The Touch

by Te

The Touch
by Te
March 2002

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd slap them around every once in a while. Just so they'd know who's boss.

Spoilers: Metamorphosis, Zero.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Summary: Clark's confused. Lex doesn't know how to fix it.

Author's Note: I was full of the urge to write. I had no ideas. Livia, bless her, fixed that.

Acknowledgments: To Livia, who stayed up all night to listen to me ramble.

Feedback is pretty.


There are times when Lex believes that there really is some greater power, some sort of sentient force guiding and shaping lives according to a plan only It could ever understand.

These times do not tend to be very good ones. More along the lines of King Midas' cruel joke, really. A cosmic smackdown of proportions ranging from the annoyance of a mosquito bite to... well, to the nausea and pain of being beaten and hung upside down in a straitjacket while some psycho points a gun in your face.

All of it meant to say, in no uncertain terms, that everything Lex touched would inevitably turn to shit. There are bodies littering his past, and his dreams smell like death, and irony is the old friend who pisses on your bathroom floor, eats all your food, and, most importantly, doesn't know when to leave.

It's possible that he's a little drunk.

It's also possible that God hates him.

Why else would Clark Kent, wet dream in flannel, be sitting on his bed, earnestly asking him for yet more help in the wooing of Lana Lang?

"Clark. It's the middle of the night."

"Yeah, I know, I'm just..."

"Restless with youthful love and all the infernal energy it brings?"

Clark's brow furrows, mouth pinches. An expression clearly picked up from his mother. "Should I leave?"

Lex runs a hand over his scalp, arranges pillows behind himself and sits up. Smiles tiredly. "Absolutely not." Moderately expansive gesture. "Mi bed es su bed."

Slight pause, just long enough for Lex to notice Clark... noticing.

Ah. So he had stripped before climbing under the sheets. His smile feels a little more genuine on his own face as he tugs lightly, casually, at the sheets pooled around his lap. Let the boy wonder if he was really naked under all those fascinating folds. Lex waits a few more seconds, just enough for the silence to get a little uncomfortable. "Clark...?"

"Wha...? Oh. Um. God, I haven't even apologized for waking you up yet!"

Lex grins, a little secretly. "I took it as said."

Clark is smiling sheepishly. Possibly blushing -- the moonlight makes the matter questionable. "Still... I'm sorry. You have a day job and everything --"

"Tomorrow is Saturday, Clark."

"Right. Like you won't be working anyway."

And there it is. The sly little I-know-you smile that Lex thinks will be his undoing, even if by some wild chance it hasn't been already. The one Clark uses with him, and only him. An invitation Lex still isn't sure Clark is fully aware of. Mystery. Damn it. "Touch. It doesn't matter." Lex pats the mattress to his side before he can think about what he's doing.

What *he's* inviting, and it's too late to modify the gesture in any way, because Clark is crawling right over, settling into a cross-legged hunch. Close enough to touch. Close enough to smell -- something like the wind, if it was made of pure oxygen. Clark had already toed his shoes off at some point.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to lean into a roll, press the boy down against the bed. Breathe him in and hold him there. Right there.

And this time it's Clark pointing out the awkward silence, with a hand on his shoulder. Dreamy need to turn his head, nuzzle that broad, strong hand. Lex resists manfully. Smiles up at his personal hell.

"So what can I do for you, Clark?"

Rueful shrug, whisper of skin on skin as Clark pulls his warm, warm hand away. "Whitney and Lana are on the outs again."

"Ahh... and it's time to move in?" Small frown, and Lex knows he put it a little too bluntly. Too tired to care about that, though. Well, to care much.

"Yeah, I mean. I think so?" Clark scrubs a hand through his hair. "I'm starting to feel like... some kind of predator."

"You don't want to think of Lana as meat for the beast of your libido."

"Well, no. Jeez, Lex..."

Lex offers his own shrug. "At some point -- maybe tonight, maybe not -- you're going to have to decide how much having Lana means to you. As opposed to how important it is for the way you get her to be... palatable."

"I thought I had." And Clark's voice is small. Adorably pathetic.

Lex wonders if now would be an acceptable time to touch the boy, decides he doesn't much care about acceptability at this point, either. Throws an arm over Clark's shoulder and leans back against the headboard. Gives Clark time to settle into the touch before speaking again. "What happened?"

"Remember what you told me about... about high school boyfriends?"

"Mm. Obstacles as opposed to husbands, yes."

"Yeah. Well. Whitney and Lana... they aren't healthy. And God, that sounds so stupid, but... Christ, I don't know."

Lex squeezes Clark a little. "I think I know what you're saying, but... go on."

"I... okay. It's like... it's like Lana is some kind of possession to Whitney. Like a truck. Or... or a leather jacket. He likes her, but I'm not sure he... respects her?"

Lex bites his lip and nods in what he hopes is an encouraging fashion.

"And Lana... Lana talks about Whitney like... like a security blanket. Something that's always there. Comfortable. Familiar. There's no... no love there. God, I sound like an idiot."

"No, you don't, Clark. You sound like someone who has spent a lot of time studying a particular... subject --"

"God, I am a stalker."

Lex can't hold in a snort. "I didn't say that. You're just a little... focused."

"Riiight. Focused. But... yeah. I see that, I see them, and I think... it can't be all that wrong for me to... to move in, right? I mean, it's not as if I'm trying to separate Romeo and Juliet, here."

"No, somehow I doubt they'll poison themselves for each other..."

Clark laughs a little. "Right. They're just... it's like they're just going through the motions. And so it doesn't seem right..."

"That you, a person who does love and... respect Lana should be on the outside, looking in."

"I... yeah. That sounds pretty terrible, doesn't it?"

"No, Clark, it's normal." Smiles at the skeptical look on Clark's face. "I promise. Everyone gets a little wrapped up in things when it comes to love. No one but a saint can keep his nose out of the business of someone he cares about."

And the look on Clark's face makes him think he's said too much, but there's nothing accusing in Clark's eyes. Nothing like pity, either. "What about you, Lex?"


"Have you ever been as obsessed as I am?"

"Oh, yes. I've... become positive that it's just one of life's inescapable little ironies, actually."

"Why irony? If it's so... normal, I mean."

Lex smiles ruefully. "Because it hits you no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Because it hits you harder when you try to avoid it. Whether it's about your friends, your lovers, or your... family. Love is unavoidable."

"Is it always such... such a bitch?"

Lex snickers. "Yes. Absolutely yes. Though I may be the wrong person to ask. Your parents don't seem very tortured about the whole thing, after all."

Clark nods slowly, focusing in on Lex like something almost monstrous in its... determination? The right word is somewhere in the past, when Lex was sober. It's a long look, and a dangerous one. Instinct clamors; find something to say, some comment to throw Clark off, push him away before.... before.

And Clark is settling in against him, unfolding long legs, refolding them restlessly until he's half on his side. Facing Lex. Their positions are infinitely less innocent now.


"Mm...?" He doesn't trust himself with anything like language.

"Why do I want her?"

And there are so many ways to answer that question, all of them disastrous. "Are you asking for a psychological analysis, Clark?" His smile feels shaky on his face. "Because that wasn't my major..."

"I..." And Clark shakes his head. Bends his head.

More than enough excuse for Lex to cup the back of his neck. Stroke the fine, soft hairs there with his thumb. Just a little. Just enough to raise some phantom ache of desire for more. Oh, he could touch Clark all over, he could make it so...

"I just want it to be easier, Lex. I just want..."

"What do you want, Clark?" And the sound of his own voice is damning. Perhaps even more than the look he can feel on his face when Clark finally looks up again. Hungry and sad and so damned confused --

"Something I can have."

Long, long silence, and Lex is. Lost. Clark's eyes. Clark's parted lips and Clark's acceptance of their closeness. The brush of skin. The dizzying possibility. Lex squeezes his eyes shut, swallows quickly. Everything feels too close. Too fast, and there's something vital here, something that desperately needs to come out and be understood.

Before Midas reaches out.

"Clark..." Voice cracking on the name, and Clark's shiver puts the lie to any hope that the boy doesn't know exactly what's happening here.

"I... I could seduce you..." Tone somewhere between the statement of simple fact and a request.

"Clark, don't --"

"I could. I know you... want me. I've known... and you're hard under those sheets. I... I don't think you would stop me. Would you, Lex?"

"You're too young --"

"You're right here, and you want me, and you're my friend --"

And it's only when Clark reaches out to cup his cheek that Lex realizes he's been shaking his head. Takes a deep, shuddering breath and tries to command his arm to uncurl itself from around Clark's neck. Tries to do anything but take this. "It's not... what you want."

Clark squeezes his eyes shut, and when he opens them again the gleam is something deadly. He leans in and presses a soft kiss to Lex's mouth. Breathes humid and sweet between them and kisses again. Again.

Lex is shaking.

"It is, Lex. It is. But... I don't want to be Lana."

"Ah, fuck --" Drives his hand into Clark's hair and pulls him in for a hard kiss, a real kiss. Something between punishment and need and Clark gives as good as he gets, sucking Lex's tongue and rolling them over until he's on top, moving awkwardly, instinctively against Lex and moaning.

Sharp little things swallowed between them and Clark's mouth is wide and wet and so hot. Burning his lips and cheek and throat and control is impossible, ridiculous. Lex scrapes his nails down Clark's back, over the t-shirt that had to be much too thin for a walk out to the castle, but it didn't matter.

Slips his hands under the cotton and revels in hot, silky skin. Sweat at the base of Clark's spine and suddenly Clark's pulling away, tearing at his clothes until he's naked to the waist.

Panting above Lex and staring, stroking Lex's chest and struggling with something Lex can't even begin to understand, somewhere behind his eyes.

"What... what is it? God, Clark..."

"I'm not..." And Clark squeezes his eyes shut, grips Lex's shoulders for a brief, painful moment before attacking his fly. "You're not familiar, Lex. You're not safe. Do you... God, please say you understand..."

But Clark doesn't give him time to say anything, just pushes jeans and boxers down his thighs and braces himself above Lex again, ripping the sheet away and oh fuck Jesus skin --

Heat and friction and Clark urging Lex to touch him, hold him. Urging Lex's tongue into his mouth and rocking against him. Thrusting hard and fast, kissing and groaning and finally rolling them over again, making Lex dizzy with the change in position, with the heat and scent of sex and Clark.

Under him, sure palms on Lex's hips and unsteady fingers stroking and squeezing his hips.

"Show me, Lex, I don't know how..."

"Oh God --"

"Please --"

Nothing to do but reach back to take them both in hand, ride Clark's half-agonized arch and hold on. Stroking them together, so hot and hard. Slick, but not enough. Too fast, too rough. Something. Pulls his hand away, shuddering at the way Clark moans. Lex licks his palm, sucks his fingers for their mingled taste --

"Oh, Lex, Lex --"

Feels himself shoot another load of pre-come and can't make himself wait any longer. Wraps his slick fist around them and starts to stroke, squeezing on the upstroke and watching, watching.

Clark's eyes wide at first, mouth open, begging for everything Lex can give in nothing like language. Braces himself on his elbow and bites that criminal mouth, sucks at it and he knows he's babbling and he deliberately closes his mind to understanding it. Doesn't want to know.

It's enough that it makes Clark arch and writhe beneath him, makes him reach for Lex and stroke and caress and squeeze with hot, jittery hands and it's good, much too good for anything but trouble and Lex couldn't stop with a gun to his head.

Laughs helplessly and Clark comes all over his hand, all over their stomachs. Hot as blood and jerking so powerfully he nearly throws Lex off --


Sound of his own name driving him over the edge, desperation and shock and pleasure and "oh God, yes, please, please --" he doesn't know who he's praying to. Just another disturbing need. Another secret that isn't. "Clark..." Couldn't hold it in if he tried. Can't stop himself from falling, collapsing just barely to Clark's side. A cuddle of dubious necessity.

Half-validated by the speed with which Clark throws an arm around him, pulling him close.

Please. The beggar in his head won't shut up, even to let Lex wallow in Clark's deep, harsh breaths. Satisfied breaths, if only for now.

Lex tightens his jaw and moves to pull away, and, after a moment, Clark lets him.

Startling cool on the other side of the bed, though Lex knows it's probably only a matter of a contrast. It makes him shiver anyway. A concession to something carefully unknown to curl on his side. Look at Clark from behind what he hopes is a face left pleasantly blank.

When Clark finally turns it takes a moment for Lex to deal with the fact that Clark isn't smiling at all, not even a rueful one. Another moment to accept and loathe the fact that he'd hoped. "Did you get what you wanted, Clark?"

Another Martha Kent look that threatens to drive Lex fully into hysteria territory. "Lex, I... do you. I didn't use you. I mean... I didn't mean to use you. I mean... do you think I used you? God, that all sounds so bad..." And Clark is reaching out for him.

Some part of Lex is screaming at him to pull away, flinch, something, but... he really can't. "I don't want to be you, Clark."

Clark flinches for them both, hand tightening on Lex's bicep. "What... what do you mean?"

Lex feels himself smiling. "I don't want to be on the fringes of things, watching you... agonize over the morality of going after the sweetly passive fairy princess of your dreams."

"She's not --"

"Isn't she?" And Lex sits up, one bent knee the only concession to his own nakedness. His throat feels hot, bruised where Clark kissed him. His mouth is numbed with kisses. "You said it yourself, Clark. She wants Whitney because he's safe. Because he'll never be anything but right where she needs him, when she needs him.

"Let me guess -- this latest "break-up" is because Whitney hasn't been paying attention to her enough lately."

"Lex, don't talk about her that way."

"Why not? You've said it all before. Her needs. Her sadness. Her loneliness --"

"What, are you jealous?"

"Yes. I am. Being as you just came all over me after whining, yet again, about Her Holiness --"

And Clark is on him before he can blink, trapping his wrists and glaring down at him. "Stop it."

"You said you didn't want to be her, Clark. Make up your mind."

Clark loosens his hold, but Lex doesn't move. "Is there... is there any room to be just a little confused in your world? I've... I've cared about Lana forever..."

"And now you know her."

"Not everything."

"No one ever does."

"You must hate that."

"I..." Lex blinks. Smiles despite himself. "With the passion of a thousand fiery suns, Clark, yes. I hate that. I loathe it. Every scientist does."

Clark raises an eyebrow at him. "You don't think you take it a little farther than, say, my biology teacher?"

"Unquantifiable knowledge."

"And you hate it."

"Yes. Yes, I do."

Clark snorts and rolls off him, leaving Lex cold except for the side of his body.

When he's sober, he's probably going to have to shoot himself with one of his father's antique rifles.

"Lex..." Clark's voice is low, serious. Terrifying. "Did I do the wrong thing tonight?"

"I don't know, Clark. In all honesty, it depends on whom you're basing the idea of wrong. And on... how you feel."

"Not how you feel?"

Lex has no answer for that, and the silence stretches. The windows look out on the kind of darkness that good, clean-cut farmboys like Clark know far too well.

"You want me."

"I think that's been pretty fairly established, yes."


"Don't what?" Lex's heart is beating too fast.

"Don't... hide. Like that."

"Don't tell me you're not hiding anything."

"Not about this... I. I meant what I said, Lex. Everything I said. I'm confused, and I think I never had a clue when it came to Lana, and I want you, and I'm... really confused." Clark turns to look at him from across the pillows. "Can't you forgive me for that?"

"Is that what's at issue here?" The softness of his own voice surprises him enough that by the time he realizes he's reaching out, it's too late. Clark's chest is smooth. Soft, warm skin and hard muscle. Steady heartbeat under his palm.

"I don't know."

"I don't, either." It's almost true.

Clark nods, leans into Lex slow enough that he could stop it at any time. And that's not even close to true.

The kiss this time is slow. Deep and thorough, somewhere between leisure and memorization, and they're tangled together before Lex can remember that he was supposed to be patching his dignity together.

Clark's arms around him implacably sweet. Addictive as hell, and Lex wants to tell him to stop, wants to push him away, but...

Clark would know exactly what Lex was trying to do, and that's too much to take. Even in theory.



"Tell me it's supposed to feel like this."

"I can't, Clark. I... I don't know."

And when Clark squeezes him tight enough to make breathing a problem, Lex just exhales.

Burrows closer.

And tries to imagine a world where this isn't the start of something terrible.


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