Note: Mildly AU, verging off of Reaper
Sometimes Clark felt like he was rebuilding Lex little by little, taking away what was there for his own, leaving something else in its place. Like if he went on long enough, maybe he'd have him, the whole thing for himself, but for now it was just bits and pieces.
And he wanted that. He wondered sometimes what that left for Lex, but it never stopped him.
One piece at a time, learning it as thoroughly and completely as he could. It wasn't really an efficient method, Clark knew, but it wasn't like he was in a hurry. Actually finishing what he was doing wasn't something he wanted to happen too soon. He was happy to have it stay on the horizon. In the Future, somewhere, still distant enough that he didn't have to think too much about it.
First Lex's hands, strong, with the long and precise fingers. His lips, soft, scarred, warm. Then cheeks and jaw where there'd never been any hair, smooth in a way Clark would never be. Pale hips clasped in Clark's grip.
When he was home and alone, he could bring them up easily, with the slightest bit of effort. Perfect, complete images, and Clark thought he must be doing it right.
Sometimes they came without him even thinking, while he was at school, or doing chores, or drinking coffee, and that upset him. It was all wrong. His life had a Lex space in it and it had a non-Lex space, and the two shouldn't mix. Lex should not bleed into the rest of it. That just confused things, made them murky and unclear.
Lex didn't belong in math class while the teacher droned on about quadratic equations. He didn't belong in the fields of the farm while Clark worked. He didn't belong in the Talon while Clark sat with Chloe and Pete, hanging out and trying to live a normal life.
This, though. This was a Lex time, late Saturday afternoon at the mansion, stretched out in Lex's bedroom. This was acceptable. This was right.
Clark was concentrating on Lex's shoulder now.
Lex was facing away, a good deal of the way towards sleep already, and Clark curled up around him. There was a slight wince, as there always was, and the slightest hint of pulling away before Lex relaxed into the touching.
Clark sniffed the shoulder gently, brought his hand up to stroke and touch, then began to slowly lick and mouth the skin for a minute, while Lex made soft and contented noises. Afterwards, he rubbed small circles with his thumb.
He let go, and was near drifting off himself when Lex said, "Done with the inspection?"
Lex pulled away and rolled onto his back. "You act like you're trying to memorize me, Clark."
He knew Lex could see him stiffen. He didn't say anything.
"Hmm." Lex's face had an avid, curious expression that Clark knew better than any of his own. "You going somewhere?"
Clark flushed and started to get up and out of the bed, but Lex grabbed his wrist, and they both pretended it made a difference. The hold was never physical.
Lex was silent, just watching him, with that interest that always seemed impersonal, but Clark knew this expression, too.
"Why?" Clark's anger came out of nowhere. "Are you?" And he might have been proving his youth and immaturity, but even so he knew that wasn't a fair strike.
Lex just smiled a little, the slow feline one. "Wasn't planning on it."
"Oh, whatever, Lex. You're telling me you don't have plans?" Clark stumbled through this, not knowing what he was trying to say, or even sure where it was coming from. "Like you're not just waiting for -- for something, and then --" He halted, uncertain.
"Of course I have plans, Clark," said Lex, sounding amused. "Plots galore."
Clark pulled his wrist away again, a little too hard. He looked away from Lex, but didn't move.
"The thing is," Lex said thoughtfully, "I've figured you into most of them, so if you do have conflicting ones of your own, I'd want to know. I need to prepare."
Clark glanced at Lex. "I'm in your plans?"
"Yes." He said it like it was easy. Like it was obvious.
"Even, like, the big ones? The greatness ones?"
"That surprises you?" Lex was sitting up now, leaning against the headboard of the bed, covers spread around him.
Clark shrugged, head down.
"Come here," Lex said. Clark crawled into the bed again, lying beside him and staring at the ceiling. Lex tugged on Clark's chin lightly till he turned. "I have a reason behind everything I do."
"God, Lex. I'm sixteen. I don't -- I don't have plans," Clark finished awkwardly. Lame, and he bit his lip.
"I doubt that." Lex slid down the bed till they were level and put his hand on Clark's chest, petting him gently. Barely sexual -- it could have been any number of friendly touches, by anybody -- but Clark shivered. Just another reason he didn't want to finish. He didn't have anything to compare it to, so he didn't know, but he couldn't imagine it being like this with anyone else. Desire always so fast, overwhelming and all-important and almost painful, and he was shaking by the time Lex lowered his head to nibble at Clark's skin.
"Lex. I want -- will you --" he managed, and Lex looked up and smiled.
"What do you want, Clark?"
Clark groaned a little, thrusting up, and moved his legs apart. "Please."
"Always," Lex said as he reached to the night table for the lube. "You just have to ask."
"I don't care about the book, Lex," Clark called from across the study.
Lex turned half-towards him and frowned. "I care." He took a step back from the bookshelves and scanned along the length before moving a few feet down.
"Fine," said Clark. He slumped against the back of the couch and watched Lex examine the stacks.
"Tell me about your day," Lex said, flipping through a leather-bound volume.
"It was pretty boring. There's not much to tell."
"You forget," Lex said without turning. "I have a vested interest in your activities. I want to know all of it."
Clark closed his eyes and relaxed some more into the furniture. "I missed the bus again and had to walk. Pete made me late for homeroom by talking to me about last night's game. I had a test in math. I think I did okay. We're reading Macbeth in English." Just talking to Lex, babbling about his day, was comforting. Everything was comfortable here, even when it shouldn't have been. "Chloe asked me to the dance." He paused.
"What did you say?" Lex sounded curious and detached.
"Well, I said no, of course."
"Why of course?"
Clark peered out from under half-drawn eyelids. "I didn't think you'd want me to."
"Why?" Lex pulled another book out from above his head. He made a triumphant noise as he looked over it.
"I don't know. I didn't think you'd want me going out with somebody else."
Lex turned around and raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me you expect me to be jealous," he said lightly.
"Well ... why not?"
He smiled. "Chloe is a schoolgirl with a crush. I don't think I have anything to be worried about."
That stung a little. "Maybe you should be worried."
"No sixteen-year-old girl can give you what I can, Clark. What you want," Lex said, walking across the room.
"Chloe's cute. She's a girl, and she's my age, and my parents like her, and she could come over and eat dinner with us and we could go on dates and be normal." The words came out in a single breath.
Lex stood in front of him. "Are you done?" He set the book down on the arm of the couch.
Clark shrugged and looked away under the fixed gaze. "I guess," he mumbled.
Lex leaned over and braced his arms against the back of the couch on either side of Clark. He glared into Clark's eyes for a few seconds, and then kissed him hard and quickly. Pulling away, he licked Clark's earlobe and whispered, "I don't give a shit about Chloe." He straightened up and tossed the book in Clark's lap. "It's getting late. You should head home."
Their first time had been in Clark's bed, as his parents slept across the hall and a summer thunderstorm raged outside. Lex had laughed softly when the lightning began and whispered something into Clark's ear about cliches, and symbolism, and perfection, before Clark kissed him again and they both shut up.
Lex had been hurt, again. Clark wasn't fast enough, again, and let it happen, again, and he thought maybe it was just the look on his face -- his mother's, too, for that matter -- that had made his father not say a word as they arranged Lex in his room.
Clark had set up his sleeping bag on the floor beside the bed, and he sat up and watched Lex as he slept. Too late to protect him, and it wasn't like someone was going to come to get him here, now, but the instinct was still there.
Lex let out a small noise in his sleep, and Clark scooted closer and knelt beside the bed. Aside from his head, only Lex's wrist and hand lay out from under the covers, and without thinking Clark took Lex's hand in his.
At that moment, Lex opened his eyes and yawned.
"Hey," said Clark.
"Clark." Lex blinked. "Am I in your room?"
Later, when Clark thought back on it, he thought that if he had been thinking more clearly, if he hadn't been under the influence of relief and stress and adrenaline and god, so much guilt, it never would have happened. He wouldn't have kissed Lex then, and the moment would have passed. He would never have gotten up the nerve, and he was certain Lex would never have made the first move. Their relationship would have stayed the same as it had all fall and all spring, friendship with the edge of other that made Clark ache somewhere inside.
But he did kiss Lex, and Lex kissed him back, and Clark still dreamed sometimes about that night.
Every once in a while Clark visited the storm cellar.
The first time had been only a few days after his father had first shown it to him. He'd woken up in the middle of the night, itching under his skin, and he'd walked outside in his pajamas and climbed straight down. He hadn't even looked at the pod; he'd simply lain down on the ground, falling asleep as soon as he closed his eyes. In the morning, he told his parents he'd spent the night in the loft.
He didn't return after that for months. Not until Phelan put his father in jail. He only stayed for a few seconds, just long enough to touch the ship and feel something like a shock of static electricity.
After that, he came more often, every few weeks, and then once a month or so. Sometimes he examined the pod, lightly touching it all over, but usually he ignored it completely to sit in the corner and look at nothing. He never stayed longer than a few minutes.
The spaceship was like Lex, except less pushy. It was better at staying in the space Clark had carved out for it.
The door slammed behind him as he entered the kitchen. "Hey, Mom."
"Clark." His mother looked up from the stove, where a bubbling pot had been holding her concentration. "Finish your chores?"
"Yep!" he said cheerfully, walking closer to her. He kissed her on the cheek, and leaned around, trying to pick at the saucepan; she swatted him away.
"Wash your hands!" she said, laughing.
Clark rolled his eyes. "Yes, Mom," he said, and walked to the sink.
"Supper will be done in a few minutes. You can wait till then," she continued. "Can you start setting the table?"
"Okay." He wiped his hands on the dish towel and fetched the silverware and dishes from the cabinets.
He began to arrange the place settings, then paused as he set down a fork. "Mom?"
"Hmm?" She didn't look over from the meal cooking.
"Can I ask you something?" he said slowly.
"Of course, Clark."
"What -- what would you and Dad do if I told you something? Like, something that I'd done? That I didn't know if you'd approve of?"
There was a pause. "Hypothetically speaking?"
"Yeah." He realized that he was still a holding a spoon in his clenched fist; it was bent and twisted in his open palm, and he blushed and slipped it into his pocket.
"Well, I suppose that would depend on what it was that you'd done."
"Yeah," he repeated, swallowing. He walked back to the cabinet for glasses.
"Clark." His mother's hand on his shoulder and he turned around to face her, avoiding her eyes. "We might be disappointed in some of the things you do, but we love you, and we're proud of you. That's never going to change."
He met her gaze.
"We always want you to be honest with us. We'll always be here for you, no matter what."
Clark nodded, and she let out a deep breath and squeezed his shoulder. "Now. Is there something you want to tell me?"
He hesitated. The thought of telling his mother was almost scarier than telling his father: at least he knew how his father would react. His mother might be okay, but then, she might not.
He didn't know. Clark shook his head. "No. Nothing."
His mother smiled up at him sadly. "All right." She let go of him and turned back to the stove. "Supper's ready. Go call your father in, please."
A friend, Clark thought, should be someone who got it. Someone who had all the little pieces of him, someone who put them all together, who saw him. All of him. The whole picture.
So really, he didn't have friends, not the kind he wanted.
He'd known Pete forever, and they'd been best friends as long as he could remember. But they'd always been at that same distance apart, and Clark didn't even know if Pete ever even noticed. Chloe, though smart and fun and nice, was not the sort of person he could talk to about his life, even before he started to notice the awkwardness. And Lana -- well. Whatever their relationship was, Lana had been never been someone who saw him.
Lex came closest, probably, but he was something else entirely now, and even before, Clark couldn't say he was really 'friend'; Lex was more than that in lots of ways, less in some, and simply different in others.
Not even his parents had all the pieces. Only him, and it was only in his own mind that he was a whole.
A year ago, Cassandra had shown him his destiny, his future all alone, but that was the thing: in a way he already was.
He thought he might get used to it. Running through the fields, wind against him and through him, amazing and great like nothing else, and he was completely by himself; nobody alongside him, nobody to experience and share this with him ever, and maybe he'd be happier if he could just accept that.
He wasn't quite there yet, but maybe soon, he thought.
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