Obsessions: 12

Never in all his days, would Jonathan Kent have figured he’d have turned a blind eye to his son cuddling – – doing something damned close to cuddling – – because you didn’t sit that close to someone you weren’t planning on laying hands on – – with another man. With Lex Luthor. Who was another one of those things Jonathan never would have figured.

He’d wanted to beat the damned smug bastard to a pulp not that long ago, and here he was welcoming him into his house. Albeit grudgingly, and after a lot of convincing from Martha, who’d taken it into her head somewhere along the way that Lex Luthor needed her mothering. Of course, it was a lot harder to hate him, after what he’d risked for Clark. What he’d done to save Martha’s life in that damned house Jonathan wished had never been brought to Smallville, stone by stone, all those years ago. Hard to hate a man – – a young man – – who’d gone through a hell that sullied the mind just thinking about it. The burned remnants of those leather cuffs and that man-sized dog collar were still out back in a metal drum along with the rest of the trash. And Jonathan had stood there, watching them burn that day, feeling righteously angry on behalf of a kid he’d never thought he’d feel anything but distrust for.

It still didn’t mean Jonathan wanted him being intimate with his son. Didn’t mean he wanted Clark to want to be intimate with another man, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. It wasn’t like he could tell Clark how to feel or who to feel it about, no matter how much he wanted to.

He kept reminding himself of that. Kept reminding himself that Clark was a smart boy. A good boy, that knew right from wrong. Martha had spent no few nights reminding him of that early on, when it had first sunk in that it hadn’t just been the red meteorite that had twisted Clark’s thinking, but a genuine attraction to another man. When all he’d been able to think about was the devastating knowledge that his son might be gay.

He still wanted to lay the blame of that on Lex. Lex somehow twisting up Clark’s thinking. Martha had scolded him for that notion, giving him the sort of look a woman might give a man that had suggested something patently ridiculous, when he’d brought it up. But he still held to the notion that if it were possible to talk a body into doing something intrinsically opposite to its nature, Lex Luthor would have been slick enough to do it.

Not so slick now, though. Not even close to having the confidence he’d had before. Lex had always come at you with hand extended and that disconcerting direct eye contact, that aura of absolute assurance when he was trying to convince you of something that your better judgment warned against. There was no immediate offered hand now. And when he met your eyes it was almost like he had to force himself to do it and to hold the contact. Like the self-assurance had been beaten out of him. He wasn’t flinching away though, not like that first day after Clark had gotten him out. Jonathan supposed there were certain hurts that would take a long time healing.

It still didn’t mean he’d trust either one of them as far as he could throw them. Martha said trust Clark to do the right thing. She said she’d had a conversation with Lex. But Martha had never been a young man and he was damned sure she didn’t have the insight he did, on just how powerful hormones were when you were young and male. Responsible Clark might be, but the sex drive was a powerful thing. And as far as Lex went – – well, Jonathan figured Lex had damned little practice with control, if half the rumors he’d heard were true.

Which meant, the only thing that let him walk out of that barn and leave the two of them up there together, was Martha’s very legitimate argument that chances were Lex was in no place mentally after his ordeal, to engage in sexual activity.

Jonathan could buy that. Hell, after what he’d seen – – the marks on Lex’s body that day, the bruising and the striping on his genitalia, like a Goddamned strap had been taken to him – – he hadn’t been able to perform his husbandly duties for a week, without the image of it coming back and shriveling up any spark of sexual interest.

And they had come down, not too long after – – damned if he was going to bed until they were both safely settled in separate rooms – – Clark looking as happy as Jonathan had ever seen him.

And next morning, Clark was up before him, eating a bowl of corn flakes when he came down to get the work that needed doing, even on holidays, finished early. The door to the guest room was still shut, and he figured it would be hours yet before they saw Lex. Which sat just fine with him. It gave him a little alone time with his son, while Martha was finishing up her shower.

“So, Lex looks like he’s doing well.”

Clark looked up a little warily from his cereal, ready maybe for a little parental condemnation. “Yeah. Pretty good.”

“How’d that trip to the Luthor mansion go, yesterday?”

Clark shrugged, shoveling in another mouthful of cornflakes. “We didn’t stay long. It was sort of freaking him out. He said the man who kidnapped him had been in the house before all this happened. Said he came in with the crews after the tornado last summer.”

Jonathan drew his brows. He hadn’t known that.

“He tried to play it down, but I think just being in the house was hitting him pretty hard.”

“So he won’t be coming back to Smallville?”

“No. He’s going back to Metropolis.”

Jonathan nodded, trying to hide his relief. Even for Clark, Metropolis was a damned sight further to go than a few rural routes down to the mansion. There could be parental restrictions put on visits to the city. Curfews that damned sure better be met.

“That’s probably for the best.”

Clark narrowed his eyes. “Right, because the further apart me and Lex are, the happier you are.”

Bingo. But he didn’t say that. He took a page from Martha’s playbook and tried tact. “Son, there’s only so much alone time I want between my teenage son and the twenty-two year old I’ve already caught him in a compromising position with.”

Clark opened his mouth, the red meteorite excuse on the tip of his tongue. Jonathan gave him a stern look and added. “Any more than me or your mother would allow you stay out to all hours with a ‘girlfriend’.”

“Yeah, but you’d rather I had a girlfriend.”

“Maybe I would, but if she were almost six years your senior, I’d have issues with it regardless. Even if she weren’t, I damn sure wouldn’t condone sex.” He got that out without coloring. He’d never had the sex talk with Clark. Clark had never been serious enough about a girl – – at least one that was serious back – – to warrant it. He was pretty sure he was in over his head having it concerning another guy. He might just have to leave that particular task up to Martha.

Clark did blush. That was the difference between sixteen and forty-seven. Age gave you that little extra ability to deal with uncomfortable subjects without wanting to run and hide. Or at least the talent to hide the urge if you did.

“That irrigation pipe in the south field’s been giving me trouble, again.” Still, there was only so much of this sort of talk he could take in one sitting, and he thought he’d done damned well. Been damned reasonable with it. “Make sure it’s not blocked up again when you fill the troughs this morning.”

“Okay,” Clark took a breath, maybe as relieved as he was at the change of topic. “I’ll get the herd fed, then come back and start delivering the rest of mom’s pies.”

It was a good plan. Clark would have it done in a few hours if he took his time about it.

Clark wasted as much time as he possibly could, finishing off chores around the farm, delivering all the rest of the pies and baked goods, finishing up yet another make up paper up in the loft, and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet. Lex’s tendency to sleep in was putting a serious crimp in Clark’s plans.

When he wondered into the kitchen around quarter to ten, his mom was just taking the turkey out of the brine solution she’d had it soaking in. She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes and asked him to dump the brine, then when he’d brought the big container back in, she nodded in the direction of the stairs.

“I heard the shower cut off a few minutes ago, so I imagine he’ll be down soon.”

He listened himself for the sounds of life upstairs, and heard the subtle noises of a body in motion. He reached for a cookie and she gave him a warning look. If she’d had free hands she have swatted his hand.

About ten minutes later, Lex came downstairs, light casual sweater, black slacks, smelling faintly of Dial and whatever it was about Lex that always made something in Clark stand up and take notice, even before he’d admitted that it was happening.

“Coffee, Lex?” His mom asked, both her hands immersed inside the turkey.

“Thank you. Good morning.” He gave Clark a faint smile and went for the half full coffee pot.

“Breakfast is cold this morning. Clark can show you the cereal.”

“Thank you, I’m fine.” Lex sipped black, sugared coffee, eying Clark over the lip of the cup.

“Dinner won’t be on the table till four. You’ll want something to tide you over. You’ve lost too much weight.”

Clark rolled his eyes at the total ‘momness’ of that statement, even if it was true. Lex got that sort of tolerant, forced-amused look in his eyes he got when he was putting up with something for the sake of good manners. He took a cookie from the same trey Clark had snatched his.

Mom pursed her lips and said. “Something healthy.”

Clark plucked a pair of apples from the bowl on the kitchen table, and grinned at Lex. “C’mon, I’ve got something to show you.”

He tossed one of the apples to Lex on the way down the porch. Lex caught it one handed and the amusement in his eyes turned genuine. “How long have you been up?”

“Oh, since the crack of dawn. Got all my chores done while you were lazing away in bed. Fed the cows, slopped the hogs, dug a ball of sludge the size of your head out of the south irrigation system. It was great.’

“See, and here I thought I’d missed something, but come to find out, you’ve given me excellent examples of why not to own a farm.”

“I’ve pretty much convinced myself.” Clark headed to the root cellar, slid back the latch and hauled the doors open. Dust floated up as light flooded the dark spaces.

“Well,” Clark ducked his head under the beam supporting the roof over the wooden steps and moved down to the dirt floor. “Here it is.”

He waited till Lex followed him down, before pulling the tarp off the ship in the back corner. The light from outside didn’t quite reach this far, so there were a lot of shadows even during the day. Not enough to hide what was under the tarp.

Lex didn’t say a thing, just walked around it the first time without touching, eyes taking in every detail of the ship. It was a little dusty from being down here so long, but the dust didn’t hide the sheen of the ship’s skin. Maybe seven foot long total, egg shaped main body, with a darker diamond shaped ‘fin’ flaring out from the center. Dormant and dead like always. It always gave Clark the shivers when he came down here and stayed with it too long, imaging all the things it represented.

“It’s the same material,” Lex said softly, finally lying fingers on the surface of the dome. He ran them across the edge, making marks in the dust coating. Came to the octagonal shape in metal and traced the outline. “It’s the same material as the disc – -”

He trailed off abruptly, looking up at Clark from the other side of the ship. “The octagonal disc we found in Miller’s field? It’s part of this ship.”


“Did you take it?”

“No. Nixon did.”

Lex turned that over, eyes narrowing. “But you lied to my face about it.”

“I know.” Clark took a breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think I had a choice.”

Lex stared at him a moment longer, then looked back at the ship. “You were – -what, three or four – – when you landed here?”

Clark shrugged. “I guess.”

“Whoever sent you had to have had a pretty good estimation of how long the trip would be – – a few more years and this ship wouldn’t have held you. Either that or it employed some sort of suspended animation that would have kept you in stasis indefinitely if you hadn’t found a planet that could support you. God, Clark, you don’t have any clue where you came from? No information with the ship?”

“There wasn’t a like an owner’s manual or anything,” Clark said, feeling just a tad defensive. “At least not that I can read. There are some symbols on the inside – -”

“You can open it?”

“Sometimes. It doesn’t always cooperate.” He went over and grazed his fingers along the edge, but the ship just stayed quiet and still, not in the mood to show off.

“It went crazy during the tornado last summer. My mom was down here when it just came to life – – first time ever – – and took off like a bat out of hell. It crashed in a field about ten miles from here. Pete found it. It hasn’t made a peep since then.”

“So it still has power?”

“Apparently. I don’t know what set it off.”

“Clark, keeping this down in your root cellar is just – – wasteful. There are things we could learn – -”

“Right and the more people who know about it, the more people there are to ask questions about who was inside it when it landed. I really, really don’t want to end up in a lab somewhere.”

Lex stared at him, eyes inky blue in the shadows, turning that over in his head, turning a lot of things over if Clark were any judge, and he liked to think he was.

“I wouldn’t let that happen,” he said finally.

“Could you stop it, if say, the government found out and decided better safe than sorry? Are you up to that fight, Lex?”

Lex tightened his jaw. “You’ve thought this through.”

“Yeah. It used to keep me up at night. Why do you think we were so adamant about keeping the secret?”

“To protect you. I get that. But, God, there are so many questions. And the answers might be right here.”

“And they might not be. It might be just a hunk of metal. Maybe even a dead one. That last flight might have expended the rest of its juice.”

Lex stared at him for a long moment, then slowly nodded. “All right. I’ll respect you wanting this thing right where it is. But one day the need for answers is going to start eating at you and this might be the only clue you have to your heritage.”

“I know. God, I know. When I start looking, I’ll get you to help me find those answers. But right now, all I want to do is survive this year with everybody I love in one piece and me not flunking out of school. Don’t we both sort of have enough to deal with, without worrying about this?”

Lex stood there for a moment, fingertips on the edge of the ship, face half in shadows. Finally his mouth curved in a grudging smile and he shrugged. “Fair enough.”

He moved around to the front of the ship, where Clark was, shook his head with faint disgust. “All this time and you’ve had it in the root cellar, behind a door that doesn’t even have a lock.”

“Yeah, the security around here isn’t high tech.”

Lex snorted.

“Do you wonder what you were sent here for?”

“All the time.” Clark leaned against the edge of the ship, took a bite of apple. Wiped at the dribble of juice that ran down the side of his mouth. “I learned the names of pretty much all the constellations, figuring I had to be from one of them.”

“It’s a big galaxy.” Lex moved around to stand in front of him. Lifted a thumb to brush away the remnants of apple juice Clark had missed. Clark swallowed a big lump, and shifted his thighs to allow better access.

“I’ll buy you a better telescope. One you can use to actually stargaze.”

Clark grinned. Lex leaned in and kissed him. Licked the flavor off his lips and Clark closed his eyes and curled his fingers around the edge of the ship fin, letting Lex have his way. He didn’t know how, the moment Lex was ready to engage in it, he was supposed to not have sex, because all it took was a touch from Lex and Clark’s whole body was thrumming.

Lex shifted closer, right up between Clark’s legs, his hands in Clark’s hair like he couldn’t get enough of the feel of it.

“You know how my dad feels about you buying me gifts,” Clark gasped, bracing his feet on the hard packed dirt floor, as Lex leaned into him.

“Umm. I’m working on ways to maneuver around him. God, you taste good.”

He slid his hands down Clark’s neck to his arms, fingers stroking his biceps, the hollow on the inside of his elbow. It was enough to make Clark moan and thrust a little helplessly, and Lex couldn’t have not felt his erection, because it was right there, clear as day. He figured with anything other than his ship, his fingers would have left imprints from the death grip he was practicing on it.

Lex blew out a breath against the side of Clark’s mouth, leaned back a little, giving Clark a wry look. He looked further down to the bulge in Clark’s jeans, then put a little practical distance between him and it. It was hard to tell if he’d had issues with it or not, when he was wearing his bland expression.

He ran a thumb across Clark’s lips once before he stepped out from between Clark’s legs. “I think we might want to take a moment before we go back outside. Just in case.”

Clark rolled his eyes and thought about suggesting Lex go ahead on out, since he didn’t have anything tenting his pants, and give Clark five minutes to take care of the problem alone. It wouldn’t take long, but then he’d have to go inside and change and come up with an explanation why there was a need. He took a breath and thought unsexy thoughts.

When he was presentable, he threw the tarp back over the ship and they headed back outside.

Clark wanted to go for a walk. With very little else to do on a farm, and five hours to kill till dinner, Lex was game. And he needed a little span of companionable silence to get over the curl of panic his own actions had spurred. Not a huge attack of nerves, just the sudden intrusion of his mind into the mix, getting squarely in the way of any enjoyment he’d been experiencing. And gratifyingly enough, he had been enjoying that.

He’d needed to find out whether he could just take that step and find simple pleasure in touching someone that mattered without having to work himself up to it. And he had. Wholeheartedly, up until the point that Clark’s erection pressing against him snared his attention and wouldn’t let it go, spurring a domino effect of thoughts that ended up killing any desire to carry on with the experiment.

So they walked, down the dirt road leading through the pastures and fields behind the house, towards the distant woods beyond. It was a nice day, the weather was cool, there were cows looking at them from beyond weathered fencing.

Clark didn’t breach the silence until the house was small behind them. “Any dreams last night?”

Lex’s first instinct, always his first instinct was to cover his weaknesses. But it was getting easier with Clark, to remind himself that he wasn’t laying himself vulnerable to attack with painful admissions. That he was in fact, shoring something up, building bridges that led to secure ground.

“A few. Not bad,” he shrugged. He’d dreamed mostly about the house. About blood on the floor, staining his bare feet. Of walking the halls with the overpowering sense of being followed and not being able to find a way out.

As his dreams went lately, it had been a breeze.

“So my dad talked to me this morning.”

Lex glanced aside at him. Since he suspected Clark’s father talked to him a great deal, the mention of this could only have to do with him. “And?”

“Actually, it went pretty good. He’s glad you’re not moving back to Smallville, he doesn’t want us out at all hours of the night and he doesn’t want us having sex.”

Lex snorted. “Is that all?”

Clark shoulder bumped him, grinning. “The last time we ‘talk’ talked, he was forbidding me to see you. This is just curfew and abstinence.”

“Ah, the two founding virtues of the structured teenage years. I’ve heard about those. I never practiced them.”

It was Clark’s turn to snort. Lex avoided another playful bump into the grass on the side of the trail.

“Don’t resent them for caring enough about you to make an issue of it. My father’s method of parenting consisted of letting me do whatever I wanted and cleaning up afterwards – -oh, ninety percent of the time – – then if it wasn’t likely to hit the papers and effect stock values – – he’d occasionally snap and let me rot in jail for a few days to teach me the value of responsibility.”

“Jesus, Lex. What were you doing when you were a teenager that landed you in jail on a regular basis?”

“I was inventive.”

They reached the woods and a trail that looked as if it were a riding path, if the occasional old lump of horse manure were any indication. Lex had never been much for the deep woods. He liked his outside spaces manicured and bug free. He missed the Centennial Park jogging path in the city. That was as close to a nature trail as he’d ever had any inclination to travel.

Clark made walking down a shaded trail, swatting away the sporadic dive-bombing insect, tolerable. Enjoyable even, when they reached a creek with large flat rocks dotting the shore and breaking the surface of the shallow water. Clark chose to bypass the shore trail and skip from rock to rock down the creek, until eventually he reached a large span of flat rock on the opposite sun dappled bank.

“This used to be my favorite place to come and get away from everything.” Clark crouched, and pointed out letters carved into the rock. CK + LL inside a lopsided heart.

Lex lifted a brow.

Clark grinned, looking embarrassed. “At the time I was thinking Lana, but it works pretty well anyway. I was twelve when I did it.”

He flopped down the rest of the way, stretching out his legs. Lex sat down next to him, finding a few other obviously boy made etchings in the stone. Wondered if Clark had had to use an instrument, then remembered that he didn’t have to secretly nurse those sorts of questions any longer and voiced it.

Clark held up a finger. “Nope. Just a nail. Course, it was harder back then. I wasn’t nearly as strong as I am now. When I was little, I could bleed, if something cut me hard enough. Now it only happens if I’m around meteor rock.”

A shiver rippled across Lex’s skin, memories of Clark bleeding flashing behind his eyes. Clark lay back, flinging out his arms, staring up at the canopy of foliage above. “The one time I ran away I came out here.”

Lex looked down at him. “You ran away?”

“Yeah, I was – – I dunno, eight or nine and my parents were still freaking out about me being able to control my powers. Pete had asked me to come over for a sleepover with a few other kids from school, and they wouldn’t let me. It was devastating. At the time me and Pete were just getting to be friends and I was sure he’d hate me for ditching. I’d never had a friend before, so it was a pretty big deal for me. I threw a fit. Stuffed my blanket and some food in a backpack and came out here. I think my dad found me that night, and by that time, it was dark and I was pretty freaked out and ready to go home.”

Lex lay back, not above using Clark’s arm as a cushion against the rock, staring at Clark while Clark stared at the trees. “So what were you planning, a life in the wilderness, living off the land?”

Clark grinned, beautiful profile, beautiful fall of silky black hair that had yet to be trimmed against the pale rock beneath his head.

“That had crossed my mind. I think I had seen an old Tarzan movie that week.”

“Ah, the inspiration of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I always leaned towards John Carter over Tarzan.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a bigger geek than I am.”

Lex laughed at that, suspecting it was true, but it caught in his chest when Clark rolled his head, grinning back, and full on, he was simply too breathtaking to resist.

He leaned over and kissed him. Clark curled his arm, pulling him closer, and they spent a few minutes just casually exploring lips and mouths. The sound of the brook was a cheerful, calming ripple in the background.

Lex broke it for want of air, lay back on the stone staring up at the foliage, closer than he had been before. If his heart rate had increased, it was all Clark and no deeper cause.

“When I was young, I read everything I could get my hands on,” Lex admitted. “I guess I was a total geek in that respect. My father always discouraged ‘flights of fancy’, but my mother had as big a need for escapism as I did. I was devouring authors like Burroughs when I was six, seven years old. Sun Tzu and Kranz and Machiavelli were pretty much my attempts to brown nose my dad.”

“Yeah, well, your dad sucked.”

Lex laughed, kissed him again. It wasn’t as much of a stretch this time. Just a matter of turning his head and Clark’s mouth was right there. Leisurely, wonderful. No pressure. No agenda. No niggling little insistence at the back of his mind to get on with it, get the deed done so he could get back to more important matters. There were no more important matters. Clark trumped them all.

Clark who was young and bright and achingly beautiful, and wanted him. Wanted him in a way that no one had ever wanted him before. Not for the money, or the influence, or the connections – – but just for him. Wanted him even now, when he was broken in ways he hadn’t thought it possible to be broken. When he felt numb almost below the waist, aware of the tactile pleasure of Clark’s skin, of his taste and the feel of his lips, but it couldn’t seem to saturate deep enough to make a difference.

He rose up, an elbow on Clark’s chest, and deepened the kiss. Seeking that spark of feeling. Clark moaned under him, one hand sliding up his back, the other drifting up to the back of his neck. His cock was pressed against Clark’s hip, but nothing stirred. Clark was stirring though. It wasn’t fair to Clark to keep doing this to him, though, bringing him to the brink then backing off. Clark wasn’t complaining now, but he might eventually.

He thrust his tongue into Clark’s mouth, steeling himself, and slid a hand down to the front of Clark’s jeans. And yes, he was hard and long beneath the denim, the velvety soft tip of his cock escaping out from the top.

Lex pulled back, looking down at Clark’s flushed face, reminding himself it was Clark. Clark. Not – – him.

He pressed his palm against the length of Clark’s erection, rubbing, the foreskin sliding against his palm. And foreskin was nice. There was no flared, tight skinned mushroom head, nothing to remind him of Decker at all in the feel of it. And hand jobs had been the one thing Decker hadn’t demanded of him. Decker had enjoyed him restrained too much to allow him the freedom to have even that small bit of control. Squeezing his hand beneath the waistband of Clark’s jeans and wrapping his fingers around the girth of his cock was empowering, almost.

Making Clark whine and moan, making his cheeks flush red and his lashes flutter down while his white teeth pulled at his bottom lip – – almost did make something in Lex stir below the belt.

This was safe. This was giving Clark something Clark needed without triggering some panic button inside Lex, without treading too liberally on promises made to parental figures – – there were no body parts being inserted into any orifices – – and third base was damned acceptable, considering what they had been doing before the world had turned on its head.

Besides which, he had no problem lying to the Kent’s if it meant watching Clark while he came. And it didn’t take much before he did, crying Lex’s name, spurting warm and wet across Lex’s hand, across the swath of hard bared belly, the rumpled front of his t-shirt.

Lex leaned there, across his chest while he shuddered, slowly stroking his gradually softening cock, watching as the focus came back into his eyes.

“Oh, God, Lex.”

“Umm. Good?”

Clark shuddered, a big breathless grin splitting his face. “God – – yes.”

Lex removed his hand, eyed the glistening coat of Clark’s semen. A few months ago, he wouldn’t have had issues with licking it off, at the moment the thought of semen in his mouth was enough to make his stomach churn. Even Clark’s.

He leaned over and dipped his hand in the creek, letting the evidence wash off with the water.

“Shirt,” he reminded Clark.

Clark looked down at the wet spots on his blue t-shirt, and grinned, before sitting up and stripping it off.

“I’ve used this creek to wash up before.”

“The notorious creek.” Lex watched him soak the shirt and use it to wipe off his stomach. Droplets of water trailed down the ridges of well-defined abs, pooled in his navel. He rinsed out the shirt in the creek, then laid it out to dry in a sunny patch.

Clark took off his shoes and socks, and put his feet in the water, sat there with his forearms on his knees and looked at Lex. “I know why you can’t be here – – in Smallville, but God, even in Metropolis – – I hate you being so far away. I hate not being there if you need me – -”

“Clark, touching as that is, I’m pretty sure the ratio of mentally challenged meteor infected per capita in Metropolis is considerably less than Smallville. Chances are I’ll be able to avoid regular incidents.”

Clark glowered at him. “That’s not what I meant.”

Lex waved a hand. It was a mute point. It wasn’t like he could expect Clark to sleep over and keep the nightmares at bay, even if he were in Smallville. A few hundred miles wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

“I know what you meant. Stop worrying.”

Clark rolled his eyes, turned a rock over under the clear water with his toe. “A year and a half till I’m legal, you know? And nobody can tell me who I can sleep with or where I do it.”

“I’m aware.” And he was, down to the day. Though the legal age of consent in Kansas was 17, there was a pretty large age gap between them, and in this conservative state, gender did factor in. As well as parental outrage or lack thereof. And though that hadn’t stopped him before, it would be nice not to have to scurry about like thieves in the night.

“So you think you’ll still want me a year and half from now?” Clark asked, trying to make it sound like a joke, but the little furrow of intent interest between his brows a telling hint that the answer worried him.

Lex lifted a brow, leaned back on his hands and let his eyes sweep up the line of Clark’s naked back. For an alien demigod with bone structure out of some master artist’s wet dream, Clark had the most bizarre inferiority complex. Lex hadn’t been a big proponent of lasting relationships before, but the day he’d met Clark, he’d known, felt it in his soul, that there was some intangible, indissoluble connection between them.

“Try and shake me.”

Clark’s expression lightened.

They headed back after Clark’s shirt had air dried, taking their time about it, talking about little, non-consequential things. Clark found an old, half deflated football in the field they were cutting across, and grinned. “That’s where this went.”

He leaned back and hurled it skyward, and it sailed up like it had been shot out of a cannon.

“God,” Lex said, while they stood there and watched the speck of it against the blue sky. “And you wondered why your father had problems with you playing ball.”

Clark sniffed, maybe following the path of the ball still, even after it had disappeared beyond Lex’s ability to follow. “I’m capable of playing human speed.”


“See, you don’t believe me, either. I have perfect control.”

There was the whistling sound of something rocketing through the air, and Clark jogged a few steps ahead and caught the saggy ball with a solid thump of leather against flesh.

Lex shook his head, not able to hold back the grin of amazement. “I believe you.”

And he did. If Clark had that sort of power and hadn’t in the throes of passion managed to pound Lex through the mattress – – literally – – then he had pretty refined control of his powers.

“Even if you’re showing off, now.”

Clark grinned, tossed the ball out into the field where it landed in the midst of a group of dozing cattle. He got a few lazy blinks, but not much more of a reaction out of them.

By the time they meandered back to the house, Lex’s watch was reading almost two. They were almost to the house when a car turned onto the long driveway from the road. A newish model VW bug.

“That’s Chloe’s car,” Clark pointed out.

Clark picked up his pace, walking up to meet it as she pulled in next to Lex’s Porsche. Lex sauntered behind, in no hurry to deal with Clark’s friends. It wasn’t just Chloe that emerged, but Lana as well, both of them looking beyond Clark at Lex, like he was the last person on earth they’d expected to find here.

“Lex, you’re back,” Chloe almost managed not to gape at him and he could see the questions swirling behind her eyes. He had no desire whatsoever to know the rumors circulating about him around town.

“Lex.” Lana was staring at him, big eyed and he had no intention of letting a pair of sixteen-year-old girls drive him into retreat. God, if he couldn’t deal with the likes of them, the city was going to destroy him.

“So what are you guys doing here?” Clark was asking, diverting their attention from Lex.

“Well,” Chloe dragged her eyes from Lex to Clark. “We were all going to the Golden Corral Thanksgiving buffet with my dad – – in my house boiling an egg takes concentration – – but he got called out to the plant for an emergency, so we’re on our own. We figured we’d come see what you were up to before we went and got dinner.”

“Nonsense.” Martha had come out onto the porch, dishtowel in hand. “We’ve plenty here. If Gabe isn’t back in time, you girls are welcome to eat with us.”

Fantastic. Lex strolled up to stand next to Clark. A respectable distance. “What emergency?”

He hadn’t given the plant a thought in – -oh, a month, more if you counted the unwilling time spent in the basement. He could make the assumption that someone had taken over all the top tier managerial duties. Likely Gabe Sullivan, who had been an excellent general manager and like the rest of the employees, had a stake in the plant’s success. He felt remiss for not having looked into it sooner.

“Oh, some cooling system on the fritz that finally decided to up and die today. They had to shut down like half the plant this morning, but he’s got the part coming in from Wichita, so he thinks everything’ll be back up and running by tonight.” Chloe gave him a look like she really thought he ought to know more about this than she did.

“It sounds like he has it well in hand. Someone saw to it he got a raise with his promotion, didn’t they?”

She opened her mouth and he shrugged before she could answer. “I’ll see that it’s made official.”

Since he had no intention of running the Smallville Plant anymore himself, he might as well promote the man who’d been doing it in his absence.

“Lex, how are you?” Lana asked, and if the questions had broiled behind Chloe’s eyes, a wary sort of empathy glistened in Lana’s. Smallville wasn’t immune to the gossip rags littering its drugstore newspaper racks.

“I’m fine, Lana, how are you? How’s the Talon?”

She blinked slowly, realigning to his change of subject, some little bit of panic entering her expression. Curious.

“Lana’s living with Chloe now,” Clark supplied. “Her aunt got married and moved to Metropolis.”

“Kate Hawkins is still day manager,” Lana said defensively, as if she thought Lex were going to question the idea of a teenage girl running something so complex as a small town coffee shop. He honestly didn’t care. Lana was a sweet girl. A little self-absorbed, but then most beautiful girls were. Most of his interest in Lana’s success or lack thereof had been directly related to making Clark happy. And at the time, making Lana happy had accomplished that.

“Are you in the black?”

“Yes. Karaoke night really boosted profits.”

“Then I have no complaints.”

They moved onto the porch, Lana migrating into the kitchen to exchange pleasantries with Martha, while Chloe lingered trying to pry information out of Lex.

“So I ‘m sort of surprised to see you here,” she finally said, when he ignored or avoided most of her other questions.


“I mean, you like own half of Metropolis now, right? Oh, and sorry about your dad. I sort of didn’t expect to see you on some podunk farm for Thanksgiving dinner.”

He lifted a brow.

“What do you mean podunk?” Clark interjected.

“But I guess you are sort of an orphan now, aren’t you?” Chloe pointed out.

Clark opened his mouth, maybe to call her on her bluntness, then looked at Lex instead, realization sinking in that she was right.

“You are aren’t you? No family anywhere?”

He would have neglected to answer Chloe’s summation, but Clark he gave a shrug. “Not that I’m aware of.”

It was no huge thing. The family he’d had never had done him much good.

Lana came out with four glasses of iced tea, and the talk turned to school, and the latest meteor related curiosity that Chloe had ferreted out. Things Lex could sit back and let them engage in, without actively participating himself.

Jonathan came in from the barn, raised surprised brows at the girl’s on the porch, then good naturedly claimed the more the merrier – – Lex couldn’t quite imagine him being so ingratiating if it had been him that happened to show up under similar circumstances – -and said he was off to shower and settle down to watch a little football before dinner hit the table.

The idea appealed to Clark and the girls were all for it, so he suggested they head to the loft and watch the game up there. Clark moved an the overstuffed chair against the rail next to the couch for extra seating, and Lex gladly claimed it, not sure he was prepared to be crowded in on the couch amidst people that weren’t Clark. Which left Clark and the girls the couch. Clark got stuck in the center of a Chloe-Lana sandwich, which seemed to please him about as much as it would please any teenage male. The girls leaned across him, talking to each other, and Lex put his feet up on the coffee table and paid more attention to watching Clark from under his lashes than the game on the small screen television.

Chloe was relaxed, unmindful of leaning against Clark, but Lana was a little more careful about it and Lana kept giving Clark odd looks now and then, like she was baffled that he wasn’t paying her more attention. Chloe didn’t bother Lex in the least, but Lana – –

Lex wondered if Clark had ever had the opportunity to go up to her and say, ‘by the way, I’m not interested, anymore. Just friends, okay?’ He knew she’d been miffed after the red meteor incident, but he didn’t know what, if any declarations, had been made.

Then it occurred to him that he was feeling the stirrings of jealousy towards a sixteen-year-old girl and that he needed to shut it down, right now. He chewed on a piece of ice and forced his attention to the game and off of the fact that Clark had been obsessing over Lana a lot longer than Lex had been obsessing over Clark.

By the time Martha sent Jonathan out to call them in to dinner he was more than ready to go share a table with Jonathan Kent just to get Clark off the couch with Lana.

Dinner went well, considering. Martha’s spread looked good enough to wet even Lex’s recently unreliable appetite. Clark slipped into the chair next to Lex and nudged his leg every now and then under the folds of the tablecloth. The Kent’s didn’t believe in a lot of dinner conversation, and attention was focused for a good while on food and most of the talk consisted of, ‘pass the rolls and great stuffing Mrs. Kent.’

It wasn’t until dessert was brought out, and appetites were sated enough for people to sit back and start talking.

“So how is your aunt settling into married life, Lana?”

“Chloe, I’ll fix up a plate for you to take home to your father.”

And so on, until Jonathan casually mentioned, “So Sadie Hawkins is coming up – – what next month? Either of you girls figured who you’ll ask to the dance.”

“I try to stay away from dances,” Chloe said vehemently.

“I’m sure Pete would appreciate an invite,” Martha said, giving her husband a look. It hadn’t exactly been a subtle attempt to peddle Clark.

Chloe rolled her eyes and snorted. “Yeah, Pete’s been smoozing up to half the girls in school. He’s got a list of hopefuls.”

“What about you, Lana?” Jonathan was dogged, as if he thought getting Clark to a dance with a girl would swing him back around to the straight side of the road.

Lana blushed a little, glancing aside to Clark, before looking away and shrugging. “I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. I think I might be in Chloe’s camp this year, and just avoid it.”

Clark narrowed his eyes, finally getting it. He caught Lex’s gaze and rolled his eyes.

“So Lex is thinking of going back to school,” Clark said, in an obvious attempt to change the subject. Lex rather wished he hadn’t.

“Really?” Martha leaned forward, more interested than she had been in the other polite after dinner conversation.

“You never finished college?” Chloe asked.

Lex leaned back in his chair, idly swirling the last melted chunks of ice in his glass and considered jamming his heel down on Clark’s foot under the table just to let him know how much he appreciated the change in topic. “Life got in the way. I was remiss.”

“Wow. Who’d have thought it?” Chloe looked in inordinately impressed at his failing.

“I didn’t know you dropped out of college.” Jonathan said, not sounding nearly as impressed. From the look on his face, Lex rather thought he’d just confirmed one more suspicion the man held about him.

“Where do you think you’ll go, Lex?” Martha asked.

He shrugged, and surprisingly enough the pressure of being the center of attention wasn’t making him want to crawl under the table. He’d used to thrive on it.

“I’m about a semester short of a MBA. I was thinking of forgoing the Ivy League this time and going Notre Dame. It’s School of business is the best rated in the country.”

“I think that’s wonderful. Its good not to leave these things unfinished.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

Martha smiled at him, the sort of look he faintly recalled seeing on his own mother’s face now and then, forever ago.

The conversation drifted to other things and all in all, he supposed, Jonathan Kent’s attempts to set Clark up with Lana aside, it was the best holiday dinner Lex could easily recall.

Fall merged with winter. It was a cold one, and Metropolis with her forests of concrete and glass and steel had always been a frigid mistress during the colder months.

Lex considered taking over his father’s penthouse suite, the entire top floor of the Mulhoney building in uptown Metropolis. With its own private gym and its onsite kitchen staff, and private security to keep the world at bay, a man could find complete privacy if he wanted. But he was trying to find some sort of solid footing in the world, and closeting himself in amidst the trappings of secluded wealth was not the path to that goal.

So he returned to his own apartment. Not quite so large, not quite as prestigious in locale as the Mulhoney address, but it was familiar and it was filled with his things and not his father’s. It would do for the present. He had his realtor on the prowl for a new address. He had a list of needs, but it was really just a matter of what struck his fancy.

Clark was his during the weekends. There had been a big brawl between Clark and his parents over school night treks to the city, which with Lex’s support – – after a call from Martha Kent – – Clark’s parents had won. Clark got Friday afternoons, and Saturday till curfew, and Sunday during the day. Of course, if they knew what they did during a good deal of those hours, even that time would have been curtailed.

Lex’s couch saw more foreplay in a month than it had during the entire time he’d had the apartment. Which was not to say Lex hadn’t been shamefully active, sexually, it was simply that ‘making out’ had seemed such a waste of time and he’d tended to go straight for the kill.

He was getting better. He was able to relax and go with it when Clark got overzealous and pressed him down into the couch leather. Clark’s hands on his skin under his clothing began to be something he could enjoy again. He had issues about being naked. He couldn’t help it. He could get as far as shedding his shirt with Clark, but when it came down to his pants and being fully exposed – – his mind would get in the way. He’d flash back to the basement and weeks of forced nudity and he’d balk.

He’d started getting the healthy arrival of morning wood again. And even with Clark, when he was wrapped up in the feel of Clark’s mouth, the texture of his skin, he’d find himself getting hard, and feeling it – -but it tended to be sporadic and as soon as he noticed it, or Clark’s hand brushed against him, he’d soften.

It was a start. And Clark didn’t mind. Clark assured him of that, and backed it up with demonstrations. He made sure Clark, who had no such trouble with spontaneous erections, never left unfulfilled. He’d gotten hand jobs down to a fine art. He could make Clark come through his jeans if he didn’t mind having to start up the laundry and wash off the evidence before he sent Clark home. Clark touching him below the belt, was still an issue.

Come January, he closed up the apartment and headed to Indiana and the completion of his degree. Getting into a top tier school on the fly for make up credits proved not so difficult a thing if one had the right connections and the right resources to back up the request. Notre Dame got a new set of bleachers, LuthorCorp got a nice tax write off, and Lex got winter enrollment in a much-lauded school of higher learning.

Two states away, he didn’t have quite the name recognition as he did in Kansas. Even deceased, people still connected Lionel Luthor’s name to LuthorCorp, not Lex’s. Lex’s had had more write ups in gossip rags than business journals. He’d been one of those notorious children of obscene wealth that spent his life on the party circuit – – until he wasn’t. If you discounted the kidnapping and the myriad speculation surrounding it, it had been close to two years since Lex Luthor had created a scandal. He was old news at twenty-two.

He found, that when resentment and rebelling against parental authority wasn’t at issue, he rather liked school. He enjoyed absorbing new material. He enjoyed sitting through lectures, and competing with himself as well as others. Thesis projects and the proving of skill through written tests actually appealed to him.

Clark thought he was insane. Looking forward to tests, as far as Clark was concerned was sheer idiocy. But it was March and Clark was newly seventeen – – Lex had managed to slip that new and very expensive telescope he’d promised past Jonathan Kent in the guise of a birthday present – – and Lex had better things to do than argue the point. Their time had been cut to Saturdays. A great deal of that due to the fact that Lex’s class load was considerably heavier than Clark’s.

But Clark had a phone, which he’d bought himself this time, and there was something to the adage of absence and fond hearts, which made Saturdays very nice days indeed.

By the time the semester rolled around to an end, Lex had gotten over most of his crowd issues. He didn’t start when someone walked up on him unannounced, or break out into cold sweats in the midst of a crowd. Army fatigues and military crew cuts still made something inside him curl up, but he recognized it for what it was and strove to overcome it.

He chose not to participate in the graduation ceremony, it seemed pointless since he’d only attended the one semester, and received his diploma of completion privately. Which left nothing to do but go back to Metropolis and LuthorCorp, which had been operating diligently and profitably without him or any Luthor at the helm for half a year.

He quietly moved into Lionel’s corner office. Had his father’s things removed and his own style of furnishing brought in. He didn’t attempt to make any major moves on the board. The present CEO and his staff were operating efficiently enough that Lex felt no need to disrupt the day-to-day operations of the company. He simply put himself into the mix, observing, going through company doctrines and files. Delving into the plethora of under the table projects that his father had been engaged in. There were quite a few that had little basis in legality. Quite a few that were blatantly criminal.

Lionel had been studying meteor rock since almost the day it had fallen from the sky, all those years ago. Its effect on living organisms, its usage in everything from farming to the accelerated growth of clones. Things that put the legitimate research Lex had condoned with Hamilton before he’d gone off the deep end into stark raving lunacy, to shame. His father had had files on every case of meteor related mutation that had ever been reported in or around Smallville and a great deal that had never seen the light of day. He had a file on Clark. Nothing that hinted that he’d known of his alien origins, but disturbing nonetheless that he’d been looking into him.

More disturbing still, was that he’d had a file on Lex. One of the very first of his meteor related records. There was a great deal of his childhood that Lex only recalled in patches, but apparently he had been, before the meteor shower that had taken his body hair, a sickly child. Asthma, allergies, other issues he had no memory of having and all of them gone within weeks of his exposure. That he’d more or less known – – it was the other – – trials – – of his enhanced immune system that made him pour a tumbler of scotch, sit behind his desk and shake, so angry at his father, he could barely read the words in the file.

He’d been exposed to things – – very dangerous things. He’d had things done to him. There were dates and there were explanations of procedures performed, and all of it was one big blank in his memory. One big empty chunk of his life between the age of 9 and 13. Whether he’d blocked it out, or something had been used to eradicate the memories – – well, it was a big file, and if he could get over the nausea that wanted to swell, he could probably read the finer details and find out.

What he really wanted to do was shred the file in its entirety then go find someplace dark and drink until he passed out. That his father had whored him out for a profit, when he was seventeen and running wild was infuriating – – this, this file of things done to him without his knowledge and beyond his control when he’d been young enough to look to Lionel for protection – – it shook him to the core. It shook him to the core that his mother had been alive for a few of those years and hadn’t stopped it.

What he did instead was pick up the phone and make a call. He’d been meaning to have the safe in his father’s office opened. If the combination had been written down somewhere, Lex had yet to find it. At the moment, ripping the thing out of the wall was an acceptable option.

He told the assistant, who didn’t know quite what to do with him yet, to get whoever she needed to get, to pay them whatever they needed paying to get here now, and crack the bastard before end of business.

She had experts there within the hour and Lex sat there and nursed a scotch, staring with narrow eyed intent as they drilled into the locking mechanism. It was better than sitting there dwelling on being ten and having no one that cared enough about his welfare to put a stop to something distinctly counter to it. He thought, somewhere along the line, in some former life perhaps, he must have offended something with a great deal of influence with karma.

It took them three hours to crack the safe. He banished the crew and the curious assistant once the door was liberated. Pulled the door sized thing open himself, and stood in the threshold, staring at a veritable Fort Knox of meteorite bricks. A shelf that took up the entirety of a wall lined with them. Predominantly green, with a few red, even fewer other colors mixed in.

“Jesus,” he breathed. He’d acquired meteor rock for Hamilton’s experiments at Cadmus himself, but he’d never seen so much of it in one place, refined and pure. God help Clark if he got within a hundred yards of the safe. He didn’t know what he’d expected to find, more evidence that the old bastard had been a relentless son of a bitch, perhaps – – but he hadn’t expected this.

There was a familiar object on the opposite shelf. A flat, octagonal disc. The one his team had excavated from Miller’s field. The missing piece to Clark’s ship.

He could only guess how it had come to be in his father’s possession. He picked it up, turning it in his fingers, the tiny symbols scored into the material having so much more meaning now that he’d seen the matching ones on the ship.

He pocketed it, and started pulling out files and computer discs. Boxes containing artifacts that might have just been that, antiquities that Lionel had collected, or might be more. There was no telling.

It might take him weeks, maybe months to go through the vast amount of information here, of data that his father had not trusted on the LuthorCorp mainframe.

He shut the safe door when he’d extracted everything he wanted, uncomfortable around that much meteorite. He’d have it transported to Cadmus Labs and people he trusted with the handling of it. He wasn’t blind to the benefits of exploring its properties and the advantages thereof.

He spent the next few hours, well into evening going though his father’s files, until sitting in his office reading about his dealings began to make his skin crawl. Began to make him feel sullied by association. There would be no paper trail for some of the things his father had condoned, but even from what little Decker had told him – – of the tasks his father had originally hired him to perform – – Lex was able to start putting pieces together. The dark foundations upon with LuthorCorp had been built.

He went home when he couldn’t stand it anymore. Called Clark. School was out for the summer, but even then, Clark wasn’t allowed free access to the city – – and Lex – – whenever the fancy struck. There were rules and Clark at heart, respected the ideal of a good rule.

“Hey. I’m glad you called,” Clark’s voice swept away a little of the darkness.

“I opened my father’s safe today,” he was in no frame of mind for small talk. Pleasantries seemed beyond him.

“Yeah?” Clark said, after a pause.

“I found the disc from Miller’s field.”

“Really? How – – how’d he get it?”

Lex shook his head, picking up the disc from where he’d placed it on the wet bar, the metal dense and cold in his hand. “I don’t know. He also had about a half ton of refined meteorite.”

“God. Why?”

“Because he was conducting research. A great deal of research. And had been almost from the day of the meteor shower. I’ve been going through his private records – – and God, I feel like a shower isn’t going to come close to washing off the filth.”

There was a long pause, then. “Do you want me to come over?”

Please, God. He needed Clark so bad it ached. “No. I just needed to vent. It’s been a long day.”

“I’m coming over.”

“Clark – – no. It’s late. Come over tomorrow, pick up the disc, if you want. There were a few other things that he had that you might want to take a look at that I’ll bring home.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Come over tomorrow. We’ll get lunch.” And he could push Clark down and run his hands over his skin and find a little much needed purity.

Clark took a breath, a deep enough one that Lex heard it across the line. “Okay. See you then.”

Lex wanted to be there when they tried the disc in the ship again. Clark agreed. Though his parents weren’t quite so certain they wanted to tempt the ship into activation again and have it go off the preverbal deep end like it had the last time the disc had been fitted into its matching slot.

Lex offered to find a place a bit more secure than a root cellar to undertake the action, but the Kent’s were hesitant, no small bit afraid of exploring Clark’s alien legacy. Clark was a little uncertain himself, anxious maybe of what he’d discover.

As much as Lex would have liked to see the ship power up – – if it were still even capable of it – – he didn’t push. It was Clark’s decision and he’d come to it in his own time and Lex would be there to witness it. He’d been conducting a little research himself, tracking the trajectory of the meteor shower that had brought Clark to earth, sitting up with Clark far enough out from the city that the stars were bright in the night sky and pinpointing matching possibilities to his computer simulations. They had a dozen theories between them of why Clark had been sent. Of all the possible reasons a child might be abandoned to a foreign world. Clark admitted that he’d never had anyone – – his parents not willing to dwell, Pete too uncomfortable with the whole concept – – willing to sit and speculate for hours over all the myriad possibilities.

Spectacularly remarkable subject matter aside, Lex had never had anyone he’d been interested enough in talking with, to sit for hours and simply speculate. Never had anyone he trusted enough to share the fact that talk of star spanning civilizations and alien motivations was far more interesting than captaining a business, acquiring companies and building stock values.

There was an incident outside Smallville that made national news. A hostage situation involving an oil truck and a hijacked bus on a bridge with a group of kids on their way to summer camp for troubled teens. There had been an explosion and the miraculous escape of the endangered teens before the bridge could collapse. The news failed to mention the unusual powers of the teen hostage taker and Clark had been too fast for any eyewitnesses to identify. Still, national news. Lex didn’t like the focus of the media, even as transitory as that focus could be, anywhere near Smallville and Clark.

Clark came over the next day, looking pleased with himself.

“Did you see the news?”

“I did.”

It was Saturday, and the heat had broken via a low pressure system that had brought a night’s worth of summer thunderstorms. The city outside Lex’s balcony looked clean and sparkling from the thorough drenching.

“No one on the bus saw you?”

Clark rolled his eyes. “You sound like my dad. That was the first thing he asked, too. No. No one saw me do anything. I’m careful, Lex.”

God, he sounded like Jonathan Kent. When had that happened?

After lunch, which they took at a deli down the street from Lex’s building, they ended up, as they ended up most days Clark was over, on Lex’s couch, some game on the TV that neither one of them paid much attention to.

Clark’s hands on his shoulders kneaded away most conscious thought. Clark’s mouth moving across the back of his skull, the shell of his ear made his nipples hard. Clark had shed his shirt somewhere along the way to this point, and Lex’s had been unbuttoned. He’d already washed the residue of Clark’s completion from his hand and off Clark’s belly.

“Lex,” Clark said, thumbs gently pressing into the muscles at the base of Lex’s neck. “I want to get naked with you.”

Lex blinked away the lethargy. Considering. The idea in and of itself didn’t make him shrink. It had become habit to avoid it and any complications it might bring.

“Getting naked leads to things we’ve both made promises not to engage in yet.” It was a perfectly legitimate excuse. He’d never thought he’d be making it and wanting to believe it, a year ago.

“I’m seventeen. Do you know what I did these last two weeks alone? Not discounting the bus, and the exploding tanker, I fought off two escaped convicts suped up on meteorite dust, and pulled a man and his daughter out of a head on collision out on route 16. The other driver wasn’t so lucky. I think I can be naked with my boyfriend and not fall to pieces. Question is – – can you?”

He pushed Lex forward just enough that they could look at each other. Lex sat there, heart beginning to beat just a little faster, and stared into Clark’s earnest green eyes. “It’s not that simple – -”

“I know that,” Clark said. “But, we haven’t tried in a long time, and things have been going good. Lex, do you trust me?”

He took a breath. “I trust you. You know I trust you.”

“I know you trust me up here,” Clark tapped his own temple. “I think your body’s still having doubts. I think maybe it just needs to relearn how to be touched and how to trust.”

“You think that, do you? Don’t tell me you’ve been doing more reading?”

Clark’s mouth quirked. He shrugged. “A little. Listen, you don’t have to do anything, but unless you start pushing things a little, how are you going to make progress? And this stuff I was reading – – it isn’t sex – – there’s no sex – -its tantric healing.”

“Tantric – -? God, you’re reading the Kama Sutra?”

“No,” Clark denied, a little disgruntled. “I was reading about how to help people heal from sexual trauma and there was this link – -and the more I read, the more it made sense. Lex I want to help you. I want you to do more than help me get off. I want to be able to touch you – -everywhere – – and not have you shut down on me. Please.”

“No.” It was his reflexive response to pressure. It came out sharp and cold.

Clark blinked at him, then slowly nodded. “Okay. I understand.”

But really, Lex thought Clark might be getting to that point where he didn’t anymore. And what then? Maybe Lex had been using his understanding with Martha Kent as an excuse not to push himself. Maybe he’d let breaks heal without setting the underlying bone of the issue.

Clark turned his gaze to the game on the big screen, but his attention seemed forced. This was a reasonable request of Clark’s. It wasn’t asking too much for him to gather his courage and try.

“All right.”

Clark looked at him. Big eyes, wide with the appreciation of what it took for Lex to agree. Clark switched the television off and rose, holding out a hand.

“Bedroom, okay?”

Lex took his hand and let him draw him towards the master suite. Kissed him in the doorway, a soft nuzzling of lips, the bare graze of his fingertips across Lex’s jaw.

“Breathe,” Clark whispered.

“I am breathing,” Lex said against the side of his mouth.

“You’re not. Trust me.”

Lex drew in a deep breath. Another consciously deep lungful of air that helped get him out of the tangle of his own mental processes.

“Close your eyes.”

He did it, and Clark stepped away. There was a flutter, the faint smell of scented candles. He opened his eyes, his patience for the unknown a tenuous thing at the best of times. The room had gone dark, the drawn curtains shutting out the afternoon sun, every candle he owned, and some he was relatively certain he didn’t, lit and sitting around the room.

He gave Clark, who was back to standing before him, a look.

“Mood lighting,” Clark said with a half embarrassed shrug, eyes never leaving his. Hands sliding up his arms, down again, drawing the unbuttoned shirt off his shoulders. Lex shrugged it off, let it drop.

Clark’s hands on his skin were large, warm, their passage firm enough to qualify almost as a sort of massage. They slid down his back, around his hips, and stopped at the button of his pants. Clark dipped his head a little, looking for consent. It was either give it or flee, and Lex was tired of fleeing.

He nodded, and Clark unfastened his pants, drew down slacks and boxer briefs in one smooth motion. He shivered once, cool air touching him all over. But it wasn’t really the temperature. It was him exposed, and Clark exposed and he didn’t recall Clark getting naked.

Clark stepped into him, warm body, soft genitals, hands loose on his arms. “This isn’t about anything but you. You want to stop, we stop.”

Lex stood there an endless moment, trying to interpret the feelings racing through him. Whether the feel of Clark’s dangling genitalia against his own made him feel anticipation or fear. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish between the two.

He leaned into Clark, breathing his scent. Clark sighed, arms sliding around to his back. “C’mon.”

Lex settled back into the pillows, and Clark followed him, easing down beside him, naked thigh to naked thigh. He turned so he could look Lex in the eye. Clark had never been as good as he was at keeping that direct eye contact, maybe it had been all the lies and the fact that Clark hated uttering them. He was unflinching now, big green orbs boring into Lex’s own. Liquid and focused and promising things Lex could believe in if he just let himself.

“Turn over, on your stomach.” Clark didn’t urge him, just asked it. It took an effort regardless, putting his naked back to another person. He folded his arms under the pillow and felt Clark shift, sitting up, swinging a leg over and straddling his thighs.

Lex shut his eyes a moment, a flash of weight on his back making his stomach clench.

“Breathe,” Clark prompted, soft voice, gentle hands on his sides reminding him that this was the here and now. Warm liquid drizzled his back, slick and fragrant when Clark laid hands upon it, smoothing into his skin. Fingers dug into his shoulders, kneading out the tension, thumbs working the back of his neck, easing their way down the line of his spine one vertebrae at a time.

Clark was ridiculously good at massage, a fact Lex had already discovered. They just hadn’t experimented with the full body sort. Lex shut his eyes and relaxed into it, feeling his body loosen up a muscle at a time. By the time Clark reached his ass, he was too deep into the experience to care. Clark’s thumbs pressing into his lower back were almost enough to make him hard. It was one of his tension spots, that and the back of his neck. Clark seemed to know, and spent a good deal of time in those areas.

When he eased him over onto his back, his body felt very much like there was jelly under his skin instead of solid muscle and bone. Clark nudged his legs apart, settling between his thighs, poured more oil from the little bottle Lex recognized now as one he kept in his night table drawer, onto his belly and smoothed it out. Slid his hands down his hips to his legs, down to his calves, kneading the big muscles, back up to his thighs, and then down again, long supple movements, fingers working out the tension from the Achilles tendon up. It was good enough to qualify as a sleepy sort of sexual.

Warm, slick hands touched his testicles. He drew a breath, lethargy trembling, feeling tension knot up in his stomach, his balls wanting to draw in on themselves, reflexive expectation of something happening they didn’t want.

“Breathe,” Clark said softly enough that it was hardly more than a whisper. One big hand slid up to Lex’s naked pubic bone, splayed there, warm and solid, while the other rolled his nuts gently.

He let out a long exhalation of air, the pressure slowly bleeding out, testicles loosening in their sack as they realized what Clark was doing was pleasurable. And Clark kept at it, concentrating on everything but his cock. The insides of his thighs, the juncture of thigh and torso, the swath of sensitive skin between anus and balls. The look of concentration on his face was almost mesmerizing. As Lex were some complex thing he was trying to figure out the workings of.

He hardened as Clark’s fingers pressed his perineum, sensation so intense it was almost painful.

He breathed something under his breath, a curse maybe, or a prayer and Clark backed off, sliding his hands to his thighs, kneading flesh and muscle until Lex began to sink into that lazy euphoria again.

He had softened when Clark finally shifted his attention to his cock. He circled the base with one hand, pulling up and off, then used the other and repeated the motion. It was different than jerking off, long measured strokes that resonated with half the nerve endings in his body, designed more to massage than to stimulate.

He shut his eyes and tried to sink into the pillows when Clark changed direction, stroking from the tip down to the base. He was hard again. It had been coming and going sporadically, but this last time neither mind or body were focusing on anything other than the sensation of Clark’s hand. His balls tightened, suddenly desperately eager to expel.

“Don’t come yet,” Clark suggested seriously, working on the tip of his penis with slick, warm fingers.

Lex almost laughed. After six months of not, he wasn’t sure avoiding it now that his balls were tightening, was an option. But Clark backed off, hands sliding to other places, and eventually, with the lack of attention, the pressure eased. Clark encircled him again, big hands, meticulous focus and Lex sank into it. Just went with it, and drifted, letting Clark control the flow.

“I’m going to slip a finger inside,” Clark said solemnly. “And touch the sacred spot.”

“Sacred spot. You have been reading the Kama Sutra,” Lex murmured, feeling faintly like he’d taken a few good inhalations of really good weed. “I thought you didn’t want me coming.”

Clark didn’t answer. One hand continued that upwards stroking motion on his cock, a finger of his other circled him, pushed in, slick and oily.

It wasn’t until that stretch of entry, when he felt Clark’s big finger slide into him up to the first digit that something nasty and dark crept up on him. Vision, scent, feel of Decker leaning between his legs that first time, penetrating him with a finger. A hundred other times – – opening him up – – and he hadn’t been able to stop it. Hadn’t been able shut him out. The son of a bitch was dead for half a year and still he tormented him.

He shut his eyes, breath going choppy. Things gearing up inside that might take over if he let them. If he didn’t practice his breathing technique and ease the tension out with the spent air in his lungs. Focus on Clark’s face. Just Clark’s face, his lips, dark and full, the brush of his lashes, the way his hair fell across his forehead, silky and black.

Clark crooked his finger, pressing his prostate, stroking it in time with the motion of his other hand on Lex’s cock and sensation exploded outward. Bright, blinding, pure feeling that whited out those Decker memories and jerked him directly into his present body and Clark’s hands on all the right places.

Clark tapped him from the inside, fingertip beating out a tempo, his other hand motionless on Lex’s cock, both their attention converged directly on Clark’s finger on that spot. Pleasure. Unbearable, undiluted pleasure, when the mind was in agreement with the body. It felt like an eternity since he’d felt the rush of it.

He’d been in a bubble of denial for so damned long, afraid to feel this, hating himself for all the things that Decker had made him do in that basement. Afraid to touch himself or be touched because he couldn’t shake those memories. Well, fuck Decker. Because he wasn’t denying himself this and giving the man one more power over him.

He threw an arm over his eyes, hiding the burning wetness leeching out from beneath his lashes. Arched up, all those muscles Clark had loosened clenching with the building pressure.

It was blinding when it came, so much unrealized tension built up over the last half year that his body almost didn’t know how to deal with the release. He might even have blacked out during the apex of it, too much sensation after hardly feeling any at all.

He came back to dizzy awareness with Clark’s hands stroking his thighs, his belly, and the realization that the faint choking sobs he was hearing were coming from him. He shuddered with it, the culmination of too many internalized things bursting free in one setting.

Clark didn’t say anything. Just knelt there, rubbing Lex’s twitching skin, while Lex pressed arms across his face and had an emotional breakdown.

It was a good one though, if such things could be labeled good. Liberating. Everything felt lighter, like the first time he’d snapped and raged at Clark and then started telling him horror stories. It felt like one more piece of his puzzle fitting back into its allotted place.

When he stopped shaking, Clark crawled up and lay down next to him, dark head on his shoulder, arm across his ribs. Clark was better at prolonged silences than Lex. Clark was better at embracing the peace of a moment and going with it.

“So you read about that, did you?” His voice sounded a little shaky.

“Um hum,” Clark murmured into his chest.

Lex stroked Clark’s hair, shut his eyes and drifted.

Came awake by degrees, warm under sheets, with Clark pressed against him, softly saying his name.

“Lex? Lex, we overslept. I’ve gotta get home.”

He blinked, turning his head to stare at the bedside clock. Past eleven. The curtains were drawn on night now, instead of afternoon.

“Okay.” He felt muddled. Half awake.

“I wish I could sleep over,” Clark pressed closer, not making any move to leave.

“Umm. Eventually.” He wondered how open the Kent’s would be to the idea of a sleepover. It would be almost comical suggesting the idea to Jonathan.

Clark sighed, reluctantly slid out from between the sheets, taking his comfortable warmth with him. He either used his speed, or Lex fell back into a doze, because a moment later he was dressed and leaning down to say goodbye against the side of Lex’s mouth.

He suspected the speed, because when he rolled into the spot Clark had been, the sheets were still warm. He burrowed into the pillow, fresh with Clark’s scent and went back to sleep.


Summer ended, as summer always ended. Too soon. Clark’s time with Lex was back to being fettered.

Weekends and the occasional weekday afternoon, if he had to have his fix. Or if some unexpected complication cropped up like attempted assassination or crazed retaliatory attacks by unhinged highly questionable researchers. The majority of which had been funded by Lex’s father and suddenly found themselves defunded and their projects confiscated.

And Lex had thought getting away from Smallville would reduce his number of life threatening situations. Apparently Lionel had been funding a lot of private sector research involving meteorite. A lot of really creepy projects, some of which Lex still hadn’t tracked down the locations of, just the progress reports that Lionel had kept in his personal records.

And Lex was trying to keep the knowledge of all this less than legal research, not to mention the knowledge of just how reactive the green meteor rock was, out of the public eye. Was trying to accomplish his clean up work very quietly. He was trying to avoid government fines and sanctums, as well as government interest in Smallville, which was, when one got down to it, the epicenter of all meteor related things.

Which meant Lex was contacting a lot of these researchers on the sly, going into situations involving people that had had an awful lot of exposure to a substance that could alter mind as well as body, and it was driving Clark to distraction.

It bothered Clark to no ends that Lex tended not to tell him about these things until after the fact. Lex being concerned about Clark and research facilities – – and that was a loose term since some of those facilities were little more than garages or basements – – that were filled with some form of meteorite. A decent bodyguard or two did not always make a difference when dealing with a meteorite enhanced lunatic. Clark had started keeping an ear out for Lex. It was getting easier to hone his hearing down to the finest detail, to the sound of a particular voice, a hundred miles away. Easier to track the sounds he was focusing on down like a hound dog on the track of a scent.

Of course, Clark had his own share of lunatics to deal with; the usual Smallvillian roster of trouble that seemed to find its way to his vicinity. Lana was as prone to attracting lunatics as Lex and you could always expect to have at least one deranged devotee stalking her by the end of the first week of school.

It was nice to fall into old routine. It was nice to go home some school nights and finish his chores and casually mention to his parents, that he thought he’d take a spin to the city and eat dinner with Lex and not have them – – his dad in particular – – go through the roof. He’d sort of figured out that if he was responsible about it, and straightforward with them, they were pretty willing to accept that he was old enough to know what he was doing.

It wasn’t like his dad ever said Lex’s name with love and affection, but Clark thought he’d come to some sort of terms with the idea that Clark wasn’t suddenly going to about face and turn heterosexual, and that Lex was an inescapable fact of life.

Pete had come to a similar conclusion. Granted, Clark and Pete talked about Lex and the things Clark might possibly be doing with Lex, as little as humanly possible, but still, things were as much back to normal as they could get in Smallville.

Pete had gotten pretty good at covering for Clark when Things happened that demanded Clark’s attention. Case in point: right smack dab in the middle of forth period biology lab and the mixing of chemical agents in a test beaker over a live flame, Clark’s hearing cut in. Or at least the parts he allowed to reach past the surface of his awareness did. Everyday conversations and activities flew right under his radar, but when someone he was attuned to, Mom, Dad, Lana, Pete, Chloe, Lex – – most especially Lex – – exclaimed outside the normal range – – he picked it up. He had no idea how, and Lex had grilled him relentlessly on the fine tuning of the skill – – it was just something that he did and that got better the longer he did it.

The liquid in the beaker was just beginning to bubble and turn colors when he heard Lex exclaim. Well, curse was a more accurate term. A really loud, really surprised curse followed, by the dull pop pop of what sounded like gunfire.

“Pete, I gotta go – -” he handed Pete his vial, didn’t give him time to open his mouth to ask why, before he took off. Likely nobody but Pete even noticed he was gone, everyone absorbed by their experiments. And if the teacher did, and he got in trouble for the absence – – so be it.

He traced the sound to Granville, one town west of Smallville. To an old abandoned warehouse, and got there just as a portion of tin, corrugated wall was blown out from the side of the building. It flattened knee high, dead weeds, and was accompanied by a billow of smoke. There were two vehicles parked near the door of the place. A battered old ford station wagon, and a shiny new black and silver SUV with a LuthorCorp parking garage sticker in the window.

Clark cursed and headed in through the ragged hole in the wall. There was a lot of empty space, most of the contents of the warehouse clustered together. What looked like a lot of piecemeal hospital equipment and patched together computer equipment. There were shelves of containers with a lot of suspicious looking goop, several of which had been overturned. There was a man in a suit under one of the overturned cabinets, out cold. And across the warehouse, the movement of people behind stacked crates, and the pop of more gunfire. There was a guy stalking the crates in an untucked shirt and dirty slacks, with a lot of metal wires that looked like they were coming right out of his head, but were, when Clark narrowed his eyes and looked closer, actually attached to little shards of green rock that had been embedded directly into his skull. His hair had been shaved in little patches to allow for the rocks. It looked like something out of a Pinhead movie. He wasn’t the one shooting though. That was from the woman with the gun behind the crates, who was with Lex – – Clark confirmed it with a quick burst of x-ray vision.

She fired and the guy with the rocks in his head squinted and the bullet deflected before it got to him and embedded itself in the wall behind Lex and his bodyguard’s heads. The man squinted again and the nails holding several of the crates together began to pry themselves loose from the rotting wood and fly in the direction of the people behind the crates.

Okay, enough was enough. Clark picked up an old tire and hurled it. It hit the meteor pieced man square in the back of his head, dropping him like the proverbial rock.

There wasn’t movement behind the crates, and with one last wary look at the guy with the rocks to make sure he was down for the count, Clark ran that way.

The woman with the gun was down, Lex was on his knees, looking a pale and pissed, his fingers over a wound in her neck gushing blood.

“What the hell, Lex?” Clark snapped, pissed himself, because they kept having this same damned argument about Lex trying to separate Clark from meteor-related situations. Frustrating habit, since they both knew Clark was better equipped to deal with them than anyone else. But then Lex was scared for him. Lex had seen with more detail than anyone, just how vulnerable he could be when meteor rock was in the mix. Hard to hold a grudge when Lex just couldn’t shake those images in his head, and was practicing concern for Clark the only way he knew how, by keeping him away from certain trouble.

“Shut up,” Lex gave him a glare. He had a little bloody furrow just above his ear where likely a nail had whizzed just shy of driving through his temple. “Get her to the ER, now!”

Clark glared back, gathering up the woman, who was stout and solid under her pants suit, and spiriting her to the Granville Emergency room in less time than it took for her to draw a pair of gurgling breaths. He made sure the medical staff realized what they had on their hands before heading back to the warehouse.

Lex had moved into the ruins of the little laboratory portion of the place and was trying to lift the shelving off the other suited man. Presumably a second bodyguard. Clark recognized the woman, but the man was new.

He started just a little when Clark showed up next to him, then stepped back and let Clark do the heavy lifting.

“You know that talk we had about you walking into these sorts of situations without even a ‘hey, Clark, I might run into a crazed meteorite wielding lunatic with issues about having his operation shut down, today, so heads up?’ Well, this is a good example of why that seems like a really good idea.”

Lex looked up at him from his crouch next to the inert bodyguard. He had his fingers on the man’s neck, trying to find a pulse. Clark could have told him it was there, but Clark was little pissed off.

“I assure you,” Lex said between clenched teeth. “The last time I spoke with Dr. Howe, he was meteorite free. Would you mind?”

He jerked his head towards his man on the floor.

Clark glowered, and hauled him up, careful of what, upon closer x-ray inspection, turned out to be a broken collarbone and several fractured ribs. He deposited him in the same ER as the woman.

Lex was on the phone when he got back, pacing. The man Clark had taken out – -Dr. Howe, he presumed – – was still out cold.

Lex was barking at someone to get over here and clean the place up. The hand not holding the phone to his ear was still bloody. Fresh blood. And it occurred to Clark that it wasn’t from where he’d been trying to put pressure on the woman’s wound. There was a tear in Lex’s jacket arm. And beneath that a scoring of flesh larger than a nail would make. More bullet sized.

“He shot you?”

Lex glanced his way, then down at his arm. He drew a breath and put the phone in his jacket pocket.

“Not exactly. One of my people shot at him – – he deflected the bullet and – -” he shrugged, the ending to that story self-evident.

“God.” Clark stared around the place. He’d seen too many others like it. Little pockets of research funded by Lex’s father. Run by men too radical to ever participate in legitimate research. “What are you going to do about him?”

Lex shrugged. “Have the meteorite implants removed. Make sure he’s powerless without them and drop him off at Belle Reeve.”

LuthorCorp had subsidized a whole new wing of the state’s facility for the mentally disturbed. There was a whole new staff and a whole new set of protocols for those patients that normal safety procedures just wouldn’t work for.

“So your people are on the way?”

Lex shrugged, looking disgusted. “They are. This was supposed to be a non-violent meeting. He had agreed to sign the non-disclosure agreement. God, you can’t trust a scientist as far as you can throw him.” He glanced at Clark and amended. “As far as I could throw him.”

“And you stick by your word like glue,” Clark groused.

“Get over it. I never promised to give you a detailed copy of my itinerary.” He waved a hand in irritation and a little blood-spattered Clark’s shirt.

“God, Lex. How bad are you bleeding?” Irritation faded in the face of concern.

Lex blew out a breath, staring down at the blood dripping down the back of his hand. Whatever adrenalin had been feeding his own temper seemed to drain away. He shook his head, and Clark could almost hear the ‘I’m fine’, before Lex managed to utter the words.

“ER or home?” he asked before Lex could insist he was more bullet proof than he was. Lex had had a lot of bad experiences in hospitals. Bleeding to death was a serious option to consider before he’d willingly agree to walk into an ER. Clark wouldn’t force it on him if didn’t want to go, but one way or another he would see the wound got treated.

“Home,” Lex capitulated.

Clark gathered him up and ran. Shorter run to Metropolis from Granville. It cut two or three minutes travel time from the trip, which got him to the city and Lex’s penthouse in just under seven minutes. He had taken it slow, conscious of the fact that human beings didn’t tolerate traveling at the speeds he did, unprotected.

He sat Lex down on the couch, not trusting him to keep his feet if he put him directly on him, after the run and the steady blood loss.

Lex sucked in a lungful of air that had probably been hard for him to draw while Clark was running and started shrugging out of his coat. Clark went for the med-kit in the kitchen. He was familiar with the location, having had occasion to break it out before when Lex refused hospital based medical attention.

The score on his upper arm wasn’t deep, but it must have nicked something, because it had bled pretty badly. It was beginning to clot now that Lex wasn’t moving around. Clark cleaned it, while Lex sat on the sofa with his bloody shirt in his hands, wiped it with antiseptic salve and covered it with a white gauze bandage.

Neither of them spoke while he was about it. When he smoothed the last piece of tape down, he sat back against the arm of the couch and stared at Lex.

“You realize,” he said finally, when Lex was apparently too wrapped up in his own thoughts to prompt conversation. “That I’m more likely to have problems rushing into something unprepared, than I am if I know a detail or two?”

Lex’s eyes flicked to him, narrowing just slightly.

“I don’t want an itinerary,” Clark said in exasperation. “I just want to know when you’re thinking about walking into dangerous situations.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be dangerous,” Lex said calmly. “I promise you, I wouldn’t have walked into the warehouse with nothing but two people and a legal document if he’d had shards of meteorite embedded into his skull the last time we talked.”

“Yeah, that did seem sort of like a dead giveaway that he wasn’t operating on all cylinders,” Clark said dryly.

Lex’s mouth twitched.

Clark opened another alcohol swab and dabbed at the thin score over Lex’s temple. Lex leaned back against the sofa, head pillowed against soft tan leather, and let him.

“It’s the middle of a school day,” Lex observed, eyes closed.

“I know. You made me cut out on chemistry.” The temple wound had already clotted and was small enough not to require a bandage. Lex healed at a crazy rate anyway. That one would be mostly gone in maybe a day or two. The bullet gouge in his arm, maybe a week before you’d hardly be able to tell the skin had ever been marred. He slouched down next to Lex, propping his boots on the edge of the glass coffee table.

“I’m sure you’re devastated.” Lex rolled his head to look at him.

Clark snorted. His arm touched Lex’s bare arm. Lex’s skin was pale against the cream of the couch, but a shade or two darker than the white of the gauze bandage. It was a nice juxtaposition.

Clark brushed his cheek against Lex’s shoulder, smooth, warm skin, lots of smooth warm skin bared for his view. Lex could get him hard just talking to him over the phone, sitting next to him in the middle of the day, Lex shirtless, in the cool privacy of Lex’s apartment had him twitching in his jeans.

He twisted his head to look up and meet Lex’s eyes. Lex arched a brow, just enough interest in his blue eyes that Clark felt safe sliding the arm trapped between him and Lex behind Lex’s back and curling it around his side.

“Shouldn’t you head back to school?” Lex leaned down and kissed him lightly, in direct contradiction to the question. Because really, if Lex wanted to encourage him to head back to Smallville High, kissing him wasn’t the way to urge him in that direction.

“You can help me come up with a believable excuse for cutting out.”

“I generally find,” Lex slid his hand under the hem of Clark’s shirt, pushing it up as his fingers skimmed Clark’s belly. “The more embarrassing, the more believable.”

“So I claim I had a bout of explosive diarrhea or something and had to run home to change clothes?”

Lex rolled his eyes and pushed Clark onto his back, working his shirt up as he kissed him. Clark settled happily on his back, Lex between his legs, Lex’s mouth and hands making his skin tingle and his cock rock hard against his belly.

Lex was hard too, rubbing up against Clark between two layers of pants. Lex’s nudity issues were pretty much gone. He didn’t particularly like being the only naked body in a room, but he was okay now with getting naked and having Clark’s hands all over him. Sometimes little things made him start, little triggers that didn’t always make sense to Clark, and Lex would stand there for a moment, breathing hard, eyes zoned out as something maybe terrible flashed across his memory, before he snapped himself out of it. But that happened a lot less now than it had.

His erection issues had also melted away, so mutual hand jobs had become the norm. Clark hadn’t pushed for anything more. A little at a time seemed the course to take. He really, really wanted that next step, though.

It was a broad couch, especially convenient for two bodies making out. Easy to roll over and take Lex with him, without toppling over the edge. Lex looked up at him, on the bottom now, and Clark dipped down to kiss the faint indignation away, before sitting up and stripping off his t-shirt, then working his way down Lex’s legs.

Lex watched with interest when Clark started unbuckling his belt. He pulled his pants and underwear down to about mid-thigh, and took Lex’s erection in hand as it bobbed free. It was beautiful and pink, shiny at the head. He stroked it, slow, firm and Lex shut his eyes, head rolling back on the couch.

“I’m gonna suck you,” he said, because giving Lex warning when new things were initiated was simply polite.

Lex made a sound, and lifted his head, eyes wide and dark. But there was nothing in his expression that hinted disinclination at the idea.

Clark bent down and took him into his mouth, before Lex could think about it and change his mind. Shut his own eyes at the feel of Lex filling his mouth, the scent of him, the taste of him, concentrated and primal. He worked him with mouth and hands, remembering with crystal clarity the way Lex had worked him, all those months ago. He must have been doing a good job, because Lex was gasping, moaning, his hands tangled in Clark’s hair, his eyes dilated and huge as he stared down, watching. Clark grinned around his mouthful, loving everything about this. The reactions he was getting, the feel of slick, silken flesh, the way Lex’s body tensed and thrummed under his hands.

Lex came and Clark swallowed it all. Stayed glued to the softening flesh, licking and tasting, hands gently rolling loosening balls, fingers stroking the inside of lean thighs, until Lex was lax and breathing normally again under him.

“God,” Lex whispered.

“That was awesome. Why haven’t we been doing that?”

Lex laughed, eyes shut, face turned towards the back of the couch. “Because I forgot how good it could be.”

Clark hadn’t forgotten, he’d just been biding his time. But he figured Lex had pretty good reasons to be gun shy. It had been a year, but a year wasn’t that much time considering the things Lex was trying to forget.

Lex sat up abruptly, pushed Clark backwards with a hand on his shoulder. Clark went with it, sprawling back against the far arm of the couch, hoping, praying, Lex might be considering returning the favor. He wouldn’t be upset if all he got was a hand job, but God, he had wet dreams at least once a week about Lex’s mouth on his dick. And from the look in Lex’s eyes, the focused determination, as his long fingers unbuttoned and unzipped Clark’s jeans, Clark thought – -maybe. Please God, maybe.

Clark sprang free, all flushed and glistening at the tip, and he wasn’t nearly as pretty down there as Lex. But really, he could have been sporting the ugliest dick in the world, but when Lex went down on it, it felt beautiful. Everything felt beautiful with the warm, wet suction of Lex’s mouth around him. He clasped both hands behind his head to keep from puncturing Lex’s couch from the initial reaction of pure bliss.

Lex’s shoulders were hunched, the wings of his shoulder blades stark against stretched skin, the top of his head naked and lovely, as he bent over Clark. He pulled back, just the tip in his mouth and looked up at Clark, blue eyes intent and liquid, flicking over his face, as if he were memorizing Clark’s no doubt dazed expression. Something in the line of Lex’s back loosened and he sucked, cheeks hollowed, lashes fluttering down as he started concentrating on the most central part of Clark’s being.

It didn’t take much to get Clark to come. He warned Lex of the impending eruption with a breathless gasp. Lex pulled back and jerked him the rest of the way to completion with a tight hand. Then finally, when Clark had finished, bent down and swiped his tongue across the glistening tip of Clark’s dick. Then again, as if testing the flavor. He looked up with a faint smile while Clark sprawled bonelessly.

Lex moved up to lie beside him, wriggling a little to get his half mast pants up enough to be more comfortable. Clark didn’t bother with his. Just lay there, blissfully happy, with Lex pressed up against him.

Lex’s fingers absently trailed down the ridge of his abs. It tickled a little, and it never ceased to amaze Clark that a bullet could bounce off his skin, but the lightest touch could still make his it pimple. He was eternally grateful for it.

“After you graduate and get into MET U. I want you to move in here.” Lex said in that ‘this is serious, so pay attention’ tone of voice he got when he was talking about important things.

Clark blinked at him, wide-eyed, breathless. “Really? To live? With you?”

“No, I was thinking of living in my office and giving you the place to yourself,” Lex said sarcastically, then gave Clark a narrow eyed look and clarified. “Yes, with me.”

Clark grinned. “God, Lex. That would be great. It would be more than great – – it would be – -” He couldn’t even come up with words to express how the idea made him feel. Warm and tingly and just filled to overflowing with love for Lex. All his extremities sort of vibrated from sheer want of him.

“Then we can have sex. Lots and lots of sex.”

“You have a one track mind,” Lex observed dryly, but there was a look in his eyes that said that he was expanding on the idea inside his head.

And duh, seventeen. What did he expect? Sex was sort of like the center of his universe at the moment. And besides, he was closer now to eighteen than seventeen. And Eighteen was supposed to be that magic moment when his parents stopped considering him too naïve and young to be engaging in serious sexual activity. Right.

“You know, seventeen is really sort of an arbitrary number,” he commented.

Lex lifted a brow. “Is it?”

“I mean my parents just sort of assumed how old I was when they found me and picked a birthday date. I might be a hundred, for all he we know.”

Lex’s mouth twitched. “This is true.”

“And technically, even if we were to stick by that birthday, I’m closer to eighteen than seventeen.”

“First rule of negotiations. Don’t show all your cards in one hand. You should have stuck with your original line of reasoning before getting desperate and throwing in a second alternative. You were swaying me with the arbitrary number argument.”

“So my lack of bargaining skills are going to keep us from having sex sex, until my arbitrary birthday in March?”

Lex’s eyes glinted amusement. He took an inordinate amount of enjoyment from ruffling Clark’s feathers. Clark took a similar delight in rolling him onto his back and kissing him until he was breathless.

He laughed when Clark pulled back, and leaned over him. Relaxed with Clark’s weight pressing him down into the leather. Almost back to what he had been, before his life had been ripped apart. Better maybe. Stronger almost in some things. More – – and Clark hesitated at the word – – honest, than he had been. Maybe even, strangely enough, more trusting. Like surviving had tempered something in him. Like the death of his father had released him from a lifetime of always expecting the worst from people. Always expecting that knife in the back, even from friends. Especially from friends. Or maybe, if Clark were feeling a touch narcissistic, that hadn’t been so much Lionel Luthor’s death, as Clark’s friendship.

“Tell you what,” Lex said, nails scraping up Clark’s ribs and around to his back, leaving little sensory trails of pleasure in their wake. “Come over this weekend when you’re not cutting class and present your case. We’ll see what comes of it.”

Clark beamed, feeling pretty secure in his ability to argue his way into sex if Lex was willing to put the issue on the table.

Life was good.