Past Grief: Renewal

by Te

Past Grief: Renewal
by Te
March 2002

Disclaimers: No one here belongs to me. breathes

Spoilers: Vague one for Nicodemus.

Summary: 'til death do us part.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: You should probably read Past Grief before reading this -- I don't think it'll make too much sense without it. http://strangeplaces.net/te/pastgrief.html

Acknowledgments: To that late night IRC crew for getting me hopping and keeping me company.

Feedback doesn't cost a dime, man. thete1@earthlink.net

*

Hope Kirkland stood at parade rest just outside and to the left of the great doors. Her face, as ever, could have been carved from some dark wood. Lovingly carved, but stiff and dead just the same.

Her smiles were always startling, and this one was no different.

"Clark. Mr. Luthor arrived six minutes ago. He's already inside."

Clark nodded and did his best to return Hope's smile. She was a good employee, quite possibly the best at what she did -- always sharing the title with her associate, Mercy Graves -- but Clark had never quite gotten used to the idea of needing security.

Or of Lex needing any kind of security he couldn't give.

Still, laws were laws. The people expected to see a president surrounded by the best security money and mild fascism could buy up and train, and the people were there to be...

Mollified.

Certain rules had to be followed, even now, even by them. It was all a little surreal at times -- those moments when the world asserted itself as something more than the game he and Lex played when not busy with other things.

Flesh and blood out there, bone and needs and questions and demands... Clark shook it off and moved down the corridor. Sterilized daily, irradiated weekly... Lex would've had to wear something like the world's thickest body-condom to make this trip.

Well, he usually would have.

Not today.

Clark found himself smiling as he keyed in the long-memorized codes at the next set of doors. The scanning process was a tingle somewhere in his bone marrow, a flash of something that might have been pain just behind his eyes. The scanner was set for exactly two genetic profiles, any others would activate whatever bit of unpleasantness Lex had provided.

Lex had a genius for that sort of thing.

Inside the lab, Lex waited in front of the three particular tubes they'd had installed here as they were building. The amnion had been opaqued with a harmless dye to keep the construction workers from seeing anything that would require their deaths, the clones painstakingly washed down again and again until the faint bluish tinge was all but gone.

Three years later, the clones were perfect again, lean and straight and tall, seemingly eager for... this.

And why wouldn't they be?

Clark still didn't know which one he wanted, still hadn't directly asked Lex to pick for him. There was nothing to distinguish them from each other physically. There was, between them, a preternatural sameness that screamed of chance, trickery. Something out of a fable.

Or perhaps just a game show.

Clark moved behind his lover, his partner, his president, and kissed his scalp slowly. Wetly.

The skin was only just starting to darken and loosen with age. The changes had happened too slowly for Clark to register them beyond the intellectual. This was Lex, who he had saved once or twice, and who had saved him too many times to count.

Who would make sure he'd never be alone.

Clark wrapped his arms around Lex and buried his face against his throat. Soft, vaguely sweet cologne and a surprising tang of sweat.

"Lex?"

"Is this immortality, Clark?"

"I think so."

Brief, low chuckle. "You think so?"

Clark stroked Lex's chest through the simple, elegant suit, then tugged the shirt out of the pants. Needed Lex's skin for this. "I haven't met any immortals," he whispered, and stroked the smooth, taut skin of Lex's stomach.

Still so lean. Energy thrumming just below the skin. There were doubts, and questions of necessity, but...

An unconsecrated mass grave wasn't the only thing Luthor castle had been built on.

A brief, mostly reflexive check told Clark things he'd known for months already -- the cancer was weakening Lex's bones, killing him from the inside out. Clark squeezed Lex a little tighter, thinking of meteor rocks in foundations, of the numb shock on Lex's face when his usual sparring match with Hope and Mercy had resulted in a broken wrist.

It hadn't healed properly. Neither had Mercy.

Clark wasn't at all sure how she would take the appearance of a new Lex, for all that she and Hope had been briefed.

A problem to address at another time. Lex was silent and still in his arms, watching the clones float blind and brain-dead.

For now.

"Are you afraid, Lex?"

"Hmm." Lex stroked his hand. "Yes. Yes, I think I am."

"I love you."

"I know, Clark. I know." And Lex turned in his arms, tensing minutely once his back was to the clones. "I've already uploaded the neuropattern. Before you arrived."

"Which...?"

"The middle one." Lex grinned, a shocking flash of the boy in the man's faintly weathered face. "You missed my incredibly scientific choosing process."

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe?"

"Now, Clark... in this day and age? I'd be crucified. I prefer 'Miss Mary Mack.'"

Clark tried and failed to keep a straight face, only sobering at the feel of Lex's thumb on his cheek. At Lex's dreamy and oddly private look. Not even open to him. "Lex...?"

"The patterning will be done soon enough, the crude-seeming molding of raw surface area onto those smooth, soft brains. When it's done, the shunt will play the lightning to my Frankenstein monster.

"When... he awakes, the amnion will automatically begin to drain. And then... well."

"You seem so sure."

Another grin, but this one was far older. "Do you remember how many viable clones we started with?"

"Forty-seven."

"There are sixteen left, including these three. Tests had to be done. There is no certainty in this sort of thing, not yet, but I had to be as sure as I could..." Lex was warm against him, easy against him. Something he'd never quite managed as a young man.

Clark looked down into Lex's blue-grey eyes and read nothing but the usual wonder, the never-ending need that revolved around himself, and everything he might want. Including ignorance. And yet... "how many failed?"

"None of them. I killed most, saved a few for long-term study. They're all quite all right, if somewhat pissed. You're going to have to deal with them after... this. Hope has the instructions."

Clark swallowed, nodded. Tried to imagine caging Lexes, leaving them to rot and be studied until they... what would Lex do in that situation? Any Lex at all... any Lex *he'd* known?

"What's wrong, Clark?"

"I just... don't like the idea of you being locked up."

Callused thumb on Clark's lip and Lex's smile was the perfect illustration of sardonic. "And I don't like the idea of too many me's running around free."

Which, considering the way Clark still felt about the attempts to clone him, was completely understandable. If also disturbing in a way he wasn't sure he wanted to/would be able to examine. Lex was still smiling up at him, still so himself. Clark leaned in and kissed him hard.

No one had ever made him want. Not like this.

Rushing sound on the edges of his consciousness, but Clark made a point of not hearing it until Lex pushed him away. "It's starting," he said, and very deliberately did not turn around.

Not when the last of the amnion gurgled away, not when the tube detached itself from its base. Not when... the new one coughed and gasped out his first, mostly incomprehensible words.

Clark watched over Lex's shoulder as the new one stretched, slicked amnion off its long, strong perfect limbs. As it -- he -- blinked in the fluorescent light, unfocused until he turned just enough to see Clark and Lex.

The new one's expression was twisted into some uncomfortable median between joy and jealousy, hints of rage darkening his eyes. And when Lex pulled him down into another kiss, he thought he understood.

Flash of Superman, of all the mirrors Clark had broken between the first day he'd worn the uniform and now.

And then there were slick, warm fingers trailing down his cheek, slipping between Lex's mouth and his own.

Pulling hard.

Lex's neck broke with a dull snap, sharp eyes fading even as Clark watched. "No..."

Slippery-strong fingers on his chin, forcing his face up. "Yes."

The new one was almost wild with energy, electric and strong and pale. Unabashedly naked. Shamelessly hungry for... everything. "You..."

"Clark. It's me, you know. Just... younger. Twenty minutes and thirty years. He would've done the same thing." The new one -- Lex -- tilted his head at him. Beamed like a new day. "He had done the same thing."

Clark shook his head slowly, shook off Lex's touch. He had to see.

Something.

Brushed off the last bits of pinkish goo from Lex's face, from the perfect, known curve of his skull and tried to rewind himself. See the man who'd seduced him, taken care of him. Made him.

So pale and perfect, this Lex. Unmarked save for the added scar on his mouth, and the avid spark of his eyes. Only the eyes were really the same.

"Is this immortality, Lex?"

And Lex looked shocked for a moment before sparing a ruefully amused glance for the corpse on the floor. "Absolutely yes, Clark." Looked up at him from under damp, sticky lashes. A study in cheerful cynicism. "Right up until the next clone's turn."

Clark wasn't sure that answered anything at all, but Lex -- this Lex -- in his arms was a shot of pure memory. Cold library floors and sun-blasted fields and wild, so wild for this. For each other.

Tumbled to the floor and rolling together, Lex's motor skills lagging only slightly. He was very obviously learning as he moved, as they moved, as Lex gathered amnion from his torso and thighs and slicked himself savagely.

Clark watched him rock back on his own fingers and held him steady above him, hands shaping themselves to lean hips and hard, so fucking hard.

Lex made a sound Clark had never heard before (virgin, he's a virgin now) as he sat on Clark's cock, pushing himself down and down. Wild grin and devourer's eyes and Lex's hands iron on Clark's wrists -- breakable, but what would be the point?

This was the Lex of the strange times, the one who whispered to Clark of ancient sorceries and the perfectly human, perfectly normal need for connection. A binding of any sort that would take and Lex was so tight.

Ruthless with them both, hard and leaking on Clark's belly, eyes wide open between fast, fast blinks. It was okay. Clark didn't want to miss any of this, either.

Rolled his hips up and up until Lex had to brace his hands on the floor for support, and Clark took the opportunity to hold on. Cupped Lex's ass and held him steady, still, thrusting in, and Lex was groaning with every stroke. Low, hoarse cries and the occasionally "mine," everything driving Clark higher.

Making him want. Making him need this.

Making him... sure.

"Fuck, Lex..."

"It's me, I'm here, I swear I won't leave, won't ever leave you..."

"Ah --"

"Say my name again -- "

"Lex --!"

Hot splashes of come on his chest and belly and Lex convulsed around him. Pure heat and Clark rolled them over as gently as he could manage. Same desperate struggle for control at the end of things, same beautiful, same beloved, looking up at him with dazed, wondering eyes.

The corpse beside them was nothing but meat with a familiar cast to the mouth. Too dark, too slack, too lacking in everything Lex to be real. "Oh God, I love you, Lex --"

"I know."

And it took him over the edge, shuddering and thrusting, clutching Lex to him until he filled Clark's senses.

Until the meat began to spoil. Of all his enhanced senses, Clark would gladly surrender scent.

After that, it was a simple matter to strip the body of its clothes, smiling at Lex's lament over having to 'dress his age' -- among other things -- to avoid uncomfortable questions.

The incinerator was more than large enough for the body, and had an automatic shut-off, as well. A moment's satisfaction followed by a moment's panic -- Clark had forgotten the irradiated corridor. But by the time he was back in the main lab, Lex was already slipping into an extra suit. Bulkier than the body-condoms, but his clothes wouldn't be overly rumpled.

It was easy to forget that Lex was always, always prepared.

Clark grinned to himself and kissed Lex before the helmet went on, tasting the vague sweetness of the amnion and something beyond pure. Lex.

Renewed.

And his forever.

End.



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