DISCLAIMER: Sadly both the delectable Lex and the lickable lawyer boy belong to people who are not, alas, even slightly me. Just playing. Don't sue.
Lex had been spending a lot of time in The Beanery lately. Not that there was anything wrong with the coffee his housekeeper made - as it happened, the quality of the beans in the coffee shop was rather inferior to that at the castle. He wasn't really going there for the coffee, though; nor for the ambience, such as it was. He had the grace to laugh a little at his calculatedly 'man of the people' routine; being seen drinking coffee alongside his employees and their children was perhaps a little heavy-handed, but it was one more little detail that distinguished him from Lionel. And there could never, ever, be too many little details like that.
Besides, Lex was trying to play nice, and Smallville was very - well, small. He could adjust to anything, but it was still one hell of a culture shock to exchange the comparative anonymity of Metropolis for the curtain-twitching parochialism of this dusty little town where every single person knew his name and was waiting for something to gossip about. Lex didn't much relish having his private life genuinely made public, so nights of casual oblivion spent in clubs engaged in any of his more hedonistic hobbies was reserved for the occasional weekend back in Metropolis. The paparazzi could be a mild irritation, but for the most part they were easily manipulated into reporting his more vanilla Prince Hal antics with vicarious glee. And besides, in Metropolis he was already yesterday's news. In Smallville, however, the gossip was spread by word of mouth, which was far more difficult to control; there he was yesterday's news, today's news and tomorrow's news. So in Smallville Lex indulged in nothing more outrageous than Columbia's second-finest export; and he confined his sex-life, such as it was these days, to the bedroom.
Of course, it was also true that the chances of bumping into Clark Kent in an actual bar were less than zero, since he was too young to legally buy beer, among other things; and Lex liked bumping into Clark Kent. It was just conceivable that this might have had something to do with the frequency of his trips to The Beanery. Seducing the wide-eyed poster child for Mom's apple pie was unbelievably tempting; but even though the image of Clark writhing under him had started to wander into his brain at the most inappropriate moment, he was well aware that it would be rank stupidity. He had to work quite hard to remember this at times, but he knew that it would be rank stupidity. And perhaps something worse.
Perversely, in his heart of hearts Lex didn't want to seduce Clark Kent at all. The very thought of Clark being just another pretty fuck hurt him as much as it turned him on. Entirely against his will he found himself (oh, how his father would laugh, how he laughed himself at the stupid vulnerability of it) cherishing Clark Kent, heartfelt platitudes and all. He genuinely wanted to live up to the dumb idealism almost as much as he wanted to take Clark - pretty Clark with his impossibly innocent eyes, his ludicrous uncertainty, his Dudley Do-Right pugnacity, his guileless smile like a poem to orthadonture and clean living and his sweet, sweet mouth so very clearly designed by the god of blowjobs - and break him.
Clark Kent fucked with his head. This worried him far more than the prospect of being caught in a hayloft with his dick buried up to the hilt in a criminally beautiful flannel-wrapped fifteen year old - after all, that's what money was for. But Clark Kent fucked with his head and wrecked his objectivity; Clark Kent cut quite effortlessly through all his defences; and Clark Kent was also, quite definitely, lying to him. So right now Clark Kent was firmly off the menu, along with Columbia's finest export and all the other treats that had once enlivened his evenings in Metropolis. Lex was playing nice.
But there was no harm in window shopping, so Lex had been spending a lot of time in The Beanery lately.
After a day like today, however, The Beanery was the last place he wanted to be. He was still, impossibly, alive - thanks once again to his very own personal saviour, and in spite of both Fate and his father. His own heroic gesture had come to nothing; far from saving Clark's life he had found himself once more being scooped up out of danger at the last of all possible moments. His head was crammed with questions and he knew with perfect certainty that no answers would be forthcoming from either Lionel or Clark; no explanation of the research on Level 3 that had caused this day's debacle; no explanation of how the hell Clark Kent had managed to keep both Lex and Earl Jenkins from falling to their deaths.
Lex had watched numbly as Lionel's helicopter briskly lifted his father back out of his life and Earl, that poor poisoned bastard, had vanished into an ambulance amidst sirens and police. He had watched as Clark and his excruciatingly devoted parents had piled into their truck and returned to their farm; and his whole body had been one vast, humiliating ache at the sight of the knot of tenderness binding Clark's little family. The loneliness, which he barely let himself notice most of the time, was scorching. He tried to muster contempt for their Little House on the Prairie naivety and found himself feeling nothing but emptiness as he shook hands and smiled and reassured and made charming and modest noises as seemed appropriate. When the last reporter finally departed Lex was left alone with a shaky awareness that he had come within a hair's breadth of a meaningless death and that he was unlikely ever to know why.
Back at the castle he showered and changed and finally went downstairs and stared at the battered Porsche for a long time. He should be dead several times over; and Clark Kent, for whom he had been willing - almost relieved - to sacrifice his own life today, was still lying to him.
It had been one of the most frustrating and quietly soul-destroying days Lex had enjoyed in recent history, and he needed a fucking drink. Not a latte, not a mocha, not an espresso or a frappuccino; a proper drink. And not here. He found that he simply couldn't stand another minute in this towering monument to Lionel Luthor's wealth. But nor was this the night to go investigating the bars of Smallville, where he would inevitably find himself fending off the suspicion or the grudging gratitude of the townspeople.
So as the last vestiges of daylight faded from the sky, he picked a car at random, pointed it away from Smallville and still further away from Metropolis and just drove.
Lindsey noticed the kid immediately. Hell, everyone noticed the kid immediately. The scream of brutalised tyres burning to a halt outside Mae's Bar had been more than loud enough to carry over the muted sound of Warren Zevon on the juke box and the murmur of the weary Wednesday night crowd, and drinkers near the windows were already craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the driver and the car. He watched the pale, anonymous shape swimming swiftly out of the darkness and felt a little feather of curiosity himself. Leather-coated fingertips steepled against the glass panel and splayed like dark petals unfurling from a tiny circle of bare skin as they pushed the door open. Driving gloves, of all things; Lindsey found himself noticing people's hands a lot more than he used to.
The newcomer was young in spite of his incongruous baldness - and very familiar. Lindsey felt a quick flicker of puzzled recognition before his memory supplied the name: Lex Luthor. He hadn't actually met Luthor or his son, but he was vaguely aware that Lionel had done business with Wolfram and Hart in the past. There had been some screw up a dozen years earlier that was still talked about in hushed tones. Lindsey was hazy on the details, but he had an idea that some prophecy had been misinterpreted rather spectacularly to general embarrassment, which had led to the liquidation, in a very literal sense, of the department responsible.
He wondered, a little absently, whether Lilah were dead yet.
More mundanely, Lionel's son had decorated enough tabloids over the past few years to be instantly recognisable: "Hair Apparent", "Lex Education", "The Joy of Lex", "Lex Drive" - the papers had a field day making up captions for a stream of pictures of Lionel's playboy heir at clubs and premieres, enjoying the manifold delights of fast cars and faster women. And of course there was always gossip about the other pictures and stories that were never printed; the pills and powders and pretty boys, and other less palatable things. The usual stuff, in other words - but nothing particularly demonic, as far as Lindsey was aware.
The kid was thoroughly out of context in this spit and sawdust setting, but Lindsey felt only the mildest surprise once he had identified the face to his own satisfaction - after all, he knew there was a plant over in Smallville and other LutherCorp interests scattered around Kansas. For that matter, Lindsey would only have been mildly surprised if a Kankanath demon had pulled up at Mae's and stomped in hoping for a quick glass of Yak's bile en route to a spot of pillaging. He was well aware that life was a lot more like the pages of The National Enquirer than most people ever realised.
When Lex strolled into the bar other faces turned to him as inevitably as plants drawn towards sunlight, eyes widening slightly. Maybe not all of them recognised him, but the baldness and the expensive clothes were sufficiently out of place to attract attention in and of themselves. Most of the other drinkers probably didn't guess quite how expensive the understated sweater was, but Lindsey had a pretty fair idea that Old Man Jenkins could have bought a new tractor and had change to spare with the money it had cost to clothe Lionel Luthor's son this evening.
He took in the casual ease with which Lex crossed the room, so sublimely sure of himself and his right to be there that he made the regulars seem out of place; and Lindsey found himself battling a sudden and visceral surge of resentment. No bargains with the devil for young Lex Luthor; he had received his power and privilege on a silver platter. No shitty menial jobs while he was working his way through school. Lex Luthor was the apple of his daddy's eye, and his daddy was richer than God. Smug little bastard.
Lindsey was finding the road to redemption a little more frustrating than he'd hoped; but he wouldn't go back to Wolfram and Hart for any money, of this he was certain. Almost certain. He sure didn't pine for the omnipresent threat of becoming dogfood or dragonbait, or the slow-burning sense of despair that coloured his every waking moment. Or the nightmares. Definitely not the nightmares.
But he did miss the buzz. And the chance to flex his thinking muscles - Christ, he really missed that. Lindsey was too damn smart for his own good, that's what his daddy used to say; and maybe his daddy hadn't been so far wrong after all. Look where being smart had gotten him. He was starting to suspect that dumb people were the only happy ones in this world.
"Same again, Mac?"
Mae's familiar voice cut through his reverie and Lindsey glanced down at the melting slivers of ice at the bottom of his empty glass with some surprise. Christ, he was getting maudlin. Screw that. Lindsey had his freedom and the use of both hands again, and everything else was just frosting on the cake. And if he told himself this often enough he might just believe it.
"Mae, darlin', how could I resist you? Just one problem..." Lindsey's voice trailed away wistfully as he peered up at her through lowered lashes, exercising a little of the easy charm that had always undone female jurors and always deserted him around Darla. Mae's eyebrows shot up and she pushed a few strands of greying auburn hair out of her face with a stern expression. He gave her his most disarming little-boy-lost look and watched the dimple quiver in her cheek as she fought off a grin.
"No money left, eh? Now don't you go trying any of your tricks on me, Lindsey McDonald - I'm old enough to be your mama and I've got two boys just as charming as you back home. Pouting won't do you one whit of good." She laughed at his comically tragic expression and relented, as he'd known she would. "Ah, go on with you. Just the one, then, and you can pay me Friday."
Lindsey beamed at her. Life wasn't so bad. He spared a brief thought for the liquid assets he'd managed to transfer into an offshore account before leaving Wolfram and Hart, and reminded himself that he could still tap into it at any time if he wanted to. He didn't think they were hunting him - if there'd been a price on his head he very much doubted he'd still have a head at this point - and it was all his own money, legally earned in the practice of law and paid for in blood and sweat and tears. Some of which had even been his own. Nevertheless he was trying to get by without touching the damned money and he'd been managing just fine so far.
"I'll get it."
Lindsey's mouth thinned. The cocky little fucker. He counted to five in his head and when he looked up his expression was unreadable, a perfect courtroom mask. Up close Lex Luthor looked both younger and slighter than his demeanour implied. The swagger seemed automatic, almost unthinking; he wore his sense of privilege like a second skin.
Mae, Lindsey was perfectly sure, recognised Lex Luthor from her glossy magazines. Nevertheless she fixed the kid with a steely glare and lifted one auburn eyebrow pointedly. He was a little surprised at the courtesy with which Lex produced a driver's licence from his back pocket, wriggling gracefully to reach it in a way that Lindsey appreciated in spite of himself. He found himself wondering whether the stuff about pretty boys was true. Mae made a big deal of checking the licence thoroughly, but Lex's patience never faltered. The mildness of his smile was disarming.
"I hope everything's in order?" he asked. Mae nodded with some reluctance and passed the licence back over the bar. He smiled again. "In that case I'll have a double vodka, if you'd be so kind. And let me pay for this gentleman's drink. Will you have something yourself, ma'am?"
The "ma'am" was what swung it. Lindsey watched it go straight to Mae's head and knew it would be the talk of the town the next day that a multi-millionaire had called her "ma'am", but he strongly suspected that Lex was being ironic. The kid's eyes were glittering dangerously and Lindsey, accustomed to noting the tiniest nuances of expression and posture in his witnesses and jurors, had the feeling that he was just barely keeping a whole heap of emotions in check. Which was interesting.
"Thanks," Lindsey said. Lex turned to him at last and the look on his face answered one question straight away - clearly Lionel's baby boy wasn't exclusively a ladies' man. He could feel the eyes of the rest of the room fixed disapprovingly on the two of them and felt an unexpected impulse to shock these sleepy Kansas farmers. They thought a bald kid with a trust fund was weird? They thought Lex Luthor was the height of corporate wickedness? They had no fucking idea. Lindsey suddenly wished that he could take these placid red-necks and introduce them to some of Wolfram and Hart's less Maeubrious clientele. He licked his lips thoughtfully. Virtue was all well and good, but it was also really fucking boring.
He lifted the fresh glass of bourbon to his mouth and swallowed, his eyes never leaving Lex's.
"To what do we owe the honour, Mr Luthor?"
"I was thirsty," he replied, smiling blandly into a pair of eyes that were nothing at all like Clark's and wondering whether to pick him up anyway. The guy wore jeans and a flannel shirt - a pedestrian combination that Lex found himself depressingly attracted to these days - but there all similarities to Clark Kent definitely ended. Certainly he was clean and pretty, but he was also small and fair and, blessedly, well past high school age. And he looked like he worked out; although in this part of the world that probably just meant he worked outdoors. Eminently fuckable, in short; but he knew who Lex was, which put a slightly different spin on things. He'd been looking for a quick fix, not a kiss'n'tell story in the local paper.
He knocked back the rest of his drink in one smooth motion and felt the hick watching his Adam's Apple with a half-smile that went straight to his cock. Perhaps there were worse things. After the events of the day Lex was finding it increasingly difficult to give a shit about bad publicity.
"Could I get another vodka?" He smiled sweetly at the woman behind the bar and then glanced to his right. "And another of whatever - " (a pause and a quizzical look which prompted another unreadable smile and a name) "Lindsey is drinking. Thank you." He bit his lip and thought about how Lindsey's mouth would taste and wondered whether it would be anything like enough. Tried hard not to think about Clark and felt his heart clench painfully in his chest. "Lindsey?" he repeated with amused precision. "Interesting name."
"You can talk. Lex."
"Touch." It was the damnedest thing; Lindsey recognised him, but didn't seem particularly impressed. Lex was fairly used to being recognised by the little people and he was accustomed to practicing the ancient art of noblesse oblige in these circumstances. He was less accustomed to meeting people who knew who he was but didn't give a damn; and Lindsey was doing a pretty good impression of not giving a damn right now. He felt very slightly off-balance and found it unexpectedly difficult to tell whether Lindsey was actually flirting with him or not. Probably not - because what were the odds of striking lucky first time in this grubby little temple to WASP heterosexuality? And yet the Laws of Probability seemed to be in abeyance where Lex Luthor was concerned of late.
"So what do you do around here to entertain yourselves?" The look on his face should have left Lindsey in no doubt of his interest, but frustratingly it solicited nothing more committal than a friendly smile with the merest suggestion of something more.
"This is pretty much it. I'm just passing through. Been working here for a couple weeks now and this is about as exciting as it gets on a Wednesday night."
There was a pause in which Lex found his patience melting clean away. What was he doing in a place like this? He should have just stayed at home and taken a bottle of brandy to bed. It was his home, at least for now, even if every inch of the place was imprinted with his father's personality. (A Scottish castle in Kansas. Christ.) Or he could have gone to Metropolis. He should have gone to Metropolis.
"Excuse me just a moment, would you?" he murmured, all smooth courtesy and practiced ease. He slid down off the bar stool and headed for the washroom, not at all certain of whether he actually wanted Lindsey to follow him. He was hitting on a total stranger in a dusty little bar in the middle of nowhere, under the noses of half the population of this no-Starbucks town. This wasn't just sordid, it was pathetic - the perfectly hideous end to a perfectly hideous day. His self-destructive tendencies really had gone into overdrive quite spectacularly. Lex wasn't drunk enough to think that fucking in the john in this dump was anything remotely like a good idea, but the vodka was singing in his bloodstream and he was fresh out of good ideas.
As it happened, Lindsey didn't follow him. So much for that. He took a leisurely piss, buttoned his fly and washed his hands (Lex was appalled by how few people washed their hands) and was rubbing them together under the dryer and staring bleakly at his reflection in the fly-blown glass when two men came in behind him. He glanced at them idly in the mirror and then took in their body language. Lex suddenly had a very bad feeling about this.
He was really going to enjoy hearing Lex Luthor beg.
But the thought of Lex on his expensively-clad knees in the john, with Lindsey's hands (he shuddered at that detail; who knew that Angel would have supplied him with this particular new kink?) on that obscenely naked scalp and Lindsey's cock in his mouth was almost enough to break this resolve. Fuck. His pants were very definitely too tight right now.
He noticed Ted and Marvin lumbering over to the john, but he didn't think anything of it at first. He knew them to nod to, nothing more. It was the expression on Mae's face that was the giveaway; she looked guilty as hell and kept glancing over at the door and shooting him furtive glances.
"Mae, is there something I should know?" he asked at last. She bit her lip and frowned nervously.
"Look, I don't want trouble, Mac. You know that. I just -Ted really hates LuthorCorp. Reckons it made his sister sick when she worked over at the Smallville plant, or some stuff like that - load of bull, but he's got a real bee in his bonnet about the Luthors. I don't think he'd do anything stupid, but - "
He slid off the stool and made his way to the men's room, feeling a little pang of guilt at not having realised immediately something was amiss and, above and beyond it, a thrill of adrenaline. This was more like it. Christ, he'd been bored.
Lex hadn't realised he had so much rage in him. Ted and Marvin most certainly hadn't realised he had so much rage in him and they were both looking very much less sure of themselves after their initial lunge had proved less successful than anticipated. There was a tiny impasse, while the two men gawped at Lex. He grinned back savagely, nostrils flaring and eyes icy with sheer, righteous fury. Who the fuck did they think they were dealing with?
When they both came at him this time it was more cautiously and Ted was hanging back and snivelling, his face a rictus of childish agony as blood poured in a satisfying stream from his broken nose. Lex noticed with distaste that they stank of cheap beer and cigarettes. Another sleazy olfactory assault to mingle with the acrid reek of urine and remind him forcibly that he was slumming it tonight.
He threw himself at Marvin, energy uncoiling deliciously to block the clumsy blow, and slammed his ungloved fist into the guy's unprotected face. The impact was raw and audible - far messier than pounding a punch bag and less elegant than sparring with Heike but more viscerally satisfying than either. For once he hadn't tried to talk his way out of things, hadn't even asked what it was about or considered what angle to play. Today he didn't give a shit what it was about. Vodka notwithstanding, he found himself hyperaware of his surroundings and it was inexpressibly sweet to let fly like this. Knowing that it was permissible; knowing that it was self defence. Each jolt ran through him, setting up a ragged rhythm like a silent little mantra of wrath to drown out the clamour of unanswered questions in his head. He didn't know whether it was Clark or Lionel or himself he was most furious with. Certainly it wasn't these bovine attackers whose convenient blood was splattering his sweater and the mirror.
Just for a little while Lex had decided to let himself lay down all that rigid control. It was bliss.
Lindsey nearly tripped over Ted as he barrelled into the room. The guy was doubled up and whimpering and cradling one arm, blood gushing from his nose to soak through his shirt. That was - unexpected. He glanced across the room and took in the surprising sight of Lex Luthor trying quite seriously to beat the living shit out of Marvin. And succeeding. Lindsey started towards them but then paused. Looked like Lionel's son was handling himself pretty competently. For all that Marvin was a bigger guy, he was also very drunk and his heart clearly wasn't in it. Lex had him wholly psyched out.
Lindsey leaned back against the cold wall and silently watched Lex Luthor unleashing his pent-up energy. He knew what it was like to be matched against a larger opponent and he recognised the single-minded ferocity of the attack with a pang of sympathy. Something in the quality of the anger reminded him of LA. He tried to pin it down and incongruously, unwelcomely he was reminded of Darla talking about Angelus. Lindsey scowled, and tried very hard to ignore the urgent rush of blood to his groin. He clenched the muscles in his ass, felt his erection shift against the denim and shivered as he watched Lex pummelling his opponent. The kid was slightly built, but he was wiry enough; Lindsey thought about peeling back the sweater and tracing the muscles that flexed and shifted under the pale skin, and his cock jumped automatically. He was getting wet here.
"Fuck this," panted Marvin shakily, the words shockingly loud in the silence, and he turned tail and fled past Lindsey, leaving Lex suddenly bereft and blinking. Ted scrambled to his feet and limped out the door in stumbling pursuit. The two of them were alone.
Lindsey watched the kid automatically compose himself and wondered just what the hell would make the crown prince of LuthorCorp so damned tense all the time. Lex squared his shoulders and his blue eyes met Lindsey's like a slap. He brushed the back of his hand over his smooth brow, gathering up beads of sweat and wiping them carelessly on the bloodstained sweater, looking very young and very tired and perfectly ready to take on the rest of the world regardless.
"I don't. Need. Saving," Lex said crisply, nostrils flaring, daring Lindsey to contradict him. Lindsey considered this statement briefly.
"Good. I don't want to save you." He crossed the space between them in two swift paces, shoved Lex up against the wall and thrust his tongue straight down his throat. Felt the deceptively slight body tense against his and then a heartbeat later slender fingers were clutching his ass with gratifying urgency and pulling him in closer. He ground his pelvis up against Lex's thigh, relishing the familiar pressure of another cock shuddering against his own erection, then slid his hand up under the soft grey fabric of the sweater and shivered at the smoothness of the skin beneath his fingers. Considered fucking Lex raw up against the wall right here and the image made him moan into the wet tangle of tongues, but he pulled back for a moment, resting his forehead against the perfectly soft skin of Lex Luthor's scalp. He wanted to see Lex naked.
"Why don't you take me for a spin in your fancy car?" he suggested, his voice hoarse. Felt the newly familiar shape of the face realign itself into an unseen smile against his cheek.
"I've been drinking," Lex pointed out, a breathless curl of laughter colouring the words. "Do you trust me to drive safely?"
"Hell, no - I trust you to drive fast."
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