A/N: Another "Lex finds out" story, except starting in the pilot. Thanks goes to Apfane Chan for the request :)
(For regular readers of my stories: "If He Knew" is completely incompatible with all of my other works, with the exception of the pre-series fics.)
Chapter 1 - Accident
Smallville was a punishment. Lex knew that. Clubbing until six in the morning and hiring more prostitutes than he could count was supposed to get his father's attention. Instead, it had gotten him exiled to a fertilizer factory in a little farming town.
Lex had to hand it to his father: the man knew how to make him suffer. The whole town smelled like manure, the plant was worse, and the town was packed out with inbred hicks who gave him dirty looks every time he passed by. The lavishness of the mansion wasn't exactly a consolation—the whole place gave him the creeps.
Not to mention his job was impossible. The crap factory hadn't turned a profit in two years, and the employees already hated him. Lex hadn't decided which course of action would stick it to his father most effectively: sinking the plant into the ground in record time, or turning it around and actually making it successful. The former would be easier, but it might earn him a worse place of exile, and that was hard to imagine.
The wide open spaces were nice, though. He hadn't been able to drive this fast in Metropolis. He took to the open roads and enjoyed the feeling of control, however temporary it might be, of driving his Porsche around tight corners.
Lex's cell phone started ringing in his pocket. He fumbled to take it out and see who was calling.
He only looked down for a couple of seconds.
Lana was never going to notice him. His dad was never going to let him play football. Clark was going to go through high school as a complete and total loser.
He had wandered out to the bridge to look out over the water. The wind rippled the surface, and it calmed him down a little. It cleared his mind, letting him forget his worries, at least for a little while. His friends had commented before that he had a certain look about him—like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He'd heard some of the older kids at his school mutter that he was a drama queen, and he'd heard his mom whisper to his dad that he was sensitive.
He disagreed. They didn't know how exhausting it was to have to hide his abilities all of the time. He would have given anything to be normal.
A roaring engine sounded off to his right. Clark looked up to see a silver sports car flying down the road, headed right toward him.
Lex looked up in time to see a huge, spiked metal coil out in the middle of the road. He slammed on the brakes and tried to turn at the same time, and he lost control, skidding.
His tires exploded upon the impact, and he swung wildly off to the right. He was going to go off the bridge. This was the end.
There was a kid standing there. How fast had he been going? 60? 80? Lex couldn't swerve in time—
The impact hurt. A lot, actually, but the pain was gone by the time Clark hit the water.
He forced his eyes open and saw the Porsche sinking. The driver was still inside.
Clark pushed off his backpack and swam for the car. His speed worked as well under the water as it did on land.
This was how he was going to go. He'd killed a kid, and now he was going to die.
The car filled with freezing cold water almost instantly. Lex didn't even have time to take a last breath before it surrounded him.
He blinked a couple of times, trying to make out his surroundings in the murky darkness. The windshield was shattered, which meant that he wouldn't have to try to break a window or open a door under the pressure of the water. He could probably swim his way to freedom, if he could only get himself out of his seat. The front of the car had smashed in just enough that he was trapped.
Lex frantically squirmed in his seat as the asphyxiation started to burn in his lungs. It occurred to him that this was what Julian had felt as he was dying.
His last vision before death was that of the kid he'd hit with his car. Fitting that God would taunt him like this. God must have had some things in common with his father.
It was a strange vision, though. The kid peeled back the roof of the Porsche as though it were a can of sardines, then grabbed Lex by the arms and yanked him out of the car. Lex squeezed his eyes shut, bracing himself for heaven or hell, purgatory or oblivion, when they broke the surface of the water.
He coughed and sputtered, then sucked in a breath. The air tasted sweet and new.
Then his eyes fell on the kid.
Clark almost left the guy behind in the water.
How many times had his dad drilled into him never to use his abilities in front of anyone? How many times had he filled his mind with terrifying images of needles and scalpels, blue gloves and white lab coats, electrodes and tubes and machinery?
When Clark had peeled open the top of the car, he could see the panic and confusion in the man's eyes. It was too late to pretend, or to try to save him in a less suspicious way. The man would either die, or he would know Clark's secret. There wasn't a third option.
Clark dropped him onto the ground a little ways from the water. Clark was a little surprised when he got a good look at the guy. He was bald, so Clark had assumed he was older, but now Clark could see that he was pretty young, probably in his twenties.
When the man had finished coughing, he looked up at Clark, terror and awe in his eyes. Clark swallowed hard.
"So..." Clark sat back on his feet. "I guess you saw that."
"How are you alive? W-what are you?"
"I don't know. I've been like this for as long as I can remember."
"Did you even feel my car hit you?"
"Yeah. I'm fine, though. Hey, listen, um . . ."
"Mr. Luthor." He recognized the name—his dad sometimes complained about some guy with that last name, but he didn't think the first name had been Lex. "Look, no one really knows about . . . me, other than my parents. So if you could . . ." Clark winced.
The man smirked. "I hit you with my car, and you saved my life. I think keeping your secret is the least I can do." He held out a hand. "Call me Lex."
Clark shook it. "I'm Clark."
Sirens sounded in the distance. "That's probably for us," Lex said softly.
Clark's heart rate picked up. He couldn't let the paramedics check him out—his parents had drilled that into him, too.
Lex cleared his throat. "Want me to tell them I, ah, almost hit you?"
"We can say I almost hit you, and you jumped in after me to save me."
"Oh, right. Okay. Thanks." Clark grimaced. "The top of your car is peeled up, won't it look suspicious?"
"I can keep the media away from it. Trust me, I'm good with reporters."
Trust me was an ironic statement. Clark didn't have much of a choice.
"What do you want to tell your parents?"
He was tempted to feed them the same story that he gave the paramedics, but that would just make it worse when they figured it out. "I have to tell them the truth." Clark could already picture the looks on their faces. "My dad is going to kill me."
"You? I'm the one who hit you with my car."
"Yeah." Clark took a deep breath. "We're both dead."
A/N: Gotta be honest, I'm totally just experimenting with this idea. Let me know if you want me to run with it.