Author: Blue Gold
Summary: Clark’s been a little sick. His memory is a little fuzzy, but he remembers the important things, like how to be a hero.
Disclaimer: I *sniff* do not own any of the characters in this story
Spoilers: General, All Episodes
Warnings: Future fic
Authors Notes: Incorporates aspects of the DCU.
Lois stared at her partner in consternation. “Clark, I know you’ve been sick but how could you forget who Superman is? Or that he’s been missing all this time? Did you lose your mind along with your glasses?”
“Glasses? I don’t know, Lois. Everything is a bit fuzzy. Like I’m forgetting things,” Clark mumbled. Today was his first day back at work and he felt blank. Little things just were not making connections in his mind. Things like why Lois and not Chloe was his partner.
“Oh, just what I need,” Lois growled as a shadow fell over their table.
“Good afternoon to you, too, Ms. Lane,” Lex said though his eyes never left Clark.
Clark perked up at the familiar voice. “Lex!” He greeted, his face breaking out into a beaming grin.
“Clark,” Lex said his expressionless mask firmly in place. Though the wheels in his mind were already turning at the enthusiastic greeting from Clark.
“Hey, you okay?” Clark asked, standing and putting a hand on Lex’s arm. Lois was stunned and Lex moved jerkily as if he wasn’t sure if he should move away or closer to Clark. “Lex, sit down.”
“Why the concern, Clark?”
“Well, we’re friends right, Lex?” Clark asked and turned to Lois when she began to choke.
“I don’t know what this is but I don’t find it amusing in the least, Clark,” Lex stated and started to walk away as the sirens neared. Clark touched his arm as he turned his head to the sound.
“Go ahead, Clark, and spare me the lies you feed to your foolish partner. I’m sure you have an important dry cleaners appointment to keep. You couldn’t keep all those primary colors crisp and new otherwise,” Lex said, stepping off the curb as the reason for the sirens became clear, and a car barreled down the street being chased by police.
“Lex!” Clark exclaimed, shoving the man forward. Lex stumbled a few steps and turned as he heard the car impact. The sound did not seem right to Lex’s ears and when he looked he saw why.
Instead of bending to Clark’s normally impervious body the car had slammed into Clark tossing him aside, much as it would have done Lex, and kept on its speedy course. He could hear Lois shrieking her partner’s name as his body lay crumpled on the curb. The blood was already pooling around him from what Lex assumed was a blow to the head.
Lex was stunned as he staggered across the street, sheer luck keeping him from the same fate as Clark as police cars sped by him. He kneeled beside the crumpled man at a loss. He touched Clark’s hair and felt the slickness of blood under his hand as glassy green eyes opened.
“O…K..?” Clark rasped weakly and Lex shut his eyes, refusing to accept there was moisture there. He made attempts on The Alien’s life constantly. But that was the crux of the matter. It was Clark who had saved him, Clark who had looked at him in a way he hadn’t done since he was a teenager. The Alien would have stopped the car with one hand, saved Lex with the other and helped a little old woman cross the street, all the while accusing Lex of orchestrating the crash. Clark was lying here bleeding to death.
“I’m fine, Clark. You saved me, again,” Lex said, releasing a deep breath. Clark smiled softly and his head lolled to the side. “Clark. Clark! Don’t you dare!”
“Sir…sir, I need you to stand back.” Lex glared at the EMT worker who winced slightly at identifying Lex but did not back down.
“You want me to help him right? Please, let me do my job, Mr. Luthor.” Lex stood back as the EMT began barking orders to the others arriving at the scene. “He has a weak pulse.”
It was all the information Lex needed. His cell phone was at his ear in seconds. “This is all your fault Luthor,” Lois snapped and Lex glanced at her and wondered how Clark put up with it on a daily basis before returning to his phone call.
“I want them destroyed,” Lex snarled as a stream of black vans and a non-descript ambulance pulled onto the curb.
“What are you doing? Do you think I will just let you take Clark?” Lois shrieked, each word increasing in volume.
“I should leave him to the mercy of Metropolis General? He will be treated by the best, and until he says otherwise you are not welcome.” Lex snapped as his men loaded Clark into the ambulance even as the original EMT continued to order Lex’s men about.
Lex glanced at him for a moment and then pointed to his private ambulance service. “Get in.” He knew his own service men were not truly equipped to deal with this. His own body healed more quickly then could be explained and while they were trained on basics and the ambulance was state of the art, he wouldn’t trust them with Clark’s life.
The man considered for a moment before shrugging and climbing into the ambulance. He took one look at the equipment and grinned before becoming serious again. Shoving a man aside who was failing horribly at attaching a simple oxygen mask, he placed it on properly as he attached monitors to Clark, completely ignoring the eyes he could feel boring into the back of his head.
After a few minutes he turned to Lex. “He’s stable now but he needs, X-rays, a CAT-scan and most likely a blood transfusion. His legs took the brunt of the impact so there may be complications.”
Lex nodded, his cell phone back to his ear, a specialist who he owned body and soul for the most part already being routed to the labs set up in his penthouse. Hopefully, Clark wouldn’t wake there. He was very aware of Clark’s terror of being an alien autopsy, a fear that had not faded when he became the Man of Steel, though the fear of heights had.
Listening to Lex on the phone, the now intrigued EMT took a risk. “Wouldn’t it be better to take him to a hospital?”
“Clark hates hospitals, and I don’t need that barking dog breathing down my neck at every turn,” Lex said, not even wanting to consider what differences there would be in his blood. Granted, the last time he had been blessed with mortality and gotten himself killed all his test results had been normal. But this was not information he was willing to take a chance on.
He wouldn’t harm Martha Kent, and everyone else was held at arm’s length, including Lois. He was almost proud of Clark for how he strung her along as Superman and as Clark kept her mostly at a distance. But not all of The Alien’s enemies had such scruples.
“Ok. This guy must be pretty important for you to do this for him.”
“Clark saved my life on a nearly weekly basis when we were younger. He was like my guardian angel. The fact that he did it again, despite his and his lovely partner Lois’ very vocal feelings about me, merit much more than a phone call to Metropolis General.”
“Wait, this is that Clark? Clark Kent? The reporter? I knew the chick was Lois Lane…without the glasses he looks like a different person almost.”
Lex eyed the EMT coolly but did not respond, making sure to catalogue him for future disposal if necessary. If the EMT made the connection that was hidden from so many idiots, it would be the last thing that he did. Clark’s glasses were a crime against the boy’s features, they made his eyes look lifeless and hid most of the amazing bone structure of his face. His cheekbones nearly vanished under the frames.
But then again, Clark was rarely if ever in the public eye. His name was known, but he was a byline. It was like Stephen King, and that man had his face plastered on the back of most of his novels and still people would never recognize him.
And with Lois leading the charge, most forgot the much more unassuming Clark as quickly as they met him, dismissing him almost instantly. It worked in his favor. Throw in some bad suits, a hunched posture and bad hairstyling and you had a wonder in the making. Though Lex did wonder about the blue eyes, Clark had always worn an obscene amount of primary colors so he wondered what it could be, contacts would melt with his heat vision, not to mention if he ever forgot to put them in.
Lex stopped his wandering train of thought as they pulled into the garage of the LexCorp towers. His men, good for little else, helped the EMT move Clark’s stretcher to the elevator. Looking at the EMT, Lex handed him a purple business card.
“Thank you. Mercy will drive you wherever you need to be,” he said, nodding to the woman who was already walking briskly to one of the cars.
He set the elevator for the floor below the penthouse and was pleased to find his staff and the doctor he called already waiting to take Clark. He followed the stretcher as they brought him into an adjoining room which would make most hospital equipment look like it belonged in the dark ages.
Using a device to scan Clark, Lex saw the fractures in his arm, legs, and what looked like a linear fracture in his skull from when he had fallen. A concussion was to be expected but how severe it could not be determined until Clark woke. Lex stood out of the way but never left the room, watching as they placed his arm in a cast.
Looking at the leg, the doctor frowned before heading to the medical supplies. He gathered some metal screws and a plate before frowning again. Sighing he went back to the still unconscious patient and looked at the readings.
“Is he anything like you?” the doctor asked, looking at Lex.
“Like me how? Healing?”
“Yes the best way to set these bones would be with metal screws and plates. But I would never do that to someone with a healing ability as drastic as yours. It would cause painful and maybe even dangerous complications.”
“He…” Lex thought and concluded this weakness could not last long and Clark’s normal bone structure was far stronger than titanium bone screws. “It would be best if you did not introduce any foreign matter into his system. His body may react even more violently than my own.”
The doctor’s brows arched at this but he nodded, returning to his work. Once both Clark’s legs were securely wrapped from foot to mid thigh as a precaution against movement, he approached Lex.
“He is lucky; the breaks are clean and should heal within a month. His height saved him from having serious damage to his hip bones which would have caused complications. I will send over some things for the pain. They should arrive within the hour. I will be back in a few days to check the stitches as well as that fracture. In a few weeks, maybe four, we can change the casts so he can have at least some limited mobility as the bones heal.”
“Thank you doctor. Hope will take care of your payment,” Lex said, glancing back at Clark.
“He can be moved to a more comfortable area, but I recommend doing it before he wakes. Without the medication the pain of movement with his injuries…”
“I understand, Doctor.”
“Have a good afternoon, Mr. Luthor.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Lex replied again as the doctor went to see Hope to get paid. He circled the bed, looking at Clark who was completely at his mercy and sighed as he unlocked the bed and carefully began to push it to the elevator.
As he pressed the button he realized he was still wearing his Kryptonite ring. The reason he had approached the pair in the first place. He had wanted to see how well it worked in close quarters on the man of steel when he wasn’t dangling off a skyscraper.
Looking at Clark, he wondered if this was the real reason he was injured. The ring was so much more refined than any of the other pieces he had ever used. But he had seen no reaction from Clark. Holding it against his skin did nothing and he had seen Superman’s skin blister at skin to skin contact with a lesser version of this refinement.
Reaching the penthouse in seconds he found Mercy waiting for him, her expression never changing as she took a look at the patient.
“Where do you want him?”
“Just put him in my room.”
Turning to his office, he opened his safe and pulled out a small lead box and placed the ring inside. The glow infused the inside of the safe until he shut the lid and sealed the safe. Entering his room, he found Mercy quickly and efficiently settling Clark into the bed he rarely used.
“Sir, how did he get hurt? How can he be hurt?”
“He shoved me out of the way of a speeding car,” Lex said, starring dispassionately at the figure in the bed. Despite his earlier moment he wasn’t sure how he really felt about this creature in his bed. He could remember the fresh-faced boy that lied every chance that he had to keep his precious secret, but he could also remember the boy who would come to the mansion to do his homework just so he could be near Lex.
He could remember the Alien that would charge in screaming accusations and threats. Yet that same Alien never laid a superhuman finger on him and no matter how angry or goaded, all Lex could expect was a stern talking to. And he wasn’t foolish enough to believe it was because he was human. He had seen enough of the bruises on petty criminals to know Superman wasn’t above striking a criminal.
He could remember the reporter who would ask the questions that no one else would dare. But to be fair that was usually Lois with Clark more intent on ignoring him in public places. He just shared the bylines.
Lex realized then he didn’t know what Clark’s true motivation was for half of what he did. He had so many faces and personalities, he almost wondered if this one wasn’t a new one.
“Should we give him sun?” Mercy asked looking at the curtains that he used to keep the light out of the penthouse despite the number of windows.
“I suppose he is solar powered after all,” Lex said as Mercy pulled open the curtain and a shaft of light fell across Clark’s face.
“Is he paler than usual?” Mercy asked, looking him over in the natural light.
Lex looked and nodded. Clark was usually golden. While he wasn’t at Lex’s degree of paleness, he was no longer tan. A few more days and he may have become pale. Lex was surprised he hadn’t noticed it the first moment he had seen him, but he had been more preoccupied with looking to see the reaction to the ring.
“Are all the lead shields up?” Lex asked and Mercy nodded.
“Of course, sir.”
“Good, cancel my appointments for the rest of the week. I want to know what is causing this and I doubt he will stay in this condition for more than a few days.”
“Even the one with the madman?”
“Joker? He was offering me Superman on a silver platter; with his disappearance I was beginning to believe he had him. Reschedule, I want to know what he thinks he has that could be of use to me. The middle of next week should be good. If he argues, well, I’m sure you will be more than able to persuade him,” Lex said with a smile.
“Yes sir,” Mercy said with what for her was an ecstatic grin.
Lex gathered his laptop from his office and settled on the other side of his bed, taking notes on the changes in Clark.
The file called ‘tax report on plant 12′ was 20 pages of figures and bland tax information before his link to the real file followed by another 20 pages of tax data. Anyone scrolling through the file would miss it and he kept the actual file buried under layers of encryption.
His Clark/Alien file was filled with dozens of pages, though he sometimes cursed the loss of all that information from his time in Smallville. He still couldn’t believe he actually gave Clark everything and didn’t have a back up set up somewhere, but that was his last mistake in the name of that god forsaken friendship.
He was listing Clark’s injuries when Mercy returned with the doctor’s delivery of pain killers for Clark.
“Will these work on him?” Mercy asked.
“When he wakes up we’ll find out,” Lex said with a frown, glancing over at Clark who was still unconscious.
“The driver has been caught as well; he is looking at 7-10 for the robbery, 20-25 for attempted vehicular manslaughter.”
“That’s not good enough,” Lex snarled.
“Oh, I’ve already let loose a rumor that he likes little girls. Even convicts have their limits. They will eat him alive.”
“That’s a start. Get me a full dossier on him. I want to know his fears, hopes and dreams.”
“Already working on it,” Mercy said.
“Good,” Lex said, returning to the laptop and missing the quick frown on Mercy’s face. She hoped she was wrong and Lex was doing this for normal Lex reasons. The driver had nearly hit him; and it was his right and his right alone to kill Superman. Otherwise, she was out of her depth. She hadn’t been there for the test run of the ring, but she would do her job, watch and wait.
Mercy looked at Lex one last time, typing away as he glanced at Clark before sweeping the penthouse one more time despite knowing it was completely secure.
Lex had long completed his catalogue of injuries when Clark began to stir. He attempted to stretch and moaned in pain, beginning to pant as he felt the full weight of the pain he was feeling as he became more awake and aware of his body and all his small movements were agony.
Lex lifted the bottle of painkillers and poured one into his hand, then took another pill from the other bottle that the doctor had provided, and then grabbed a cup of water. With the pills and cup in one hand he used the other to tilt Clark’s head up. The green eyes focused on him, through the pain and Lex waited for the look of distrust but instead Clark simply opened his mouth slightly.
Lex slipped the pills into Clark’s mouth knowing they were a powerful sedative but for now he was better off unconscious. The bruises that covered the side of Clarks face exposed parts of his chest were enough to make Lex grimace as he lowered Clark’s head down. Clark’s body would be even more colorful by the morning.
Clark blinked and looked at Lex as he smiled; the movement aborted quickly when it aggravated the bruises on his face.
“Call mom,” Clark rasped and Lex suddenly got a bad feeling, pieces fell into place in a way he did not like.
“Clark, how old are you?”
“Twenty-four, not too old for chicken soup,” Clark babbled, slightly drowsy.
“Sure,” Lex said assured this wasn’t some horrible nightmare where Clark believed he was 15 again. But it did not explain why, if Clark had not forgotten some years of his life, he seemed to be completely relaxed around Lex in a way he hadn’t been in almost a decade.
“Clark, when’s the last time we saw each other?” Lex asked, wondering if he would answer as the alien or as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent. When he received no answer he looked at Clark to see his eyes had already drifted shut again.
He knew Clark wouldn’t be waking again for at least another twelve hours as his medication consisted of strong pain killers and sedatives. It might even be a few days before Clark was totally lucid if he had a concussion which was obviously the case. He was willing to let Clark sleep through the concussion as he had no doubts that The stubborn Alien would not let a little thing like head damage keep him from doing his part to irritate Lex to no end. Lex turned back to his laptop and looked at the list of reasons he had for what had happened to Clark.
Not knowing the cause, he had no idea if Clark’s powers would return but, at least, one fact was true. Clark was no longer solar powered. At one point, wanting Clark to wake to answer some of his questions, he had brought in a sun lamp and set it on its highest setting and turned it towards the bruising on Clark’s ribs first, wanting to see how quickly the healing process would begin.
He had actually gotten bored waiting; his own body healed much more quickly, and he had gone for a quick dinner. When he returned he noticed a difference in the skin but not the one that was to be expected. The yellow sun powered, self proclaimed last son of Krypton’s skin had begun to redden, in a way Lex could remember all to well.
Looking at the spot now Lex could still see the slight sunburn, he tried to understand what this could mean and could only come up with the fact that Clark was now a normal human, which he could not believe. There was no way, no matter how powerful his so called alien technology, that he could alter a DNA structure that was nothing like a human’s despite the outward appearance to a double helix. And he had been right: whatever Clark was it still wasn’t human.
He had quickly taken a blood sample. At first glance it did seem more human than Lex recalled but the more scrutiny it faced the more obvious it was not the blood of a human. Clark’s selective memory could work to his advantage. It seemed that Clark trusted him once again, so now maybe he could finally get some answers.
And that was hoping that the Justice League didn’t barge in on him, or even worse, that barking harpy Lois Lane. They would just have to move. Knowing Lois, she had already fabricated some fantastical tale for her paper, and that would have rats with wings knocking at his door any minute.
Phone to his ear almost without thought, Lex called Mercy.
“I need to get out of Metropolis.”
“I’ve already set up three locations for you, one on a private ski resort in Sweden, an Island in Greece, and a penthouse in New York.”
“I’ll take the penthouse in New York, fuel the helicopter and jet. Send the jet to Greece.”
“Yes, sir,” Mercy said, shutting the phone with a frown. It had been almost twelve hours since Lex had brought in the Alien. The only reason the Planet hadn’t published the story already was that Lois had foolishly tracked down the criminal in the case instead of going back to her desk. By the time she had given her statement to the police, and gotten information about the robbery the evening presses had long since been put to rest, and Clark Kent was barely a blip on the evening news, simply a ‘bystander injured as the criminals tried to escape’.
By the time she had completed her story and the grammar had been edited, as Mercy should know since the copy editor was her source, it had been too late to publish it in anything but the early edition. But the real reason for the frown was the fact hat Lex should have realized this eleven hours and thirty minutes before. Mercy had gotten used to anticipating Lex’s requests moments before they were made.
Many times she was giving orders just as Lex called to officially give them to her. The fact that she had spent the last eleven hours believing she had lost her touch did nothing to lighten her mood as she headed to Kent’s apartment to gather his clothes.
Lex, unaware of the stress he was causing his number one employee by acting so out of character, began to pack essentials the penthouse would not have. His laptop slid easily into its case, the cord and one of his flash drives with the projects for the next few months easily fitting into the outer pocket.
Glancing at Clark he added the pain killers to another pocket and sighed as he took out his phone to call Mercy again.
“Mercy, go to Clark’s apartment and gather some of his things, and make sure nothing out of the ordinary is missing or exposed.”
Picking the lock to said apartment Mercy replied with a simple, “Yes, sir.”
Looking at the modest one bedroom apartment, Mercy shook her head as she went from room to room checking for traps or any other visitors. Finding none, she went to the bedroom, glad that it was neat. Putting down the duffel she bought she went through drawers. A flash of bright red surprised her until she realized it was a real pair of boxers.
On a whim she went to where the secret panel was, only to find the area was empty. There wasn’t a single suit in the area and the sealing door was gone, making it look as if it was just a strange extension of the closet. Frowning again at the fact that two of her constants were acting so strangely, she looked around the apartment for clues, hoping to make sense of something.
She found nothing except the fact that Clark could cook. He had made Spanish omelets for breakfast and had more than just take-out in his fridge. Checking the spice rack she noticed most of the spices were new and unopened, except for what had been used this morning.
She assumed it was tied to Superman’s disappearance. The man of steel had been gone nearly a month and counting, Clark Kent three weeks of personal leave with no date of return. He had returned today but that had been cut short by being hit by a car.
Things in her life had been so much easier when they were at each other’s throats. But the way Lex was acting was just plain disturbing. And she would not be pleased if Hope won the bet.