Title: Asleep in Armageddon
Disclaimer: I so want to own them, especially Lex.
Beta: Pollyanna and Sylvie
Summary: AU. Walking towards Apocalypse.
1. I started writing this story after the 1st X-Men movie came out. Yes, it has taken me this long to finish it.
2. I would also like to say that this story has two endings for the very simple reason that I am still undecisive as to where it should end.
Clark tested the shackles. It had become an everyday ritual, pulling at the restraints around his wrists and ankles, but he had never been able to break them. Especially here in this dark cell with only a red light for comfort.
Red light, like the red sun of Krypton. The kind of light that imposed normality upon him, so unlike the Earth's yellow sun that had fed him, allowing his alien skin to absorb its powerful rays and giving Clark superhuman abilities.
He grimaced against the pain, the shackles rubbing his wrists, reopening the wounds. Clark stared at the scars, at the blood, and he wished he knew how long he had been held here. It seemed like forever.
He was tired. He wanted out of this dungeon, this prison where they had placed him, locked and kept away from other humans. Forgotten, if not for the experiments still performed on his body.
"Clark?" a young male voice from the other end of the cell called out to him.
Clark turned towards the sound. "What is it, Scott?" The boy was Clark's only companion. He was younger than Clark, sixteen to Clark's twenty-one, and he too had been locked in this cell in order to keep his mutant powers under wrap.
In one of those experiments the scientist had discovered that, just like Clark, Scott's mutant powers were dependent upon the sun. If Scott was kept from the sun's rays, he would revert back to being nothing but a normal boy.
"What was Smallville like again?" Years ago, Scott had lost his parents and younger brother in a plane crash. Orphaned, the boy had ended up in a state-run institution. Once Scott's powers had emerged, killing rays shooting out from his eyes, he was handed over to the government. The vulnerable mutant was then taken to a secret facility, branded as Patient X-12, where experiments were then routinely performed on him.
Scott had never know what it was like to have a family or friends and he depended on Clark to keep him sane in this chaotic world they lived in. He needed to hear and experience via Clark's memories what life would have been like. He needed to taste hope.
"Clark?" Scott's voice wavered with uncertainty at Clark's continued silence.
"The corn fields went on forever. As a child I would run across them, zig-zagging left and right, late for school." Clark's voice softened, "Always late for school."
Clark remembered them all. Mom. Dad. Pete. Chloe and especially ....
"Go back to sleep Scott. I'll tell you all about Smallville later...."
At night, Clark dreamt of things he couldn't have, of things he missed and lost, of betrayals made.
Clark could still hear his mother's scream, begging him to run, to get away from the danger, but he had refused. He had foolishly stayed behind, believing nothing could touch him. Believing he could save his parents, just like he had always saved everyone else.
In his sleep, Clark whimpered as his dreams changed, focusing on one particular scene of his one-time friend stepping out of a car closely followed by the government agents who were there to take Clark from his parents.
It was the last time he saw either of them.
As Clark continued to dream the door of the dark red-lighted room opened and white light from the corridor swept inside.
Feeling himself being watched, Clark awakened in time to see the man who had been standing by the door step inside the room. A man who had for the past few years haunted Clark's dreams and nightmares.
Now alert, Clark clenched his fist and rushed over to tackle his former friend, betrayer, to the ground, only to be stopped by the shackles that restricted his movements.
"Bastard!" he yells, not caring who overhears him or what punishment his action would later cost him.
"Clark, it's been a long time."
Lex's voice was the same, confident, calm, not bothered at all by the sight of Clark kneeling in front of him like a slave for his master.
"Clark?" Scott was awake now, watching from the corner of the room. He sat up, making a slight noise as the shackles on his wrists and ankles scraped the floor.
To Clark it seemed as though he and Lex were at a standstill, two gunfighters meeting across the great divide, weapons in hand, except in this case Clark was powerless and Lex was not.
In the silence the only sound the three occupants of the room could hear was the camera as it zoomed in on Lex, following his every movement.
As if remembering why he was there in the first place, Lex smirked, eyes glancing away from Clark, taking in Scott's appearance. "Ah, yes, the boy."
Even in the dim room, Scott's slightly long dark hair, determined chin, pronounced cheekbones and soft lush lips could clearly be seen. The red light as it reflected off Scott's face only added to young man's appeal.
There was a predatory glint in Lex eyes. "Believe it or not, Clark, I'm actually not here for you." Lex looked away from the boy and back to Clark, his eyes trailing over Clark's body.
Eyes that had once shown interest in Clark now quickly dismissed him, and Lex's attention focused again on Scott. "You were an expensive commodity to buy, boy," Lex said, as he walked toward the young man.
Scott retreated, his back hitting the wall. He looked at Clark, seeking his help.
"Leave him alone, Luthor," Clark warned, pulling away from the wall, feeling the shackles bite into his tender skin, concern for Scott overweighing his own pain.
"Make me. Oh yeah, you can't," Lex chuckled aloud.
Before stepping towards Scott, Lex looked back at the camera and made a gesture to the security guards to turn it off.
"Get away from me, you freak!" Scott yelled as he tried to move away from Lex's searching hands.
"Shh...it'll be all right." Lex murmured smoothly as his hands wrapped themselves around Scott's wrists, using the shackles to pin him to the ground, his body coming to cover over the boy
"Damn you, Lex!" Clark screamed from his corner of the room.
"Ignore him," Lex told Scott as his hands now caressed Scott's chest, opening the shirt, circling around a nipple, as lips descend to kiss lush lips.
Clark could hear their murmur, soft whispers broken only by their moans.
Damn him. Damn him to hell for making Clark watch this. For doing this to Scott.
The sound of tearing clothes and zippers being lowered echoed in the room, followed by a cry of pain as Lex thrust into Scott's body. Clark closed his eyes and covered his ears, trying to ignore the wet sounds of balls hitting flesh.
Just as Clark could take no more of this, it stopped. He opened his eyes in time to see Lex clean himself off, discarding the now dirty handkerchief on Scott.
Lex stepped away from Scott's sprawled body, adjusting his clothes, giving Scott one final look before walking away, all the while without having once looked back at Clark.
"I'll kill you, Lex!" Clark shouted. "I'll kill you, Luthor!"
Silence again descended upon the room, broken only by the camera mounted on the wall coming back to life.
"Scott," Clark called. "Scott, please say something."
Scott just lay curled on the floor, listless, and Clark promised that the last thing Lex would feel was Clark's hands tightening around his throat.
The lights were off. The red light that had been a constant presence in his life was no longer on. Total darkness settled inside the cell.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Clark looked out the window on the door of the cell; it seemed that this was not the only place affected - the hallway was also dark. Even the camera that had kept them under constant surveillance seemed dead.
"Clark?" Scott whispered. It was the first time he had spoken since Lex's visit the day before.
"Yeah?" Clark could hear him move, shackles hitting the hard cold floor as if they had been dropped. "Scott?" And then suddenly Scott was beside him, a small flashlight and key in his hands, freeing Clark.
"What did you do?" Clark asked as Scott helped him up. "Where did you get this?"
Scott showed him the dirty handkerchief.
"Luthor," was Scott's tense reply as he opened the door, the light from the flashlight illuminating the dark corridor. "Coming?" he asked a shocked Clark who couldn't believe what he had just heard.
"But he.…" Clark couldn't breathe. A few hours ago he had watched helplessly as Lex assaulted Scott, and now to find out that Lex had provided them with the means to free themselves….
"He gave me this," Scott explained, indicating to the key, when he saw the lingering confusion on Clark's face.
"No…he…." Clark swallowed.
"Look, that doesn't matter now. We need to leave, Clark."
Doesn't matter. True, Lex was still responsible for putting him here, in this miserable place. Providing them now with the means of didn't absolve him of that.
"We don't have much time."
Impatiently, Scott grabbed Clark by the arm, pulling him out the door. They ran down the empty corridors, escape within their reach.
How they arrived at a door that would lead them to the outside Clark did not know, but somehow Scott seemed to know where he was headed.
Scott took out a small card from somewhere in his pant pockets and swiped it across a small terminal, punching in some codes.
They both held their breath as the door opened without triggering off any alarms.
Freedom was just steps away.
"Wait!" Clark stopped Scott. "What if this is a trap?"
"What if it is?" Scott answered. "Look around you, Clark - we are already in prison. It can't get any worse."
Clark was afraid. He'd never thought he'd be afraid to leave this place.
And that Lex would be the one providing the means of his escape.
As though knowing the turmoil in his friend's mind, Scott spoke up. "Clark, we can't just stay here. You taught me that much."
It just didn't make sense for Lex to do this.
Lex, who had once betrayed him.
"Don't make me leave without you. Please."
Clark could see the fear in Scott's face. His friend needed him, if not to protect him at least to help him. Taking a deep breath, Clark took his next step: to freedom.
They had been running non-stop. Once they reached the fence of the enclosure they had helped each other get over it.
At first Clark had been surprised that they hadn't been followed; then he realized that the sirens that had started minutes after they left the building were not as a result of the guards finding them gone, but of an attack taking place.
The complex that had once been their prison was under heavy fire and even from this distance they could still see the smoke from the damaged buildings.
Several times as they ran they stumbled to the ground, their muscles stiff from the strain as their bodies were no longer use to any sort of activity. No matter how many times they fell, they helped each other up, pushing onward, having no other choice but to continue.
Dawn was fast approaching and Clark could feel his skin tingling as his body remembered what it was like to feel sunlight.
He wondered how soon it would be before he regained his strength. While he looked forward to the prospect of gaining back his alien powers, as he watched Scott in front of him, Clark wondered how all of this would affect his friend.
When the ambush actually happened, they were caught unprepared. Muscle cramps and injured feet had forced them to wait for the rising sun to empower Clark, as they were unable to run any further.
The sounds of helicopters sweeping above them had been their only warning of the approaching danger, but by then it had been too late. They had been spotted.
There was nowhere to hide as soldiers descended on either side of the two choppers.
They were rushed to an underground base which held injured mutants and humans alike. The bodies of the injured littered the landing port.
They had been given clothes to change into and Scott was provided with a visor, to help him harness his powers, to keep them in check as his body reabsorbed the sun's rays.
Just as they were settling in, a man, the leader of this cell, entered the room.
He was a mutant, with a commanding presence and agility that at first had intimidated the boys. The were used to being around humans, doctors and guards who hid behind masks and weapons, not warriors who were ready and able to battle with their hands and body.
"How is the boy doing?" the man asked the doctor.
"He's afraid to open his eyes." Scott lay on the hospital bed, in a fetal position, eyes closed.
"Well, you can baby him later. Right now you are needed at landing port C."
"Logan," the doctor protested.
"That's an order, Dr. McCoy."
"And what about the other one?" the doctor indicated Clark.
"Don't worry. I'll make sure he gets a tan."
Waiting for the good doctor to leave, the man then turned his attention to both boys. "My name is Logan," the man introduced himself as he lit a cigarette.
"What is this place?" Clark ventured to ask, his hands holding tightly to the clothes they had been given.
The facility was on the move, that much he could tell, but anything else about it from its size to its location were things he could only guess at.
"We are part of a resistance, mutants and humans alike, fighting for our freedom against the tyranny of the machines, of a government fuelled by hate and fear."
"How long have we been…." He couldn't form the words. A part of Clark could not believe that this was true, that he was here, that he was now a free man.
Clark closed his eyes. Five years. God. He'd been a boy when he'd been captured and now he was a man. He needed answers, to all of his questions.
"Why did it take so long for you to find us?"
"Actually, we found the facility two years ago, but we couldn't risk…." He paused. "Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good. Had we stormed the facility and taken both of you boys out two years ago, it would have likely resulted in many of our agents getting killed and jeopardizing everything we had been working for."
"You left us there, knowing what they were doing to us!" Scott yelled, scrambling to sit up on the bed, and in his anger opening his eyes. The red light of his visor shone brightly.
"Yes." There was no regret in the man's voice. "You really aren't naïve enough to think that last night's raid was all about you, do you?" Logan stared at both boys, allowing his words to sink in. "Yesterday was a coordinated effort between hundreds of cells, all around the world." He puffed his cigar. "We waited for a reason. For the right time. If you are not happy with the results I can always send you back."
The threat was there. The cause was bigger than them.
"Now, I suggest you get changed."
"You still haven't told us everything." Clark stepped forward. He was not going to allow them to be transferred from one prison and into another.
"We can't stay here; it's not safe. We're shipping all the injured to another base; the rest will head north. Now, if you want to stay behind, you're more than welcome but I'm sure in a few hours this place will be crawling with Sentinels."
Sentinels. Clark remembered them, the machines that had come after him all those years ago in Smallville.
"How can we trust you?" Clark asked as Logan started to leave the room.
"Kid, I don't give a damn. But think about this: people risked their lives to get you both out. That has to count for something." Logan left the room. As far as he was concerned, the conversation was over.
The landing port was filled with people all headed for different destinations. The injured were being flown to an underground base hidden deep within the Pacific Ocean. The rest were going north. A gathering was taking place. The last stand, they were calling it. Their last chance to take their world back.
Both boys were left alone as people bustle to and fro, and soon they found themselves helping the injured and the medics load their cargo.
They had both been so busy that neither of them noticed how the sun's rays continued to affect their bodies, charging them up.
They had been kept in the dark for so long that they had both forgotten what it was like before their imprisonment.
"Clark?" Scott was gripping Clark's forearm tightly, holding him still. "Did you just lift the jeep?" There was awe in his voice. They had told each other many secrets throughout the years, but it was a different thing to have those stories confirmed.
"What?" Clark hadn't really thought about it. He hadn't realized how easily he had lifted the vehicle; he had been too concerned with getting everything onto the cargo plane.
"You're both still here?" Logan asked, coming up to them. Clark hadn't even heard him approach.
"The last two planes will be leaving soon." Logan was now dressed in a black leather jumpsuit, a bright X insignia on his chest. "We need all the able bodies we can get," he said abruptly as he looked at both boys.
"We'll go," Scott answered for them both. They hadn't really discussed where they would go, but each could see that they were needed. And if what Logan said was true, and they were preparing for a final battle, he, they wanted to be there.
"Good. Now, get yourself onto a plane."
Logan then shouted some more orders to his men, walking past the boys, who were scrambling to keep up.
The stealth planes, invisible to the naked eye and to the radar below them, flew north carrying mutants and humans, the resistance in this Sentinel war.
Clark and Scott had sat down with a group of mutants, kids really, about their age who were quite eager to share with them their exploits, details of their battles and the one they called Xavier.
Professor Xavier had saved many of them, plucking them from institutions and prisons, saving them from experimentation, taking them away from it all and bringing them into the safety that was the X-Men.
For that was what they called themselves: X-Men in honour of Proffessor X.
Clark and Scott listened to each of the tales, both wondering why they hadn't been rescued earlier.
The kids talked of harrowing missions, of mutants who looked like angels, and of an agent known only as 'Avenger'.
They whispered like kids around a campfire, telling ghost stories of a man, a spy, who had singlehandedly been compromising government positions.
They were all excited; rumour had it that they were to meet him, finally meet the legend, at the rebel base up north.
Clark had never seen anything like this.
The base was buried deep within the Artic Ocean, the huge icebergs above camouflaging it from spy satellites and from all forms of radar.
As they left the plane, they had all been herded into a large empty warehouse in the middle of which was a sound stage.
There was excitement in the air as the masses of mutants and humans moved as one. Clark tried to keep Scott in sight; should anything happen, he didn't want to be separated from his friend.
As loud burst of applause suddenly ran through the room as a bald man in a wheelchair made his way to the microphone.
"X-Men, the time has come." He waited for the crowd to quiet down. "For I have long dreamed that mutants and humans could live in peace, side by side, as they were meant to be. As I look at you all gathered before me, I see that dream has come true. I wish the circumstances of us all coming together had been a different one. That we could have found peace through non-violent means."
He paused and gazed solemnly around the large room.
"We have a shared destiny. A shared goal, to free ourselves from the tyranny, from the machines and a government that have enslaved our people. To rebuild our world, where all of us are equal."
He paused, hands coming together. "We are here today, ready to declare our freedom, ready to fight for our people, ready to take back what was once ours."
"Let this be our rallying cry: 'For Earth!'"
More speeches were made, and all around them people celebrated. Clark just observed, no longer used to the crowds, feeling completely out of his element. A part of him actually missed the relative quiet of his prison, the routine where he knew what to expect.
All of this was just too much to take in at once.
Knowing that he was now part of a struggle of epic proportions was daunting.
"Hey, you all right?" Scott asked him.
"Yeah." He didn't want to worry his friend. A part of him also wondered when things had shifted between them. He was used to being the one who provided the support, not the other way around.
"Look, the others are going back to their rooms. If we don't want to get lost, I suggest we follow them."
They went with the kids they had met on the plane, down so many twisted corridors that Clark wondered how he would ever make his way out.
As he went down another long hallway, he continued to pick up bits and pieces of conversation.
Lovers being reunited.
Grief over friends lost.
And a voice he had hoped he would never hear again.
The voice was silky and smooth, a soft murmur that once, long ago, in more innocent times, would make his body harden … a secret pleasure he had hoped to forget in light of what had happened to Scott just a day before.
He paused by the doorway, unable to see inside the room, unable to see pass the lead door. Not that he would have dared, had he been able to.
The last time Clark had seen him, Lex had been...he glanced quickly at Scott.
Lex couldn't be here.
The stress of the escape, of finding himself beside mutants in a rebel base was causing him to hear things.
Before he could move away from the door, it opened to reveal a winged man standing beside a familiar figure.
Eyes opened wide, Clark retreated, only to remember how Lex had raped Scott, and how he had betrayed him. Clark lunged forward, screaming, "You bastard!"
He picked Lex up by the neck, and then dropped him when he was unexpectedly pushed to the side by the winged warrior.
Lex fell to the floor, choking, gasping for breath, and the winged man who had walked out with Lex now stood in front him, using his body to protect him.
"Clark, what are you…" he could hear Scott shouting behind him.
The angel-like mutant touched his X pin, shouting out instructions. "Logan, we need you here now. Base 9, section C, room 25."
"Look, he…" How could he explain what Lex had done to him, Clark thought in shock as he continued to look at the bruises already forming around Lex's neck.
"Warren," Lex coughed.
Warren, still keeping Clark in sight, reached to take Lex in his arms. "Hush, lover."
Clark had once thought that Lex couldn't cause him any more pain. He'd been wrong.
"Kid, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
Logan's voice snapped Clark back and away from his thoughts. He finally noticed the crowd that had gathered around them.
"Warren, take Lex to the lab; let McCoy see him. I'll take care of this."
Warren took to the air, carefully carrying his precious cargo.
Logan then grabbed Clark by the arm, pushed him into the room, shouting at the others, "Nothing to see here, now get lost!"
Scott was able to squeeze pass the crowd, just as the doors closed behind him.
"He...what...what is he doing here?" Clark shouted at Logan, finally forming the words, allowing the question to pass his lips.
"The question is, bub, what are you doing?" Logan retorted.
"He's a rapist. A killer. He betrayed me!"
"Yeah, he may be all of that, but he also happens to be one of our best agents."
"What?" Clark felt like a broken record, only able to repeat one word, not understanding what was going on.
"Look, kid, we're at war. There are things we have to do; we may not like them, but they have to get done." Logan walked towards the desk in the corner of the room and leaned on it. "Now, if you think you can't handle yourself, I'll ship you out. I can't have you killing one of our best agents because he hurt your feelings."
"You asshole!" Clark shouted again, angry at how things were turning out.
Three sharp blades appeared from Logan's knuckles. "I read your file kid. So, he betrayed you. Well, cry me a river."
"He raped Scott." Clark couldn't let Lex get away with that.
Logan sighed. There was real regret in his voice as he turned to Scott and explained, "Of all the facilities, yours was the most guarded. Even though we found you two years ago, it actually took us that long to get inside your cell. If we had gone in earlier we might have risked everything." Logan sighed again. "Of all the rescues, yours and Clark was the most planned and the most difficult."
"Why him? Why send him?" Clark said, unable to keep the anguish in his voice
Looking at Clark now, Logan told him. "We knew there was a history between you both. That you would see Lex as the enemy, and react as such so that when the escape happened, no one would tie it with Lex's visit. No one."
"He raped Scott to maintain his cover." Clark didn't know who he was more disgusted with, Lex or Logan.
"He provided Scott with the means of escape. What happened between them remains between them."
"Clark." Scott's whisper stopped him. "Don't."
"Scott, he used you."
"He also traced the floor plan along my skin, made me feel the Braille codes encoded along his hips…." Scott glanced nervously down at his clasped hands. "He didn't rape me. He said we had to make it look real in case we were still being watched." He bit his lip. "I thought he was lying. Playing with me. I didn't want to believe him and then the lights went out just like he'd promise."
"But, Scott, he raped you," Clark insisted.
Scott shook his head. "He hurt me a bit." He glanced up at Clark. "In war you either swim with the sharks or become fish food" he said bitterly. His experience in the cell had forced him to mature too rapidly.
"Kid, Lex is...."
"Probably your best agent. I get that. But if he ever comes near me...." his voice trembled. He hadn't been raped, but it had been close enough.
"Acceptable," Logan said. "Now, let's get you looked at."
"Wait. That's it?" How could Scott let this go? How could he just walk away?
"For now," Logan informed him.
"Clark, a word of advice: there is a lot you don't know, and before you pass judgment, try to find out what's actually going on."
He didn't want to understand.
In the days following their rescue, Clark had caught glimpses of Lex walking beside Warren, busy coordinating the next stage of attack.
Just when he thought Lex had forgotten everything about him, he was summoned to the officers' quarters.
Now, as he stood by the close door, the knowledge that everything he feared lay waiting behind it made Clark almost turn back.
He knocked on the door before he could change his mind. Ultimately, Lex was the only one who could answer his questions, tell him what had happened to his parents.
He forced himself to step inside, to face the demons that still haunted him.
"Clark." Lex refused to look at him; instead, he seem to be staring at a space just off to the side of where Clark stood.
Lex grimaced slightly at the sound of his surname.
"You have something to tell me?" Clark didn't dare show weakness in front of his enemy.
"I guess I'd better start at the beginning." Lex indicated for Clark to sit on the sofa as he walked over to face it.
Lex sat down and adjusted the collar of his blue shirt. "Before...everything happened, I went to New York. Remember?"
Clark nodded. He remembered. He had been an idealistic, lovesick fool then. The week that Lex had been in New York he had argued with his parents, angry that they hadn't let Clark accompany his friend.
Later, in the darkness of his cell, he wished he could have taken back those words.
"An old friend called me. Wanted to see me about something." Lex tugged at his right sleeve. "He said it was important." Lex looked up to Clark, for the first time allowing eye contact. "I never knew how much that meeting would change my life."
Lex sighed deeply and bit his lip. "We were more than friends, Warren and I; we were survivors."
Clark almost got up; he didn't want to hear this.
"Wait." Lex raised his hand. "Please."
Clark wanted to leave, but Lex was the only one who could tell him what happened to his parents and why he had been taken.
Convinced that Clark wasn't going anywhere, Lex continued.
"As you know, I was nine when I walked into the cornfields. The next few years I spent in the hospital. I lost all my friends, Clark. My father's affection. It seemed like I had lost everything." Lex looked to his hands. "In the hospital room next to mine, there was another little boy, also going through his own private hell."
Lex paused. "I introduced him to Warrior Angel. He introduced me to music."
"How long is this story going to take?" Clark had never been cruel, but he was no longer that person who could listen to Lex's tales of childhood and abandonment. He had lost his naivete long ago.
"I guess I deserve that."
"You deserve more than that."
They were at an impasse. Now the question was who would cross, who could bridge the gap - or could they ever?
Lex continued, slowly collecting his words. "We didn't know it then, but Warren was a mutant and the illness he exhibited at that age were just precursors to what was to come."
"I'm not interested in Warren," Clark shouted. He didn't want to know anything about Lex's lover. It was bad enough that Lex had one.
"You should be. He's the reason we're here, Clark."
Lex rubbed the back of his neck. "It had been years since I last saw him, a sick little boy who shared my passion for comics." He continued rubbing. "I went to New York more out of curiosity to find out what had happened to him. To see what kind of person he had become. Things one can't find in the gossip columns. Imagine my surprise when I met a fellow mutant."
Clark gasped. He hadn't known... .
"Yes, the meteorites changed me, altered the composition of my DNA. Didn't you ever wonder how I was able to heal so quickly?"
Clark hadn't. He had been feeling so guilty about keeping secrets from Lex, for being responsible for Lex's baldness, that he tried not to think too much about his friend.
"I guess you didn't." Lex sounded disappointed.
"I still don't understand what this has to do with…."
"Years ago, my father bought Cadmus Labs. They were researching not only the mutants from Smallville who had been changed by the meteorite, but also the other mutants who were springing up everywhere." Lex looked up. "They were trying to create a super soldier Somehow Professor Xavier got wind of it and sent Warren out to see whether I was friend or foe."
Clark remembered a conversation he'd had with Logan. '...you would see Lex as the enemy, and react as such so that when the escape happened no one would tie it with Lex's visit.'
"I extended my visit, and met with the Professor." Lex stood up and started to pace the room. "We didn't know it then but my father was keeping close tabs on you. By the time I went back to Smallville, he was waiting there and everything was in place."
"You mean to tell me…."
"Your capture wasn't really about you at all, it was all about proving my loyalty to my father." There was regret in Lex's voice. "Another twisted game between the Luthor men."
Why wasn't he surprised. "And my parents?"
No matter how many times Clark asked, nobody had answered that question.
"Your mother, I was able to save."
"Was alive," Lex said dashing all of Clark's hopes. "She died during an ambush. She was with the injured when the attack happened. There was nothing we could do for her."
"And my father?"
"I was never able to save him."
" You bastard," Clark said menacingly.
"That I am."
"You're not a hero. You were only interested in saving your own skin."
"That's not true."
"No, let me finish. While you were out there running free, I was in a cell. I lost everything, all because of you."
"I'm sorry, I couldn't save you. I couldn't risk...." Lex raised his hands, as in a plea.
"You never risked anything." Clark was now shouting across the room.
"That's where you're wrong."
"No. You were always a coward. Always letting the Luthor name open doors, wipe out mistakes, buy your way through life."
"Don't lie to yourself, Lex. This was never about me; it was about keeping yourself safe from big old daddy."
"No." Lex clenched his fist. "What would you have done, Clark, if you'd be told to choose one life over many? You would have done the same thing."
"I don't think so."
He would have never handed Lex over, Clark was sure of that.
Clark remembered the stories he'd heard, how Avenger had freed all those mutants. The risk he took. But those rumours where also attached to Clark's other problem. Avenger's guardian angel.
"You and Warren," Clark began, "how did that happen?"
Surprised at the question, Lex answered. "Gradually. we...I don't feel too comfortable talking about this, Clark."
"I don't care. You owe me." They stared at each other until Lex lowered his eyes, conceding.
"We worked together, and he understood where I was coming from."
"That's all?" Clark asked in disbelief. From what he had been able to observe, well, he hadn't punched any walls yet, but he had been tempted to.
"Playing a spy…it's a dirty game, Clark. You lose your soul if not your life. Warren keeps me focussed."
"Focussed on what?"
"Winning this, getting our lives back. I just want things to go back to what they used to be. When all I had to worry about was keeping the plant open, surviving my father, being your friend."
"You asked." Lex sat down. "I'm not a saint, Clark. And I honestly wish things could have turned out differently. I can only hope that time lets me repay what I've had to do in this war."
It was a honest confession, but for Clark, everything still hurt.
"You will never be able to repay it, Luthor. Never."
He walked out of the room and didn't looked back.
Sometimes, the prison walls never went away.
Days and weeks passed and the battle continued.
For Clark, it was a battlewith his emotions. His anger and hurt. He could not forgive Lex. He couldn't bear to look at him, no matter how much Lex tried to be his friend again, nor how many times he apologized. Clark did his best to avoid joining him on any missions. He didn't care what happened to him, or so he told himself.
As weeks turned to months and the battles intensified, Lex's cover was exposed. Now everyone knew he was a spy and the war turned. The resistance no longer had someone who could supply them with secrets, and many cells were initially lost. In one horrible misstep the resistance was cut in half.
They had been in the process of moving people, of regrouping, when they were attacked.
Clark was sent to defend and protect their escape route, to make sure their people would make it out alive, when he heard something, a pained gasp.
And he flew towards the sound, afraid that he would get there too late.
Lex had been hit.
Clark quickly gathered him in his arms.
There was blood oozing out from a large wound on his chest, just above his heart.
"L…ex," Clark stuttered, trying to keep pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding.
Lex coughed up blood. He tried to smile and reassure Clark, but it didn't work.
They were in the middle of a battlefield, surrounded by the dead and the wounded. And it was the quietest place Clark had ever been in.
All he could hear was Lex's laboured breath.
All he could see was Lex's heart pounding, blood spilling, filling up his lungs.
"So—ry." Lex managed to say and Clark held him tightly, lips pressed against Lex's forehead.
So much time wasted. Being angry. Jealous. So much time when he could have better spent it with Lex. When they could have got to know one another beyond the bittersweet memories of yesteryears.
Lex spasmed in Clark's arms, head rolling back.
Clark buried his face in the crook of Lex's neck. "Don't die," he cried.
It wasn't until Logan came across them, and called to him, that Clark realized how dark it had grown.
"Let him go, Clark."
"Yes, it does." Logan took Lex's body away from Clark. He then gently closed Lex's eyes.
"He was a feisty little bugger. Always telling me what to do, taking risks, believing himself to be immortal."
"He was a good friend. And a damn good agent."
"I can't do this anymore."
"Kid, if you give up now, you'll destroy everything Lex fought for."
"He wanted to make up for what his father had done. He wanted to leave a legacy behind, where the Luthor name would no longer be used as a curse word. If you give up now, nobody will remember him."
"It's just too hard," Clark confessed. He had lost everything.
"Yes, but answer me this: would you rather wait here and let them kill you or would you rather go out taking as many of them as you can?"
He couldn't really answer that, still feeling too numb. There was pity in Logan's gaze, as if he understood what Clark was going through, but they were in a war, and one couldn't afford sentimentality or fear.
There were a lot of things Clark wished he could take back. A lot of things he wished he could change.
They buried Lex in the valley of the dead. The only thing marking his grave was a small burnt stone with the inscription "S," the symbol for Alexander the Great.
War fed on the suffering of others.
On the greed.
On the sins.
It sometimes seemed as though it was a living thing, that breathed in the hate, the death, the casualties suffered on both sides.
Blood had filled the Earth. From the north to the south, from the east to the west, there did not seem to be a spot untouched by this madness.
And the resistance could no longer ignore the fact that their numbers were dwindling.
They lost Warren during an ambush. He had been busy tending to the children, keeping them safe, when they were attacked.
They lost a whole generation that day.
Scott died trying to protect Xavier.
Now, the only ones left to lead this battle were Clark and Logan.
Logan's recuperative abilities made him indestructible.
Clark's alien heritage made him a super human among men.
On their last rallying cry, as the smell of burnt flesh filled the air, when hope seemed to have been lost and they fought no longer for freedom but for vengeance, the tide turned.
They were no longer pushed to the brink of death.
They were gaining ground.
But fate was always a fickle lover, for Clark would not see the new day, the new horizon just around the corner.
He had one final mission to complete, to destroy the satellite that controlled the Sentinels.
Clark flew up, gaining altitude and speed, and as he took his last breath he propelled himself toward the satellite.
He hit it and exited its opposite end. Taking apart the structure, he grabbed onto one broken end and widened the hole until he was able to push the satellite toward the Earth. Until the Earth reclaimed what was once hers.
He watched as the satellite burned to a crisp, coming apart as it entered the Earth's atmosphere.
The last thing he saw as the air he had breathed deserted him was a flash of light and then nothing.
Some cultures believe that souls are reborn. That they are given a second chance to relive a new life, to re-experience what they lost and, for a lucky few, to meet again those they had loved the most.
And so it was that as Clark closed his eyes and died, leaving this world he had all but saved, he was gifted with a second chance. A new beginning.
Rebirth can take many forms and so Clark breathed in deeply, lungs hurting, for his body had forgotten what it was like to breathe.
He blinked at the brightness of the room.
Sunlight swept in through the open windows; birds chirped in the background. He felt safe here.
Stretching slightly on the bed, he found that he wasn't alone; there was someone beside him. Clark looked down and touched the other man's face, marvelling at the smoothness of the skin.
"I know you," he whispered.
And the back of his mind supplied the name, 'Lex'.