SUMMARY: Clark is going to make sure Lex has the perfect Christmas.... or die trying. *cue Mission: Impossible theme song*
PAIRING: Clex (Is there any other pairing?)
TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Anything from the 1st season is fair game.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. But if they were mine, you can rest assured that there would have been BigGaySmoochies to go with the two and a half years of BigGayEyeFucks we already got!
FEEDBACK: Loved and appreciated muchly. I'll take constructive crits, along with glowing praise (Well, one can hope, right?), so don't be afraid to be honest. As long as you don't start insulting my parents or my hair or something, we should be fine. ;)
NOTE: I think I remember a fic written in which Clark gives Lex a silly hat. I think I even remember liking it. But alas, I cannot remember the name of said fic or who wrote it. If I could, I'd be using this space to give them credit for the idea of the hat giving. Sadly, I am using it instead to lament the fact that I can't do that because I forgot what fic it was.
EXPLAINATION (Or why I wrote this crazy fic and inflicted it upon the general populace!): Well, there I was Christmas morning and I was looking at my gaudy stocking with my name in glittery letters and all kinds of random do-dads all over it (it was a present from my grandmother loooong ago) and I suddenly had this intense mental image of Clark standing in Lex's library wearing a Santa hat and holding a gaudy stocking with Lex's name written on it, grinning like a maniac. And this image just wouldn't leave me alone. Soon I was wondering, what was in that stocking? What sorts of silly little things would Clark think of to give to his best friend the billionaire? And with each new idea of a gift, I was that much closer to being forced to write this thing just to get the vicious plot bunny out of my head so I could sleep at night. Hopefully it gives you all some small measure of enjoyment this holiday season, even if it is probably just a blatant example of cliché fic. ;)
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
And what happened then...? Well...in Who-ville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!
--How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 23rd, 2:26 PM
Clark Kent loved Christmas. He loved the colors, he loved the presents, he loved the lights and decorations. He loved stockings and mistletoe and eggnog. He even loved the fact that one could count on finding the same 3 movies on almost every channel come Christmas Eve, and all of them he'd seen a million times before and would probably see a million times again. But most of all, he loved the feeling of warmth and happiness that he got each year around this time.
His family always made a big deal out of Christmas. They would get a real tree and decorate it together each year, stringing lights and beads and hanging bright, sparkly ornaments on every available branch. Clark always got to put the star on the top, too. It was tradition. Only now, instead of sitting on his dad's shoulders to do the honors, he simply reached up and did it himself.
Every year, his mom would put up his special stocking with his name written on it in a child's messy scrawl and dusted with an obscene amount of glitter. He always made a face and complained about how tacky it looked - the two of them had made it together when he was only 6 for his first Christmas with the Kents - but that was to be expected. They both knew that he secretly loved it and wouldn't have it any other way.
In the more recent years, Clark had been able to spend Christmas Eve with his friends at their houses, exchanging gifts and indulging in a little bit of real eggnog. Clark didn't really like the way it tasted when the alcohol was added in, but he didn't say so aloud. That would be social suicide, as far as his friendships with Pete and Chloe were concerned. And if he knew the petite blonde well at all, which he did, it would probably make front page news on the Torch after winter break. That was something his reputation did not need.
He and Pete had a long standing tradition of finding the most embarrassing gifts possible to exchange, something that made Chloe roll her eyes at them fondly and pretend like she thought they were stupid. Of course, they both knew she didn't really, but it was all part of the tradition. Last year, Pete had gotten him fake vomit, which was gross, but Clark had officially won for most embarrassing present with the pair Tasmanian Devil boxer shorts he'd given his buddy. Chloe had demanded a fashion show and Pete had been reduced to a stuttering denial and a mad dash to the bathroom, where he hid for almost an hour. Clark still smiled over that one.
This year, however, he was feeling a little anxious about the coming holidays. Because this would be the first year he'd ever had to shop for Lex Luthor.
Really, what was a fifteen year old farm boy supposed to get for an older billionaire's son that wouldn't seem stupid and childish? If Lex wanted something, he got it. Expensive cars, fancy clothes, a huge mansion... he had everything. And that left Clark feeling uneasy and restless about his present options.
Of course, that didn't even take into account his dad's feelings on the matter, which the man had made quite clear on numerous occasions. Clark could only hope that Lex didn't get it into his head to do something really outlandish for Christmas. After the truck fiasco, he didn't know if his father could take another Luthor "present" without having a heart attack.
Clark had tried asking people for their opinions. After all, surely someone had to have a good idea of what you were supposed to get rich people for Christmas when you were on a strict budget of 12 dollars and 34 cents. But he hadn't gotten any good answers.
His mom had told him to bring Lex a double order of produce. She was still convinced he wasn't eating enough. But that would be lame. 'Hello Lex, I got you some vegetables for Christmas. And oh, what's that? You're ashamed to call me your friend after such a terrible present? Well, yeah, I probably would be, too, in your place.'
His dad had suggested driving lessons, though his bitter tone of voice made Clark question his sincerity.
Chloe had said that Lex needed to get some good publicity and could she maybe talk Clark into asking him to agree to another interview, since the last one had turned out to be a spectacular disaster? Clark somehow doubted she had only Lex's best interests at heart.
Pete had shot him a glare so severe that it still made Clark wince to remember it, and he had wisely dropped the subject then and there.
Lana had said that you could never go wrong with new socks. And Clark had smiled and thanked her and privately felt just a little bit sorry for Whitney this year.
So that was why he was standing outside of McGuire's General Store on a Sunday afternoon, with only two days left until Christmas, and staring at what looked to be the world's biggest collection of plastic, glow-in-the-dark Santa Clauses. His options were really starting to look dim.
"You know, I think they multiplied since the last time I passed by here," a familiar voice commented from behind him. "You should bring Chloe by. This definitely belongs on her Wall of Weird."
Clark felt the smile already crossing his lips before he even finished turning around. "Lex!"
"Hey, Clark," came his friend's easy reply, and Clark privately enjoyed the way his smile brightened more around Clark than it did around anybody else. It made him feel special. It also made him feel like an even bigger heel because he still didn't have a Christmas present for his best friend.
Lex took in the limited pickings at McGuire's and made a face. "I hope you didn't have anything important left to get, because it looks like there's not much here." He shrugged one slender shoulder carelessly, indicating the Santas with a wave of one hand and adding, "Obnoxious plastic shrine to commercialism not withstanding, of course."
Clark hastily shook his head. "Oh, no, I'm all done with my shopping." He grinned so brightly he thought his head might explode and wondered if his smile looked as fake to Lex as it felt to him. Judging by Lex's raised eyebrow, he thought it probably did. "Yep, I finished ages ago. Really."
Right. And if Lex believed that, Clark had a nice, big bridge to sell him.
Changing the subject quickly, Clark smiled again, this time managing something a bit more natural, and asked, "So what brings you to town this afternoon, Lex?"
His friend shrugged again, the motion a liquid roll of his shoulders that Clark envied, knowing he could never be that at home in his own body. Adolescent awkwardness aside, he also had all the joys of superpowers and alien genes to worry about. Somehow, Clark knew he was doomed to perpetual clumsiness.
"Just heading down to the Talon for my daily caffeine fix." Lex gestured to the sidewalk with one hand. "Care to accompany me, Clark? Your favorite brunette is probably there..."
Clark shook his head quickly. "No!" he cried, a bit too loudly, mentally cringing at the thought of Lana asking Clark if he'd ever found that present he was looking for while Lex sat there and watched. Oh, gods, no. Because then he'd have to lie yet again and he just knew that Lex would see right through him. And then there would be the awkward explanations and hurt looks and.... No, no, no. That was the way that led to madness.
Noting Lex's surprised and somewhat hurt look before he could cover it up with one of his trademark smirks, Clark hastily waved his hands and tried to defuse this increasingly sucky situation. "Um, I just mean, I have some errands I have to run. Er, for my mom. And if I take too long, she'll skin me alive... and..."
Lex cut him off with a quick hand gesture. "Say no more, Clark. It's fine."
Only it so wasn't fine. Clark might not be the best at reading Lex, but even a dummy like him knew that his friend's feelings had been hurt. Which was just what he'd been trying to avoid. Damn.
Think, Clark. Think! There has to be a way to fix this!
"Um... I guess you have some big plans for Christmas, right?"
Oh, yes, that was brilliant, Clark. Lex will be falling to his knees and singing your praises as a friend after that one.
"Nah, nothing much." Lex avoided his gaze, which Clark knew was Not Good At All.
"Ah, I guess it's just gonna be you and your dad, huh? A family thing?"
And why, oh why was his mouth still moving? Why was he even speaking at all? Did he have some kind of special new superpower to help him make his best friend uncomfortable? Clark scowled. With his luck, that was actually possible. God, his life sucked.
"Nope. Dad's got some big benefit in Metropolis to attend."
Clark frowned, all other worries forgotten in the face of this new Super-Sized Worry. "But... then who are you spending Christmas with?"
Lex grinned, though it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Me, myself and I, Clark. Who else?" He obviously noticed the pained look on Clark's face, because he quickly added, "Hey, it's no big deal. Really. The Luthors never did much of anything for Christmas. My parents always had some benefit to attend and I was off at boarding school..." He shrugged. "Don't worry about it, Clark. It's fine. I gave the staff the holidays off, so I'll probably just sleep in. Maybe get caught up on some work that's been waiting on me."
It took Clark three tries before he could manage to get his jaw muscles to work. When he finally did, his mouth snapped closed with an audible snap and he found himself staring down at his shoes like they were the most interesting things in the world.
What was he supposed to say to that? Lex was spending Christmas all alone? It was just unthinkable. Completely and totally wrong. Nobody should spend Christmas alone, least of all Lex.
"Look, Clark, I have to get going. I have a couple of stops to make after I pick up my coffee, so... I'll see you later, okay?"
Clark nodded numbly, mumbling something that might have been "Bye, Lex" but he wasn't really sure. And as Lex began to walk away, Clark silently vowed that he was going to figure out a way to fix this. Because, damn it, he was Clark Kent and he was bound to have accumulated enough good karma after all the lives he'd saved this past year to earn him something as small, and yet utterly important, as the perfect Christmas for his best friend.
And if it didn't, well, he had superpowers. It was high time they were useful for something aside from getting his friends in trouble and learning to tell better lies.
Yes, Clark was going to give Lex the best damn Christmas he'd ever had or die trying.
December 24th, 10:42 PM
Lex Luthor hated Christmas. Nothing good ever came of it. It was just a big excuse to make money, and while he could appreciate the genius behind it, that didn't mean he had to like it.
He sighed, staring down at the small, perfectly wrapped package in his hands. He'd bought it over a month ago, foolishly indulging in sentimentality for one moment, but he knew it was a silly thing to do. Even if Clark's father would actually let him accept a present from a Luthor, well, Clark was avoiding him. Had been for the better half of a week. And the only time he had seen him, he'd refused Lex's offer of coffee at the Talon so quickly and so vehemently that it still hurt to think back on it. And he'd followed that up with such an obvious lie that Lex had wanted to run from the conversation right then and there. So obviously his stupid present wouldn't be welcome.
And really, why did he even care? It wasn't as if he needed Clark or his secrets or his naive farm boy mentality. He was a fucking Luthor. He could have anything he wanted. There were probably a million farm boys across the nation who would love to be his friend. Hell, they'd be even more than that, if he asked for it. And they would be just as pretty and just as sweet and just as adorably clueless, or they would be if Lex paid them enough.
Problem was, they could never be Clark.
Lex glared at the present he clutched in his hands. God, his life sucked.
He thought about throwing it across the room, but he refrained at the last possible second. And cursing himself under his breath the whole time, he walked over to the small table in the corner of his library that had been cleared off of any paperwork and set the present carefully down, exactly in the center. It looked rather lonely sitting there, all by itself. But that was just another example of how sad Lex's life truly was, because he'd only had one person he wanted to get a Christmas present for this year. And that one person was probably the only person he couldn't give one to.
Muttering yet again about the stupidity of the holidays, Lex turned and trudged up the stairs, vowing to himself that he would simply drink himself into a stupor and sleep through the morning. Much less painful that way.
Once he reached his bedroom, however, Lex decided against the brandy he knew was waiting for him and just changed into a pair of silk pajamas and climbed up into bed. He was not going to get drunk on Christmas Eve. That was far too pathetic, even for him.
December 25th, 6:18 AM
By this point, Clark was sure that the universe was conspiring against him. Two measly days to come up with the world's most perfect Christmas? What had he been thinking?
He pushed his supplies through the space he'd bent in the bars of the Luthor Manor’s front gate and then stepped through after them, turning and bending the bars back into their regular position once he was through. Picking up the small mountain of stuff he'd brought, he headed up to the back door and slipped inside, months of practice at sneaking inside Lex's castle to avoid the butler, who he'd secretly named Mr. Big and Scary, serving him well.
Pausing at the stairs, he listened intently, but the house was silent. Lex must still be asleep. Thank god for small miracles, at least.
Turning, he headed for the library to set up what was either going to be the best thing he'd ever done for anyone, or the stupidest. At this point, the jury was still out.
December 25th, 9:29 AM
When Lex had gone to sleep the night before, he would have bet money that there was nothing that could ever truly surprise him again. By this point in his life, he'd pretty much seen and done everything the world had to offer, so he somehow doubted it had any curve balls left to throw at him.
But now he stood in his bedroom, barefoot and wearing his pajamas, staring at the largest and most hideous plastic, glow-in-the-dark Santa Claus the world had ever seen and he knew that he had been totally and utterly wrong.
Noticing a piece of paper stuck to his door, he stepped forward and pulled it down. On it was written one word, in handwriting that Lex would recognize anywhere. And if his father could see the grin on his face at that exact moment, he'd probably have disowned him on the spot. Not that Lex gave a damn. Because the note said "library" and it was written by Clark's hand and that was all Lex needed to see to know that his holidays were starting to look up.
Heading quickly down the stairs - And no, he did not run. Honest. He just walked really fast, that's all. -- he made his way to the library, doing his best to ignore the fluttery feeling in the pit of his stomach. When he got there and pushed open the door, the sight that greeted him was so bizarre that somebody could have knocked him over with a feather. There was Clark Kent, wearing a Santa hat and grinning like a maniac, standing in the middle of a room that used to be his library, but now was clearly the headquarters of some mutant Christmas glee club organization.
There were lights strung up everywhere, none of them matching at all. Five more of those hideous plastic Santas were scattered about and his desk had been turned into a makeshift table, with quite an elaborate feast laid out on top of a rather bright red and white checkered table cloth. (The food was Martha's doing; he'd bet money on it.) There was a stocking hanging on the wall that was near to bursting with presents and had Lex's name scrawled across the front in glittery writing. And in the corner, right next to the table where Clark's present from Lex lay, was quite possibly the saddest Christmas tree Lex had ever had the misfortune of seeing. It was really quite pathetic, already turning a rather dismal shade of brown and listing drunkenly to the side, the ornaments that adorned it weighing the branches down so far that the ones on the bottom-most portion of the tree actually touched the ground.
All in all, it was horrid. Sick, really. It was tacky, gaudy and bright enough to cause him permanent eye damage if he stared at any one thing long enough. And he loved every single bit of it.
"Clark," he said, one eyebrow arching in wry amusement. "Is there any particular reason why the Ghost of Christmas Past seems to have exploded all over my library?"
The teen blushed almost as red as his hat and stared down at his shoes, scuffing them on the hardwood floor. "Um... well... you said that nobody was gonna be here and I just couldn't stand to think of you all alone... it just isn't right cuz it's Christmas and everybody needs somebody on Christmas and..." He looked up at Lex from underneath a fringe of dark hair and shrugged sheepishly. "Ho, ho, ho?"
And the fact that that was quite possibly the most adorable thing ever was just sad. Not that he cared, of course.
Unable to hold back the grin for another second, Lex broke a large number of personal and professional rules in the next moment. He moved forward and gave Clark a hug.
"Thanks, Clark," he said softly, probably sounding like the world's biggest sap.
Strong arms wrapped around him and he could feel the tension ease out of his friend's body as he replied, "Don't mention it, Lex."
Taking a step back before the moment could become awkward, Lex grinned and said, "Well, you went to all this trouble, so why don't you show me what all you brought?"
Clark's answering grin just might have been the most beautiful thing Lex had ever seen.
December 25th, 11:37 PM.
It was late and Lex really should have woken Clark up over an hour ago. But he hadn't been able to make himself do it. Clark looked so innocent and peaceful, the perfect picture of Kansas contentment, and Lex found himself watching him silently, unwilling to disturb him.
They were camped out on the couch, Lex sat on one end while Clark was sprawled across the entire surface, his feet dangling off the far end and his head in Lex's lap. The TV was playing How the Grinch Stole Christmas - one of the essential Christmas movies that Clark had brought over and insisted they see - and as Lex watched, the little green man's heart proceeded to grow three sizes larger, all because of the magic of the holidays. Lex thought he knew how the guy felt, only his magic heart-growing thing wasn't Christmas, it was Clark Kent.
The library had been trashed. It looked like a mini-tornado had blown through during the day.
The tree - which had finally given up the ghost and toppled over a few hours ago - had left pine needles everywhere. Lex had asked where in the world Clark had managed to find such a pathetic tree and Clark had replied that when one learned that their best friend wasn't going to be celebrating Christmas with only two days to spare before the big day, Christmas tree pickings were quite slim. Noting the somewhat downcast look on Clark's face, Lex had immediately told him that it was the best tree he'd ever had. Which was true, even if Clark didn't believe him. Because while he'd had plenty of picture perfect trees, none of them had been from his best friend. So they just didn't count.
They'd attacked the food hours and hours ago, and the remains of their Christmas feast, which came straight from the kitchen of Martha Clark Kent, had been gathered up and taken to the kitchen, where it sat, waiting for Lex's cook to return in the morning and take care of it. He hoped she didn't have a heart attack at the mess in what she considered her personal domain.
The stocking had been fun, and something that Lex had never done before. His Christmas gifts had usually consisted of a check from his father mailed to whatever boarding school he'd been attending at the time. Lionel Luthor didn't have time for such frivolities as a Christmas stocking.
His loot lay in a small pile on the floor and Lex looked over at it, smiling to himself. There was the huge candy cane - Clark had just rolled his eyes at him when he'd told him to call Chloe for the story of her life: mutant candy canes, obviously a side effect of the meteor rocks. And beside that lay the bag full of toy cars - Lex had pretended to be offended when Clark explained they were for him to practice his driving skills without endangering any lives, but they'd both known he wasn't really upset. The bright yellow book cleverly titled "Chemistry for Dummies" was next ("Ha, ha, Clark. Very funny.") and beside that was the crown jewel of the collection: the knitted hat with a big "L" on the front, the bright primary colors it had been made in guaranteed to clash with everything Lex owned. It was slightly lopsided, testimony to Clark's less than perfect knitting skills, which had been learned last minute at Martha's hand in order to make his friend a present. His father would positively loath it, so of course Lex thought it was great. No one had ever taken the time to make something for him before. But then, no one he'd ever known was quite like Clark Kent.
Lex looked down at the sleeping boy who was snoring softly on his lap and smiled, gently running his fingers through his soft, hopelessly tousled hair. He saw that Clark was holding the present Lex had gotten him tight to his chest, even in sleep, and chuckled softly. It was a small, used paperback about star constellations and astronomy that he'd picked up in Metropolis while running some errands. He'd seen it and thought of his friend. When he'd told Clark it was high time he used that telescope of his for something other than friendly neighborhood stalking, hence the book, Clark had given him what was possibly the biggest and most brilliant smile Lex had ever had the good fortune of seeing in his entire life. Lex had been immediately thrilled he'd taken a chance and gotten it.
At that moment, Clark mumbled something in his sleep that sounded suspiciously like Lex's name and burrowed his way closer to Lex's stomach. And as the Grinch began to celebrate Christmas with the citizens of Whoville, joyfully returning their presents and embracing the spirit of the holidays, Lex decided that he'd have to make an amendment. He no longer hated Christmas. Not when he had his best friend to spend it with.