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What you Sow

by P L Nunn

 

Part 27

 

"Okay then. Can we fix this now, please?"

An impulsively optimistic answer would have taken a great deal of the strain off of Clark's nerves, but Lex wasn't that benevolent. In fact, from the expression Lex wore, you'd think he was calculating the proper amount of an after dinner tip, instead of contemplating a heartfelt plea that Clark personally thought he'd gone way past the halfway mark in offering. If it weren't for the rapid tempo of Lex's pulse, impossible to hide from Clark's freakish hearing, Clark might have fallen for the act.

Maybe a smarter person would have backed off a few steps, given Lex the benefit of a little personal space just out of simple consideration. But Clark was feeling stubborn and he sort of liked the almost touching and the way the hairs on his arm stood up so close to Lex, like there was some sort of electric connection between them.

There was, of course, Clark had felt it, time and again. He'd just never been so aware of what it was. And he wasn't letting Lex slither out of this with the skillful application of cold shoulder. He'd gone a damned long time with the ice intact and Lex had broken it and Lex was going to see it through, one way or another.

"Okay." Lex shrugged, a familiar half lift of the shoulders, a cant of his head that projected wary interest. Clark waited a moment for something more, a little wary himself, but Lex apparently was not in the mood for exposition.

Swallowing, Clark took a step backwards, giving Lex the freedom to move away from the balustrade.

"Just okay?" He was pushing his luck, but - - what the hell? He'd pushed his luck coming here.

God knew what was going on behind Lex's eyes, but his gaze shifted down, to Clark's feet, which were big and bare sticking out from under the hem of his jeans - - an embarrassing tribute to the fact that he'd dropped everything - - literally - - to run over here. But he'd latched onto the sound of that heartbeat and it had been tenuous at best once the phone connection had severed to distinguish it from all the other pulsing hearts clustered in Metropolis. It had been follow the sound of it without hesitation or loose it. And that, he hadn't been willing to do.

"I grew up on a farm. Shoes optional." Clark managed a weak smile, wishing Lex would just say something. The uncharacteristic silence was freaking him out.

What Lex did, was take a breath, as if he were holding onto temper or controlling emotion that wanted to slip free of the impassive mask. He walked past Clark towards the glass doors, jaw tight, whipcord lean in a tailored black shirt and black slacks. For a man with an empire, there was an odd sort of sparseness to the line of his back, as if he were spread so thin that the cords holding him together were taut and ready to snap. Maybe he'd been like that for a very long time and Clark just hadn't noticed.

He felt a sudden surge of protectiveness, a sudden need to press up behind Lex and catch him in his arms so he could feel the solidity of his body and to hell with personal space issues and overstepping tentative boundaries set by grudges that had lived too long.

"I missed you," he whispered, a heartfelt bit of impulsiveness.

Lex went stiff in his embrace, and if he told Clark to let him go, Clark would - - absolutely - - but, Lex wasn't saying anything. So Clark just stood there, pressing his cheek against the side of Lex's head and breathed in the scent of him, soaked in the feel of his body, lean and strong against his. And after a moment, something gave, a full body shudder from Lex, a loosening of rigid muscles. His head dropped back, resting against Clark's shoulder.

"I won't lie and say I haven't thought of you," Lex said in that velvet soft tone he used when he was calmly, rationally trying to prove a point. "I won't deny that physically your mere presence is a turn on of ridiculous proportions. But, sex isn't the answer to this problem, no matter how pat a solution that would be."

Clark felt a flush of heat in his cheeks and it occurred to him that even though he'd stepped into the embrace with pure intentions, his front pressed up against the firm swell of Lex's back seemed to have initiated the growth of something in his pants. But it wasn't a full-blown something, so he felt a marginal justification in denying it. "I didn't - - I don't - -"

"Oh, but you do and I do, but since we're men and not beasts, we have the strength to overcome baser instinct."

Clark let him go and put enough distance between them so that no overeager body parts brushed. Lex turned to look at him, eyes liquid, gunmetal grey in the bleak illumination of Metropolis midnight. Studying Clark, gauging him maybe. Clark met the stare and didn't flinch, wouldn't allow himself to be one of the multitude of people that withered under that cool Luthor stare.

Lex didn't clarify, picking up his cell phone instead and turning for the patio doors, pushing them open and stepping inside. Since he left them open in his wake, Clark figured it was an invitation to follow. He shut the doors behind him and looked around the room. He put his back to them and watched Lex move to stand before a cold, white marble hearth, habit maybe from all the years he'd taken some sort of refuge in front of the one that had always blazed in the Smallville mansion.

"What is the answer, then?" Clark asked. "Truth? I'm willing to give you that."

"Truth's an ideal, rarely achieved." Lex ran the fingers of one hand along the edge of the white mantle. There was an abstract painting over it, in grays and soft blues that Clark thought might have been done by a collection of spastic kindergarteners. It was probably worth a fortune.

"We all lie. Even to ourselves. Predominately to ourselves," Lex said, as if it were gospel.

"Doesn't mean we all like it. Doesn't mean it doesn't feel good to finally stop. I want you to understand things about me, Lex. I sort of want it for me as much as for you - - do you get that?"

"Because the truth will set you free?" Lex asked, scorn in his voice.

"Because I'm tired of it. Because it hurts to lie to the people you love."

Lex's fingers froze on the mantle, the whole of his body gone preternaturally still, down to stalled breath. Then it picked up again, and casually he folded his hands behind his back, the long fingers of one clasping the wrist of the other.

"It seems late in the game to be learning that."

"Yeah. I'm a quick study. How about you?"

He got a quarter profile for that, and either Lex was pressing his lips or there was the ghost of a reluctant smile.

"Don't let me interrupt your therapeutic revelations, then."

"Where do you want me to start?" Clark took a step into the room, hardwood floors polished to glass-like sheen, under his feet.

Lex turned around finally, to look at him, a pale skinned specter in designer black. "Where all good stories start. At the beginning."


It would have gone faster if Lex weren't a major stickler for details. Oh, he'd kept to his guns at first, displaying a cool air of indifference to Clark's offerings. Sitting in the leather chair instead of the sofa, which was a pretty pointed hint that getting too close was not to be tolerated. But he couldn't keep up the façade. Was physically and mentally incapable it seemed, of accepting the cliff notes version of the formidable years. Or of Clark's second hand information of Krypton and his expulsion from that doomed world, or of certain incidences involving the burgeoning of Clark's abilities.

Chloe had nothing on Lex when it came to unadulterated curiosity. It overpowered his resentment, made him lean forward with eyes that glowed with the fervor of a half starved man faced with an overstocked buffet. And Clark was the buffet in question.

It really should have creeped him out, at least a little, but Lex was so damned interested and not in the alien autopsy kind of way that had plagued Clark's nightmares, but like a kid desperately hungry for knowledge, who'd just found the Tree of Wisdom.

It was a relief so huge that Clark felt dwarfed by it. Humbled by it, because instead of going with his heart years ago, he'd gone with instilled fear time and again and look how much pain and suffering that had caused.

Hours passed, dribbling away like minutes, until it was light outside the broad windows of Lex's apartment. It seemed like Clark had been talking forever. They were both on the floor, on respective sides of the coffee table, Clark's back against the sofa and Lex leaning against the overstuffed leather chair. There were empty bottles of water on the table, a half full one that Lex had in his hands, relentlessly turning with his fingers.

"Evolution is such a crap shoot - - genetic drift, inherited traits, random mutations, environmental issues, natural selection - - its mind boggling that life on Krypton developed so similarly to life here. How long did your father search to find that one place where you'd fit in?" Lex mused during a lull, when they sat there, legs brushing under the table in comfortable silence.

Clark shook his head, wishing he knew. "I don't know. I think they - - my people - - must have been aware of earth for a while, but avoided contact - - maybe sorta like the whole Star Trek avoiding contact with lesser races thing?"

"The Prime Directive?"

"If you say. You're the sci-fi geek. I'm just - -"

"Science fiction?" Lex asked with a wan cant of his head.

Clark smiled, shrugging. He was talked out, but he wasn't tired, too hyped to feel the need for sleep. He might not need sleep for days at the rate he was going, but Lex had that bruised around the eyes look of someone staving off the desperate need for rest.

"Not so much with the fiction," Clark said softly. He rolled his head back against the couch cushions and stared blankly at the ceiling. "Sometimes I wish nothing to do with Krypton ever showed up here again - - that I could just live my life without having to worry about it. Normal, like everybody else. Other times, I lay awake wondering what it was like - - what my biological family was like - - my people - - I mean they can't all have been like Zod and his disciples - - right?"

"I would assume not, if Zod was imprisoned for crimes against your world. It's only natural to wonder. I wonder and it's not even my heritage."

Considering the focus of Lex's obsessions these last few years, that was a particularly generous thing to say.

"Besides which," Lex added. "I think you're past the point where normal will ever be an option. Chasing after it seems a waste of time."

"Yeah," Clark lowered his chin to one bent knee. "But it would be nice, you know, to have the choice. Blending into the crowd isn't always a bad thing."

"Blending into the crowd is always a bad thing. No one who ever left a mark on history hid within the anonymity of a crowd."

"I guess that's the difference between the Luthors and the Kents," Clark said with a faint smile. "You want to make history, I just want to survive it."

Lex arched a brow at him, as if he didn't believe the validity of that for a second. Then he rolled his head back, resting against the arm of the chair and Clark watched the subtle throb of pulse along the smooth curve of his neck.

"Did you have anything to do with my father's - - getaway?" Lex finally asked, tilting his head to look at Clark from under his lashes.

"Your father - -?" Clark blinked at him, belly flip flopping a little with dread, because Lionel was a sticking point and Clark wasn't entirely sure Lex believed that their interactions had been strained at best. Then it occurred to him that he hadn't actually heard from Lionel in weeks and that was odd considering the extent of what had happened. Getaway? "God, Lex - - what did you do?"

Lex studied him a moment, fingers turning the bottle of water. "So he hasn't contacted you?"

"No. What did you do?" Clark sat forward, expectantly.

"And you haven't tried to contact him?"

"No. Answer my question." Clark fixed him with an unwavering stare of his own and after a moment the corner of Lex's mouth quirked up.

"Well, in the long run, I didn't do anything - - but I had hoped to squeeze a few comprehensive answers out of him - - since he seemed to be in possession of information I wanted to know."

"God." Clark flopped back against the edge of the couch with a scowl. "You were not planning on torturing - -"

"Interrogating."

"- - your own father?"

"Yes, actually. I was. He slipped away before I got the chance. You weren't an option."

"Not a - - ? What was all that at that old factory then?"

"That? That was me pissed off. I had a change of heart."

"Why?"

That simple question put Lex off his tempo. He looked down and away, putting together an answer, or maybe just trying to figure out something he wasn't entirely sure of himself.

"Because you have very expressive eyes," Lex flicked his own up to meet Clark's again. "And as much as I've thought about hurting you in the past - - and it has crossed my mind on occasion - - apparently I'm considerably more ruthless in theory than in hands on application. At least in some situations. Your eyes got to me."

"So you gave up your chance at getting your hands on your own real live alien, because - - I have expressive eyes."

"Not at all. I'd wager the odds of hands on interaction have drastically improved."

Clark really should have been more upset, really, he should have, but the stark honesty mixed with Lex's leg, this warm presence up against his own, sort dulled the indignation over the admission of attempted kidnapping and interrogation. Maybe later he could work up a little more offense, once Lex wasn't leaning back looking at him speculatively, shirt undone three buttons down, the hint of a smile, the hint of hands on anything, having passed his lips.

"He'd have survived it, right?" Clark needed to clarify that.

"He'd have survived it. Worried about his well being?"

"No. I'm worried about yours and what it would do to you to cross that line."

Lex's lashes flickered down, and the smile that crossed his lips was more than a little wry. "You're concerned for the state of my soul?"

"Yeah," Clark admitted. "I guess I am. I'm sorry I haven't been there more often to help safeguard it."

"It was never your responsibility. You're not my priest - -"

"I would hate to have that job."

Lex chewed on the inside of his cheek, eyeing Clark with narrow speculation. "I've crossed a lot of lines."

"I know."

"I don't necessarily plan to stop."

Clark wondered if this was a different sort of line - - one in the sand that Lex was daring him to venture over.

"Why?" he asked and Lex's eyes widened in surprise at the blunt question, perhaps prepared instead for denunciation.

"Because if lines aren't crossed occasionally, progress stalls. Because the world we live in is full of terrible, terrible things and genetic mutation to the 9th power and the occasional extraterrestrial threat are just the newest incarnations. I'm not content to leave the security of the world I live in up to a government that may or may not take the threat seriously."

"Those are good reasons." Clark said. "I like those reasons. I just don't want to see people get hurt in the process. I've got a problem with the whole sacrificing the few for the many thing."

"You wouldn't be you if you didn't." Lex's head drifted back again, against the chair arm, his eyes shut, delicate traces of fine blue veining in his lids.

Clark glanced at his watch. A good ways past six. "I should go," he said. "And you should get some sleep."

Lex sat there, silent, breathing, bottle held loosely in his hands. "You should. And I should."

Clark swallowed and stood up, loomed over Lex and extended a hand. Lex cracked his eyes and peered up at it, considering, then reached up and took it, and let Clark haul him up. He didn't release the grip and Clark felt no particular inclination to force the issue. Lex standing half a foot away, the dry heat of his palm firm against Clark's was the sort of nice that started at the top of Clark's head and splintered out down the expanse of his body. If he inched a little closer the rest of them would almost be touching.

"We've been very good," Lex said softly. "At ignoring those baser instincts."

Clark couldn't seem to get the lump out of his throat.

Lex brought their hands up, studying the contrast of clasped fingers. Clark's hand just clunky large all around and two shades at least darker than Lex's, which was narrow boned and long fingered and manicured. God, Clark had dirt under his nails. He swallowed, embarrassed a little at that. Then Lex took that step that Clark hadn't and that embarrassment tingle shifted to a surge of current all through Clark's body. And most of it settled right around groin level, making for painfully tight jeans.

Lex tilted closer, body brushing Clark's, his slacks this fine, soft material that did nothing to hide his answering need.

The contact of cock against cock, even separated by two layers of clothing was enough to make Clark dizzy with want. The need scorched a trail up his belly and burned nerves in its wake. He concentrated on not crushing Lex's hand with his flexing fingers, of not doing anything for a few precious moments while he gathered his control. But the feel of Lex's breath on his neck, when he leaned in, the brush of Lex's smooth cheek, the press of his lips, soft and warm and wet at the hinge of Clark's jaw and control simply scattered.

Clark groaned, untangling their hands, grasping Lex by the hips and dragging him as close as two bodies could get without one of them being inside the other.

Lex made a grunting sound, of approval maybe, and his fingers curled in Clark's hair, pulling himself up or Clark down to meet his mouth, it was sort of a half way thing. Open mouthed, wet, warm - - all sex and promises. He ground Lex against him, hands tight enough on his ass that it must have hurt, but all Lex did was kiss him harder, driving his tongue into Clark's mouth like it was an act of warfare.

And maybe it was, because six hours worth of talking didn't necessarily erase almost two months of cold war or old resentments or the perception of new wrongs. Time might be the only answer there. But then again two months of cold war hadn't phased Clark's want. And maybe it hadn't phased Lex's. Lex said sex wasn't the answer, and he was probably right, but it seemed pretty damned crucial now. And if Clark didn't get his hands on Lex's skin, he was likely to die.

"God - - Lex." Lex's fingers dug into his scalp, and the tingle was electric, Lex's teeth on his pulse were. His cock jumped, bound and restrained beneath denim, teased by the feel of Lex. He lifted Lex up, a tight slide against his body and Lex hissed through his teeth, wrapped his legs around Clark's hips and slipped a hand down the juncture of their bodies, squeezing Clark through is pants.

"Down the hall, to the right." Lex said against Clark's mouth.

There was no inquiry needed to know where those directions led and Clark had them there, before Lex could properly draw breath after the command. Lex let out a startled laugh as Clark collapsed less than gracefully onto a very broad bed. The comforter was likely the most luxurious thing Clark had ever felt - - aside from Lex's skin - - and it billowed around them, plump with goose feathers.

Lex straddled him, hands on his shoulders, eyes like glimmering spots of silver in the shadows of his face, lips parted and swollen and gorgeous. He'd been gorgeous last time he'd crouched over Clark too, even though there'd been kryptonite involved, and maybe Lex remembered that too, because his jaw twitched a little and he shut his eyes for a heartbeat. Then he shook it off and reached for Clark's shirt, drawing it up his torso.

Clark pushed himself up enough to help get it off, and went for Lex's shirt, fingers bumbling over buttons, until Lex slapped his hands away and finished the job himself. He shucked off black silk to bare pale flesh beneath. Pink nipples, pebbly and hard, lean muscle over a heaving, flat stomach that Clark spared a moment to spread his palm across, before going for the buckle on Lex's belt.

Then it was a matter of wriggling out of pants, and underwear and sliding back together, body against body with nothing between them but skin. It felt like an act of desperation, like the want had been building and building to fever pitch and he couldn't manage anything more than pressing against Lex and grinding, hands roaming over skin that he couldn't get enough of.

Mouths devoured flesh wherever they could reach and mutual erections were pressed tight between their bellies, slipping against each other now and then with a slick explosion of sensation.

Aimless animal rutting, until Lex took matters to hand and shoved Clark back. He knelt over him for a moment, panting, then eased across Clark, a slow, methodical slide of body against body, his cock leaving slick little trails up Clark's thigh, Clark's throbbing against the pulse in Lex's belly.

"Oh - - God - -" Clark groaned, hands on the dip of Lex's back, fingers splaying out across the curve of his ass.

"Did you think about me, these past weeks?" Lex asked, dark chocolate voice, oozing sex. His fingers found the head of Clark's cock, sliding foreskin back, thumb gliding across the exposed tip, nail pressing down hard enough to make Clark feel it. "Did you masturbate with me in your head?"

Only once or twice a day, really.

"Yes." He thrust up hard, arching off the bed and almost dislodged Lex. Lex's grip tightened and Clark's whole body quaked.

"Did you?" Clark gasped.

"Umm." Lex made a sound that Clark really, really liked when Clark's fingers slid into the crease of his ass. It occurred to Clark to wonder if Lex had done more than masturbate. If Lex had slept with women - - or God forbid men - - during the last month and a half. This plush bed, wide as Clark was tall screamed sex and Lex was never one to deny himself. Lex liked his luxuries and his indulgences. A primal rush of something not quite anger and not quite not coiled behind Clark's eyes, because all differences aside, Lex was his.

"Did you do - - ah, God - - anything else?"

Lex's hand stalled on Clark's cock, he propped himself up on an elbow and stared down with a faint, mocking arch of the brow that made Clark want to shake him.

"Anything else or anyone else?"

Clark caught his breath, frozen in a moment of consternation. Instant jealousy - - just add water and the thought of anyone touching Lex.

Lex leaned down, before Clark's imagination could take hold and mouthed the line of Clark's jaw, murmuring. "I'm cursed with absurdly high standards - -"

His hand began moving again, long, slow strokes, from base to tip that made Clark's eyes roll back in their sockets. "I had an eye out for someone up to par - - but the applicants were sadly lacking."

"You're not - - even close to funny." For a man that could run across the span of a continent without losing breath, Clark was finding it incredibly difficult to catch his breath.

"You just don't appreciate my humor." Lex finished with a gasp when Clark rolled him over, settling on top.

He liked Lex under him. He liked being between Lex's legs, their cocks lined up, compressed between their bodies. Lex thrust up against him, a protest at the sudden reversal in fortune. And that felt incredible, the head of Lex's cock rubbing against Clark's shaft, the soft presence of his balls against Clark's thigh.

Coherent thought evaporated in the need to simply get off - - to vent weeks and weeks worth of want and frustration. He rocked against Lex, fingers digging into the comforter because they dug into Lex they'd go right through flesh and bone and he liked Lex's flesh and bones the way they were.

The slick friction, the sounds Lex was making, made his balls tighten up like somebody had their fist around them. Then the unmistakable sensation of onrushing eruption.

He cried out, hips driving down and climax hit like a sledgehammer and he came, spurting endlessly, while white spots of relief danced behind his eyes and tension drained like someone had poked holes in him.

He collapsed onto Lex, lay for a few seconds, shuddering. Lex's hands were on his back, stroking his shoulder blades, the back of his neck, curling in his hair. He was still hard against Clark's stomach.

Clark pushed himself up, hands on the bed either side of Lex's head, staring down at Lex's flushed face, at wide, dilated eyes and parted lips. Lex ran a hand down between them, fingers trailing through the come on his stomach. He brought it up, sucked his index finger into his mouth, eyes fixed on Clark's.

If Clark hadn't just come, he'd have exploded all over the bed just from the sight of it. He took a breath and caught Lex's wrist, bringing glistening fingers to his own mouth. He sucked in a slick forefinger, tasting himself, bitter and earthen with the underlying subtle flavor of Lex's skin. It wasn't enough.

He eased down Lex's body, trailed his fingers across Lex's hard little nipples and Lex drew in a sharp breath, arching his back off the mattress, as if to follow the touch. The fact that Clark could make him do that, could make Lex tense and shudder and pant, made Clark's spent cock twitch back to life, made him warm with pleasure.

With Clark's weight gone, Lex's erection sprang up, a shade darker than the pale hips flanking it, smooth and long and hot when it brushed Clark's cheek. Lex made a hitched sound, an aborted plea maybe, that Lex wasn't far enough gone yet to voice.

Clark didn't want to make him beg. Clark just wanted him. So he drew the slick head of Lex's erection into his mouth. Sucked his way down the shaft without preamble and swallowed him whole, lips a tight ring, tongue a hard pressure along the underside of the cock in his mouth as he worked it.

It didn't take a lot. Lex had almost been there before Clark ventured below the belt. Barely a half dozen strokes and Lex was gasping little incoherencies, thrusting up into Clark's mouth and coming.

Clark clamped down on him and swallowed everything Lex had to offer. Lay there afterwards, with his cheek against Lex's thigh, marveling how good it felt just to give - - at how right it felt just to be here suffused with the scent of Lex and the feel of him and the taste.

He pushed himself up, crawled up next to Lex, whose body had gone lax and boneless, and collapsed next to him, head in the crook of his shoulder. Lex's hand curled around lazily, fingers threading in Clark's hair.

For a long time, Clark lay, while Lex's breathing evened out, enthralled by the beat of the heart under his ear, slow and steady and precious. Clark spread his hand out across Lex's chest, sleek planes of muscle as smooth as marble. Fine pale skin, like nothing ever - - but there were the marks of finger prints here and there, where Clark had clutched too hard and the sight of them made him thrum with satisfaction.

He wanted to make a few more, with his mouth maybe, that would linger, so that when Lex put on his clothes, they'd be there underneath, a reminder of Clark. He didn't want Lex to ever forget or ever be content enough to go months without him. Fair was fair, after all.

"Lex?"

There was a moment, then, "Mmmm?"

"I don't want to fight anymore. Can we agree not to fight anymore?" It seemed vital to get that straight.

Another long silence and maybe Lex wasn't really awake at all. But, "We can agree to that. We probably will, though. Seems to be our nature."

Clark mulled that over. Lex and his pragmatism made Clark's life complicated. Uncomplicating issues that Lex wanted to convolute might become a favorite hobby. "I don't mind an argument here and there. Make up sex is nice."

Lex laughed. One of the rare, real ones that made Clark warm inside. He tightened his arm, wrapping himself closer, determined to keep hold of crucial, elusive things.

"You're okay though, right?" he asked softly. "With - - me? What I am?"

Another frightening pause, while Lex's fingers lazily stroked his hair. But maybe the consideration was a good thing, because a lot of Lex's quick, pat answers were the ones he thought you wanted to hear. The one's he thought would gain him an advantage.

"I'm okay with you, Clark. I've always been okay with you."

Clark thought that was an honest answer. He hoped it was, because it made him sing a little inside.

"Did you miss me, too?" He'd admitted that to Lex, he might have admitted more if he thought Lex would have believed it. But you never knew with Lex whether all the things he accepted with a smile were always taken to heart. Lex had a lot of reasons not to trust. Clark had a lot of reasons to want him to.

Lex opened his eyes, and there was something unguarded and uncertain in their depths, like Lex didn't know himself the intricacies of his own heart. Then he shut them, hiding the weakness.

"I - - told myself I didn't." There was the faintest waver to Lex's voice. "I'm good at that - - denial."

"I was miserable," Clark confessed his own weakness without qualm.

Lex was silent a long while, and Clark thought he might have drifted into a doze again, but after a bit, he said softly. "I missed you and I hated it. You make me crazy, you know."

So they were even on that score. Clark grinned, and pressed it into Lex's shoulder.

He listened to the sound of Lex's heartbeat for a long time, to the steady rush of his blood. There was a subtle difference to the cadence he discovered, between a preternaturally calm Lex and a sleeping Lex. It had been a long night that had bled into a long morning, and the human body needed rest that the Kryptonian one could do without. Still, sleeping with Lex he'd found, was very nice. Nicer still in a bed big enough to stretch out in without limbs hanging off the side.

His internal clock told him it was almost eight and the light escaping the drapery in the bedroom hinted at the same. Four or five hours sleep and he'd see if Lex was up for lunch. Clark was starving. Over a month of practically no appetite and now it was back in spades.

There were things to do at home of course, all those ingrained responsibilities that kept him from following dreams - - but this morning he felt strangely guilt free. The cows would fend for themselves after all, today. The Kent farm would stand cold and untended, because Clark was absurdly, irrationally happy where he was, wrapped around Lex and he had no intention of going anywhere.

 

Epilogue

 

Sophia Daniakos padded under the lacquered bamboo arch of the beachfront bar and onto the white sands of Tahaa beach. The resort was one of the most exclusive in French Polynesia, on a private island off the coast of Bora Bora. To the rich and reclusive it was a luxurious haven, far from the commercialism of the more mainstream island getaways.

The beach was pristine, the water azure and clear down to the shallow reefs. There was a line of beach chairs with white canvas umbrellas and small glass tables that attentive waiters kept stocked with cold, fruit adorned drinks. Sophia walked across the sand, naturally olive skin darker than the sand she tread upon. Her father had owned an island or two in his time and she was no stranger to the sun. Her bikini was Dior and white and barely there. There was no one to ogle her but very discreet staff, this little section of beach front belonging exclusively to her own private bungalow. If mingling was desired, there was the resort club or the gardens. But honestly, she'd had her fill of men and their desires - - and their incompetence.

She settled into a beach chair and reached for one of the drinks on the table, glancing at her companion, who seemed fixated with the calm, clear waters of the lagoon.

"My brother tried to access one of our Cayman accounts today. I imagine he was disappointed to find it empty. It was the last one he hadn't pilfered, so he'll be laying low quite a bit less extravagantly than he has been. If only he'd been a little less inept - - Lex would be dead and Lionel Luthor would have seen very efficiently, I'm sure, to Niko's demise in retaliation. All our nuisances taken care of like dominos falling."

"They never do live up to expectations, do they? Men."

"They have their uses, darling," Sophia reached out to pat the slim wrist of her companion. "But I've always found, if a woman wants a job done, its more fulfilling to take care of it herself."

"I suppose so." Lana Lang looked over the rim of her sunglasses, out to where the ocean met the horizon, a hard edge to eyes that seemed more naturally inclined to softness.

The problem with men, Sophia thought, was that they never properly learned to appreciate the resourcefulness of women scorned. And when they finally learned, it was always the hard way.

She sipped her drink, watching the playful shapes of dolphins in the Lagoon, and enjoyed the company.

 

 

 

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