walk off the job. It’s very unprofessional.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Clark showed up at the office, and I talked to him for a little bit. Then I had to make sure he got back to the truck with Mr. Kent, and then I started talking to him. And I know it was wrong, but I just had to see them, so I let them bring me here for the weekend. I promise I’ll be back to work on Monday morning, and I’ll probably even be there with my spine.”
Lionel was quiet for a few seconds. Then he surprised his son and said, “Don’t be late.”
Lex looked at the phone as he heard his father hang up. Lex wasn’t sure what to make of that. Jonathan came up to him and put a hand around his shoulder. He said, “What did he say.”
“He told me not to be late and hung up. I guess that means he’s okay with me being here.”
“Good. Then you can come home next weekend too.”
Lex smiled at him. “I guess I can.”
Martha said, “It’s been a very long and emotional day for all of us. Why don’t you take another of your pills, and get some sleep. I know I’m ready for bed.”
Lex agreed and hugged them both before heading up to his room.

The next day Jonathan let both the boys sleep in. Lex came down the stairs a few minutes after Jonathan had gone out. He went straight for the painkillers which had been left on the kitchen counter and took one with some water. Martha put her coffee down and said, “Come over here and let me see how your face is.”
Lex put a hand on his neck as he walked over and said, “My head must have really snapped back hard, because I think my neck hurts more then my jaw.”
Martha held his face in her hands and examined the large purple bruise that covered a most of the right side of his jaw.
She shook her head and said, “That’s gonna take a while to heal up.”
She turned his face to the other side and kissed his cheek. She let him go and said, “What do you want for breakfast?”
Lex smiled, even though his neck was killing him and said, “Hmm….coffee and toast.”
Martha laughed and said, “And then you’ll be hungry in an hour. How about biscuits and gravy?”
“Sounds good.”
Lex sat down with a cup of coffee himself and closed his eyes waiting for the pain to lessen. Fifteen minutes later Clark came down. His mom saw him coming and went over to give him a hug. She said, “How did you sleep?”
“Okay.”
“Do you want some juice?”
“Sure……does Dad need some help?”
Martha said, “Not right now.”
She handed him a glass of juice and started getting things ready to make breakfast. Clark sat as far away from Lex as he could. Lex heard the chair move as Clark sat down, and looked up at him. Clark kept his eyes on his juice. Lex said, “Morning.”
Clark muttered, “Morning.” and kept looking at his glass.
Lex had thought about Clark quite a bit the night before. He said, “Thanks for bringing me home.”
Clark’s head shot up. He saw the bruise and cringed in sympathy. “I’m really sorry I punched you Lex. I didn’t mean to….well, I meant to, but I didn’t mean for it to be so bad, I just wanted you to believe me.”
“I know. I’m not mad about it. In fact I feel better today then I have since I ran out of here a week ago. Even with pain shooting up and down my neck.”
Clark looked back down. Lex saw it and said, “I took another painkiller, and I should feel better in a few minutes, so don’t look so depressed little brother.”
Clark looked back up with uncertainty. He said, “Little brother?”
Lex smiled and nodded. Clark smiled back at him. Lex said, “I know Pop doesn’t think it was the right thing to do, and I may not like the way you did it, but I think it took a lot of guts, and I’m glad you brought me home.”
Martha said disapprovingly, “Lex.”
Lex shrugged and said, “What?” even though he knew exactly what she wasn’t happy about.
Martha gave him a look, but didn’t say anything else. Lex looked back at Clark and was quietly serious when he said, “But I guess I should tell you that I was planning to drive you home and talk to our folks before you knocked me out, because the things you said to me were really very convincing.”
Clark looked like he might cry at that, but just nodded in understanding. Lex waited a few minutes and said, “So, can we go back to some kind of normal now?”
Clark slowly nodded and said, “I am sorry Lex.”
“I know Clark, you already told me, and incase you don’t remember, I know that you’ve already been punished for it too, so stop feeling so bad about it.”
Clark got bright red and didn’t say anything else. The room fell into a slightly uncomfortable silence and a few minutes later Martha said, “Lex spent last week learning all about the mailroom at Luthorcorp.”
Lex gave a little laugh and said, “Who knew there was so much mail to sort.”
Clark said, “Is that what you spent most of your time doing?”
They talked about the mailroom until breakfast was ready. When it was ready Martha said, “Lex, could you go tell Jonathan that it’s time to eat please?”
Lex got up and went out towards the barn. He found Jonathan and said, “Mom says to come eat.”
Jonathan smiled at Lex calling Martha ‘mom’ again and said, “Okay, but I want to give you something first.”
Lex waited and Jonathan got the compass out of his shirt pocket. He handed it to Lex and said, “I thought you might like to have this back.”
Lex hadn’t exactly forgotten about the compass, but he hadn’t thought about it for the past few days either. He got a little choked up and wasn’t sure what to say, but he did take it. He said, “Thanks.”
He wanted to say more, but he wasn’t sure how to tell Jonathan what it meant to him, and he had a pretty good idea that Jonathan already knew. Jonathan put his arm around Lex’s shoulders and started them towards the house as he said, “What’s for breakfast.”
“Biscuits and gravy.”
“Well now I know Martha is happy you’re back, because it’s been cold cereal for days now.”
Lex wasn’t sure if he should laugh at that or not. He muttered, “Sorry.”
Jonathan squeezed Lex’s shoulder and laughed a little when he said, “Not as sorry as I was.”
Lex smiled slightly as they walked into the house. Breakfast was a little less somber then dinner the night before, but not much. Clark kept darting glances at his father, and didn’t do much eating. Lex on the other hand was too busy stuffing himself to say much. When Jonathan was done he sighed and said, “Wonderful breakfast sweetheart.”
Martha smiled at him and rubbed his shoulder as she picked up his plate to start the dishes. Jonathan looked over at Clark who quickly looked down at his mostly full plate. Jonathan sighed again and said, “Okay Clark, I can see the wait is killing you, so let’s get it over with.”
Clark looked up at him with big eyes and said, “No, I can wait……really.”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “Upstairs.”
Clark vanished and Jonathan rubbed his temples for a second. Then with a grim look he went to get the box out of the cupboard. Lex watched him head up the stairs and then he looked at Martha who was also watching the stairs. Lex got up and said, “Hey Mom, it’s a really nice day outside. Why don’t you go take a walk, and I’ll do the dishes.”
Martha looked at Lex and then back at the stairs. She said, “The dishes can wait. Why don’t you take a walk with me.”
Lex shook his head and said, “No thanks. I want to do the dishes for you. You go.”
Martha thought about it for a second and then nodded. She went out the door, and Lex started putting dishes in the dishwasher. As he was finishing up, the sounds of what was happening upstairs filtered down to him. He grimaced in sympathy for Clark, and decided that maybe he did want to go for a walk. He wiped off his hands and went outside to find Martha.

The following week Lex was back to work managing the mailroom, and true to his word he did have his spine and his pride back. He wasn’t nasty to anyone, but he also didn’t let anyone walk on him. Lionel was pleased, and Lex was a little pleased with himself. He called the Kents every night to tell them about his day, and things felt back to ‘normal’ for him. Thursday night he went to dinner with his father for the first time since being back, and Lionel noticed the Lex actually ate his food and had three glasses of wine. Lionel didn’t like the idea of Lex spending time with the Kents, but he did like the results.

The next Friday night Lex drove to the Kent farm for the weekend. He noticed that while Clark was still grounded, his parents had lightened up a little bit, and Clark wasn’t in misery the way he was the previous weekend. All in all, Lex was happy again and back on track.
On Saturday night right before dinner Lex said, “Oh, hold on I brought something for you guys.”
He went up to his room and got an expensive bottle of wine out of his overnight bag. He took it back to Martha and said, “It’s just to say thanks for not giving up on me when I was gone.”
Martha smiled and said, “Thank you Lex, that’s very sweet of you.”
Jonathan smiled too and looked at Martha when he said, “Should we have some with dinner?”
Martha nodded, and they opened it. Lex got out three glasses, and handed them to Martha. She looked at him and paused. Then said, “I’m sorry Lex, but you’re still under age.”
Lex just starred at her uncomprehending for a few seconds. He said, “I drink all the time Mrs. Kent.”
Jonathan stepped in and said, “Not when you’re home you don’t, and you shouldn’t at all.”
Lex wasn’t sure exactly why, but that comment made him truly angry. He laughed a mean laugh and said, “I’ve been drinking myself stupid since I was twelve. I’m almost twenty. I think I can handle a glass of fucking wine.”
Jonathan swatted Lex hard and said, “There is no need for your attitude. I’ve made it perfectly clear to you many times that I don’t like you drinking. Why do you think that would be any different today.”
Lex glared and said, “I’m not hungry. I’m going to bed.”
Lex stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
Martha and Jonathan looked at each other. When Lex was out of earshot Martha said, “What was that about?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t like it.”
“Are you gonna bring him back down?”
Jonathan thought about it and then shook his head. He said, “Let him be hungry tonight. He worked hard on the farm today. He’ll regret his outburst pretty quick.”
The dinner table was a little more quiet then usual, but not much, and even though they felt a little bad about it, Jonathan and Martha didn’t want to let the wine go to waste so they drank some. After dinner Martha put the cork back in the bottle to save the rest of the wine for the next day. Jonathan said, “Better keep it in our room. He’ll be hungry tonight, and I don’t want to put the temptation in front of him.”

That night Lex was tossing and turning with his stomach growling. He kept thinking that Jonathan had no right to tell him he couldn’t have a glass of wine. He also thought a lot about there being different rules for adults then there were for kids, but that just made him more angry. He had plenty of adult responsibilities at Luthorcorp. At two in the morning he couldn’t take it any more. He snuck downstairs and had some cold leftovers out of the fridge. As he was eating he got more and more angry about the wine. He looked around for it, and didn’t see it. He looked even harder and couldn’t find it. Then he thought that maybe they hid it from him, just so that he couldn’t have any. He was livid and tossed the rest of his leftovers in the garbage. Without thinking much about it, he grabbed the keys to the truck and walked out the door.
Upstairs Martha and Jonathan both woke up to the sound of their truck taking off. Jonathan said, “What the hell?”
Martha asked, “Lex?”
Jonathan shook his head and went to go check Lex’s room. He came back and said, “He’s running off over a glass of wine? It’s like we’re back to step one.”
Martha thought about it for a few seconds as Jonathan started to get dressed. Martha said, “Jonathan.”
He turned to look at her. She said, “He’s testing you.”
“You think?”
“He probably doesn’t even know he’s doing it, but he had to know when he brought that wine home that we wouldn’t let him have any. He set himself up, because he want’s to see if you’ll go get him. Or at least that’s my theory.”
Jonathan went back over to the bed and kissed Martha. He said, “You are the smartest woman I know, and I love you. I’ll be home with the boy in an hour or two.”
Martha nodded and said, “Be careful, and don’t be too hard on him.”
She had no trouble falling back to sleep as Jonathan got the motorcycle out and got ready to ride.
Jonathan decided that if Martha was right about Lex, that Lex was probably headed to a bar to find himself a drink. He shook his head thinking it was a little absurd of Lex to be doing this, but also knowing that after what had happened two weeks ago, Lex probably did need to be reassured that Jonathan would come after him. As Jonathan started the bike he thought, ‘Maybe that’s not why he left. Maybe it’s something else I don’t know about. Well, I’ll just have to find him either way, and figure it out.’

Lex drove to town with angry thoughts going through his head. ‘I drink all the damn time. Dad never has a problem with it. I can’t believe Mom and Pop think that I can’t handle a glass of wine with dinner. I could drink the whole fucking bottle. Just because I’m not twenty-one is the stupidest reason I’ve ever heard for not drinking. Then they were going to sit there and drink it in front of me, like they were throwing it in my face that they could and I couldn’t. Different rules for kids and adults……what a load of shit. And I’m not a kid anyway. I’m an adult. Dad treats me like an adult, and I’m fucking tired of the Kents treating me like a kid.’
Lex pulled up to Billy’s bar and parked in the deserted parking lot. He thought, ‘Who needs wine, when I can have scotch.’
Lex got out of the truck and walked up to the front door and tried it. It was locked. He went to the back door and tried it. It was locked too. He kicked the door in anger when he realized he didn’t carry his lock picking set with him anymore. Then yelped in pain and held his foot for a few seconds. He looked down at himself, and realized he was still in his pajamas and had on slippers, so even if he did usually carry a lock picking set with him, he wouldn’t have it. In fact he didn’t even have his wallet with him. This made him even angrier, and he went around the building looking for windows. He found one on the side of the building and tried it. It was closed, but not locked, and as the window slid open, Lex smiled in satisfaction. He climbed in the window with little difficulty, and went straight to the bar. He got the most expensive scotch Billy kept and poured himself a double.
After downing that and pouring himself another he heard the sound of a motorcycle outside. Lex felt his stomach turning and he panicked. He put the lid on the scotch, and quickly put it away. He thought about pouring the scotch out, but instead quickly choked it down, and put the glass away where he had found it. He wiped his face off and tried to make his hand stop shaking as he looked around for someplace to hide, or for something to do to make it look like he wasn’t there just to drink.
A few seconds later he jumped at the loud sound of someone knocking at the back door. He just stood there thinking, ‘Shit, shit, shit.’
A loud voice from the other side said, “Lex, I know you’re in there. Come open this door right now.”
Lex shook his head and thought, ‘What the hell am I doing?’
Jonathan waited a few seconds and then knocked again and said, “Lex! Open the door!”
Lex walked to the door, and fumbled with the lock for a few seconds before he got it open. Lex looked at Jonathan and said, “Umm…..Hi?”
Jonathan took a look at Lex and knew Martha had been right. Jonathan almost smiled at Lex, who looked pretty young standing there in his pajamas looking nervous. But instead he gave him a glare. He stepped in and Lex stepped back. Jonathan closed the door behind him and said, “What do you think you are doing?”
Lex looked back towards the bar and said, “Umm…..Nothing?”
Jonathan turned him to the side and swatted him twice. He let go and said, “Try again.”
Lex took a few steps away once he was let go, and he felt his anger come back. He yelled, “I can drink if I want to!”
Jonathan answered his own question in his head, ‘Okay, so you’re having a tantrum. That I can fix.’
Jonathan grabbed Lex’s upper arm and pulled him over to one of the chairs. He pulled the chair away from the table. Lex was pulling and trying to get away. As soon as he saw what Jonathan was doing he said, “No! You can’t!”
Jonathan had to work very hard at not rolling his eyes. He sat down and pulled Lex over his lap. He started spanking hard and fast. Lex yelled loudly and tried to get up. Jonathan had to work on keeping Lex in place for the first few swats, but after ten Lex stopped struggling realizing it was futile. He lay still and started to notice the pain in his backside. He yelled, “This is ridiculous!”
Jonathan couldn’t have agreed more. He paused long enough to pull the pajama bottoms down and then resumed spanking. Lex screeched indignantly and started struggling again. Lex didn’t struggle very long, because soon the pain was too much. He gave a few involuntary ‘ow’s’ and some ‘ah’s’ before Jonathan paused. Jonathan rested his hand on Lex’s back and said, “Let’s try this again. What do you think you are doing here, in your pajamas, in the middle of the night?”
Lex didn’t have a good answer to that. He was pretty sure that whatever answer he gave, he was going to get spanked some more, so after a few seconds he muttered, “I was having a drink.”
“I told you tonight that you couldn’t drink when you were home.”
Lex had nothing to say to that. Jonathan gave him a few hard swats and Lex ‘owed’ through them. Jonathan said, “And you know you aren’t supposed to be going anywhere without telling me where you are going, and I’m pretty sure I remember going over breaking and entering. Does any of this sound familiar to you?”
Lex muttered, “Yeah.”
Jonathan said, “Then I guess you know what to expect.”
Before Lex could respond Jonathan had brought his hand down again. For the next few seconds the only sounds in the bar were loud smacks, with a few grunts and exclamations of pain. Lex yelled, “Mr. Kent…Ow…I’m sorry…..Mmmff….Please stop….Ow!….Pop, I’m sorry! Lex very soon lost the struggle and started to cry. Jonathan gave him a few more swats and then stopped. Jonathan decided that was enough, since Lex was obviously more interested in testing Jonathan’s commitment to him then he was interested in actual drinking. He patted Lex on the back and said, “Okay son. All over.”
Jonathan helped Lex to stand and fixed his pajamas for him. Lex continued to cry and Jonathan pulled him down to sit on his lap. Jonathan pushed Lex’s head so that it was resting on his shoulder. He rubbed Lex’s back and waited for quite a few minutes until Lex had calmed down to sniffles. Jonathan patiently said, “How much did you have to drink?”
Lex sniffed and said, “Two shots of scotch….but they were doubles.”
Jonathan smiled at the honesty. He said, “Okay. Let’s go leave Billy a note, and some money for the drinks. Then tomorrow you can apologize when we come back to get my bike.”
Lex wasn’t looking forward to that but nodded and got up. Jonathan stood and put the chair back before going to the bar and writing a quick note. He put out a ten and then Lex said, “Um…..it was the Glenlivit.”
Jonathan sighed and got out a twenty to add to it. Jonathan said, “Let’s go home.”
Lex followed Jonathan out to the truck. He got in and tried to find a comfortable way to sit, but couldn’t. A few minutes into the trip Jonathan said, “Lex, I hope you know that I’ll always come after you, no matter what, because I love you. You’ll always have a home with us.”
Lex didn’t respond, but he felt himself start to cry again. He was really tired of crying so much lately, but he felt so relieved at Jonathan’s words, that he couldn’t help himself. Jonathan said, “And I know some of the rules we have for you seem silly or unfair to you, but they’re there because we think it’s what you need right now.”
Lex nodded. Jonathan noticed Lex was crying again and pulled over. He pulled Lex into another hug and said, “It’s gonna be okay. You’ll feel better tomorrow.”
A few minutes later Lex let go, and Jonathan started driving again.
Lex berated himself for the night’s activities for the rest of the trip home. Once they got there Jonathan walked him up to his room and tucked him into bed. He kissed Lex on the forehead and said, “Sleep good.”
Lex didn’t find that difficult at all.