Author’s Note: This is a RPG, roll playing game, between my friend Cat and I for the show Smallville. I’m playing Clark, and she’s playing Lex. This story takes place somewhere in Season 1. Posted March 2013.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-consensual disciplinary spanking of an adult.

Trust in Your Friends

Clark got up early Friday morning, did all the farm chores at super speed, and tried to rush out the door after grabbing a piece of toast from his plate.

“Where do you think you’re going in such a hurry?” His mother asked.

With a sheepish smile, Clark said, “I’m going to meet my friends at The Talon for coffee before school.”

“What friends?” Jonathan asked, coming in the front door.

“Pete, and Chloe. Lana might be there too.”

Martha smiled knowingly and said, “Okay, but take a couple of pieces of bacon to eat on the way.”

“Thanks Mom.” Clark kissed her cheek, grabbed the bacon, and ran out the door.

The Talon was crowded, but his friends had saved him a spot at their table. Clark got a coffee, and sat down between Pete and Chloe. He listened to them chatter about school assignments, but kept his focus on Lana who was siting beside her horrible boyfriend Whitney at a table across the room.

Lex didn't have any meetings planned until the afternoon, so after he'd got up and had some breakfast, he left the mansion and drove to the Talon. He entered the coffee shop and, spotting Clark sitting with Pete and Chloe, he immediately headed towards them.

Clark saw Lex coming and smiled. Over the past six months, they’d been building a tentative friendship. They’d met when Lex had accidentally hit Clark with his car, and landed them both in the river. At first, Clark’s side of their friendship had been about making sure Lex didn’t know, or find out, what had really happened. But the more time he spent with Lex, the more he liked the guy, despite what his father thought of the man.

For the first couple of months, Clark had questioned why Lex would want to be friends with a kid who was still in high school. He’d worried that it was because Lex was trying to find out what had really happened on the bridge. But after a while, he’d come to believe it was just because the guy was lonely, and Clark was someone Lex didn’t have to compete against or prove anything to.

“Hey Lex,” Clark said when Lex got close enough. There weren’t any empty spots at their table, or at any tables nearby, so Clark stood to talk. He gestured with his coffee cup to the line of people waiting to order and said, “Want some company while you wait to order?”

Lex nodded, hands in his pockets while he waited in line. "How long have you got?" he asked, smiling. Despite the strong desire to find out what was going on with Clark - and figure out what the other's secret was - Lex was still genuinely fond of him; and it was good to be friends with someone he knew wouldn't judge him.

There weren't that many decent people left in the world. Lex was fully aware of that. "Do you want to come by after class?" he asked Clark.

Clark chuckled, and then answered, “I have to go home and help with the chores right after school, but I could come by after that. Did you have something in mind?”

"I thought we could shoot some pool," Lex suggested. He was going to need something to take his mind off of the meetings - playing pool with Clark normally worked quite well for that. It gave him something else to focus on rather than trying to find a line between being a Luthor and not following in the footsteps of his father.

“Sounds good to me, but I don’t see how it’s any fun for you,” Clark said with an easy smile. “Or are you hoping that with enough practice I’ll actually get better, and win a game.”

"Can't hurt to practice," Lex pointed out.“True,” Clark agreed. “How many years have you been playing?”

Before Lex could answer, Pete came up pointing to his watch, and said, “Clark man, time to go unless you want to be late again.”

“I can’t be late again.” Clark muttered, looking at his watch and said, “Gotta go Lex. I’ll see you later. Probably around five o’clock.”

Lex nodded, giving a quick smile. "Sounds good to me. Try not to get into too much trouble," he joked.

# # #

As soon as the bell rang, Clark rushed out the school doors, and once he was in the field, he ran at super speed home. Before his father could see him and complain about it, Clark mucked out the stalls and fed the animals at super speed too.

He walked into the house, and saw his mother in the kitchen cutting vegetables. “Hi Mom.”

She gave him a smile. “How was school.”

“Fine. Hey listen, Lex invited me over to his house to play pool before dinner, and I was hoping to borrow the truck.”

“I don’t know Clark.” She said. She knew Jonathan didn’t like Lex, but she also knew that dislike wasn’t founded on anything real. And she knew Lex had been nothing but kind to Clark since they’d started a tentative friendship. “You’ll have to ask your father, but you can tell him it’s okay with me.”

“Thanks Mom.” He grinned, knowing that was all the leverage he would need. He went back outside, and found his father in the field, checking one of the cows legs. “Hey Dad?”

Jonathan turned around with a smile, “Hi son, can you give me a hand with this one?”

“Sure, what’s wrong?”

“Her right front leg is swelling, I’m going to call the vet to have a look, and I don’t want her walking all the way back to the barn on it.”

Clark nodded, and Jonathan stepped back, so Clark could pick up the cow. He moved her at super speed, so she didn’t have much time to bellow or struggle. Once she was in the barn, he went back to his father. “She’s in.”


“Hey Dad?”


“I finished all my chores, and want to borrow the truck and go hang out with Lex.” Clark said it in a rush, and waited for the yelling.

Jonathan frowned, “You sped through your chores?”

“Yes, Sir. It was the perfect time to clean out the barn, since the cows were out.”

His father crossed his arms. “You’re spending a lot of time with Lex. I don’t think he’s a good influence on you.”

“That’s not fair, Dad. He’s been really nice to me, and you know it. It’s not his fault that Lionel is his father.”

“I don’t know Clark. I still don’t like it.” Jonathan wished he could find Lex screwing up, so he would have a solid reason to say no.

Using the ace up his sleeve, Clark said, “Mom told me it was okay with her.”

Tight lipped and frowning, Jonathan said, “Fine, but I want you home at six thirty. No exceptions.”

“Thanks Dad!” Clark clapped his father on the shoulder, and rushed away before the man could change his mind.

Fifteen minutes later he pulled up to the mansion, and went inside to find Lex.

Lex was setting up the pool table and he looked up as Clark entered the room. "Hey. Ready to play?" he asked.

“Yep.” Clark grabbed one of the pool sticks off the wall. “You wanna break first?”

"I can do." Lex extended his cue, eyeing the balls before he aimed and shot, separating them.

While he watched Lex sink some balls, Clark said, “I’m so glad it’s Friday. School has been brutal this week. I swear I have an hour’s worth of homework for each class. How was your day?”

Lex shrugged, as if to say no different from normal - but answered anyway. "My company's going to be buying up the old salt mine. One of my scientists thinks there's a good chance there's a lot more salt further down." His next shot ended with no balls being sunk and Lex straightened to allow Clark access to the table.

Clark visibly winced. The salt mine was not someplace he wanted to think about. It brought up one of the worst memories from his childhood. Clark quickly leaned down to take his shot, hoping to end the subject.
Lex noticed Clark's reaction and watched him curiously. "Have you been to the mine?" he asked.

Frowning, Clark said, “Yes. It wasn’t a good experience.”

"Oh?" Lex eyed him with interest. "What happened?"

With a sigh, Clark stopped playing for a minute so he could look Lex in the eye. “When Pete and I were ten years old, our class did a report on mining in Smallville. Pete hadn’t known about the salt mine before that because it had been shut down for years, and he wanted to go see it for himself. I told him that my father not only knew about the mine, but had had also told me never to go there, because he was worried that it could cave in. But Pete was determined, and came up with a plan to tell our parents that we were at each other’s houses.”

Clark blushed with shame, and looked back at the pool table. “It’s been six years, and I’m still completely ashamed of myself for going along with the plan. The mine was pretty cool, but Pete and I lost track of time while we explored it.”

"I guess your parents weren't happy when they found out." Even as he made that comment, Lex found his thoughts turning to how his own father would have reacted to something like that. Not well... icy silences; the constantly disapproving looks... His father had definitely known how to make life worse whenever Lex did something he didn't like.

“That’s putting it mildly,” Clark muttered. “Our parents found out about our trick about fifteen minutes after we were supposed to be home, because my mom called Pete’s mom to ask something. For the next three hours while we were gone they all worried about us and had people out searching for us.”

“We had to pass my house before we got to Pete’s house, and my father spotted us before we could get past. I think everyone in Smallville could probably hear him yelling at us to get in the house at the top of his lungs. My mom…” Clark swallowed once and tried again. “My mom was crying, and hugged both me and Pete while my Dad called everyone to tell them we’d been found. Pete’s father got there a few minutes later, and as soon as Pete saw him he started to cry too. His dad gave him a hug, but then said he’d be getting spanked when they got home.”

Clark glared at the floor, still upset about that day.

Lex couldn't deny that he was curious. To the best of his knowledge, he didn't know anyone who'd ever been spanked - though he had some knowledge about it. "What about your parents?" he asked.

Clark’s father had gotten down on his knee to be eye level with the boy and told him that he deserved a spanking as well, and the only reason he wasn’t getting one, was because it wouldn’t do any good due to his super powers. Clark had then cried during his father’s lecture about the things that could have happened to them, and the worry his parents had gone through.

Keeping his eyes down, Clark said, “My parents don’t believe in spanking. My father lectured me while I cried, and then I was grounded for a month.” He shook his head, and hoped his face didn’t look as red as it felt. He looked up and said, “It was a very effective punishment for me.” He leaned down to line up a pool shot and added, “I hated Pete’s dad for months after that.”

"Why?" Lex asked. He paused before continuing, "You know, if I'd gone missing down a mine, no one would have realized for days. My father wasn't exactly a warm parent."

Clark looked up from the game and stared at Lex for a few moments. He couldn’t imagine a childhood as lonely as that. He stood up and put a hand on Lex’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Lex. That’s awful. No kid should be able to disappear for days without anyone noticing.”

Lex gave a kind of half-smile, although there wasn't really much humor in it. "At least a spanking would have proved someone cared."

Clark’s hand dropped, “I don’t think so. How does hitting your kid prove that you care? I hated Pete’s dad for hurting him and making him cry.”

Lex shrugged. "At least he did something about it," he pointed out. "I think I would have taken anything rather than how empty my life felt when I was a child." He frowned, looking at the pool table, not sure why he was talking about this.

Feeling bad for his friend, Clark said softly, “Did your father ever punish you for something?”

"If I did something he disapproved of, there would be icy silences... even more withdrawal than normal," Lex replied. "He was more concerned with the image I provided than being a father."

Clark felt a chill wash over him. What kind of childhood would that have been? He put a hand on Lex’s shoulder again, and looked him in the eye. “I promise never to give you the silent treatment Lex. If you do something to make me mad, I’ll let you know about it, and I might yell, but I won’t turn my back on you.”

"Thanks, Clark," Lex said, quietly but sincerely. "I'll hold you to that," he added, attempting to joke a little, even if the look on his face was serious.

Clark squeezed his shoulder once, and took a shot. He missed and sunk the cue ball accidentally. When he moved back to let Lex have a turn, his cell phone rang. He looked at the caller ID, and smiled apologetically at Lex. “It’s Pete.”

He answered, “Hey, Pete.”

“Dude, you missed all the excitement!”

“What excitement?”

“You know Donna from our History class.”

“Yeah,” Clark said.

“Tiny Donna who weighs like 90 pounds or something?”

“Yeah, Pete. I know her. What about it?”

“She just threw a huge table out the front window of the Talon!” Pete said.


“You heard me. She picked up a table that had to weigh as much as she did, and chucked it through the storefront window!”

“Was anyone hurt?” Clark asked, thinking of Lana.

“Nope, and Donna ran off before the cops got here. Everyone’s here, you should come check out the damage too.”

Clark darted his eyes to Lex. He wanted to stay and finish the game with him, especially after hearing how lonely Lex was as a child. But a lot of strange things happened in Smallville, and Clark wanted to find out what had happened to Donna, so he could make sure no one else got hurt. “Yeah, I’ll be there in a few.”

He hung up and focused on Lex. “Sorry Lex, I’m gonna have to go. One of my classmates threw a table through the window at The Talon.”

Lex frowned, having listened to the conversation with some concern. "What happened? No one was hurt?"

“No, no one was hurt, but the person who threw the table was a tiny girl, so people are talking. If it had been Whitney, Pete wouldn’t be so worked up about it.”

Lex gave a slight smile. "It sounds like another one for the wall of weird."

Clark scrutinized Lex for a moment and said, “How do you know about the wall of weird, Lex?”

"I spoke to Chloe a few days after the accident," Lex admitted. "I was convinced I'd rammed you with my car. I wondered if she knew anything that could explain it."

“What?” A frown of disapproval creased Clark’s forehead. “You went to Chloe about me?” His frown turned into a deep scowl. “We’ve talked about this more than once, and I told you what happened on that bridge. Are you still looking into it, Lex? Are you still looking into me?”

"No, of course not," Lex replied quickly. "That was before."

Clark looked at Lex’s face for any signs of deception, but couldn’t find any. Shaking his head, he said, “Sorry, Lex, I didn’t mean to bite your head off like that. I guess it’s a touchy subject, because I don’t like it when people don’t believe me.”

Lex nodded. "I understand that." He paused and then asked, "You need a ride into town?"

“No, that’s okay. I’ve got my dad’s truck here. But can I have a rain check on the game? Maybe sometime Sunday, or after school next week?”

"You know you can come by any time, Clark."“Thanks Lex. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.” Clark headed out to the truck, and drove off. But he was anxious to get to The Talon quickly, and knew he could get there much faster if he ran. Half a mile down the road, he pulled over to the side, locked up the truck, and ran at super speed to the scene of the crime. He quickly found Pete and Chloe, and listened to their account of the story.

Curious about what had happened, Lex left the mansion and drove into town. Along the way, he found Clark's truck alongside the road - apparently abandoned. He got back into his vehicle and continued driving to the Talon, getting out and heading over to Clark and the others.

Clark and Chloe were talking about what had happened, while Pete hovered close to the police, trying to hear what The Talon’s employee was telling them. When Clark saw Lex coming towards them, his eyes opened wide with surprise. He realized Lex would have seen the truck, and tried to come up with a believable excuse while berating himself for leaving it on the side of the road. Forcing himself to smile, Clark waved him over. “Hey Lex, what are you doing here?”

"I thought I'd drop by and see if you needed any help," Lex replied as he stopped next to them. "I saw your truck by the side of the road... What happened?"

“Oh well… the truck was making a loud clunking noise, so I got out to take a look. I didn’t find anything wrong, but then it wouldn’t start again, so I started walking. Mr. Ramsay drove by a couple of minutes later, and offered me a ride.” Trying not to let Lex think about that story for long, Clark said, “Anyway, now that you’re here, you could help. The cops won’t tell us anything. Wanna see if you have any better luck?”

Admittedly, Lex hadn't spent too long looking at the truck, but he hadn't found anything wrong - and certainly not something that would obviously cause it to break down. Perhaps if it was just that, Lex could believe that he'd just miss something... but it wasn't. This wasn't the first time something suspicious had happened around Clark.

Lex was tempted to call Clark on it here and now, but it wasn't like him to cause a scene. He filed the incident away inside his head to bring up later and merely nodded. "Sure. I'll see if I can find anything." He turned and walked towards the police, knowing Clark was right and he'd be more likely to get information out of them.

Clark was relieved that Lex had believed him. He knew he wasn’t very good at lying, and wished he didn’t have to hide so much of himself from everyone.

While Lex was talking to the cops, Clark, Pete, and Chloe speculated on what could have made Donna so angry. Before Lex was done, Pete told his friends he was due home, but to call him with any exciting news. Once he was gone, Clark and Chloe stood waiting for news.

After finishing talking to the police, Lex headed back over to Clark and Chloe. "They don't know a whole lot, but I found out where she lives," he said to them.

“That’s great, Lex,” Chloe said. “I’d love to go over there and talk to her about what happened.”

Clark sighed, “As a friend or as a reporter, Chloe?”

She bumped his shoulder with hers. “Both of course.”

“It could be dangerous, Chloe. She could be dangerous.”

Chloe wrapped an arm around Clarks. “That’s why you’ll have to come with.”

“Fine,” he said with a sigh. He wasn’t about to let her go alone anyway. He turned to Lex and said, “Can we have the address?”

"I could come with you," Lex offered.

Clark started to nod, but Chloe shook her head no and said, “Sorry Lex, but there’s no way she’s going to open up to us about what happened with you around, you’re an adult. We’ll be lucky to get the story out of her as it is. We aren’t really close friends, so she may not tell us anything, but if we bring the most wealthy and famous adult in our area with us, she may not even open the door.” As an afterthought, Chloe added, “No offence.”

"Sorry Lex, but she has a point," Clark said.

Lex frowned, but nodded. "All right." He told them the address - although he had no intention of just leaving it alone. He could follow on behind, hide and watch what happened.

“Thanks,” Clark said, and clapped Lex on the shoulder, before following Chloe to her car.

# # #

A few minutes later they were pulling into Donna’s driveway. Chloe took the lead, and walked up the porch stairs, and knocked on the door. Clark stood at the bottom of the stairs, not wanting to seem intimidating.

A middle aged woman answered the door cautiously. “Can I help you?”

“We’re friends of Donna’s. Could we talk to her?” Chloe asked.

“Oh… Well…” The woman hedged nervously.

Chloe said, “We won’t take very long. We just want to help.”

They heard Donna’s voice say, “It’s okay, Mom. I know them.”

The woman held the door open wider to reveal Donna, and then turned to leave the teens alone.

For his part, Lex had waited long enough so that it wasn't immediately obvious that he was following after Clark and Chloe, before getting into his car and driving off towards the address he'd been given.

Lex parked some distance down the street and then got out of the car, hiding round behind one of the trees outside Donna's house while Clark and Chloe had their attention on the house.

Once Chloe was sure Donna’s mother couldn’t hear them, she said, “Hi Donna, I know we aren’t close friends, but I just wanted to hear what happened at The Talon from your point of view, to see if there was anything Clark and I could do to help you out.”

Donna darted her eyes to the handsome boy standing in her lawn, and then back to Chloe. She whispered, “I don’t know how it happened. I was drinking a mocha and doing my homework, when I overheard a couple of guys at another table talking about a girl. They were calling her a fat slut, and being really mean, and I just… lost it. It wasn’t directed at me, so I don’t understand why it made me so angry, and I have no idea why or how I picked up that table.”

Chloe nodded and said, “Has this happened before?”

Donna’s expression suddenly shifted. Looking distinctly uncomfortable, she said, “Look, it’s nice of you to stop by, but I’m not up for talking right now.”

Chloe took a step closer. “But maybe if it’s happened before, we can see a pattern. Then we could…”

“No!” Donna barked out. Her hands balled into fists, and she glared at Chloe.

Donna’s mother came running back, and said, “I think you kids should leave now.”

Clark went up a couple of steps, to get Chloe to leave.

“We just want to help you figure it…” Chloe was cut off again.

With a feral yell, Donna ripped the front door off its hinges, and hurled it away from the house.

When Clark saw Donna move for the door, he grabbed Chloe’s upper arm, and yanked her back behind him. He’d moved slightly faster than human to do it, but slower than usual since Donna and her mom were watching.

All four of them turned to see the front door flying across the lawn.

Lex's eyes widened as he saw the front door come flying towards him. He couldn't really think about anything other than getting out of its path and he quickly jumped out from behind the tree. The door just missed him, but he knew he now had no chance of escaping unnoticed.

For a few seconds after the door landed, the four people on the porch simply stared at Lex. Donna’s mother was the first to react. She put an arm around Donna’s shoulders, and backed the both of them into the house, closing the screen door behind them. She raised her voice slightly so the man in her yard could hear her just as well as the two teens on the porch. “You all need to leave. Right now, before I call the police.”

Chloe opened her mouth to try and say something, but Clark beat her to it. He grabbed Chloe’s upper arm, and started to pull her down the stairs while keeping his eyes on Donna’s mother. “We’re leaving. Sorry we bothered you, we weren’t trying to make things worse.”

Once they were off the porch, Clark and Chloe walked towards her car. He leaned down and spoke quietly, “I’ll deal with Lex. You go do some research, and call me if you find anything.”

“Okay,” Chloe said, and headed to her car, glancing at Lex quizzically on her way.

As soon as Chloe agreed, Clark turned his attention to Lex. Glaring at the older man, he jogged over to him, and said, “What’s going on Lex? I thought you agreed not to come.”

"Come on, Clark," Lex replied, having recovered his cool. "What if you'd run into trouble?"

Scowling at that answer, Clark looked back towards the house and said, “We need to get out of here before Donna and her mom get even more upset. Could you give me a ride?”

Lex nodded. "Sure." He headed towards his car.

Once they were on the road, Clark said, “I don’t get it, Lex. You agree not to come, and then you sneak around behind our backs to do it anyway? Kind of childish don’t you think? Childish and dishonest.”

Lex narrowed his eyes and struggled to keep his tone calm and even - though he had some trouble. "You really want to talk about being dishonest, Clark?"

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Clark asked with a glare. “I’m not the one hiding behind trees spying on people.”

Lex's fingers clenched a little. "Maybe not, but you've been lying to me. I know your truck didn't break down." His voice grew a little sharper than he'd intended, but he was getting tired of this.

Clark’s glare intensified, and his hands balled into fists on his lap. “So you’ve been spying on me too? I thought you said you were done with that!”

"You have no right to be angry with me for hiding things!" Lex snapped, abandoning all pretense of playing it cool - at least while he and Clark were alone. "I'm not stupid! Your truck didn't break down. It was perfectly fine!"

Clark was suddenly struck with the thought that he was a hypocrite. Lex was right. Clark was angry with him for hiding things, when Clark himself hid things from everyone. He took a deep breath to calm down, and looked out the window of the Porsche. Keeping his secret from everyone was harder now than it used to be. Since entering high school, Clark had wanted to tell Pete, but his father was admit that he couldn’t tell a single soul.

The anger Clark had been feeling about the argument with Lex transferred to Jonathan the moment he thought about him. He’d practically begged Jonathan to let him tell Pete, and he’d suggested telling Lex as well, and his father had shot him down without even considering it.

Clark thought about how much easier his life would be if he could share his secret with someone. Unlike Pete, Lex had the money and power to really help when things went wrong with people like Donna, but only if he knew the true story. In a flash of rare teen rebellion, Clark decided he was going to tell Lex. There wasn’t much his father could do about it after the fact, and Clark was so very tired of hiding it from everyone.

“Lex?” Clark said, his tone no longer angry. “You’re right. There was nothing wrong with the truck. Could you take me back to the mansion? I want to tell you something important, and I don’t want you driving when I do it.”

Lex was more than a little taken aback by Clark's sudden change of tone and it worried him more than a little. He nodded as he drove in the direction of the mansion, casting a sideways glance at Clark to try and read his face. "Are you in trouble?"

“I’m gonna be,” Clark muttered. “But not the kind of trouble you’re thinking about.”

Lex frowned at that, but made no comment during the drive to the mansion. He parked the car and looked at Clark, waiting for him to speak.

Clark took a deep breath, and said, “I… Well you see, I… Um… I’m not normal.” It was harder than he’d thought. Scowling, he looked down at his lap and said, “Remember the day you drove off the bridge?”

Lex nodded. "I was sure I'd hit you with my car. Couldn't figure out how I managed to miss you."

Clark looked Lex in the eye. “You didn’t miss me. You hit me dead on.”

Lex frowned. "If I hit you dead on, why aren't you dead?"

“Because I’m not human.” Clark felt an immense weight lift of his chest. He hadn’t even realized was there until this moment. He smiled and said it with more confidence. “I’m not human, Lex.”

Lex's first thought was that Clark was joking. That only lasted a moment, though, as he realized that it would explain a lot. There had been a lot of weird things going on in Smallville, though, and most of those things seemed to have a connection to the meteorites. "What are you, then?" he asked.

“Alien of some kind. I don’t actually know where I’m from. I just know I came to Earth with the meteor shower. The Kents found me. Mom says I was about three years old, maybe four.” Clark smiled, “I didn’t actually know that until this year. I mean I always knew I was different, but my parents didn’t tell me the whole truth until six months ago.”

Lex sat there in stunned silence for a few moments, but really, that explanation made a lot of sense. He looked at Clark intently and then finally spoke, quietly but sincerely. "Thank you for trusting me with this, Clark."

“You believe me?” Clark asked. “Just like that?” He’d expected to have to prove it to Lex.

"We live in Smallville, which is pretty much weird central," Lex pointed out. "It's not too much of a stretch to believe the meteor shower brought something else with it." He looked at Clark and gave a smile. "Though I've got to say, I wouldn't say no if you wanted to show me some of the things you can do."

Eager to show off his abilities now that his secret was out, Clark said, “I’d like that. What do you want to see first; strength, speed, or invulnerability?”

Lex considered that for a few moments before suggesting, “How about speed?”“Okay.” Clark thought about it for a moment. “You know that glass paperweight you keep on your desk upstairs?”

Lex nodded. "Are you going to get that?"
With a grin, Clark used his speed to get out of the car, run up the stairs of the mansion, grab the paperweight, and get back into the car. He held it out for Lex to see, and waited for him to register what had happened. Lex's eyes widened as he registered that Clark had disappeared and reappeared within the space of a few seconds. He stared at the paperweight and then at Clark, shaking his head slowly. "Wow..." he said quietly.

Clark’s grin faltered. “Sorry, was that too much? Maybe I should have built up to it.”

Lex quickly shook his head. "No, it's fine. I was just... surprised." He shrugged, a little awkwardly. "I guess I wasn't expecting you to be that fast..."

Letting the paperweight rest in his lap, Clark said tentatively, “I’m pretty fast. Want me to get something from my house? I could probably be back here before you could unbuckle and step out of the car.”

Lex started to agree, but then paused, thinking. "What about your parents?" It stood to reason they wouldn't like Lex knowing about this...

Lex didn't want to put Clark off, though, so he suggested, "You could always show me something else."

When Lex mentioned his parents, Clark felt sick to his stomach. His father was going to be furious with him for telling Lex the truth. “Um…” He turned pleading eyes to Lex, “Speaking of my parents, they’re going to be angry when they find out that I told you the truth. I’m not supposed to tell anyone, under any circumstances. I was hoping to put off telling them about it until we figure out what’s going on with Donna.”

"Clark..." Lex paused, figuring out exactly what he wanted to say. "I'm not going to betray your secret. And if you don't want me to, I won't even mention it to your parents if I see them." He shrugged. "I'll go along with what you want to do."

“Thank you, Lex. That means a lot to me.” Not wanting to think about his parents’ reaction anymore, Clark handed the paperweight over to Lex and said, “Want a demonstration of strength? I could lift the car.”

Lex took the paperweight. "Sure. Just let me get out of the car first."

Clark got out, and looked around to make sure there were no other witnesses. Once Lex had stepped away from the Porsche, Clark carefully lifted it off the ground, and up into the air above his head.

Lex watched and then turned to Clark with a quick grin. "I always thought you were holding back."

Chuckling, Clark put the car back down. He gestured to the mansion and said, “If you’ve got a knife in there that you don’t mind wrecking, I can show you that my body seems to be impenetrable.”

Lex was eager to see more and he nodded. "We should probably head inside anyway." He headed to the door of the mansion.

Clark followed Lex through the mansion, and into his office, where Lex put the paperweight back on his desk. Clark said, “What should I use?”

"Anything can be replaced," Lex replied, somewhat dismissively.

“Okay, then pick something, and try to stab me,” Clark said.

Lex thought about it for a few moments and then picked up the metal letter opener and stepped over to Clark, slicing forward with it.

Clark stood still while the letter opener put a hole in his shirt, but left his skin unharmed. He cocked an eyebrow, and said, “Nothing. Wanna try using the fireplace poker on me?”

"There seems something rather unhealthy about trying to stab a friend with something sharp," Lex commented, mostly joking. "I'll take your word for it that nothing will penetrate your skin."

Clark laughed. “I suppose that’s true.”

Clark’s cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket, and looked at the caller ID. It was his parent’s number, which made him notice the time. He muttered, “Crap! I was supposed to be home ten minutes ago.”

He opened the phone and answered with false cheer, “Hello?”

Jonathan’s voice came though loudly, “Know what time it is son?”

“Sorry Dad, I lost track of the time. I know you said six thirty. I’m on my way. I’ll be home in a few minutes.”

“Next time call if you’re going to be late.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Dinner is waiting for you. Drive safe.”

“I will. Bye.”

Clark hung up and gave Lex an apologetic smile. “Sorry Lex, I’ve got to go. But I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

Lex nodded and then quirked a brief smile. "I'd tell you to be careful, but I'm pretty sure you can handle anything that might be thrown at you on the way back." He paused a moment and then added, much more seriously, "Thank you for telling me, Clark. You won't regret trusting me."

“I’m glad I told you,” Clark said as he headed towards the door. “See you soon.” He gave Lex a quick wave, and super sped out of the mansion, and headed down the road to his father’s truck.

When Clark got home, he distracted his parents from asking too many questions about how his time with Lex went, by telling them about what had happened with Donna.

# # #

Saturday morning while Clark was feeding the cows, his cell phone rang. After looking at the caller ID, he answered with, “Hi Chloe.”

“Hi Clark. I found out some interesting news about Donna’s folks, and I could use your help.”

“Okay. What did you find out?”

“Donna’s mother got remarried just last year to a guy named Wade Howell. Guess where Mr. Howell works.”

“I don’t know. Where?”

“He’s a chemist for that perfume company Admire.”

Clark said, “A chemist huh? Do you think Donna could have been exposed to some chemicals that did this to her?”

“That’s my theory. And you haven’t heard the best part yet. Admire is owned by Luthorcorp,” Chloe said with excitement.

“Lex’s company?”

“That’s the one. And since Lex is your friend, I thought maybe you could swing us an invitation to go see what they’re doing in there.”

“Oh…” Clark hedged, “Well I’ll ask him, but I wouldn’t count on it, Chloe. I’ll let you know what he says.”

Not deterred in the least, Chloe said, “I’m sure you can pursued him to let us have a tour. I’m going to see what else I can find. Call me once you get in touch with Lex.”

Clark hung up, and rushed through the rest of his chores at super speed. Once he was done, he went to talk to his mom. He told her he wanted to go help Chloe do some research to help Donna, hoping she wouldn’t ask too many questions. Once he had permission to leave, he rushed to the mansion, hoping Lex was either off for the day, or working from home.

# # #

Lex was currently on the phone in his study, talking seriously to one of his father's business partners, even though he would have much preferred to tell the man what he really thought of him.

He was his father's son in this, at least.

Lex hung up finally and shook his head, giving a quiet sigh. What he really needed was something to do today other than sit around talking to people who, quite frankly, couldn't care less about trying to work with him.

Clark made it to the mansion, and asked one of the staff if Lex was home. He was directed to Lex’s upstairs office. He went up and knocked on the doorframe as he walked through the open door. “Hey Lex, I’m glad I caught you at home.”

"Clark." Lex smiled as he saw his friend and stood, coming round the side of the desk. "What can I do for you?"

“Chloe did some research on Donna,” Clark said. “She found out that Donna’s stepfather is a chemist. He works for Admire.”

Lex frowned as he realized which company Clark was referring to. "You think maybe it's the product? But there would have been plenty of tests and no one else was affected."

“I don’t know,” Clark said. “I doubt the perfume itself is a problem, because no one else has had issues. Maybe this guy, Wade Howell, is taking work home or doing some kind of experiments that he shouldn’t. I was hoping you could take me over to the facility where he works, and we could check things out.”

Lex nodded. "I can do that." He only had a few more phone calls to make, but they weren't very important and they could wait. He walked towards the door of his office.

Clark followed him out to Lex’s Porsche, and they both got in. Once they were on the road, headed to the perfume factory, Clark said, “Do we have a game plan for when we get there? Are you going to ask to talk to Mr. Howell?”

"I was thinking we can see if there's anything obviously wrong with the perfume first," Lex replied. "Then I can worry about speaking to him."

"Sounds good." Clark said. "I'll let you take the lead."

Lex pulled up outside the company's building and parked the car. He then got out.Clark got out and followed Lex towards the building. As he got close to the front door, he began to feel odd. Frowning in concentration, he went through the front door after Lex. A wave of weakness hit him, and he had to grab the door handle to keep his knees from buckling. All over the lobby, there were tiny green jars of perfume, and Clark knew without having to ask that either the glass bottles or the perfume itself had to have some meteor rock in it. Unable to take another step without falling, he watched Lex’s back as he continued into the office. Clark’s normally strong voice was strained, and held a sense of urgency when he called to his friend. “Lex…”
It was the tone of voice as much as his name being called that alerted Lex and he turned round to see Clark about to fall. He immediately moved to help his friend stay upright, watching him worriedly. "Clark?" Lex didn't know what had caused this, but he figured it would be better to get his friend out of the office and he began steering Clark towards the door, still looking concerned.

Once Clark was out of the building, he felt immediately better, and was able to stand without assistance. He said, “That perfume either has bits of meteor rock in it, or the glass bottles have meteor rock in them.”

"Meteor rock?" Lex frowned. "It affects you like this?" Actually, now that he thought about it, that made a certain kind of sense.

“They make me very weak,” Clark said. “If you hadn’t helped me, I would have had to crawl out of there. They can cause humans to have odd reactions too, but not just from touching it. Now that I know what probably triggered it, I should go talk to Donna again and ask her if she’s been in contact with the perfume.”

"I'll come with you," Lex offered. "You might need help."

Clark shook his head. “No, it’s too dangerous. You could get seriously hurt if she gets out of control again. You stay here get us a copy of the chemical compound for the perfume so we can be sure that’s the problem.”

"All right," Lex said reluctantly. "Call me if you run into any trouble."“I will.” Clark looked around the parking lot to make sure they were alone, and then dashed off towards Donna’s house.

It only took Lex a moment or two to decide he really didn't want to just wait around here and so he headed towards his car and got in, driving towards Donna's house. He wouldn't be as fast as Clark, but hopefully, it wouldn't take him too long to get there.

Clark was in front of Donna’s house, seconds after leaving Lex. He knocked on the front door, and waited for someone to answer. Donna’s mother answered with a frown. She whispered, “You shouldn’t be here Go home.”

“Please, Mrs. Howell, I only want to help.”

“You really upset Donna the last time you came over. I don’t want you upsetting her again.” She started to shut the door on him.

“I just have one…” The door clicked shut. “…question.”

Not wanting to give up on talking to Donna, Clark walked around the side of the house to take a peek in the windows. He could see Donna eating lunch with her parents. He walked around the house looking in windows until he found a room that looked like Donna’s bedroom. He decided to wait until she was alone in her room to try and get her attention.

Lex parked along the street and headed to the house, hiding in the shadows as he saw Clark moving round the house. He wasn't sure how well Clark's advanced vision worked and didn't want to risk being seen.It was tempting to knock on the door and offer to have his team of scientists work with Donna to figure out what was wrong with her, but Lex figured he'd let things play out for now, and just be there in case Clark ran into any trouble. Which was possible, given that the perfume's origin was meteor rock.
Clark didn’t have long to wait. Ten minutes after talking to Mrs. Howell, he saw Donna walk into her bedroom and shut the door behind her. Feeling a little like a stalker, Clark waved at Donna to get her attention.

After getting over her initial shock, Donna opened her window and whispered, “Clark? What are you doing looking in my window?”

Keeping his voice low, he said, “I needed to ask you something, but your mom wouldn’t let me.”

“So ask.”

“I want to know if have a bottle of perfume from your step dad’s company.”

Donna put her hand over her mouth, and her eyes opened wide.

Knowing he’d guessed right, Clark said, “Tell me what happened. Maybe I can help.”

She looked behind her, not wanting her parents to hear, and waved at Clark to get away from the window. She opened it wider, and started to climb out. He put a hand on her arm to stead her as she climbed out onto the grass. She waved him forward, so they were standing by the corner of her house by the front porch.

“How did you know it was the perfume?” she asked.

“What happened?” He said again, not willing to tell her yet.

“Last week I was playing truth or dare with a couple of friends, and my friend Marcia dared me to drink the perfume. I knew it wouldn’t be good for me. I even thought it might make me sick to my stomach. But I didn’t think it would actually do any damage. I took three big gulps of it with my nose plugged. At first nothing happened. I didn’t even feel ill, but then the next day…” She looked away, wandered to the porch steps, and sat down. “I can’t control myself when I get angry. I get mad, and this feeling of power mixed with rage surges through me, and I can’t stop myself from lashing out.” She looked up at Clark and said, “And I’m really strong. Unnaturally strong.”

Clark said gently, “The perfume had bits of meteor rock in it. You should go to the hospital and get a x-ray. See if there are bits of meteor stuck inside you.”

An expression of terror crossed her face. She jumped to her feet, and shook her head no. “No!” she hissed. “If I go to the hospital, they’re going to do all kids of tests on me! I’ll be their guinea pig! I could get stuck there for weeks, maybe months!”

Lex had been listening intently from his hiding place, not wanting to interrupt while it looked like Clark might be getting somewhere. Since, however, Donna was clearly scared of being turned into an experiment, Lex figured it would make things easier if he attempted to ally her fears.

Lex stepped out of his hiding place, into full view of both Donna and Clark. "That won't happen to you. I won't let it."

“Lex?” Clark said. His surprise quickly turned to anger, when he realized his friend had followed him yet again. He held up his hand to ward Lex off and said, “Just stay there.”

Donna looked back and forth between Lex and Clark and asked, “Why is Lex Luthor at my house?”

Lex ignored Clark and spoke to Donna, taking a step closer to her. "Look, it's true that it was my company that developed the perfume, but if you come in, I'll have specialists work with you and figure out how to help you and reverse the effects."

“Your company?” Donna asked with confusion.

“Lex…” Clark said with worry, and gestured for him to stay put again.

“Your company!” Donna’s confusion had lasted for less than a second, before it turned to full blown fury. “This is your fault!” She rushed up the porch stairs, yanked the porch swing off its chains, and hurled it at Lex.

Using his abilities, Clark sped to stand in front of Lex, and easily caught the porch swing before it could crash into the older man.

Lex flinched, but relaxed quickly when Clark stopped the swing. He quickly realized that talking wasn't going to work, so he held his tongue, though it was a struggle for him to hold back and let someone else protect him.

Clark let the porch swing crash to the ground in front of him, hoping Donna was too upset to notice that he’d caught it in the first place. She ripped a piece of the railing off the porch, and threw it at them.

Clark batted it to the side with one hand so that it landed to their left. While Donna was looking for something else to throw, Clark darted his eyes to Lex, gripped a fist full of the older man’s suit jacket, and said, “Stay behind me, and back up to your car.” Still holding Lex’s jacket, he turned back to face Donna, and started backing up.

Donna hurled the front door towards Clark and Lex while her parents tried to calm her down from inside the house.

Lex didn't speak; didn't react other than to give a nod in acknowledgment. He began backing up to the car, staying calm, but already planning how to deal with this.

The front door Donna had thrown at them went wide, missing them without Clark’s help. The two men backed away as quickly as possible without taking their eyes off Donna. She threw a piece of door molding at them while her parents tried to calm her down without success.

Within seconds the two men were in front of Lex’s car. Clark let go of Lex’s jacket, gave him a nudge towards the car, and said urgently, “We need to get out of here fast so she can calm down.”

Lex nodded, quickly unlocking the door and getting in the driver's side. He moved urgently, but without showing fear.

Clark got in the passenger side, and said, “Go,” as he was shutting his door.

As soon as the door was closed, Lex immediately began driving - fairly fast, but careful not to go exceedingly fast.

The relief Clark felt about getting his friend out of harms way was short lived. Anger took over seconds after the car started moving. Trying, and failing not to let some anger show in his voice, Clark glared at Lex and said, “What the hell, Lex?”

"The perfume made you weak. I thought you might need help." That wasn't the only reason, of course, but Lex's concern for his friend was real, particularly since he'd seen that Clark had some weaknesses, even if they weren't many.

“I told you it was too dangerous, and you agreed to stay at the factory!” Clark said with exasperation. “How did ‘sure I’ll stay here’ turn into ‘I’m going to go behind Clark’s back and do the exact thing he asked me not to do’?”

"Clark, be reasonable. I would have had to be involved at some point. It was one of my companies responsible for the production of the perfume. My scientists can work with Donna and figure out a way to safely help her, without turning her into a guinea pig."

“I am being reasonable. I’m just also telling you that you did something wrong, and I’m angry about it. Yes you would have had to get involved at some point, but you shouldn’t have shown up to talk to Donna just now. Especially after telling me you wouldn’t.”

Lex sighed. "Can we talk about this back at the mansion, Clark? I need to call Donna's stepfather and ask him to come in with her on Monday when she's calmed down."

Thinking he could use some time to calm down himself, Clark nodded. “Yeah, go ahead.”

As he drove back to the mansion, Lex made a call to Donna's stepfather, explaining the situation quickly and directing him to bring her on Monday, by which time, she should have hopefully calmed down.

Clark listened to the first few moments of Lex’s conversation with Mr. Howell, and then tuned it out. He couldn’t believe Lex had shown up at Donna’s house. He’d assumed that telling Lex about his abilities would make him less likely to follow him into danger, but if telling him had the opposite effect, then Clark had made a huge mistake. He’d never be able to live with himself if Lex got himself hurt trying to help him.

Clark’s first instinct was to shut Lex out. Simply not tell him about any of the wall of weird things he and Chloe sometimes investigated. But after taking a second to consider it, he realized that would be cruel. After the things Lex had told him about his father, Clark refused to give his friend a cold shoulder when he did something to that made him angry. But he had to do something to make Lex listen to him, so the older man wouldn’t get hurt. With a little wince, Clark thought about Lex’s reaction to hearing that Pete had gotten spanked.

It certainly wasn’t something he wanted to do. It wasn’t something he’d ever imagined himself doing. Lex was older, more sophisticated, richer, and more confident than he was. Clark darted his eyes over to the older man for a moment, when he heard him saying good bye to Mr. Howell. Clark sighed and looked back out his window, still thinking things over.

After hanging up, Lex didn't try speaking to Clark. He realized why his friend was angry and he could kind of understand why. At the same time, though, he was used to doing his own thing. He was happy that Clark had chosen to trust him with his secret, but that didn't stop him from being concerned.

And, yes, that was one of the main things that had driven his actions. Lex wasn't his father. His father would exploit Clark... would only see the benefit to himself. To Lex, Clark was probably his closest friend. And he did feel somewhat guilty for breaking his word to his friend.

Lex found himself pulled out of his thoughts as he pulled up outside the mansion and parked the car.

As soon as the car parked, Clark got out, and followed Lex into the mansion. He kept trying to think of a better solution for keeping Lex safe, but so far nothing else had come to mind. Before he’d made any final decisions, they were in Lex’s study. Clark sat on the couch, and looked up at Lex with an earnest expression. “Ready to talk?”

Lex nodded, taking a seat on the couch next to Clark. "I'm sorry I came after you, Clark, but I did feel I could help. As I said, I'd need to be involved at some point in any case - and I was concerned after having seen how you reacted to the meteor rock and knowing that there was some in the perfume. I didn't know Donna had drunk it, but I knew she had had some and possibly still did."

Clark shook his head. “Yeah you would have had to get involved at some point, but it didn’t have to be today at her house, especially since you told me you’d stay where I left you. It’s nice that you were concerned about me, but my body is virtually indestructible, and yours isn’t. You could have been killed today, Lex. It can’t happen again.”

"It won't happen again," Lex said, used to placating people with words.

Clark sighed and looked down at his hands for a moment. He wanted to believe Lex. He truly did. But he just couldn’t take the chance that this was just Lex saying whatever he needed to say to get off the hook. Clark made eye contact with his friend again and said, “I need you to understand that I’ve never told my secret to anyone else. My parents are the only other people in the world that know. I told you because I care about you, and I thought you could handle it, but maybe that was selfish of me.”

Lex frowned a little, holding eye contact with Clark. "I'm worthy of your trust, Clark," he said with as much sincerity as possible - truly meaning it and not just saying it because he didn't want Clark upset with him. Well... he didn't want that anyway, but even so.

Clark put a hand on his friend’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. “I know you’re worthy, that’s not the issue. You’re a good person, Lex, but because you’re a good person, you’re going to want to help me, even if you’ve promised not to. I need more than your word to make sure you won’t put yourself in danger again. After the things you told me about your father, it would be cruel for me to try and shut you out when I’m investigating something weird, and well… I’m sorry, but I’ve decided a spanking would be a good deterrent.”

Lex's first thought was that Clark had to be joking. A spanking? Putting aside the fact that he wasn't a child, there were a whole host of other issues with that. He shook his head, disbelief radiating from him. "You're not serious, Clark."

“Yeah, I am,” he said with some sympathy.

Lex just shook his head, still disbelieving. "I'm older than you," he pointed out.

Clark nodded. “Older, richer, and way more sophisticated than I’ll ever be, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that we’re friends, and after hearing about your dad, I think it’s past time someone proved that they care enough to make sure you keep yourself safe.”

There wasn't much Lex could say to that, but he tried anyway. "You don't even believe that spanking's a good thing."

“You’re right, I don’t,” He wrapped his hand around Lex’s wrist. “But you do.” He tugged the older man face down across his lap.

Lex was startled, but not enough to stop him from struggling to get free. Even though, logically, he knew it was useless - Clark was much stronger than him after all - it didn't stop Lex from trying.

Clark made sure his grip around the older man’s waist was strong enough to hold him in place without causing him harm. After years of roughhousing with Pete, Clark was confident that he could use the right amount of strength to cause pain without causing actual damage. He raised his hand about a foot in the air, before swatting the behind over his knee.

The first swat was enough to still Lex's struggles, at least temporarily. Up until that point, everything had felt almost surreal and he'd been confident he could talk his way out of this, in the same way he could talk his way out of almost everything else. Now, that confidence was splintering.

Clark’s hand moved up and down in a steady rhythm of firm spanks. Lex was quiet and still for the first few, prompting Clark to say, “You could have gotten killed today Lex. I’m not okay with that. When I tell you something is dangerous, I need to trust that you’re going to listen to me.”
Lex drew in a slightly ragged breath. So far, the sting was pronounced but bearable. Maybe he could still get out of this with his dignity intact. Or as much as it could be. "I... know."

“You know?” Clark’s eyebrows creased together in a frown. He thought Lex sounded entirely too calm. Moving with super speed, he undid Lex’s slacks and pushed them down to his knees, leaving the boxer briefs as the only layer of protection between his hand and the older man’s butt. He started smacking at a faster pace, hitting a little harder than before. He made sure not to hit the same spot twice in a row, covering every inch of the older man’s butt and upper thighs with sharp smacks.

Lex winced and gasped, unable to hold in his reactions now. He started squirming a little, in reaction to the pain rather than an attempt to get away. He was horrified to actually feel his eyes beginning to dampen and struggled to hold his emotions in. How many times had he been told that a Luthor didn't cry?

When Clark felt his friend’s squirming, he knew Lex was trying to keep his emotional and physical reactions bottled up. Clark kept raining down smacks and said gently, “I know you like to pretend that nothing in the world affects you. I can understand why since your dad was so cold. But this spanking…” he gave Lex an extra hard swat, “…is personal. I’m your friend, and I’m disappointed in the decisions you made today. That should affect you.”

It did affect Lex. He wasn't used to having people care about him and a part of him always expected that any person who was friendly towards him just wanted something from him. But not Clark. Lex had begun to trust that Clark wasn't looking for something from him... that he really did care. And Clark's disappointment hurt. It was that, more than the pain from the spanking, that caused the first tears to slip out of his eyes.

After a few more seconds of steady swats, Clark felt his friend’s body tremble, and heard a hitched breath. A wave of guilt hit him. He’d been expecting Lex to cry, but he hadn’t expected that sound to make him feel so awful. Determined to see it through, even though he seriously hated hurting his friend, Clark kept spanking and said, “What do you have to say for yourself, Lex? What’s gonna happen the next time I tell you something is dangerous?”

It took a few seconds for Lex to be able to catch his breath enough to make an answer, though it was a struggle to get the words out through his tears. "I'm... sorry. I'll do better next time..."

Hearing his friend’s voice break over the words made Clark’s arm halt in mid strike. He believed the words were sincere, and decided the spanking was done. He used his spanking hand to gently pat Lex on the back, and said softly, “I’m gonna hold you to that.”

Lex gave a jerky half nod, struggling to calm himself down and stop crying.

Clark reached down and pulled his friend’s slacks back into place, hoping to make him feel less exposed. He carefully moved Lex off his lap, and sat the older man on the couch next to him, keeping an arm around his shoulders.

Almost automatically, Lex relaxed into the touch. Tears still slipped down his cheeks, but he struggled to calm himself down.

Clark listened to his friend’s soft sniffling, and wondered how things were going to play out over the next few days. Would Lex become angry about what had happened after having some time to think it over? Would he start to avoid Clark? Would he try to get some kind of revenge? He knew that Lex often hated his own father for the way he’d treated him, and hoped that this experience had been different enough that his friend wouldn’t start to hate him, too.

Frowning, Clark thought about his own father, and how he felt towards him after being grounded. He was sometimes resentful and often frustrated, but he never hated his father, and he was never truly angry about a punishment after the fact. Needing Lex to understand, Clark decided to be blunt about everything.

Clark gently squeezed Lex’s shoulders and said, “I’m not sure how things work between you and your dad, but I know I don’t want you to end up hating me, so I’m going to tell you how things work between me and my dad. After my dad punishes me for something, it’s over and done with. He doesn’t stay angry, and he doesn’t make me feel bad or guilty about the things I’ve done once the punishment is over. He expects me to learn from my mistakes, and trusts that I won’t make them again. So I want you to know that I’m not angry, I won’t hold this over your head, and I forgive you, because I trust that you won’t do it again.”

It hadn't actually occurred to Lex to even think about hating Clark. He might have just been spanked to tears, but he couldn't feel angry or resentful towards his friend. Besides, his father had never taken the time to comfort him. Right from an early age, the only way Lionel had shown his displeasure had been through silent and cold treatment.

The one fear that Lex had was that he'd turn into his father.

"I don't hate you," Lex said quietly. He was still trying to figure out exactly how he did feel, but he knew that he didn't hate Clark.

Relieved to hear those words, Clark smiled. “Good. It would really suck if the only friend who knew my secret hated me.” He sighed, thinking about what his own father was going to have to say about discussing his secret with his friend. “After you’ve had a chance to calm down, I think you should come to dinner at my house tonight.”

Lex frowned and shook his head. "I shouldn't do that. Your father hates me."

“He doesn’t know you well enough to hate you,” Clark said, “and I’d really like to give him a chance to get to know you before he finds out I told you my secret.”

Lex still wasn't sure about the whole thing, but he nodded slowly. "All right."

Clark patted his arm, and said, “Why don’t you go get cleaned up, and we’ll head over to my house as soon as you’re ready.”

"Getting cleaned up sounds like a good idea." Lex gently extricated himself from Clark, aware that he needed a few minutes to calm himself down and get himself away from a place where he felt so emotionally vulnerable.

“Take all the time you need. I’ll wait here.” Clark leaned back and got comfortable on the couch.

Lex nodded and stepped through to the bathroom. Checking his reflection in the mirror, he splashed cold water on his face and took advantage of the opportunity to give a quick rub to his backside. He was somewhat surprised that he wasn't really mad at Clark, but he reflected that Clark had made it clear that he cared about him... something Lex's father seemed incapable of doing.

After checking his reflection again in the mirror, Lex wasn't completely happy with how he looked, but at least it looked less like he'd been crying. Taking a deep breath, he stepped back into the other room.

“Ready to go?” Clark asked as soon as he saw Lex.

Lex nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be," he said, somewhat wryly.

The two men were soon back in Lex’s car headed to the Kent farm. The closer they got, the more nervous Clark became. He knew his father was going to be unhappy about his decision to tell Lex his secret, but there was no turning back now. He glanced over at his friend, and decided it was worth any amount of trouble to have someone he didn’t have to constantly lie to.

Lex drove in silence, thoughts turning over in his mind. It seemed to take an age to get to the Kent farm, but once he stopped outside, the journey seemed to be over all too quickly. He still wasn't sure this was a good idea.

“Just follow my lead,” Clark said as he got out of the car, and headed up the porch stairs. He opened the front door and stepped inside, leaving it open for Lex. He saw his mother in the kitchen and said with a bright smile, “Hey Mom, guess who decided to give me a ride home?”

Martha turned to the open door, and saw Lex standing just outside the threshold. With a warm smile she said, “Hello Lex, it’s nice to see you again.”

Lex smiled in return, even though he was feeling a bit awkward. "Hello, Mrs. Kent," he said politely.

"Hey Mom," Clark said, "Lex really helped me and Chloe today and I was hoping we could have him stay for dinner, and we could tell you and Dad all about it."

Martha frowned for an instant, thinking about her husband's feelings on the young man standing in her kitchen, but her frown quickly turned into a welcoming smile when she saw Clark's hopeful expression. "Of course he can." She turned to Lex and said, "Please come in, Lex, and have a seat," Martha said, gesturing to the kitchen bar stools. "I hope you like fried chicken."

"Anything's fine." Lex took a seat, a little cautiously. If it wasn't for Clark, he would have politely excused himself and left. But, well, he was already committed.

“It will be ready in just a few minutes,” Martha said. She checked the pans on the stove, and then got another plate out of the cupboard. She handed it to Clark with some silverware and said, “Set another place at the table please.”

“Sure.” Clark took the plate, and said, “Where’s Dad?”

“He’s washing up. He’ll be down in a second,” Martha turned to Lex and said, “Would you like something to drink? We have milk, water, or soda.”

"Water's fine, Mrs. Kent, thank you," Lex answered politely.

While Martha was pouring him a glass of water, Jonathan came down the stairs. He had a smile on his face, until he saw Lex sitting at his kitchen counter. He scowled at the young man, and then turned his displeased look towards his son.

Ignoring the frown, Clark smiled and said, “Hey Dad, Mom said Lex could stay for dinner.”

Jonathan turned his scowl towards his wife, who gave him one back. After seeing her expression, he sighed loudly, and resigned himself to spending the evening with the younger Luthor. “Lex,” he muttered in greeting.

Aware of Jonathan's bad feelings towards him, Lex nevertheless stayed polite. "It's nice to see you again, Mr. Kent."

Jonathan made a nose that almost sounded like a scoff. He opened his mouth to say more, but Martha put a serving dish with potatoes in his hands and said, “Put these on the table, please.”

She handed a couple of dishes to Clark as well, and then gestured to a spot at the table. “Come and sit down, Lex.”

Lex nodded. "Is there anything I can take over?"

“Sure.” With a smile, she handed him a bowl with dinner rolls, before picking up the plate with chicken, and heading over to the table herself.

Once they were all sitting down and putting food on their plates, Clark said, “Remember I told you guys about Donna picking up that table last night?”

“Yes,” Martha said, “and you were going to help Chloe do some research today right?”

“Right…” Clark said, “Well, we found out that Donna’s step-father is a chemist, and that he works for the company that makes that new perfume Admire… which just happens to be one of the companies Lex owns.”

Both Martha and Jonathan turned their gaze to the young man.
"It seems the perfume has some adverse side effects if it's swallowed," Lex said. "I've spoken to Donna's father. My scientists are going to work with her to find a way to help her."

“Don’t you think that’s kind of too little, too late?” Jonathan asked with a scowl. He barreled on without leaving room for Lex to answer. “Why the hell would you have something like that on the market? Doesn’t your company do testing for Christ sake?”

“That’s not fair, Dad…” Clark said, trying to calm the man down.

Jonathan held a hand up to stop Clark. “No son, let the man speak for himself.”

"You're right, Mr. Kent," Lex said calmly. "As I understand, the perfume was tested to make sure it had no negative effects, but no one thought to check how safe the perfume was to consume. There were warnings against drinking the perfume, of course, but I have ensured that the people working in that company - and other companies where it's applicable - will test the effects of items when they're consumed."

“Hm.” Jonathan grunted, sounding unconvinced, and put another bite in his mouth.

“Come on Dad,” Clark said, with irritation, “You wouldn’t blame the gas station owner if someone went home and drank some gasoline. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to swallow perfume. You can’t blame Lex for Donna’s bad decisions.”

“Wait a minute,” Martha said, “Swallowing perfume might make someone ill, but it wouldn’t make them suddenly stronger, that doesn’t make any sense.”

“The perfume has bits of the meteor rock ground up in it,” Clark said quietly, hoping his father wouldn’t fly off the handle at the news.

“What!” Jonathan shouted, glaring at Lex even harder than before. “You let them put meteor rock in your product? What were you thinking!”

"As I said, Mr. Kent, the perfume was tested as thoroughly as possible before being released," Lex answered. "There was nothing to indicate that using the meteor rock was dangerous." Of course, knowing now that they had an adverse effect on Clark, Lex had already decided to have the products removed from sale. He could afford the loss in profits.

Pulling one side of his lip up in disgust, Jonathan said, “You’ve always got a smug answer for everything, don’t you. Just like your father.”

“Jonathan,” Martha said quietly with reproof.

Clark saw the hurt expression that crossed Lex’s face, and knew he couldn’t wait any longer to tell his parents what he’d done. Not only would that switch the focus of his father’s ire, but it would also force his parents to work with Lex instead of against him.

“You know what, Dad?” Clark said, raising his voice. “Lex is nothing like his father, and you’d better get used to giving him the benefit of the doubt, because I told him all about my abilities.”

Even though he knew that would come out sooner or later, Lex hadn't expected Clark to tell his parents this soon, with him there in the room. His appetite had already dropped due to the conversation so far and this wasn't helping. He wanted to say something, but for once, he couldn't think of a single thing that might help this situation, rather than make it worse.

Martha gasped and put a hand over her mouth.

Jonathan stood up and shouted, “You what!”

Flinching at his father’s reaction, Clark swallowed hard, and said with a shaky voice, “I uh… told him about my abilities, and um… gave him a little demonstration.”

“Oh Clark, you didn’t,” Martha said with dismay.

Clark’s face flushed bright red. “I did.”

Jonathan stepped away from the table and paced back and forth in the dining area. He rubbed a hand down is face, while trying to calm his fear and worry.

After several extremely tense seconds of silence, Clark said quietly, “I had to tell someone, Dad, and I...”

Jonathan slapped his hand down on the table, making everyone jump. “Don’t you dare lie to me, Clark!” With effort, he lowered his voice. “You didn’t have to tell anyone, you wanted to tell Lex, and you know your mother and I would have said no.”

“Okay, you’re right,” Clark said, and looked over at his friend. “I wanted to tell Lex. I trust him to keep my secret, more than I’d trust any of my other friends.”

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Clark," Lex said. "I would never do anything to harm him or give away his secrets. I know you don't think much of me, Mr. Kent, but I have the resources needed to stop anyone else from finding out about this."

Jonathan’s glare went back and forth between the two young men, before settling on Clark. “You’re grounded. For a month.”

“A month?” Clark said with dismay.

Jonathan put his hands on the table, and leaned in towards his son. “Yes a month. I want you home every day five minutes after school lets out. There will be no going to the Talon with your friends before or after school. There will be no going over to the mansion to hang out with Lex and play pool. What there will be, is a lot of you doing the chores around the farm at regular speed while I’m keeping my eye on you. Do you understand me?”

Clark slouched in his chair, and scowled at his plate. “Yes Sir.”

Jonathan continued, “You should thank your lucky stars that I can’t spank you, because I’ve never felt like you deserved it more.”

Clark’s face turned bright red for a second time that evening, and he kept his eyes on his plate, unwilling to see how Lex might have reacted to that news.

Jonathan turned his focus to Lex, “As for you, if I ever find out that you’ve used my son’s secret against him in any way, I’ll…”
Martha put a hand on Jonathan’s arm and said, “Jonathan, that’s enough.” She turned to Lex with a serious expression and said, “Lex says he’ll keep Clark’s secret, and I believe he’s sincere.” She turned her focus back to her husband and added, “Threatening the boy is not going to help this situation.”

"Clark is my friend," Lex said. "I won't betray him." He'd actually flinched a little at the mention of spanking and hoped that that hadn't been noticed. He was still a little sore from earlier - the last thing he wanted was more reminding.

Martha smiled at the young man and said, “Thank you, Lex. We appreciate that more than we can say. My biggest fear is that the general public will discover my son’s secret. I’ve always been terrified of having Clark taken from us. I can’t help but picture…” Tears formed in her eyes, and she had to clear her throat and wipe her eyes before continuing, “…some scientist performing horrible experiments on him.”

Jonathan sat down and grasped one of his wife’s hands in both of his to comfort her.

“Mom,” Clark said softly, “That’s never going to happen.”

She turned to her son long enough to say, “You can’t guarantee that, Clark, and your decision to tell Lex without our consent doesn’t help quell my fears.” She turned back to Lex and said, “What will help me not to worry, is getting to know you better.”

Lex nodded. "I can understand that - and I understand your fears. If it helps at all, after I saw the way the meteorite in the perfume affected Clark, I made the call to have the product recalled and no more sold."

Clark looked over at his friend with some surprise, but before he could say thank you, his mother spoke.

“Thank you, Lex, we’re grateful. I know you’ll be losing money on that, so it was very selfless of you to recall all those bottles just for Clark.” Martha turned to her husband and added, “Isn’t it Jonathan.”

Begrudgingly, Jonathan gave him a tight lipped nod, and said, “Yes it was.” He sighed and said, “I may have… judged you too harshly in the past.”

“And…” Martha said while looking at her husband expectantly.

He stifled the urge to roll his eyes at her, and said, “And I’ll try to give you the benefit of the doubt in the future, instead of assuming you’re guilty by association with your father.”

"I appreciate that, Mr. Kent," Lex said politely. "I'm not my father. I'd do anything to avoid becoming him."

Jonathan nodded in approval, and said, “Good.”

Martha smiled, and said, “I guess there’s not much left to say, other than welcome to the family, Lex. You’re welcome in our home anytime, and you have a standing invitation to dinner any night you can make it. Sunday night I always make something special for desert, so it would be especially nice if you could make an effort to come on that day, and I know while Clark is grounded, he’d appreciate the company more often than that.”

“Yes Lex,” Clark chimed in excitedly, “please say you’ll come to dinner at least twice a week. You have no idea how boring this next month is going to be for me.”

Lex nodded, reflecting on the fact that he didn't know just how boring being grounded would be - it's not like his father would have cared enough to bother doing that. "I'm sure I can manage that." It might mean changing a few things around, but that was something he could do.

“Great,” Clark said with a grin. Other than being grounded, which sucked, telling Lex was turning out to be a good thing. He was positive that his dad would come around once he got to know Lex, and his mother now had excuse to force the issue, and make his father give Lex a chance. “And hey, I wanted to say thank you too, for recalling the perfume. I didn’t know you’d done that.” He gently clapped Lex on the shoulder and said, “That’s a real nice thing for you do to for me.”

Lex smiled at Clark. "You're my friend. It was an easy decision to make." And he wanted to prove that Clarkhad made the right choice in trusting him with his secrets. After all, he had very few true friends - and Lex had already resolved that he would do anything within his power to protect his closest.

The End

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