The small bald boy was ten years old. He stood in the library looking upward with a look that any parent would recognize and every one of them would dread seeing on their child's face. The word that came out of the boy's mouth was one that would come as no surprise, given that expression. "Uh-oh." The guilty version. Oops would have been equally likely.
Lillian was not looking at her son's face though. She was also looking upwards. "Oh, no," she echoed. "Lionel, watch out -" she cut herself off and winced in sympathy as her air swollen husband collided with the slowly rotating ceiling fan that had been installed to keep the air moving in the book filled room. "Yeah, the fan," she finished with a small facial cringe.
The floating Luthor bounced across the ceiling like a helium balloon caught in an air current. "Lex," he said, his voice sounding funny as it came out of a head twice its normal size, "when I get down, you are in serious trouble, boy."
Lex looked worriedly toward his mother and sidled toward her. With a note of hope in his voice, he asked, "Do you think maybe he'll just stay up there?"
She wrapped him into her arms and gave him a kiss on the side of his temple. Looking upwards again, she spoke to her husband, "Lionel, you know this isn't his fault. He can't control it yet."
September 1st, 1991
The cart was piled high with an array of items that would normally have made Lex look out of place at King's Cross Station, but enough other kids were pushing along similiar collections that he didn't feel too badly about it. They had flown into London on the LuthorCorp Jet the day before and Lillian had shown the way to Diagon Alley so Lex could pick up the supplies that Lionel's usual methods of procument were unable to find.
They came to the platform between nine and ten and Lillian led her son to one of the posts. "Now, you jut run at it, Lex," she told him. He looked at it dubiously, but nodded. Then she pulled him into a tight hug and whispered, "I'm going to miss you so much, baby."
Lex might have been embarrassed by this very public show of affection from his mother, but he was going to miss her, too, and he hugged her back just as tight. When they let go, Lillian held her bald son's face and looked directly into his eyes. "Now, Lex," she said softly, "I want you to remember something. I was in Ravenclaw."
Lex's eyes widened in surprise. "You're a witch? I thought you were a, whachacallit, a squib."
She kissed his forehead and nodded, speaking softly. "I was a witch, but don't tell your father."
Lex didn't understand but he nodded. "I promise." His eyes breifly darted over to where Lionel was still arguing with a red haired woman who appeared to be the mother of the red haired kid who had plowed his cart into Lex's earlier. All her kids had already gone through the wall by now, but Lionel was still arguing with her.
"Lex," Lillian repeated, her tone serious and Lex turned back to her. "I want you to remember this, it's important, okay?" When Lex nodded, she continued, "Your father's lessons are Slytherin in nature, and I'm worried he may have unduly influenced you toward that House, even though you're only a half-blood. On the other hand, Ravenclaws are very smart, and you're certainly smart enough to do well there. Lex, if the Sorting Hat gives you a choice, you tell it to put you in Ravenclaw, okay? You'll be happiest there. Can you promise me that?"
Lex nodded, wanting nothing more than to do his mother proud. "I promise," he agreed again.
She kissed him and hugged him again. "That's my boy."
"Lex!" Lionel called out, striding away from the red-haired woman now, "You're going to miss your train if you don't get in there right now."
Lillian hugged him one final time. "I'll be proud of you no matter what House you're in, though, sweetheart." Lex knew she really wanted him him Ravenclaw, though, so he vowed to himself that whatever this 'Sorting Hat' thing was, it would put him in the right place. Straightening up, Lillian stepped back and raised her voice to a normal speaking tone. "Good-bye, Alexander, and be safe."
Summer 1996 (between 5th and 6th Year)
The bald boy was taller now. He wore a baseball cap to keep the sun off his head as he sat in the garden reading a Warrior Angel comic book. Inside, there was a convention of some sort going on, but Lex had little interest in it. As it turned out, he wasn't the only teenager dragged along against his will. The comic was snatched out his hands by a blond kid that Lex knew by reputation and a few previous encounters at events similiar to this one.
He'd put a spell on it to protect from accidental tearing and hoped that was enough to keep it intact as he snatched it back. After a short tug of war, Lex had it back in hand and the book had survived with only a few new creases. "Touch that again, Oliver, and I'll turn you into a toad!" Lex snapped at him because he didn't like having creases in his comic books.
Oliver laughed scornfully and rolled his eyes. "'Turn you into a toad,'" he repeated in a mocking voice. "Man, you are so lame."
Crap! Lex thought in a brief moment of panic before a way to explain the slip occurred to him. Thankfully, brilliance struck a moment later. "That's a British expression that means I'll punch your face in so bad you'll look like a toad," he told Oliver with a superior sneer.
Oliver just sneered right back and was not the least bit put out by Lex's threat. "Oh, right," Oliver said, pretending to suddenly remember something. "I heard your dad sent to to some British school nobody's ever heard of. Guess he couldn't get you into Excelsior or anything decent over here. The best schools just don't take freaks like you."
Lex would have really loved to hex him right now, but he wasn't seventeen yet so he could still get expelled if he did magic over the summer. Not to mention, magic on a muggle was a major infraction even if he had been of age. Adopting the mannerisms and accent of Professor McGonagall - the person Lex had found was most capable of making wrong-doers feel like tiny little bugs of complete worthlessness (Professor Snape was actually tied for this honor, but Lex didn't have the robes to pull off a proper Snape at the moment) - Lex mimicked her astounding ability to look down her nose at a person she wasn't taller than, and said primly, "I am certain that my school far surpasses your sad little American one, if only by your lack of presence there. Good day, Mr. Queen." He turned his back and walked away.
Lex was talking on his cell phone and didn't see the baling wire in the road until it was almost too late. He swerved to the side and found himself heading straight for a tall boy in flannel standing on the side of the bridge. "Ahh!" Lex cried out in surprise and alarm.
The boy turned, apparently hearing the sports car heading right for him. His eyes widened in fear and he, too, opened his mouth to shout something.
Lex didn't think. He just acted. He'd been part of Dumbledore's Army and he'd fought in the Battle for Hogwarts during his last year there. The wand was in his hand without any conscious decision to draw it from its arm holster. "Wingardium Leviosa!" he cast, launching the boy up into the air as the car hurtled through the space he had so very recently occupied. He heard no scrapping against the roof, so Lex assumed the boy had been thrown clear. He didn't really have much time to process that, though, because the river came up to met him and when it did, Lex's head slammed against the steering wheel and the world went black. He hadn't even had time to cast the bubble head spell.
The next thing he knew - aside from the flying over the countryside, which, while cool, was kind of disconcerting and not entirely possible without a broom - he was coughing up two lungs worth of water onto the river bank. By the way his solar plexus hurt and his lips tingled, he assumed, he'd gotten CPR. Looking around, he was surprised to find the boy instead of paramedics. His first response was profound relief at this confirmation that he really had managed to throw him clear of the speeding Porsche. "Thank Merlin. I got you up in time." His second thought was to check for his wand. The arm holster was empty and he didn't see it lying in the grass beside him. "My wand. Where's my wand?" Panic edged his voice as he realized he was weaponless.
The boy looked baffled, and maybe just a little bit concerned for his sanity. "Your what? And how did you make me fly like that?"
Lex wasn't really listening past the first question. "My wand. This long," he held hands nine inches apart. "It's a stick made of Ash wood." Phoenix feather core, but most people couldn't see that just by looking at it. "Where is it?
The boy's gaze drifted to the river. "Uh, it might still be in the car."
Lex followed the gaze, then glanced up at the destroyed side of the bridge. The car was submerged and there was no guarantee the mostly hollow wooden wand hadn't floated away in the current. "Well, fuck."
"So. . ." The boy began before trailing off and starting again, "Um. How did you make me fly like that?"
That was when Lex realized he had compromised himself to a person who was almost certainly a muggle. Lex asked to make sure anyway. Stranger things had happened. "I suppose it's too much to hope that you might not be a muggle, right?"
As expected, the kid looked blank and said, "Huh?"
"Yeah, that's what I figured." Lex took a moment to compose a plausible explaination. Well, perhaps not plausible as far as the kid was concerned, but Lex was pretty sure it was more believable than the truth. "It wasn't me. You jumped. It's really amazing you were able to do that. Must have been the adrenaline, I guess."
The kid was not buying it. "I didn't jump."
Lex shook his head and tried to reason the kid out of his certainty. Magic, after all, did not live in the same realm as muggle accepted logic. "If you hadn't jumped, you'd be dead."
Lex was fairly sure he still wasn't accepting the explanation, but the boy wasn't pressing any more, so Lex pulled out his cell phone (a little water logged, but amazingly still working, thank God) and called 911 to report the accident.
While the awaited the police and ambulance, they exchanged important information like their names, but didn't get much further than that before the approaching sirens filled the air. After than was a blur of police statements, first aid to the gash on his forehead, and a medical examination that cleared him of the necessity to go to the hospital, despite the near death experience.
"Clark!" Lex turned toward the man calling out his rescuer's name. It was a blond man of middle age and he zeroed in on where Clark was sitting on the river bank with a red blanket around his shoulders. "Son! Are you all right?" Lex would not have pegged him for Clark's father. Though their clothing style was a match, even if their features and colorings were not.
Clark nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay."
Clark's father turned toward the sherriff who was noting down something onto his notepad. "Who's the maniac who was driving that car?"
Lex figured that was as good an opening as he was likely to get. "That would be me." He approached and held out a hand. "Lex Luthor."
Clark's father looked at the offered hand and deliberately did not take it. Brilliant. "I'm Jonathan Kent," he introduced himself, so he wasn't completely disregarding the conventions of a first meeting. He took off his coat and put that over the blanket that was already wrapped around Clark's shoulders. "This is my son." Stay away from him and don't ever get behind the wheel in this county again. Lex wondered if he was developing mind-reading in addition to his magic. No, face-reading was probably enough to get that.
Lex decided to end the interview sooner rather than later. "Thanks for saving my life," he told Clark again. Had Clark not pulled him out and given him CPR as quickly as he had, Lex had no doubt he would have drowned today.
Clark looked at him with an expression that clearly said that he knew the life saving had been mutual even he didn't understand how Lex had flung him out of the way. "I'm absolutely sure you would have done the same thing," was all he said though, which was good enough, if not entirely accurate. Clark had saved the guy who'd been breaking traffic laws and nearly killed him from that negligence. Lex had only prevented himself from being guilty of vehicular manslaughter. He didn't want that on his conscience. He'd caused enough death at Hogwarts, even if they had been Death Eaters.
The two Kents began to walk away, and Lex called after them, feeling guilty for the incident all over again, even though Clark hadn't died. What if he'd been a fraction slower drawing his wand? "If there's any way I can repay you--"
"Drive slower!" Jonathan suggested curtly.
Right. Well, he'd think of something. He watched them go up the hill and get into a beat up old truck. Smiling to himself as the perfect repayment occurred to him, he turned back to the river as his own totaled car came up out of its watery grave. Before he could even finish forming the hope that his wand would still be inside, his eyes widened as they took in the condition of the roof. He shook his head in amazement and spoke quietly under his breath, "Well, Clark, it looks like CPR isn't your only life-saving ability."