Disclaimer: They may own the legal rights but Smallville is just as much fan fiction as this is.
Series: follows Scenes on a Bridge in only the most unconventional way.
Feedback: keeps my AU turning.
Summary: Early to bed and early to rise/Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
I'm not awake but I can feel the hand on my cheek. It's shaking; touching only tentatively and I know it could disappear at any moment. With my eyes closed it's Clark, kneeling over me, scrubbed and wet from his shower and coaxing me awake with gentle strokes and waffles waiting in the kitchen. But this touch is real so I shake off sleep and open my eyes.
He's kneeling on the floor, not the bed, but he is wet. It must be raining. His eyes are red and puffy and it makes me wonder what makes Clark cry. He hasn't seen me wake, concentrating on the hand now travelling down my neck. He leans forward, slowly, rubbing a wet nose against my skin. My encouraging moan gets his attention and the touch is gone.
"I'm sorry," he says, his voice rough from crying.
Clark stands, stuffing his hands into the pockets of the wet jeans. He looks around guiltily, refusing to meet my eyes. I sit up and reach out to grab him, knowing that if I let him leave, he'll never come back.
"You didn't do anything wrong." I hook a finger in the waistband of his jeans and pull him closer. "Did Enrique let you in?" He nods nervously. "See. You're not even guilty of breaking and entering."
He smiles what I know would be a laugh at any other time and in that moment of weakness I pull him down on the bed. A hand on his cheek, I wipe away the wetness that may be rain and may be tears. He closes his eyes as I stroke a thumb across a swollen eye.
"What happened?" He shakes his head.
"Not tonight. Can I just stay here?" He opens his eyes and looks right at me, pleading.
"Of course." I pull off the covers and move to get up. "There's a room right next door." There's an awkward silence. "Or you could stay on the couch in here." He puts a hand on my shoulder and gently pushes me back onto the bed.
"Can I just sleep here? With you?" I say nothing but move over to give him room and smile as he stands again to undress.
Clark pulls the sweater and shirt over his head with one movement. He looks down, shyly, and toes off his boots and works the button on his jeans with trembling fingers. I take my moment, letting my eyes travel the golden skin my hands will not because I know that tonight is not about sex.
Clothes puddled on the floor, he hesitates, standing before me in an unconscious pose. Clark in his boxers is more naked than most. He's nervous and looking down at me, he must know that I am too.
However slowly, we have been headed towards this exact moment since we first met. It just wasn't supposed to happen tonight. Something has pushed him here before he was ready and now Clark is crawling into my bed asking for comfort tonight and hoping tomorrow will remain as it was.
He curls up in a tight little ball, a reaction, I hope, from the events of tonight and not myself. He's not looking at me but I can hear the crying begin. It's quiet; I suspect most of the tears have already come. I want to touch him, to return his earlier gesture but before I can move, a hand reaches back to take my own. Fingers thread together and my hand in Clark's is pressed against his chest. He relaxes, just enough to pull me into his space. I put a kiss in his hair and wait for him to fall asleep.
"It was you." He turns over, peering up at me through his lashes. "We were fighting about you again."
I've never been witness to a Kent fight and don't suppose I ever will; it seems the only thing the family fights about is the Luthors. "I don't like being that thing between you and your parents, Clark."
He shakes his head. "It's not your fault."
"I think it is."
He lays back, eyes to the ceiling, arms across his chest. "Not this time. My mom found condoms in my room." My mind goes in a million directions until Clark puts a hand on my cheek, turning my eyes to his. The smile pushes away thoughts of Lana, Chloe.
"She thinks I bought them for you." It's not a question, just the obvious answer.
"No, my dad thinks you're using them with me." I almost laugh at the thought of that conversation but hold it back and any other response. Clark answers the silent question.
"I couldn't lie. I told him we weren't having sex."
I brush his cheek again, dry now, only streaks remain. "So, why the tears?"
"Because I had to tell the truth, Lex." He's so serious now, in a way I've never seen him before. He's careful with his words, simple and direct and I still don't quite understand.
"But we're not having sex."
This is a conversation I did not anticipate but it seems Clark has just been waiting for the right moment.
"I know. But we're going to." I don't say anything and the look in his eyes tells me that I don't have to.
"I'm not afraid, Lex."
We won't even kiss. And I'll sleep alone for most of the next week. But when Clark fell asleep that night, he was next to me.
It's not morning when I open my eyes. It's dark and there's a chill in the air that wasn't there when we fell asleep a few hours ago. I reach down, fumbling blindly before I find the space heater, cranking it up. I listen to the soft hum as the heat fills the room and wait for my eyes to adjust.
Clark is sprawled next to me, sprawled as much as his old twin bed will allow. One night and already I miss our bed in Metropolis. Clark is naked, except for the boxers; I've stolen the covers again. I wrap myself and the quilt around him, stealing the body heat he never seems to lack. He burrows deeper into the pillow, his breaths coming in muffled snorts that soon put me to sleep.
I'm awake again and a look at the clock says I've only slept another hour. Clark is still fast asleep. There were days when I would wake to find him in the kitchen, finishing the crossword puzzle. He's starting to learn that there are no cows to milk in Metropolis.
I get up, leaving the warmth of his body, slip on my shoes and grab a sweatshirt off the couch where our clothes were thrown last night. I'm down the stairs and across the yard before I realise the sweatshirt is Clark's, red with the Met U logo. I climb the porch stairs, hoping Jonathan is already up and working. We're still on tentative ground and wearing his son's clothes to the breakfast table may upset that balance.
"Morning, Lex." Martha's standing at the stove cooking breakfast and I don't see Jonathan. I smile a hello and she turns back to her pancakes. She's already dressed and her boots are muddy. These people do more before breakfast than I do most days.
"Is there coffee?" My voice is groggy, sleepy and I'm already a little congested from the hay. But, as my mother always said, everyone makes sacrifices.
Martha laughs. "Of course." I take a seat at the table as she hands me a cup, adding the bit of milk my secretary always forgets and putting the tiny pill I always forget in front of me. Seeing my smile, Martha says something about the details and nods to the sweatshirt.
The coffee is good and the mug is chipped in the same place it was the last time Clark and I were here. Martha opens the oven and adds more pancakes to a stack that is already too big.
"You really didn't have to go to all this trouble, Martha." I don't say why; I promised Clark I wouldn't tell her that he's been skipping breakfasts.
"This isn't because of you and Clark, Lex." I turn towards the voice and see Jonathan at the door. He comes into the kitchen, standing next to his wife and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
"Martha's been cooking like this since Clark left." He looks at me with a rare smile, including me in his teasing. "She's trying to fill the empty nest with food." Martha smacks him playfully as Jonathan laughs.
"I hope you're not on a diet," he says looking at me with a seriousness I've come to learn is mostly for show.
"No, sir," I tell him, playing along.
He gives Martha another kiss in apology as he passes her on his way to the fridge. I like watching the two of them together. It gives me hope for Clark and I, knowing at least one of us was raised with a good example.
"Why don't you help me feed the chickens, Lex?" Jonathan says, pulling me out of my thoughts. Martha laughs, remembering the first time Clark insisted I help out on the farm.
"Are you sure we want to do that again, sir?"
He just grins and walks away saying, "We don't have cable. Gotta do something for fun."
I'm not sure what to say when Martha changes the subject. "So, how was your night?" she asks, refilling my empty cup. I'm sitting in a Kansas farmhouse but my eyebrow still goes up as I consider her question.
"Were you comfortable?" she clarifies with a smile.
"Well, the bed is a little small, Mrs. Kent." She laughs at my sheepish reversal. Being in this kitchen has always made me feel like the teenager I never was. It's not that long ago that Jonathan sat across from me and asked my intentions towards his son.
"What did you think I was asking, Lex?"
I ignore her question, instead busying myself with the sugar bowl, adding four spoonfuls to the mug in front of me. I look up to see her watching me.
"You don't take sugar, Lex."
"No, but Clark does." I take a sip, tasting it before pushing back from the table.
"It's the details, right?" Clark's happiness is about the only thing Martha will let me give her and I love the smile I get every time.
My hand's on the door before she speaks. "Would you tell me?" I turn to look at her and she asks again. "If I were asking about you and Clark, would you tell me?"
In the silence I can hear Jonathan moving upstairs and try to imagine the question coming from him. It makes me laugh and now Martha's looking at me with two questions. I answer the first.
I climb the loft stairs, careful not to spill Clark's coffee. I walk slower, an odd parody of the times I snuck up here after dark years ago.
The sight awaiting me at the top hasn't changed. Clark's in bed, covers kicked off and rolled over on his back. I set the coffee on the desk and crawl in beside him. Leaning over, I grab a nipple between my teeth. He's off the bed with a start, laughing. "Alright, I'm up, I'm up."
"I brought you coffee." He rolls me back, pinning me to the bed with a kiss.
"Your mom made pancakes." He purrs happily, pillowed on my chest.
"She was asking about our sex life." His head snaps up, wide awake.
"Good morning, Clark."
I'm awake and more than the pounding in my head, I know that something's wrong. I'm still dressed from last night, tie loosened, shoes missing. My eyes are burning and, though I can see the red glow of the clock, the numbers elude me.
I remember the party, a fundraiser, I think. I remember a conversation with my father, though not the details. I remember drinking the vodka straight when we ran out of vermouth. I don't remember much after that.
I'm too close to the edge and hit the floor when I roll over to sit up. It doesn't hurt and I realise I'm not sober. I'm still lying on the floor when laughter from above wakes me up.
"Yeah, it's me. What are you doing on the floor?" I open my eyes and try to focus. He's standing above me with that grin.
"Give me your hand." He pulls me up effortlessly, sliding an arm around my waist, holding me up.
"You feeling okay?" I melt into his body with an unintelligible groan and feel the laughter vibrate through him.
He leads me backwards, helping me into bed. My head hits the pillow and I close my eyes and lay still as he undresses me. I used to force myself to keep my eyes open during moments like this. I was always afraid I would lose them, leaving me with only half-remembered images. But tonight I'm drunk and this moment will probably disappear with the high anyway.
I turn my head but I still can't see the clock. "What time is it?"
"About two," the voice says from my feet as my pants and underwear are pulled off in one smooth motion. Clark crawls back up the bed, unbuttoning the shirt on the way. "I had to put you to bed at 11. Before you embarrassed yourself." Shirt open, he brushes a hand over my stomach. I reach up and card my fingers through his hair in return.
"Before you embarrassed me," he says with a smirk.
He sits up, straddling my hips and pulling me up off the bed to take off the shirt. My fingers aren't working properly but I try to help unbutton his own shirt, eager to crawl under the sheets, naked and pressed against him. He continues speaking; I can feel the warm breath at my ear but I'm not listening anymore.
I'm clinging tight, mouth on his neck, licking and sucking and trying to find Clark under the perfumes and colognes he picked up at the party. There's a nice red mark when I pull away and I take a moment to examine my work before it fades.
"Are you done?" he asks when I look up. I nod and he disentangles our bodies to stand. I manoeuvre myself under the covers and wait as Clark pulls off the rest of his clothes.
More than tops and bottoms, we have rights and lefts. Clark takes the right and most of the middle. In return, I get the left and the covers he kicks off during the night. There are still kisses and touches and possessive legs and arms but less desperate, knowing they'll still be there tomorrow.
The bed dips and I expect an arm to pull me close. Instead, Clark moves my head into his lap and gently massages my neck and temples with careful fingers. "Do you want some aspirin?"
"No, this is better."
I move into his touch, rubbing a cheek on the soft, light sheet covering his legs. Turning my head, I lean forward and press a kiss to his bare stomach. My tongue darts out to taste the salty skin, eliciting a moan from above. I can feel him harden through the sheet and try to pull it away.
"What are you doing, Lex?" he whispers.
I roll over and look up at him. "Are you doing The Innocent Farmboy? I love that one." I grin and wait for the laugh that doesn't come.
"Let's just get some sleep." He moves out from under me and turns away, curling himself up into a familiar position as comforting as a security blanket. I blink and am momentarily sober, able to push him back on the bed and pin him there with a look.
"What the hell just happened?"
He rolls his eyes back, avoiding my glare. "I'm fine."
"Look at me." Our eyes meet and he says it again with an added sincerity that has never worked with me.
"I'm fine." I don't believe him and he knows it.
"You're not fine, Clark. You're 23 and you just refused a blowjob. People don't do that in Metropolis."
He smiles, on his way to a laugh, but we haven't resolved anything. I kiss him anyway because it seems like he needs it.
"Did something happen last night?" He pulls me down for another kiss, not answering the question. "I did something bad, didn't I? Like front page bad?"
"LexCorp will be fine," he says. Clark's up and off the bed and I grasp at air, trying to pull him back down.
He takes a few steps, stopping to pull on a pair of boxers that may be mine, before speaking again. "I met someone last night who called himself an old friend of yours." The words seem to come from nowhere but they hang in the air.
"You should drink some water before you fall asleep." Suddenly, casually; I don't know where the conversation is going. Clark leans over, kisses my forehead and he's gone.
I have a long list of 'old friends', mostly phone numbers and faces. The list in my head is already too long when I look up to see Clark standing in the doorway, holding a bottle of water in his hand.
"What was his name?"
"Jack." He doesn't move and I try to gage his anger by his distance.
"What did he say?"
"He was just..." Clark stammers, pausing and looking down his feet like he hasn't aged a day since we met.
"He wanted to know if you and I were dating." He's paraphrasing - Jack's never used a word like that - and I wonder if he is playing The Innocent Farmboy. He looks up but in the dark I can't see his eyes. "He wanted to know if I was Lex Luthor's new boytoy."
"Come here." I hold out my hand and still he doesn't move. "It's dark and I can't see all of you over there." He crosses the room, handing me the water and retreating. I put it on the bedside table, unopened, turning back to catch Clark before he disappears again. He takes a seat at the foot of the bed, cross-legged, fidgeting hands in his lap. I move forward and as our knees touch, he looks up at me.
"Seven years, Clark. Nobody gets kept for seven years, I don't care how good they are."
I follow his gaze back down to his lap, watching our hands, fingers twined together. It calms him and he lets out a long sigh. I lay back on the bed, pulling him down with me.
"Kiss me." He leans forward, mouth turned up in the slightest smile and brushes his lips on mine.
"I said kiss me, not your mother." Faced with a challenge, he pounces, tongue in my mouth, wet, hard. Pulling back, Clark says breathlessly, "Drink that water. You still taste like vodka."
I do as I'm told, emptying the bottle before settling back into bed. The room is quiet and still and I can feel sleep around the corner. But Clark's eyes are open like there's more to say.
"Tomorrow, there'll be a picture of the two of us in our tuxes, greeting the mayor. You were holding my hand so tight," he says with a smile I happily return.
"You know what the caption will read?" I do but I let Clark continue.
"Luthor heir with his young boyfriend." The words come out with anger, unsettling coming from Clark but I know what this is about.
"I'm older than you were when we first got together. Seven years and I'm never going to stop being the underage boy you brought back with you from Smallville."
He curls up to me, head on my chest; I'm the security blanket now.
"Nobody takes us seriously, Lex."
I want to tell him that I do but he's already asleep.
The hand on my head wakes me up, petting in a sweet, subconscious gesture. I keep my eyes closed but I can feel the sun through the window and I know I'll have to get up soon. There will be calls and meetings and constant questions to answer. I enjoy the touch for another moment and open my eyes with a groan before remembering that today is Sunday. Sundays are good.
I used to wake to sex; a tentative hand on my cock, stroking to match the furtive tongue on the inside of my thigh. Sex was often when we were young and Clark liked to start early.
More often these days I wake to this. Clark is reading the Planet, three other papers are strewn across the bed and I know the crosswords are done. He's eating something and I can feel the crumbs in the bed.
Any minute Nicky will come barrelling down the hall. He does it every morning but we never see it coming until little Geronimo is in the air.
"Are you up?" Clark fingers my ear, absent-mindedly, tugging at the lobe.
"Mmm hmm." I roll over and up, stealing a bite of his bagel before a kiss good morning. "Coffee?"
"About 15 minutes ago. You want some of mine?" He takes a last sip before offering me the cup, a grin on his face because he knows I'll refuse.
"No. Thank you. I'll just have a bowl of Nicky's cereal." He laughs and empties the cup.
I didn't leave them there but I find my slippers under the bed. I grab a robe hanging on the door and throw a glance back at Clark before leaving the room.
He's not looking at me, back to his bagel and newspapers. We get all of the big ones delivered here; most of them are being deconstructed on my bed but I'll find the Wall Street Journal downstairs, untouched, waiting for me.
Clark likes to keep an eye on his competition but on mornings like this it's the Lifestyles section he reads first. We were at the ballet last night and he's hoping for a mention. 'I want to see what they called me,' he would say. It's a habit leftover from the days after we first came out. The negative and judgmental press was always easier to handle when Clark could clip it out and throw it away.
I'm out the door when he says, "And grab that kid of ours on your way up. It's just not Sunday without Geronimo."
I pour the coffee, another cup for Clark, adding his sugar and my milk and listening to the TV in the other room. Nothing recognisable; the channels are being flipped like only a kid can. I check the time on the microwave; it's later than I thought. The cartoons are over.
I'm looking for the bagels when I hear, "Daddy?" from the living room. "Nicky?" I call back, playing along.
The TV's off and Nicholas walks in a minute later. "Oh. Pa..." The greeting is cut off with a yawn. He reaches up, barely covering his mouth with a tiny hand. "...pa," he finishes.
I pick him up and deposit him on the counter with a kiss on the nose. "Who else would I be?"
"Lolo?" he asks hopefully.
"Not this early, kid," I say with a laugh.
"When is she coming?" he demands, impatiently.
"She'll be here. You don't think Lois would miss a Sunday, do you?"
He shakes his head with a smile and I pause, just watching him. He's beautiful and every day I find something about my son that reminds me of Clark. The toaster pops, stealing my attention away. I butter the bagel while it's still hot, listening to Nicky tell me all the animals he wants to see at the zoo today.
"... and there's a new baby polar bear and the dolphins do three shows a day and you can get your picture taken with a man dressed like an alligator..."
Bagel in one hand, the Journal under my arm, I still don't have enough hands to carry everything upstairs.
"Can you carry Daddy's coffee upstairs, Nicky?"
I turn, just in time to see him hop down off the counter. Clark insisted on bunk beds, never having them himself. Nicholas can occupy himself for hours, jumping to the floor and climbing back up again. I've always had a problem with heights and I tense up as he hits the kitchen tile with a soft thump, holding back a move to catch him. He looks up at me and shakes his head; Nicky's way of telling me I worry too much.
I hold out the mug for him to take. "Be careful. You don't want to spill."
He takes it in two hands, leading a slow procession out the door and up the stairs. We pause on the landing, Nicky leaning down to blow on the hot liquid.
"I wanna try it."
"It'll stunt your growth."
I catch myself in these moments and they always make me laugh. Playing the father, cliches and all. "Wearing a tie builds character" and "One day your face is going to stick like that." Perhaps today I've gone too far. Nicky hasn't moved, looking up at me with genuine wonder.
"Does it make you smaller or do you just stop growing where you are?"
"I don't know, Nicky."
I nudge him forward and we continue up the stairs.
"If I drink a lot, will it shrink me like Alice in Wonderland?"
"I don't know, Nicholas. It's just something people say."
"But why would they say it if it wasn't true?"
Clark tells me that curiosity is normal at this age, that we should encourage questions. I try to encourage them in Clark's direction before noon.
"Why don't you ask Daddy?"
He sees us through the door and starts to gather up the newspapers littering the bed.
"Ask me what?"
Nicky looks up at Clark's voice and walks faster.
"Careful," I say, almost out of habit. I can see Nicky holding back the urge to yell Geronimo and throw himself into Clark's outstretched arms. He takes the mug from Nicky and empties half of it before setting it aside.
"Thank you, sweetie." Nicky crawls up onto the bed, Clark pulling him into his lap. "What did you want to ask me?"
"If I drink enough coffee, will it make me tiny like a bug?"
Clark laughs and looks over at me. "What have you been telling him?"
I beg off the question with a smile and a bite of my half-finished bagel.
Nicky pulls at Clark's shirt, turning attention back to him.
"Coffee will not make you shrink," Clark tells our son, a bare hint of a smile in his voice.
Nicky opens his mouth but years of practice have Clark there before he can speak.
"But you're still not drinking it until you're older."
"But I'm older now."
He's whining and Clark looks to me for the stern voice. A common trait among Luthor men, I've started to hear Nicky practising it in front of the mirror.
"I let you sleep in this morning."
"You did. That was very grown up of you." Nicky grins with Clark's approval.
"C'mon. Let's go brush our teeth." Clark stands up, lifting Nicky, who wraps his arms around his Daddy's neck.
"You're really not missing anything," I hear Clark say as they leave the room. "There are so many things better than coffee."
"Like the zoo."
I can see them in the hall; Nicky with his head on Clark's shoulder, waving a tiny hand at me. I wave back.
The phone rings and my day begins.
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