Mercy (Smallville story)

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Title: Mercy
Author(s): Koimistress
Date(s): July 2002
Genre: Clark/Lex
Fandom: Smallville
External Links: archived copy (at the Wayback Machine)
archived copy at AO3 (Smallville Slash Archive)

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Mercy was an influential and much-discussed work[1] in Smallville fandom, notable for its extremely dark portrayal of Lex Luthor, who proved willing to torture Clark when his father revealed Clark's alien origins.

The story questions what it means to be deserving of moral respect: if (as Lionel Luthor maintains) Clark is only an automaton, designed to elicit reactions in vulnerable humans the way the animatronic Luthorcorp robots in the story are, then even his expression of pain is not to be trusted, and to react to his appearance of suffering is to fall victim to deliberate manipulation. The story remains ambiguous about Clark's true interior existence, though it can be read to suggest that the key moral question is not whether Clark experiences pain but what it does to Lex to do things that look and feel to Lex like torturing a sentient being. Particularly notable and effective is the use of pronouns in the last line.

After the first version of the story was released, Koi added some detail to the story in response to some reader response that Lex was monstrous and his motivations for going along with Lionel incomprehensible.


  1. seperis. Glancing reference in recs: fics that make you think post and more in comment thread, 26 April 2010. (Accessed 23 August 2010)