Used and Bruised

by Peggy

Title: Used and Bruised
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Author: pegchallen@hotmail.com or mchallen@shaw.ca Rating: PG-13 for language and slashiness Disclaimer: I own them, but only in my head. In reality, I'm just a geek with no claim on anything Smallville-related. If you sue, all you get is my cat. Trust me, not a bargain. Author's Notes: On the TWoP forum, Mako observed that she wanted Bondage!Lex. Well, I tried, but the story got away from me. A lot of people wondered if CLex consummated their relationship between Leech and Kinetic. Here's my little contribution to that theory.

Spoilers: for Leech, set between Leech and Kinetic

Lex had read an article once, some academic pontificating about the sociological meaning of S&M. Some guy with way too much time on his hands, probably. The moron said people got off on bondage because it was a fantasy, that anybody who'd ever been tied up and beaten for real would never sexualize it. Once again, Lex was living proof that professors didn't know shit. Or maybe Lex was just totally fucked up, and the rest of the world conformed to what the experts said.

Ever since arriving in this wholesome little heartland town, Lex had become an expert on real-life bondage and pain. Thanks, Dad. And Lex sometimes wondered if Lionel knew Smallville was filled with X-files rejects, if he had some master plan to make sure the heir got killed by some crazy. It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.

Lex had never gotten off on the pain, not when he was in a genuine life or death situation. That would be too fucked-up even for a Luthor. And, truth be told, Lex had found that he didn't really want to die. It had been a startling discovery, vaguely disorienting. He wondered if he should ask for a refund from those shrinks who'd diagnosed him as borderline suicidal and tried to feed him pretty pills you couldn't buy at Club Zero. Maybe it was his latent survival instinct kicking in, or maybe it was just hubris. He just had too much pride to go out in such an undignified way as death by epileptic janitor or class-conscious invisible teen.

But a few kidnappings hadn't turned him off kink. If anything, the pleasure was heightened now, now that he had real memories to draw on, to remind himself. Of course, he'd been careless to let Victoria use the metal handcuffs, careless to allow himself to be marked. Matching bruise bracelets now proclaimed his stupidity.

He should've pulled out the padded cuffs, those were his usual style: maximum restraint, minimal damage. But he'd been desperate to find some way of keeping it up, and pain seemed to be the only thing that worked. He'd been so close to the finish line, just had to keep Victoria distracted a little longer, keep her thinking she could lead him around by the balls. He knew she and Sir Harry had nearly closed the Cadmus Labs deal. Her suppressed excitement told him it wouldn't be much longer, but there was still time for her to get suspicious. It was difficult to play the besotted lover when he lost his wood, when he could barely stand to touch her.

Handcuffs so he could pretend he was tied up and about to be rescued by Clark. Gag so he didn't make a mistake and use the wrong name if he got too into the fantasy. Not focusing on the kink so much as the moment of safety, his guardian angel leaning over him, eyes filled with concern. It had worked beautifully, had kept Victoria utterly clueless. And now he had bruises. Fading, green and mustard-coloured bruises, but still there.

How the hell was he supposed to explain the bruises to the worried kid in front of him?

"Actually, Clark, my cheating, lying ex-girlfriend and I were playing a sex game, and it got a little rough. Oh, and I was actually fantasizing about you during the aforementioned sex game. Any more questions?"

No, couldn't say that. The boy's parents would tar and feather him, assuming tar and feathers were still in vogue. Maybe they'd just castrate him. Plus, if he said it, Clark would blush like a fire engine. Cute as that blush usually was, he couldn't handle it right now.

"Lex!"

He looked up, startled out of his reverie. Why the hell did Clark have to pout at him like that? Had he been reading some kind of manual on how to turn the corrupt older guy into a lump of sexually frustrated Jell-O?

"What?" he grumbled.

"Lex, come on. How did you get those bruises; what happened?"

"It's nothing, don't worry about it." He said, yanking on the cuffs of his sleeves. Maybe if Clark couldn't see the bruises, he'd quit freaking out.

Or maybe a pork chop would sprout wings and fly to Neverland.

Suddenly Clark was in his personal space, crowding him in that way he never let anybody do. Big gentle hands so warm on his arms, pushing his shirtsleeves up again, exposing him. Fingers just barely touching Lex's damaged wrists, tracing the yellowed patches so lightly that it didn't hurt. How the hell did Clark manage to have such smooth hands, anyway? Lex had shaken hands with enough farmers to know they all had calluses.

"Don't tell me it's nothing." Clark said, quiet and stern at the same time. "Lex, you're hurt; tell me who did this to you?"

"Why, what the fuck are you going to do about it?"

Lex enjoyed the slight flinch, the extra colour on Clark's cheeks. Jesus, if a curse could rattle him like this, he'd probably have a heart attack if Lex ever matched the action to the word and fucked him. He was so innocent, a walking talking porno clich. Just another reason to pull away, not to get horny from Clark's earnest attempts to make him feel better.

"Lex, maybe I can fix it."

"Bullshit!"

No blush this time, maybe Clark was getting used to it. Although the Kents had cattle, so it could be he was used to the phrase.

"What will you do, Clark?" he demanded, "You're the one walking around with taped up ribs and a concussion. For Christ's sake just drop it."

Flare of red, way more than could be attributed to good-boy embarrassment over bad language. Clark was a damn good liar, but his blood wasn't. Eyes shifting as he replied, "Look, Lex, I know that. Don't try to avoid the subject by making this about me. Tell me the truth; talk to me." Such a soft voice, kind eyes, sincerity oozing from every pore.

And the son of a bitch was still lying to him.

Lex pulled his wrists out of Clark's circling hands and pushed hard against a flannel-covered chest. He dug his fingers into the ridge of muscle just below Clark's ribcage and pushed up viciously.

"Fuck you, Clark! I'll start telling the truth when you do."

Clark's yelp of pain was a day late and a dollar short. "You're hurting me." He said unconvincingly. He really needed to enroll in Drama Club.

"Three days, Clark. You were in the hospital three days ago, and I bet you don't have a mark on you now."

He was unbuttoning the flannel hastily. And it was okay, because he was doing it in the name of science. He was a truth-seeker, not a pervert stripping down a teenaged boy. This was nothing like the sweet fumbled kiss in the barn a few weeks ago, there would be no awkward moments afterwards. This wasn't about sex, it was about power.

Maybe Clark didn't realize what Lex was doing, or why he was doing it. He looked bewildered and, yes, his denim was displaying some below the belt action. Lex pushed up the virginal white T-shirt, bruised pale hands on tanned skin. Unmarked tanned skin.

"Three days, Clark, and you're good as new. I got hurt five days ago, and you can still see it. Explain."

Clark looked eminently fuckable with his flannel shirt hanging off his shoulders, his T-shirt up past his nipples, hard-on visible through his jeans. Lex pushed the thought away, tried to focus on his anger.

And Lex dropped his eyes, watched Clark's dick deflate. It was better than watching Clark's kicked puppy face, all fear and betrayal.

"God, Lex, can't you just let it go?" The verge-of-tears voice, and if Lex were looking, he'd be seeing an Oscar-worthy pout. Clark wasn't moving, wasn't pulling his shirt down or pushing Lex's hands away. Of course, Lex wasn't moving either. Sudden, irrational memory of being taken to Coppelia as a small child, watching the clockwork doll wind down and stand there frozen in her last action.

He couldn't for the life of him figure out which of them was the doll.

"Lex, I thought we covered this. You said you were sorry. You said you were gonna drop it." Little-boy whine, and he was so fucking young. He probably still thought life was supposed to be fair.

"Never trust a Luthor, Clark. You should've listened to your old man." Jeering, cold, in control. Because he was in control here. He wasn't an inch away from crying because his so-called friend had been jerking him around. His only friend, ever.

"Don't, Lex. Please. Please." Voice cracking, and he was full-on begging. It should be a turn-on. Lex should seize the opportunity to demand payment for his silence. A vision of Clark on his knees, clumsily sucking him off.

Lex had fantasized that scenario a hundred times before, but for once his cock wasn't cooperating, wasn't interested. He wanted Clark on his knees, looking up at him in innocent wonder. He wanted Clark giving him that shy grin, like he thought sex was a cross between concert tickets and a new truck.

"Fuck you!" he shouted, pushing Clark away hard. The younger boy didn't even stumble. He turned away from Clark, took deep breaths, trying to get himself under control, trying not to cry, "You're such a liar. A goddamn cocktease of a liar, pretending to be my friend. Get out of my house." Lex wished he could sound more icy, less like a betrayed lover or a little kid whose daddy forgot his birthday.

He risked a look backwards, and immediately regretted it. Clark was still just fucking standing there, his face crumpled up. His T-shirt had slid most of the way down, but his stomach was still showing. It was taut, not vulnerable at all, nothing like his face.

"Don't you understand English, you stupid prick? I told you to get out."

"Why are you doing this, Lex. I thought we were friends." With that note in his voice, every mom in a ten mile radius should be rushing to give him hugs and band-aids. "Why are you pushing me away? All I wanted to do was help."

"I can do without your kind of help, thanks. And we are not friends. A friend wouldn't lie."

"Have you told me the truth about everything in your life, huh, Lex? You want to know all my secrets, even the ones that don't have a goddamn thing to do with you."

"I see you believe in the `best defense is a good offense' theory of confrontations. Interesting strategic choice." Try to stay calm, try to look anywhere but those wounded, accusing eyes.

"Shut up, Lex. God, this isn't a game, this is my life. I thought we were friends. You said I was the closest thing you'd ever had to a real friend, so why are you pushing me away?"

"Oh, yeah, and what about my life? I put everything on the line for you, and you just lied to me. Looked me in the eye and lied like a pro, like you're Victoria or my fucking father." Shit, too much information, and it came out in a humiliating whine, too. If there was a God, Clark wouldn't pick up on it.

"Is this about Victoria? I read about the takeover of her dad's company in the Planet."

No God, apparently, or if he did exist, he wasn't doing Lex any favours.

"Oh, so now you're a business expert, too. Clark Kent, all around wunderkind." Tried for a bored voice, but only managed sneering.

"When I see your name in the paper, I read the article. It said that Hardwick Industries had been trying to take over LuthorCorp, and then you guys turned around and took them over. Does this have something to do with her sneaking around in your computer? I knew I didn't trust her!"

"Yes, Victoria is one more untrustworthy person in my life. You two have a lot in common."

"Lex, I would never betray you like that. I'm not trying to trick you or manipulate you. Can't you see the difference between Victoria and me?"

"I see a liar. That's all I need to know." Voice so frozen Lex was making even himself cold with it. "Nice way to deflect attention from your own lies, Clark. Top marks."

"You have to stop pushing, Lex."

"I did. I let it go, even though I knew you were still lying to me. But then you see the bruises and you start nattering on about the truth like you're some kind of saint, and I can't take it anymore. You were supposed to be my friend. You kept saving me, and then you turn around and lie. How can I trust you not to stab me in the back?"

"Lex, no. You don't und.." Incoherent, stumbling over the words, and he stumbled closer to Lex. Pulled on Lex's shoulders, forced him to look. Big, honest-looking eyes all distressed, and there was something obscene about Clark's ability to seem like such a victim when he really wasn't.

"Don't touch me, you lying bastard." Lex said, trying to pull out of Clark's grip. The hands were still gentle, but they weren't letting go.

Soft lips, another awkward kiss, wrong angle just like the first time in the barn. Apparently Clark hadn't learned a damn thing since then. One hand leaving his shoulder, so tentative on the back of his skull, like Lex was a Christmas ornament Clark didn't want to break. Nobody had touched him like that since he was twelve, not since the last time his mom had stretched out gaunt hands from her hospital bed.

Lex fell into the kiss almost by accident, forgot when it stopped being awkward and just became right. His hands were up Clark's T-shirt again, but it was nothing like before. At some point he started to pull the shirts off, but got tangled. When Clark moved to help him, Clark's fingers brushed the bruises on his wrists hard enough to make him hiss. It restored Lex's sanity.

Lex pulled away, trying not to pant. Clark's mouth was spit-wet and shiny, his eyes were stoned. Best not to look at him.

"Go away." Lex said, his diction perfect even if his voice was too loud for calm, "If I want to fuck somebody who's sneaking around behind my back, I can do it any club back in Metropolis. And I won't have to worry about going to jail."

"I'm sixteen now." Clark said breathlessly. It wasn't new information, since Lex had been invited to his birthday pizza-fest.

"That's charmingly irrelevant, Clark. All it means is we could both be arrested, instead of just me. This is Kansas, remember. And like I said, I don't actually want you."

Such a sweet lie, it rolled off the tongue so easily. Looking at Clark, Lex was reminded of a line from a song, "Pretty when you cry." He was too distracted to remember which song, but it fit Clark's face perfectly. He wasn't quite crying, but it was close.

"You're scared, that's why you're doing this." Way too much certainty for a sixteen year old. How could he possibly know? "You don't have to be scared of me." Soft and coaxing, and Lex had once thought Bob Rickman was a good salesman.

"I can't trust you."

Clark sighed, whether in frustration or sadness Lex couldn't tell. "Lex, there are things I can't tell anybody: not my friends, not even my parents. Not even my best friend. It's not about you, okay. It's just...you live in this town, you've seen what's happened to people. What do you think would happen to me if somebody found out?"

"You don't trust me." Lex could've sworn that wasn't what he'd been planning to say. He'd been about to push, to ask what exactly Clark didn't want found out.

"It's not you." And this sigh was definitely frustration. "It's not personal, Lex. I just can't, there are some things that I don't know how to explain, and I'm scared. I don't want to wind up like Eric Summers, okay. His dad was planning to let him get studied, did you know that? If there are people out there who would turn in their own kids, what would stop them from turning me in?

"You want the truth. Well, fine, I'm a freak. Clark Kent, another Smallville freak show entry on the Wall of Weird. Are you happy now? You want to take pictures and sell them to the tabloids, or maybe the government? Hey, I know, you could tell your dad, and he could open up Level Three again."

Lex shook his head, "No, Clark. I wouldn't tell my father about you. How could you think that?"

"You wouldn't even have to tell him. What if he found out? Do you think he'd care that the freak is your friend? He was ready to let his own son get killed, he's totally the kind of person who'd sell me out."

Clark was crying now, angry and scared at the same time.

"You don't trust me." Lex repeated, stuck on autopilot.

"I told you before, it's not about you. God, you make me crazy sometimes. You act like the trust thing is a one-way street. You act like me not telling you everything means I'm gonna use you. Well, you're in a hell of a lot better position to use me. Go on, call your dad, tell him about the freak."

Clark was gulping back tears and shoving the telephone across the desk so hard it fell off. He leaned down and thrust the receiver at Lex. "Well, go on. Use me. Prove that I should've kept lying to you.

"All I ever wanted was to be your friend. If you can't believe that, okay. Just don't ask me any more questions I can't answer, please."

Lex walked away from the phone, and from Clark. "Have you ever wondered if it was worth it? Saving my life, I mean. Considering all the trouble you've gotten for it."

A strangled laugh from behind him, "God, no. Lex, you're worth it. You came along, and my life got even crazier, even more complicated. And now I have to deal with all this new shit, including the fact that I can't stop thinking about you. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it's true. But you're definitely worth it. Even if you make that phone call, you'll still be worth it."

Still not looking, Lex said, "You must've figured out by now that I'm not gonna call my dad."

An incoherent sound like relief, and Clark was coming up behind him, touching him, all nerves and hesitation. So fucking young, and he really had to learn not to trust people.

"I'm a Luthor, Clark. You shouldn't believe a word I say. It'll get you fucked over."

"I'll take my chances. You're nothing like him, anyway." Blind certainty in his voice, and that was trust. Or the closest thing to it Lex had heard in a long time, at any rate.

And Lex was not leaning back, was not accepting Clark's touch, was not going to be weak. It was a surprise when flannel-clad arms folded around him, and Lex realized he'd already done all the things he hadn't wanted to do. He was tense, and Clark was tense, the two of them were like a commercial for tranquilizers. Somehow it should be easier when Clark was holding him.

One of Clark's hands was on Lex's stomach, just resting there. The other held his damaged wrist, and was rubbing gently. The motion was something between comfort and sex, a weird juxtaposition of two concepts that really had no business being in the same time zone.

"Please don't ask me any more questions, Lex." Pleading note in his voice, a big tough farmboy and yet so fragile. Lex was aware of just how easily he could break Clark. Somehow the thought was addictive. Clark had stripped down and was open to attack, was leaving himself open deliberately. There was something scary about being the object of so much vulnerability. Something awe-inspiring.

"Don't use me." He answered. And that wasn't exactly what he meant, but Clark seemed to understand.

He tightened his hold on Lex, and said, "Okay. Don't use me either."

"I won't." Soft promise, shouldn't really count because it was barely spoken. But for some reason Lex wanted to make it count, wanted to give Clark that.

Leaning back further, slumping as he suddenly realized just how damn tired he was. He hadn't slept well lately, felt like he was coming off a bender. Clark didn't move, not even when he was taking almost all Lex's body weight.

Lex twisted his neck so he could look at Clark, saw concern and just a hint of teenage confusion. Clark kissed him, still tentative, just a closed-mouth brush against his lips. Awkward smile afterwards, like Clark was finally realizing that he'd just kissed another guy. More than once. Lex tensed up again, waiting for Clark to panic, to pull away. But Clark just kissed him again, for real this time, less comfort and more hunger. His cock was starting to dig into Lex's back.

"You know this is going to be complicated." Lex remarked, unsure who he was trying to convince.

"Yup." Clark answered. He seemed to be gaining confidence. Maybe because all he had to do was look down to notice that Lex was reacting too. "There's nothing wrong with complicated. Simple is boring."

Lex laughed, "Yeah, right."

Clark was getting soothing again, "I'm not gonna hurt you, Lex. I promise." He sounded serious, like he was taking an oath on the Bible.

It would be easy to believe him. Very easy. So Lex decided to give it a shot.

"Just don't use me." He reminded, one final time. Then he decided to shut up.



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