“And now, Luthor, you die.”

The words were cold, the voice a low baritone that Lex’s panicked brain didn’t recognize.

Everyone says your life flashes in front of your eyes when you’'re about to die; Lex just saw the bullets. There were two of them. The bangs that resounded as the gun was fired were deafening. Nothing like the sounds of guns being fired on TV; reality was much louder.

He felt the first bullet enter his body right below his ribcage and he slumped forward immediately, feeling hot fire spreading from the wound up his spine to his brain and back out in every single cell in his whole body. It felt like it happened in slowmotion.

The second bullet entered his chest, the sound of the gun going off echoing through his mind, splitting his head in two as though he was suddenly attacked by a migraine. He barely felt the bullet; his whole body was inflamed in pain already, making it impossible for him to stay on his feet. He fell to his knees, the rough ground scraping his knees, making them bleed, but there was already sticky warm blood everywhere and Lex didn’t notice. The world was spinning around him, the edges going black.


Lex looked up. It was hard just to move his eyes now; he felt so heavy and it was hard to breathe.

“Oh god no, Lex—”

Clark stood above him. Lex frowned, suddenly not understanding why Clark looked so horrified as he sat down before Lex and cradled him. He barely felt it; the pain and his body as a whole was fading away. Lex barely noticed.

“Clark,” Lex mumbled and he wanted to move his hand, wanted to wipe away the tears that were running down Clark’s cheeks.

“I’m so sorry I was too late oh god Lex don’t die on me,” Clark sobbed. Lex didn’t want to see Clark crying; he didn’t want to disappoint Clark. But the darkness was sweeping over him and his eyelids were so heavy—

He heard sirens in the distance and felt one of Clark’s tears on his cheek as he drifted away to Clark’s sobbing.

Lex heard voices.

“...not sure he’ll ever...”

“...see him?”

“...medication, maybe you should...”

“...stay here...”

He couldn’t identify the voices. They sounded far away, as though he was standing in one end of a tunnel and the ones talking were standing on the other end.

Then one of the voices was suddenly closer.

“Hi Lex.”

The voice was quiet, somber, laced with pain. Lex knew the voice, though his hazy mind couldn’t place it.

“I’m— I’m sorry for what happened. I should have been there, I should have protected you... but I didn’t know— I didn’t—”

Lex became aware of his own body as his hand was grasped. Pain shot up through his arm into his brain and he gasped.


There was such hope in the voice. Lex’s hazy mind knew that he wanted to please this person, this voice.

“Lex— oh god, did I hurt you? I’m sorry, I—”

Focusing on the voice, Lex moved his hand, squeezing the other person’s. Pain spread through his body like fire when he did, but he knew he had to. The movement was barely there, yet the voice felt it.

“Lex...” the voice breathed. “Come back, Lex, please...”

It was so hard. Lex forced himself to try to wade through the pain shooting through his body, but it was taking over him. He didn’t want to disappoint the voice, although he didn’t know why. He felt himself slipping back, away from the voice.

“Lex, calm down— don’t push it,” the voice said, sounding suddenly worried. “Shh— Lex, if you can hear me, just— sleep. You need it...”

Lex was exhausted, the pain shooting through his body flashing white-hot through his brain. He let go then, doing as the voice said; he relaxed and let the darkness take him again, sweeping his consciousness with it. He felt his hand being squeezed again, though it didn’t hurt this time, and then the darkness took over.

He couldn’t feel his body, so the next time Lex regained consciousness, he had to lay and think about whether or not he was awake before deciding that he indeed was. His eyelids felt like they were made of lead; he had to concentrate to open them even just a little.

It didn’t help all that much; the room was dark. At least he hoped so, or he’d gone blind. He knew otherwise, though, when he saw the moonlight filtering in through the window.

Lex frowned slightly, recalling what had left him in this position.

A gun.

Two shots echoing loudly through his mind.

“Oh god no, Lex—”

Being cradled to a warm chest as his body and consciousness faded.

There was a hazy memory of Clark’s voice, guiding him back from the depths of unconsciousness. It might just as well have been a dream, though. There had been many strange dreams, Lex knew, though he remembered nothing of what had happened in them.

Lex suddenly realized that his hand was held by something – or rather, someone – warm. Lex knew without looking who it was.

“Hello Clark,” he mumbled, willing himself to squeeze Clark’s hand but not quite managing. Not that Clark noticed. Both Lex’s words and actions went right by Clark, as he was very much asleep, his head on the side of Lex’s bed, both hands holding Lex’s.

Lex smiled slightly and let himself fall back to sleep.

Lex woke up before Clark the next morning as well. The room was light now, sunlight spilling inside, nearly giving him a headache. The light created a sort of halo around Clark’s sleeping form, making him look otherworldly. Lex enjoyed his view; Clark’s face was turned towards him and Lex studied the finely chiseled face. Clark’s full lips were slightly parted and a low whistle came every time he exhaled.

Suddenly, without Lex having anything to do it, Clark stirred and stretched. His eyes fluttered open and landed on Lex.

“Good morning,” Lex said, the words slurred because he hadn’t used his mouth in a while and it was dry as a desert on top of that.

“Lex!” Clark said and his face split into a wide smile. He moved to embrace Lex, but remembered in time that embracing Lex right now might not be the best of ideas. So he stood, hands falling to the side and a huge, goofy smile still on his lips, not quite knowing what to do, it seemed. “You’re awake,” he said finally, unnecessarily. “Do you— do you want anything? Something to eat or drink or a nurse or—”

“Water would be good,” Lex said, hating the feeling of a dry mouth.

Clark smiled wider, seemingly glad to have something specific to do. He poured a glass of water for Lex and held it to his lips. Lex drank greedily.

The plastic glass was thrown away and Lex and Clark’s eyes met. Silence spread, then:

“I thought I’d lost you.”

Choked up words, Clark’s smile suddenly disappearing. His shoulders slumped forward uncharacteristically and he looked down.

“I’m sorry,” Lex said, for once not knowing exactly what to say. It hurt him to see Clark in pain and he felt even worse, knowing that he had caused it. He didn’t want to hurt his best friend.

Clark sank down in his chair, a pained chuckle escaping his lips. “You shouldn’t be— you were shot. You couldn’t do anything about it. I just— I’m sorry I wasn’t there to—”

“To what?” Lex asked. “Take the bullets for me?”


The word came without hesitation. Lex just stared at him. An odd feeling of warmth spread in his chest at the quick reply and his response to the word was just as obvious. “Then I’m glad you weren’t there.”

Clark shook his head and raked his hand through his hair. When he looked at Lex again, he said, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Trust me, so am I,” Lex said and it earned him a smile, which was what he’d been hoping for.

“If you could avoid life-or-death situations in the future, I would be happy,” Clark said softly. “My heart can only take so much.”

Lex’s eyes glittered, “Yes, and we can’t have Kent’s heart go bad, can we?”

Clark smiled again. He stood up. “Well, then, I guess I have to go tell the doctor you beat the odds and woke up again.”

“You do that,” Lex said, returning Clark’s smile with one of his own.

Clark squeezed his shoulder – the side that hadn’t been shot – and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Lex nodded and Clark walked over to the door. With one hand on the handle, he turned to Lex. He didn’t say anything, though; he just met Lex’s gaze and smiled slightly again. There was no need for any more words. Then he was gone, out into the bustling hallway, and Lex was left to contemplate just what Clark really meant to him.

The place where Clark had squeezed his shoulder burned.

The end.

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