Justice: With a Vengeance
by C.M. Decarnin
"The people call Clark Kent."
Clark was wearing a plain grey suit, which paradoxically made him look not older, but like a little boy dressed up for church. The pale blue shirt reflected off the whiteness of his face, making his eyes a vivid green.
Clark walked to the witness stand without once looking in Lex's direction. His steps were careful and deliberate.
"...Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth..."
I do. Lex could see his lips move but not hear his voice. I do. The only other time you ever said that was when you promised to love, honor, and cherish. Love and the truth. Lex's pencil snapped between his fingers and he started violently. The judge looked at him, looked down at the pencil pieces in his trembling fingers, and apparently decided to let him off with a warning look.
He hadn't thought this would bother him. He had been bored, angry, and uncomfortable for weeks, his big excitement being shuttled to the courthouse periodically for imbecilically brief appearances after interminable waits, his only friends his lawyers. It was amazing how even the sincerest of bloodsuckers fell away before a charge like this.
He knew what was going to happen, had accepted it, in the endless strategy conferences they had gone over how Clark might look to the jury, what he might say, how the prosecution might steer him, how Lex should present himself, what damage the boy could do and how they would counter it. He had known everything that could happen.
What he hadn't known was how seeing Clark only fifteen feet away would grab him by the gut.
He had expected to sit detached, bitter, cool, watching the progress of the case, judging his chances. He would not, of course, testify. It would be suicide. He had expected to view Clark as he would any other who betrayed or failed him.
Instead he felt a shock that turned him almost inside out at his first glimpse of him, and left him strung tight as a steel wire. He felt Clark's head against his, Clark's legs open around him, Clark's hand on the back of his head, Clark's mouth on his, and yet saw the source of all those acts of love, those sweet cries, that amorous tremoring, apart from him. Not even looking.
It would be unhelpful to get a prong on in open court for the minor he was accused of molesting.
Ironically, during the time Lex had rotted in jail, Clark had turned sixteen, and was no longer a minor.
Ironically, as it turned out, that didn't matter. Not only was he accused for acts that took place before Clark turned sixteen, but in the State of Kansas, gay sex was illegal, no matter what your age.
So if Clark had been legally consenting, the only difference would have been that he would be being prosecuted right alongside of Lex. Even as a minor, his lawyers had painstakingly explained, if Lex hadn't been so much older, and Clark could be shown to be having sex consensually, he could have been arrested as a juvenile offender. They pointed out that this would be reason enough for the boy to turn on him, to make sure no charges were filed against himself. Lex had only said, "Impossible," and refused to hear more on that score.
Until the stories started leaking from the D.A.'s office.
Lurid accounts of sadism and chains, an innocent farmboy subjugated to the will of a billionaire's son in an underground torture chamber.
His lawyers gave him reading material that included the case of Matthew Limon, eighteen, who had just received a seventeen-year prison sentence for a consensual blow-job performed on his fourteen-year-old schoolmate. Lex read the case through again, sure he must have missed some salient factor such as the subsequent murder of the younger boy, or taking him on a five-state bank-robbing spree. But no. It seemed Kansas had enacted a Romeo-and-Juliet law to excuse teenagers who had sex together, but only if they were straight. If they were gay, they got what amounted to a life sentence -- at least, seventeen years was almost as long as the Limon boy had been alive.
What had ever brought his father to this godforsaken state?
He'd never liked it that Lex fucked with men. True, it could give Lex contacts Lionel would never have, but it would hold him up to scorn from the majority of men a Luthor had to deal with.
It was a self-indulgence. Past time for it to have been put away with childish things.
Lex actually agreed.
He mainly continued just in order to drink in the look of genuine repugnance on his father's face. Where genuine anything was such a rarity.
Schooled in the East and staying always as far from Lionel as possible, Lex had grown up not giving a flying fuck, like almost everyone he knew. That stuff was from another world and time. You frolicked, across all social lines and bounds, and no one cared.
He felt like someone busted for an ounce of pot in Istanbul. A mistake he'd never have made, but it hadn't occurred to him to check for medieval law in his own country.
At first it just had not seemed real.
The first week in jail had given it a chill solidity.
He was a flight risk. Yeah no lie. No bail.
He hadn't believed that either. Money could buy anything.
It seemed it couldn't get him back outside those bars.
"It's like you're made for me."
Clark, looking humbly at Lex. Warm in his after-sex embrace. Lex had led him down into the chamber blindfolded, and chained him naked from the roof-beam. He spent an hour preparing him. With touches, kisses, promises, commands, and lube until Clark sank under the intensity, unable to support himself; and Lex had put his oldest leather on for this, that hadn't had to be let out much since he was Clark's age and made Lex catch his breath with sense-memory, and leaned up hard against him to let him feel the quality, to let his cock feel leather, and leak cum on it, and caught Clark's weight up in his arms. "Stand up," he ordered. Clark's head lolled back. Lex held a flask of brandy to his mouth. "Drink."
Clark swallowed as Lex poured, and choked, staggered onto his feet, Lex boosting him one-armed and smiling like a shark. Coughing, Clark breathed the fiery fumes, and choked again.
"I wouldn't want you to wreck your wrists hanging from them. Next time I tell you to stand up," Lex nudged himself into the boy's hipbone aggressively, still grinning slightly, challenging him hard, "you stand up. Next time I tell you to do anything, you do it, without question."
Blindfolded, Clark coughed again. Lex grabbed him behind the neck and pulled him into a long fire-sweet kiss, brandy older than he was wafting into his head and throat and Clark's soft inner mouth yielding to his every demand.
"Lex -- Lex --" Clark whispered when Lex let him go, undulating into him, his bare skin loving Lex's leather. Lex smiled lazily.
"I thought you'd like that." Both hands now behind Clark's neck; negligently swinging his hips against him. "But now I've got something you'll like even better." He gently ground his hard-on onto the naked cock. Clark gasped; his thighs began to shake. Lex stroked them.
"Easy." He let the chains down three inches and made Clark spread his legs so he could fuck him standing up. What he really remembered was standing behind him, and how Clark's head had slowly fallen back, as Lex had dragged his lips across the side of that tender throat. Clark with his endless layers of defenses down... Lex's fingers playing the places on his loins that made the muscles clutch. Arms wrapped around him hard from behind as his cock intruded into him. It was the first time he had told Clark not to come. Ghosting his fingertips up and over and around Clark's cock. And Clark had nearly fainted with the submissive ecstasy. And looked at him so worshipfully afterward. Almost fearfully as he said, "How can you know those things about me? Things I don't even know myself." Tears of gratitude had filled his eyes, but he blinked them away, and smiled, so slightly, so wonderingly.
"It's like you're made for me..."
Lex had known it, as if vast music underlay their loving touch. That every traipse through the palaces of careful sin and later through the places where raw power could be tried for size, that every liaison in which he'd won -- and he had won them all, except the first -- had only readied him for this. For Clark. For honesty he felt himself sinking into as if it were a warm bath after years of bitter cold. He felt like a sea otter floating on his back, courting and guarding Clark floating just above him, at play in the water but always safe in his protective arms.
He hadn't dared to take a whip to Clark.
Afraid he might like it too much.
Might not want to stop. And Clark might let him.
You couldn't mark a teenage boy.
Clark stripped down every day of his life in the locker-room after gym class where everyone could see.
The thought of it had made Lex set his teeth.
He wanted to watch.
Glorious among the crowd of nameless other boys. Every part of him was beautiful, Lex had seen it, touched it all. Wanted to fall down on his knees at times. And had, to kiss soft precious testicles and up the hard flesh shaft. Lick inside his thighs, fall on his back and pull Clark down on top of him in smiling surprise. So much to teach, so much to let him learn.
..."It's like you're made for me."...
Lex stared expressionlessly at Clark on the witness stand.
He had never felt so terrified.
His heart lunged as if it would rip its way out of his chest. His very breath felt cold in his lungs. He couldn't stop the shaking of his hands and kept them hidden.
He sat in the witness chair.
He could feel Lex twenty feet away.
He was there in his peripheral vision as the prosecutor stood up.
He didn't want to meet anyone's eyes. His parents' especially. They were tortured for him. He had begged them not to come. But there was only so much he could say to them, for fear of their suspecting all he hadn't told them. His friends had been more merciful, and stayed away.
The prosecutor was talking. Asking if his name was Clark Kent.
"How old are you, Clark?"
"Can you speak a little louder, Clark, so the court reporter can hear you."
He leaned in a little to the tiny microphone. "Sixteen."
"And how old were you in January?"
"Fifteen." Leaning forward, he felt the last blood leave his face. He sat back. Past the D.A.'s table he saw the one man there he could stand to stare at. He hoped his hate showed through but he couldn't feel it, only cold. Detective Phelan of the Metropolis Sexual Abuse Task Force. Here for the kill.
"When did you first meet Alexander Luthor?"
Already time for the first lie. Why wasn't he used to it by now... "Last September." No mention of himself as a baby, or the bald, hurt child he remembered touching. They always avoided mention of his first day here.
"How did you meet him?"
"I pulled him out of the river when his car crashed."
"You gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation."
"You saved his life."
"I guess." Instantly knew that was a mistake; would make him look too modest, innocent, and paint Lex all the more scarlet. Just stick to yes or no. But then, what difference did it make. This could only end one way. His soul just hadn't accepted yet that there was no way out. It was why he felt so terrified, as if he still had the choices of fight or flight.
Clark's stomach turned over.
He hadn't had anything to eat this morning, because he had thrown up twice the day before from mounting fear. His mother had found him the second time and he had to quell her alarm about possible meteor dust on his clothes. She wasn't used to seeing him get sick. "Mom, please. Don't come tomorrow."
Wiping his mouth on a washcloth, eyes down, he told her, "I don't want to have to talk about this stuff in front of you. Or Dad."
"We have to be there, Clark. In case anything goes wrong." Something that could expose him, he knew she meant.
"It's going to be really bad."
She put her arms around him. "Just tell the truth, Clark. As far as you can."
He'd given up. Truth was going to have no place in the proceedings. The detective had him trapped more inescapably than he could know.
You followed the logic. If the government had him locked away, they might fool his friends, his school, or almost anyone.
They wouldn't fool his parents.
His Mom and Dad knew him. They knew he wouldn't run away, they knew he couldn't die in an "accident". They'd both raise Cain and use the Luthor billions without scruple to do it. They never would give up. Besides just the fact that they knew about his abilities. A government would want to keep it all a secret.
They'd have to be taken too. Used against him. Or disposed of.
He was surprised it never seemed to have occurred to them.
He'd worked it out so long ago. But it had all seemed just a far-fetched idea that could never happen. The way this courtroom had when he'd chained Lex down to a bed.
"Mr. Luthor was grateful to you. Did you have a reason to be grateful to him?"
"And what was that?"
"I was tied to a stake in a cornfield and he cut me down."
"Who tied you to the stake?"
"The football team."
"It was a tradition. At Homecoming."
"Why did they pick you?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think it was because they saw you as young and defenseless?"
"Ob-jection." The older lawyer at Lex's table stood up, sounding weary.
"Sustained." Clark didn't look at either the lawyer or the judge.
"So Mr. Luthor rescued you. And you felt grateful."
"How old was Mr. Luthor?"
Phelan had noticed his fixed stare and smiled back reassuringly. For anyone who might be watching. The hatred didn't faze him.
"He became your friend."
"Invited you to his house."
"Asked you to call him Lex."
"Did Lex Luthor ever give you presents?"
"A Ford F150."
"A thirty-five thousand dollar truck. Did you accept it?"
"My father made me give it back."
"Your father thought the gift was inappropriate?"
"Did Mr. Luthor make any sexual advances to you in September?"
"Did he have homosexual intercourse with you on November fifteenth last year?"
He felt as if he'd been punched in the solar plexus. He hadn't thought it would come so brutally. He could hear a rustling in the courtroom, distantly; as if everyone there was also shocked. They were Smallville folk, expecting courtesy.
So this was it.
He heard himself say, "Yes."
"Where did this happen?"
"In an abandoned storm cellar I fixed up."
"Was there penetration?"
His vision seemed to have narrowed till all he could see was the design on Detective Phelan's tie. It looked like little phalluses. He had seen it before. "Let me explain this, kid. If you're not a victim here you're a delinquent. Homosexual sex is illegal in the state of Kansas. Doesn't matter what your age. Punishable by jail time. He's going to jail anyway. The only question here is -- are you going to a juvenile detention facility or not? If you cooperate with me, I'll see no charges ever get filed against you."
Phelan had had himself transferred to the Task Force as soon as he'd discovered the basement Clark and Lex were trysting in. Set up his video surveillance. And caught Clark like a bird in a net.
Clark had fought in every way he could think of.
Juvenile detention. There would be attempts at blood tests, physicals, they'd have complete control over him. Not like the medical things his parents had found ways to fake since he was two.
He'd even begged. A memory he wanted to forget.
If Phelan put rich and powerful Lex Luthor away it would be hard for someone then to claim he was corrupt. He'd be a hero.
"I only have your best interests at heart. You'll understand when you're older Luthor's taking advantage of you. He's not your friend, kid. I am. Tell me what happened. Testify. You can go home again to your Mom and Dad. And you don't have to see my videotape on the evening news."
And in the look Clark had fixed on him he hadn't seemed to perceive Clark's thoughts.
Clark staring, there in the interrogation room, knowing there was no way to make it look like a freak accident if he stood up and broke Phelan's neck. Not here...
And he couldn't tell his father that, and have him make it plain and obvious that there was wrong and right... It scared him almost more than anything about the trap he was in. That he had seen that one way out.
Phelan must have seen something though. He made a point of telling Clark exactly what wealthy family would be suspected if anything should happen to Lex's arresting officer. And how the prosecution would go on regardless.
Too late now. The little golden dicks on Phelan's dark-blue tie were screwing him. Question by question. Daggers twisting into him, pinning him helpless to a wall of shame.
Fleur-de-lis, he suddenly remembered they were called.
"Mr. Kent." It was the judge.
Clark turned his head, suddenly realizing he had spun out into another place. Noise seemed to rush into the vacuum, but it turned out to be silence. A whole roomful.
"You need to answer the question." Clark's lips formed a W, and the judge turned to the prosecutor. "Could you repeat the question, Mr. Hayward."
Clark looked forward again.
"Clark, when Lex Luthor had sex with you, was there penetration?"
"Yes." It didn't matter. They already knew. They already knew.
"At that time, were you restrained in any way?"
It didn't matter. But it felt like something had smashed him in the face.
They were going to do this. It didn't matter how they did it.
"You were tied down?"
"Your Honor." Lex's lawyer was on his feet again.
"I'll rephrase the question. Would you describe the way in which you were restrained, Clark."
No one here is on my side.
"Wrist cuffs and chains."
"Did you ask Mr. Luthor to stop?"
He keeps saying 'Mister' because it makes Lex sound older. More of a criminal.
"No." Take that, then.
"Did you at any time say the word 'No' to him?"
It felt like his heart stopped.
Then started with a flood of heat into his face. That cooled in another lurching heartbeat to a film of sweat. It was so cold in here... How did they keep from freezing.
"I didn't mean it."
"You said 'No' but you didn't mean it?"
"Did you say 'No' more than once?"
"How many times?"
"I don't know."
"More than three times?"
"More than five times?"
"More than ten times?"
Clark could hear his own breath. He couldn't seem to control it. "Yes."
"You were chained down in an underground bunker, you said 'No' more than ten times but Mr. Luthor didn't stop. Clark, had you ever had sex with a man before that day?"
"Had you ever had sex with anyone, before that day?"
Oh god Lex.
"No further questions, Your Honor."
"Mr. Kent, would you like to stop for a while?" The judge's voice was kind.
"No." Please please please just get it over with. Please...
"Then we'll continue. Mr. Lund."
Lex's lawyer stood up and smiled at him. For show. This guy was all Lex had, to save him. Lex was right next to him, a blur as Clark avoided looking. Clark looked back to Phelan. If Luthors hired this lawyer he was good. I have to beat him. But maybe he can make Lex look less -- terrible.
He had already stopped caring about what people would say or think of him after this trial. School, friends, it couldn't be allowed to matter, there was too much at stake. But maybe -- somehow -- this man could at least save him from ruining Lex's life forever.
They had to convict, and they would, Phelan had made that clear. All he had to do was answer every question and it would happen.
His Dad had kept an arm around him as they walked into the courthouse through a firestorm of camera flashes. "Don't volunteer anything," he had said, his blue eyes filled with the terrible look they always had now. "Just answer yes or no." Clark's favorite ploy had always been not to directly answer at all, but to distract the questioner. That wouldn't work here. "Keep it simple so you won't get confused." Caught in a lie, he meant. "You'll be okay." And he had put his palm on the side of Clark's head as he faced him, as if he were a little kid again.
"Mr. Kent, this relationship in which you said 'No' so many times, how long did it go on?"
"About two and a half months."
"How many times did you meet Lex Luthor to have sex?"
"I don't know."
"More than once a week?"
"More than twice a week?"
"Yes." He heard the faintly derisive echo of the prosecutor's technique.
"Did you meet every day?"
"Why did you keep coming back?"
"I liked it."
"Was there another reason?"
Baffled, Clark said, "No..."
"No other reason?"
"No." What other reason could there be?
"You didn't at any time ask your friend Lex to buy you anything, or give you any money?"
Shocked, Clark stared back at him.
Would it make it better for Lex if he had?
But they'd told him the only thing that mattered was his age. He was illegal, like a poison that killed anything it touched, no matter what his intentions.
"Were you planning to?"
"No!" Lex couldn't think that.
"You said before your father didn't approve of your taking gifts from Lex."
"He made you give them back."
"Is that why you kept your meetings with Lex a secret? So you could take gifts from him without your father knowing it?"
"Did you set out to seduce Lex Luthor?"
Stricken, Clark didn't answer. Memories of those first feelings so strong -- but it hadn't felt like what "seduction" meant, the overtones of harm, it had been... he had wanted to free Lex...
"Did you deliberately set out to seduce Lex Luthor? To draw him into having sex with you?"
"Did you believe he was attracted to you?"
"What did Lex do the first time you approached him for sex?"
"He said no."
"Did he touch you in any way?"
"He pushed me away."
"How long after that was it before you say you succeeded in having sex with him?"
"About a month."
"How did you persuade him?"
"I chained him up."
"Did he consent to be chained up?"
"You tricked him into it?"
"He was helpless?"
"And what did you do then?"
Clark stuck. "I..." He'd known he was going to have to say these things. The words still didn't want to come out. "...performed fellatio."
"I... laid on top of him and... rubbed against him."
"Mr. Kent, didn't you just testify before that it was you who were chained up the first time you had sex with Lex Luthor?"
"I meant, real sex."
"The first two times weren't real? Is it only real if you're tied up? Mr. Kent, when you lured the defendant to this abandoned cellar and forced him to have sex with you, did you hope it would create a continuing sexual relationship between you?"
"Did you know he could be prosecuted for such a relationship?"
Something inside twisted cold and scalding, pain like death. How could he have been so selfish, so heedless, he of all people... "Yes."
"Did you hope to start such a relationship so that you could threaten to have him arrested?"
Clark's eyes went wide and flew to Lund's face. "No!"
"So that you would be in a position to blackmail him?"
"Mr. Kent, you say the football team tied you to a stake." It wasn't a question so Clark let him wait, impolitely. The gray-haired man gave him a glance of acknowledgment. "Were you sexually aroused by that?"
The courtroom exploded in murmurring and indignant exclamation, but something had warned Clark what was coming.
"No." The horrible sick feeling of the meteor rock, warping his reality as always. And, well, Whitney and the jocks? So familiar and mundane -- Oh god.
"You didn't like it?"
"No." Oh god please...
Of course Lex had told him, Lex had had to tell him, and now that the prosecutor had brought it up -- the stupid, stupid man -- Lex had to be defended on that front.
"But you do like to be tied up during sex, don't you, Mr. Kent?"
For the first time there was the slightest frown on Phelan's face, that almost made it worth it all.
The instant had passed when he could have convincingly lied. They already know. They had Lex, if the prosecutor had entered the tape in evidence despite Phelan's promise, then they had that too. And this was what he had wanted, wasn't it? Something to help Lex?
Besides being the plain truth. Finally.
But he couldn't get his breath.
"Yes." It was a gasp. He couldn't seem to get air.
He hadn't meant to look but there they were. His mother had her hand over her mouth. His father was looking at Lex -- he was getting to his feet -- There wasn't anything to breathe --
"Dad -- don't --" He could hardly hear his own voice, it was so breathless, but his Mom caught his father's arm and he sat down again. It had all only taken a second. The lawyer Lund hadn't turned a hair.
"Mr. Kent," his voice was gentle, understanding, "do you like to be dominated during sex?"
It sounded awful -- crude and inaccurate and stripped of everything that he and Lex --
Don't think. Just answer.
"Do you like someone to hit you during sex?"
It had only happened once. And the universe had stopped. He'd felt as if he'd been given everything he ever wanted. As if Lex had promised him something he had been crying for his entire life. Given it to him with complete pride and assurance, that itself was half the gift. He'd lain there still as death, till Lex took his mouth with the gentle invasion that began a whole new life.
Lex's heartbreakingly beautiful gift to him.
Clark looked straight at Lex.
Lex was sitting back in his chair, that business look on his face. Alert, expressionless. 'Getting his alpha-tycoon groove on' Pete had called it, and Clark had repeated it to Lex. Their eyes locked.
He knew by the invisible ghost of amusement there that Lex heard the exact words he was thinking. A thousand other thoughts and no thought. A world.
His mate. His soul.
He tore his eyes away.
A world lost.
"Yes," he said.
"Mr. Kent," Lund went on carefully, "we call a person who likes being tied up, or pain, or humiliation during sex a masochist. Would you say you are a masochist, Mr. Kent?"
"Yes." There was a strange whiteness at the edges of his vision.
"What about humiliation? Do you enjoy being humiliated?"
And Lund looked briefly over the courtroom, the spectators, the press, the jury, with a slight movement of his hand. He looked back at Clark with raised eyebrows.
"Are you sure?"
The thunderbolt hit him where it hurt. Oh god it was unfair --
"Isn't that what this whole thing is, a fantasy about your rich friend, leading to a situation in which you get to be publicly humiliated in front of everyone here, for your own gratification? A fantasy the defendant, Lex Luthor, had no knowledge of, and no part in?"
Clark jumped as the thunderbolt seemed to hit physically beside him, but it was only the judge's gavel slamming for order as a chorus of angry protests almost drowned out the attorney's voice.
They don't have the tape.
They would never have dared this tactic if they knew the sex could be proved.
It was an explanation that would let them both off the hook legally. Though the court would probably want Clark in counselling for making up such a wild accusation.
But Phelan would never go along, wouldn't be made to look like a sick boy's dupe. He wanted Lex in jail, he wanted Clark trapped in his claws. He would "find" the sex tape and bring it as new evidence. Clark had searched and searched but the tape was nowhere among Phelan's things.
Clark still had to win this case for him.
He had destroyed all their lives with his impatience. Lex, Mom and Dad; even his friends had suffered, even distant figures like Lionel Luthor, not that he cared what happened to that prick. But he had heard that his male teachers at school had all been questioned suspiciously. Even Principal Kwan. Whatever happened to him here was no more than he deserved, but everyone else was innocent, caught in the vast catastrophe of his origin combined with his arrogance, his foolishness -- Lex had told him, told him everything that could happen, and he hadn't listened.
He was the one to blame here, and he couldn't even let himself take the punishment.
The spectators thought they were on his side, despite his flaming confessions. Phelan just thought he was a coward. His parents believed Lex had taken advantage of him. For the first time in his life he couldn't tell them anything. They would never have allowed him to do this to protect them. And Lex --
What Lex must think of him made him feel like he was drowning.
Never would he put anyone in that position again. He knew what his life would be now, alone, unmated. He wasn't even human, it had been insane to think he could have love. He was lucky he hadn't killed Lex in his passion. That wasn't meant for him.
It wasn't what he was here for.
He would get through this.
He would fix what damage he could.
Then he would leave.
It was all so obvious.
It would never matter what he pretended to be. As long as it was something respectable enough to keep police away from him, and they didn't reinstate the draft. He didn't need a college degree. It could be part-time, he could even telecommute. In any big city would be enough people in danger to keep him running. He wouldn't have time for a private life.
At least he would be some use.
"No." The disturbance had died down so he could answer. It had given him time to recover from the shock, but it still hurt, it was so wrong to take what he did sexually and translate it into -- this real-life horror. What if it had been an actual rape case? With someone less strong than he? He wanted to look at Lex, to know if this had been one of his ideas. Maybe anything was fair in a fight for such high stakes. And Lex had every right to hate him.
Lund was speaking to him again, but for some reason he couldn't hear him.
All the pain hit suddenly, a mule-kick in the stomach and heart. It bent him. When he straightened up, the white at the edges of his vision had closed in. All he could see was his father and mother like a tiny portrait of grief for him. He felt a long slow sway to the left and tried to reach out to hold onto something but his arms were slow. It was like the world was sliding out from under him and all there was was the sense of a helpless structure toppling.
His left arm hit the side of the witness box and he caught hold of the wood
with his right hand.
"The defendant will be seated."
Only then did Lex know he was on his feet, hands touching the top of the table in front of him, his whole body poised to run to Clark.
Clark had caught himself, had not completely fallen. He just looked dazed. Lex sat down with a thud, stunned and shocked at himself. Clark was a liar, a traitor, and a coward, deserving only of hatred, or at best contempt.
It was only now Lex realized the excruciating tension and sweaty fear he'd sat in through the flaying testimony had not been for himself at all.
It was for Clark.
Because he'd known this was coming, known his lover was in shock and desperate distress. The ever-increasing pallor, the one-syllable answers, the hatred that sizzled in his look like something that could actually burn, if it focussed on you, though no one else seemed to notice; the way Clark wouldn't look at him. Except that once, that strike to his soul. Reliving between them that only time Lex had hit him, before he found out how much he liked it. How Clark had lain there, breathing shallowly, frozen in the position Lex had struck him into; discovering his entire erotic being. Surrendering it to Lex's gentle tongue. How sweet that kiss had been, like chocolate and intoxicants, how profound the taste of Clark invading his senses, spoiling him for any other flavor. He could never get enough, and Clark's mouth had become his addiction. But he had never dared hit Clark again.
It was not permitted to put his mark on him. No bruise, no cut, no lash-mark. Cherishing Clark intact became almost religious sacrifice, a tenet of his faith, like the reverse transubstantiation of his own all-natural organic Attitude into Clark's sweet living cum. Until one day he had found out just how deeply marked his boy already was.
After a sleepover at Pete's Clark had sneaked off to a late Saturday breakfast at the mansion. Lex had insisted on proving his proficiency in the kitchen. And when the plates were ready -- Laura Scudders crunchy and Tiptree blueberry on mindbogglingly wholesome toast -- had decreed they would eat in his den while watching the Ducks go down to ignominious defeat.
Only they weren't, they were up by two, and Clark was not trying very hard to conceal a smirk. Lex reached over with one finger and wiped his cheek. "Jelly," he said.
Clark flinched back into the couch, smiling embarrassedly. "What are you, my Mom?"
"Nnnnno." Lex leaned up and stroked the same cheek. "I'm your lover."
Under his hand Clark's head fell further back, his breath caught, and as Lex's fingers reached the throat, he shuddered upward. He was turned on just by that? Looking into the pain of yearning in Clark's green eyes, Lex's disbelieving smile faded. "My god, Clark." Lex touched his face. He had seen that look before, but never on anyone so young, and never with so little provocation. That anguished devotion, that should have filled him with disdain, but instead was making it so hard to breathe. Clark reached up desperately.
"Don't ever leave me."
Clark had clutched himself to Lex, both arms trying to get around him.
"Whyever would I want to do that?"
"I can't believe you. I can't believe you. I can't believe you want me."
Fifteen, Lex thought. He can't believe any of this is really happening.
"Why not," he said gently. He relinquished Clark against the couch.
"Because, you're... you."
Lex looked down and to the side before he met Clark's eyes again. "I think you're getting a crush on me, Clark." That look again. "What happened to the guy who walked into my library bold as brass and propositioned me?"
Clark had to smile, but the painful lineaments of hard love still underlay it. "I didn't know..."
"What didn't you know?"
It was just a breath. "Anything."
Lex's eyes closed. He sighed. "I guess there are reasons they tell us not to mess with you kids. I'm just another guy, Clark."
"No you're not." And it was Clark's turn to reach out, and with such careful fingertips trace the line of Lex's cheek. "There isn't anyone like you."
His hand on Clark's neck was bringing back the look of suffering.
"You haven't seen me in my natural habitat. I'm not exactly an endangered species on Wall Street."
Clark looked fierce. "You're not like them. You're like a diamond. So hard, so perfect."
Clark gripped the shoulders of Lex's pajama tops. "Why can't you see it? Lex." His grip weakened and his gaze softened into passion. "I don't want you to ever change, I want you to be like this forever."
"Note to self: Cancel Scientology seminar."
Clark leaped up at him and bowled him over backwards onto the floor, landed on top of him and Lex held him off, grinning. "Be serious!"
Lex was laughing under him and Clark beat down on his hands in frustration. Lex ruffled his fingers through Clark's hair possessively.
"I'd be willing to say that you perfect me," he said softly.
But Clark shut his eyes and turned his face away. He almost looked sick. His voice sounded strained, as if he were saying things that scared him. "What is it that makes you... Why..." Clark's eyes came back to him, bravely. "It's your Dad, isn't it? What did he do to you?"
It was the last thing Lex expected.
He pushed Clark off swiftly without thinking, surging to his feet. He started to leave.
Where would he go?
So irrationally terrified.
One old, horrible, writhing dragon, scales near black, studded with jewels, and the mouth -- fanged -- with a long, red, soaking tongue that --
Lex turned around.
"Don't talk about my father," he said woodenly. And realized with another welling of fear that it wasn't a command, it was a plea. Fear is the mind-killer, I will not fear, he'd used to say to himself when he was nine. He was Paul Atreides, smarter than anyone, stronger, faster, combat-trained, the prince in disguise -- somewhere, he had friends. Loyal. Who would follow him to the death. He would find them. Someday. Waiting for him. Warriors, they would throw their arms around him, in celebration. When he found them.
He never had.
He dimly knew why.
A far cry from knowing how to change it.
He had learned to manipulate, but had pride that he scorned to use his father's emotional techniques. He had learned to command. He had learned about pain in all its holy glory, and scorned, too, to use that the blasphemous way his father did.
But when he caught a glimpse of things that other people's friends and lovers did, he was -- startled. Every time. Especially in families. It seemed unnatural. The Kents, some kind of aliens. It delighted him, but felt peculiar. Clark like some kid from outer space.
Clark told his parents everything. Sometimes Lex thought he was busting at the seams to tell Martha and Jonathan about them. Them having sex. How weird was that?
Lex had flaunted it, at that age. To piss his father off.
Clark just wanted them to know his happiness.
He didn't look too happy now.
"I apologize," Lex said formally. "He's -- not a pleasant topic."
The Ducks won, to a yammer of hysterical commentators. Clark saw Lex glance at the noise and got the remote and clicked off the tv.
It was really, really quiet then.
"You never ran away from talking about him before."
Lex's mouth opened and he looked away. A strained smile curled up the ends of his lips. "Clark... you weren't lying on top of me telling me I was perfect on those other occasions. If you've ever played crack-the-whip you know the sensation."
Clark stared square at him. When he spoke at last his voice was soft as down and almost ready to break. "You don't have to be afraid of me, Lex."
He started to say, "Afraid?" and laugh. He started to say, "I'm not afraid of you." He started to say, "I know." He said, "I'm not ready," and his voice was wobbling and his neck was bending. There was softness -- touching his back, his shoulder, his forehead, against his cheek, his chest, the back of his neck. Clark was around him, barely touching, cradling him everywhere, his breath soft at Lex's ear. Lex's own breath reflected back off of Clark's soft shirt. "How did you do this to me?"
"I didn't," Clark said uncertainly.
But then he said, "I love you, Lex," and it was the answer to everything. A field between them. Magnetic, supporting. But he couldn't.
Was anything ever more cliched. More crucifyingly banal. He simply couldn't say the words Clark was asking him to say, he was blushing as if his face had been bloodied, and for a thousand other reasons he couldn't. This was... so much... emotion --
-- which was okay -- it was kind of amazing -- he just needed -- a little space to --
He found himself a dozen feet from Clark, looking at him with parted lips and raised chin, breathing unevenly. And Clark looking back at him with such eyes, so hurt -- for him. He couldn't speak. He didn't have to.
"Did he hit you?"
Lex shook his head, tilting it back hopelessly, eyes closed.
"Did he have sex with you?"
Lex didn't move. The silence raped the truth out of him, laid it there for Clark to see, like a naked child face down on silken sheets.
"Oh god Lex."
Clark's voice aghast.
If you pretend it's nothing, no one will see weakness.
"He stopped when I lost my hair."
"Oh god." The pain sounded as if someone had stuck Clark with a spear.
Lex felt himself turning his head back and forth as if the same spear were in him.
"I never told anyone before."
So much silence to hold so much pain.
It was like he was there.
"He didn't care. He didn't care how much it hurt. Just told me not to tell. There wasn't anyone to tell."
"Your mother --"
"She was sick. He said if I told her the shock would kill her. I didn't believe him. He was such a liar!" His voice came out the breathy roaring sound of fire. "I knew that even then. But... my mother was a very good shot. I thought if I told her she would kill him." His eyes still closed. "I think she would have. I didn't want her to go to jail."
"Oh god I wish I had been there to help you."
The smile tight on Lex's lips felt familiar, but he wondered how he'd never felt the pain that shaped it before. "No one ever stopped my father doing anything."
"I would." At the steel tone Lex opened his eyes. Clark was closer, and his face was hard, with a coldness Lex had never seen there before. Lex could hear the permanence.
"How could anyone do that?" Clark so angry -- "You weren't much more than a baby."
Realizing, I can't do this. "Please." And Clark, his eyes, his breath, so hot, so mad, a trail of dragon-fire in there Lex hadn't known -- Clark stopped, and slowly came toward him. Lex felt himself leaning back.
"I'm sorry Lex. I didn't mean to..." His arm was reaching gently and Lex stepped back two steps, his eyes shutting and his mouth opening wide, and he smiled.
"See, this -- This is why I never --" He looked at the ceiling, smiling still; "Because I'm not -- that -- kid. You don't have to save me." He saw his left arm was up, defensively -- saw it because Clark saw it, and had stilled. "It was a century ago. It's not what I am. It's not even what I was. It's just something that happened. To me."
Clark looking at him, so soft, that mouth, so sad those eyes; but in no way a child. "You don't want it to define you."
"I think your words were 'Like I wasn't weird enough already.'" Lex shrugged one shoulder. "I don't think I want anything to define me. But especially not him."
"He's horrible." Maybe still in one or two ways like a child. Then: "But Lex -- what if he's been doing it to other kids?"
A breath like a laugh. "My father loathes children. I've had him followed on and off for years, for -- reasons of state. I don't know why he did it. But all his other trespasses have been with women, trust me. Within a decorous age range and only impeachable as to number and frequency. He never even looks at kids. And," he added, something he'd been meaning to tell Clark, "neither do I." You aren't history repeating.
Clark's eyes dropped down while he thought about it. When he looked back up
Lex felt enveloped in physical warmth from the tenderness of his jade gaze.
Lex took his hand from in front of his eyes, hoping no one in the press box had noticed his weakness. How could Clark do this... not how could anyone do this, but how could Clark do it? It had torn Lex's gossamer faith in anything true or worthy in this world. Clark, the innocent, the brave...
At least his parents stood by him. Lex pretended to get something out of his jacket pocket so he could sneak a glance at them. Mrs. Kent with her knuckles pressed to her mouth, Jonathan looking carved of wood. Both looking at their son. His lawyers thought the Kents were lying in wait to file a civil suit for vast damage sums. He hadn't bothered to disabuse them.
Lionel, of course, was nowhere to be seen. Only lawyers and money -- so far no guns -- had borne the incense of his father's distant presence into Lex's cell.
He couldn't stop feeling Clark clinging to him, breathing agonal, half fainting from ecstasy. His touch like clothing, the only raiment Lex would ever want.
His teeth bit into his lower lip till he tasted salty blood.
Clark had recovered himself quickly, and managed to convince the judge he had only lost his balance for a moment. Showing in something so small what an accomplished liar he really was.
Stanley Lund was asking Clark, "In all the time you say you were having sex with the defendant, did you tell anyone else about it?"
"None of your friends?"
"It was private. And I didn't want Lex to get in trouble."
"So no one knew."
"No one can corroborate your story."
"Detective Phelan has testified that he never actually saw my client have any kind of sexual contact with you. How did he find out about it?"
"He questioned me."
"And you told him you had sex with Lex Luthor."
Lex saw Clark's eyes break from Lund to the spectators and knew Phelan must be sitting there, just where Clark's hate had focussed. Phelan of course, but there was nothing a small-time cop could do to unassailable virtue like the Kents' that could excuse Clark's caving in like this. Lex had thought him almost fearless... What could have turned him? Scared him enough to go through this?
Now he was silent.
Clark looked back at Lund, with a torn expression just behind his eyes. "I don't understand what you mean."
"Why did you tell Detective Phelan you had sex with the defendant? You hadn't told anyone else that."
A desperation floated across the boy's features. It clearly wasn't a question he had anticipated, though it was probably the only one that mattered to either of them.
If they had no proof...
The whole pattern clarified.
They did have proof. Clark's testimony was keeping it out of the courtroom.
A video, or possibly just audio. But video more damning, showing Lex as a torturer. Clark the poor helpless victim. Lex almost laughed out loud. Clark sometimes so deeply gratified and wrung he hadn't been able to move for minutes at a time, after Lex was done with him.
Or maybe that was what Clark couldn't face. To see his most transcendent transports mocked as puerile make-believe in open court... He was only a boy... no matter how unearthly wise, how good...
Clark said, "He told me Lex was taking advantage of me. That he didn't care about me, he was just using me."
Numbness struck through Lex like an awareness. The rote voice, the trapped look. Clark...
"Detective Phelan said that before you told him you had sex with Alexander Luthor?"
"Is that what gave you the idea?"
And Clark was looking at Lund as if he were a life-raft in an unfeeling ocean --
Before he shut his eyes and bowed his head. "No."
Clark had nothing left.
His life was ruined.
And now even if he "won" there would always be many to think he was delusional, or gold-digging. How would he live? In Smallville... how would he possibly survive?
Lex didn't hear the last few questions shred Clark's credibility. When Lund turned to walk back to the defense table he had a subtle expression of knowing he had performed to perfection. Lex met his eyes unwaveringly as he approached; as he was about to sit down, still meeting his satisfied look, expressionless, in a voice too low to be heard by spectators, Lex only said, "You're fired."
End of "Justice: With a Vengeance"
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