Pale Purple
by HYPERFocused

Five-year-old Clark Kent, and his best friend Pete Ross were sitting at the Kent's kitchen table coloring with Clark's 96 color box of Crayolas, and a pile of oak tag. Pete had already drawn a big green dinosaur/dragon creature, and a picture of his family.

Clark had drawn a picture of Barney, his very favorite cow. Barney was a girl, but that didn't bother Clark. Clark had named her when she was just a calf, insisting on singing her "her song" until he finally tired of it. Martha and Jonathan were glad he only sang it out in the barn, and in the field. He loved them, and they loved him, but there was only so much a parent could take.

"Why is your sky purple?" Pete asked, watching Clark scribble lavender across the top of his 'vanilla' tag board.

"I don't know. It's just supposed to be that color. Did you want it? See, I didn't use it all." He handed Pete the stub, the words "ola" and "der" still visible.

Clark was hard on crayons. He was hard on chalk, and markers too. He tried to be careful, but his enthusiasm made art supplies snap in half in his little fists, or dwindle away too quickly when he colored, his hand a blur.

"Gimme, Clark." Pete said, holding out a sticky palm. They'd finished their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he had leftover traces on his still pudgy hands. "I'm drawing a Flying People Purple Eater."

"Silly, it's a purple people eater. It doesn't eat purple!"

"It eats purple people," Pete insisted.

"I've never seen any purple people," Clark said doubtfully.

"Well, neither have I," Pete admitted. "But I've only ever been to Metropolis. I bet the purple people live in Edge City."

"I've been lots farther away than that, and I've never seen purple people anywhere."

"You have not! Your mommy and daddy haven't taken you out of Kansas yet. You only just went to Metropolis," Pete said indignantly.

"I wasn't with my mommy and daddy yet. I was up in the sky. My first mommy and daddy talked to me, and then there were sparklers and I fell. It was scary." Clark's voice trembled a little.

"Oh, Clark. That must have been when you came here to be 'dop Ted.' I don't know why they changed your name to Clark, then. I bet you came on an airplane. I went on an airplane when we went to Disneyworld. It was fun." He patted Clark on the hand. "I'm sorry you were scared. I'd protect you." He made a karate move, like he'd seen on the video games his brothers played.

"Thanks, Pete," Clark said, giving his friend a toothy grin. "Here, how about the silver crayon for the horn? And maybe red for the eye?" He handed the crayons to Pete.

Watching the interplay from the living room, Martha made note to talk to Jonathan about the need to teach Clark about secrecy. She didn't think there was any real need to worry now - little boys made up stories, and both Clark and Pete were probably too young to differentiate fantasy from truth. But someday people might put two and two together. Clark's "I was in the sky" story viewed with his growing oddities, or "gifts" as Jonathan liked to call them, could start people asking the wrong questions. Martha would do anything to make sure Clark was safe and happy with them.

"You both have such vivid imaginations, don't you?" Martha told them, handing them each a juice box, and admiring their handiwork. "That's a pretty sky, Clark, and your dragon is scary, Pete!"

"It's a dinosaur, Mrs. Kent. A Stegosaurus. "

"Yeah, mom, dragons breathe fire." Clark explained.

"Oh, of course. Silly me," Martha said. "Here, Clark. Use your napkin. You've got a grape mustache." He squirmed while she wiped his face.

"Can we go play with the kittens?" Clark asked, jumping down from the table and not listening to see if it was ok to head for the barn.

"Yes, you may go see the kittens, but play gently with them. You know what that means, Clark." Martha shooed them off.

"OK Mama." Clark grabbed Pete's hand and dragged him off. "C'mon, slowpoke!"

Later that night, Clark cajoled Jonathan into singing the "purple people song", and scooping him up to "fly me, Daddy" around the house. Then Jonathan carried a sleepy Clark up to his bed, and tucked him in with a story. "No, Clark, just one."

Afterwards, he and Martha talked about Clark's day.

"He's really good with Pete, Jonathan. Shares his toys, and doesn't hurt him. I just wish we could be sure he'd be ok with a lot of kids. He really should go to kindergarten"

"I know, sweetheart. But what if something happened?" Jonathan held her close. "He's just too little to control himself all the time."

"He's come so far, though. Remember when he wouldn't even talk? Now he's a little chatterbox."

Jonathan laughed. "Believe me, I know. He hardly shut up tonight to let me tell the story."

"Did you see his pictures? They're on the fridge."

"Yeah. The cow was good. It even has all four legs and a tail. It's funny though, he always draws purple skies."

"I think maybe his skies were purple, before he got here." Martha suggested.

"Honey, there's no way he could remember that. He must have been a tiny baby when he was put in that pod."

"I don't know. Maybe it's some ancestral memory thing, or something he saw in the ship. He was telling Pete about 'being in the sky', and being scared when it got all 'sparkly' when he landed."

"Oh no." Jonathan said, concern darkening his tone. "What did you do?"

"Told them they had such vivid imaginations, and tried to distract them. Pete thought he meant the airplane ride when he came here to be adopted, anyway. It's fine."

"For now. But Clark is going to have to learn to be more circumspect." Jonathan was insistent.

"Oh, honey. I just hate that we're going to have to teach him how to lie."

:"We don't have any choice. We have to protect him. There are too many people who would hurt him if they knew who he was, or use him if they knew what he could do."

"We'll never let that happen. We love him too much. " Martha confirmed. "Sometimes I can't believe how lucky we are."

"I count my blessings every day," Jonathan told her.


Clark was almost sixteen when he met Lex Luthor for the second time. He didn't remember meeting him the first time, which wasn't surprising, since it was his first day on Earth, and really he shouldn't be expected to remember anything from such a traumatic experience. Certainly, he remembered less than Lana seemed to, though he suspected her constant retelling of the story kept the details cemented in her mind.

The first time, Lex had been caught in the meteor shower that was a cover for Clark's arrival in the little pod. The flames had taken his hair, and nearly scared the life out of him. Clark's father had rescued him when his own was too horrified to do so. It was just another reason for Jonathan to hate Lionel. The man seemed to care more about his son's unpleasant appearance, than his life.

Their meeting at fifteen and twenty-two respectively had been just as monumental. Lex was speeding through Smallville, feeling put upon at being forced to live and work there. The shit factory job sounded like one of his father's jokes, but Lionel was deadly serious. His irate voice on the phone was testament to that.

Distracted and disgusted, Lex didn't notice the bale of barbed wire fall of the truck in front of him until it was too late. And he couldn't stop the Porsche from hurtling towards the river - hitting the bridge, and the red clad form standing on its edge. It was his second unwelcome welcome to Smallville.

For his part, Clark was feeling no great love for his hometown, or more particularly for the jerks at his high school. He thought making the football team could have changed that, but his father had negated any chances of that happening. It wasn't fair; they should trust him. He hated that they still thought of him as a baby-unable to control himself and his abilities.

Life was changing for him - he was changing, and he didn't have any of the answers he needed. A good sulk on the bridge would help clear his head, he thought.

Getting slammed into it by a big silver sports car was not what he had in mind for his afternoon. It sure didn't help his mood any.

The event went by so quickly it was almost a blur. The weight of the water on him; a burst of strength and speed. Tearing the roof off the car like it was an imperative, with no effort at all. His father had a harder time opening the cap to the Aleve.

The young man lying pale and still on the shore, until Clark breathed life back into him. Cold lips slowly warming. Clark's unbelievable relief when he gasped and coughed out the river water. The look of wonder in his grey-blue eyes.

At the same time, Clark felt slow and sluggish by the time his father arrived, bearing blankets and an admonishment for the man -- Lex - who had caused the accident. He wanted to tell his dad to go easy on the guy. Nearly drowning had to be punishment enough for his recklessness.

He didn't understand what had happened. How he had survived the crash, much less saved Lex in such a dramatic way. He should be dead. Probably they both should. What kind of freak was he, anyway? Clark knew he'd have to do something drastic to get his parents to give him any answers. He was sick of them brushing him off, or changing the subject whenever he asked why he was so different.

Hand in the wood chipper different. He wasn't even thinking when he did it, knew it wouldn't hurt, though a small part of him wanted it to, sick as that was. He'll never forget the look on his father's face. Horror turned to resignation.

The truth, when he finally got it, was laughable. Unbelievable. If he'd seen it on TV, he'd have said "Oh, yeah, like that'd ever happen.". Smallville was weird enough as it was. But aliens? Or rather an alien? No way. He wished he could remember what it was like, where he came from. He knew it was impossible. He saw how small that ship was. He must have been in there since he was a baby. Still, there were impressions and near memories that he couldn't quite decipher or explain. Clark wondered if he'd ever have any answers.

And yes, he understood why he couldn't tell people. He'd seen The X-Files, and even E.T. He'd never thought of them as warnings before. But part of him wished he could tell Chloe. She'd get such a kick out of knowing. Unfortunately she'd get a bigger thrill from telling the story to the world, so that wasn't even a possibility. He had the biggest - coolest - secret in the world, and he couldn't share it with anyone.

He was obviously doomed to be a dork forever. Life sucked.

Life sucked even more when he found out he wasn't going to be allowed to keep the shiny new truck that was wrapped in ribbon, and parked under a tree like the Christmas present of his dreams. He shouldn't have gotten his hopes up he knew that. But God, how cool it would have been to drive that thing to school.

Instead, the next morning Clark found himself inside a castle, resigned to hand the keys back to the guy who almost killed him. Lex was currently sword fighting, if the zooming bit of metal that almost hit him - what was with that, anyway - was any indication. Hell, it was a castle, after all. He was also looking particularly healthy for someone who had nearly drowned just the day before. Clark probably shouldn't be noticing how healthy Lex looked.

He could tell Lex noticed him, too. There really was a connection between them. Clark had felt it back on the riverbank. He first chalked it up to the strange circumstances of their meeting, but now he thought there was more to it than that. Apparently Lex did too, judging from that "we have a destiny together" speech.

Clark couldn't wait to find out what that meant.


When Lex offered to throw him a party for his seventeenth birthday, Clark wasn't sure it was a good idea. He didn't feel much like celebrating. Things at home were still a bit iffy. They all were trying to get back to normal. His family was till grieving the loss of his unborn sibling, certainly, but his mother had begun laughing again, and his father didn't look at him with such pain anymore, or act like he was leaving forever whenever Clark said he was heading out for a while. They weren't quite walking on eggshells, but things were still fragile.

Lex seemed to understand this. He was still feeling a bit fragile himself, recovering from his sham of a wedding, and the plane crash that nearly killed him. He'd been a shadow of his former self when he returned to Smallville.

Clark hated the way he looked, raw and hurting inside and out. And he couldn't help adding that to the guilt he felt. He hadn't been there for Lex when he needed him. He'd been so wrapped up in his own problems that Lex could have died, and he'd never know.

Admittedly, his problems had been pretty huge, but he'd run away from them as well. He spent a summer doing things he didn't want to remember. Now it was yet another thing he had in common with Lex, who had given him occasional glimpses into a past more sordid than the tabloids even knew.

"You're lucky to have such a good upbringing, Clark," Lex had said to him, after another of Jonathan's tirades. "Your father is probably right about me."

"No, he isn't, Lex. Whatever you might have done when you were younger, you're not like that now. Look how you saved the plant."

"I was just trying to get back at my father." Lex discounted.

"By restoring thousands of jobs? That's a hell of a lot healthier than getting wasted at some Metropolis club like you used to do." Clark was sick of Lex selling himself short. None of Lex's protestations of unworthiness had stopped Clark from considering him his best friend, or from falling in love with him.

He hadn't mentioned that last bit to Lex yet, but tonight that was all going to change. No more flirting around the subject. He was tired of the dance they'd been doing since that day on the riverbank. There was only one thing Clark wanted for his birthday, and it wasn't something Lex could buy him at Fordman's.

Clark knew that Lex wanted him, and he was pretty sure Lex loved him, as well. Victoria had been a business transaction, Desiree a pheromone induced mistake, and Helen a last ditch effort at normalcy - who turned out to be the most dangerous of all. Apparently Lex wasn't meant for normalcy. He was destined to have an extraordinary life - just like Clark.

Clark had never seen the castle look so festive. Garlands of violet and white draped the hallways, deep purple irises and lighter lilacs and tulips filled vases all along the ballroom. Other vessels held red American beauty roses, and yellow sunflowers.

He'd convinced Lex not to make the party just for him. He didn't want to be the center of attention. Instead, Lex had invited the whole town. It was a LexCorp blowout, and a benefit for Smallville's Disaster Relief fund. The invitation specified no gifts, just donations. He was pleased to see a growing pile of toiletries and canned food on the entranceway table.

Pete and Chloe and his parents hadn't heeded the restriction, however. Pete gave him the entire Talon Mix set, pointing out his name on the producer's credits. Chloe gave him a vintage newsman's hat she'd found at a thrift shop. "This means you'd better write more for me, Kent," she said.

Clark grinned at that. It had been an awkward year for them, and he was glad they were back to being friends. "Clark Kent, roving reporter. Cool! Thanks, Chloe." He put the hat on.

"That's a good look for you, Clark." Lex said. It was. Clark didn't feel like himself. The hat went with the charcoal colored suit and moss green shirt he was wearing. Lex had taken him to Metropolis to buy it. His parents hadn't been thrilled, but Lex convinced them by telling him he would need a good suit for graduation, and other occasions in the future, and it was a much more appropriate gift for him to give Clark than, say, a truck.

Lex himself was dressed impeccably in a light gray suit, and a shirt the color of Scottish heather. It was a combination most people couldn't pull off, but he wore it perfectly. Clark always found it interesting, how colors that would look sickly sweet on Lana, or cheap and garish on Chloe, just looked right on Lex. He really did wear purple like royalty.

Lex as royalty was not a new image to Clark. He'd spent many a private night in the fortress thinking about it. He had a picture in his head: Lex wrapped in deep purple velvet robes, trimmed with gold. Clark would be a page, or a knight, or some other treasured attendant, there to protect and care for his king. He imagined Lex peeling off his royal robes to reveal the palest unblemished skin for him to wash with the softest of cloths, and then - if he was very lucky - to touch.

Obviously, he'd watched too many hours of A&E with his mother.

After the guests had been fed, and the band had finished their last set, the evening ended with a laser light show better than the one Lex had taken Clark to see at the Luthor Planetarium in Metropolis. Clark was touched that Lex had remembered how much he'd loved it.

The castle was illuminated in shimmering colors, while Holst's "The Planets" played. It was gorgeous. Probably louder than the Smallville noise ordinances would allow, but Lex could take care of that.

"So, did you like your party, Clark?" Lex asked. The rest of the guests had all gone home, some in their own cars, and others in cabs and limos Lex had provided for their safety. Clark hoped the press the next morning would report kindly on the event.

Now, they stood shoulder to shoulder watching the last of the lights play over the castle walls, and each other.

"It was wonderful." Clark told him. "You were right. It was time."

"For a celebration?" Lex's voice was soft, indulgent.

"Well, yes. And for this." Clark took Lex by the hand, and led him into the castle. He didn't let go as he walked them up the stairs, and into Lex's bedroom suite.

"Clark?" Lex started. "What are you ---"

"I'm tired of playing games with you Lex, and I think you're sick of it too. We both came too close to losing everything." He sat on the edge of the bed, and slowly began unbuttoning his suit. "So tonight you're going to give me my real birthday present, and I'm going to give you something, too."

"I don't remember inviting you to my bed," Lex said. He tried for a smirk, but couldn't quite pull it off. Clark loved the look of wide-eyed surprise on his face. So unusual for one usually so unflappable.

"You've been inviting me since the day you said we had a destiny together. You've said it in unhealthy choices, and obsessions. You were just too scared to say it in words. It's a good thing I've learned to read you so well." He shook off the jacket, and started on the shirt, feeling encouraged that Lex couldn't take his eyes off him. "Why don't you get comfortable, Lex? That jacket must be warm."

"We shouldn't do this, Clark. You're too young to know what you want." Lex sat down on the bed, a few feet away from Clark.

"I'm seventeen. I know what I want. I've known for more than a year."

"Then you're too young to understand the consequences. You won't be safe with me."

"I'll take my chances, I think. You know I can protect myself - and anyone else who needs me." Clark moved closer to Lex, and began to unbutton his shirt. If Lex wouldn't do it himself, he would.

"I just don't want to risk losing our friendship, Clark." Lex said, his hands moving to do the same for Clark. "It's very valuable to me. You're valuable to me. More so than anybody I've ---"



"I've been fucked. I've done a lot of things I wish I hadn't, when I wasn't myself. I don't just want you to fuck me, Lex."

"What do you want?"

"You love me. I want you to show me. I want you to take away those memories, and replace them with something better."

"You're pretty sure of things, aren't you?" Lex said, smiling so genuinely Clark knew he had won.

"No, not in general. But I am sure of you -- of us. I'm sure that I want you, want this."

"You've obviously thought a lot about this, haven't you, Clark?" Lex said, looking down at, but not yet touching Clark's growing erection.

"God, yes," Clark breathed.

"Tell me." Lex reached out to run a slim finger from Clark's open mouth, stopping to stroke the hollow of his throat, then unbuttoned the rest of Clark's shirt and pushed it off his shoulders.

"I've thought about your skin; the parts you've exposed to me. The way it almost glows. I want to touch it - all of it." He did. "I want to know if it's as soft - and as hard - as I've imagined." He let his hands wander down Lex's chest, to his thigh, and finally wrapped one around Lex's cock, looking up at him to make sure it was okay.

"And is it?" Lex gasped as Clark's grip grew firmer. "Like you imagined, I mean."

"No, it's so much better. More real." Clark told him.

"It isn't perfect." Lex pointed to the newest scars, from the plane crash.

"It is to me, Lex. Every freckle; every scar. They're all part of you. Signs of your ability to survive. And when I'm done doing this," he gestured down to what his other hand was still busy doing, "I want to taste every single one of them."

"Jesus, Clark. If you keep on doing that, it's going to be a while before anything else happens." Lex put a hand around Clark's, adjusting his movements slightly.

"Did you want me to stop?" Clark asked him.

"Does it look like I want you to stop?"

"Well, no."

"You always did have a keen - that's perfect -- sense of observation."

"Roving reporter, you know." Clark said, laughing and pointing at his hat, which improbably was the only thing he still wore. Lex reached up and took it off him, tossing it onto a nearby chair.

"You know, it's your birthday, Clark. I'm the one who's supposed to be giving the presents. Come closer, and let me reciprocate."

"Letting me do this is just what I asked for," Clark said, but allowed Lex to do what he wanted.

Lex stopped talking, and pulled Clark even closer for a kiss. It was hot and sweet, and felt nothing like kissing Lana or Chloe had. It was just as intimate as Lex's hand, which had finally started stroking him, in a rhythm unlike the one Clark usually used. Clark wasn't complaining.

Lex wasn't complaining either, and the way he yelled out Clark's name when he came had Clark feeling very pleased with himself. He couldn't wipe the grin off his face when he followed, not long after. This was the best birthday ever.

Lex peeled off the rest of his clothes, and Clark was right. He was beautiful. Then he unfolded the covers to his bed.

"It's late, Clark, and there's plenty of time for us to do everything. Get in." Lex gestured to the open bed and pulled Clark in next to him. He yawned and said, "Happy Birthday, Clark."

Lex's sheets were a pale purple. Cotton, not silk, which surprised Clark a bit. It was the same shade Clark used to draw his skies when he was a child. He'd always been drawn to it. The color signified home and safety to him, as much as it meant change and excitement.

Clark was sure the same would be true of his future with Lex.


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