Card One: The Fool

by Mistress Ace

*Disclaimers*: I do not own the characters, nor profit in any way from my love of Smallville. This is just my way of amusing myself and hopefully the rest of you.
*Spoilers*: All Episodes up to *Exodus*.
*Ratings Note*: NC-17
*Summary*: Cliche fic. I wrote this story is response to a challenge from rhiannonhero who wanted a futurefic where Clark and Lex pretended to be gay. There were extra points for it being a College age Clark and this was the result.
*Notes*: This story began as a lark and turned into something serious. The original title was *Oh, You So Owe me for This, Clark* which fit for the first small section. But as it progressed, I realized that didn't fit and so the title was change to *Card One: The Fool* and here is why:
The Fool represents the beginning of all creativity and the desire to accomplish impossibly beautiful goals. Here are all the joys and possibilities of adventure. Each of us faces many choices in life. A fresh choice is before you - choose wisely.
Description: A youth looks out into the distance instead of at his feet, where the mountain crag falls away before him. He stands poised as if ready to take the next step, which will be down into the realm of matter. Seemingly in an expectant mood, he holds a white rose in his hand - a symbol of spiritual desires. Over his shoulder he carries the Wand of Will, from which hangs a wallet containing the four Elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, which he will use on his journey. At his feet a small dog prances to show that though the youth's ideals are lofty, the life of the senses will also accompany him on his journey.
This story is one of Lex's journey, his turning from a predetermined path that will lead him to destruction. He is taking a leap of faith, one that can either be a disaster or give him something he desperately needs - a person who loves him. I think he made the right choice.
*Acknowledgements*: Thanks to *sparktastic*, *alee*, *naruka*, *randi* and *rhiannonhero* for beta. Any lingering mistakes, etc, are mine.
*Dedication*: To *rhiannonhero* for waking my muses from their long sleep and being such a wonderful friend. To *sugarrush* and *rileysgirl* for audiencing and being my cheerleaders. To *nuptse* for the screen door. And to everyone in the LJ community who encouraged me to finish this. Here's to a different future than the one we will be forced to see.
*Feedback*: If it strikes a chord, let me know. Feedback keeps writers writing. It also keeps other artists doing those things that beautify our world, such as *fleurblue* who made a beautiful cover that can be seen here:

*Card One: The Fool*
Mistress Ace
August 2003

How he'd let Clark talk him into this in the first place, Lex would never know. Yes, Clark was his friend. Strike that, Clark was his only friend and he'd do anything for him. But this, this went beyond the pale.

Why couldn't Clark just tell the girl in his Poli-Sci class that he was an emotional cripple incapable of anything but worshiping the opposite sex from afar, preferably from three states away? Or inform the other girl in his Journalism 205 class that he suffered from some rare disease that made him terminally clumsy around women, so clumsy that the only way he was ever going to get laid was if he tripped and landed on some unsuspecting female bystander who happened to be naked, willing and had her legs open for him to simply fall in?

No, instead he had to tell those girls that he was gay. Not only was he gay but currently involved with Metropolis' answer to Bruce Wayne. A man so rich and sophisticated that neither of them would even have the faintest chance of catching Clark's attention beyond that of a platonic friendship consisting of study dates and group pizza outings.

Lame. So very lame. And this man wanted to become a journalist? There were holes in Clark's little plan that Lex could drive a Hum-Vee through. The first and foremost being, neither he nor Clark was gay.

Well. If he were being honest with himself, there was the second semester of his junior year at Excelsior but it never went any further than furtive petting and a kiss or two in the steam tunnels when they weren't struggling under the crushing class load laid on both of them by Headmaster Reynolds. They even discussed the possibility of more but since neither one was willing to be the receiver, the whole thing fizzled out before the end of the term.

As for Clark -- he was the very picture of heterosexuality. He still talked about Lana with a reverence usually reserved for religious icons and heads of state. Chloe, now Chloe, Clark talked about in earthier terms. Especially if Lex got him drunk and then brought up the subject. Both he and Clark had developed a fine appreciation for Ms. Sullivan's more prominent assets and under the influence of a bottle of tequila, four limes and a hundred-year-old crystal salt shaker Clark somehow managed to break in between the hours of 1 and 3 AM the night after he finished his last sophomore final, Clark finally admitted to peeking at them during Chloe's flirtation with low-cut sweaters.

Lex kept silent, as he'd done a great deal more than peep at them the summer prior when Chloe came home on a break from her maiden internship at the Gotham Herald and literally stormed his castle. She said she was tired of panting little boys and lecherous old men who kept pawing her in the copy rooms and if she was going to lose it, she was going to lose it with someone she trusted. Clark apparently was not up to the task, Chloe had informed him, as she set down the Coke he'd offered and climbed into his lap, so that left it up to Lex to 'do the deed'.

He protested for all of about thirty seconds - she was his second-in-command's daughter after all - but in the end, he gave Chloe the ride of her life. She stayed the night, through the following weekend and finally left early Monday morning with very sore thighs and a smile that, according to the Smallville grapevine, didn't fade for three weeks straight.

Lex wouldn't know.

He'd caught the next flight to Hong Kong right after she left his house and spent the majority of that summer handling the overseas arm of LexCorp and dodging Clark's first solicitous and then increasingly frantic e-mails and calls and blatant attempts at emotional blackmail for him to come the heck home. His guilt over seducing one of Clark's fantasy women eventually faded enough for Lex to return home and to the open arms of his best friend. Who proceeded to beat him at pool five games in a row, smirking and leaning over the table and otherwise presenting Lex with every possible view of his ass while he chirped on and on about how giddy Chloe had been during her visit home.

Lex didn't know what was worse; Clark being so insanely happy that Chloe was glowing or the perfectly framed view of his best friend's ass presented so delectably for his enjoyment. It really was a good thing that he was straight. Otherwise, Clark would have ended up face down in amongst the antique ivories and Lex would have racked up yet another popped cherry from the Class of 2005.

Thankfully, Lana chose an art student from Paris to further her education, so that delicate lovely was safe from his marauding nature. Just to be doubly certain that no other fair denizen from his adopted home fell into his nefarious clutches, Lex packed his bags the same day Clark did and together they trooped back to Metropolis at the start of Clark's sophomore year.

Lex really did need to move his base of operations to a larger venue and Clark was ecstatic that he would have almost unfettered access to Lex. Or as Lex suspected, unfettered access to Lex's cars, his computer, and his penthouse which Clark admitted preferring to his dorm room.

Understandable given that Clark's roommate this term had all the charm, grace and personal hygiene habits of a diseased yak. The gentleman in question, when not engaged in belching contests, spent the majority of his time perusing the wares of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. In self-defense, Clark had taken to spending every free moment at Lex's ever since Greg latched onto the idea that he and Clark should team up for a foursome. Apparently there were a couple of repeat offenders from AKA who thought Clark was awfully cute and the idea of spending quality time between the sheets with his hairy-backed roommate and the anorexia patrol was more than enough to send Clark Kent screaming for the hills.

Or at least to the thirty-sixth floor of the Park Suites and the Den of Iniquity.

To his 'gay' lover.

Clark apparently hadn't given any thought to what 'outing' them in Metropolis society would do to Lex. Granted, after the landmark Supreme Court decision of June 2003, their having conjugal relations, imaginary as they were, wouldn't result in Lex spending time behind bars, but that did not mean LexCorp was immune to rumor or innuendo.

While he adored Clark and would normally give him the shirt off his back, Lex was not willing to sacrifice his company, nor his company's profitability, for the sake of helping his friend prevent himself from getting laid by one of the young ladies currently panting over his broad chest, perfectly formed abs and the ass Lex had bounced a quarter off of three days ago. Yes, it had been a bet between him and Georgia, his executive assistant, and he'd lost. The quarter didn't bounce back into his hand. Instead it ended up almost twenty feet away and George Washington's face wasn't the same after suffering that particular impact.

When he tried to dissuade Clark from this unwise course of action yesterday, Lex had been the recipient of the dreaded 'puppy-dog' eyes, immediately followed up by the industrial-sized pout Lex swore Clark had stolen from Martha Kent. Those tactics combined with a soft wheedling tone and a hand on Lex's shoulder which stopped just short of a caress and if Clark ever did that again, Lex was going to take said hand and shove it down his pants and....

Lex didn't follow up that line of thought. No, he most certainly did not. He did agree to Clark's request but that was just because he was such a good friend. And, later that day, he did not actually break his own personal best masturbatory record of five hours and twenty-six minutes with only two breaks for coffee, snacks and more lube.

He was three minutes shy of that record, mainly because his father called just as he was about to reach his seventh climax, and even the thought of Clark tied up, covered with whipped cream, honey and crushed walnuts, and begging for it wasn't enough to maintain a hard-on while talking to the bane of his existence.

After he'd hung up on his father for the fourth and final time, Lex was no longer in the mood. So instead of conjuring up another vision of Clark a la mode, he escaped to his study and spent the rest of the evening and early morning hours on his laptop pretending to be Genghis Khan. There was a whole lot of conquering that went on, but not much rape or pillage so by the time Clark showed up for their first 'official' date, Lex was tired, sexually frustrated and more than willing to settle the whole gay issue once and for all.

He wasn't gay. Clark wasn't gay and their pretending to be so was ludicrous. Clark should simply bow to the inevitable and finally shed his virgin status with some lucky lady and let any latent tendencies lurking in Lex's psyche lie in relative peace.

That resolve on Lex's part lasted until they joined Clark's little circle of friends at the 'Underground Railroad' for an evening of pizza, badly quoted philosophy and even worse karaoke. Within five minutes of their arrival, Kim had rubbed up against Clark not less than four times, Mandy had sat in his lap and messed with the forty-five dollar haircut Lex had paid for two days prior because he wanted to see Clark's eyes occasionally, and Winona groped poor Clark's ass when he'd gone for another pitcher of beer.

The ass grope was the final straw. He was Lex Luthor, for God's sake. Nobody pawed his date and came away with anything less than a bloody stump.

When Clark made it back to the table with the beer, Lex took it from him and pulled out a chair for Clark. He waited for Clark to take a seat, then leaned over while their companions watched in stunned amazement and without further ado, proceeded to map his way to Clark's stomach by way of his mouth. He'd always wanted to conquer his own country and if the dazed look of Clark's face when he finished was any indication, Lex's name was now tattooed on his magnificent ass.

Take that, Winona.

To Clark's credit, he neither blushed, fainted nor threw up. Lex was going to have to reward him for that little bit of play-acting whenever they escaped the bevy of open-mouthed beauties who were now staring at them like they'd come from another planet. Silence reigned for a few moments before someone a few tables over started to clap.

The unexpected applause continued, along with scattered wolf whistles that did manage to draw a blush from Clark. A blush that deepened when Lex, with great dignity, settled down first on the arm of Clark's chair and then with a lifted brow that was countered by a small head tilt from Clark, slid into his date's lap. Where he remained until the pizza arrived.

The girls took the hint and backed off. Winona even apologized after the singing started. She'd had a crush on Clark for almost two months but he'd always brushed her off. Until tonight, she hadn't been able to understand why but the kiss they'd shared set her straight. Satisfied, Lex accepted her apology although he stayed close to Clark for the rest of the evening, feeding him from his plate and laughing in encouragement when Clark got dragged up to sing.

He even agreed to sing himself, surprising Clark, their companions and the rest of the room with a soulful rendition of 'Wherever You Will Go'. Not his favorite song by The Calling but 'Unstoppable' might have been a bit too much for a first date. As it was, when he made it back to the table, Clark was the one who initiated their next kiss. One that left Lex just this side of trembling.

Not gay.

He was not gay.

He was not going to drag Clark home and molest him in the elevator.

He was not going to lay Clark out on his kitchen counter and play connect-the-dots with chocolate syrup and M&Ms.

He was not going to shove Clark up against the wall of his shower and give the first blow-job of his life.

He was not.

Instead, he drove Clark back to his dorm and they started to part ways just outside Clark's door. He'd intended on the usual shoulder brush or quiet smirk of farewell but Greg stumbled out of the room in nothing but a pair of rumpled BVDs and Lex bristled at the open leer shot in Clark's direction.

He slipped his arms around Clark's waist, stepped into his personal space and tilted his chin up just enough. And for the third time that night, he and Clark kissed. Long and slow and Lex wasn't the only one exploring because after a few seconds, Clark brushed his tongue over Lex's. They traded back and forth, Clark inside his mouth and then Lex inside Clark's, until finally Lex had to break away and take a breath.

Neither of them noticed Greg had ambled away, nor that the dorm room door was left open. Instead, Clark's hands drifted down from Lex's waist to cup his ass and pull him in. Lex gasped into their next kiss, one that Clark initiated, as he felt a hard ridge pressing against his stomach.

Clark, poster-child for award-winning heterosexual longing, had a hard-on. Not only did he have one but he was rocking it slowly into Lex. Push, push, push, just the right pressure to start a corresponding deep-down ache. Lex kissed him harder, pulling back and away with an audible pop as he heard a giggle in the doorway beyond them.

"Hey, you two. Come spread a little of that hotness in here." There were two girls standing just inside Clark's door. A blonde and a brunette and the brunette was petting the blonde's hip. "C'mon Clark, time to share that sugar daddy of yours."

Now if there were a guarantee Greg wouldn't come stumbling into the middle of this, Lex would have been game. The girls were pretty and after responding so strongly to Clark's kisses, he was in need of reasserting his own heterosexual proclivities. But one look at Clark confirmed how uncomfortable his friend was with this entire scenario.

Clark's blush could've powered half of downtown Metropolis and as usual with an attractive member of the opposite sex, the boy had been struck dumb. Not only that but he was hanging his head like a beaten puppy, leaving it up to Lex to deal with this problem.

Which he did with a certain level of dignity and just enough force to make his point. "Ladies, let me clarify the situation for you. I don't share." The quietly polite declaration silenced any further giggles and the grateful look from Clark was worth the loss of what could have been a spectacular evening.

But this was only a temporary fix. Lex needed to do something of a more permanent nature to spare his friend further maulings of his small-town morality. "Clark, you've got enough at my place to survive for a few days. Let's go."

If anything, Clark looked even more grateful. Grateful enough that when Lex untangled himself from their interrupted embrace, Clark trooped silently but dutifully after him.

That silence continued all the way back to Lex's penthouse, building up between them until finally Lex had to break it when they walked in the door. "Clark... I went overboard tonight, didn't I?'

Clark shrugged and then after a moment or two, gave Lex a little smile. Not his usual ear-to-ear grin but it was an improvement. "I'm just a little confused, I guess."

"Confused? How so?" Lex hung his coat up along with Clark's jacket. Matilda wasn't a live-in and it was late enough that she was home with her family by now. Besides, at age twenty-seven, he was perfectly capable of handling whatever needs he and Clark could devise. Given the expression on Clark's face, Lex was certain that would consist of a cup of coffee or two for Clark and a whole bottle of single-malt for himself, most of which would be consumed after Clark had gone to bed.

"Uh, well. Lex, I need you to tell me the truth." Lex stopped in their progress towards his study, his steps faltering for a moment. There was a protective hand on his arm that kept him from falling, Clark's instantly contrite expression one Lex never wanted to see again.

Here was one of the major sticking points in their relationship. No matter how they danced around the subject, or how many times Lex chose to turn a blind eye, there were things about Clark that set off not only signal flares for Lex's inner scientist but were usually accompanied by seventy piece bands and full fireworks displays. And now, after so many years of badly executed lies, Clark was asking him for the truth?

This was a totally different situation but still... Lex drew in a deep breath and counted to ten, waiting for the moment of Luthor-fueled outrage to pass. When it did, he continued to lead Clark toward his study. Tonight, he would grant Clark a reprieve from their past. He would tell Clark whatever truths he requested and perhaps Clark would finally trust him enough to relinquish some truths of his own.

"I promise, Clark. Let me get us a drink and we'll talk, okay?" Yes, he'd made the right choice. Clark's smile of heartfelt relief was worth whatever honesty tonight was going to cost him. In confirmation of his new resolve, Lex patted Clark on the shoulder, waited until he'd taken a seat on the couch and then poured both of them a drink. Rum and Coke for Clark and a Lagavulin for himself.

Aware that this discussion was one of those life-changing events, Lex started to sit in a chair beside the couch but Clark's frown brought him in closer. Instead he sat next to his friend and quietly contemplated the dark sherry color of his drink. Waiting was the best option, which he did until Clark broached the subject at hand. "Lex, how do you feel about me?"

All right, that was an expected opening gambit given the fact that less than half an hour ago he'd been ready to bend Clark over whatever convenient horizontal surface they could find. The correct response to that question was the difficult portion of this first salvo. He should have been more cautious in his appreciation of their counterfeit intimacy. The permutations for how quickly this conversation could turn ugly were beyond calculation.

Contrary to his training and his nature, he chose to take the safest route.

"Clark, you're my best friend." Lex lifted his glass to his mouth and savored the initial mouthful, before discovering that his drinking was not a good idea at the moment. The scotch burned on the way down as it should but rather than leave him with a pleasant afterglow, it ignited a bonfire in his stomach. He continued to hold the glass because it gave him something to do but Lex didn't bring it to his lips again.

There were the Martha Kent pursed lips right on cue, followed by Jonathan's head shake and a quietly voiced reminder. "Lex. The truth."

It was Clark's turn to drink, which he did in small sips. Alcohol was something Lex was trying to get him used to with only a small measure of success. Despite exposure to some of the finest single malts and the smoothest brandies, Clark remained adamantly in the sweet drink or beer camp. Until tonight, Lex thought he had years ahead of him to steer Clark into more mature imbibing habits.

"The truth?" He was stalling and he knew it but Lex was certain neither of them was ready for the truth. However, he'd promised. One more negotiating tactic and then he'd spill the beans. "The truth is... Clark, I'm not gay. Let's be perfectly clear about this. I am not gay, all right?"

"Neither am I, Lex. I like girls, I really do. It's just... If I'm going to do that, I want it to be with someone that I love and I trust. None of them seem to get that." Clark's drink thunked on the coffee table right before he got up to pace. "There's... there's a lot to it. I could hurt somebody."

Well, the vehement denial worked and now they were in familiar territory. Lex could field this stuff with one hand tied behind his back. "Clark, every guy feels that way his first time. It only natura-"

"No, Lex. You don't get it. I could hurt somebody. When I kiss a girl, it feels like she's going to break if I hold onto her like I want to." Pity. It was a very nice forty-five dollar haircut but right now Clark's hair stood up on end from the way he was tugging at it. Perhaps there was something more here than the standard 'she's so little' argument.

"Clark..." Lex rose, ready to step into Clark's path because he was moving a little too fast. If Clark tripped he could hurt himself and Lex wasn't going to let Clark hurt himself.

"Lex. You don't get it. I could break some girl. I'm..." Clark looked down at himself, the blush quick and hot as he did come to a stop in front of Lex. He took Lex's hand and the air seemed to leave the room because Lex had to open his mouth to drag enough in to stay conscious when Clark laid that hand between his legs.

God, no wonder Clark was nervous about sex. Carefully, Lex followed the rigid line down from the center seam of his dockers to the middle of Clark's thigh. There really wasn't any polite thing he could say, everything that came to mind was much too crude and Clark was edgy enough Lex wasn't going to subject him to locker room humor.

"Oh..." Not quite what he'd intended to say but it wasn't every day that your best friend put your hand on his dick. Lex tried very hard but even he couldn't keep the husky tone out of his voice. "I think I get it. Clark, that's... amazing."

Clark's reaction was the bitterest sound he'd ever heard Clark make. Hard and harsh and why in God's name was his hand still there? Why was it slowly stroking up and down along the daunting length of his friend's cock? "Amazing? Amazing is when you ace a mid-term that you didn't study for, Lex. Amazing is when you save somebody's life. Amazing is not when the only girl you've ever really wanted backs away from you in terror when you finally get past second base."

Lex moved in closer, his hand apparently having decided to strike out on its own. He was going to have a talk with that mutinous appendage later. But for right now, it might have stumbled on a possible solution to Clark's dilemma. If he could convince Clark that he was indeed normal, then perhaps they could return to their former level of friendship and not stray into uncharted territory. "Clark, it's okay."

Slowly as not to alarm his distraught companion, he popped the button on Clark's slacks. When Clark didn't shy away, Lex pulled the zipper down, the grate of metal on metal loud in the suddenly charged air between them. "It's okay. I'm not going to back away. Just let me see it."

"You promise?" His friend couldn't have sounded any more pathetic if Lex had run over an entire litter of kittens. Followed by a child or two. All of Clark's bravado faded as Lex slid his hand in past cotton boxers and wrapped it around an incredibly thick column.

"I promise." Lex breathed against Clark's cheek, neither of them looking down until separation from the surrounding cloth was negotiated. Even then, Lex chose to watch Clark's face instead and enjoy the shudder that wracked his body when air and Lex's hand became the only thing in contact with the article of discussion. They'd stumbled into his fantasy material here and he'd have to keep his wits about him in order not to terrify Clark.

Slowly, carefully and for the first time without an audience, Lex kissed Clark. In that moment, he discovered that their mouths fit together as if they'd been sculpted from the same flesh. God, Clark's mouth was soft and lush, opening with the slightest hint of pressure and allowing Lex into the warm welcome beyond. Their breaths mingled, heat prickled under Lex's skin as he moved in even closer.

Unwilling to neglect his other charge, Lex turned his wrist and swallowed the resultant moan, taking it in and making it part of himself. Clark's nervous tremble gave way to a whole body shudder when Lex's hand skimmed upward and came to rest just below the head. The angle was awkward, his own dick the only one he'd ever held before but Lex managed to swipe his thumb over where the slit should be.

Clark whimpered, shuddered and like the true virgin he was, came. Liquid warmth pulsed over Lex's hand and in turn, he moaned into their shared kiss. Heat became flame, driving him to stroke and squeeze until every last drop of seminal devotion became his own. He held on when Clark tried to pull away, stemming whatever protest or apology was about to burst forth with a whispered, "God, Clark. That was incredible."

Stunned silence greeted his comment, finally followed by an embarrassed chuckle and a quiet murmur, "You should try it from my side. I think all the blood's rushed from my brain."

"Yeah? I bet I know right where it is." Lex's hand continued to stroke and if anything, Clark only got harder. Great recuperation time which spoke well for their being able to continue. And as long as Clark was comfortable with it, Lex definitely wanted to continue. "Do you need to sit down?"

Humor was apparently the way to go because Clark relaxed and laughed again. "No, you jerk."

Resisting the responding pun that came to mind was one of the hardest things he'd ever done, but somehow Lex managed. "Mmm-hmm, that's me. You ready for round two?"

While he waited for Clark to answer, Lex brought his hand to his mouth and licked it. He'd tasted his own on many an occasion so why not do the same for Clark? After all, if this thing between them was going to progress beyond the hand-job stage, he was going to have to be able to stomach the taste.

To his delight, Clark wasn't bitter. Musky and sweet, a little like cantaloupe or casaba, definitely something he could get used to.

"Uhh, that depends. What's round two?" Dazed was a good look on Clark. Also something else Lex could get used to.

Even though he was still vehemently not gay, his palate approved of the next level. And if he phrased it right, so would Clark. "Round two is where I..." Lex turned his head until his mouth was right against Clark's ear as he slid his free arm around Clark's waist and murmured, "suck you off."

Seduction was one of the very best skills he'd cultivated over the years.

And yes, that was a definite knee buckle. The husky voice apparently worked not only on women but men too. Or at least, it worked on Clark because he was halfway to the floor before Lex was able to guide him to the couch. Between the two of them, they managed to get him down without a.) either of them falling over, b.) breaking anything or c.) tripping over Clark's pants which were down around his ankles.

The boxers went the way of the pants and Lex took a moment to untie Clark's sneakers, toss them in opposite directions from one another and strip away the remaining offending garments. Since that left him kneeling already, Lex merely insinuated himself between Clark's splayed legs, tilted his head to bring his mouth flush up against Clark's and spent the next few minutes happily engaged in something that alternated between a kiss and a hostile takeover.

By the end, Clark, Inc. was firmly under the control of LexCorp's CEO to the point where the single employee of said raided company was ready for anything Lex was willing to propose. Be it merger or acquisition, there was no protest forthcoming from the rank and file as Lex unbuttoned, poked, prodded and otherwise stripped his new purchase of all its assets.

The sight of Clark Kent sprawled naked across his couch was cause for celebration and Lex toasted the occasion with another fiery swallow of Lagavulin. Clark reached for Lex's own clothes but in true corporate raider form, Lex would brook no opposition to his demands. He was Lex Luthor, he took what he wanted and what he wanted right now was another kiss.

Which he got, followed by a hand sliding down the back of his pants. Clark's skin was an addictive thing and Lex's body wanted as much of it as it could possibly get. Despite his desire to remain the one in power, Lex conceded the point long enough for his shirt to join Clark's in precarious repose atop an Art Deco lamp in the far corner.

Finally, Lex was able to take stock of the situation, pulling back to see what had sent Ms. Lang quivering in fear and found no fault in her original assessment. Clark, as advertised by the size of his feet and hands, was simply enormous. If he failed in his pursuance of a degree in journalism, Lex was quite certain his best friend had a bright future ahead of him in the field of adult entertainment. Especially given that fact he was still in the original packaging.

Clark's worried expression again forestalled the initial reaction of whistling, along with any of the myriad sophomoric comments that sprang to mind. Rather than speak, Lex pushed him all the way back against the couch and with his hand resting on the most perfect six-pack he'd ever seen, Lex opened his mouth and owned up to one of the names he'd been taunted with during his brief stint at a public junior high.

He sucked on the head at first, a little bit at a loss of how to work around the foreskin until Clark reached in between them and peeled it down. Once that was out of the way, Lex concentrated on the sensitive glans, forcefully pushing any stray reference to Latin terms or the anatomy texts he'd studied before deciding against pre-med at Princeton. Instead, he steadfastly watched Clark's awestruck expression and felt a warmth in the pit of his stomach no amount of Scotch would ever be able to duplicate.

Clark touched him, petted him actually, with slow deliberate strokes beside his ears, then more boldly over the top of his skull. To his surprise, Lex determined that he liked it, not just the tentative pets but also the weight and feel of Clark's cock in his mouth. Emboldened by the quiet moans, Lex grew ambitious, opening his mouth further and managing to get not only the head in but a good four or five inches of the shaft.

Making a note to research deep-throating techniques at a later date, Lex rode the first gentle thrusts that Clark made before wrapping one hand around the base. Hoping that he didn't resemble a pit viper trying to swallow an over-sized meal, Lex drew a bit more into his mouth, then slid back and tongued the underside right above where the foreskin now rested. That little improvisation netted him a groan and two seconds later an entire mouthful of come.

Which tasted really, really good. Clark, when he managed to stop shaking, was apologizing all over the place for doing that but Lex was only listening with one ear. He rolled the fluid around and around in his mouth, familiarizing himself with the body, the flavor and, for one highly embarrassing moment for Clark given the resultant squirm as Lex sniffed at his dick, the bouquet, before he swallowed the entire mass with great relish.

Yes, he could easily get used to this. The entire process was anything but unpleasant. The sounds Clark had made while in his mouth only served to increase Lex's own desire. At that very moment, Lex's cock clamored for a chance to come out and play. He was inclined to indulge those insistent requests and after he'd kissed Clark into stunned silence, unconsciously sharing the dregs of the first orgasm Clark had ever had inside someone else's body, Lex reached for the fastenings of his own clothes.

Only to find himself moved bodily from the floor to the couch in a move that Lex doubted anyone would ever be able to duplicate. His pants, boxers and shoes, not necessarily in that order, were unceremoniously removed and before he could mount a protest, or even offer any suggestions, his cock was surrounded by a warm, wet and very eager mouth. Immediately and almost against his will, Lex doubled over, covering Clark, hiding him and what he was doing from non-existent prying eyes.

Unlike his own tentative attempts, Clark was able to take him all the way in. It seemed that Clark was unfamiliar with the concept of a gag reflex and while that should have set off any number of warning bells, Lex opted to finally sit back and enjoy.

Any lack of skill present in his partner was made up entirely by sheer enthusiasm. That, and the fact that the person noisily sucking him into utter oblivion was his best friend and the only person beyond his mother, Pamela and an ex-wife or two that he'd ever loved, more than made up for the occasional sharp scrape of teeth and the drooling. A little drooling was to be expected and God, when Clark pushed all the way down until his face was buried in Lex's lap and then swallowed, Lex lost all contact with reality.

The continued swallowing that encased him in a velvet vise shot Clark straight to the top of Lex's blow-job roster. He was right up there with Desiree, who was still the current title holder. In his delirium, Lex briefly considered a road-trip to Arkham so he could run an unbiased comparison test but the possibility of once again waking two weeks later from a walking nightmare was enough of a deterrent.

Then, the need for a comparison was washed away when Clark cupped his balls, then pushed two fingers into his perineum and performed an expert prostate massage, registered and named by his logical brain despite the fact that it was as close to shutting down from sheer overload of sensation as he was. Hookers with fifteen years of experience on his virginal companion had proven unable to duplicate this maneuver and as Lex shot a surprised load of semen into Clark's mouth, he might even have proposed.

There was a distinct possibility that he was babbling.

The grin on Clark's face when Lex finally returned to Earth confirmed that supposition. And whatever he'd said was going to provide Clark with blackmail material for years to come.

When he was able to form complex phrases again, Lex stretched his arms over his head and melted into the cushions. "I hope you realize this is an unusual occurrence." Silently, he complimented himself on his dry, sardonic tone. The delivery had been a bit shaky but given the fact that his lower body still hadn't reported in, Lex felt he could be excused for that point.

He knew Clark far too well. Even in this odd situation, his friend's reactions were consistent. Right on cue came the 'oh, right' eyeroll and if anything Clark's grin broadened. If he smiled any wider, his head was going to crack right open.

In order to forestall such a gruesome occurrence, Lex continued, "I normally never put out on a first date."

Yes, there was the snort of surprise, followed by a laugh deeper than he'd heard since the start of the semester. Clark leaned in for a kiss that didn't quite stifle his on-going mirth. "You really are a jerk."

"I know," His fingers attempted to bring some order to Clark's rebellious curls, an action that softened into idle petting as Lex murmured. "But I'm your jerk."

With more grace than Lex would ever have given him credit, Clark slithered up onto the couch and pulled him into a soporific embrace. What they were doing, if either of them had been of the fairer sex, would be described as cuddling. As such, since they were undeniably male, Lex refused to give this comfortable closeness such a faint title. He'd come up with something more appropriate... later.

Clark kissed his temple and murmured just before they drifted off into an easy doze. "Yes, Lex. You are mine."

Beyond a twenty-minute nap to recharge their batteries, they didn't sleep together that night. Partially because Lex wasn't ready to deal with any potentially friendship-wrecking morning-after scenarios but mainly because he never slept with anyone. After two homicidally inclined spouses, the thought of sharing his bed with another person for any period of time beyond that necessary to get in, get it on, get off and get out was a guarantee of a sleepless night.

Clark didn't question the decision, even though he'd given Lex's bedroom door one hopeful look before shuffling off to the guestroom that all but had his name on the door.

The penthouse had five bedroom suites. Lex's was the largest, taking up more square footage than three of the rooms in Clark's dorm. Clark's was the second largest and came complete with two walk-in closets, a separate sitting room and a full bathroom of its own.

To his dying day, Lex would deny he'd decorated that suite to Clark's tastes. But the homey mixture of earth tones with the red, blue and yellow quilt on the bed could easier have fit into Martha's house. His argument when his interior designer raised a protest over the quilt was that he wanted a least one reminder of his years in Smallville. When she continued to protest, he merely called one of her rivals, which settled the matter quite precipitously.

Within a few weeks of Lex moving in, Clark had appropriated some closet space. Mainly jackets and his better clothes because he only wore them when he went out with Lex. One weekend when he hadn't had time to grab anything other than his backpack before leaving campus, several packages of boxers, socks and a few shirts appeared on the dresser the following morning. The shirts weren't flannel but Lex was only willing to go so far. Brushed cotton and raw silk were enough of a compromise in his opinion.

Thankfully, the next morning came without even a hint of awkwardness. Lex did some work in his study while Clark studied and played on the PS2. They had lunch together, Lex took a few minutes to point out some of the errors in Clark's philosophy homework and they engaged in a head-to-head match of Grand Theft Auto, which resulted in the loser giving the winner some serious head.

Upon later reflection, Lex suspected Clark had lost on purpose.

After their first 'date', they fell into a variation of their previous routine. In the past, he and Clark usually saw each other between three and four times a week, either for coffee or for Clark to ask questions about his Bio-Chem class or for him to unwind over a movie and dinner with Clark after fighting with the corporate world and more specifically, his father.

That didn't change much.

They still saw each other about four times a week. Clark would drop over or Lex would call and they'd meet at a restaurant or something. They'd laugh and tease each other and at the end of the evening Lex would drop Clark off at the dorm without so much as a kiss goodnight. But every two or three times they got together, or whenever the horde of women who'd woken up and smelled the Clark got to be too insistent, Lex would pull out all the stops.

He'd show up in an immaculate suit, driving whatever automotive orgasm he'd bought recently and in full view of Clark's slathering roommate, toss Clark the keys. The grin was always worth relinquishing transit control for a few moments. To further confirm his ownership of one Clark Kent, Lex would make a point of touching Clark before they'd leave on their outings. He'd kiss him, or run a finger along the open collar of his shirt or trace an outline around his dick. All while Greg and whoever he was entertaining at the moment watched.

They'd go to a restaurant near campus where Lex would hold Clark's hand and kiss him in clear public view. They never sat in the back or tried to hide from any interested onlookers; that would defeat the purpose of the whole exercise. As expected, a certain amount of notoriety beyond that strictly necessary to keep Clark in his pristine condition, at least where the opposite sex was concerned, developed.

Having grown up with the paparazzi, Lex took it in stride. And implemented his contingency plans.

The first time a photograph of them appeared in the society pages of the Daily Planet, both Jonathan Kent and Lionel Luthor called LexCorp, each with their own agenda. In response, each father received the proper treatment. With Jonathan, Lex gave an abbreviated version of why this was going on, steering clear of the fact that he and Clark were having sex on a fairly regular basis as he was still leery of the shotgun displayed so prominently over the Kent family mantle. With his own father, however, Lex simply laughed and reminded him that they were business rivals, not partners.

His father swore this scandal would ruin Lex.

That afternoon, LexCorp's stock gained fifteen points.

And stayed there until the pictures of him engaged in a major lip-lock with Clark at their favorite Italian place appeared in The Inquisitor.

The result? His stock rose forty points the next day.

Apparently being gay... was good for business.

Not that he was gay but with those financial results, he was willing to continue the faade.

Well, for that and for Clark's blue-ribbon winning blow-jobs, which was how every one of their date evenings culminated. To be fair, he'd reciprocate in kind, both of them trading off until Lex was certain not even a thimbleful of unexpended seminal fluid remained viable in either of their testes. Occasionally, when they were feeling adventurous, they'd get naked and grind together until they were covered in sweat, semen and in Clark's case, ear-to-ear smiles.

Then there were the impromptu bouts of phone-sex in the middle of his day. Those were quite the pick-me-up. Hearing Clark murmur, "Guess what I'm not wearing" did more for his mental acuity than any number of imaginative forms of liquid caffeine.

The money he'd saved on Starbucks alone was staggering.

Yes, the subject tonight was blow-jobs, was it not? Fellatio, a man's sport in its finest form. Something he was becoming quite the connoisseur of in the few months since their karaoke date.

Lex never asked why Clark was so good with his mouth. While he'd come to suspect there might have been some questionable things that occurred in Clark's life back home in the Heartland during Lex's own lost summer of Helen and deserted islands; there was also such a thing as natural talent. Clark was good at so many things, why not this?

At the moment, he truly wasn't inclined to question anything.

For Clark was on his knees with eyes closed and mouth open and Lex was standing above him and rocking slowly back and forth, painting Clark's lips and tongue with broad strokes. Occasionally, his hand would drift down to filter through hair that needed to be cut again or to follow the curve of Clark's cheek until his fingers slipped in alongside his dick. Where they received equal care, surrounded by soft lips and quiet moans that reverberated all the way up Lex's spine.

Clark kept getting better and better, growing by leaps and bounds. The total lack of a gag reflex combined with his readiness to do this when and wherever Lex dictated had gone a long way to depose his first wife from her lofty perch. Desiree was nothing but a faint memory now, made even fainter by the brush of fingertips up under his balls. A light caress that trailed fire across his skin, urging him to spread his legs in a silent entreaty for more.

Earlier that evening, any pretense at after-dinner conversation faded the minute they'd left Jardine's. The meal had been excellent; however, the heated kisses against the hood of his Lamborghini proved more in tune with his palate. When those kisses were followed by a whispered, "I'm hungry, Lex" despite the fact that Clark had eaten not only his dinner but half of Lex's, there was nothing to do but satisfy that request.

His pants lay in a crumpled heap across the room along with all of Clark's clothes and this lazy suck was their second round. The first one had been up against the front door without bothering to go inside. Clark came in a matter of minutes, rocking hard and fast on Lex's leg and it was only by sheer force of will that Lex hadn't joined him. He was the elder of the two after all; he was expected to have more stamina, right?

Another brush, this time with wet fingertips and Lex hesitated before answering the unspoken question. They hadn't progressed beyond mouths, hands and full-body grinds, which until now, Clark had appeared to be content with. Understandable, those were activities that two straight guys could enjoy - not with each other - but with a female companion. As long as hands didn't stray further back, the illusion that Clark would eventually find some little woman to settle down with once this insane phase of their friendship ran its course, still thrived.

If they did what those fingers promised, maybe the picket fence and the 2.5 grandchildren for Jonathan and Martha Kent wouldn't disappear altogether but whoever the lucky lady in that prospective domestic scenario ended up being, she would have to contend with some unforeseen kinks. Given Clark's size, that could prove disastrous, not to mention painful as Clark's feminine interests tended to be quite petite. And Lex didn't want his best friend's future connubial bliss ruined by Clark sneaking out to seek that pleasure elsewhere.

However, if they limited it to fingers, perhaps there would be no need for Clark to step outside his nuptial bed for gratification. Some women found digital anal penetration to be pleasurable and a great enhancement to concurrent genital sex. After considerable debate, Lex nodded his head and waited for the invasion. It was probably going to be crude and clumsy and painful but for Clark, he would endure.

Lex held his breath and waited some more. Much like the beaches of Normandy waited on that fateful day. Patient and silent with pending destruction hovering omnipresent in the expectant air...

Ah, God.

Christ, Christ, sweet Christ, that was good.

How the hell had Clark found his prostate so quickly?

Not what he'd expected at all. Clark was anything but clumsy and this was anything but painful. With a hand insinuated between Clark's chin and his own groin, Lex squeezed tightly and willed the stars behind his closed eyes to fade along with the imminent edge of his personal event horizon. It shouldn't have felt like this, like everything he was and everything he would ever be rushed out as Clark's fingers slid the rest of the way in.

Two seconds, three... maybe four and then climax so sudden that it hurt, so powerful it buckled his knees and impaled him further onto those fingers which started the cycle all over again. By the time the shudders stopped, Lex vaguely remembered offering Clark marriage, the keys to his new Lotus, half his shares in LexCorp and his entire Warrior Angel collection, not necessarily in that order, and the bit about Warrior Angel was a serious miscalculation on his part.

Suffice it to say, Clark's fingers in his ass came under the heading of *'yes, let's do that again very, very soon... how does now work for you? Are you good with now?'*

Lex groaned as Clark persisted in his digital explorations even though his semen was already making fast friends with the other contents of Clark's stomach. Those fingers twisted and turned and if his cock could have whimpered, it would have. Instead, it chose to reharden immediately, painful and full and Clark's delighted hum almost set him off again.

Jesus, this was good.

Far too good for it to be a passing phase.

Maybe it was time to wholly reconsider his sexual orientation here.

While he was still not gay, there was a possibility he might be bisexual.

He'd have to explore that later.

After he figured out how deep throating worked because Clark was just too good at it and Lex wanted to reciprocate. Every time he tried though, he'd get about half of Clark in his mouth before panic set in and he'd have to pull back.

Being the one with the gag reflex was getting old.

Really old.

Clark had been gone for three days. Granted it was Spring Beak and though the unending list of chores Clark reeled off while he packed to go back to the farm quite honestly staggered Lex, he still missed Clark.

He missed the smiles. He missed the teasing comments about his obsession with the color purple. He missed waking up in the morning and knowing that one room over was someone who thought he was more than his last name. He missed slipping into that room and either watching Clark sleep, or climbing into bed with him for a few warm kisses and a power nap.

Without Clark there, his home was lonely.

But more than that, his mouth was lonely. The scent, the taste, the heat and weight on his lower lip, the slow slide past teeth and palate in their favorite position when Clark turned fully onto his side and pushed, the huge curve of Clark's hand around the base of his skull cradling and protecting and holding him in place, even the choked gasp when Clark went too deep...

He missed being full.

He missed it so much he found himself looking for substitutes. Ty Nant bottles were too small, the clink of glass against his teeth proved painfully jarring and not conducive to a sustained fantasy of Clark coming home early, cornering him in his office and pulling open clothes while begging Lex to 'please, suck me off before I explode'. Pool cues were too long and worked better for manual stimulation than oral. Lastly, Clark had taken his hairbrush with him so even that pathetic option was out.

Right now, the bananas nestled in among the apples in front of him were starting to look less like food and more like comfort. Slowly, Lex picked one of them up and studied it with a critical eye. It was Monday afternoon and the penthouse was empty. Matilda was out shopping, his security team was unnecessary in his own home and he'd finished up the final contract negotiations for the new plant.

He'd be alone for hours.

There was no one to see as he peeled said banana, turned it just so, slid it into his mouth and held it there. With eyes closed, Lex tried to savor the sensation, conjuring up sculpted abs and a firm ass that all he had to do was reach out and touch. Even with his vivid imagination, it didn't work. The flavor was good but the texture was completely off, the curve wrong and the size... the size was laughable. There had to be a better substitute than this.

Chewing absently on the rejected fruit, Lex pondered any other possibility. While he'd laid in a decent supply of lube, leather and the prerequisite porn in anticipation of his return to a solitary life-style, his stash in the bottom right-hand drawer of the armoire lacked a certain panache. He'd never seen the need for such paraphernalia before, nor had he understood when the lovely ladies in Curious Cats spent so much time sucking on one but that was then and this was now.

There was nothing currently in his possession that would suffice so that left one alternative. He'd do some shopping and while he was at it, make a call or two. There were still certain things in the fellatio arena that he, not for lack of trying, hadn't got the hang of.

Fortunately, Lex knew the very best teacher.

"Thanks for coming on such short notice." He held the door open for her and manufactured a smile as Kori brushed a hand along his arm in greeting before stepping inside. Normally her touch was an invitation, in fact it was one now, but upon cursory inspection Lex found he wasn't... interested.

Which was more than strange. Kori was the best of the best. Petite and lithe, barely two inches above five feet and more flexible than a Circque de Soleil performer. She was available for a price few could afford.

Lex could afford her.

In the past, he'd afforded her many times.

To his chagrin as she stepped in close for a kiss, he discovered a curious fact.

He truly did not want her.

Not only that, he hadn't wanted anyone since his first date with Clark. Anyone other than Clark, apparently. How had that come about?

Unabashed by his lack of response to her kiss, Kori murmured, "Lex, I'll always make time for you." Her hand drifted down from his neck to his waist, resting there while she studied him closely. "So, it's true."

"What's true?" Lex moved out from underneath her hand and led her into the living room, then through to his study. If she was surprised to end up in there, Kori didn't show it. Instead, she waited for him to take a seat on the couch before setting her bag down and curling up next to him.

Close enough to touch even though she didn't. Her cool, jade-tinged gaze washed over him followed by the quiet pronouncement, "You're off the market."

"Where did you hear that?"

"Lex, I never reveal my sources." She trailed a red-tipped nail down the inside of his arm from elbow to wrist. Instead of the familiar shudder and dilation of his eyes, there came only a tight twist of his mouth and that arm was moved out of reach. "Oh, darling, he owns you, doesn't he?"

"I have no idea--" The litany of protest was cut off by her mouth over his. Delicate and fragrant, catching him open and taking advantage of the situation by filling him with her tongue, thereby confirming that this was not what he wanted. He wanted broad - not slender - shoulders under his hands. He wanted a long, heavy body draped over his own, pressing him breathless into the couch, not the petite frame currently winding arms and legs around him like an over-zealous housecat. He wanted a hot, hard pulse of life lined up against his dick, rubbing and pushing until both of them were frantic for release....

He wanted Clark.

"You have every idea, Lex." Kori whispered in his ear as she reached between them to caress his unresponsive and apparently dead-to-the-world cock. It lay against the palm of her hand, not even bothering with a single twitch of interest.

Lex felt a moment or two of sheer heterosexual panic. This was Kori. They had a long, involved, sweat-and-semen soaked history. She was the woman who sucked him off five times in a row during a particularly rancorous phone call with his father right before he'd been banished to Smallville. She was the woman who helped him get over both Desiree and Helen. Prior to his current liaison with Clark, she could get him hard just by looking at him.

More importantly, she was the only one of his lovers he knew would never sleep with his father, though God knew, Lionel had tried. He'd offered her four times her going rate, he'd dangled tickets to Europe and to Malaysia where her mother still lived, he'd sent her keys to houses and cars - offered her anything she could possibly desire. Kori steadfastly refused.

Lex knew she didn't do it out of love because Kori didn't believe in love.

She did it because Lex asked her not to.

She did it because she liked Lex and Lex genuinely liked her.

She did it because she and Lex were friends.

Which was probably why she was now talking in such a friendly tone even after his dick insulted her charms by not rising to the occasion. Her voice rose and fell, her hands stroked gentle patterns at the nape of his neck and reminded him that he should be listening to rather than silently berating said non-functional portion of his anatomy. "-ex, I've seen some pictures of the two of you. Your taste hasn't changed, has it? He's very pretty."

"Yes, he is. More than that --" She needed to lose the habit of interrupting him with kisses. His mouth was lonely, after all, lonely enough to take comfort from the contact. It now appreciated the invasion of her tongue even though it was far too small. Lex hoped Kori didn't notice how eagerly he sucked on it, or how his hands drifted down the length of her back to cup her ass but didn't reach for her breasts.

"More than that," she breathed against his cheek, unbuttoning his shirt slowly. "He's your friend and you love him."

"Yes," Lex muttered into her throat, uncertain what he was agreeing to. Clark had been gone too long, his body was starting to react to the light scratch of nails over his nipples. Clark usually did that a little harder, dragging heavy fingertips across his skin before capturing and tugging. A surge of absolute heat washed over him and Lex groaned, lifting his hips and grinding up into Kori.

Now his dick decided to respond. At the thought of Clark leaning over to mouth his chest, his recalcitrant penis finally decided to take note. The hand inside his pants had nothing to do with it. Nor did the lips pressed against his chin. Nor the way Kori smelled, the way she tasted, the way her breasts gave way as he pulled her in even tighter.

God, he was so fucked.

After a few more minutes of heavy fondling, Kori let go. She climbed out of his lap and as Lex watched in dazed confusion, Kori settled back down on the other side of the couch. "So, how can I help you?" He blinked, long and slow, trying to determine if she'd spoken in English or lapsed into her original tongue. "Lex, I'm glad you haven't forgotten how good we are together but we're not having sex. It's not what you need right now."

"It's not?" Lex swallowed hard and promptly locked his libido in the same closet with his now questionable sexuality. When he looked over at Kori again, she shook her head and he laughed in agreement. "It's not. I seem to have this problem, Kori, and you're the only person I know who can help me. Are you up for the job?"

"That depends on the problem. Tell me what's got you tied up in knots. And please, don't spare the details..." As Lex laughed again, she reached for her drink and winked. "Tell me all about your beautiful boy. If you have pictures, I'd love to see them. I don't think the Inquisitor did either of you any justice."

He told her everything.

From their first meeting to their last kiss and as Kori requested, he spared no detail. It took over four hours and spanned over dinner, drinks and a foot massage during which she swore he still had the best hands in Metropolis. When he finished talking, Kori nodded sagely and asked one simple question.

"How big?" A logical inquiry, given that he'd already explained what he wanted her to teach. When Lex held his hands out to sketch an air measurement, Kori whistled low and soft. "Lex, please tell me you haven't let him..." At his raised eyebrow, she glanced down at his ass and then back up. Lex felt the blush before she put her cool hand on his cheek. "When you're ready for that step, you better call me. I've got some things that will make it easier."

He was at a loss for words. Partly because Kori was looking at him with such sympathy but mainly due to the fact that the lizard portion of his brain just went there. It went to the place he'd avoided for weeks. Hard, hot and thick, massive pressure splitting him open, tendons straining, muscles pushed to their absolute limit, sweat pouring off the body above and behind him, his face buried in a pillow while Clark pinned him to the bed like a butterfly, his own arms and legs moving without coordination, desperate whimpers filled the room while Clark filled him. Pain gave way to mind-numbing pleasure when Clark whispered his name, holding him down as he chanted nonsensical words of lust, love and devotion.

No wonder he hadn't thought that through before. If he had, Clark probably wouldn't be home on the farm right now. He'd be here, he'd be in Lex's bed... he'd be in Lex.

Lex shifted uncomfortably on the couch, squirming against a cushion seam and damned if Kori didn't catch him doing it. "I see. We'll cover that later tonight. For right now, let's try this, shall we?"

Kori picked up the bag that still sat at the end of the couch. While Lex watched, she dumped the contents onto the creamy leather and proceeded to go through each item with a critical eye. Kori provided a running commentary as well, laying the rejects to the side. "Too small. Too small. How did that get in here? Too big. Is he curved? Left or right? Hmm... how about this one?"

It was... large. Just this side of enormous, actually. Well proportioned though with a sculpted head and there was even a thick ridge under the crown of a retracted foreskin. When he reached for it, Lex was surprised to find it warm, pliable to the touch. The color was just about right, rose pink at the base and darkening to a plum blush at the very tip. His hand encircled and stroked, every nerve sent back happy signals and his mouth literally watered.


Just the thing to help cure his problem.

Learning the proper technique, even with as patient an instructor as Kori, proved more difficult than Lex anticipated. By the end of their first session, his lips were sore and chapped, his upper palate bruised from the uncountable bumps and bangs when he tried to go too fast, the back of his throat felt like raw meat and he'd developed a healthy aversion to the taste of latex.

On the upside, his mouth no longer felt lonely.

It was too worn out to feel much of anything.

On the downside, he was hot, hard and sexually frustrated. Even more than before, he wanted to take his fastest car, drive down to Smallville, snatch Clark out from under the noses of his loving parents and plaster him against the wall of the barn for a quick, fully-clothed fuck. Just the two of them with the night sky wheeling overhead and Clark making those noises that made his knees go weak as they ground against each other, dense flannel crushed under his fingers, rough denim catching against leather because leather was the only thing one should wear when seducing your best friend...

There was a rule somewhere about that. Lex was sure he'd read it in GQ, or Maxim. Yes, leather and seduction were more Maxim's speed.

So, leather and its supple creak as they pushed and pushed against each other. He'd pin Clark's hands above his head, bury his face in Clark's shoulder and bite. Right above the collarbone, right on the spot that always made Clark quiver and sometimes forget the English language.

He had no clue what Clark said during those moments.

Lex only knew what those liquid syllables did for him.

Hearing Clark lose control enough to speak in tongues, proved more than once sufficient incentive to lead Lex into almost mindless orgasm.

An orgasm he could use right about now because Kori was steadfastly sticking to her rule about no sex between them. She did grant him a stroke or two of her hand down his chest, as well as a quick fondle for old time's sake but when he rolled away from the last lesson of the night and reached for her, Kori stepped back.

She gathered up her toys, leaving behind the one he'd been practicing on, and tumbled them into her bag. When he lifted up the admittedly damp item to add to her collection, Kori merely shook her head and laughed. "Keep it. It's yours."

Lex coughed, winced at the rough sound and tried to swallow. A glass appeared in his hand. Kori moved in under his arm as he took a sip, the cool water a balm to abraded tissues. "Not my most stellar performance, I take it."

The amused chuckle did nothing to soothe his potentially damaged ego, nor did it help deflate the severely under-appreciated portion of his anatomy that lay thumping its displeasure alongside his thigh. "Lex, you're doing fine. Don't try to stuff it all in your mouth at once, that's what makes you choke. You just need to relax and let it happen." Kori patted his cheek in sympathy, "To be perfectly honest, given your boyfriend's equipment, even I'd have trouble."

He nodded as he ran his thumb along his swollen lower lip. What she'd just said made sense. In fact, everything she'd said since first asking him about Clark made sense. He was a little too eager, too concerned about impressing Clark when it was abundantly clear that whenever they were together, Clark was simply happy to be with him... no matter what they were doing.

"Can you clear your evenings this week, Lex?" Kori's quiet question snapped him out of his musing long enough for Lex to mentally review his calendar. He'd scheduled a massive amount of work due to Clark being out of town but he could move a few things around to accommodate whatever Kori had in mind. She smiled broadly as he nodded, then kissed his cheek. "Good. I'll be back tomorrow. I've got some ideas but I didn't bring the right equipment."

"You seemed fairly well-stocked," His throat was feeling better. The casual drawl followed by a practiced smirk marked a return of Lexian normal. The soft laugh and equally soft kiss to his bruised mouth confirmed Kori's appreciation of his sense of humor's resurgence.

"Lex, in this case, you have no idea." With her bag slung over one shoulder, Kori rose and together, they walked to his front door. Once they reached it, she stepped in close, her hand on his hip rubbing small circles guaranteed to drive him insane in his current condition. "Do us both a favor, Lex."

"What would that be?" His murmur into the soft cloud of her hair was almost lost as he took in her scent. Clark had been gone so long and he was so hard and Kori was comfort. Kori was familiar. In a different world, he would have married Kori and Clark would've stood beside him at the altar, beaming that big smile...

Right before Lex dragged him off into the sacristy for an extending groping session, reciprocal blow-jobs and the probable loss of the last virgin territory he could still claim and God... Clark needed to come home soon.

"Take care of this tonight." She trailed her fingers along the inside of his thigh, stopping less than a breath away from his previously disinterested cock. Which was, at the moment, very interested although Lex was quite certain his tumescent state had more to do with having spent several hours sucking on an artificial cock rather than any actual interest in renewing his former acquaintance with Kori's admittedly exquisite charms.

"I plan on it." Lex countered in return, opening his door for her and indulging in one final, not quite chaste kiss. "Tomorrow then?"

Rather than answer, Kori smiled and walked away.

It took less than five minutes to come the first time and the delay was caused more by his running back to his room and stripping completely naked than from any lack of desire. The second time took longer because Lex decided to see if he could come from just sucking on the toy Kori left with him.

The reclassification of his orientation as bisexual was whole-heartedly confirmed when forty minutes from the last shudder of his first orgasm, Lex was bucking his hips up into empty air and shooting more semen up onto his chest as he avidly suckled on his prize. Nothing but oral stimulation and any doubt he had about being a switch-hitter went down in an unending wave of pure pride as he managed to slide yet another inch into his mouth without choking.

Look, Clark, no hands.

Moments later, the elation over his minor accomplishment shifted to a quiet brood as he slumped against his headboard, idly sucking while he pondered his situation. If he was honest with himself, his changed status was a discovery he could have done without.

The problem was inherent with the situation. While he was clearly bisexual, Clark, although he seemed to be honestly enjoying Lex's attention and even eager for it, was still firmly heterosexual. He constantly commented about pretty girls on the street, pointing them out to Lex as they drove by and Lana, while not the topic she'd once been, still cropped up in conversation along with Chloe and a few other girls who'd caught Clark's notice, however briefly. Clark even brought flowers for Georgia on her birthday, offering them with a shy smile and shrug that put Lex's own extravagant arrangements to shame.

Lex was quite certain that if he phrased it correctly, Georgia would happily lock herself in the supply closet with Clark long enough to turn Clark back onto the path that led to a home and family and those precious grandchildren for Martha and Jonathan Kent. It wouldn't take much, just a mere whisper that Clark was still cherry and his worldly secretary would likely knock the door down in her haste.

There was also the inescapable fact that Clark was in college and college was for experimentation. What was going on between him and Clark was nothing more than that. Clark was experimenting and when the novelty of all this ran its course, Clark was going to take Kim or Mandy or Winona up on one of their many offers, lose the tattered remains of his virginity between their shapely thighs and they'd go back to their old relationship.

Back to the safe world of Clark and Lex - the best of friends.

Instead of Clark and Lex - lovers

On that distressing note, Lex eased his artificial companion out of his mouth and reached for a glass of water. No matter how he looked at this, he was going to lose.

He hated losing.

True to her word, Kori arrived the following night with a few more fascinating items. The first was a small spray bottle, which she didn't bother to explain. Instead she retrieved Lex's now favorite chew toy from the center of his desk. It was fortunate he'd given Matilda the day off because he'd been reluctant to part with it even for a minute.

Being able to stroke it while he discussed a business deal with dear old Dad, listening to his father try to screw him over, was a guilty pleasure Lex swore he'd take to his grave.

Kori held the toy up and when Lex opened his mouth to receive it, she sprayed the back of his throat. Fighting the urge to gag, Lex managed not to cough or sputter as a bit of the sickly sweet substance landed on his tongue, leaving it numb. In answer to his silently raised eyebrow, Kori answered as she slid the dildo in deeper than he'd ever managed before. "Darling, welcome to the tricks of the trade. Contact anesthetic. Lidocaine, to be exact. Now, breathe when I pull back and then hold it."

He did as instructed, holding his breath when Kori pushed in. To his surprise, the warm shaft slid easily past his soft palate and down into his throat. Heavy balls rested against his chin for a moment as she murmured in his ear, "Swallow."

Lex felt a moment of panic, as suffocation became a very real possibility given how deep they'd gone but Kori held him still while murmuring quiet encouragement and when the panic receded, he swallowed. His throat tightened, his tongue worked along the ridge underneath and he swore he heard her sigh in approval. After a few more gentle invasions, concurrent with her calm instructions about how to breathe and relax, Kori removed the toy and let him rest his head against her shoulder. "Very good, Lex. Even I can't take it that deep."

He coughed, took a sip of water and nodded in rueful agreement. "Be thankful you've never met Clark. He's bigger."

That comment earned him a laugh as well as a soft kiss that tingled despite how numb his tongue felt. "Oh, I plan on meeting him, Lex. Anyone who can make you this happy and desperate to please at the same time is someone I plan on calling a friend." Anything he planned to say in response was swallowed by another kiss and Lex turned into the stroke along his cheek as she asked, "Are you ready for the next stage?"

Lex relaxed, accepting each and every touch she was willing to give. This was why Kori was such a good teacher, she believed in the positive reward system. While she wasn't Clark, he was willing to take whatever affection he could get. "I'm ready for anything. What have you got in mind?"

Famous last words.

The next stage involved flannel. And denim. And boots.

Had it not been such a cliche, Lex's jaw would have hit the floor when Kori sauntered out of his bathroom wearing something he'd sworn he'd seen on a feed-store calendar hung up in the Kent barn. In a spot tucked way in the back that Martha surely knew about but didn't comment on because despite what anyone else might think about her, Lex knew Martha was a very smart woman.

Kori looked like a farm boy's wet dream. Her dark hair, usually kept short and straight, had been teased into waifish curls with a fringe of bangs that drifted over her eyes. The flannel shirt was over-sized, hiding her breasts even though there was a hint of them when she turned to the side. The jeans emphasized her lean hips, highlighting the elegant line of her thigh and doing absolutely nothing to hide the...

Lex blinked. Once, twice and barely resisted the urge to rub his eyes in disbelief.

His gaze shot up to her face because if he looked down again, he was going to ruin a perfectly good pair of Armani trousers. Kori smiled, reached behind her and dimmed the lights. Lex moaned, watching the changes in her face and realizing that not only did he have a type in both men and women, that type was exactly the same. In the softened light, Kori's eyes deepened, her cheekbones soared and her mouth took on a ripened tone that begged for his kiss.

In this light, she looked like Clark.

His eyes, traitors that they were, drifted down from her face to the incredibly life-like cock framed by the open zipper of her jeans. If he hadn't already spent many blissful hours in her bed, Lex would have sworn that he was looking at the real thing. He had absolute no explanation as to how it came to be there and for once, questions weren't part of his repertoire.

Worrying about impending drool on his chin was the extent of his mental capacity at the moment.

Kori stepped in close and rubbed her borrowed cock against his own, hooking her hand around the base of his skull like Clark always did and pulling him down for a hot, hard kiss. His earlier sound of appreciation returned only to give way to a startled gasp and his hands tried desperately to get his pants open before he embarrassed himself. The warm wet, followed by stuttering pleasure allowed only two thoughts as he dropped to his knees in front of his flannel-clad goddess.

  1. How would he ever explain this to Clark?
  2. Giorgio was going to kill him.

Again, Kori proved to be an excellent and patient teacher. She coached him through depth and rhythm, through every possible angle and every position Lex could come up with as well as a few he'd never thought of before. To his bemusement, Kori's miracle sex change turned out to be one of the most inventive strap-ons Lex had ever seen. After they finished for the night, he spent some serious time studying the engineering and placement of the straps.

Whoever designed it should be working for LexCorp.

He'd track them down in the morning with an offer.

Potential head-hunting aside, the improvement on his technique with Kori's ingenious incentive was nothing short of amazing

The addition of a body to hang on to, the rounded curve of hip and ass, the rough brush of tight curls alongside his own smooth cheek and the beguiling scent that filled his nose all added to the experience and drove him the greater heights... or in this case, depths. Even after the numbing effects of the Lidocaine wore off, Lex was still able to take her deeper and hold the position longer while tightening his throat with precise control.

Kori was effusive in her praise, her hands guiding him lightly and whenever he hit a stride she approved of, she would simply stroke the exposed nape of his neck and let him improvise. Her occasional soft moan when he pressed in hard was the only indication that she gained any enjoyment from this. And while he was tempted to slide his fingers up under the base and return some of the pleasure she was affording him, the thought of Clark's possible disappointment was sufficient deterrent to keep him from doing so.

He and Clark didn't have an exclusive arrangement by any means but Lex, despite the rumors that continued to circulate about his illicit love life, prided himself of being loyal.

No matter what the temptation...

By the time Kori slid reluctantly out of his mouth at the end of their evening's idyll, Lex determined he had more than one favored position. Side by side in his bed was delightful, giving each partner a measure of control but on his knees with Kori in his desk chair bespoke of the loss of that control. The very thought of Clark in a superior role would fuel his fantasies for many nights to come.

It was very late when they finished. So late Lex offered her the use of a bedroom suite, steering her down the hall away from his and Clark's, before sharing a final kiss or two in the open doorway. The invitation was there, Kori's rule having apparently been abandoned somewhere in between lessons but Lex stood firm in his own resolve.

He was doing this for Clark.

His own pleasure and Kori's was secondary to that goal.

Clark would be home in five more days.

He could wait that long.

Kori was a bitch from hell.

There was no other explanation for what she'd put him through that day.

Oh, it started nicely enough. They shared a very cordial breakfast and pored over the financial pages together. Kori had a knack for the stock market and Lex was always grateful for her advice. If his father had taught him anything, it was to respect the expertise of others and use it to his own advantage.

Which was why Kori was in his living space in the first place.

It was also why he let her talk him into this... torture device. He could have said no. He should have said no. If he'd said no, he wouldn't have sat through three hours of an emergency board meeting trying not to squirm. As well as hiding an erection that rivaled the radio tower atop the globe of the Daily Planet.

Not only had she sent him to work in this condition, with a smile on her face no less, the bitch had the nerve not to be here when he got home. Instead there was a note tacked to his dresser mirror with a set of instructions. Instructions he'd crumpled with a snarl of utter frustration and determined yank at the tie that ended up bearing the brunt of his rage.

The tattered scraps of shredded apparel left rather interesting patterns on his floor and bedspread as he lay there, thinking of ways to kill Kori and where exactly he'd hide the body. Yes, he was following her dictates but it was a ploy meant to lull her into a false sense of security whenever she decided to dance back into his reach. He'd make her suffer for this.

Lex rubbed against the bedspread, trying to subdue the frantic signals coming from both his cock and his ass with thoughts of vengeance that included his tying Kori to the headboard and teasing her for hours. Touching everything but the parts that would bring her release and finally sliding the damned plug still making intimate friends with his prostate into her ass.

And then leave her there while he booted up his laptop and returned to his pending game of Civilization.

Being Genghis Khan again for a few more hours was infinitely preferable to lying here in a state of perpetual heat with no relief in sight. Kori, may she rot in hell, had been very specific in her instructions:

  1. Get naked
  2. Leave it in
  3. Don't touch your cock
  4. When in doubt, refer back to parts 2 and 3
  5. Wait - it'll be worth it

He was going to murder her in her sleep. He was going to hunt down her entire family and string them up by their toes. He was going to declaw her cat when she wasn't looking. Damn it, he was going to reach down, wrap his hand around his dick and beat off until his wrists broke...

Both of them.

In turn.

God, he hated Kori.


Lex opened his eyes an hour later, his hips still rubbing the same pattern into the light satin, a wet stain spreading further and further as he continued to wait. His plans of hunting Kori's family down expanded from the original nuclear portion to half of her home country and her cat... would never be safe around him again.

He never heard the door open. In his own defense, Lex had just hit upon a very imaginative plan that involved Kori being forced to watch reruns of Gilligan's Island while he fellated Clark into multiple orgasms somewhere within hearing range but not in her line of sight. Kori was a voyeur, she'd told him that one night and it was about time that little bit of blackmail material paid off.

The dip of the bed on either side of him was the only warning Lex had that he was no longer alone. Too many years in Smallville, combined with an education in self-defense resulted in a very negative reaction. He reared up immediately, intent on shaking off the body currently straddling his thighs and only stopped when he heard a murmured, "Relax, Lex. It's me."

Lex glared at her over his shoulder and not even the sight of the flannel shirt she'd worn to such perfection last night was enough to assuage his annoyance with her. "Kori. If you value your life... Don't ever do that again." He started to roll over, then sank down into the bed, writhing as she jiggled her infernal instrument.

His prostate was singing Hosannas in her name, his cock was ready to bear children for her and he... he was prepared to gleefully deport her back to Malaysia if she didn't allow him some relief. Another wriggle and the stars behind his eyes knocked the deportation idea right out of his head. Lex rutted against the bed, certain that he could come without any help from her and he didn't care what punishment she had in mind if he did.

Until she slid the body-warm plastic out of him and replaced it with something bigger. With something that had him clawing at the coverlet and then the sheets and mattress below. If he had time to reflect on it later, Lex knew his yelp of surprise would prove more than embarrassing. Especially when that yelp became a yodel and he was begging, "Kori. Kori, please. I can't... please. God, please let me..."

Even without her permission, his hand snaked into the crushed space between his stomach and the now ruined silk. Only to be met with Kori's as she lifted his hips with a calm push upward. Lex scrambled to his knees, any fear of penetration long gone as he rocked back onto what had to be his practice piece. It was thick enough and the curve felt right and why the hell hadn't he suggested this to Clark before Clark took off for the wilds of Smallville?

Oh yes.

He'd forgotten.

He was the bisexual one. If he'd suggested Clark fuck him up the ass before returning to the loving bosom of his normal family, his front door probably would have ended up hanging off its hinges as Clark sped both out of sight and out of his life.

Thank God Clark wasn't here right now.

And thank whichever deity that had sent Kori because her hand was around his cock and he was four heartbeats away from coming. Three... two... oh. Oh...

The stars behind his eyes multiplied into universes and Lex was quite content to float among them while his body continued to thrash out an extended orgasm. One that left him weak-limbed, his forehead pressed against the headboard and his breath coming in labored pants. He moaned in feeble protest when Kori's hand and then the dildo went away, leaving him empty.

He didn't want to be empty.

He wanted...

Not what happened next. Or maybe he did because when it started, he pushed back into it eagerly. He was already stretched and if Kori wanted to take him through another round, he could manage it. He probably wouldn't come. Lex was fairly sure that no seminal fluid still existed in his body.

The angle was different but the sense of gentle invasion the same and it didn't register what was really going on until he felt the scratch of shirt buttons on his back. Followed immediately by the cool scrape of an opened zipper against his left haunch, then the faint press of breasts into his shoulders as Kori draped herself over him.

He meant to raise a protest. He honestly did but Kori eased back out of him and Lex found that the power of speech deserted him. The only thing he could do was shake his head, a gesture ignored in favor of another push in. Kori's hands settled on his hips, guiding him into a hypnotic rhythm that stole away any possible higher brain function.

It hurt a little. Not much and when he moaned in protest, Kori changed the angle to something more comfortable. Lex arched his entire spine, pulling away, then rocking back which earned him a murmur of encouragement, a kiss between his shoulder blades and an increase in the pressure against his prostate. His cock throbbed in sympathy, much too soon for another climax. Slowly, Lex reached down to soothe and stroke and impale himself further.

They found an easy rhythm, a push and pull guaranteed to drive Lex around the bend. His lower lip ached from chewing on it, from holding in the cliched cries of, 'Deeper. Harder. Faster.' Instead what escaped was a whispered repeat of his lover's name. Soft and low and Kori held onto him as he called for Clark under his breath.

Kori wasn't a bitch.

Kori was an angel sent from heaven.

Kori was helping him get ready just like he'd asked her to.

Lex turned to look at her, smiling as she leaned in for a kiss over his shoulder. A kiss that led to another and another until she was settled back onto her heels and Lex was riding each thrust in slow abandon. Coming apart at the seams, each of them unaware of anything else in the world but each other.

Pleasure washed through every inch of his body, another climax within reach and Lex rose into it. Gasping for air, his eyes tightly closed as Clark's name escaped from his lips once more. Kori's hand wrapped around his own, each pulse growing stronger and stronger. Lex lost himself to sensation, letting it roll over him, control him, own him.

This was what he'd been missing all his life.

This was what he could have.

This was what he could share with Clark.

There was no warning. No footfalls, no creak of the door opening. One moment, Lex was hovering on the edge of coming and the next....

"Hey, Lex. I know I'm back early but I got everything done so qui... Oh...."

Oh fuck.

He was so screwed.

Clark was home.

Clark was home early.

Not only was Clark home early but he was right there, in the doorway to his bedroom, watching them.

There was no possible way to spin this.

The ensuing mad scramble Clark's return generated would have been comical if it had happened to someone else. Kori was off his back in a shot even as Lex scrabbled for purchase on the headboard, wincing in pain at her sudden withdrawal. Lex managed one look over his shoulder with a wealth of apologies and 'you, won't believe this's ready to fall glibly off his tongue and every excuse died in an instant.

Right along with the rest of his future happiness.

For Clark still stood there, a discarded jacket crumpled in one hand, his mouth open in shock as eager joy gave way to devastation. Disappointment, pain and betrayal followed quickly on its heels, leaving behind a barren wasteland where once all of Lex's hopes lived before Clark closed the door with a quiet click.

Leaving Lex and Kori alone.

Lex could feel the weight of Kori's gaze between his shoulders but the only thing he could do was stare at that closed door.

Quick footfalls down the hall echoed through the silence, marked only by Lex's labored breathing and a final, barely audible click heralded the end of the most enduring relationship Lex had ever had.

The friendship of legend was over.

His normal response to a disaster of this proportion would have been to run. Case in point, his summer spent in Hong Kong. The difference was, every time he'd done it in the past, Clark pursued him, tracking him down by phone or by the Internet or once by getting around Georgia, a feat which even his father at his most persuasive had failed to accomplish. Clark's dogged persistence never failed to eventually coax Lex back home from whatever bolt-hole he'd hied off to and pulled closed behind him.

This time the shoe was on the other foot. And frankly, Lex hated it. His respect for Clark as a future journalist grew by leaps and bounds because anyone who could dodge a determined Luthor for any extended period of time would not only be able to protect themselves but also protect their sources should the need arise.

One week went by, then two without a word from Clark. Lex called daily, sometimes hourly, leaving messages on the cell he'd given Clark as a high school graduation present as well as on the answering machine at the dorm. Once or twice, someone actually picked up the phone but when he spoke, there was no answer and the connection would quietly go dead.

Lex considered hiring a private detective to hunt Clark down. At least he did until he recalled the last time he'd hired somebody to look into Clark. The taint of first blood on his hands and the memory of both Clark and Jonathan Kent at the mercy, or lack thereof, of Roger Nixon, were sufficient deterrents against implementing that scheme.

He had to stick to conventional methods. But those avenues were quickly drying up.

His e-mails were blocked. His solicitous calls to Kent Farms were met with polite greetings from Martha and an increasing cold shoulder from Jonathan. One night, drunk and discouraged beyond rational thought, Lex broke down and called in his wild card. Chloe was chipper and immediately concerned with his well being but when he asked about Clark, she stonewalled him. She was nice about it, making excuses about being late for a class and promising they'd talk when she was back in town.

But she didn't answer a single one of his questions.

Finally, in a fit of quiet desperation, he made the drive to Smallville. Row upon unending row of corn led him inexorably back to the beginning. With bittersweet nostalgia in full sway, he stopped on the bridge, got out of his car and stared down at the murky water that should have been his grave. His gloved fingertips rasped back and forth over a join in the railing, the memory of that first shocky breath after dying almost as faded as rest of the world around him.

Clark was just as lost to him now as he'd been the first time their eyes met in that fleeting second right before the impact which to this day Clark denied.

He drove by the mansion; unable to bring himself to drive through the gates that opened wide in silent invitation. There were too many ghosts within its paneled walls for him to find comfort there. Instead, he took the turn at the top of the hill and parked his car in the shade of an old pecan tree under which he'd spent many hours during his tenure here, doing exactly what he did during those halcyon days. He sat and watched the familiar yellow house on Hickory Lane, hoping for a glimpse of the family he loved more than his own.

When dusk sent long shadows over the covered porch and empty yard, Lex resigned himself to his solitary fate. He drove slowly into town, intent on a momentary stop at the Talon for enough caffeine to wash away some of his malaise and take him back safely to Metropolis.

Instead, he found the comfort he sought in the most unlikely of places and encouragement from the most unlikely person.

Lana Lang greeted him at the counter with a truly excellent cappuccino, took one look at his face and led him into the back office. Once there, she guided him into a seat on the couch and gently rubbed his back and shoulders while he sat in silence, staring blindly into his cup. He didn't volunteer an explanation and she didn't ask any questions.

When he finally got up to leave, she hugged him and said quietly, "Give him time, Lex. He always comes back to you."

He nodded, his entire opinion of her changing as she patted his hand and led him to his car. Somehow in the past few years, Lana Lang had grown up. How had he missed that? The same way he'd missed so many things. He'd been so infatuated with Clark that the rest of the world had slipped past his notice.


That was wrong.

He'd hadn't been so infatuated with Clark that the rest of the world slipped past his notice. What he felt for Clark wasn't infatuation, or fascination, or curiosity, or lust - even though he wanted him so badly his whole body ached. What he felt for Clark was none of those things and it was all of those things.

What he felt for Clark was complex and simple all at the same time.

He loved Clark.

He loved Clark and he'd lost Clark.

And he didn't know how to get him back.

True to his adversarial nature, melancholy transformed into determination when two weeks became four.

In an unprecedented move, Lex sent Gabe Sullivan to negotiate the final details of the newest plant purchase while he chose to stalk the MetU campus. Unfortunately, all his lurking netted was the realization Clark was either skipping his classes or Lex's theories about his speed were correct because he never managed to catch Clark outside of any of the lecture halls. Not even when he staked them out by leaning against a tree outside the doors, or sitting on the hood of Clark's favorite of his cars, or perching on a park bench right outside one of the windows where he could actually see Clark scribbling away at his notes.

Finally, Lex bit the bullet and trudged up the steps toward Clark's dorm room. The last person in the world he wanted to see was the Neanderthal that shared Clark's living quarters but with a sufficient bribe, he had a chance of securing a position at the end of Clark's bed where he would wait until Clark came in from the cold. Perhaps they'd both be gone and he could appeal to the R.A. for entrance into the room or at least an undisturbed space in the hall or the stairwell where he could wait.

His luck, bad as it was, continued to hold.

Clark was not home but Greg was. When Lex peered over one sloped shoulder, he noted Clark's bed was neatly made, his books stacked on his desk and his half of the room completely tidy. Clark, despite his many admirable and attractive qualities, was an unrepentant slob. A clean room was a sign Clark probably hadn't been there for weeks.

Alarmed that Clark was sleeping on the street in order to avoid him, Lex bristled immediately at the surly, "Why are you here?" He'd never been Greg's favorite person and that prejudice, like his luck, was still holding true.

"I'm looking for Clark." Even though it was obvious to him Clark had flown this coop as well, Lex persisted. Sometimes the most important clues to solving a problem came from the most unlikely sources. "Have you seen him?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I have." Greg crossed his arms and leaned against the partially open door. Animosity oozed from every pore, so thick that Lex could smell it. Upon further reflection, the stench might have been due to Greg's infamously poor hygiene, or the mounds of unwashed clothing littering his side of the small room. No matter, the fact remained that no help would come from this quarter. "What's it to you?"

"I hadn't heard from him in a while and I wanted to make sure he was all right." He refused to mirror the belligerent pose or the tone, choosing polite inquiry to mask the fact he sincerely wanted to shove his fist down the moron's throat. If Greg had kept his distance, if he hadn't alarmed Clark with his sexual overtures, none of this would have happened.

Of course, Lex would still be living in denial. But a lifetime of denial with Clark still at his side was infinitely preferable to this yawning chasm of desolation known as enlightenment.

"He's dealing. It seems this rich boyfriend of his cheated on him. You wouldn't know anything about that, now would you?" The indolent stance shifted and Lex followed the subtle change with a practiced eye. Greg had moved from the heels of his feet to the balls and there was a corresponding drop of his right shoulder as the arms across his chest unfolded. Forewarned was forearmed. If those huge hands curved into fists, he'd already plotted his first three counter-measures.

Despite the imminent possibility of a brawl, Lex wasn't going to defend his actions, at least not to Greg. The only person he owed an explanation to was Clark. But to get to Clark, he had to tolerate this buffoon. Perhaps if he stalled long enough, Clark might actually show up. He had a Bio-chem lab in an hour and the third textbook down in the stack on Clark's desk was one he'd need.

Lex tucked his hands in his pockets, shifted his weight to where he was leading with his right foot and met Greg glare-for-glare. His mouth thinned into a polite smile. "I just want to talk to him."

"Yeah? Well, I want a lot of things, too. Doesn't mean I'm gonna get them." The right hand tightened, fingers curving to form the fist Lex had anticipated. "You wanna talk to your boyfriend? I want my friend back. You know, the tall goofy kid who's so head-over-heels in love it's great to be around him because he makes you feel good. You remember him, don't you? Name's Clark Kent. He used to live here until you decided to break him."

Now the left hand followed suit as Greg stepped into Lex's personal space and the sudden spew of vitriol kept coming. "I want a room-mate who isn't a fuckin' zombie, who doesn't spend hours staring at the wall because his freak of a boyfriend decided it'd be fun to screw somebody else while he was home visitin' his folks." A hot wash of breath on Lex's cheek signaled that Greg was too close.

Lex stood his ground, his continued calm apparently a goad as Greg snarled, "You cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch. If you know what's good for you, you'll leave Clark the hell alone. He's better off without you."

His mother always taught him to stay out of fights. Physical confrontation was the last resort of an educated mind and brawling was not the action of a gentleman. His mother never attended an all-male boarding school. That proving ground, combined with the training he'd received at the hands of one of their chauffeurs, an ex-Navy Seal, did Lex more good over the years than his mother's genteel lessons.

Therefore, when the first punch came, Lex was ready for it. He nailed Greg twice in the chest, solid meaty thumps that echoed in rapid succession in the empty hallway. Pain cut across the ensuing surge of adrenaline as his right fist connected with teeth rather than the nose he was aiming at. More pain followed when Greg finally landed a punch of his very own.

It was a very lucky punch.

It was also one of the very few Greg would land today.

For a moment or two, Lex's ears rang while his vision blurred. He shook his head to clear it and licked his split lower lip before stepping back into the fray with a quick series of blows. The incendiary taste of his own blood provided the match to the flame as its coppery tang set ablaze the final veneer of a refined upbringing. The responding fury, fueled by a solid month of frustration, worry and emptiness, erupted in a moment of incandescent rage.

It burned, clean and hot, destroying everything in its path but the need to beat this cretin to death.

The next wild swing skated past him as Lex spun out of way. Lex's return volley of hard blows earned Greg a bloody nose and a rapidly blackening eye. Flagging coordination left his opponent open to further devastating offensive action, an opportunity Lex made much use of. As Lex methodically took Greg apart with his fists, a verbal assault accompanied the physical punishment. "How dare you tell me to leave Clark alone. He's been my friend for seven years. I'd do anything for him. I've done everything for him."

Once immediate fury waned and gave way to cold precision, Lex set the pace of the fight. Each blow meted out bruising retribution. Jab. Jab. Uppercut. Step back, dodge under a wild punch to land three solid hits into the ribs. Greg was bleeding, looking a little dazed as Lex circled him.

"That includes dating him. Because..." A hard slam into the wall, his elbow jammed up under Greg's ear. Enough pressure exerted on the carotid in this position would cause unconsciousness in under a minute and death within three. Lex leaned in close, snarling in the bastard's ear. "This wouldn't have happened if you'd kept your hands to yourself. We were fine until you came along."

A sudden kick threw Lex off balance and he stumbled back, slamming against the opposite wall. It was only a momentary reprieve but it proved long enough for Greg to catch his breath and come out swinging. Their fight hadn't gone unnoticed as all around them doors started opening. Out of the corner of his eye, Lex spotted someone racing down the hall towards the R.A.'s room. Despite the satisfaction to be gained in pummeling this rabid animal into the faded carpet, he needed to wrap this up before the dubious threat of campus security put a stop to it for them.

"Yeah, right. You two were just fine, " Greg sneered, catching Lex in the ribs with another one of his lucky punches. "Clark mooned all over you and you ate it up with a spoon. Tell me, Lex. Were you balling that other guy the whole time? Or was that a recent development?"

It was strange what managed to filter through in the middle of a fight. The majority of what Greg blathered was nonsense but two words managed to register as important. Other guy. Lex stepped back, dodged another wild swing and watched as that fist connected with the wall instead of his body. While Greg cursed and cradled his probably broken hand against his chest, Lex shook his head in disbelief.

Oh, Jesus.

Clark thought Kori was another guy.

The need to continue this battle faded as the implications of Kori's mistaken gender sunk in. Clark thought he'd cheated on him with another guy. Clark really thought he was gay. Clark obviously missed the memo about Lex not being into any male member of the species other than Clark.

He had so much to explain to Clark. And even if he never got the chance to, he could at least do this much.

He could secure Clark a little peace.

Lex gripped the back of Greg's neck and held on, Greg's gaze wavered with pain before coming back into sharp focus. "What happened is none of your business. Clark is none of your business. After today, he's not going to be your roommate. I'm going to tell the RA and the Dean of Students what you've put him through. By the time I'm done, you'll be lucky to find a one-room rat-hole in the Suicide Slums to live in."

Any pending rejoinder rattled in Greg's throat as Lex shook him. "If you touch him again, I'll cut your hands off."

"Yeah, right. Sure you will, Lex." The response might have been more impressive if Greg had been able to stand up unaided. As it was, he only remained upright due to the wall behind him.

"Greg, you have no idea what I'm capable of." They might as well have been alone despite the opened doors and the pounding of footsteps coming up the stairs to Lex's left. He stepped in close, his voice pitched too low for anyone else to hear. "This is your last warning."

For the first time, Greg actually looked scared. He blinked, swallowed hard and stepped back out of Lex's immediate reach. One shaky hand passed through his hair while he stared at Lex in what appeared to be sudden comprehension. "Okay. Jesus, you actually bought that, didn't you?"

"Bought what?" Lex shot back, wiping his own hands on his bloodstained shirt. He straightened his jacket, grimacing at the torn lapel before fixing his opponent with a level stare. While he was merely disheveled, Greg looked like he'd been dragged behind a car for a few miles, a sight which proved to be both welcome and satisfying to Lex's inner savage.

Instead of answering, Greg started to laugh. Shaky at first, with his arms wrapped around his battered ribs but the sound grew louder by the minute. Lex flicked his cuffs down into place as he watched Greg lean back against the wall in an effort to stay upright. Hysteria was a common reaction to a severe beating, usually brought on by head trauma. He should check for unevenly dilated pupils and perhaps call for an ambulance.

Or just let the bastard fall over.

"You moron." Somewhere between fits of laughter, Greg managed to squeeze those words out. In recompense for that wheezed insult, Lex considered returning to Plan A, namely beating him into unconsciousness. Instead, he waited for a continuance which came on the heels of more pained mirth. "Mandy never thought you'd fall for it but you did. I don't want Clark. I never wanted Clark."

Pure bullshit.

He'd seen the way Greg looked at Clark, how he leered and went out of his way to touch Clark.

Before Lex could call him on that lie, Greg pushed off from the wall and stumbled back through his open doorway with his hand still cradled to his chest. He flopped down on the far bed, still laughing. "He's a great guy but fuck, man, I'm straight. Clark's queerer than a three-dollar bill and besides, all he's ever wanted is you. You're just too dumb to see it."

Lies, all lies.

Clark wasn't.

He couldn't be.

There'd been no indication prior to his blurting out this whole absurd plan and convincing Lex to play along with the... puppy-dog eyes and the blushes and the eager kisses and the... oh fuck.

But he'd seen... and Greg... and the girls... Jesus. This couldn't be true.

Lex's shoulder hit the door, shock having replaced adrenaline as he replayed the events of the last few months. It all made sense. Every bit of it except for... "You never wanted Clark? How could anybody not want Clark? He's... he's..." The ability to form words was one of the first things a child learned but somehow his mouth had suddenly lost the skill.

"Yours. He's never been anything but yours." An unexpected voice from just beyond the threshold interrupted their tableau and Lex's head snapped around instantly. Apparently, the person who'd been summoned by the earlier runner to stop the fight wasn't the R.A.

It was Clark.

Much like he had over a month ago, he stood in the open doorway, his jacket crumpled in his hand and quiet yearning reflected on his expressive face as he looked at Lex. In all the years he'd known him, Lex could never remember Clark looking tired.

Until now.

Clark looked exhausted, like he was about to fall over.

Moreover, he looked... fragile.

Lex straightened, willing the heart that had just leapt into his throat to go back to its former place in his chest. He watched Clark raise a hand to touch his face and stop, the desired caress arrested in mid-air as the yearning disappeared, only to be replaced with pain. The decision to move forward and capture that hand in his own was the simplest choice he'd ever made. Lex closed the distance between them, eased an arm around Clark's waist and held him even though Clark didn't return the embrace.

Holding Clark was easy.

Apologizing was going to be easy.

The rest of it was going to be hard.

He had to start somewhere and what Clark has just said, even if he didn't mean it, was the chance Lex desperately needed. "Clark, I... there's no excuse and I don't expect you to forgive me but will you at least hear me out?"

Clark stepped back, moving out of the one-sided embrace. He studied Lex, his eyes going distant for a moment, then shifted over to where Greg sat hunched over on the bed. A crease of worry formed between his brows as that peculiar gaze swept over Greg in turn. "Lex... Look, now's not the time for this."


"No." Clark eased away from Lex and crossed the room to kneel in front of his room-mate. "Greg, buddy. I've gotta take you to Student Health, okay? Your hand's probably broken and the nose doesn't look good."

Greg nodded and tried to stand, his legs giving out before he was halfway up. His struggle ceased when Clark's arm went around his waist, steadying and lifting in that strong, quiet way Clark always had about him. When Lex came forward with a silent offer of help, Clark shook his head. "Go home, Lex."

Speechless, Lex stood there as any hope he'd gained by Clark's earlier admission evaporated in light of that command. He should obey, he should honor Clark's wishes in this but his feet refused to move. They were rooted to the spot as he watched Clark and Greg shuffle past him.

There was a pause in the doorway, Clark looking back over one shoulder at him as he repeated. "Go home, Lex. I'll... I'll come over later."

Tears were an absurd reaction and yet there they were, welling unbidden. Lex swallowed them down, his throat working when he blurted out the childish response, "You promise?"

Clark hesitated for the longest time. Long enough for more tears to rise and be swallowed back before he nodded. "I promise. Now, go home."

His head hurt.

The drugs Toby left for him were still on his desk, the bottle of pills unopened. The same was true of his Lagavulin, the cork still firmly in place and the only sound in the room besides that of his pacing feet was the occasional shink of melting ice sliding in his otherwise empty glass. Lex had no plans to indulge in either of them tonight.

He needed to be sharp.

He needed to be alert.

He needed to be ready for any contingency when Clark arrived.

Clark was coming. He'd promised. Clark had done many things in the years they'd known each other but he'd never broken a promise.

The pain in his head would fade. It had dulled in the last hour or so to a steady throb, which meant the snapped cartilage had healed, leaving the soft tissue damage to slowly work itself out. Toby confirmed what Lex suspected; one of Greg's lucky punches had broken his nose and several knuckles on his left hand were cracked as well.

Lex shook that hand, rubbing in between his fingers to keep the blood flow going. As long as it continued to circulate, his accelerated metabolism would repair the damage within hours, instead of weeks. There were some advantages to being a Smallville mutant.

Not many, but some.

During the hours he'd spent since Clark sent him home, Lex worked through Greg's revelations. Clark actually being gay shouldn't have come as such a surprise to him once he got past the shock of it. What straight man would've come up with the idea of dating his best male friend as a way to keep a bunch of adoring girls out of his bed? For that matter, what straight man would agree to go along with such a stupid idea?

A straight man wouldn't.

A bisexual man might.

After all, he had, hadn't he?

Over the last month, when not obsessing over Clark, Lex had a lot of time to think. One of the things he explored and came to terms with was his own sexuality. He still found women attractive. Not attractive enough to entice him into their beds but he certainly appreciated the feminine form. His attraction to men was less; a well-built man wasn't likely to turn his head unless the man was dark-haired, slim-hipped and moved with a coltish grace. In short, if a guy looked like Clark, he'd look twice.

All right, so the obsession even over-ran his tendency for self-reflection. His own sexuality wasn't the point here. He needed to focus and stay on the subject at hand.

The real question behind Greg's exposition remained; whose idea was the Luthor-Kent dating scheme in the first place? Did Clark come up with it on his own or did he have help? If Clark came up with it on his own, was it in self-defense because of Greg's decision to drive them closer together by pretending to covet the contents of Clark's pants? Or did Clark do it because he was tired of waiting for something to happen between the two of them?

How far back did Clark's fascination with him go?

Lex suspected it went all the way to the beginning. The second time they met, he talked to Clark about destiny and swore undying friendship, blissfully unaware of how young Clark actually was. With Clark's height and build, Lex simply assumed he was close to his own age of twenty-one. Instead, Clark had been fifteen. At fifteen, if somebody had spoken to him like that, Lex would've been bent over a bed or any easily available horizontal surface in a matter of minutes.

Minutes? It probably wouldn't have taken that long. And he would've provided the lube... and let the guy ride bareback.



Excelsior Prep and his semester's worth of flirtation with Bruce hadn't been a fluke after all. Despite the continued throbbing behind his eyes, Lex cracked a smile. Now that bit of self-awareness was the fodder for an interesting conversation the next time he visited Gotham.

His amusement didn't last long though, the smile fading slowly as Lex looked out over the city. Rain streaked down the window, fragmenting his reflection as he waited for Clark to come back to him. While he waited for Clark to come home.

The first indication Lex had of Clark's arrival was not the usual one. Clark had a key and all the codes to the outer door. Normally Lex looked up from a report or from watching CNN and Clark would simply be there, appearing as if out of thin air.

Not this time.

This time a call on his cell phone heralded Clark's appearance in his corner of the world. Upon checking the display, Lex frowned, then flipped it open. "Yes, Ray?"

"Mr. Luthor. Mr. Kent's here to see you." His frown deepened. Why was Clark's dad downstairs? Jonathan Kent was the last person he'd expected a visit from. There was no reason for him to be here... unless Clark called him and spilled the beans.

Now there was a possibility Lex hadn't seriously entertained until that moment and frankly, it was a daunting prospect. Even prior to his and Clark's change in status, facing the elder Mr. Kent was an event fraught with disaster. Given the fact that he'd spent many blissful hours thoroughly debauching the Kent's pride and joy, the probable scope of the pending disaster approached cataclysmic in scale.

In the tradition of many condemned men before him, Lex squared his shoulders, eschewing the final cigarette in favor of a touch of fingertips to the picture of Clark on his desk. His affairs were in order, his will up-to-date complete with two witness signatures and back-up copies in his safe. If Clark's father had come to kill him for molesting his son, that same son was going to be a very rich man the following morning.

And there was nothing Jonathan Kent could do about it.

Nor could Clark return the gift.

He hesitated for a moment, hypothesizing his assumption of identity might be incorrect, before asking, "Which Mr. Kent, Ray?"

"Clark, sir."

Lex breathed a sigh of relief at his incipient homicide having been averted. "Send him up, Ray."

Following immediately on the heels of that relief were both anxiety and annoyance. As he made his way to the front door, Lex chose to concentrate on the annoyance, the anxiety was beyond his control. This situation was unacceptable. Why had Clark been delayed for even a moment? There were standing orders with all of his security people about this very thing. Clark Kent had free and unrestricted physical access to everything pertaining to Lex Luthor, which included every single one of his residences.

He'd have a talk with Ray first thing in the morning because a call of that nature was never going to happen again.

Lex paced back and forth in front of his door, impatient for the sound of the elevator while he mulled over what had just occurred. It honestly didn't make sense. Clark had never been stopped by his doorman before. In fact, Clark and Ray had become fast friends within a week of Lex's arrival in the building. During a few moments of desultory conversation one rainy night while he and Clark waited for a limo to take them to some unmemorable event, Clark found out everything there was to know about Ray Goodman.

Including his daughter's birthday because the following week, Lex spotted a huge stuffed pony behind Ray's desk as he and Clark were leaving for the theater. Ray winked at Clark on the way out and when Lex asked about it, Clark just shrugged and said Cindy was going through a horse phase.

It took another week for Lex to find out who Cindy was.

The next year, Clark's stuffed animal contribution came with an envelope with six months worth of riding lessons. Paid in advance. According to Ray, he and Clark still ranked at the top in his daughter's nightly prayers.

He hoped Cindy was still praying for him.

Tonight, he was going to need all the help he could get.

The annoyance evaporated the instant Lex opened the door and spotted Clark. It was replaced with concern because Clark no longer looked tired. Tired was too mild a term.

Clark looked beaten.

Lex watched, silent and remorseful as Clark swayed for a moment in the open doorway. He reached out to take Clark's arm, just to steady him and felt the rents in his already tattered heart widen as Clark flinched away. This was what his thoughtlessness had wrought. The one living person he loved could no longer bear his touch.

He stepped back, opening the door wider to allow Clark to pass without either of them touching. Once inside, Clark flinched again when Lex closed the door. It took every ounce of strength to not wrap his arms around Clark and simply hold on until this was all over.

By unspoken accord, they walked through the echoing and empty rooms until Lex pushed open the door to his study. The distance between them remained even after Clark eased himself down into one of the chairs instead of his customary seat on the couch. Rather than dull whatever edge he still had with alcohol, Lex chose two bottles of chilled water, twisting off the caps and handing one to Clark as he took a seat in the other chair.

Or at least, he tried to hand Clark the bottle, only to have it ignored. Clark wasn't looking at him; his entire focus appeared to be the red-petaled rose woven into the very center of the Aubusson carpet. Lex waited for Clark to look up and take the bottle but when that didn't occur, he set it down on the table in front of them.

It appeared that the conversation between them wouldn't happen unless he started it. This stubborn silence wasn't like Clark. Normally when they had a problem, Clark was the one who tried to solve it. Clark excelled at confrontations, especially where it concerned something Lex had done wrong.

Lex took a sip to soothe a suddenly dry throat before launching into the explanation he'd had a month to rehearse. Thirty-one showers, sixty-two sessions in front of the mirror in his closet, eighty-six rambling conversations in his rear-view interspersed with curses and terse comments directed at other drivers, untold hours spent staring at his reflection in every possible surface while he explained, cajoled, drew classical allegories, sketched out diagrams with his hands, tried every possible facial expression and on more than one occasion, flat-out begged for forgiveness. One chance, he needed just one chance and he'd win Clark back again.

Every one of those hours was wasted because now that moment was at hand, he couldn't think of a single word.

But he had to try. So he cleared his throat and that tentative noise caught Clark's attention. The gaze shifted from the carpet to Lex's face and whatever Lex meant to say dissolved as Clark's subdued tone filtered through the half-remembered phrases. "Lex, I just need to know one thing. Do you love him?"

Lex blinked, his brain desperately trying to connect the dots so completely scattered by the sound of that treasured voice. Him? What was Clark babbling about...




"Clark, Kori's not..." The unexpected thud of Clark's chair falling over as he stood up silenced the rest of the explanation. Lex leapt up himself, panic quickening his movements to the point where he beat Clark to the door, blocking it with his own body.

Clark couldn't leave; he had to stay so they could work this out.

He couldn't lose Clark again.

His hand on Clark's arm provided the last deterrent to Clark's possible exodus. The expected flinch came but this time, Lex held on, watching as Clark tried to pull himself together. When Clark finally looked at him instead of at the hand on his arm, Lex swallowed a curse. In the few minutes since Clark's arrival the appearance of utter exhaustion had deepened. There were dark circles under Clark's eyes, bruised and shining as if he'd been the one in the fight with Greg.

They shouldn't talk about this now. He should simply offer Clark a place to sleep and they could discuss this in the morning.

But somehow a bit of the Kent stubbornness resurfaced as Clark ran a hand through his messy hair and glared at him. Unaccustomed venom seeped into Clark's voice, imbuing every word with barely leashed violence. "I didn't need a name, Lex. I didn't want a name 'cause now I know who to hate."

"Clark," There really wasn't much he could say other than correct the error about Kori's sex. At this point, Lex was certain that it wouldn't help much. The only thing he could offer was far too simple, too trite a phrase for what he really felt but it was all he had. "I'm sorry."

For a moment, there was a flicker of gratitude for the apology before Clark pressed again for what he sought. "I know. Me too. Just do me a favor and answer the question. Do you love him?"

Lex paused, he needed to be completely honest at this juncture or any possibility of rebuilding a friendship with Clark would be gone. He thought he knew the answer to the question but he had to be certain instead of blurting out the first response. There might have been a time when he loved Kori. Of the women who'd shared his bed over the years, she was the only one he trusted.

Did trust equate to love?

Lex looked at Clark, whose bravado had faded in the face of the delayed response. Clark stood in the doorway with hands tucked in his pockets, eyes downcast and broad shoulders slumped. Every ounce of the misery Lex felt in the last month was echoed in that resigned stance as Clark waited for the blow that would shatter him. In that moment of contemplation, Lex discovered a profound truth about himself and possibly the entire human experience.

Trust did not equate to love but it could lead to it.

He'd betrayed Clark's trust. Now he had to earn it again. The only way he could earn it was by telling the absolute truth which he knew now without hesitation. "No, Clark. I don't."

It took a moment or two for Clark to absorb those words and the sincerity behind them. When it sank in, his gaze slowly lifted from the floor to Lex's face, his brow furrowing as he asked, "Then why?"

This was it.

This was the chance he needed.

This was the chance he'd prayed for.

"Clark, come sit down. We've got a lot to talk about."

Clark actually accepted the water this time, taking a sip from the bottle before rolling it back and forth between his hands. He watched Lex settle back down into the opposite chair, waiting quietly for the conversation to continue. Lex reached for his own bottle, his arm brushing across Clark's knee and this time Clark didn't flinch.

Lex's hand trembled as he brought the bottle to his lips, hiding the small prayer of thanks to whatever deity had decided to this was 'Be Kind to Lex Luthor Day'. Clark not flinching at his touch had to be a godsend.

Yes, Clark was still hurt. Clark was also still angry. But at least he was willing to listen. The problem was where to start. The first 'I'm sorry' got them this far and therefore bore repeating. "Clark, I am truly sorry. I never meant it to go that far."

"I know you're sorry, Lex. Your first fifty messages made that pretty clear." Another sip of the water and Lex felt his own mouth go dry at the sight of Clark's throat working. This was not the time to think about swallowing, or heat, or how much he wanted to lick the little bead of water off Clark's lower lip. Lex needed to get a grip because his eyes glazing over in the middle of explaining why this whole fiasco had happened wouldn't help his case. "Tell me something I don't know."

As an opening gambit, the shock value of a bald pronouncement of the truth was usually enough to put an opponent off balance and therefore give him a solid advantage. It had worked for him many times during tense contract negotiations so why not now? Lex took a swallow of his own water, then calmly stated, "Kori's not a man."

Fortunately, he timed that pronouncement so Clark didn't spew water all over both of them or shatter the bottle in a tightly clenched fist. The water wouldn't have been a problem since the temperature in the room had taken an inexplicable turn upward but dealing with first aid and a bleeding Clark was not on the agenda tonight.

Lex studied Clark's face, judging the impact and almost smiled when the actual initial reaction wasn't flat-out irritation. There was the eye-roll that customarily preceded a mocking comment from Clark, the standard ice-breaker between them in their past arguments.

Said comment came right on cue.

Thank you, Clark, for remaining predictable.

"Oh, please. Lex, I saw you. He was... he was..." Watching Clark struggle for the correct phrase without using an obscenity bordered on painful. Despite the fact that, until one month ago, Clark had been having at least oral sex on a fairly regular basis, he still remained Martha Kent's little boy. Lex started to offer a polite, politically correct term when Clark blurted out, "banging you like a screen door with a broken hinge."

Oh Christ.

Clark was adorable.

The urge to laugh was not a good idea right now but the ridiculous image Clark's outburst engendered was too much. Lex looked away, swiped his hand over his mouth and coughed to cover any possible laughter that leaked out. His shoulders shook, his eyes watered and the only thing that kept him from chuckling aloud was the genuinely annoyed look on Clark's face.

Which subtly changed as Clark caught on to the absurdity of what he'd said. First the eyes lightened from stormy green to a warmer tone, then one corner of his mouth quirked up followed by a shake of his head and a hand rubbing over his own face. Lex raised an eyebrow and a chuckle finally escaped as Clark's shoulders relaxed. "Okay. So sometimes I sound like my dad."

"Better yours than mine," Lex commented dryly, gaining another laugh from Clark and finally a smile. A small smile but it was a start. As long as they could keep this discussion on a humorous note, there was less chance of Clark bolting out into the night. "It's the truth, Clark. Kori's a woman. She's an old friend of mine."

"Really? You could've fooled me." Two points for the imitation of Lex's patented sarcasm, three more points when it was accompanied by an excellent interpretation of the Lexian smirk. "If Kori's not a guy, then how? From where I was standing it sure looked... Lex, c'mon, even I know girls don't have..."

"Dicks?" Yes, there was a blush and Clark was slumping down in the chair, his knee moving closer to Lex's own. He wanted so badly to reach out and touch but not yet. Not yet. "No, they don't, but there are substitutes, Clark."

"Why do I have the feeling this is a conversation I'm not old enough to be having?" Clark finished the last of his water and stood up. Immediately, Lex started to rise, ready to stop Clark from leaving if it came to that. A wave of Clark's hand forestalled another mad dash toward the door. "Lex, it's okay. I'm just going to get a real drink. Do you want anything?"

*Other than you? * Lex bit his lower lip to keep from saying that aloud. "This might make more sense if we were drunk." He watched as Clark uncorked the scotch and poured two expert measures into his glass. To Lex's surprise, Clark did the same with a second tumbler before returning to his side. He took the proffered glass, the first swallow of Lagavulin blazing its way to his stomach as Clark settled down on the couch instead of back into the solitary embrace of a chair.

The couch was a good sign as was Clark's subtle lean into the cushions with one arm over the back of the couch. While nothing had been settled between them, Clark's shift in body language from icily stiff to inviting provided a profound sense of relief in conjunction with a wave of longing. It would be so easy, so natural to simply get up and slide in under that arm. To mold his body to Clark's until they touched from shoulder to hip. To put his face into the familiar curve of Clark's throat and breathe him in.

Clark was obviously waiting for a continuation of the explanation and Lex would provide it... after he took another shot of courage. The heat within was accompanied with heat from without and to his chagrin, Lex realized that he was blushing. Something that hadn't happened in years.

He wasn't sure where to start but when in doubt the beginning was always the best. While there was no comfortable segue between his revelation of Kori's true sex and the root of the problem, Lex hoped Clark would bear with him. "Clark, you remember our first time?"

The look from Clark has one translation; 'well, duh.' It was accompanied by a slow smile, though, which was encouragement enough to continue. "I was having trouble. You aren't exactly... small." Probably the wrong tack to take, because Clark's slightly amused expression flickered as did his eyes, moving from Lex's face to contemplate of a point south of his own navel. The nervousness from their first encounter threatened to return, heralded by a blush that mirrored Lex's own.

"Clark, stop. You're perfect. You're incredible. But you are big and you're the first guy I've ever blown and God, you suck cock like an absolute dream." The reason he'd avoided alcohol in the first place was to ward off the possibility of his babbling. But here he was babbling and Clark was... actually sipping calmly at his scotch and again waiting for Lex to continue. "To quote a dear friend of mine, you rock my world. And I wasn't rocking yours."

The glass in Clark's hand trembled for a moment as he looked at Lex. Breathless, his heart having taken up residence somewhere in his throat, Lex tried the force it back down into its proper place with a few convulsive swallows while Clark studied him. Calm and deliberate as if he was weighing every consequence before he made a decision. Their very future hung in the balance here and how the hell was Clark managing to stay so serene when he was ready to jump out of his own skin?

Lex slid forward in his chair and then it happened.

Clark... smiled.

Not a huge smile, not the usual blinding grin that always made Lex reach for his sunglasses, but a small, secretive smile that lurked around the corners of his mouth and momentarily lifted the veil of exhaustion that clung to him. As a sign of acceptance, it wasn't much. However, at this juncture, Lex was willing to grasp at straws. He'd take whatever he could get.

Carefully, Clark set down his drink and moved with a grace Lex would never have believed possible had he not witnessed it with his own eyes. From lounging on the couch to kneeling in front of him took a matter of several breath-taking moments, culminating in the feel of broad, warm and oh-so-welcome hands smoothing over his thighs. Lex waited, breathless as hope bloomed in the arid desert of his soul when Clark murmured, "Lex, all you have to do to rock my world is walk into the room."




The relief he'd felt when Clark appeared at his door was a single drop in the ocean compared to what he felt as those words left Clark's mouth. Lex longed to replace them with his own mouth, to kiss Clark until neither of them could remember their own names but no matter how good that prospect sounded, there were too many issues they needed to work out before that could happen. Instead of leaning into the kiss he felt was waiting for him, Lex sagged back into the chair, the tension leeching out of him as those wonderful hands remained braced on his thighs.

Despite his determination not to complicate this with a kiss, the complication found him anyway. Soft and remarkably chaste, a single brush of that beloved mouth over his own and his whole body trembled at its passing. Christ, he loved Clark. There was no use in denying it any longer. He loved Clark with a passion that frightened him. No one ever made him feel this way; not Vicky, not Helen, not even Desiree. He'd managed to let each of them go and emerge battered but still whole.

Having lost this, having lost Clark almost destroyed him.

He couldn't lose him again.

Whatever Clark wanted, whatever Clark needed, whatever it would take to keep Clark in his life, Lex would do it. If Clark could find it in his heart to forgive him, Lex would never touch another human being again. He'd spend the rest of his days in abject devotion of the one person in the world who made him feel whole.

"Lex," Clark's voice in his ear had him turning toward the sound, his skin tingling at the faint possibility of another encounter with Clark's mouth. The tickling touch of hair against his cheek was almost as good. Lex wanted to reach up and run his fingers through it, feel it curl in his palms, smell the rain in every lock, rub his face in the errant strands at the nape of Clark's neck. Immerse himself in the wonder that was Clark Kent. If he could only stop shaking, he'd do just that. "Can the rest of the explanation wait until morning? I'm exhausted."

There was no denying the obvious. The depth of Clark's fatigue went beyond anything Lex had ever witnessed before. Quite frankly, he was amazed that Clark was still upright. Or perhaps he wasn't because there was an increase in the pressure on his legs and Clark's forehead nestled into the back of the chair, his weight resting against Lex's shoulders.

Even though Lex felt it would be better to get the rest of their problem aired, sleep didn't sound like a bad idea either. Surprised by the fact that his voice didn't break given his proximity to his greatest desire, Lex answered with a polite. "Of course, Clark. Do you want to stay here?"

As if Clark had the strength to go anywhere else? The shift of Clark's body into a more comfortable position, one that ended up with an elbow in Lex's side confirmed that Clark could probably go to sleep right there.

Lex could live with that.

"Yeah. If that's okay with you." The head on his shoulder lifted just enough for Lex to find himself looking in a pair of shadowed eyes. Rather than answer, Lex nodded and slid down lower into the chair to avoid that sharp elbow. His arms lifted of their own accord, his left hand unerringly drawn to the open collar of Clark's shirt and the warm skin beyond.

The couch would be better but he was loath to move Clark and give up even one second of being this close. Lex turned his head, his cheek against the rough stubble of Clark's as he closed his eyes. They opened again when he heard Clark mumble, "Can I sleep with you?"

Somewhere there were angels singing for the heavens had just opened and allowed Lucifer back into God's embrace. Lex swallowed thickly, pushing away the heady rush of joy as he murmured, "I thought you'd never ask."

Sleeping with Clark contained none of the awkwardness inherent in sharing his bed in the past. Clark didn't assess the value of the furnishings or toy with the items on the dressers and nightstands. There was no primping in the mirrors or fussing with the bed curtains. As Lex undressed both of them, Clark smiled and watched through sleepy eyes while their clothes were neatly folded and laid on a chair.

Once both of them were stripped down to boxers, Clark pulled back the covers and settled in between the sheets like he'd been there for years. Lex leaned against a bedpost and drank in the sight of golden skin, dark curls and the slow smile that welcomed his quiet inspection. How they had gone from estranged to this easy intimacy in a span of a few short hours, Lex would never understand. It was a miracle he had no intention of questioning.

In a last effort before fatigue took its toll, Clark patted the bed beside him and closed his eyes. The invitation was gratefully accepted, cool cotton sheets lifting and embracing Lex's entire body before the warmth from Clark's enveloped his senses. He turned into that heat, the shaking returning as Clark's arm slid under his neck and he was pulled in close. One leg over Clark's, his knee nudging the quiescent monster that had started this whole mess and his head nestled into the hollow of Clark's shoulder.

Utter peace soaked into Lex all the way down to his bones.

Oh God.

He never knew that this was what sleeping with somebody meant. Not the sex, not the push and pull, not the slap of body against body, not the driving urge to complete the act in a blaze of solipsistic glory and roll away to find oneself alone again. No. That was just the pre-show entertainment. This, this was the rest of the event.

He breathed in Clark's unique scent; that subtle mix of water and earth and sky that no cologne could ever imitate. Clark smelled like hope; blessed rain on earth parched by years of drought. Clark smelled like life; green shoots breaking through now fertile ground. Clark smelled like redemption; a guiding light that could lead even the most debased individual back from the brink of disaster.

Clark smelled like home.

Lex closed his eyes, murmuring under his breath how much he missed Clark and how much he loved Clark even though he knew Clark was already asleep. Those words going unheard didn't matter. All that mattered was that he said them. He'd say them again when they woke up and every day for the rest of his life until Clark believed him, until Clark trusted him again.

Trust did not equate to love but it could lead to it.

He would lead Clark and hopefully Clark would follow.

Morning came without Lex's permission. He rolled away from the solid wall of warmth against his back and slapped his hand down on the alarm clock. There was a snarl of fabric around his ankles that he kicked off in his effort to stop the noise. The grating sound of Bach's Brandenberg Concerti ceased immediately allowing him to settle back into the welcome symphony of movement and touch currently playing along the vulnerable curve of his spine. His eyes drifted closed as a mouth enveloped the bump at the base of his skull and expertly fellated it.

Lex arched into the broad hand splayed over his belly, the back of it rubbing against the only part of his body that was actually awake. His brain, overloaded with sensation, struggled to connect the dots between the events of the past few weeks and determine just who the hell was rubbing up against him. The heavy weight of a cock between the cheeks of his ass half-confirmed the sex, the steady pulse along its length confirmed the rest. Not even the top-of-the line toys could duplicate that.

A bite on his shoulder had him gasping and the murmur of his name turned that intake of breath into a moan. Clark. He hadn't dreamed it. Clark was right behind him. Clark was kissing a path down his spine from shoulder to hip, lingering in the small of Lex's back while broad hands traced and then spread the crack of his ass.

Lex cleared his throat, intent on greeting Clark with a sleepy good morning and an offer of breakfast but the words became another moan and then a yelp, which had never been part of his pillow-bound repertoire prior to Kori's surprise attack last month. Right along with it came the scrabbling of his hands on the sheets in an effort to gain purchase because Clark... Ah, God.

Clark's mouth was right there and rimming had just been taken to a whole new level because that was Clark's tongue. And those were Clark's fingers and Oh Christ, Greg was right, Clark was gay and Clark was good. No, strike that. Clark was great and Clark was experienced, so experienced that in a matter of seconds Lex was chanting his name and rubbing against the sheets and begging. "Oh fuck, Clark. Clark, stop. I can't stand it. Please, please, please fuck me. Do it now. I'm ready."

"Mmmm. Not yet." Cruel, Clark Kent was a cruel bastard and how in God's name was he able to do that with his tongue? Oh. Oh yeah, fingers now and no... tongue again and a bite to his right cheek and a nuzzle to the left and yeah... Balls, yeah, he had balls and Clark was sucking on them, drawing them in one by one and then both together and there were two fingers in his ass. No, that was three fingers and those were stars he was seeing because that was his prostate and hot... hot, so hot.

He was going to come. He was going to come hard, he was going to come now and nothing was going to stop it.

And Clark was saying something. Why was Clark talking when he should be busy getting Lex off? He was going to have to file a complaint with Fucking Cruel Boyfriends Anonymous because his balls ached and his cock hurt and he was going to stop the talking by shoving that cock down Clark's throat and what was Clark saying?

"Who do you want, Lex? Do you want me?" Whispered against his hip, the words buzzing their way into the brain by way of his bones and fuck was that a fourth finger? Okay, he could handle it but Clark's fingers were so much bigger than Kori's and where had he found the lube?

Oh, he had to answer, didn't he?

What was the question again?

"Guhhh." Brilliant, Lex. You graduated in the top one percent in the nation. I can tell by the excellent control of the English language and by the way, your boyfriend is waiting for an answer. "Hunnngggghhh." Not much better but I'll award a point for the fact you at least managed that much even though you really should stop drooling and answer him. If you answer, he'll let you come and then he'll...

Oh God, not the thumb. Clark's dick he could handle but the prospect of Clark's fist scared the hell out of him. Clark had hands the size of dinner plates and even though his ass might be actively entertaining the idea, Lex really wasn't ready for it. He rolled over, trying to squirm away from that possibility while he looked at Clark who now loomed above him. "You. I want you."

"Nobody else?" A lick along the crease between his thigh and his groin and there weren't enough curses in the world to describe how frustrating that felt. "No girls? Not even ones with *substitutes? *" Fuck, Clark was being smug - self-righteous little bastard.

That did it. Once he came he was going to murder Clark. No, he was going to dangle him over the balcony because Lex knew Clark was afraid of heights. Better yet, he'd lean Clark over the edge, make him look down and while Clark was scrambling to get away, he'd grab Clark's hips and fuck the hell out of him.

Who knows, maybe the feeling of Clark heaving his guts out mid-coitus would add to the whole experience. Plus, there would be the chance that Dad would be out on his balcony over at LuthorCorp Plaza and he'd get the satisfaction of revenge on his boyfriend while flaunting the second lover of his that his father had no chance in hell of ever fucking.

Thumb. *Thumb! * His ass tightened and there was warm breath on his cock and was that a brush of a tongue? Lex opened his eyes which somehow were clamped shut and he glared down at Clark. Who was blowing on his dick and didn't he know that that was only a figure of speech?

Somehow, despite the fact that he'd left desperate behind miles ago, Lex actually saw Clark and it clicked. He stilled all movements, his body coming to rest and his hands framing Clark's face. What he saw wasn't Clark being smug. It wasn't cruelty.

It was fear.

Clark was terrified and easily as desperate as he was. Probably more so given how gentle Clark normally was. Growing up with Lionel as a father combined with his years in Smallville taught Lex many valuable lessons. One of them was this; fear drove men to do things they would never do otherwise.

"No, Clark. No girls. No substitutes. No other guys either." Lex traced the line of Clark's lips with his thumb, groaning when they opened and the hot wash of Clark's tongue over it had his cock jerking. And leaking all over Clark's cheek. "Just you."

Clark didn't answer. He didn't need to. The flood of relief reflected in his eyes and the bright sparkle of something close to tears said it all. He lowered his head and in one smooth glide, took Lex all the way into his mouth.

The fingers stayed where they were although the thumb withdrew and for that reprieve, Lex breathed a sigh of relief. He closed his eyes, shutting out the rest of the world except for the welcoming warmth and the soft caress of Clark's tongue along the underside of his cock. Sex wasn't going to solve their problems but he wasn't about to pull the noble card here. Not when he was so close and Clark was rocking against him, the hard brand of his cock sliding back and forth along Lex's calf.

This was a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Therefore, silently and with immense gratitude, Lex came in Clark's mouth. And Clark greedily drank it down, sucking harder and harder as he sought to gather every drop, intent on draining Lex dry.

His hands drifted idly through Clark's hair, hips jerking a little when Clark got too enthusiastic but there was no possibility of complaint. Clark was just as desperate for him as he'd been for Clark and that knowledge eased away the rest of his fears.

He hadn't meant for it to go this way. This morning he'd planned on getting out of bed before Clark woke up and rearranging his day so he could cook breakfast for both of them and then take Clark out for an actual date.

Not one that they'd been forced into by their odd accord but one where they went and did everything Clark enjoyed. A walk in the park, a quick bite to eat, perhaps a visit to the zoo because you could take the boy out of the farm but not the farm out of the boy. There was a pair of pandas Clark could watch for hours and while he would never admit it aloud, there were three snow leopard cubs Lex adored. They were fierce and strong and playful and devoted to each other.

Just like he was devoted to Clark.

Lex had planned on many dates before they got to this point. He'd woo Clark slowly; tempt him with long drives under the Kansas sky while he watched the wind in Clark's hair and basked in the smiles that rivaled the sun above them. He'd fascinate Clark with stories drawn from the pages of history and read to him about the exploits of famous men. He'd draw Clark back in with promises of undying friendship and kisses that scorched both of them while ending the night with a chaste touch of hands right outside Clark's dorm room.

It would've been a great romance, one that the tabloids would never have gotten wind of because what he felt for Clark was a private matter. They'd made their splash already, had their fifteen minutes of fame and if he'd had to bribe every last journalist in the nation, Lex would have kept them out of their lives.

But rather than romance, he had this. He had Clark wiping his mouth with his free hand and rising up between his legs. His own cock, now sated, lay in a limp curve along his belly while Clark's, dark red with blood, shoved in alongside it. There was a twitch of interest, a surge of movement but Lex's own valiant warrior was spent, unable to rise again.

Lex shrugged an apology which earned him a grin and a salt-bitter kiss. One that he clung to, a protest whimpered into the connection when Clark's fingers were withdrawn. The emptiness was painful, more painful than the invasion had been, leaving Lex ready to beg for their return.

Instead, Clark sat back, picking something up from a fold in the sheets and flipped it open. Lex peered at it, catching only a portion of the label, something-glide. When he pushed himself up on his elbows to examine the article more closely, Clark shook his head and gently eased him back down.

While Lex watched, Clark encompassed his own cock in his fist and jacked it slowly. Mouth instantly dry, Lex arched upward, ready to catch the impending flood on his chest and throat. He missed the taste of Clark, the thick sweetness roiling over his tongue and down into his stomach. Though he'd prefer to gather it himself, having Clark come all over him was an acceptable alternative.

Except Clark stopped, his hand stilling and then shifting to Lex's legs, where it was joined by his other hand. Together, they lifted his legs up over Clark's shoulders, hooking the backs of Lex's knees into the strong curve there. Comprehension of what was happening didn't come until he felt the first blunt push and the loosened muscle gave way.

Uhhhh. No substitutes. Not ever again. There was nothing that could compare with the real thing. The heat, the flex, the thin trickle of sweat on Clark's forehead that Lex wanted to lick off. The hard press, the sensation of being pinned and blown wide open as his lover scooted forward on his knees and pushed.

That whimper must have come from him which, honestly, was better than a yodel but still embarrassing. It was loud enough that Clark stopped and opened his eyes. "Hey. I'm sorry. It hurts more this way but I don't want you to be thinking about her. Just bear with me. It gets better. I promise."

Oh fuck.

Clark wasn't a virgin.

The expert rim job should've been his first clue. Actually, their first date and the way Clark just sucked him in without hesitation was his first clue. Which probably meant his initial thought that Clark had spent the last month getting the experience Lex wanted to be the primogenitor of because he, Lex, had been caught getting banged up the ass by somebody else, was ill-conceived.

It appeared they had a lot more to talk about than just Kori... later. Not now. Not while he was finally getting what he wanted. He wanted this, he'd always wanted this, even though he couldn't admit it to himself until this moment.

Clark was right, there was pain, a lot of it. Closing his eyes, determined not to cry out or scare Clark away, Lex took a few deep breaths. Pain was something he could handle, he had a lot of practice at it. The tender way Clark had been looking at him and waiting for him to get comfortable was the thing Lex wasn't used to. He honestly didn't know how to respond.

The reality of getting fucked was vastly different from the theory.

While what he'd done with Kori was similar, it had been nowhere near as intimate nor as frightening. Kori was tiny, someone he could throw across the room without a second thought. Clark -- Clark was huge, his sheer physical presence more than enough incentive to set distress alarms off in every corner of Lex's psyche. His first reaction was to push the threat away, to protect himself and his body from further harm but he couldn't do that.

He loved Clark. He wanted this. No matter how much it hurt, he wanted this. Quietly, Lex ducked his head down and stifled any further sounds of distress. He only hoped Clark could forgive him for not being the instant fuck Clark might have been looking for here.

The time it took for him to relax felt like hours even though Lex knew it was only minutes. Finally, the pain faded and he was able to take pleasure from what was happening and marvel at the difference between what he had experienced and what he was experiencing now.

Clark was longer and thicker and warmer than Kori's toy had been. He was also better, rocking slowly in and out while Lex adjusted to the invasion. His hands bracketed Lex's head, palms pressed flat against the bed, muscles tense with the effort of keeping his weight off Lex. Full lower lip caught between his teeth, biting so hard there should be blood trickling down his chin. Lex reached up to free it from the painful bite and Clark kissed his fingertips.

Clark's eyes were actually open, watching him carefully as he instructed. "Lock your ankles around my neck. There. That's it. How's the pain?"

Was a verbal reply strictly necessary here? Couldn't he just go with a nod and a grunt or two? Apparently not because Clark's forward progress halted immediately, leaving Lex to deal with the vociferous complaints from both his cock and his ass. "I'm fine," he blurted out, shifting up and encompassing Clark's wrists in his hand.

Something he'd done set off a minor spasm in his back and when Lex clamped down tight in protest, Clark shook. A whole body tremble followed by the withdrawal of his hips and an immediate slam forward. Lex's head bounced off the headboard, his prostate offered up enough pleasure to outweigh that sudden pain and Lex groaned as his cock jerked and spilled a weak measure of semen onto his abdomen.

Christ, coming again that quick was painful. So painful that he tightened on Clark once more and Clark was shouting and the bed was shaking. His ass burned because Clark was moving fast, the wrists he'd grabbed onto were gone, Clark's head was buried in the pillow next to him and there were hands around his ass, pulling Lex up into the hardest fuck he'd ever experienced in his life. Granted he'd always been the penetrating partner in the past but uhhh... it felt good.

Hearing his name being repeated over and over again while Clark proceeded to permanently fuse their bodies together in a molten motion Lex knew he'd be addicted to for the rest of his life, felt even better. Best of all was the moment when Clark lifted his head, looked him in the eye and came. Filling him with so much heat, Lex was certain he was branded for all eternity. His cock, spent and only half-hard, twitched in response and Lex's eyes rolled back in his head as he experienced what he'd believed to be a myth.

A dry climax. Ecstasy burning through his veins and sparks dancing under his skin and there was every chance he'd blacked out for a second because when he became aware again, Clark was kissing his slack mouth, murmuring 'thank you' and 'you're mine' over and over and over.

Note to self: a jealous, possessive Clark is not a bad thing. It gets you laid like you've never been laid before.

The internal memos kept coming as Lex accepted those kisses, returning them with his own and swearing in between each one that he was Clark's. By then time they finally came to rest in a sticky, sweaty and very satisfied mess, Lex had accumulated a great deal of indelible information.

  1. Clark wanted him - stupidly obvious observation given the fact that Clark had just come and was still hard and was moving again.
  2. He liked getting fucked - also another obvious observation since he was encouraging Clark with little hitches of his hips
  3. Clark was into branding him - there were stinging bites on his shoulders and marks on his arms that were going to be there for hours
  4. Getting branded turned him on - no need for additional commentary on that one
  5. Clark was the best lover he'd ever had.
  6. Clark had done this before
  7. And it didn't matter - because he was only going to do this with Lex from now on, end of discussion.
  8. Most important of all - Clark had forgiven him

He could live with that.

The second time was slower and sweeter with Clark barely moving in and out while they kissed. He eased Lex's legs down from his shoulders and after a few minutes of fumbling for a comfortable position, Lex hooked his ankles over the backs of Clark's thighs. Lex was sore, he was going to pay for this later but he also wasn't going to ask Clark to stop.

No, he was going to enjoy this for as long as it lasted. Clark was watching him, touching him, loving him. Even though he hadn't said the words, Lex could feel the depth of the emotion in every kiss, in the way Clark stopped whenever Lex made a sound that might be interpreted as pain, in the way Clark looked at him - like he was afraid Lex was going to vanish from beneath him.

He didn't come again but Clark did with a long, shuddering sigh. When movement ceased, Lex turned his face into the curve of Clark's shoulder and held on. Although they really should separate, he was disinclined to do so until the last possible moment.

For when their bodies parted, he would be solitary again.

Alone within his own skin.

He was so tired of being alone.

"Lex," Clark's voice was a soft rumble in his ear, deeper than he remembered. It lulled him, his eyes drifting shut as Clark's hand stroked his cheek and then over the top of his head. "Go to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up."

"You promise?" There was that childish question again. So full of hope and the need to trust and he really needed to stop saying that. His Dad was probably spinning in his grave... Oh, wait. Dad was still alive, wasn't he? Okay, so he was probably spinning in his desk chair. In retrospect, that image was pretty damn funny. He bit back what might have been a giggle only to have Clark kiss his mouth open again.

"I promise. Sleep." Lex nodded and closed his eyes once more. His arms remained where they were around Clark's neck and one ankle still rested on the inner curve of Clark's calf while Morpheus spread his cloak of stars over Lex's head. Welcome breath in his ear and the steady throb of another heart against his own provided the cadence of a lullaby that no one could hear but him.

Sleep came easily for once.

Deep, dreamless sleep.

When Lex awoke, it was to the sound of a voice. Clark's voice and he stirred, opening his eyes to the sight of Clark with his back braced against the headboard, still gloriously naked and with a phone held to his ear as he said, "That's right, Georgia. Lex will be in tomorrow. Un-huh... Uh-huh... Why don't you fax those over here and I'll make sure he sees them."

Lex elbowed himself into an upright position, something he recognized immediately as a mistake because his ass was not only on speaking terms with him; it was on screaming terms. There was throbbing as well as a sharp, stabbing pain which Clark had noticed because he was pushing Lex back down into the bed with a shake of his head. "No, he'll be fine. He's just had a rough night... Yeah, I'll take care of him. Thanks, Georgia. I'll see you soon. Bye."

Well, that was interesting. Lex knew Georgia liked Clark, but the subtle thread of command in Clark's voice and the ease with which his hard-as-nails executive assistant accepted the message that her commander-in-chief was not going to be in, surprised him. Especially since the last time he'd missed a day of work, Georgia grilled him for ten minutes before she accepted the fact he wasn't coming in.

Lex had given her a raise the very next day.

For her tenacity alone, she deserved it.

As Lex mulled over the possibility that Clark was better than he at controlling one of his top employees, Clark set the phone down and loomed over him. His hands were planted on either side of Lex's head, his knees bracketed Lex's hips and if Clark eased down just a little further, Lex was certain he could convince his body to stop complaining long enough to do something about Clark being this close. Like beg Clark to fuck him again even though his ass wasn't ready to accept any more boarders.

He wasn't going into work today, therefore sitting wasn't that necessary of a skill. There was always lying down, like he was right now. Or standing, standing was good. He could stand and brace his hands on his desk or against the wall while Clark demonstrated his heretofore-unsuspected rimming skills. He could coerce Clark into sitting on the bathroom counter and show Clark everything Kori taught him. He could lean over the edge of the bed or the couch and let Clark do everything Kori couldn't.

Before he could settle on a particular position to suggest, Lex's train of thought was derailed by a warm, friendly kiss. He reached up, trying to coax Clark down on top of him only to be gently pushed back with a murmured, "Good morning. Are you hungry?"

"Yes. For you." And yes, he meant to say that out loud. The smile Lex got in return was nothing short of spectacular and for a moment, he basked in it and the reflected warmth from Clark's skin. Telling the truth had never felt so good.

"Mmmm. I'll take you up on that... later." Clark sat back on his heels, his gaze skimming along Lex's ribs and the smile faded. It was absurd to think the light in the room faded as well but it did. Lex waited in silence while Clark examined him, fingers tracing the same path as his eyes. "You've lost weight." Clark finally stated.

Lex nodded as he did an assessment of his own. Clark's waist was narrower; his shoulders broader and as always his chest and stomach were picture perfect. Just as incredible as the day he'd met him and yet... Clark's face was thinner, older and the fatigue from the night before still lurked behind his eyes. "I know. You did too."

"Yeah. There was nothing I was hungry for." The dark, intense gaze swept over his face, coming to rest on Lex's mouth for a moment before shifting downward. It stopped just short of his hips and Lex swallowed a moan when Clark wet his lips, murmuring, "I'm hungry now."

Nothing in the world could've heated his skin faster, nor make his mouth water harder. Pavlov was a rank amateur compared to Clark Kent. In order to keep from jumping on Clark, Lex forced himself to relax, easing all the way down into the bed as he replied, "You can have anything you want."

"Good," Clark leaned in close, his mouth brushing against Lex's as he continued, "I want... pancakes, bacon, eggs, milk, biscuits, orange juice..." Even though Clark was actually talking about food, Lex's brain wasn't quite catching it. The distraction of Clark being that close apparently kept the synapses from firing properly. He just laid there, nodding in mute agreement while Clark stroked a slow pattern over the top of his head and destroyed any possible reply as Lex's skin reported just how good that felt to his over-taxed cerebellum.

If Clark kept doing that, Lex would agree to anything. Clark could say the sky was pink and he'd believe it. Clark could confess to being an alien and he'd believe it. Clark could state that he, Lex, was gay and Lex would not only believe it but he'd shout it from the rooftops. He'd take out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, he'd come out in the middle of a LexCorp board meeting, he'd give up his political ambitions because no one would vote a gay man into the Oval Office.

If he had Clark, he didn't need to be President.

Clark was still talking, wasn't he? Which meant paying attention might be a good idea, especially since he just heard, "...Then I want you. I missed you, Lex." Those words were accompanied by a kiss that took both their breaths away. Lex wrapped his arms around Clark and held on for as long as Clark would allow.

No, he didn't need to be President.

If he had Clark, he already ruled the world.

Breakfast was waiting for them when they finally came up for air. Everything Clark requested while in their bed was laid out on the sideboard, along with other tidbits Lex suspected Matilda had been hoarding in the event of Clark's return. As Clark gleefully loaded up his plate, Lex procured a cup of coffee and approached his usual seat.

Matilda was a gem. She not only catered to the dictates of Clark's palate but his own as well. There were buttered toast points, black currant jam and half a grapefruit already sprinkled with salt waiting for him along with the morning editions. Lex sighed in contentment as he placed a dollop of jam on the first point, listening to the clinking of utensils behind him and basking in the certainty that in a moment or two, he'd be sharing a meal with Clark again.

Now if he could manage to sit without squirming. Or possibly passing out.

Laughter shouldn't have been his first response when he pulled out his chair. But it was, along with a sudden blush that heated the back of his neck. His gem of a housekeeper just earned herself a raise, a full-expense paid vacation to the Bahamas and whatever else he could come up with because on his chair was a cushion. Not only a cushion but a very specific type of cushion, one designed with his current... difficulty in mind.

Still chuckling, Lex lowered himself into the chair with a minimum of squirming, although there might have been a moan or two interspersed with the laughter. Clark joined him a minute later with a plate mounded with food and a raised eyebrow at the cushion. The innocent inquiry might have worked if it hadn't been followed up with a conspiratorial smirk.

In cahoots with his housekeeper as well?

Apparently no woman in Lex's world was immune to the Kent charm.

Choosing not to comment, Lex took a sip of coffee, picked up the entire stack of newspapers and set them on an empty chair. It was time to establish a new routine. He calmly ate his breakfast while watching Clark, an occupation he planned indulging in every morning.

The mid-morning sun slanted across the table, its glow reflected in the silver, gilding Clark's skin as he reached for the salt. Once the salt was replaced, Clark did a very curious thing. He set his hand down in a pool of sunlight, his eyes closing as he happily demolished a butter-and-jam laden biscuit and while Lex studied him over the top of his coffee cup, the lines of exhaustion on Clark's face faded. The longer Clark's hand remained in the sun, the more refreshed he looked as if what was restoring him was not the food, nor the hours of companionable sleep... but the exposure to the sun itself.

This was the most obvious demonstration Lex ever witnessed of Clark's 'otherness'. There were so many things he suspected, and a few years in Smallville provided Lex with a healthy propensity to suspend disbelief, but Clark had always been so cautious. Lex had roomfuls of information he'd gathered on Clark, all of which were now locked away in a vault only he had the combination for, a number that was included in his behest to Clark upon the event of his death. But all of the evidence was circumstantial, based on conjecture and, in some cases, wild speculation -- nothing had ever been proven.

Now here was the proof he sought, right in front of him and Lex leaned forward, the questions ready when Clark opened his eyes and looked at Lex. The hint of a smile, the tilt of his head and that sun-warmed hand moving to cover Lex's own quashed any possible inquiry.

There really was no need to ask; Lex knew everything he needed to know.

Clark was his friend.

He loved Clark.

He'd do anything for Clark, including respecting the unspoken boundaries set out in the early years of their relationship.

If Clark wanted to tell him, Clark would.

Until then, he would wait.

The study seemed to be the logical place for a continuance of their earlier discussion even though Lex would have been perfectly content to go back to bed. Georgia's faxes lay in wait for him, their presence disrupting the pristine surface of his desk. Lex avoided them for a few moments, choosing instead to open the drapes but Clark knew him too well.

"Lex, why don't you take care of those? I need a shower anyway." The feeble protest Lex intended to raise was brushed away with a shrug and one of those smiles that made his legs go weak. Or maybe it was the kiss Clark gave before leaving Lex to his work. It was hard to tell.

Twenty minutes and two terse phone calls later, Clark reappeared just as Lex was ready to hunt him down. Fresh from the shower, hair still damp and his robe exchanged for a pair of tailored slacks and a blue shirt, silk if memory served, bare feet and there was a reason why they weren't in bed together, right?

What with the blood rushing away from his brain, Lex couldn't exactly remember.

While Lex tried to come up with a logical reason for them to retire at ten o'clock in the morning, Clark sauntered over to the couch and dropped into it. Sauntering, that was new. He'd seen Clark shuffle, trip, stumble, bumble, slink like a dog with a tail between its legs and even actually walk but he'd never seen that move before. It was far too smooth for his image of Clark Kent.

Wait, he had seen that move before. During his second year in Smallville and both times, he swore Clark was high on something. Swaggering bravado all wrapped up in an expensive coat, scorching looks and a proffered escape to Metropolis that not only set off every single alarm bell but also started Lex's reacquaintance with his left hand.

That was the first night he came with Clark's name as his litany.

Frequent late night sessions became a habit that continued throughout his relationship with Helen, all the way up until the evening he asked her to marry him. Ever faithful, he abstained from that activity during their engagement and disastrously brief marriage only to pick it back up two days after washing ashore on that island. In Lex's estimation, a murder attempt by one's spouse - proven or not - certainly negated the civil and moral compunction to cleave only unto her.

The days of that long summer were spent learning how to survive. Therefore, they went fast. But the nights... those were reserved for thinking about home and Clark in just that coat and nothing else.

It helped pass the time.

Lex answered Clark's engaging smile by easing down next to him. The pain was almost gone but there was no point in aggravating the situation with something as simple as sitting. Now if he was sitting down on Clark's lap and they were both naked and yeah, there was no denying it any longer...

He was gay.

Not only that but Kori was right.

Clark owned him.

Case in point, the way he molded himself to Clark's side even though there were serious matters they had to discuss. Such as how Clark knew what position hurt more. Or where he learned how to give those incredible blow-jobs. And what about the rimming that made Lex forget his own name? And where had the tube of Astro-glide he'd found in the bed before breakfast come from? It wasn't his, so it had to be Clark's and what was Clark doing walking around with lube in the first place?

He knew he didn't have any right to be jealous but that knowledge meant nothing to his inner Lex. An inner Lex who was demanding a brand on Clark's chest or at least a tattoo in a clearly visible spot to mark his territory. Maybe they could get one together... and wouldn't that go over big at the next interminable holiday spent in his father's presence.

He could hear it now. *'Lex, son, I know you're fond of the Kent boy but what possessed you to have his name injected under your skin? Care to enlighten me on what comes next. Something from Tiffany's, perhaps. Let me guess... matching nipple rings or given his simple tastes, a collar?'*

Thinking of his father had the desired effect. Any possible native uprising was effectively quelled, leaving Lex calm, cool and collected as he took a sip from one of the freshly opened bottles on the coffee table. Clark followed suit, snagging the other Ty Nant for himself and clinking it against Lex's before raising it to his lips.

All right.

That was it.

Who was this guy and what had he done with Lex's Clark? Where had all this self-confidence come from? Yes, the sex had been heart-stopping and hotter than hell but even the greatest fuck in the world couldn't bring about a transformation this profound.

"Clark, do you want to tell me what's going on here?" That might have come out a bit harsher than he intended but, as Lex noted, rather than cringe, Clark smiled wider. Almost like he'd said something cute and Clark was about to pat him on the head like a good little puppy. Which would feel wonderful but he did have at least a few shreds of dignity left... as long as both of them ignored the begging from earlier... and the noises... and how much he wanted to be under Clark right now.

"You don't love Kori." As a statement of bald fact, Clark was dead on but how it fit into what they had to talk about, Lex had no clue. *'Alex, I'll take non sequitors for a thousand, please.'* He stared at Clark, trying to make the connection and failing.

The grin just got bigger and bigger despite the fact Clark wasn't making any sense. Or maybe he was making sense because Lex was nodding in agreement and waiting for the rest of it. Lex wasn't sure how kissing figured into the explanation but he went along with it, nipping at Clark's bottom lip as he started to draw back which resulted in more kisses and the unbuttoning of his shirt along with Clark's and when they stopped, Clark was on top of him.

Ah, apparently mind reading was another one of Clark's mysterious skills.

Lex was about to call a true halt to their stalled conversation in favor of a more physical exchange when Clark raised up on his elbows. They looked at each other; want and need simmering between them until Clark stated, "It's simple, Lex. When you love, it's forever."

The staring gave way to an open-mouthed gape that if Clark ever mentioned to anybody else would lead to his hospitalization. When he was able to shut his mouth, Lex did so but not before voicing a terse, "Excuse me? Where did you get that idea?"

The very concept was ludicrous.

He fell in and out of love on a regular basis, sometimes in the space of an hour or two, depending on who he was with. Of course, most of the times that happened he'd been with Clark but who was counting? He'd loved... no, not her... or her, or even her and he was fond of Kori but as Clark just pointed out, he didn't love her.

Wait a minute.

He had to think about this...


Clark was right about forever.

In his whole life, he'd loved only four women.

His mother and Pamela, both long dead and buried next to one another contrary to his father's wishes. Lex visited their graves on Mother's Day, their birthdays and the anniversary of their deaths with flowers and promises to be a better man.

He loved Martha Kent with a devotion that rivaled the affections of her husband and her own son. She was his conscience, always willing to take him to task when his upbringing overwhelmed his humanity. Whenever he visited the Kent Farm, usually tagging along on Clark's heels, her genuine smile of welcome and unsolicited hugs were something he lived for.

Lastly, he loved Helen. Even with the staggering amount of circumstantial evidence that she'd orchestrated his near fatal plane crash, there was no solid proof and while he survived, she'd never resurfaced. Five years after the fact, Lex still had people looking for her. The less said about that, the better.

The four of them had permanent places in his heart, their names etched indelibly on his soul.

Clark was right.

When he loved, he loved forever.

He'd love them until his dying day.

Lex looked up at a stubbornly silent Clark who was obviously waiting while he worked things out for himself. Which Lex did, slowly and with great deliberation before coming to the final truth. The one he'd spent years avoiding, even though he made jokes with himself about it all the time. Jokes he never shared, any more than he shared this...

He loved four women and one boy. Who was no longer a boy, who hadn't been a boy for a very long time.

Lex mourned the loss of that boy, for the innocence that had slipped away without his noticing. For the loss of the boy he'd fallen for one cold October night as he cut Clark down from a cross and watched him run away into the dark, obviously embarrassed by the hazing he'd received. For the loss of the boy who held up a hammer and told Lex to hit him with it in order to prove he was human. For the loss of the boy who yearned hopelessly for the girl next door and probably lost his virginity in the crowded bathroom of some gay bar instead of the comfort of Lex's bed.

Anger surged through him at that thought. Anger at the guy who'd done that to Clark and anger at himself for not figuring out Clark was gay in the first place. Christ, the signs had all been there. The lingering looks, the good-natured teasing, Clark's adamant refusal to believe they could be brothers, Clark's jealousy when Lucas actually appeared, Clark's never-ending belief in Lex Luthor even when Clark knew he'd lied...

How did that saying go?

Denial wasn't just a river in Egypt.

Much like the muddy waters of Egypt's life's-blood, Lex's path had been unclear. And for that, Clark suffered.

All because Lex had refused to see it, refused to see Clark for who he really was. Lex had been too steeped in his father's machinations and his own, too concerned with besting the old man to see what was right in front of him or to take the most valuable prize his sojourn in Smallville could possibly offer.

One of the many arguments he'd had with his father came back to haunt Lex as he cradled Clark's face between his hands. Lex had followed through on a particular threat made on that day so many years ago. Much like the Alexander he'd been named for, Lex had ridden back into Metropolis at the head of his own army, ready to topple his father's empire. Regardless of how his father tried to outwit Lex - as Philip of Macedonia had before him - Lionel would fall to his destiny.

But there was a difference between Lex and his namesake. A difference who hovered above him, waiting for a further response. For unlike the original Alexander, Lex's Hephaestion had been denied the proper place at his side.

Until now.

Apparently, self-realization was a lengthy business because before Lex could agree with Clark, the silence between them was broken. "If you loved her, I wouldn't have stood a chance. But you don't love her, so I..." Clark shrugged, his self-confidence fading as he sat up, putting unwanted distance between them. "thought I might have a shot..."

There was more Clark wanted to say but didn't. Luckily, they'd been friends long enough Lex could read him like an open book. The unspoken question hung between them, heavy and expectant but this time Clark left it up to Lex to answer if he chose. "You're not wrong, Clark. You've got more than a shot."

The sun came back, shy and hopeful in the corners of Clark's mouth. Its radiance resonated in Clark's unbending gaze as Lex sat up and took Clark's hands in his, turning them over and marveling at their size compared to his own. Lex's hands weren't small but Clark's were huge. Just like the rest of him. That thought brought a smile to match Clark's own even as Lex weighed the consequences of what he was about to do.

He'd done this before.

He'd put his heart in someone else's care and paid the price for it.

One final look at Clark determined his course.

It was worth the price.

"I don't love Kori. I love you."

The silence that followed wasn't the reaction Lex expected.

He expected the smug look to return, for Clark to smirk and tell him 'I knew that'. Or for Clark to match Lex's declaration of devotion with one of his own. Either one would've been acceptable, the latter being preferable but flexibility was a necessity when dealing with Clark. But instead, Lex got a startled blink, followed by a slow blush and one of those incredibly shy looks out from under Clark's lashes that nobody who fucked like Clark should be able to pull off.

Clark had no business looking that innocent, not when Lex and a great deal of his anatomy knew better. There were still twinges coming from the more abused sections as well as increasingly vociferous requests for more of said abuse from the same sectors.

Preferably now.

Still, the hesitant touch of Clark's mouth on his own combined with the reverent whisper of his name went a long way toward quieting the restless natives. Lex opened to that tentative invasion, sighing as Clark settled into place atop him, each of them melting into first one kiss and then another and another and another. However, even with mouth and body pleasantly occupied, Lex's mind perversely decided to come back from its usual state of dazed confusion where Clark and sex were concerned to put in some serious consideration into the state of his relationship with Clark and moreover, how Clark might actually feel about him.

Clark had always been a contradiction, a mystery Lex had never been able to unravel.

There were all the other secrets, the ones they were still not talking about and might never discuss but there was the inescapable physical reality of Clark Kent. The unbiased truth was simple; Clark equaled perfect. Bullet points and a spreadsheet would be helpful here but as Clark was currently sucking on a nipple, Lex was willing to forgo the use of his laptop.

He'd improvise.

Given the axiom that Clark was perfect, logic would dictate that Clark should not only be attached but should also be happily engaged in every form of sexual activity with said partner on an embarrassingly regular basis. And yet, Clark rarely dated. Instead, he spent his free time with Lex.

Clark was incredibly attractive; so attractive that strangers would stop and stare at Clark when he walked down the street. During the course of their friendship, Lex observed women who he wasn't sure even he would have stood a chance with, stumble all over Clark and Clark would turn them away with a smile and an 'aw shucks, ma'am' look that left those women still panting for him. Moreover, Lex watched men he knew were happily married with exquisite wives, do the very same thing. And yet, Clark remained solitary.

Clark was exquisitely talented; Lex had never found a more skilled partner, both in bed and out of it. The things Clark could do with his mouth should be, and until a few years ago, were illegal. The way Clark moved, the smooth glide of his hips, the hot brush of skin on skin while Clark writhed on top of him. This morning, what Clark did with and to him made Lex see the face of God. Clark was no virgin, he'd had other partners, possibly countless others... And yet, no one claimed Clark as their own.

Clark was irresistibly charming; Georgia was apparently wrapped around his little finger. Matilda practically beamed whenever Clark was in residence. Chloe, to this day, spoke of him in glowing terms even though Clark - and this was pure assumption on Lex's part, as he'd never discussed the incident with Clark - turned down the chance to be her initiative partner. Lana Lang, who Clark did date in high school and by Clark's own admission never slept with, still cared enough about Clark to be concerned about his happiness and by association, Lex's as well.

Granted they were all members of the opposite sex and all evidence pointed to Clark being unabashedly gay, but there were men who fell in the same category. Pete Ross hated Lex with a passion that knew no bounds but was polite and even friendly the last time they'd met because Clark was right at Lex's elbow. Greg Wilson, Clark's roommate, had taken up arms in Clark's defense and despite Lex beating him into a bloody pulp, remained true in his desire to protect Clark. And yet, Clark was with none of them... instead he was here with Lex.

Clark had everything, Clark was everything... and yet...

And yet, Clark slept alone.

Except when he slept with Lex.

Interesting... therefore dispassionate reasoning would lead to the conclusion that Clark... God, that felt good.

He'd give Clark twenty years to stop doing that.

Because honestly, this was a hell of a time to remember he was an obsessive genius, especially with Clark undoing his last few buttons and sucking on that spot right below Lex's navel that usually made him see stars. His brain should really get with the program since it looked like every other part of him was about to get laid. But the grey matter was being insistent so Lex closed his eyes and promptly ignored it. The rest of him would have a great time... maybe he'd send pictures.

Or a postcard.

With arrows and instructions and a 'wish you were here' written on the back.


Yeah, babe, right like that.

Suck me harder.

Love me, Clark.

Love me like I love you.


"I do, Lex."

Flashfire of unpleasant sensation and Lex arched up into suddenly empty space. Air chilled to a perfectly comfortable seventy-one degrees surrounded his arching cock instead of delicious, wet heat. A moan of protest brought back warmth, fingers wrapped tight around it but not moving and a growl of supreme frustration followed immediately.

Lex opened his eyes, intent on destroying whatever had distracted Clark in the middle of what was shaping up to be an incredible blow-job. If Matilda had stumbled in on them, he was going to fire her. If Georgia had just called, he was going to ship her off to the furthest reaches of Antarctica to do a feasibility study on opening a new plant there. God, whoever or whatever it was, Lex vowed revenge.

Right after he came all over Clark's face.

A possibility that was fading by the moment as Clark simply held onto him with a freshly-shaven cheek resting on Lex's hip. Apparently, Lex had missed something vital, something earth-shattering because he couldn't think of anything that would merit this sort of interruption. Just as he was about to ask what the fuck was going on, Clark nuzzled and Clark nuzzling anything was a wonderful experience. Lex started to relax, his hands finding their way back into Clark's hair when that nuzzle turned into words.

"I love you."

A heart attack right now was not a good idea, despite the sharp stab that transfixed it, stopping its function while Lex tried to grasp what had been said. The world, like his heart, stopped as well. All sound disappeared, except for the rush, rush of blood leaving his brain and the scrape of his fingers in Clark's hair as Lex clenched his fists. Breath stopped, heart stopped, world stopped. He was dying, Clark just said what Lex never thought he'd hear, and now he was dying.

Destiny was a stone-cold bitch.

Or maybe she wasn't.

He wasn't dying.

There were tears, something he hadn't shed since losing Pamela, dampening his lashes and possibly his cheeks but he wasn't dying. He was laughing, sharp breath stuttering back into his lungs as he pulled Clark up for a kiss. One that only ended once they'd rolled off the couch and onto the floor; Clark lay pinned under him and Lex bit at Clark's mouth, trying to break the skin, to leave a mark, He pulled, he sucked, he chewed but nothing could pierce that invulnerable flash.

Lex sat up, his hand pressed into the center of Clark's chest, pinning him to the carpet. Bare skin for as far as Lex could see, startled eyes and undamaged mouth and Christ, Clark was unbreakable. So many questions, so many things he needed to ask and not one of them mattered. Clark loved him.

Clark loved him.

That was answer enough.

Moving gracefully was a physical impossibility with his pants down around his knees, but Lex certainly tried. He did manage to slither into place with only one elbow bump into Clark's side, a kick that overturned the coffee table and sent their abandoned drinks flying, and a squirm which finally put him at his destination.

Clark was trying to get up, shifting onto his elbows with an offer of help but Lex waved him off with a shake of his head. He was where he wanted to be, close enough to taste... so taste he did. Long, slow licks from base to tip, tongue slipping in under the sheath and Clark's hand on the back of his head, then tangled in the carpet. Ah, that was something Clark liked because there was a whimper and a tiny buck into his mouth so Lex did it again. Bigger buck and Clark just said a word that would never be allowed in the Kent home and yeah, Clark cursing was a turn-on.

Clark begging was an even bigger one. The pleading commenced when Lex expertly peeled the foreskin down with just his lips and continued as Lex slid even further down. Then all words ceased because the tickle under Lex's nose was hair and there were warm balls tucked up under his chin. Clark smelled so good, he tasted even better and when Lex swallowed... Clark whined.

Thank you, Kori.

All the way down, every single inch encased in his mouth and throat. Pride at his accomplishment swelled, as did Clark's cock, getting bigger by the second. Lex pulled back, circled the head with his tongue, slid right back down and... hummed.

Clark... Clark came unglued. His hips, which rarely moved during past oral sessions, danced. Bouncing off the floor, wriggling in reaction to the vibration, thrusting in hard enough Lex had to back off and clear his throat. The whining sound increased, the hands entangled in the edge of the rug flew to Lex's head and pushed him into place. Lex opened his mouth, encouraging Clark with moans and eager sucking whenever Clark wasn't trying to crawl all the way down his throat.

They rolled again, ending up on their sides with legs entangled until Clark kicked his pants the rest of the way down. Lex struggled with his own, finally ending up with one leg free which he slid between Clark's. His head was once again in Clark's hands, huge palms cradling him close as Clark whispered. "Let me in."

As if there was a chance of refusal? Lex nodded, his face rubbing against Clark's cock, slickness coating his skin until Lex opened his mouth. Which promptly got fucked. Hard pushes past his lips, rounded head bumping along his palate, stabbing into his throat, breathing difficult and erratic, suffocation and possible regurgitation hovering on the event horizon when Clark went too deep.

Lex loved every second of it.

This was what they'd been missing before. Clark, his gentle Clark, had a wild man living under his skin. Harsh and primal and undeniably male; all things that should have triggered Lex's own testosterone-based personality quirks but didn't. Instead, Lex was drooling and trying to take more and rocking against Clark's leg and fuck... coming all over that leg and their discarded clothes and the rug and Clark was going even deeper.

He was going to pass out. The room was getting darker and darker... wait. No. Clark was sitting up and Clark hadn't come yet and somehow Lex hadn't learned something important from Kori because Clark wasn't satisfied with his technique. The last month of hell they'd been through was all for nothing because he wasn't any good at this and...

Oh God. Clark was flexible. And his tongue felt so good. Getting hard again right now hurt but he could deal with the hurt because Clark was opening his mouth. So warm, so wet... uhhhhnnn.

Movement and sound and sensation shifted into a meaningless blur. Lex closed his eyes, concentrating on sucking harder, sliding in and out and in and out and sweet. Sudden burst across his tongue, followed by a flood of more; melon and lemon and oranges... fruit cups were going to get him hard from now on. So sweet, so much of it, soothing to his throat and Clark was moaning around his dick and Christ coming again so soon hurt.

The French had it right. La petite morte... though dying never felt this good.

Breathing... breathing was a good idea, in theory at least. Lex tested that theory, backing off enough that air could actually make it to his lungs but not releasing his prize. He breathed and sucked, breathed and sucked until Clark twitched. Clark moaned, the vibration setting off shivers down Lex's spine.

Lex was willing to go for another round, even if his body might not be and Clark's dick seemed to be happy with that possibility because it twitched again. But Clark had other ideas and despite Lex's attempt to remain permanently attached to Clark's cock, Clark pushed him away. Rolling over onto his back, Lex laid there, blinking up at the ceiling while he listened to Clark... who was panting.

Struggling for breath. Weakness... Clark was weak... Lex had made Clark that way.

Bless you, Kori.

Sex between them was turning into a potentially destructive pastime.

Lex's clothes were ruined, or at least his pants were. There was a rip along one seam from when he tried to kick them off and the wrinkles were hopeless, not to mention the stains.

The coffee table was broken, two legs snapped. One at the join and one halfway down, clearly a total loss. The bottles, miraculously, remained intact although the carpet was soaked. The same carpet which had a set of punctures that corresponded to Clark's clenched fingers.

Lex raised an eyebrow at the discovery. Clark's blush and shrug weren't sufficient explanations but Clark loved him. Clark loved him and he loved Clark and Clark would tell him what he needed to know when he needed to know it.

He trusted Clark.

Once the debris was cleared away, they returned to the couch with more water. Clark drank quickly, obviously parched by their activities while Lex chose to savor his. Just as he chose to savor the afterglow and ease himself down into the circle of Clark's arms. Back to front, they laid there, Clark drawing circles on Lex's arm with a wet fingertip while Lex placed the occasional kiss or two under Clark's chin.

Their mutual affection having been declared, Lex could afford to relax. And pose a question or two, not ones dealing with the dangerous secrets but ones that left Clark with the option to answer or not.

He started with a nuzzle and a nip to Clark's shoulder which earned Lex a welcoming smile. It was enough of an opening for the serious matter at hand. "Clark, would you mind answering a few simple questions?"

The standard wariness that marked Clark in the past didn't appear. Instead, the smile broadened. "Sure, Lex. Whatever you want."

"Clark," Lex rolled over until they were face-to-face, his hand resting on Clark's chest. "Are you gay?"

"No, Lex. I'm not."

Well, that wasn't the answer he was expecting. Lex sat up, trying to figure out what he'd missed in their months-long exchange of bodily fluids and most recently, avowals of love. Clark scooted in for a soft kiss before saying, "I just happen to be in love with a guy."

All right, now that made sense... in a totally Clark way. It utterly confused Lex. However, he was prepared to deal with Clark confusing him. He had years of practice, after all. "So. Was I your first?"

"First guy I've loved, yeah." Clark was a marvelously tactile person. Lex blamed it on Jonathan and Martha Kent, they were incredibly free with demonstrations of physical affection, both between themselves and with their son and by extension, his friends. But it was distracting as hell to have Clark continually petting him while they talked about serious things.

Lex fought the urge to shake Clark's hand off, along with the need to grill him further. He had to remain calm and wait for Clark to continue. Which Clark eventually did, his smile fading and the flush returning to his cheeks. "You're not the first one I've done it with, though."

"I gathered that." Harsher than he'd intended and perhaps taking a page from Clark's book would not be amiss. Lex smoothed away the beginnings of a frown by brushing the back of his hand over Clark's temple. "I know I keep saying this but you're incredible, Clark. Natural talent is one thing but... you fuck like a God. You had to learn that somewhere."

It was like watching the sun come up as Clark put two and two together and somehow came up with Kori.

"Like you had to learn how to... you know. Is that what you were doing with her?" Kissing was good, Lex liked the kissing part, he could do that all day. Clark asked a question before the kissing started but Lex was too involved in mutual tongue wrestling to answer out loud. So he nodded, as much as he could without stopping the kissing.


The kissing stopped.

But Clark was smiling and there were hands on his ass and a little bit of rocking so things were still okay. More than okay because Clark laughed and murmured. "She did a good job. That was... intense."

"Mmm-hmm. We'll do more later, I promise. Just... tell me about him." Lex slid his arms around Clark, keeping the rocking going even though he knew it was about to stop. This was something he needed to know, he needed Clark to tell him at least this much.

He needed to know in order to plot his course of action.

If Clark lost his innocence in the back of some gay bar, Lex was going to hunt the guy down. If Clark lost it under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Lex was going to fuck the guy up. If Clark lost it against his will, Lex was going to commit cold-blooded murder.

Clark looked at him for a long time, weighing the consequences of confession or checking Lex for mental stability or whatever usually went on in Clark's head when Lex asked him questions. It was apparently a long and involved process, one that culminated in a sigh and a quiet, "Okay. I'll tell you about Mike."

Maybe it was the way Clark said the name with the same amount of affection and regret normally reserved for discussions about Lana that set him off. Or perhaps it was the unexpected shift away from imagining a faceless horde of men lined up around the block to get a shot at Clark's beautiful mouth. Or the realization that no matter how much Lex meant to Clark, not matter how much Clark loved him, this Mike person held a place in Clark's heart that would never be Lex's.

He had no right to feel this way. Clark had graciously accepted the whole thing with Kori for what it was and Lex should do the same here but the only child syndrome was kicking in with a vengeance. It was immature. It was selfish and unwise and damn it, Clark was supposed to be his.

His father told him time and again that emotion ruled Lex's world and he needed to divorce himself from emotion to be effective. Lex never believed him until now, until a wave of overwhelming fury boiled up, its crimson tide dragging him under even as he felt Clark relax into his arms. And give over to another volley of kisses Lex had to initiate to keep from crawling out of Clark's lap and laying waste to everything around him.

No. Destiny wasn't a bitch.

Jealousy was.

Lex swallowed around the abrupt bite of acid, feeling something akin to Clark's reaction last night when he'd uttered Kori's name.

He now had someone to hate.

Mike. Mike. How many Mikes did Clark know?

His own taste still lingered in Clark's mouth, salt-bitter fading with each kiss. Lex chased it, hungry for even the faintest sign of possession while he mulled over everyone who'd touched Clark's life since Lex's own precipitous entry. High school, a college campus teeming with possibilities, bars he'd taken Clark to once Clark was legal, movies, benefits, concerts; a veritable sea of faces but very few with that particular name attached to them.

There was a Mike Henley in Smallville, the son of Lex's production manager and the same age as Clark. Slight kid, with glasses, braces, very bad skin and from what Lex could remember, a huge crush on Chloe during their senior year. Clark talked about it once or twice with Lex, obviously struggling with his big brother complex where Chloe was concerned. The crush disappeared a month or so before graduation and as a result that Mike dropped off of Lex's radar.

Mike Sims... Mike Sims had been Clark's study partner during his freshman year of college. Lex met him once; they shared a brief handshake while watching Clark sort out enough clean laundry from a trip back home. He'd swung by the dorm after a meeting in Metropolis, surprising Clark with an offer of a ride back to Smallville and found that particular Mike lounging on Clark's bed with an open textbook and a mound of pens, pencils and highlighters and Clark playing with some inexplicable toy while propped up by the headboard.

That Mike was good-looking. Blond, blue-eyed, almost as big as Clark with an easy smile and roll of his eyes at the condition of Clark's room before he slipped out past Lex. That one was a possibility.

Because Clark had been way too comfortable with the guy being on his bed. It was easy to torture himself with the thought of a late night study session, the two of them wired on coffee and too much cramming. Clark rolling onto his back, staring up at the ceiling while Mike complained about the up-coming test. Mike crawling closer, pushing books onto the floor, his hands fumbling with Clark's belt. Fumbling hands led to eager mouths, hard kisses, bodies sliding together, Clark clutching at Mike's back with eyes closed and hips moving...

This was not... well, actually it was the time to be hard. But not because of the X-rated theater going off in his head. Clark tonguing the scar on his lip, endlessly fascinated by that faint line while they rocked together, now that was a reason to be hard.


Mike Sims couldn't be the Mike. He'd gotten a girl in the next quad over pregnant right before the end of that term and married her. The last he'd heard from Clark, Mike and... Susie were happily engaged in working, raising their daughter and trying to finish college at the same time.

So, not that Mike.

There were several more people with that name in their acquaintance but only one remained with enough possible access to Clark: Mike Getty, Lex's racquetball partner for the past two years. He'd known Mike since Princeton where there'd been a few rumors floating about Mike's orientation. Nothing serious and Lex met some of the women Mike dated so there was probably little truth behind those old stories.

But Mike was definitely in Clark's league; tall, athletic, a tough competitor, not shy about his body when they showered after each game, not as attractive as Clark but who was? And Mike ribbed Lex when the first pictures came out in the tabloids of him with Clark. His buddy Mike even commented how good-looking Clark was, how it was easy for rumors like that to start when you spent a lot of time with another guy.

Plus Clark knew Mike. Clark came and watched them play sometimes and Mike always had a friendly smile for Clark as well as an offer to 'play' him. Once in awhile, the three of them would catch a bite to eat after a match and Mike always asked Clark how he was doing in school and how he liked Metropolis and why the heck Clark hung out with this reprobate while tilting his head in Lex's direction.


Getty probably cornered Clark during one of the nights Lex had to cancel their match and didn't call Clark to let him know. Even though Clark's game was basketball, he learned fast and probably took Mike up on the offer of a round or two. Then the shower afterward, the shower bays so close together and Mike dragging out an extra towel and supplies from his bag. The soap being handed over and Clark's eyes closed due to the shampoo in his hair. Mike stepping into the shower behind Clark. Mike's hands on Clark's back. Mike pinning Clark to the wall, spreading Clark's legs apart and working him open...

Lex was going to kill him.


That was too easy.

He was going to castrate him... using good old Mike's own racquet.

"Lex," Clark pushed him back, something Lex didn't want but the hands on his shoulders were too strong. It was no use fighting Clark on this and besides, Lex needed confirmation before he gelded one of his oldest cronies. As he acquiesced, the push gentled into a caress and Clark's incipient frown turned into a quirky smile. "Hey, I love you but knock it off."

"Excuse me?" Lex could dissemble with the best of them but apparently close proximity to Clark's smile negated that skill. Because as that smile got broader, the contemplation of forcible emasculation through the application of sufficient momentum, such as a controlled forehand smash, faded from Lex's consideration.

It felt too good to see that smile to dwell upon future violence.

"Lex, you forget. I know you. The last time I saw that look you were tearing your office apart with a crowbar. Mom said it took your staff five hours to clean the mess up and I'm not letting you put Matilda through that, okay?" Clark's eyes were the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, right after his smile and Lex could look at them all day. Especially when Clark was lecturing him about something stupid Lex would do when Clark turned his back. They darkened, shifting slowly to almost black, an echo of how they appeared when Clark was about to jump on him.

"We already did jealousy. Do you want to spend another month apart?" That actually sunk in past the smokescreen his libido was sending up and Lex... blinked. Then shook his head. "I didn't think so. Lex, I know what you're thinking but you've got it wrong. I'm not a kid any more. I don't need to be protected. Mike was a long time ago and it's really not what you think. So give it up or I'm not telling you anything."

He knew that tone. That was Martha Kent, through and through. No nonsense, right to the point and Lex knew better than to contradict her even when the words were coming out of her son's mouth. Not with the threat of another month as miserable as the last one he'd spent looming between them. He hoped Clark wouldn't follow through but discretion was rapidly becoming the better point of valor here.

There was also Clark's assurance that the mystery Mike had been a long time ago and therefore not likely to reappear in their lives and try to woo Clark back. Which certainly ruled out Mike Getty, who, in retrospect and the cessation of his brush with homicidal rage, Lex would hate to lose as they were well matched on the court.

Finally, as he turned into the light touch on his cheek, Lex revisited Clark's easy acceptance of Kori's role in his education. Once Clark had been assured Kori hadn't supplanted him in Lex's affections, Clark was not only tolerant but even willing to tease about it a little. Clearly Clark's take on all this was the more mature reaction and when had he missed the fact that Clark was an adult? Had there been a memo everyone else was cc'd on but his own cognitive in-basket had been inexplicably skipped?

His superego was officially fired for that oversight.

Lex knew he'd over-looked Clark's transformation from a sweet but clueless kid to the man whose lap he was currently occupying like a debutante who'd slipped past her chaperone not so much because of a lack of interest but mainly due to his own preoccupation with building LexCorp. Out-stripping his father was a full-time job, leaving Lex with a dinner here and a movie there which played hell on dating and when had been the last time he'd gotten laid prior to buying into Clark's little scheme?

Oh right.

Two weeks, three days, seven hours, forty-six minutes... give or take, and it had been perfunctory at best. A Gotham socialite who'd pursued Bruce all evening until Lex took pity of his friend and snagged her for his own. As memory served - her mouth had been inferior, her natural taste and scent masked by some floral application which left him longing for his toothbrush afterward and the main event... disappointing at best. Certainly nothing to write home about.

Small wonder he'd been so ripe for Clark's plan.

But he digressed because Clark was giving him the look so Lex nodded in agreement. He wanted to hear whatever Clark was willing to share. If it meant curbing his protective instinct, he'd apply collar and leash to the dogs of war and wait to pass judgment until Clark was finished. "Go on."

Not the most brilliant of responses but Clark seemed satisfied by it. He did shift both of them around with a casual display of strength that pushed a few buttons but Lex ignored the inner klaxons, shut off the alarms and settled in on his side next to Clark. Lex propped himself up on one elbow as Clark casually entangled their legs and slipped an arm around him, effectively pinning Lex in place.

Smart move, Clark. You're full of surprises today.

The surprises kept coming when Clark looked away from Lex, his gaze fixing on the picture behind Lex's desk. It took awhile for Clark to say anything, as if he were deciding where to start. Finally, he nodded, the decision apparently having been made. Lex watched while Clark's face paled, that beautiful mouth taking a downward turn as Clark muttered, "Lex, nobody talks about this but I ran away from home once."

Clark was right. Nobody talked about it because this was the first Lex had ever heard of it.

As far as he'd known, the Kents were the portrait of a model family. Jonathan and Martha, despite her brief sojourn as his father's personal assistant and his father's unconventional views on the sanctity of wedding vows, were devoted to one another and very close with their son. Yes, there had been the incident where Clark threatened to run away to Metropolis with Lex but that had been smoothed over.

Clark actually leaving was unthinkable.

"When did this happen?" Lex remained calm, his voice carefully neutral even as he reached out to comb Clark's hair back. Tomorrow he'd take Clark out for a haircut... or maybe they'd leave it long, the way it curled around his hand intrigued Lex. Longer hair could provide excellent purchase while engaged in the more athletic positions.

"The summer that..." Clark's continued pallor worried Lex and while Clark paused again, something clicked. He'd have noticed Clark's absence of any length of time, unless he'd been absent himself and there were only two summers Lex missed in Smallville. The one he'd spent burying his guilt about Chloe in Hong Kong and the summer where he'd discovered that natural redheads could actually tan. Granted that feat required massive amounts of burning and peeling first but a tan was indeed possible.

Clark, albeit haltingly, was trying to tell the truth for once so Lex might as well return the favor. Homicidal wives were apparently one of his trademarks, so why not own up to it.

"When Helen tried to kill me," Lex supplied, catching a brilliant flare of anger in Clark's suddenly raised eyes before what could only be guilt flooded in. The anger was understandable, Clark had the same wide protective streak that Lex himself had but what in the world did Clark have to feel guilty about? Granted, he missed the wedding but all in all, Lex wished he'd missed it too.

Two annulments in one year had to be an all-time record for Luthorian marital disasters. Especially with one wife in prison and the other still missing, although her trust fund was being tapped into at regular intervals. Those withdrawals provided enough evidence of survival for Lex's lawyers to free him from his obligations to Helen, for which Lex was grateful. Otherwise he'd have to wait for two more years for her to be declared legally dead before he could woo another bride.

Not that Lex was considering it any time soon.

Or ever.

"I'm sorry I wasn't there to save you." Ah, that explained the guilt. It was all Lex could do to keep from rolling his eyes or shaking some sense into Clark's head because Clark Kent, Smallville's guardian angel and Lex's self-appointed personal savior, needed to get a new hobby. For example, rescuing kittens from trees or helping little old ladies cross the street, because the remainder of the world was going to have to take care of itself.

Regardless of Clark's homegrown hero complex, Lex wasn't going to allow Clark to bear that kind of responsibility on his shoulders. Clark had enough going on in his life. Determined to put a stop to the downward spiral of guilt, Lex silenced whatever else Clark intended on saying with a fierce kiss and an even fiercer, "Clark, you don't need to save everyone. I managed on my own."

It was the truth.

He had managed on his own with the help of Jonathan's wedding gift - that wonderful compass, a pocket knife Lex always carried and a passing Coast Guard patrol boat trolling the coastal waters for drug runners. Three months after swimming ashore, Lex climbed onto the deck of the U.S.S. Marlin, shook hands with the captain and drank a toast to the crew. He arrived back in Smallville two days later with a deep suntan, his father's promise to hunt down his missing bride and the Kents en masse on his doorsteps with home-baked goodies and a welcoming hug from Martha that nearly brought tears to his eyes.

Little did he suspect the Kents had been dealing with a crisis of their own.

"I don't understand, Clark. Why did you leave? I know I was tied up with the wedding but you and Lana were finally on track. Sure, Dad had control of the caves but he lost that a few weeks later when the Department of the Interior stepped up to the plate. Your parents are crazy about you, Clark. What was so bad that you felt you needed to run away?" Lex watched Clark shrink into the couch, withdrawing even further from his touch.

Clark looked stricken, the guilt so palpable that Lex could almost taste it. After a minute or two, another piece of the puzzle fell into place when Clark mumbled, "Mom lost the baby and it was my fault."

Baby? There was a baby? That was impossible. He'd read Martha's file, there was no mention of a baby. A fever, yes, Helen's notes had been copious about that but there was nothing anywhere about Martha being pregnant and yet... The day of the wedding she'd been radiant, glowing with motherly affection and more beautiful than Lex had ever seen her.

Martha's infertility was something he'd studied when he first met Clark. Due diligence, he'd deluded himself with that term while he pored over everything he could find out about the Kents, their farm and their son. Investigation was in his nature and the mystery of Clark deepened by the minute until Lex's appetite for information became voracious. He read the reports; the specter of Julian and his own mother's grief haunted Lex at the revelation of each miscarriage, each failed test, each year the Kents went by without a child.

God. How awful.

That summer the Kents hadn't dealt with just a crisis, they'd dealt with a tragedy of monumental proportions. And Clark, being Clark, took all the blame on himself when Lex knew beyond a shadow of a doubt Clark could no more be responsible for that tragedy than he'd been responsible for Lex's plane crash. The very thought was ludicrous.

But Clark believed it.

And with Clark believing he'd done something on that scale, Lex understood his urge to run. He caught Clark's eye and nodded, encouraging him with a silent nudge. That small push against Clark's chest somehow opened the floodgates and after a stumble or two, Clark told Lex everything.

Or almost everything because Clark was sketchy about the details of the truck rollover and how it could possibly have been his fault. As far as Lex could tell, that accident hadn't been Clark's fault. It was simply an accident. If blame was being thrown around, Lex might as well blame himself for not insisting the Kents stay at the wedding and therefore miss whatever had been in the road that caused Jonathan to swerve.

He refrained from telling Clark that, instead choosing to listen in relative silence with only a word or two to keep Clark talking. By the end of the confession, Lex found out Clark had gotten high again, had stolen his father's motorcycle and after Lana refused to go with him, took off for Metropolis. Only to find out that Metropolis was tougher than he was and after three days of what Lex suspected was wilder behavior than Clark was owning up to, Clark woke up in an alley sans shoes, coat, motorcycle and the one piece of vanity he had on him; his class ring.

Partway through Clark's monologue, Lex procured more water for both of them and watched as Clark drank his down before offering Clark the other bottle. That was drained as well, leaving Lex ready to call down for lunch until Clark decided to use him as a pillow. He suspected Clark was finally going to explain about Mike, an adequate reason to drape himself all over Lex, all things considered.

Lex wasn't inclined to complain. Lunch could wait.

Besides, an affectionate Clark was rapidly topping his list of all-time favorite Clarks. It ranked right up there with dominant Clark and seductive Clark which was a rung or two below his ultimate preference, the please-dear-God-just-fuck-me-now Clark. Knowing Clark wouldn't appreciate a humorous observation at this juncture, Lex simply shifted further back until they were both comfortable. Or as comfortable as one could be while lounging naked in the early afternoon, which honestly... bordered on the extreme end of comfort, rapidly tipping into idyllic or, for the purist, hedonistic.

"Go on, Clark," Lex murmured, lulled into complacency by Clark's voice and the steady rub of Clark's hand up and down his leg. Sex would probably occur later in the day, probably more of the penetrative kind as he'd healed up from their early morning impassioned fuck and the remaining bumps and bruises from the fight with Greg were rapidly becoming memories.

Lex caught his reflection in one of the windows, noting with satisfaction his broken nose had healed without a trace. He flexed his previously damaged fingers and Clark caught that hand in his, studying the back and there was a crease between his brows that came and went before he nodded in satisfaction. Again, as he had while tending to Greg in their dorm room, Clark chose not to comment on Lex's physical condition.

Not all that surprising since Lex was certain Clark was aware of his rapid healing. There had been too many hits on the head, his getting tossed out of moving vehicles or being dangled fifty feet up from a broken catwalk and then walking around the next day in an undamaged state for Clark not to be aware the meteor shower left Lex with another present beyond his depilated appearance.

"I couldn't go home, Lex. Dad... I thought Dad hated me and Mom, she was so hurt. So, I went to the shelter." Lex couldn't believe Jonathan Kent would ever hate his son but grief did strange things to people. His mother's grief over Julian killed her almost as assuredly as her failing heart.

He listened in contemplative silence as Clark continued, "They had food and clothes and there was a guy there who'd gotten a job at a construction site. He told me they were looking for some strong backs and he took me with him."

That made sense.

This happened when Clark was seventeen and even at that age, he was head and shoulders above his peers. Years of hard physical labor left him easily as strong as his father and on more than one occasion, Lex had watched Jonathan Kent sling hay bales around like feather pillows. The result of those years of labor still showed; Clark's body was perfect, a temple worth worshiping at. He ran an idle hand over Clark's chest, smiling as Clark unconsciously rose into the touch.

"I got the job. It didn't pay much but I didn't really care. It gave me something to do and... on my second day there, I met Mike." Good, here was the information Lex had been looking for. Yes, Martha's loss affected him deeply and Lex planned on doing what little he could for her but his selfish nature demanded that the issue of Mike be dealt with first.

Clark shot him a look, one of those deep considering looks like he was trying to see through Lex. Innocence was not an expression extant within Lex's repertoire; it suited Clark much better. The best Lex could hope for was bland interest and apparently he pulled it off because Clark turned just enough to wrap an arm around his waist. No kiss followed which was probably for the best.

"They had me doing interior work, baseboards and trim when there wasn't any heavy stuff to move. Mike was doing the dry wall and we kinda hit it off." Clark wasn't providing a description, something Lex knew was deliberate. After his initial reaction to getting a name for his rival, Lex couldn't blame Clark for being cautious about too many details. "He was funny, always cracking jokes and trying to get me to laugh.. Work was... it was fun when Mike was around."

All right, Lex would imagine his own version of Mike. Smaller than Clark, a logical conclusion as Clark was one of the largest men Lex knew, only surpassed by Bruce Wayne and certain members of the Metropolis Sharks. Probably dark hair and dark eyes, following the Lana pattern. The sense of humor had most likely put Clark at ease because of his friendship with Pete Ross, who, by all accounts, was something of a comedian.

"We got to be friends. After work, Mike and I would go shoot pool and get a pizza and some beer." Clark shrugged, grinning to himself about some private joke. Probably the memory of sneaking a drink while still underage.

Lex could relate.

He'd spent a great deal of his teenage rebellion being drunk off his ass and throwing up on the shoes of young interns. Fortunately for his liver, that phase ended when he discovered sex or, more to the point, it discovered him. Being hungover had nothing on waking up in bed with not one, not two, but three girls and gleefully fucking one while he watched the other two entertain themselves.

Seventeen had been one of his better years.

"How was he at pool?" Lex asked. Clark had stopped talking, his eyes closing long enough for Lex to remember how tired Clark had been last night. A nap might be a good idea once they finished. He could stand sliding in between the sheets with Clark again.

"Nowhere near as good as you. I think the mathematics went over his head. I tried to explain those trick shots you showed me to him but he'd just laugh." Clark's eyes were still closed but there was a warm smile that sparked another wave of jealousy. Lex shook it off, reminding himself that was then and this was now and in the now, Clark was his.

Mike was just a memory.

"Mike's a nice guy, Lex. You'd like him." Lex sincerely doubted that but he'd allow Clark his little delusions. Although from what Clark had related so far, murder and castration were exiting from center stage. He was leaning more toward an offer of a job at LexCorp... at the plant in Rotterdam or the one they were opening in Bogota next year.

Somewhere as far away from Metropolis and Clark as possible.

Lex made some sort of non-committal noise, one he'd perfected during unending hours of boring meetings with his father and then as he got older, with members of the LuthorCorp board of directors. The noise apparently still had it merits because Clark grinned up at him, opening sleepy eyes and reaching with one hand to draw Lex down for a kiss.

The PDAs, or DAs as they were actually in private, rather than public, were getting out of hand. At this rate, it would be time for dinner before Clark finished his story. Prepared to call a halt to touching and kissing until Clark got to the point of all this, Lex opened his mouth and got another kiss for his trouble. Not an ordinary kiss - as if any of Clark's kisses could be classified as ordinary - but one that sent urgent messages to every square inch of his body.

Yes, penetrative sex was in order.

Preferably in the next few minutes.

He didn't really need to know anything more about Mike, did he?

Clark met the guy.

Clark liked the guy.

Mike took Clark somewhere and fucked him... trained him...


He needed to hear it all. His libido was being sent to the penalty box until Clark told him every single detail. Then he'd recreate those details and be better at it than Mike. Lex was good at sex, he knew what he was doing. Kori's training had been just icing on the cake, a way of making sure he could handle certain aspects of a gay relationship.

He'd participated in anal sex before Clark and enjoyed it immensely. Doing it to a man wasn't all that different from a woman. As long as he hit the right spot, Lex was sure he could compete.

Rationalization ranked right up there with delusion.

Didn't it?

Unfortunately for Lex's resolution, continued necking appeared to be the focus of Clark's new agenda rather than further conversation. And while in principle, Lex was amenable to any intimacy with Clark he could get, the specter of Mike still existed between them. Therefore, with great reluctance and a few impassioned arguments from various portions of his own body, Lex eased Clark away from where he was sucking a dark spot into Lex's shoulder. "What happened next?"

It took a moment for Clark to come back into focus. But when he did, Clark grinned and shrugged. "Mike kept inviting me to do things after work. The usual stuff - movies, bowling, batting cages, video games. Sometimes it got pretty late and he'd offer to drive me home but I always walked. I didn't want him to know where I lived."

"Why? Did he..." Murderous intent rose again only to be tamped down into place when Clark just gave him one of those 'are you completely stupid?' looks. All protective instincts aside, Lex had to concede Clark's point. Clark, while slightly naive at seventeen, had been anything but a weakling. Someone taking advantage of him physically was patently ridiculous.

Now, alcohol and drugs were a different subject. By Clark's own admission, Mike bought him beer so there was the possibility the guy had used that avenue of persuasion.

"No. I was embarrassed, Lex. I didn't want my one friend to know I was living in a homeless shelter." Clark explained, picking a spot on the opposite wall to stare at as he accepted the light touch of Lex's hand in his hair. Well, that made a lot of sense. Kents were a proud lot, Lex knew that fact intimately from his dealings with Clark's father. He could see how Clark's living situation would cause him shame.

It would certainly give him pause if he'd found Clark in such dire straits.

"I just didn't count on how sneaky Mike was. One morning, I found him waiting for me outside the shelter with a cup of coffee and a box of doughnuts. We didn't talk about it. Instead, he handed me the coffee and drove us to work." The mention of doughnuts triggered both his and Clark's appetite because their stomachs growled almost in unison. An unsolicited comment from the peanut gallery, in Lex's opinion, and one that made Clark laugh, thereby easing any possible embarrassment.

"Let me see to lunch," Lex reached for his cell which remained undamaged despite their earlier activities. Fortunately, Matilda was still in residence and promised to leave a tray outside the study within a few minutes. Her happy humming as she broke the connection confirmed Lex's impression that Matilda was almost as ecstatic to have Clark back as he was.


"So, Mike tracked you down and cornered you. Very resourceful." Clark's hair was becoming his newest obsession. Lex couldn't stop petting it even when he was engaged in ordering their lunch and now that both hands were free, he indulged himself with more strokes and little tugs. To Lex's silent delight, Clark absorbed the attention as if it were his due, turning his head so that Lex could reach the curls at the nape of his neck.

Sensual Clark... a very nice addition to his stable of Clarks.

"Un-huh. He didn't say anything about it all day, just showed me how to tape and hang dry wall. After work, he went to his car and when I followed, Mike told me he was going to take me home. But he didn't take me back to the shelter." At that, Lex paused in his petting to look down at Clark who nodded. "He took me to his place, told me he had a spare bedroom for rent and just like that, I was living with Mike."

"Just like that?" Very smooth, Mike. Why hadn't he thought of that? Maybe he'd offer Clark the same deal, without the sharing rent portion because he did own the penthouse after all. Clark already had his own room, not that he'd be using it. There was no doubt in Lex's mind if Clark lived with him, they would be sharing a bed.

Preferably several times a day...

"Just like that." Clark confirmed with another solemn nod. He reached up, his hand enveloping Lex's cheek as he said. "Lex, I had my own room. I swear. Mike wasn't making a pass. I didn't even know he was gay until weeks later."

"How did you discover that?" There were so many possibilities. Clark catching Mike on the phone as Mike made a date with another guy. Clark walking in on Mike while some guy was sucking him off. Clark stumbling into the bathroom for a drink of water only to find Mike banging somebody else up the ass in the shower.

"There was a girl who lived one floor down who had a thing for Mike. She kept inviting him for dinner, asking him to help her with stuff around her apartment; changing light bulbs, hanging pictures, that kind of thing. I usually helped and I'd catch her watching him or getting in close to touch him." Clark didn't sound jealous, which was a good sign. While it was obvious he had some feelings for Mike, they were nowhere near as strong as the ones he'd exhibited earlier with Lex's involvement with Kori.

Instead, Clark looked amused, smiling to himself as he shot a quick indulgent glance at Lex. "I teased him about it all the time. Told him he shouldn't be such a monk, that she was cute and he should take her out. You know, the sort of thing you did to me when we first met."

Ah, yes, the Lana years and Clark's wavering back and forth between pursuing the girl of his dreams and mooning silently for her. Or perhaps, he'd been looking for something entirely different. "Clark, I owe you an apology. If I'd known you were into men, I wouldn't have pushed you so hard."

"It's okay, Lex. I didn't know. Though I wonder what you might've done then if I did." Jesus, Clark was flirting with him. Not the shy dancing around the subject they'd done for years but with full-on seduction laced through those words, followed by a murmured, "Would we be where we are now?"

"No. We wouldn't." Hurt flashed across Clark's face, fast and deep and for a moment Lex expected him to bolt. But he stayed put, the pain flitting away as Lex continued, "We'd be much further down the road. Clark, I've wanted you for years. I just didn't know it... actually, I didn't want to know it. I thought we could simply be friends, that I could keep my hands to myself but I can't."

"I know. I can't either. It was driving me crazy. Being so close to you and not being close enough. That's why I came up with the 'let's pretend we're gay' thing. I didn't think you'd go along with it but I hoped you would. 'Cause if you did I could get away with this." All it took was one hard pull and their mouths were sealed together, Clark's tongue a welcome invader. Mutual exploration segued into panting and moans between more kisses and Lex marveled at how easily Clark moved both of them with the end result being his lying underneath Clark once more.

"Not Greg's idea then?" Lex asked, his eyes rolling back in his head as Clark marked him again. Blood rose to the surface at the hollow of his throat, pooling under the hard suction and leaving behind a hickey he'd be wearing for at least a day, even with his healing. Silence greeted that question until Clark shook his head and rocked his hips forward, their cocks juddering against one another. Wet heat painted itself across Lex's belly, his legs opening to allow Clark better access.

Talking right now was over-rated and completely unnecessary. The questions Lex still had about Mike and Clark's wildly successful plan could wait. Everything could wait while Lex gave Clark whatever he wanted. He'd suck Clark until his throat was raw. He'd jack Clark, his hand pumping again and again until Clark was too sensitive to be touched anymore. He'd roll over on his stomach and let Clark take him from behind, or face-to-face like they'd already done, or any of the hundred ways he'd imagined.

But Lex never expected to hear what Clark said next. Clark didn't talk like that, not even when they played around with phone sex. Clark was usually hesitant, his reticence coaxing Lex into saying bolder and bolder things. Another example of how well Clark played him because his Clark, the Clark he'd believed him to be, would never have whispered in his ear, "God, I want to fuck you again."

And hearing that shouldn't have made him come.

But it did.

All over Clark, all over himself, all over the couch, shuddering and biting back the urge to cry out in protest. This wasn't the way it was supposed to go. He was experienced, for Christ's sake. He'd slept with more women than he could remember, let alone list their names. He wasn't sixteen anymore, Clark wasn't his first lover and yet, Clark might as well be with the way Lex reacted to him.

Fuck, was he ever gay.

"Uhhh, Lex. You've got no idea what that does to me. I love watching you." Clark was moving faster, pushing him down into the couch, obviously intent on getting off himself. Which would be nice but Lex wanted something else. Rebellion returned, goading Lex to lift and push and wrap his legs around Clark's waist.

Just a little more, the right tilt and... fuck... pain. A bright flare of it behind his eyes, breath stilling in his chest at the burn that followed when Clark jolted forward, hissing his name but not stopping. Christ, it hurt. His body protested every inch of the breach until Clark finally hit bottom, gasping and trembling with Lex pinned to the couch beneath him.

They laid there while Lex gritted his teeth and swore under his breath. There was a lot to be said for proper preparation. Lex thoroughly understood now why Kori had been adamant in her instructions about one finger, two and then three before cock. But the look on Clark's face, the startled wonder and worry and the resultant kiss that threatened to suck the very life out of him made it all worthwhile.

This wasn't something they were going to do often and given that Clark wasn't a virgin, condoms were going to be added to their repertoire until they'd both been tested. Lex hated the idea of anything between them, even the thinnest latex, but this was the real world and in the real world even beautiful men like Clark caught diseases that could kill them and their partners. If Clark had been with anybody recently, the chances were much greater than if Mike had been his only sexual experience.

While he could only wish Clark had been so chaste, Lex knew better. Clark was too relaxed about sex and too confident, an attitude which confirmed there had been others since Mike. And while he doubted he could get sick, Lex wasn't stupid enough to believe Clark was equally immune.

Each Smallville mutation was different.

So condoms. There were several brands that he liked... and why the hell was he thinking about this while Clark was already inside him? While Clark was kissing his neck and stroking a hand over the crown of his head and... uhhh, licking. Clark was licking his temple, rubbing a cheek on his forehead and Lex wondered how he'd missed the fact that his entire head was an erogenous zone?

Probably because his previous partners weren't nearly as adventurous as his one male lover. Oh Christ, Clark was his lover. More so than any woman in his life had ever been. Clark wasn't a casual date. He wasn't a boyfriend. He was Lex's lover. Somehow that realization scared and turned him on more than Lex would ever have imagined.

Or maybe it was the way Clark was moving, a side-to-side fuck that scraped across what Lex knew, on a purely intellectual level, to be his prostate. On a physical level, it was the spot that had him yelling Clark's name and urging him to go deeper, harder, faster, spouting every cliche in the book. All the things he'd heard women say to him over the years and now he knew why they said them.

Because there was power in being the receptive partner. In being the one who with the slightest shift could spur their lover into even greater efforts. In being the one who, when the right muscles were tightened, could feel the cock inside them pulse and see their partner's eyes roll back in their head. In being the one who could direct everything that was happening with a few moans and an arch of their back because Clark was obeying the unspoken directive by rising to his knees and lifting both of them until Lex was straddling his lap.

The change in the angle was nothing short of amazing. Clark was deeper than Lex thought possible, each thrust driving Clark further into his body. No wonder women liked this position, especially with his being able to look into Clark's eyes and watch as orgasm took hold.

Clark was... magnificent. More beautiful than Lex would ever have imagined, given that he'd actually watched himself come in a mirror or two during one of his more narcissistic periods. Instead of looking like he was in pain, Clark's face smoothed out. His mouth opened, an ecstatic cry rose from deep within and joy followed it.

Pure, unadulterated joy suffused every feature, reinforcing Lex's first impression of Clark - that he was an angel fallen to Earth.

His angel.

His perfect fallen angel who was pumping him full of come and crying his name as if he, Lex, were the blessed one. Which he might be. For if Clark was the one person who was going to grace his bed for the rest of his life, then without a doubt, Lex was blessed.

Lunch followed on the heels of sex; both of them perfectly relaxed and able to enjoy the food as well as each other's company. Lex's earlier misgivings about Mike had been swept away by Clark's physical and emotional reassurance of his place in Clark's life. That and the fact it was his ass raising various complaints about misuse until he found a comfortable position went a long way to mollifying Lex's territorial instincts.

Clark raised an eyebrow at his squirming and silently offered Lex a pillow. A pillow Lex considered hitting him on the head with because there was a hint or two of a proud smirk that disappeared when Lex turned to confront him about being smug. While it was true Clark might have a right to be smug, Lex wasn't about to let him get away with it.

Rather than revert to childhood and initiate a pillow fight, Lex chose to recline on the couch, undisturbed by the newest stains. Tracing a finger over one of them, he contemplated instructing Matilda to leave them when she got the chance to clean his office. He wanted them to remain as a souvenir of one of the best days of his life. However, the couch was his father's usual choice whenever he visited and Lex was loathe to allow his dad to be even that close to anything of Clark's.

Maybe he'd move this couch into the entertainment room.

Clark finished the last bite of his sandwich, wiped his fingers on his thighs and joined Lex on the couch. A shower was in order for both of them but could wait until they finished their interrupted conversation. A conversation Clark returned to without prompting from Lex, clarifying immediately that Clark wanted this talk to be out of the way as much as Lex did.

"Most of the time, Mike'd laugh it off. He'd make a joke about being irresistible and then suggest we go shoot some pool or go work out at the gym. But I wouldn't let it go. He was such a great guy and I wanted him to be happy." A quick swipe of his hand through his hair left it in complete disarray, something Clark didn't even notice even though Lex itched to straighten it out. "One night, he had a few more beers than normal and I ended up driving us home. Lisa met us at the door with an invitation for dinner the following night. Mike didn't take her up on it."

That memory came with frustration Lex could hear in Clark's voice. He almost see the scene now. The girl asking, Mike shaking his head and Clark getting that determined look on his face. The two of them ending up at their apartment with Mike leaning drunkenly against the wall while Clark unlocked the door and then shoved him inside. Clark turning to take Mike to task about hurting such a nice girl and Mike reaching up to grab Clark, to pull him down for a kiss.

Clark too startled to say anything, his mouth opening as Mike ground against him, as he begged Clark to come back to his room, as Mike's hands fumbled with Clark's clothes. There weren't a lot of gay people in Smallville. Clark had probably been too stunned to know what was going on until Mike dropped to his knees and proceeded to suck him off right there against the door.

Lex marveled at the fact that fantasy didn't set off his violent tendencies. He even appreciated the aesthetics of that scenario. Clark's tightly closed eyes, essentially denying what was happening to him while his hands still cupped the back of Mike's head. Mike's mouth wide over Clark's cock, dark eyes open and looking up so he didn't miss a moment of it. Clark's hips moving against their will and Mike simply taking it, his hands on Clark's ass pulling Clark closer.

Two dark pretty boys, each of them lost in the other, something Lex might consider paying money to see as long as one of them wasn't his Clark. He was feeling quite civilized... or more to the point, his bones had all the consistency of a bowl of over-cooked fettuccine. Note to self: Never let Clark fuck you before any hostile takeover attempt. Complacency on this scale is not conducive to victory.

"I called him on it as soon as we got in the door. Mike was drunk enough to tell me off. He yelled that Lisa wasn't his type and when I asked him what was... he just looked at me. Like he couldn't believe I didn't know. But I didn't. I swear I didn't." Ah, so much for the blow-job up against the door theory. It was a nice image but honestly, not something Lex could imagine Clark allowing. Or at least, a seventeen-year-old Clark allowing.

"Lex, the only gay person I knew up 'til then was a friend of Chloe's and he was obvious about it. He acted like a girl and Mike was all guy. I didn't know what the hell was going on until Mike kissed me. He grabbed me and kissed me and told me that I was his type. I just stared at him. Which should've made him mad but he laughed. Then shook his head and went back to his room." Now that sounded more like Clark Lex had known. Utterly clueless and unable to act even if what was happening was something he wanted.

Which apparently it was because by Clark's own admission, he did have sex with Mike. Probably not that night but he did have it later. Lex nodded and sidled closer to Clark who responded by kissing one of the marks he'd left on Lex's shoulder. "That must've been quite a shock."

"I don't think I could've been more shocked. I thought about following him but he'd locked his door and I could hear him banging things around. Nothing broke but he was pretty upset and when I heard him crying, well... I couldn't stand it any more." Clark looked down at his hands, which were clenched into fists.

"I got the door open and found him on the floor. He was sitting in the corner and when he saw me, he apologized. He couldn't stop apologizing and finally I did the only thing I thought I could to shut him up." For some reason, Lex imagined Clark clapping a hand over Mike's face and holding on until Mike ran out of breath to apologize. It was a fairly amusing image but not one he believed, not with Clark turning that shade of red.

"You kissed him," Clark's nod confirmed it and Lex shook his head in wonder. As far as he'd known, Clark was completely straight up to that point and here he was confessing to kissing his hysterical roommate in an effort to calm him down. Didn't Clark realize that kissing him would lead even the most staunchly heterosexual male into a mating frenzy, let alone what it would do to an man who'd just admitted to being gay?

"Yeah. It was dumb. I know it now and I knew it then. But, Lex... he looked like you. He had the same mouth and the same eyes and his hair was kinda red. Not the red yours was when you were a kid but whenever Mike looked at me, I saw you and I guess I wanted you so much and you were married again and I couldn't have you and Mike wanted me and he was right there..." Despite his earlier ease and sophistication, Clark was shaking now and Lex could do nothing but stare at him.



His whole image of Mike shifted in the space of that outburst and while Lex admired Clark's ability to get that all out without taking a breath, he was quite stunned by the revelations as they unfolded. Mike looked like him. Therefore, Clark was attracted to him even then. Clark was jealous because he'd married Helen and left Clark behind. Clark slept with Mike because he couldn't have... him.

He didn't need the details of what they did. Lex didn't want to know who fucked who or who sucked who or anything of what they did together. He didn't need to know who else Clark slept with. He didn't need to know anything more than what he knew right now.

Clark had wanted him.

Clark still wanted him.

Clark had him.

And Lex was never going to let Clark go.

When Clark stopped shaking, Lex kissed him and pulled him down until his head was once again in Lex's lap. They remained there, each of them silent for a very long time with Lex petting Clark and Clark soaking up the affection. Lex considered apologizing to Clark for marrying Helen, for not following through with his offer of the penthouse the first time Clark showed up while high on whatever he'd been taking, for not noticing his best friend had been in love with him for years.

Or conversely, that Lex himself had been in love with Clark for almost as long.

Perhaps that was why Helen tried to kill him. She was an intelligent woman, she'd seen the shrine to his obsession and probably knew what lay underneath it even though Lex was certain he didn't know it at the time. Jealousy had driven other people to murder, so why not his second bride?

He was curious about why Clark left Mike because Clark had been home when Lex returned from that lost summer. But considering how upset Clark had gotten with confessing anything about his relationship with Mike, Lex wasn't inclined to pry. He'd simply label Mike as one of the other things not to ask Clark about. He would respect Clark's privacy on this as he did on so many other subjects.

Having resolved to leave this issue alone, it was with great surprise that Lex heard Clark start talking again. He wasn't about to stop Clark because it appeared now the floodgates were open, Clark needed to get it all off his chest. "I stayed the whole summer. We worked and still went out at night but when we got home, we slept together. I didn't bug him about Lisa and Mike showed me so many things... Then one day, Mike went to grab us some lunch and when he got back, he was acting strange. Like he didn't want to touch me."

That must have hurt. While Clark had already said Lex was the first guy he'd ever loved, it was clear he cared about Mike and Mike turning away from him must've stung. Lex couldn't take the pain away, he could only stroke Clark's shoulder and wait for the rest of it.

"When we went home, he said he had to get something at the store and took off. I started dinner. The store was right around the corner so I knew he wasn't going to be long. I was going to ask him after dinner why he was acting so weird but there was a knock at the door. I thought it was Lisa or maybe Mike forgot his key so I just opened it..." Clark paused, clearing his throat with a little cough and Lex spotted the sheen of tears before Clark blinked them away.

"It was Mom and she was crying." No wonder Clark was about to cry. Lex felt the urge himself, blinking his own tears away as Clark's face crumpled. "Dad was right behind her and they grabbed me. Mom kept crying and holding me and Dad was apologizing for making me run away and I... Oh, Lex, I couldn't help it. I couldn't let go of Mom even though I knew I was holding her too tight. Then I started crying too." Just like he was crying now, tears slipping past his closed lids and soaking Lex's fingertips as he brushed them away.

"It's okay, Clark. They found you. They loved you and they found you." He wished he'd known about Clark being gone. Lex wished Helen had stood by her first reaction to his betrayal and hadn't come back to marry him because he would've been there with the Kents. He would've hired every private investigator in the country to track down his missing friend and bring Clark back into the bosom of his family.

He would've grabbed Clark and hugged him and probably kissed him while his parents watched.

Not the best idea given that Jonathan blew so hot and cold about him back then. But Lex was certain he could've passed it off as a heat of the moment thing and thus avoided a load of buckshot for corrupting Clark. Later, once Clark was settled in, then they could have explored where that kiss could take them.

"No, Lex. They didn't find me. Mike called them. He saw a poster about me when he got lunch that day. He called my folks right away, told them where they could find me and then took off so he wouldn't have to see me leave."

Ah, not all of those tears were for the joyful reunion.

Clark's lover betrayed him, sending him back home like the runaway he'd been. No wonder Clark didn't like to talk about Mike. Lex wouldn't either if he'd been the one abandoned to his fate.

"Mom told me about it on the way home. We waited for Mike, she wanted to thank him but he never came back. Lex, I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye." Clark was falling apart and Lex couldn't help reacting to the pain. Not just Clark's but Mike's as well because he knew what losing Clark was like. Mike was a better man than he'd ever been because once having had Clark, Lex would never let him go.

He was going to find Mike somehow. Lex was going to find him and thank him for sending Clark home. He was going to let him know what a fine young man Clark turned out to be.


Clark was right.


Lex liked Mike.

Once he got Clark calmed down, Lex was going to tell him that.

But for right now, Lex was going to hold Clark and let him cry.

It took awhile for the tears to stop and when they finally did, Lex felt almost as drained as Clark looked. The full-on exhaustion was back, seeping into their bones and when Lex suggested the idea of a nap, Clark took him up on it. After taking a quick shower, they tumbled into bed together for some much-needed rest.

When Clark stretched out full length against Lex's back; for the second time in years, Lex knew peace.

An hour and a half later, Lex watched Clark sleep. His laptop was powered up and running a spreadsheet program. He'd dealt with a mountain of e-mails, fielded a dozen or so urgent requests from Georgia and settled a labor dispute at the Vancouver plant with an offer of an additional 4.5% cost of living raise and a face-to-face meeting with the union ombudsman the following week where they could hammer out the final details. The strike was averted, the plant would stay open but more importantly, Clark was still fast asleep.

Clark sleeping was a singularly beautiful sight.

It inspired him and when he was inspired, Lex worked.

In fact, Lex managed to do enough work to take the following day off as well and despite Georgia's politely worded what-the-fuck e-mail, he simply replied he was going to spend the day pampering his boyfriend. When he clicked on the receive button a few minutes later, Georgia's response was one of those annoying emoticons of a winking smile and her request that he bring Clark by the office sometime soon.

Ah. There it was.

He had proof now, proof enough his executive assistant had a thing for his lover.

Lex was going to pull the brakes on that right away. He liked Georgia, respected her opinions and gave her greater license than any of his other employees but if she laid a hand on Clark, he'd remove it. Permanently. So far, Clark only admitted to one prior sexual relationship. As far as Lex knew, Clark hadn't slept with a woman and while Lex was certain he could compete with the memory of Mike, there was little chance his ass would win out over the incredible pleasure to be found while buried balls deep in a woman.

He had a good ass. Firm and tight and Clark seemed to like it well enough but there was no guarantee Clark would continue to do so once he'd succumbed to the charms of the fairer sex. Lex shot off a quick, non-committal reply before he powered down the unit and clicked the case shut.

His work was done, he could relax for a minute or two.

And consider his plan of action with Georgia's not unexpected crush given that her object of obsession was Clark. He walked himself through the initial discussion, always the hardest in any confrontation, then set up at least four contingency scenarios - complete with escape clauses, possible restraining orders and did she still have the combination to his safe?

As the cognitive wheels turned, Lex looked over at Clark... and felt everything go perfectly still.

Clark, his Clark had sprawled out, taking up well over half the bed with one arm flung above his head and the other curved across his stomach. The covers were dragged down, barely shielding his hips from view. In sleep, Clark looked about fifteen, too young for the things they'd done with each other and far too young for the things Lex still wanted to do with him.

As he reached out to touch Clark's hair, Clark rolled toward him, ending up with his face in Lex's lap. A position that suited Lex perfectly. He ran a hand through the tangled mass of Clark's hair, combing out individual curls while Clark hummed in his sleep. Or perhaps not his sleep because Clark murmured, warm lips and breath brushing against Lex's stomach. "Lex, you think too much."

"Excuse me?" If he'd had hair, his eyebrows would probably have been lost in it as he looked down at Clark. Who was laughing and nuzzling... nuzzling was good. Lex liked nuzzling. It was soft and warm and if Clark turned his head just a little more, then Lex could enjoy a whole new level of nuzzling.

"You heard me. You think too much." Damn. Nuzzling had turned into a yawn and Clark was moving away. No. No, he was just scooting in closer. Closer was good too.

Sprawling? Now sprawling was great, Lex could certainly handle sprawling. Clark could sprawl across him any time he liked, although he'd probably raise an objection if Clark chose a LexCorp board meeting as a good sprawling opportunity. He didn't want Gabe Sullivan to have a stroke, or worse, run back to Smallville and tell the Kents what, or more specifically who, their son was doing when he wasn't studying.


Clark was still talking?

Not only was Clark talking but he was grinning, his mouth leaving an interesting impression on Lex's thigh before Clark repeated what had first sounded like a muffled jumble of unrelated sounds. "Did you say hi to Georgia for me?"

Ah. Yes. Georgia.

Best assistant he'd ever had. Incredible organizational skills. Handled his father with a deftness he'd witnessed only one other time in living memory. Sharp dresser. Excellent taste in shoes.

Nice legs.

He'd hate to lose her but if she touched Clark, she was gone.

"You did come up in conversation. She wants me to bring you by the office." Lex leaned forward, his eyes half-closing as he breathed in Clark. The soap from the shower was long gone, leaving behind a mixture of Clark and what Lex suspected was his own particular scent. He liked the combination, wondered idly if he could create something similar in his lab and decided immediately that wouldn't be a good idea.

Keeping his hands off Clark in public was already problematic at best.

That smell on Clark was something better left to private times and places.

Clark rose up, turning just enough so Lex's nose was an inch or so away from the nape of his neck. Smiling to himself, Lex breathed to his heart's content. He might even have nuzzled because nuzzling really was quite pleasant. "Mmm. I like Georgia. She's nice. Just promise me you won't try to bounce another quarter off my ass for her, okay?"


He'd hoped Clark had forgotten that particular incident.

Apparently not.

Lex reached for a bottle of water and drew a cold mouthful in while he considered denying his own culpability in the quarter debacle. He very nearly spewed that mouthful across himself, Clark and the bed when Clark looked up at him and stated, his face schooled in an expression of perfect innocence. "If you're going to bounce anything off my ass, it'd better be your dick and not in front of Georgia. She's already got a thing for you as it is."

All right.

That was it.

Clark was going down.

Lex really had had enough surprises for one day and while Clark being able to talk so freely made him mostly hard in about two seconds flat, Lex wasn't sure he liked this bolder Clark. Lex glared down at him, immensely irritated that Clark still managed to look virginal despite everything they'd done to and with each other over the past twenty-four hours.

No wonder his parents and Lex too, up until a few months ago at least, believed Clark to still be as pure as the driven snow.

And what was that he'd just said about Georgia? Clark certainly had that part wrong. "I beg to differ, Clark. Georgia's 'thing' happens to be you. She brings you up all the time. I believe if you asked her nicely, she'd pull you into the supply closet and show you the error of your ways. I know Georgia. You wouldn't be the first virgin, even with your unique circumstances, that she's taken in hand."

Clark blinked, staring up at him and then did something Lex didn't expect.

He laughed.

Long and loud and for a moment or two Lex wondered about his sanity. He'd heard hysteria before and while Clark actually sounded more on the side of amused, Lex was prepared to take whatever action was necessary to snap Clark out of it. Cold water would probably help, he started to tilt the bottle over Clark's chest when Clark grabbed it away from him and took a drink.

The bottle was drained in a few swallows and Clark set it down on the floor before turning back to their conversation. "Lex, where have you been for the last five years? I haven't been a virgin since Mike and yeah, I haven't been that active but I've slept with a few people. And not all of them guys."

Ah, more sexual revelations were in order. Maybe he should have opted for scotch instead of Ty Nant. Scotch would at least help mask the bitter taste currently taking up residence in his mouth. Lex retrieved the other bottle, twisted it open and drank a bit before he trusted himself with a response. "I thought you and Lana never..."

"We didn't. She wants to wait for marriage and I respect that. Lana's great and I'll always care about her but she's not the one I'm meant to be with." The bitterness vanished in the space of a second when Clark looked at him. There were entire universes of possibility held in that singular gaze and Lex wanted to be part of every one of them.

He'd seen that look before. When women gave Lex that look, he normally ran for the hills. But coming from Clark, Lex appreciated it. He even welcomed it.

With Clark, it was easy to contemplate forever.

God, he loved Clark.

He'd always loved Clark.

Love at first sight was a fairy tale, something that didn't exist and yet... it did.

Lex swallowed hard, and continued in his line of questioning because his brain wouldn't shut the hell up and simply appreciate the moment. He was going to have to have a serious meeting with his id, ego and super-ego when he finally got the chance. The libido was fine. He was satisfied with the overtime his libido had been putting in but the rest of them were in a world of trouble.

"All right. Was it Chloe then?" Chloe, Lex could accept. She loved Clark, she wanted Clark and Lex knew she was more than capable of making any man happy. Those three days would always be precious to him, despite the overwhelming guilt that blind-sided him on that final morning-after. Thankfully, Chloe didn't hold his decision to run to the ends of the Earth against him. She even teased him about it on the infrequent occasions they ran into each other.

More than once, Lex considered settling down with her himself. She was bright, she was funny, she wasn't homicidally inclined where he was concerned and best of all: she agreed that his father was Satan Incarnate; all qualities making her a perfect marital candidate. Except he'd thought his marrying Chloe would bother Clark.

With the current state of his relationship with Clark, Lex was certain it would.

"No. You're the one who did that, remember?"



Clark was going to give him a heart attack if he kept this up much longer.

How the hell had Clark know about Chloe? Who told him? And was he saying those things in his head or out loud because Clark was laughing again and answering. "Chloe told me, Lex. She tried me first and I love Chloe but I love her like a sister. We kissed a little, even got as far as most of our clothes off but I couldn't. Or maybe she couldn't. We never really decided who called a halt to it."

Lex's mouth opened, hanging there for a second or two before he closed it with a snap. Rather than say anything he drank some more of the water, rolling the bottle between his hands as he considered that particular development. In the middle of her seduction, Chloe mentioned something along those lines but he'd always thought Clark flat-out refused instead of the bumbling attempt Clark just confessed too. How embarrassing for both of them and yet, so in keeping with the enduring friendship they shared.

"She considered Pete but he was in DC working as an intern for Senator Roberts and wasn't due back until right before school started in September. Chloe didn't want to wait that long and since you two had gotten to be friends after the whole thing with your dad, I suggested she go to you." Clark was still smiling and stroking his thigh as Lex took another long pull off the bottle. He swallowed viciously. When he finished the Ty Nant, he was going to get himself some scotch and probably get rip-roaring drunk.

And maybe smash a few things.

There was a statue in the main foyer that he'd objected to when his decorator brought it in but Matilda liked it and his dad hated it, so Lex let it stay. That could go along with a few of the Lalique pieces although the lion was off-limits. It had been his mother's favorite. The other ones were fair game. And there was that paperweight which managed to follow him all the way from Princeton even though he swore he'd thrown it away at least four times.

Damn it.

Damn it.

Damn it.

He'd run off to Hong Kong because he was worried Clark would find out and hate him. And now it turned out Clark sent Chloe to him? Three wasted months of trying to screw up the courage to come back home and neither of those two thought to clue him in that he'd been volunteered to act as stud by his well-meaning best friend. When he got his hands on Chloe, he was going to turn her over his knee...

An interesting prospect, one that his cock seemed to like and Lex glared at that traitor as well. It seemed that he wasn't gay, after all. Well, he could deal with being bisexual. As long as Clark could deal with it.

But back to the matter at hand. Chloe, Clark, Hong Kong - nice place to visit but living there was an experience he didn't care to repeat. All night parties were fine when one didn't have a company to run. And Clark knew about his sleeping with Chloe. Not only did Clark know about it, Clark didn't care, he was even happy for both of them. No wonder Clark had been so chipper when he got back. He and Chloe probably spent those months comparing notes...

And Clark slept with Mike because Clark wanted him and couldn't have him...

So Clark sent Chloe to Lex because if he couldn't have Lex...

Then Chloe might as well...

Oh, fucking hell.

How stupid could one person be?

The Lalique was now safe. Though he might smash the statue on principle.

Clark was reading him like a book again because as Lex connected the dots, Clark simply beamed at him. "Yeah. You're right, Lex. For the record, all she told me was that you were incredible. I didn't push and she didn't volunteer but she... Chloe was glowing, I'd never seen her so happy before. I just wish you'd stuck around."

Lex ran a damp hand over the top of his head, dangling the Ty Nant bottle between his upraised knees. This was probably the most honest conversation they'd ever engaged in and Lex appreciated it. He wanted the honesty to continue. "Christ, Clark. I thought you were going to kill me. I woke up that morning and rolled over and there she was. Chloe, one of the very few you'd ever talked about with anything that approached real interest. I'd spent the least three days doing everything imaginable to her and with her and all I could think as I looked at her was I'd betrayed your trust. Running was the only thing I thought I could do."

"I thought that's what happened. You said you were only going to be gone a week but when it got to be a month, I figured it out. My folks were checking my e-mails so I couldn't tell you I knew about Chloe. Gabe and Dad are pretty close friends and you know how bad that could've gotten. I thought about leaving it on your voice-mail but I didn't knew if you were checking them or if Georgia was." Clark took the empty bottle from him and set it on the floor. Despite that calm action, Clark was anything but calm. He was tense, his little speech had been hurried and Lex knew him well to recognize the first signs of panic.

To be honest, Clark was partially right. Lex had let Georgia screen his calls for the first few weeks even though she hadn't approved of his blocking Clark's access. When Clark's calls got increasingly frantic, Lex took them himself, soothing Clark with stories about how well everything was going in the Orient and promising to be home before Clark headed back to MetU that fall. He'd kept that promise, just like he'd kept every promise to Clark since.

However, that did not mean his transition back to life around Clark was smooth by any means. Clark confirmed Lex's opinion of that time with a shaky statement of the bare truth. "When you got back, I was so glad to see you I didn't want to ruin anything. You were... jumpy and scared and well, weird. Weirder than you'd been in a long time. It took months for you to calm down and by then you'd moved here so... it never came up again. I'm sorry, Lex. I should've said something earlier."

Clark was right. Again. There were a lot of things they should have said sooner.

Too many things to count.

The most important bore repeating though, especially with Clark looking like he was about to fall apart again. "Clark. Stop. I love you, that's not going to change. There's no need to apologize. You made a mistake. I made a mistake. We're even. All right?" Lex pulled Clark in for an awkward hug, one that shifted into something more comfortable when Clark finally relaxed.

They curled up together with Clark's head back in Lex's lap, his face pressed against Lex's stomach and Lex's hands in his hair, caressing his neck and shoulders. To be honest, Lex was relieved the truth about Chloe was out in the open. He'd been immensely flattered when she came to him and the only thing he regretted was that he'd betrayed Clark. Now, he could let it go and simply enjoy the memory of the time he'd shared with her as well as the knowledge Clark not only approved but had steered Chloe in his direction in the first place.

With that specter having been laid to rest, there were a few other things they needed to talk about, one of the foremost being the question of protection. With Clark's confirmation that he'd been sexually active since Mike, testing and condoms were an absolute imperative. Clark was intelligent, he would understand the need once Lex brought up the subject.

Well, there was no time like the present.

"Clark, we should've talked about this a long time ago and I have no excuse. I know better." Lex was about to continue except Clark was rolling over and grinning up at him. Like he knew what Lex was about to say and perhaps he did. It wouldn't be the first time that Clark beat him to the punch. If he didn't know it was patently impossible, Lex was prepared to swear that Clark could read his mind.

"Condoms. Right?" Good God. Clark could read his mind. Which would be useful during dinner parties as well as other social functions but when they were in bed together, the concept made Lex's skin crawl. It'd been bad enough when he'd suspected that Ryan James, his fellow Warrior Angel fan, had that ability. Clark having it was... dangerous.

Ah. Smallville mutation and a useful one at that. Refer back to your earlier theories, Alexander.

Thank you, Dad. Now kindly fuck off while I goggle at my boyfriend.

Because said boyfriend was laughing again and Lex suspected Clark was laughing at him. A completely understandable reaction in retrospect as Clark reached up, gently pushed his mouth closed and trailed a thumb across the scar on his lip. "No. Lex. It's not what you think. I can't read minds. Don't take this the wrong way but you looked like my dad did when he gave me the birds and the bees speech. I know about condoms and I always used them until now."

The relief Lex felt was immeasurable. They'd been thoughtless and stupid and too wound up in discovering each other to contemplate the consequences of their precipitous tumble into this defiantly carnal stage of their relationship. But fortunately someone else laid the necessary groundwork, instilling in Clark enough caution to help protect him from the possibility of illness. He should thank Mr. Kent for being so thorough in Clark's education but the circumstances where he could do so were ones Lex hoped would never arise.

"I know we should've been using them but..." Clark hesitated, there was something going on behind his eyes Lex couldn't read. Something monumental that would change the course of their relationship forever. He held his breath, waiting for Clark to continue and as he waited, unreasoning panic surged through him.

Lex didn't want their relationship to change. He didn't want to know Clark's secrets. Those secrets could destroy them, destroy the fragile framework they'd been building ever since Clark showed up at his door last night.

He couldn't lose this.

He'd do anything to keep it, including turning his back on the rest of the mystery.

It was time to let sleeping dogs, and Kents, lie.

"But I don't get sick. I'm always careful too, Clark. I had a clean bill of health before we started this and I'll get tested again tomorrow. Promise me you'll do the same and we'll use them for the next six months until we're sure." His hands tightened in Clark's hair, only loosening when he realized that he was tugging too hard. Anybody else would have complained but Clark simply smiled at him.

"Lex, it's okay. We don't have to. Look, there's a lot of stuff you don't know and some of it I can't tell you because... well, just because. And you've got to leave that alone." Lex nodded in agreement, grateful Clark understood that he didn't want to know and Clark wasn't going to push the issue. As he watched, Clark sat up with his back against the headboard while his entire attention remained focused on Lex.

What came next was brutally honest and more graphic than Lex ever expected but, as he'd experienced in the past, when Clark set his mind to something he didn't pull any punches. Both of Clark's parents were the same way, so Lex shouldn't have been surprised by Clark's candor. Martha Kent was the most brutally honest person he'd met in his life and Jonathan ran a close second.

And apparently once Clark was behind closed doors, his reluctance to use strong language faded somewhat. Or perhaps it was the only way he could put those thoughts into words. "If you want to use condoms, that's fine. It's the smart thing to do. I appreciate that you want to protect me and yourself but, Lex, we don't have to. I've never done anybody without using a condom, guy or girl. I've never blown anybody without one either. I never tasted another guy's come until yours. You're the first person I've gone bareback with and since nobody's ever fucked me, I'm pretty sure we're safe."

Lex blinked.

It was the only thing he could do as the sudden rush of blood away from his brain left him dizzy.

He was dizzy and his palms were sweating and he couldn't think of a single thing to say to Clark's outburst. Or at least his mouth couldn't because the rest of his body was happily reporting in. Especially his dick which was hard. Hard as nails. Harder than he'd ever been in his life.

Clark hadn't... oh fuck.

Son of a bitch.

Mike. You. Idiot.

No. Mike was certifiable.

How could anybody spend months sleeping with Clark and not stick their dick in what had to be one of the finest asses Lex had ever seen? He didn't understand how that could be possible. Up until their unfortunate break-up, it required every ounce of his willpower to keep from pushing Clark face-down into the couch during one of their date nights and taking him for the ride of his life.

The only thing which prevented such a precipitous action had been Lex's determination not to cross that line. He wanted Clark to have a normal life. He wanted Jonathan and Martha to have those grandchildren. He wanted to be the 'uncle' who showed up with expensive presents and vacations for the wife and kids and not the guy who knocked on the back door occasionally to drag Dad away for a few beers and a quick fuck in a bathroom stall or an alley.

Of course he'd never consider doing anything that crude with Clark. Sex with Clark meant soft sheets and room service, not stained tile and the smell of stale urine. Oh, he wanted Clark. He wanted Clark in every possible way but Lex had no intention of tarnishing their relationship by dragging it down to that level.

It was a level Lex had some passing knowledge of due to the serious amount of time he'd spent in the local gay clubs during his more rebellious period. The music was usually better, the drinks weren't watered down and he never had to worry about waking up with some woman he didn't know.

Plus being there served to piss Dad off to no end. Those proved to be some of his father's more inspired lectures. As a result of those nocturnal forays, he was more than aware of what went on in the back rooms; he'd even been invited to join in on several occasions.

Until meeting Clark, he never understood the appeal.

Even now... if they ever chose to have semi-public sex, it certainly wouldn't occur there.

Lex realized he was staring again because Clark was grinning at him. Not only was he grinning but his attention kept flicking back and forth between Lex's face and the rather impressive erection currently thumping against Lex's stomach. Before he could suggest Clark give him a hand with that problem, Clark leaned in for a kiss.

A warm, wet, sloppy kiss which left both of them a little dazed. Clark was right on top of him. Clark was... oh fuck, Clark was rubbing up against him and all Lex could do was rub right back. He wanted to tangle their legs together and roll until he was on top of Clark. His ass was definitely too sore to take Clark in again; it would take a few more hours before that would be possible.

And while he desperately wanted to sink into Clark, there was probably a very good reason why Clark had never done that before. Lex wasn't vain enough to hope Clark had been saving that particular act for him. Yes, Clark loved him and Clark was a lot of unusual things but one thing he was not was a girl. In his experience, saving yourself for that special someone special was a distinctly feminine trait.

But this was Clark. The same Clark who didn't understand how he could sleep with Vicky when they were playing opposite sides of a financial chessboard. This was the guy who wouldn't have sex with one of his best friends when she was more than willing because he didn't feel the same way. This was the man who respected the wishes of the first woman he'd ever loved and let her remain chaste for marriage.

Clark had principles.

Clark was also the person who'd manipulated him into their current situation without once mentioning that he a) was in love with Lex, b) was the more experienced of the two of them in this arena and c) had every hope said false relationship would end up with them in bed together. Clark was a bundle of contradictions and if Clark decided to hold out for the right person, then Clark was more than capable of doing so.

Perhaps the best thing he could do here was the simplest.

He could ask Clark.

What a novel concept.

Before he could bring it up, Clark was kissing him again. Hard and deep and there was a hand in between them wrapped around his cock and it felt so damn good, Lex wasn't inclined to do anything to make it go away. Clark was jacking him quickly with an incredible amount of skill, his wrist twisting every few strokes. In a few minutes, Lex was no longer concerned with exploring virgin territory.

He was too close to coming.

Something Clark seemed to know instinctively.

"I love watching you come," Clark murmured against his mouth, those few words sending a jolt straight to his cock. Cursing under his breath, Lex nodded, closing his eyes as impending orgasm started to roll over him. "Lex, look at me. C'mon, let me see." At that request, Lex forced his eyes open, locking his gaze with Clark's even as the first splash hit his chest.

One, two, three and he was flying, somehow taking Clark with him. There was a second burst of heat between them, Clark's beautiful face going slack as he gasped Lex's name.

There were no words for what they shared in that instant. Perfect communion, the connection between them amazing, breathtaking... humbling. He'd never been this close to anyone, this vulnerable and Lex wasn't sure he liked it. But this was Clark, his Clark who held him while he shook and moaned and swore eternal devotion.

A devotion returned in the form of another kiss. Hot, fierce, possessive, everything Lex could have hoped for. He clung to Clark, opening further and further until there was nothing left of him Clark didn't own. When the shaking finally stopped, Clark drew back, his eyes dark and wide, clouded by a need that mirrored Lex's own. If this was an indication of how domesticity was going to be between them, Lex sincerely doubted he'd get much done at home... other than Clark.

He could certainly live with that.

Lex's hand skimmed down Clark's chest, his fingertips tracing a faint line that connected each nipple. Not quite a scar there, more like a body memory, one he'd found with his mouth the first evening they'd spent lounging naked together. It wasn't visible. Lex could only locate it when he closed his eyes and rubbed as lightly as he could and then it would appear. Nipple to nipple, then down over the raised ridges of muscle to meet at a point above Clark's navel with something even fainter curving through the very center.

While Lex touched, Clark shifted, coming to rest with his head in Lex's lap again, a position that was becoming one of their favorites. Clark joined in as his own hand followed the invisible line, shivering when it brushed over a nipple. Fascinated, Lex watched as Clark arched, admiring long legs as they straightened and the swift change going on between them. Clark was hardening again, swelling larger and larger by the second, the head of his cock peeping out of the foreskin and begging for a stroke, a kiss, anything.


A new erogenous zone.

One Clark responded to with breath-taking rapidity. Lex traced the line again, listening to the way Clark moaned, judging where the sensitivity was concentrated. Making a note to explore the entire area later with his tongue, Lex reached down and cupped Clark's cock. It flexed, rising into the palm of his hand, Clark's hitched breath and that unspoken plea persuaded Lex the whole subject they'd been discussing could wait.

He grew even more convinced when Clark covered Lex's hand with one of his own. Together, they stroked, moving in perfect unison, Clark's hips rising from the bed. After a moment or two of mutual manipulation, Lex removed his hand while Clark's remained occupied. Clark frowned, his hand stilling until Lex encouraged him, "Don't stop."

The endearing flush made a unexpected reappearance, Clark's cheeks and throat reddening even as he returned to gently pulling on his cock. Lex watched, swallowing quickly as mouth-watering want spiked. A quick manual check confirmed his suspected inability to rise to the siren's call again but they could do this. Something they'd never done before even though he'd considered asking once or twice. God knows, he'd imagined it enough during their days back in Smallville.

It was a fantasy that always made him come, rolling over to muffle Clark's name in his pillow, the sheets beneath him flooding with warmth. He knew it by heart at this point, able to play it out without a single break in the script.

Just before dawn, the grass crisp with frost as he crept across the front yard, his car parked in the shadow of the shed instead of behind one of the farm vehicles. Opening the door to the Kent barn, slipping in like a ghost in the early morning hours and instead of finding Clark already hard at work, Lex would discover him sprawled on the loft's couch. Textbooks scattered on the rough-hewn floor, clothes rumpled from being slept in, dark curls matted on one side while long fingers rubbed slowly over worn denim. Half-asleep and utterly unaware of anyone observing him in his idyll.

The pop of a button, followed by the grate of metal on metal as the zipper was eased down enough for Clark to push his hand in between cloth and skin. A slow tease, thumb probably being skimmed over the head like Clark was doing now, slickness spreading over his fingertips and someone's name murmured into the chill air. Clark's breath rising in a wreath around his face, obscuring his mouth enough Lex couldn't read who Clark was calling for.

A few more strokes before Clark shifted, shoving his jeans down enough to expose lean hips and... Lex had to admit it, Clark's actual cock was so much more than the fantasy one. He resisted the urge to touch it, not wanting to break what was happening between them. Especially when Clark turned his head and looked up at him.

"I used to do this a lot." If Lex could bottle the sound of Clark's voice like this, he'd make a fortune. Low and sensual with just the right break in it when Clark shifted his grip and jacked harder. Add picture to the sound and he'd be richer than his father in the space of a few months. "After I got back from Metropolis, I'd go up to the loft after my folks went to bed and... uhhh... get in the hammock. Close my eyes and do this."

"What did you think about?" Probably Mike, once Clark forgave him for calling his parents. Mike was Clark's first partner, it was logical he'd occupy the prime spot in Clark's nocturnal activities. If Lex had been in Clark's position, Mike would've been the name he called out in the still of the night.

Or Lana. Lana might have appeared in those fantasies. Despite Clark's secretive foray into the gay lifestyle, Clark and Lana dated through the majority of his junior and senior years of high school, breaking up right after graduation when it became clear to Ms. Lang that Clark was not going to remain in Smallville. Although there might have been another reason entirely for that break-up, something beyond his relationship with Mike. By Clark's own admission, the girl he loved most in the world reacted rather badly the first time she came in contact with his more than respectable endowment.

That must have hurt like hell.

Jesus, poor Clark.

Lex leaned over to kiss Clark and in doing so almost missed the quiet reply. One which really shouldn't have surprised him and yet, despite everything they'd said and done and been to each other, it did. "You."

If it had been at all physically possible to get hard again, Lex would've done it. But he was spent. Totally and completely spent. He shivered, his mouth missing Clark's entirely and ending up somewhere around Clark's left ear. The shivering worsened when he heard the whimper and Clark's broken, "Lex, it was always you."

He didn't mean to say anything. His remorse over the years they'd spent together and yet not was his alone to bear. His stupidity, his sheer blindness to Clark's attraction to him and his attraction to Clark, all those nights they could have been doing this instead of dancing around the subject were his cross, his burden.

He should shoulder it on his own.

But when he heard those words, Lex couldn't hold back any longer. He couldn't hide this. "Clark. God, Clark, why did you wait so long?"

When he pulled back to look at Clark, instead of tears or frustration, what Lex found was a smile. Not as broad or sunny a smile as Clark usually had for him but it was a smile nonetheless. That sight lightened his heart a little as did the peek at the marvel that was Clark Kent when Clark shrugged and said, "You weren't ready."

Now that made a world of sense.

Especially with the timing involved.

He wasn't himself when he got back to Smallville that fall. Those months of tropical isolation left him whole in body but emotionally scarred and only through a great deal of soul-searching had he been able to reach a state which approached his idea of normal. That, and Kori arriving on his doorstep in a cloud of Giorgio Red and carrying her own brand of therapy.

They rutted for hours, thoroughly defiling the bed he'd shared with Helen with every manner of perversion.

He burned the sheets afterward.

Each room he'd spent time in with his missing bride was gone through. Sometimes several in succession with Kori's legs wrapped around his waist as he pushed her up against walls, laid her down on tables and desks and the sideboard. He spent the better part of one day with her on the couch where he'd asked Helen to marry him alternating between oral and anal sex until neither of them could move.

Kori took it all, everything he could give her. She listened to him grunt and curse and moan Helen's name when he was buried so far inside her their hearts beat in unison. Kori matched him - temper for temper, bite for bite, thrust for thrust. He planned on paying her a fortune for it, enough so she wouldn't have to take another client in her life. She earned every penny of that proposed fee... and then some.

For after a week together, she did the unexpected. She tied him to the bed - nothing unusual there - they'd engaged in that activity more than once during his descent into madness. But instead of starting another course of desperate sex, she fed him affection. She touched him and held him and asked him to tell her the stories about his mother he'd shared with her when he was much younger.

At first he resisted, but Kori was implacable. She was the immovable object and finally, like Mohammed, he came to the mountain. It was something simple that broke him, something familiar - the watch his mother gave him. Kori held it up, asking him to tell her why his mother chose that particular coin for the face. He stared at it and in that single moment, his anger, his frustration and his hatred for every female member of the species drained away as he remembered the look of his mother's face, the way her hand trembled as she fastened the watch on his wrist and told him the story that went with it.

Kori waited and while she waited, his stoic mask slipped, then shattered. His breath caught, he buried his face in the curve of her breast and while Lex couldn't bring himself to shed tears, Kori did it for him... until there were no tears left.

His gratitude to Kori for what she'd done for him knew no bounds. His memory of the rest of that day and the night which followed was understandably hazy. There may have been a moment when he asked her to marry him. He distinctly remembered her laughing and telling him he wasn't ready for anything more than what they already had.

She was right. He hadn't been ready for her. He hadn't been ready for Clark either.

Thank God, both Kori and Clark were smart enough to know that.

He hadn't been ready for anyone until... until now.

There wasn't much he could say here without slipping into utter sentimentality and while Clark might appreciate his being a sap in the privacy of their own bedroom, Lex did have a reputation to uphold. So instead of declaring his undying love, he kissed Clark's brow, each eyelid, both cheeks, the long line of his jaw and finally his mouth before reaching down to assist Clark in the task he'd been flagging at.

They labored in silence, Clark's breath hitching every time Lex tried something different. This was their sixth time since his alarm had gone off that morning, therefore it was reasonable to assume Clark might not reach a climax. However, climax wasn't the only reason for this type of exploration. Lex was learning more about Clark's likes and dislikes during this slow love-making than he'd discovered to date.

Clark enjoyed light brushes of mouth against mouth almost as much as their usual forceful kisses. The inside of his left wrist was sensitive to the scrape of a fingernail and he was quite vocal about having his nipples bitten. Not licked, not tugged but actually bitten. He moaned when a certain spot under his ear was sucked on and speaking in tongues occurred when Lex rolled both of his balls in the palm of his hand.

Most of all and probably the best thing Lex could've found out was that Clark loved the feel of Lex's hands on his ass. Not just cupping the curve when he rolled up on his side to allow better access but when Lex decided to test the waters with a cautious flick across the actual opening, Clark said his name in a molten tone that had Lex biting his lower lip to keep from responding in kind.

The next logical step required lube. Fortunately, the article in question was close at hand and Lex coated his fingers while Clark continued a slow easy pattern, his hand moving dreamily along his entire length, thumb circling the head before moving back down. They shifted positions, Clark curling up on his side while Lex eased in behind him. The noise Clark made when Lex pushed the first finger in earned a twitch from Lex's cock.

Clark was hot inside, hotter than anyone Lex had ever done this to and for a moment, Lex closed his eyes, wetting his lips as he thought how that heat would feel wrapped around his cock instead of his finger. There was another twitch, a stronger one as he licked the back of Clark's neck and Clark whispered his name. So there was a stirring of life down there after all.

Would wonders never cease?

Encouraged, Lex matched the pace Clark set, sliding in on each downstroke and then back out as Clark's palm grazed the bared head. Clark's eyes were closed, his expression unreadable until Lex ventured the introduction of another finger. His lids lifted to reveal a dazed, feverish green for a moment or two and heat shimmered in the air between them before Clark groaned and pushed back, turning his face away into a pillow.

Lex nodded, meeting Clark's desire until the palm of his hand lay flush against Clark's ass. There were pinpricks of sweat dotting Clark's skin, something Lex rarely saw. The sensation of heat rose, Clark's brows knitted together as he kept his eyes tightly closed. Lex considered stopping, concerned that he might be hurting Clark but Clark pushed back again and whispered the magical word, "More."

He couldn't refuse that request. Rather than increase the invasion by adding another finger, Lex gently spread the two already in place. A film of semen appeared around the circle of Clark's fist as he shuddered and clamped down. The initial shock of pressure on his fingers was painful, easing almost immediately when Clark sighed and impaled himself again.

The sensuality of what was happening between them was not lost on Lex. He couldn't recall the last time he'd been quite this enthralled by a partner's response to his touch. It appeared Clark was amenable to being penetrated, something that boded well for Lex's intention to do so in the near future. If he could get his cock to do more than twitch, that future might be nearer than they expected.

For not only was Clark amenable, he proved quietly eager for it. While his hand still moved, his back arched in a silent plea for even more. Lex leaned forward, nuzzling the tempting curve of Clark's throat while he withdrew just enough to press three of his fingers together and ease them inside. Clark moaned his name, drawing it out until it became one continuous chant as his hand tightened around his cock and more semen welled up over the top of his fist.

Clark was coming and he kept coming while Lex slowly finger-fucked him. Thick spurts coated his hand, dripped down onto the bed and soaked into the sheets. Lex moved in closer until he was flush against Clark's back, his chest pressed into those wide shoulders, his still limp cock splayed across his wrist and the back of his hand. Clark rocked back into him, begging without words and Lex buried his face in the curve of his neck while Clark struggled for breath.

This was the longest climax Lex ever witnessed. Clark's eyes were completely closed, sweat rising damp and sticky between them as Lex pushed in and out, in and out. His mouth brushed the curve of Clark's ear who shuddered, turning blindly toward him. "Do you want this, Clark? Do you want me to fuck you?"

Words were a forgotten skill. The only thing Clark seemed capable of was a thick swallow and a nod, followed by another burst of semen. The sweetness of victory at bringing his lover to this point raced through Lex. His entire body reacted with another long shudder. The sharp scent of lemons filled the air, dizzying as Lex drew it in and breathed a promise. "Tomorrow."

If he lived to be a hundred, Lex would never forget the sound Clark made in that moment. Or the way he pushed back one last time, as if the sheer weight of his desire could raise the dead. But there was no fighting nature. Lex needed time to recover.

Food and sleep would help. Especially if he slept curled up around Clark.


Mike was definitely an idiot.

Somnolent heat descended upon them as they watched the sunset from Lex's balcony. Red and orange and violet colored the sky around them while the city sprawled beneath their feet. Clark's normal fear of heights seemed to vanish as Lex had led him out into the open air. There was a slight breeze, just enough to lift Clark's collar a little and ruffle his hair.

They'd taken another nap, waking an hour or so before dinner. Clark kissed him in the shower, his hands drifting lazily over Lex's back and hips but neither of them ventured further exploration. Lex's promise simmered between them, growing sweeter every moment they refrained.

Dinner was leisurely, perfectly matched to their mood. Lex savored a glass of one of his better wines while Clark sipped a little of it. Rather than pour his own glass, he drank from Lex's, careful to always touch his mouth where Lex's had been last. When they finished, Matilda wished them both a goodnight as she was headed home once she cleared the table.

Clark gave him one of those looks and Lex found himself volunteering them both to handle the clean-up duties. He smiled at having startled his housekeeper and when she thanked him for his thoughtfulness, Lex waved her toward the door and stifled a laugh as she gave Clark a quick hug on the way out. It was clear who her favorite was... not that Lex could blame her.

The dishes were done, the kitchen spotless and now they could enjoy the rest of their evening. Lex considered the entertainment possibilities. There was a new play opening tonight; the tickets were scarce but he had enough contacts to procure a set for them. Or there was the benefit concert for the Cancer Society to which he'd already donated a tidy sum. He actually had tickets for that and Clark usually enjoyed the symphony.

They could hit the club circuit but the press of sweaty, gyrating bodies against his own was vastly over-rated. The only body he wanted that close was already standing right beside him and Lex wasn't inclined to share him. Not now, probably not ever which would be a shame because Clark, at some point, had learned how to dance.

It wasn't a skill that Lex imparted.

He vaguely wondered if it was something else he should thank Mike for. Mike's list was getting longer by the moment.

One of the movies they'd been waiting for had an advance screening that started in an hour. That would be the best alternative. Something not too sedate and there was always the appeal of a dark theater and Clark beside him. They could hold hands without drawing the attention of the paparazzi and afterward take a walk through the park. Quite the appealing picture, all in all.

He cleared his throat with the intention of making that suggestion when Clark shifted in closer. "Hey, Lex."

"Yes, Clark?" Their hands intertwined almost of their own accord. Lex turned, catching Clark in profile and marveling how he spent so many years without noticing Clark was undoubtedly the most beautiful person on Earth.

Well, the scales had fallen from his eyes and he was no longer blind.

"Would you mind if we stayed in tonight? I know there's a lot of stuff we can do but I just want to spend the time with you." An evening alone? With nothing to occupy his time and space except Clark?


Lex smiled, the corners of his mouth turning upward as he murmured, "As you wish." He waited for the startled laugh and the answering smile. Before Clark could reply, Lex nudged him toward the open doors. "C'mon, farm-boy. I think I know what we're going to watch tonight."

Clark laughed again, his hand tightening on Lex's before it dropped away. "Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya...

On cue and the accent flawless, Lex interjected, "You killed my father. Prepare to die."

They both held up imaginary weapons, squaring off in perfect form. Clark led with his right foot and out of deference, Lex did the same. And the battle was on. Across the length of the balcony, Lex leapt over a plant pot and nearly landed in the koi pond. Clark dodged around the glass-topped table, stepping up onto the lip of another planter as he grinned at Lex. He lunged, Lex parried and they spun off in opposite directions.

This would be more interesting with actual weapons although Clark was usually too cautious when they faced each other on the line. Lex was aggressive, preferring the saber over the epee and they hadn't actually fenced since they'd started dating. They would have to do that soon, if not for the sheer pleasure of a match, then for the blow-job the loser would owe the winner at the end of that match. Preferably while still in the salon.

Clark lunged again and Lex caught him by one shoulder, pulling him in until his arm was around Clark's throat and their bodies flush, back to front. They stopped in the center of the rooftop garden, standing stock still with Lex panting a little with exertion and Clark looking around them, laughing for the sheer joy of it.

Lex looked around as well, his laughter matching Clark's.

Calling this extension of the penthouse a balcony was a misuse of the term, one that amused Lex to no end. His father's penthouse had a balcony. He had a rooftop garden; complete with trees, shrubs, walkways, a Zen rock garden and the koi pond which gave the building committee fits until Lex pointed out that not only did he own the penthouse but LexCorp had the deed for the three floors below as well. That shut them up rather quickly.

His beauties swam in celestial majesty.

There were touches of the Kent Farm as well. Along the south wall was a row of the sunflowers from Martha's garden, Clark brought the seeds with him when Lex moved from Smallville. Clark's telescope occupied the far corner because the pollution on the city floor obscured Clark's view of the sky. Of course, Lex had to coax him out to the platform the first few times but by now Clark was almost used to being this high up.

So much for his idea of using the balcony's edge as a torture device. Not that he actually would but it had been an entertaining idea. Just as well, if they chose to fuck out here, there wouldn't be anyone to witness it. The only building taller in Metropolis was LuthorCorp itself and Dad was in Singapore for the balance of the week, frantically trying to shore up a deal designed to fall through at the last minute. Lex already had the seller in his back pocket, the contracts were inked and Georgia was finishing the final details tomorrow for overnight delivery.

If they chose to fuck out here, there wouldn't be anyone to witness it...



Clark in sunlight.

Being with Clark in sunlight.

Being in Clark in sunlight...



As promised, they stayed in and watched The Princess Bride from the comfort of Lex's bed. Unlike the other times they'd enjoyed the film together, the kissing scenes turned out to be a lot more fun. Especially the final kiss, for while the credits rolled, Lex was treated to a true demonstration of Clark's oral skills. He'd kissed many people over the years but he'd never been worshiped by someone before. Usually he and Clark were too busy rushing toward the main event to explore the niceties.

Clark had the softest mouth, lush lips which opened to the slightest pressure and the things he could do with his tongue defied description. If they hadn't already spent the entire day depleting his stock of seminal fluid, Lex had no doubt he would've pushed Clark's head further down with a request for a deeper kiss. But certain parts of him were out for the count, so he contented himself with Clark mapping the inner contours of his mouth with infinite patience and consummate skill.

They both sighed as their lips parted for the last time. Sleepy-eyed, Clark laid his head on Lex's shoulder and rubbed a line down the center of Lex's chest with the palm of his hand. He sounded hesitant, even shy as he asked, "Tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow," Lex promised, closing his eyes while he enjoyed the sheer intimacy of the moment. Being this close to Clark was now his sanctuary. Nothing and no one could touch him when he was with Clark. He never wanted this feeling to end. He'd do everything in his power to ensure that it wouldn't.

Clark murmured and Lex answered, neither of them speaking any actual words. Lex listened as Clark's breathing deepened, evened out and when Clark sagged against him, Lex turned to kiss him one last time. Then gradually, and with a little reluctance, Lex let the ocean of peace well up over him and lead him down into the depths of dreamless sleep.

Unfortunately, their tomorrow didn't go exactly as planned. It started with an emergency call from Georgia about the Singapore deal going sour and Lex spent the better part of his morning on the phone. He mollified the seller, offering him two more points and a promise to protect several of his key employees. Halfway through the first call, Clark tapped him on the shoulder and when Lex covered the mouthpiece, Clark reminded Lex he had a class that lasted until noon and then he was going to check on Greg.

Lex frowned, trying to comprehend why Clark needed to check on Greg until the memory of the fight volunteered itself from the jumble of profit and loss projections, corporate buy-outs and the other paraphernalia that currently occupied his attention. Nodding almost to himself, he sent Clark away with a lingering kiss and a promise from Clark that he'd be back home by two o'clock at the latest.

By ten-fifteen, Lex had the deal nailed down, the iron-clad contract en route and his masseur on his way to work out the tension headache caused by translating four different Chinese dialects simultaneously. He leaned back in his chair, rolling his head from side to side in an effort to release some of the pressure. A hot shower was in order to loosen sore muscles before his massage.

However, prior to seeking the comfort of his shower, there were a few more details that needed his attention. Lex checked in with Georgia first, confirming that everything was on track, then called Clark on his cell and was reassured that Clark would be home on time. Laughing, Clark called him eager and while Lex tried to come up with a suitable response, Clark said he was eager too.

The drop in Clark's voice when he said that sent every red blood cell rushing to points south so fast Lex's head spun. His hand tightened on the phone, a tiny sound of approval slipping loose and in return Clark made a noise that would star in Lex's daydreams for the rest of his life. Or at least until he could hear it again in person. They exchanged distracted good-byes and when Lex hung up the phone, he stared out the window for the longest time before rising from his desk and walking stiff-legged toward the master bath.

Instead of a hot shower, Lex took a cold one.

So cold that the recently revived portions of his anatomy decided they would be happier up inside him. He was bruised all over, most of them fading but there were twinges between his shoulders that wouldn't go away, not even when he shifted the water from freezing cold to sweltering. Greg had managed to damage his ribs and Clark, in his ardor, left some spectacular marks on his hips and, Lex confirmed in the mirrored tiles, on his ass.

He toweled himself dry carefully, paying close attention to where the worst injuries were. The best way to speed the healing process was increasing the flow of blood to those spots and the best way to accomplish that goal was already en route to the penthouse.

As he looked in the mirror again, an ironic smile curved the corners of his mouth. He hadn't seen a physical palette this vivid since he'd left Smallville. Clark's enthusiasm left a map dotted with fingertips and in one spot, a whole handprint, that was easy to follow. Pain flared as Lex laid his own hand over the print, swallowing heavily.

The strength it took to do this, to leave anything behind that lasted more than eight hours, was almost inconceivable. Clark's otherness stared him back in the face, daring Lex to break down that last wall and take the answers he'd craved for so long. Lex took a deep breath, corralled his rampant thoughts as well as the sudden rise of fear.

He refused to be afraid of Clark. He'd known Clark for years. Despite his current condition, and a long-ago incident involving Pete Ross, Hamilton's blasted attempt at botanical resurrection and a gun, Lex had never worried that Clark would hurt him.

He wasn't going to start worrying now.

It was better to contemplate the other possibilities inherent with his little discovery about Clark.

Sex standing up was going be much simpler than he thought.

While he dressed in a simple robe, Lex cataloged and analyzed each bump and bruise and mapped out a pattern of attack in order to make the best of Jarod's time. Deep massage would be in order for the splendidly dark bruise now rising on his lower back as well as his hips while a lighter touch should be sufficient for the ribs. He expected a raised eyebrow about the handprint, as it was situated on his ass, but Lex trusted Jarod's usual modus operandi of 'don't ask, don't tell'.

By the time Matilda ushered Jarod into his office, Lex was ready for his massage. His fears were firmly set aside as well as anything that ran contrary to his goal.

A simple goal when one thought about it.

He wanted to be in peak condition when Clark arrived.

Jarod Wiseman had the best hands in the business, with the exception of Gabby back in Smallville. Bruce recommended him when Jarod relocated from Gotham to Metropolis and as a result, Lex had availed himself of Jarod's services for years, trusting Jarod not only with his person but also with his discretion. He'd conducted many sensitive negotiations while Jarod poked and prodded and ran oil-slicked hands all over his body.

He trusted Jarod and Jarod never disappointed Lex.

Therefore, while Jarod worked out the kinks in his back, Lex issued his requirements for that afternoon to Georgia via speakerphone. The delivery of the canopy was promised in an hour, along with fresh fruit, smoked salmon, oysters, a dizzying array of imported cheeses and a few bottles of his favorite champagne. The bed was arranged for next - king-sized, no frame and a mountain of pillows. Its arrival was timed to match the canopy, which Lex elected to put up in case a stray news helicopter decided to do a fly-over.

Yes, he wanted his first time fucking Clark to be spent in the sunlight. However, Lex didn't intend for it to be captured on tape and broadcast on the eleven o'clock news. His ass had already gotten enough airtime as a result of Carnival in Rio seven years ago. Copies of that infamous tape kept cropping up at the oddest times, even though his father swore he'd bought the master.

Lex suspected Dominic had a video-dubbing machine secreted in his apartment and sold them on the side.

"Is that all, Lex?" Georgia asked just as Jarod hit the sensational bruise on his lower back. Lex knew the culprit where that one was concerned. His second coupling with Clark left some beauties. He groaned, blinked and finally turned his head toward the phone to answer only to hear Georgia laugh. "Or should I order an ice sculpture and a string quartet? It sounds like quite a party."

"It is. Ice will be acceptable but only for the champagne buckets. The string quartet is intriguing but I think we'll make do with what we have here." There were already speakers set up, the entire balcony had been wired for sound for his first real party at the penthouse. His guests had a marvelous time while Lex contemplated slipping into one of the coat closets. Two-thirds of the way through the ordeal, he'd opened the main closet door only to have Clark snag him by the elbow and drag him out onto the balcony to study a possible change in Orion's belt.

By the end of the evening, he'd been pleasantly drunk and Clark was giddy with excitement over having identified a nebula he'd never seen in Smallville while Charlie Parker's distinctive sound oozed from the speakers hidden among the potted plants. Pity he hadn't known how Clark felt about him then. Slow smoky jazz had always been his favorite to fuck by.

That pleasant image melted into another as he entertained himself with Georgia's suggestion. For just a moment, Lex envisioned Clark's reaction to an ice sculpture of the God Pan, complete with gilded pipes and priapetic accompaniment. Turning his head, Lex hid a grin in the curve of his elbow. That would go over well.

"Well then, it sounds like we've got everything in hand." Jarod unerringly located another serious bruise and Lex almost shot off the table in sudden pain when Georgia chirped, "Say hello to Clark. We miss him around here."


Georgia never chirped.

It was far too girlish a sound for her and Lex sat up immediately, glowering at the phone.

It was time to nip this thing in the bud. While he liked Georgia and appreciated his staff liking Clark, he needed to set her straight about where the line was with regards to Clark.

He motioned Jarod toward the door and when his masseur was out of earshot, Lex leveled his entire attention on the phone. There were many ways he could handle this. Life with Lionel Luthor had taught him every managerial trick in the book. Lex took a deep breath, the first of five carefully manipulative gambits already picked out when he paused.

This wasn't some nameless drone.

This was Georgia.

She'd been with him through thick and thin. She'd stuck by him when he hadn't been able to pay her much beyond minimum wage and she'd never once complained about long hours and working night or weekends. She deserved better than a verbal dressing down and possible dismissal to the furthest reaches of his corporate empire for succumbing to the infamous Kent charm.

Rather than take his direction from his father, or his own possessive nature, Lex decided it was time to do something novel. He was going to be completely honest. "Georgia, about Clark. You understand how important he is to me."

"Lex, that's a bit of an understatement, isn't it? You haven't taken off two days in a row since I've known you." Georgia's laugh filled the room again, warm and welcome, immediately easing the tense spot between his shoulder blades. Lex enjoyed the moment, mildly surprised as her voice lowered into a confidential tone when she said, "Can I be frank here?"

Honesty as an opening gambit was proving to be wildly successful. Lex scrapped every single lecture about professional distance and the plethora of politically correct ways to say, 'keep you hands off' in favor of letting her talk. He encouraged Georgia with a quiet, "I'm listening."

He expected an apology for overstepping her bounds. Or another request for Clark to come visit.

What he got was something completely different.

"He makes you happy. If he makes you happy, that's all that matters." Lex blinked, staring at the phone in utter silence. His secret was out. Even though he'd shared with Georgia the details of Clark's game of make-believe, she'd seen right through it. A voice in his head was hitting a panic button.

He suspected it was the vestiges of his heterosexuality.

Which really needed to shut the hell up.

But how had he missed what everyone else had seen for so many years? Why did those closest to him already know how he felt about Clark and he didn't? Was there a sign over his head that said, 'hello, repressed gay man here who lusts secretly after his best friend but doesn't have the guts to tell him'?

Georgia continued, her voice growing more serious by the moment. "I don't know what happened last month and really, I'm just taking a wild guess but don't let your dad or anybody else come between you two again."

Lex cleared his throat, feeling a warm flush as it rose up the back of his neck. She was so close to being right it frightened him. The only flaw in her logic was the person who'd come between him and Clark had been himself. And his own blindness to the truth.

"I've missed you, Lex. It's good to have you back." Georgia was laughing yet again, the sound rich and full. Lex had almost forgotten how much he liked her laugh. He'd heard it so rarely over the past month. "We love having Clark around here because he makes you smile. I like it when you smile."

Humbled, Lex looked down at the floor and ran one hand over the top of his head. It looked like he wasn't going to be making any territorial declarations, no matter how veiled. They weren't necessary. He'd misinterpreted Georgia's interest in Clark, reading more into it than there really was. An occupational hazard which seemed to come with being Clark's boyfriend.

Or more to the point, with being him.

"I like it too. Georgia, I don't say this often enough but you amaze me." Honest and heart-felt, Lex glanced over at the picture of Clark on his desk. He belted a towel around his waist, climbed off the massage table and picked the picture up, holding it between his hands. The picture had been taken by Clark's parents at his high school graduation party. Clark was alone, smiling at the camera, his hand reaching out as if to ward them off.

Lex had been at that party, he'd flown in from a conference in DC, jet-lagged and slightly hung-over. What the camera didn't show was that Clark wasn't warding his folks off. Instead Clark was reaching out to take his arm because Lex had just stumbled into the party with a wealth of apologies. The next picture taken had been of Clark hugging him and that picture was on Clark's nightstand in the dorm.

That broad smile warmed him clear through. Being with Clark made him happy and as this picture showed, being with Lex made Clark happy. Making Clark happy was going to be the first item on his agenda for the rest of his life. He could see his day-timer now:

  1. Make Clark happy
  2. Make Clark proud of you today
  3. Piss Dad off
  4. Take over the world
  5. If problems arise with objectives 3 and 4, refer back to objectives 1 and 2 - especially 1

"Just doing my job, Lex. Now let me go amaze you some more. I'll make sure everything gets there on time." He thought she'd broken the connection but the return of her voice proved him wrong. "Shall I mark you out tomorrow, too?"

"Yes. Call me if there's an emergency. Good-bye, Georgia." He reached for the disconnect button and heard her laugh. She'd laughed more in this one conversation than in the six years she'd worked for him. Apparently, Lex wasn't the only person Clark made happy.

"You've got it, Lex. Good-bye." The phone clicked once and then went dead as Lex set the picture down on his desk but not before he rubbed a fingertip over that smile.

True to her word, Georgia had everything delivered and set up before Clark got back. Matilda directed the catering crew, storing all the requested items in the fridge until the proper moment while Lex over-saw the equipment placement. By one o'clock, his rooftop garden changed from classically chic to a scene from the Arabian Nights.

The canopy was tasteful, its pure white blending in with the Italian marble and statuary as if it'd always been there. The bed, now the bed was sybaritic. Mounds of pillows everywhere and covered in spotless white as well. Lex wondered why Georgia settled on that color scheme. In his opinion, it was a little too reminiscent of a virgin's bower. He wasn't deflowering a blushing bride or some breathless debutante here, he was just...


He was doing just that. He was taking his lover in a way no one had been permitted to before. He was going to slide his dick into Clark. Not into his mouth, although he loved his mouth, but into his ass. He was going to curl up behind Clark and finger him like they'd done the night before until Clark was begging for it. Then he was going to cover his cock with a condom...


No condom.

Christ, it was stupid. It wasn't the right thing to do but he was going to ride bareback, something he hadn't done with anyone since Helen. He was clean and he was going to trust that Clark was clean. Lex was willing to take that chance.

He'd already taken that chance.

If Clark wasn't clean then, well, they'd face the consequences.


Swallowing hard, Lex stared off into the distance. He was not going to follow that line of thinking. For on that path lay madness and he'd already done madness.

He'd done a lifetime of madness.

He was choosing sanity.

He was choosing Clark.

He was turning his back on everything he'd known and stepping into a different future. Lex felt something shift, something which he doubted he'd ever understand. But as he stepped away from a destiny that had been laid out for him since the moment of his birth, he felt confident.

Lex felt free.

Finally free to take the right path.

Amused at the unconscious irony of what he'd arranged, Lex smiled. He remembered other sunny days, other feasts, other tents and other nuptial beds. None of them held the appeal this one did. In his quiet reverie those words echoed in his head, the ones intoned for centuries by greater and lesser men and never had they been so true for him until this moment.

For better, for worse.

For richer, for poorer.

In sickness and in health.

To love and to cherish until death do us part.

With my body, I thee worship.

With all my worldly goods, I thee endow.

Lex closed his eyes and turned toward the sun, holding his hands out. It warmed him, heating him clear through much like the sight of Clark's smile. He laughed, sending his voice to heaven and he spoke the last line aloud.

"I take thee, Clark."

For the first time in his life, Lex Luthor felt God heard him.

Clark was late. Only a few minutes but it was enough to concern him. Martha always told him Clark and punctuality were not on speaking terms and to this day, Clark had never proven her wrong. Although this time, Lex hoped the pattern would be broken.

He walked, up and down the breadth of his office with his hands tucked in his pockets. Lex refused to call it pacing. Pacing was something his father did, the old man prowling in any enclosed space like a caged lion. In direct contrast, he walked, slow and natural, turning when he reached each wall and then crossing back to the other wall.

Sedate and calm, his expression unruffled while under the surface his mind raced.

The food was ready to be laid out, the champagne already chilling and the sky was crystal clear. The sun baked down on the garden, leaves stirring listlessly in the slight breeze. He heard one of the koi thrash across the water, a noise which drew him to the open doorway. The ice sculpture would have been dripping by now.

Lex checked his watch. One minute and four seconds since the last time he looked. He squared his shoulders, intent on calling Clark's cell to see what had delayed him. Hopefully nothing serious. A forgotten paper or a friend wanting to talk while Clark hurried back to the dorm. Or Greg holding Clark back with harsh words about being injured by and then abandoned for the sake of the boyfriend who had hurt Clark in the first place.

Or Clark not wanting to come back.

No. Clark wouldn't do that. Clark loved him and he loved Clark and he wasn't going to wake up again in an empty plane, stumbling toward the cockpit only to find it equally empty. He wasn't going to confront Clark about being late and have Clark's father walk through a door and raise a gun, intent on his murder. Clark wasn't going to break a bottle over his back, alcohol stinging newly open cuts and then flame burning his clothes and skin while he screamed.

Clark loved him.

He loved Clark.

That was enough.

The phone rang right before he reached for it. Relief flooded through Lex as he lifted the receiver from the cradle and he greeted his caller with, "You're late."

Rather than Clark's pleasant baritone, he heard a light feminine laugh and for a moment Lex's blood ran cold. It would be his luck that this day of all days, Helen Bryce-Luthor decided to resurface.

If she had, he was going to murder her himself.

"Lex, so cheerful. Marvelous. How are you, darling?" Kori. Thank God, it was Kori. He sagged in relief, listening to her joyful greeting as he sat down on the edge of his desk and crossed his ankles. Lex laughed silently at his moment of panic while he brushed an imaginary speck of dirt of the immaculate sleeve of his white linen suit and adjusted the red rosebud tucked into the lapel.

Yes, he'd dressed for the occasion.

It was only appropriate.

Not that he anticipated keeping his clothes on for very long once Clark returned. His intent was to have both he and Clark au natural within a few minutes of their walking out into their bower. He missed Clark. He missed the feel of Clark's body against his own. They'd shared nothing more than a few sleepy kisses that morning and one final one before Clark bolted out the door already late for his class.

Lex was ready for more than kisses now.

"Kori, so good to hear from you. How was your trip?" She'd left for Paris two weeks ago after urging him to go hunt his lover down. That was three days before he drove to Smallville and a week before he started haunting the campus in earnest. Lex looked forward to imparting how successful that campaign had proven to be.

But he would defer to the lady and let her bubble on about her adventures. Kori adored Paris, always jetting off as soon as the fashion houses announced the shows for their new lines. There were a few designers on her clientele list, not all of them men, and Lex had enjoyed a few evenings listening to her stories while she unwrapped box after box of new clothes. He knew most of the people she talked about, some of them quite well.

"Paris was marvelous. Giorgio sends his best as well as a new pair of shoes. You'll love them." Lex heard something clicking in the background. Either Kori was on her computer or he was hearing the click of her heels on a marble floor. He hoped it was the computer because if it wasn't... "Hello, Ray. Lex, darling, would you mind letting me in? I want you to see all the presents your friends sent back with me."




Kori was downstairs.

Kori was downstairs and Clark was due home any minute.

His luck was holding true, wasn't it?

"Kori. Kori, this is not a good time." Lex swore under his breath, reaching for his cell so he could warn Clark away. If Clark was still on campus, he'd suggest Clark pack his bags. As it was, he planned on asking Clark to move in this weekend. This would only be pushing his schedule up a few days.

He was midway through dialing when he heard, "Miss?"

Lex closed his eyes, that couldn't be Clark's voice he was hearing. Please, dear God, don't let the liquid baritone that dripped of sex be Clark's voice. "Can I give you a hand with those bags?"

"Thank you so much." Kori purred into the phone. He knew that sound, it was a full-on seduction in the making. The same tone and inflection caught his interest the night he'd met her and held his interest all these years.

"Always happy to help."


That was Clark.

Doing his good deed for the day and Kori was probably eyeing him from head to toe. Clark's hair was longer than the last time she'd seen him and he'd aged during the month they were apart but surely Kori would recognize the young man who'd caught her banging him up the ass that horrible night.

She was the most observant woman he knew.

Surely she would notice more than Clark's beautiful face, his perfect body and that fucking killer smile.

Of course she hadn't seen the smile so maybe she wouldn't.

Oh Christ.


As he tried to issue another urgent warning to Kori, Lex's phone went dead. He immediately dialed Clark's number only to have it ring a few times then go directly to voice mail. The same thing happened with Kori's.

Lex refused to panic. Panicking never solved anything. He'd just inked a two hundred million-dollar deal, negotiating with three different sets of lawyers while placating a voluble and volatile seller and he hadn't panicked then. Why should he panic now?

It was just Kori... and Clark. Kori he could handle. He knew every one of her little secrets and he could use them if he needed to. As long as she didn't try to seduce Clark in the elevator, Lex felt he had a chance of salvaging this situation. If she tried to seduce Clark, then all bets were off. If Clark didn't shut her down, then he would.

Now Clark, Clark was a different matter.

He wasn't sure how Clark would react. The Clark he'd known in Smallville would either beat a hasty retreat to his loft to brood for a few months or he would burst into a rage. Lex saw some of the damage Clark did during those years. He'd even given Clark some well-meaning advice the time Clark mopped the alley behind the Talon with three guys who tried to assault Lana. Clark was a force to be reckoned with when his protective instincts were aroused.

Back then, Clark had been predictable.

This Clark, the Clark he was so in love with that the thought of losing him again was a knife-edge of agony, this Clark, Lex was unsure of. This Clark was so much older, so much more mature than Lex had ever given him credit for. During the past two days, Clark had amazed him, a feat due not only to the incredible sex but also Clark's insight, his candor about his past and willingness to forgive and forget Lex's own foibles.

Lex could only hope the Clark currently helping Kori with her bags remained the mature Clark. While Lex missed the younger, naive version, he was completely enthralled by the new. With the mature Clark he had a fighting chance. Clark left the last time because he thought Lex loved Kori. After yesterday, Clark should have absolutely no doubt where Lex's true affections lay.

He had to trust Clark. Trust that Clark would give him a minute to explain or at least the possibility to catch up with him and beg for an audience.

Steeling himself for whatever he was going to find in his front hallway, Lex moved quickly toward the door. The situation before him was delicate; it would take the finesses of a master to handle it. He had that finesse.

Lex was ready for anything from disappointment to guilt to full-on rage from his lover. He had an apology ready along with a demand for Kori to vacate the premises. While Lex was fond of Kori and he remained grateful for everything she'd done for him in the past, she'd overstepped the bounds of their arrangement. She didn't belong here today. At the very least, she should have called ahead so he could have warded her off.

Yes, he had been on one of his infamous benders when she'd left for Paris. Yes, she'd given him a reality check and shoved him in Clark's direction. Kori probably showed up today because she was still worried about him. But that concern did not warrant her sudden appearance at his door.

Lex believed he could calm Clark down if he did what he had done with Georgia and was honest. This was not his fault. It was just a case of poor timing. Strike that, it was a case of execrable timing and where his budding amorous relationship with Clark was concerned... par for the course.

Fully prepared to go as far as to confirm his complete conversion to the rainbow side of the fence by openly declaring his love for Clark in front of Kori and quite possibly groveling, Lex took a deep breath then opened the door.

Instead of finding what he'd anticipated, Lex simply got Kori.

No Clark, just Kori.

And a mountain of bags and boxes carefully stacked beside her.

Swearing under his breath, Lex bolted for the elevator, only to have Kori follow. She caught up with him, laying a placating hand on his arm as he punched at the recall button. Supremely irritated at her intervention, Lex treated her to an imprecation which should have set her ears aflame.

Undaunted, Kori smiled and if she laughed, he was going to deck her. "Lex, it's all right. Clark just went back downstairs to get his things. He'll be right back."

"Excuse me?" Clark brought things? Lex swallowed heavily, fighting the crawling conviction Clark had actually bolted again. The elevator was still on its way down. If he called Ray, there might be a chance of his catching Clark before Clark disappeared.

Lex flipped open his cell phone and again Kori interfered. She covered it with her hand and stepped in close, her hand brushing his cheek before he flinched away. "Stop. Lex, listen to me. It's all right. Clark and I talked on the way up and he is going to be right back."

They talked? How was it that it never occurred to him that they would talk? Lex wanted to believe Kori but, like the last time, she was here and Clark wasn't. He freed the phone from her hand and as he fumbled for speed dial one, it rang. Lex checked the read-out, his heart stuttering in his chest. He held the phone to his ear, praying silently as he said, "Clark?"

"Hey, Lex." Clark didn't sound angry. If anything, his voice was warm, concerned and even slightly amused. Relieved, Lex let go of the breath he'd been holding as he listened. "I can hear you panicking from here. I knew I should've waited. Look, I'll be right up, okay? There wasn't enough room in the elevator for both of us and all our stuff."

"Your stuff?" He was capable of speaking in more than monosyllables but at the moment Lex wasn't sure if he remembered how. Clark brought stuff. Kori was right at his elbow, still smiling indulgently up at him and he found himself smiling back because Clark brought stuff. Clark brought a lot of stuff because the elevator wasn't that small and while it looked like Kori had brought half of Paris with her, sometime today Clark apparently decided to move in.

Yes. Yes. God had been listening to him.

"Yeah, my stuff. I hope you don't mind but I need to stay with you for a little while. Greg's girlfriend's using my bed so she can take care of him."

Clark was moving in. It seemed Clark thought it would be a temporary arrangement but what Clark thought and reality were two entirely different things. Clark was moving in and he was going to stay. No matter what it took, he'd make sure that Clark stayed.

Oh. Clark was still talking and he should be listening. There might be a quiz later. There was always a quiz when Clark was taking him to task for something. Lex suspected Clark learned that habit from Jonathan. "Lex, I know Greg can be a pain but you didn't need to use him as a punching bag. You broke two of his ribs and he's having trouble eating 'cause his hand's broken too. Promise me you won't do that again."

"I promise." Lex parroted immediately. He would've agreed to anything at this point because Clark brought stuff. He brought stuff and he was coming right back up and when he got there, Lex was going to kiss him until they both were incapable of intelligent speech.

"Good. Now help Kori, okay? She brought a lot of really cool things. I want to see you in that grey sweater soon. Really soon." Clark voice dropped a little and Lex barely controlled his shiver of response. He loved that tone; it set off a response nothing else in the world did. That was the phone sex voice, his caffeine replacement and Clark knew it. Clark was using it to calm him down, a tactic which Lex had to admit was nothing short of brilliant.

As a manipulation technique it earned the highest marks because it also managed to shift his annoyance at Kori's thoughtless arrival to curiosity. Even though clothes, other than the necessary shedding of them, had been the last thing on his mind, Lex found himself intrigued. That sweater had to be quite exceptional. Clark wasn't one to notice clothes and if he'd noticed, then it was something special.

Lex nodded, even though Clark couldn't see him do it. As he'd promised to himself on the way to the door, Lex took a deep breath and quietly said. "I love you."

Kori's smile went from indulgent to beaming and she slipped under his arm to hug him. A familiar wave of Giorgio Red assaulted his senses and Lex turned just enough so she wouldn't crush the rose in his lapel. His head reeled for a moment when Clark laughed and replied. "I love you too. I'll be right up... Hey, Lex? Where should I put my bags? In my room or..."

If Clark thought he'd be sleeping in a separate room, he hadn't been paying as close attention to what happened to them yesterday as he should have been.

"Ours, Clark. In our room." Another tight squeeze from Kori and Clark was laughing before he broke the connection. Despite the tight circle of arms around his chest, Lex could breathe again.

His personal disaster had been averted.

With Kori tucked underneath his arm, Lex walked back to his open door where Matilda hovered. She greeted Kori with a tight smile while questioning Lex's sanity in the elegant arch of a single raised eyebrow. Laughing aloud, Lex reassured her that Clark was on his way up and everything was fine.

Everything was more than fine.

Clark brought stuff.

A few minutes later, he and Kori were situated comfortably in his study with Kori's bags spread out across the floor. She was holding up what Lex had to admit was one of the finest sweaters he'd seen. Pearl gray and cut to perfection. It would fit like a second skin, showing off the body he worked hard to keep in top physical condition. No wonder Clark wanted to see him in it.

There wasn't a knock to herald Clark's presence, nor even the sound of footfalls on thick carpets. One minute, Lex was looking over the pair of shoes Kori'd mentioned during her call and the next, he felt a pair of familiar lips on the back of his neck. He leaned back into that kiss, then slowly turned his head to smile up at Clark. Who bent over the back of the couch again and covered Lex's mouth with his own.

This Clark Kent, shy about showing affection? Perish the thought.

Equally unshy, Lex tangled his hands in Clark's hair and held onto him while that kiss shifted from casual to carnal and then back again. There was this fascinating thing Clark always did with his tongue that no matter how he tried Lex couldn't duplicate. Despite the fact they were being rude to their guest, Lex was more interested in practicing that move than he was in her comfort.

He sincerely doubted what they were doing could make Kori uncomfortable. To Lex's knowledge, she'd seen and done everything associated with sex, up to and including the rather unfortunate incident that nearly destroyed his relationship with Clark. So if this did make her uncomfortable, well, Clark was entitled to a little payback, wasn't he?

Apparently their prolonged kiss didn't make her uncomfortable and yet it did because Lex could practically hear the changes in Kori. Some of them he actually did hear; the quick catch in her breath, her soft sound of approval, the shift of her legs as she uncrossed them and moved a little closer. He suspected that if he slipped his hand up under her skirt, she would be wet and welcoming.

Interesting. This was a unexplored kink of Kori's. He'd been aware of the voyeurism but not that it included something as simple as kissing. Lex couldn't find fault with it though. His personal vanity was such that he knew he was an attractive member of the species and Clark... Clark was in a whole other realm of masculine beauty.

Lex always found two women kissing to be an incredibly arousing sight, so why not two men? It pleased him to discover that Kori was affected by their embrace, affected enough that she chose to remain in silence rather than touch either of them or try to join in.

At another point in his life, he might have allowed that familiarity and even offer Kori the chance to join them. He'd done so when the other partner had been a woman, many times in fact. But this was Clark and what he and Clark had was irreplaceable. Lex wasn't willing to share that with anyone, other than the casual observance of the two of them kissing.

"I missed you," Clark murmured in his ear. Opening his eyes, Lex laid a hand over the one on his shoulder and turned it just enough so he could place a kiss in the palm. A foolishly romantic gesture and one he expected Clark to laugh at but instead, Lex heard a quick gasp and Clark was no longer behind him.

The couch dipped heavily for a second and when Lex turned to look, Clark was sitting beside him, bright eyes and smile warming him clear through. He nodded toward the sweater, his smile broadening before he greeted Kori. "Hey, Kori. I see you've been keeping him entertained. Where did you get all this stuff?"

Lex found Clark's apparent ease with Kori fascinating. He knew Clark made fast friends, a habit he'd acquired since leaving Smallville. Back in Smallville, Lex could count the number of Clark's friends on one hand but once Clark migrated to Metropolis, Lex had a hard time keeping up with the list of people who'd made it in and out of Clark's inner circle. Now it seemed Kori was being drawn into that group as well and Lex could only admire Clark's equanimity considering everything he'd done with Kori in the past.

If the person sitting next to him had been Mike or any of the others Clark mentioned in passing, Lex doubted he would be so accommodating. To be honest, Lex knew he'd be going for blood rather than launching into a discussion of Kori's successes on and off the runways of Paris' fashion week. The conversation in the elevator must have been quite illuminating.

As was the one going on without his input while he studied the two of them. Kori was laughing and what she was saying to Clark sounded like teasing but Lex knew it wasn't. "Clark, you simply have to get Lex to take you for the summer show. You'll have the best time and Lex can expend all his energies keeping you off the runway. If Ralph or Giorgio catch sight of you, they'll have you in their clothes in a heartbeat."

There was a speculative gleam in Kori's eyes, one that Lex didn't like and certainly didn't trust. He took Clark's hand, holding it tightly while Kori's gaze swept Clark from head to toe.

Perhaps he'd been a bit hasty about the blood. His mouth tightened, a verbal gauntlet rising in response to that predatory gaze when Clark laughed. "No way, Kori. I'm a jeans-and-flannel kind of guy. Lex's the fashion plate. Who, by the way...." Clark tugged on his hand and Lex tore his attention from Kori for a second to focus on Clark. Whose eyes were dark and wide and full of promise as he touched the rose in Lex's lapel. "I like this. You look great."

"Thank you. I had plans." Which Kori had sidetracked but the sun would be up for a few more hours. Sunset should bring a little relief from the heat. They could wait until then. Or Kori could take the hint and come back at another time. Because the way Clark was looking at him, again the only consideration Lex had for clothes was being rid of them. Preferably as soon as possible.

"I bet you did," Not Clark, Kori and she was smiling at both of them. The predatory gleam disappeared as contrition crept in. "I'm so glad you two worked things out. Clark, I can't apologize enough for..."

"It's okay," Clark cut her off before she could say anything else. "What's done is done. You and Lex have a history and I respect that. All I ask is that you respect our future." Yes, this was his adult Clark, the one who continued to surprise Lex every time he turned around. Clark was being quietly possessive, there was no beating of the chest or threatened mayhem, nothing more than a calm statement of fact which Kori accepted with a slow nod of her head.

"I'll do that." Kori reached for one of her bags, turning slightly to place it in Lex's lap. "Lex, this is for you. Don't open it until I'm gone." While he glanced down at it, his curiosity piqued, Kori leaned over to kiss his cheek and whisper her approval, "He's perfect for you. Hold onto him this time."

"I will," Lex promised in return before leaning back into the arm Clark laid so casually across the back of the couch. It was an easy promise to make, as he had no intention of ever letting Clark go. Nor did Clark, the warm hand on his shoulder confirmation enough of his commitment.

As she'd done in the past for Lex, Kori regaled both of them with further tales of Paris and the show. There were a few stories where Lex suspected Kori was exaggerating but he wasn't going to call her on it. Instead, he was going to watch his new lover and his old lover interact like civilized people. Clark and Kori laughed like they were old friends when she explained how she'd ended up with the suit she was wearing. Ruby-red, matching the color on her lips, setting her dark hair and eyes off to perfection and Lex felt a momentary twinge that he'd never kiss her mouth again.

But only momentary because Clark turned to look at him in that moment, reminding Lex of the mouth that he would be kissing. A mouth he wanted to be kissing right now. He leaned toward Clark who caught the movement and met him halfway. Soft and sure and completely open about his affection for Lex. Much to Kori's repressed delight as Lex heard her shifting again.

But she didn't touch either of them. Instead, she glanced at her watch and then reached for her purse. "Lex, it's been lovely catching up but I'm going to have to run. I only dropped by to deliver these and see how you were. I can see you're doing just fine."

If she'd been a cat, Lex would have sworn he saw cream on those whiskers. He couldn't remember seeing Kori so pleased with herself or the world around her.

Lex could relate.

"It was good of you to check in. Dinner next week, perhaps?" Lex ticked his attention over to Clark who nodded. It was interesting having someone intimate that he needed to consult with for the arrangement of his social calendar. Another change in his life Lex decided he enjoyed.

"I'm sorry, darling. I won't be able to. I'm going back to Paris tomorrow." Kori was on her feet and ever the gentleman, Lex rose to walk her to the door. Clark was right behind him, standing so close Lex could feel the heat between them rising. It was good Kori was leaving although he didn't understand why she was going back to Paris so soon. He should probably ask... if he wasn't being so aware of the light touch of Clark's hand on his hip.

Kori forestalled any questions by kissing him on the cheek and then, to Lex's mild surprise, kissing Clark as well. She might have murmured something to Clark but whatever she said was too low for him to hear. He did catch Clark's nod and smile before Kori said, "You don't need to see me out. I know the way."

With that she was gone, slipping out the door before either of them could protest and honestly Lex wasn't concerned with protesting. He was more concerned with turning toward Clark and giving Clark the kind of kiss he'd held back on in front of Kori. Long and deep and by the end of it, Clark's shirt was half unbuttoned and Clark was moving both of them to the couch. A maneuver that involved Clark backing up and bumping into the replacement coffee table which tipped for a moment but didn't fall over.

Lex followed Clark, eager for more skin, his mouth on Clark's neck when they hit the couch and tumbled onto it. The sweater Clark liked so much got tangled up around Lex's arm and he lifted up long enough to free himself while Clark grinned at him. That smile faded a little as Clark rolled onto his side, dragging the mysterious bag out from underneath him and holding it out for Lex.

Clark stared at the bag in his hand, his eyes going wide and Lex had to make a grab for it to keep it from hitting the floor. Curious about Clark's odd reaction, he peered into the bag himself and had a similar response. Rather than drop it, Lex poured its contents onto the table, staring at the thick sheaf of bearer's bonds that spilled out in front of them.

He did a quick calculation while Clark simply stared. In front of him was probably every dime he'd paid for Kori's services. Calling this unexpected was an understatement. It was unprecedented. He'd considered that money well spent, it allowed him to keep a much needed wall of distance between himself and Kori and now she'd returned it to him.

"Lex. Wow. That's a lot of money, isn't it?" Clark didn't touch any of it. For a someone who'd grown up in a home where money was tight, Lex was surprised at the restraint. But that was one thing he'd learned about Clark. Clark was full of surprises.

So was Kori, apparently.

"It is, Clark. A great deal of money. Enough to pay for your college education and probably a graduate degree or two." Lex shifted through the stack and found a small piece of paper folded in the shape of a crane. He unfolded it, read the note and smiled to himself. In a different time, a different place, he could have loved Kori. He did love her in his own way but not the way he loved Clark.

Clark looked at the piece of paper and then at Lex who handed it to him. While Lex gathered up the bonds, intent on stowing them in his safe, he caught the sudden rise of red on Clark's neck. Apparently Kori and Clark's talk in the elevator did not include the monetary aspect of their relationship. He wondered again exactly what they had discussed but when Clark set the note down and pulled him in for a kiss, Lex chose mutual discretion over disclosure.

Kori was not only going back to Paris, she was accepting a job there and not the sort of work she'd done for him and a few select others. A large fashion house had offered Kori her own line. According to her note, she'd made a fortune off the stock market with the money Lex gave her over the years and he was the only person she'd slept with who she didn't consider a client. Therefore, she was returning his money to him and wished him luck in recapturing the person he really loved.

The person who was holding him right now.

A few minutes later, Lex managed to unglue himself from Clark. He wanted Clark but he wanted Clark in the sunlight. Without a word, he held out his hand and led Clark out onto the balcony. To his delight, Matilda had already laid the food out on the table. Lex reminded himself to give her a raise while he watched Clark blink for a moment, his eyes adjusting rapidly to the change in light before he stepped out into the shimmering heat.

Clark didn't say anything. He simply took in the table and its contents, then the canopy and finally the decadent bed. Taking a few more steps forward, Clark touched one of the several dozen red roses that decorated the table. His fingers traced the edge of a petal while he studied everything Lex accomplished while he was gone.

Clark's silent perusal of the balcony raised a moment's doubt, enough of a doubt that Lex remembered he hadn't discussed any of this with Clark. He'd been so intent on what he wanted he hadn't bothered with soliciting the opinion of his partner. The doubt mounted as Clark's silence continued, his attention focused on the canopy and then the bed beside it and then back on the canopy again. Lex shifted from foot to foot, seriously concerned Clark didn't like it, that he should simply suggest they retreat to their bedroom and take a late supper out on the balcony once the sun had gone down.

Especially when Clark's shoulders started shaking. Lex reached for him, an apology ready when he realized Clark was laughing. Silent laughter, as if he didn't dare take a breath and then he did... take a breath and laugh out loud. He turned to face Lex, one of those famous ear-to-ear grins firmly in place as he said. "Lex, only you could do this so quick. It's perfect. You have no idea how perfect it is."

He liked it. Clark really liked it. The childish urge to bounce on his toes surfaced for a moment, only to be hidden behind what he hoped was a small smile. A smile that grew wider as Clark backed away from him toward the bed. There was that saunter again, that mouth-watering shimmy of Clark's hips and Clark was undoing the last of his buttons and pulling his shirt out of his pants. Clark's shoes were toed off, the laces creaking before he got his feet free.

Any concerns Lex might have had about Clark being shy with regards to outdoor sex were gone. Clark easily shucked his pants and left them at the edge of the bed along with his boxers and socks. While Lex watched and tried not to drool, Clark spread himself over the mound of white pillows, rolling until he was on his stomach, presenting what had to be the finest back and ass in all creation for Lex's viewing pleasure.

The sun which disappeared behind a cloud when Clark started to undress, returned. The sense of otherness returned along with it, stronger than ever as Lex watched in awe. Always golden, Clark's skin took on a burnished hue, glowing with health and utter perfection. There wasn't a single blemish to be seen, no scars, no bruises, no scrapes, nothing but vast planes of honey-brown sweetness. That body was his temple, the temple Lex planned on worshiping at the rest of his life.

How he got naked, Lex would never know but he managed it somehow. The trail of discarded white leading up to the same bed he was now kneeling on bore mute evidence to his disrobing. Rather than just touch Clark, Lex crawled up over him, covering Clark's body with his own and sinking down onto him. Clark hummed in appreciation, writhing until Lex's cock rested in the welcoming cleft of his ass. They rocked slowly together, the slight breeze just enough to keep the air from being sweltering.

There was lube under the pillows and Lex reached for it, then hesitated. He mouthed Clark's shoulder, biting and licking while Clark continued a slow shimmy of his hips guaranteed to drive Lex out of his mind. Not that his mind was functioning on anything but the most basic level.

Clark good.

Clark warm.

Lex want.

Lex take.

Lex kiss.

Down the center of Clark's back, sliding slowly away from his goal and despite the loud complaints from his dick, Lex kept moving. He tasted every inch of that spine, sucking spots that made Clark groan and clutch at the pillows. Clark was making those liquid sounds, half-whispered nonsense, a language only Clark could understand and one only Lex would ever hear. It flowed over both of them, stuttering when Lex nipped each cheek and then started again in earnest when Lex turned his head just enough to spread them apart.

The first lick earned him a word Lex knew was a curse. He didn't need a translation for that one or the others that followed as he explored the long crease. Salt pricked on his tongue, the beginning of sweat rolling down Clark's back while Lex held him open with both hands. Clean musk mixed with the now familiar citrus tang, the sheet beneath Clark dampening. Lex felt it touch his knees and smiled to himself.

Of the things they'd done together, this one was at least familiar. Rimming was something Lex truly enjoyed, both doing and having it done. He was good at it and if the jerk of Clark's hips were any indication, Clark thought so as well. Amused, Lex dragged his tongue over the opening, tracing around it while Clark twisted in the sheets. A quick inward stab was greeted by another liquid curse, the gentle lick of apology gained him a moan of his name and then the magic word, "More."

Ah, the command of the English language had returned.

Apparently he wasn't doing as well as he thought.

Determined to amend his short-comings, Lex pulled Clark up to his mouth and when he heard a whimper of, "Yes. God, Lex. Yes," he proceeded to kiss that little hole. Diving in, then pulling back and savoring the taste. Clark was clean, the taste sharp and growing sharper the deeper he went. Unabashed, Lex pushed his tongue in past the first ring which gave way slowly while Clark shifted back and forth, back and forth.

Pleased by the return of the mind-blowing shimmy, Lex wiggled his tongue. As he'd remembered, Clark was hot, hotter than he should be and Lex didn't give a single damn about it. His inner scientist could cheerfully take a back seat because his libido was driving right now, thank you. There was a ripping sound somewhere above him and he wondered for a minute if something had happened to the canopy when he realized Clark had just torn the sheets.


In and out, in and out, tracing around the hole while Clark writhed and then pushing back in. The dampness underneath them spread as Clark moaned his name, bucked hard enough to impale himself and came. Clark's cock was jerking, the motion carrying through his balls to Lex's chin and damn if Clark didn't clamp down on his tongue. Hard enough Lex worried for a moment that he wasn't going to be able to withdraw until a sigh from Clark signaled the end of his unexpected but very welcome climax and Lex was free.

Clark relaxed, his body going limp while Lex sat up. Carefully, Lex slid one finger in, watching it disappear into that grasping little mouth. Fascinated, Lex eased back out, observing how the muscle caressed his finger and then spread easily to take a second. He turned them, looking for the spot that intellectually Lex knew every human male had. And yes, Clark had it because when Lex hit it, Clark did something he'd never heard Clark do.

Clark yelped.

A short, sharp bark before he pushed back, taking Lex's fingers all the way in. Lex got another yelp, this one softer when he scraped over the little bump on the way back out. Wait... There were two bumps, possibly three and they were all incredibly sensitive because Clark jerked every time he hit them. Before his danger alarms could go off, Lex urged Clark up onto his knees. It was a better angle, one where he could count the bumps while Clark hardened and swayed and groaned in pleasure.

Six bumps in all, each of them distinct and separate from each other like a strand of pearls. Clark was speaking in tongues again, obviously begging him for something and Lex replied, "Under the pillow. Hand it to me." There was a scrabbling and the tube landed by his knee as he rubbed his fingers over the deepest bump. When he finally slid into Clark, that one would be right against the head of his cock.

Lex shivered in anticipation.

He withdrew his fingers, shaking his head at the disappointed murmur from Clark and soothing him with another deep kiss. The taste was even sharper now, dark and earthy, something to be savored over and over and over again. While he kissed, Lex spread lube over his fingers and then reintroduced them one by one until he had three of them buried in Clark.

Clark was sweating again, fat drops of it rolling down his back and Lex licked them off as he slowly finger-fucked him into madness. The world went away, the sounds of the city far below them and the only thing they could hear were the sounds they were making. Belatedly, Lex realized he'd forgotten to turn on the music but he was not going to stop long enough to correct the oversight.

Instead, Lex spread his fingers apart and Clark shuddered. A whimper became a whisper and the whisper became a request. "Now. Please now..." Soft and broken and it would have taken a man made of iron not to comply with that request. Lex was not made of iron, although parts of him were hard enough to qualify.

The request was repeated, over and over, as Lex eased his fingers out, then covered his cock with more of the lightly scented lubricant. He made certain to cover every single inch, slathering some down around his balls as well to help reduce the chance of chafing. When he raised back up on his knees behind Clark, Clark shook his head. "No. I want to see you. Please, Lex."

"Clark. You said it hurts more that way. I don't want to hurt you." In spite of Lex's refusal, Clark rolled over. He settled down on his back with legs spread wide and Lex had to grip the base of his cock hard to keep from coming because the sight of Clark sprawled out like that was enough to make a statue come.

Clark was truly golden all over with the exception of his rose pink cock and the blush of purple around the exposed head. When Clark had taken up nude sunbathing, Lex would have to learn later. Right now all he wanted to do was sink down into that ocean of bronze and lose himself in it.

After he stopped trying to come all over himself and Clark.

While Lex held on tight to quell the native rebellion, he watched Clark hook his arms around his knees and spread his legs even wider apart. Despite his request to see Lex, Clark's eyes were closed, screwed tightly shut while sweat trickled down his throat to gather in the hollow there. There were more pools gathering on his chest, his stomach and a thin trail corkscrewed its way down from his balls to disappear in the slick around the hole.

A hole that looked much too small to take him in. Lex studied it and then studied his dick, calculating dilation and the necessary application of force needed to push inside when Clark's eyes slitted open. Transfixed by that feverish stare, Lex shuffled forward on his knees as Clark pleaded, "Lex. Now. I've waited too long for this."

Spatial dynamics thrown to the wind, Lex slicked his hand down over his cock once more and took a deep breath. Bracing himself with a palm pressed flat to the bed, he eased forward, changing the angle until he bumped against his target. Clark's eyes closed again, his whole body arched and when Lex started to push forward, Clark bucked into that first gentle thrust.

Lex tried to keep a grasp on his libido but it and Clark wrested any possible control away from him. Lower lip caught between his teeth, Lex groaned in protest as he sank inexorably into an inferno. His cock was on fire, Clark was scaldingly hot and as he scraped over the first bump, Clark convulsed and came again. Short bursts of semen spilling out over his stomach and tight, fuck, so damn tight it hurt.

Jerking back, Lex found he couldn't move. All he could do was breathe and pray Clark didn't squeeze his dick off.

That would certainly put a damper on things.

The pressure eased slowly, a rhythmic grasping ensued as a final splash of white hit Clark's taut belly. The undulations continued, spiking again when he hit the next bump and Clark moaned, more sweet-scented fluid welling up through the slit. Each bump produced another tight squeeze, followed by what appeared to be an orgasm until finally, Lex rested with his balls pressed tight to Clark's and the head of his cock riding gently against the very last bump.

Wishing he'd thought to strap on a cock ring, Lex eased back and then slid forward. Clark followed with his hips and a blind turn of his head. For someone who'd wanted to fuck so they could see him, Clark wasn't looking at him at all. Even though it seemed like he was because Clark reacted to every change of his expression, every grimace, even letting go of his death grip on his knees to hook them over Lex's shoulders and then pull the bloodied lip out from between Lex's teeth.

Clark sucked on that lip, tonguing it while Lex fucked him. In and out, in and out, faster and faster until their bodies slapped out a syncopated beat that rivaled the salsa music he'd caught Clark dancing to one evening. The way Clark's hips moved to that beat was a sin and Lex couldn't resist latching onto them and writhing across the dance floor with Clark. That night ended with an incredible blowjob in the back of the limo, one which still stuck out in Lex's mind for the sheer impact of how hard he'd come.

Dancing with Clark was nothing compared to this. Dancing was just a prelude, as everything in their relationship had been a prelude to this moment. This single space in time when he rode between those perfect legs and felt Clark shake in response as he hit that string of pearls deep within him. Gasping for breath, Lex rose up, resting his weight on palms braced on either side of Clark's head. "Look at me, Clark," a request, not an order and Clark shook his head. "Look at me. I love you. Christ, I've always loved you. From the minute I came back to Earth. You saved me, Clark."

Clark's eyes slitted open, a thin sliver of green surrounding unending black. A black which twisted and shifted, flaring wider and turning red before he shut them again. Sudden heat shimmered in the air between them, scorching heat, and while the day was hot, it wasn't that hot. Fascinated, Lex dipped down to kiss him only to hear Clark murmur, "No, Lex. You saved me. You keep me... human."

It was the closest thing to a confession he'd ever gotten and now was definitely not the time to pursue it. Lex already knew Clark was a Smallville mutant like himself, one of the few sane ones and given his suspicions about the extent of Clark's abilities, all Lex could be was quietly grateful for that sanity. Rather than question the gift, he accepted it with a kiss.

He plundered Clark's half-open mouth, forcing it open further with a twist of his head and a twist of his hips. Clark gasped, forcing a sudden breath into his lungs, one that Lex took greedily, sucking it down while he fucked Clark into the bed. Harder and faster, driving both of them on in a frenzy of years-long need finally being sated.

There was a hand cradling the back of his head, pulling him away from their kiss and guiding Lex into the curve of Clark's shoulder. He found salt there which he lapped at, his mouth echoing the tingling sensation in the base of his spine. Sucking on damp skin, Lex let the sensation flow over him. The racing of his heart, the stutter in his stroke, the warm rush that sucked every ounce of energy into shooting hard and deep, spilling his seed into the hot grasp of his lover's body, pleasure so sweet that it made his teeth ache.

As he came, so did Clark, tightening around him again. Gentler this time, not with the crushing force that worried him during the first thrust. Clark was calling his name and as Lex turned his head for a kiss, there was a scalding rush of heat that crisped past his ear.

For once, Lex was glad he was bald. He had no idea what had just happened and given the spreading lassitude as his body kindly informed him that this had been the best fuck of his entire life, Lex wasn't inclined to ask questions.

Any questions he had could wait. They could wait until he'd had a glass or two of restorative champagne, the bubbles tickling his throat. They could wait until he'd hand-fed Clark a few slices of the melon that reminded Lex the most of Clark's unique taste. They could wait until he'd sucked a half dozen or so oysters off of Clark's stomach and then fucked him again... preferably a few hundred times.

Every question he had could wait until Clark let him go. Which didn't look like it was going to be anytime soon, not with the unmoving circle of arms around his back and the way Clark was making love to his neck and yes, his ear. The nuzzles he liked but the tongue was... well, the tongue was very pleasant and Clark was making those little hitching noises and murmurs that could only be words of love.

Someday, he'd ask Clark to teach him those words so he could say them back. For now, Lex would content himself with whispering his own words of adoration in all the languages he knew. Just as he contented himself by sprawling across Clark's sun-warmed body and closed his eyes to rest.

For a few minutes.

He'd sleep for a few minutes.

Just a few minutes.

Those questions never came. Instead, they ate and drank and talked about everything and nothing at the same time. Lex took a few moments to wash off even though Clark didn't seem to care. In fact Clark liked the smell and taste of himself on Lex but Lex knew it wasn't healthy. Rather than lecture Clark, Lex took a quick shower and when he returned, Clark dragged him down into the bed.

Where Clark explored every inch of Lex's body, finding places Lex never suspected could be erogenous zones. Finally, Lex rose up onto his knees while Clark knelt, the sun bathing both of them in its molten light. With bated breath and chin tucked into his chest, Lex watched Clark open his mouth and then his throat, sucking him all the way down. That leisurely suck led to a reciprocal one and in the end, they spent almost an hour in the mutual ecstasy of interlocking limbs and the wonder of each other's mouths.

Exhausted afterward, Lex slept for a few hours with Clark curled up behind and when he awoke, Clark was inside him. He moaned his surprise and pleasure at such a bold move, raising one leg to give Clark better access. Thick and warm, Clark filled him over and over until Lex came with a shiver that continued throughout Clark's own release.

The shaking finally stopped with Clark lying on top of him and smoky jazz wafting through the air around them both. Apparently while he slept, Clark had turned on the music. Lex approved of Clark's selection, stretching and moving slowly to the syncopated beat. Still conjoined, they watched the sunset together, lounging on the ripped and ruined sheets while Clark carefully pointed out the first stars that peeped through the twilight.

Lex nodded and squeezed, nodded and squeezed, delighted by Clark remaining hard throughout the impromptu astronomy lesson. Clark's monologue was finally broken by a thrashing in the pool, the koi waking from the somnolence of the day to remind both of them there were others who wanted to eat. Reluctant to part, Clark finally kissed the back of Lex's neck and whispered, "Later. Feed your babies now."

Lex kissed Clark when he returned with the food. Slow and deep and if the fish hadn't decided to thrash again, their feeding probably would have been delayed for another hour or two.

Together, they fed Lex's beauties, their vibrant colors blending as they fought for the pellets scattered across the water's surface. Lex's favorite, a shiro utsuri with a belt and dorsal stripe of pure white came in close enough for him to touch its head. He'd found that one in Osaka, negotiating with the owners with all the fervor he put into multi-million dollar deals and by the end of it, he'd not only gotten his shiro but also a spectacular ki bekko whose golden scales flashed when the sun hit them just right.

When he set up the pond, Lex explained to Clark the history of each fish and gave him their names, Yume-ko and Tachi, Shiro and Ki, Kindai and Tancho and all the rest. Clark listened carefully, identifying each fish and commenting on their colors. He did that now, sharing Lex's delight and his interest much like he shared everything in Lex's life.

The sky was a blaze of celestial light when they returned to the bed. While the stars wheeled overhead, Lex sank down into Clark again, slowly pushing his cock over that incredible string of bumps while Clark held him close. They rocked, back and forth, the easy rhythm in perfect harmony to their mood. Clark came with Lex's mouth over his, sharing breath until their energies were finally spent.

Sleep found them together, each curved around the other under an ocean of stars. Content with his world and hopeful for the future, Lex gave into the necessity of human nature. His eyes closed slowly, the last thing he saw was the curve of Clark's smile.

He was at home.

He was at peace.

He was in love.

And yes, in case there was still any doubt, he was gay.


Jonathan Kent stood on his left with his arm around Martha who was quietly crying. After a moment, Lex held out his handkerchief, a polite gesture that was accepted with a tearful smile. Feeling a little out of sorts himself, he blinked back a tear or two only to catch Clark's father smiling at him. Broad and open and more welcoming than he had a right to expect given what Lex did with his son almost every night for the past year.

And had done with his son in the shower that morning with Clark's hands and face pressed against the tiles while Lex slowly pushed into him. He had to clap a hand over Clark's mouth to keep him from crying out his name when Clark came.

It was bad enough Clark's parents knew they had sex on a regular basis. They didn't need to know he was fucking their son while they were only a few rooms away.

His nervous energy curtailed as they watched the long line of MetU graduates ascend the platform and be greeted in turn by the Mayor and other high officials, Lex jingled the two sets of keys in his pocket. He pulled them both out, his thumb caressing the rearing horse on the newer set. The Modena was parked next to the Mercedes he'd driven this morning to the ceremony with Clark seated next to him and Clark's folks in the back.

Lex couldn't wait to see the look on the recipient's face when he spotted the car. The dealer delivered it while Martha was fussing with Clark's cap and gown. Fortunately, Jonathan had been so distracted by the sight of his wife wiping an imaginary smudge off his son's cheek he hadn't noticed the handing over of the keys. A fact Lex appreciated because he didn't want the solemnity of this day ruined by an argument with the closest person he had to a real father.

That argument could come later when he handed the keys over to the new owner.

"Sorry about the waterworks, Lex. This is a proud moment for all of us, I'm sure." Jonathan held out his hand which Lex clasped eagerly. The keys jangled and rather than the lecture he'd expected, what he got was a rueful smile and a shake of Jonathan's head. "Those had better not be for Clark."

"Whatever gave you that impression, Mr. Kent? I know better than to give Clark a car." Tucking the keys back into his pocket, Lex rocked on his heels, his chin lifting in recognition of Clark's wave. A smile crossed his face before he turned his attention back to Clark's dad.

"Un-huh, I'm glad you remember." How could he have forgotten? They'd been enemies once, glaring and snarling at each other over their mutual object of affection, Clark. Things had changed. While Lex didn't think they were exactly friends, they'd reached a state of dtente. Or something better described as amused tolerance on Jonathan's part, a reaction Lex would never have anticipated.

When Clark dragged him home last summer and announced to his parents he was not only in love with, but also living with Lex, he fully expected to meet the business end of Jonathan's shot-gun. In that moment, Lex fervently wished Clark had let him handle their delicate bit of news but Jonathan took it in stride, looking him up and down before nodding and telling Lex his changed status with Clark wouldn't get him out of doing chores.

Stunned by that bit of Kentian non-logic, Lex followed Jonathan to the barn where he was handed a pitchfork and a pair of boots. Together, they set about cleaning the stalls while Jonathan grilled him. Clark's dad didn't want any details about their physical relationship, he stopped Lex whenever his explanations got too personal. All he seemed to care about was confirming that Lex loved Clark as much as Clark loved him.

When he talked to Clark later, Lex found out Clark got the same screening from his mother, although she asked about their using condoms and then took him to task about not being careful. All in all, Lex thought he got the easier one of the pair even though instead of cleaning stalls, Clark ended up baking a pie.

A pie which they all shared with that night's dinner.

And that was that.

Lex became part of the Kent family, treated with all the deference and affection of a son-in-law. Whenever he visited by himself, he was greeted with a handshake from Jonathan and a hug from Martha and was sent back with fresh milk, crates of organic vegetables and home-baked goods. Martha even taught him how to make cookies, though Lex didn't have the heart to tell her his mother imparted that skill to him years ago. Pie crusts, however, turned out to be a lot harder than he thought and the look on Jonathan's face when he bit into the first slice had been priceless.

Martha was still giggling about it when they threw the rest of the pie out.

A giggle Lex heard again when Clark jogged up to them and grabbed his mother, swinging her around and around while they both laughed. Jonathan clapped his son on the back, putting a halt to their spinning and Clark set Martha down carefully before giving his dad a bear hug. Over the heads of the celebrating Kents, Lex spotted the face he'd been looking for.

"Greg!" The shaggy head whipped around, a cautious smile coming to the fore as he moved away from his girlfriend. The same girlfriend who moved into Clark's space when Clark took up residence at the penthouse. During the last year, Lex and Greg had come to terms as well, partly due to Clark and partly due to Lex taking care of Greg's medical expenses as well as a problem with his scholarship.

The broken bones from their fight took a few months to heal, long enough Greg fell behind on his classes. Clark mentioned it over dinner one night and the next day, the Dean of Students received a call from LexCorp. The problem with Greg's scholarship was cleared up, the university received a sizable behest to start a new wing of the campus library and Lex got laid like he'd never been laid before.

Sitting down for the next week qualified as a religious experience.

"Catch," Lex called out, sending the keys flying in a flashing arc.

They were snatched out of the air and examined briefly, then examined in minute detail while Lex waited for the explosion. It came with an excited shout of, "A Ferrari? No way. Damn, Lex. These are mine?"

"She's waiting for you in the lot. I hope you like silver." Non-plussed, Lex accepted his own bear hug, clapping Greg on the back. Greg was practically dancing with excitement. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Jonathan nodding in approval as he took Clark aside.

"Man, I don't care what color she is. I don't believe you, man. If I wasn't straight I'd steal you from Clark. You're freaking awesome." The sloppy kiss Lex managed to avoid with a subtle shift to one side. He carefully pushed Greg back to an acceptable distance while shaking his head.

"As tempting as that offer might be, I'd sadly have to decline. My lover would not approve." Greg was laughing at that, rolling his eyes when Lex called Clark his lover but Lex had found that he didn't care for the term boyfriend.

He'd argued with Greg on that very subject more than once. While he and Clark were friends, neither them were boys. They hadn't been for a very long time. In Lex's opinion, lover was a much better description and Clark, though normally silent about such things, came down on Lex's side of those discussions.

"You don't know what you're missing." Greg winked, then reached out to grab Mandy. A nice girl, quietly intelligent and much too good for Greg but Lex wasn't about to point that out. After all, Clark was much too good for him and Lex would certainly take umbrage with anyone who informed Clark of that short-coming.

Pistols at dawn came to mind although personally, Lex preferred a saber.

"I'll take your word for it. Greg, Mandy, always a pleasure." Lex calmly took Martha's arm, thereby ending the conversation. Although it had ended already due to Greg making a beeline for the doors with Mandy in tow, all the while crowing about the car that waited for him in the main lot.

"That was a very nice gift, Lex. Although a Ferrari isn't the most practical car for someone starting out in life." Martha was laughing and chastising him at the same time, a skill Lex suspected came with motherhood. Even when one was an adoptive mother. Clark certainly hadn't suffered under her care.

"I know, Martha. I've made an arrangement with the dealer. If Mr. Wilson decides on something more practical, he'll get it with my blessing." Not to mention the job Greg had waiting at LexCorp. His intervention with Greg's scholarship not only earned Lex major points with Clark; it also gained him an excellent organic chemist.

That investment was going to pay off quite well.

Clark and Jonathan stood a few feet away from them, both men engrossed in an absorbing conversation. While Lex was curious as to the content, he respected the Kents' privacy enough not to intrude. Instead, he and Martha greeted Clark's other friends, congratulating each of them on their accomplishments while Clark and his father talked.

The Kents went home that afternoon, leaving him and Clark to their own devices. After a frantic fuck in the entertainment room, Lex slapped Clark on the ass and chivvied him off to the shower. Sex between them was just as hot as it had ever been, Clark proving more and more eager every time Lex suggested his taking the passive role. Considering the fact Clark started coming at the first inward push, Lex certainly couldn't fault him for having a preference.

Although, there were times when Lex chose to open himself to Clark. Yes, it was still painful but the pain faded quickly, leaving him with a extremely considerate partner who made sure Lex came as many times as possible before they collapsed into an unthinking heap on whatever horizontal, or sometimes vertical, surface they'd chosen. There was a lot to be said for having a lover who could fuck him up against a wall for forty minutes straight without tiring or dropping him.

As a result of their continued amorous nature, Matilda always knocked when she entered a room, thereby avoiding embarrassment for all. And Georgia respected Lex's rule that when his office door was closed she wasn't allowed in. His dad was the only one who'd broken that rule and the argument which ensued between father and son had come very close to blows.

It ended when Clark stepped into the middle and calmly ordered Lionel to get the hell out. Stunned at Clark Kent's audacity, Lionel Luthor obeyed, leaving behind his enraged son and his son's lover who spent the next hour calming said son down.

After that incident, a panic button was installed on Georgia's desk and whenever Lionel decided to sweep in, an alarm sounded in Lex's office. On more than one occasion, Clark took a hasty seat on the couch, still buttoning up his shirt while Lex zipped up his pants or vice versa, each of them finishing just in time to greet whatever disaster his father decided to wreak upon Lex that day.

Fortunately, Dad was in Belgium and not likely to descend on them tonight.

Lex had plans, plans he didn't want his father ruining.

For the second time that day, Lex greeted Mayor Harris, shaking his hand while Clark stood quietly at his side. The club was tastefully decorated, each table with its own pool of light the occupants could adjust at their whim. City Councilmen Bragg and Stephens as well as Judge Murphy flanked the Mayor and each of them were warmly congratulatory over Lex's decision to run for the empty city council seat.

A decision Lex made after a great deal of deliberation. He was still very interested in politics, convinced that while he was making his mark in the business world, he wasn't doing anything for the public as a whole. The civic-minded aspect of his decision to run, Lex blamed on Clark. Clark's need to help everyone was rubbing off on him.

The problem remained if he chose to run, his relationship with Clark would end up in the public eye again. They'd gone through some of that already, the endless flashbulbs, the blunt questions thrown at Clark when they arrived at benefits and charity dinners together. Most of the questions were acceptable but a few of them were enough to earn the querying journalist a black eye. To his credit, Clark usually turned those questions around until it was the journalist who did the back-pedaling.

He did such a good job of it one evening while fielding a barrage from Lois Lane of the Daily Planet that her boss, Perry White, took notice. Chomping on an unlit cigar, Mr. White dragged Clark off to the side and in the space of a few minutes learned that a) Clark was a journalism major, b) he hadn't been offered a employment yet even though his good friend, Lex Luthor was the major stockholder in The Inquisitor and c) Clark Kent admired the quality of the news the Planet put out on the street. Lex finally managed to slip the crowd of microphones that had been shoved in his direction and appeared at Clark's side just as Mr. White offered Clark a position at the Planet following his graduation.

Clark getting the job was marvelous and Lex was proud of him. But he didn't want the world to know what he and Clark did behind closed doors. He wasn't embarrassed by having Clark as his lover, far from it. Lex simply didn't want Clark to be used against him in the political arena. Even though it was just the city council, the opposition was running a candidate with a reputation for being a muck-raker. Also, the city council seat was a stepping stone toward his other ambitions. The White House was out of his grasp due to his orientation but the Senate was wide open.

As a result of his decision to run, he and Clark became more circumspect about their behavior in public. There were no more romantic dinners with them holding hands across the table, or sharing kisses on the street. Instead, they limited their displays of affection to a few select spots and only when they were in private.

Case in point, their situation right now. Lex wanted nothing more than to sit with Clark in the semi-dark, their shoulders brushing occasionally as they enjoyed a few drinks and the promised entertainment. Instead, he was in the limelight while Clark held back, making polite small talk with Bragg's wife, Melinda.

Finally, Arthur Harris clapped Lex on the back with the promise of his support and his entourage drifted away toward their table. Lex sketched out an apology of shoulders and hands, an apology Clark accepted with a silent laugh as they took their seats. Under the table, Clark's knee bumped his, a small gesture that said more than any kiss ever could.

"Lex! This is great! I heard you were out here." A cheerful voice drew Lex's attention away from Clark and he stood again, holding his hand out in greeting. A more enthusiastic greeting than the politicians received because they were simply a means to an end, Lex respected them but he didn't actually like any of them.

Their new companion was something completely different.

He hadn't expected to like him but when Lex discovered him in a comedy club in Chicago, Lex wasn't there to like him. Lex was following down a lead, a lead that netted him a rising comedic star and an all-around nice guy. After a few beers and laughing himself almost silly, Lex made a few calls and Mike Talbot was on his way to New York to meet an old college buddy of Lex's, The same buddy inked a contract the very next day, a contract which had every chance of sky-rocketing Mike to the top of the circuit.

He'd hoped to catch Mike after the show when Clark was mellow after a few drinks. However, as was usual with his grandiose schemes, that plan fell through and Mike was turning toward Lex's table and asking, "Hey, so why don't you introduce me to... Oh shit. Oh, man. Clark. Clark."

Clark was right, Mike looked a little like him.

Especially when he smiled, a quirky grin that lit up while Clark stumbled to his feet, dark eyes widening in sudden recognition. "Mike. Jesus, Mike." Clark was around the table, grabbing for Mike's hand and pulling him in for a hug. "I can't believe it. What are you doing here? How's your family? Lex! Lex, this is Mike."

Well aware of that fact, Lex simply smiled and watched the two of them. Clark was ecstatic, hugging Mike tightly like a long-lost friend while Mike... Mike was melting into him, slowly turning his face up for a kiss. One that he didn't get. Instead, Clark eased away from Mike, running a hand through his hair and then wiping his palms on his pants.

Mike's confusion was evident but he hid it with a good-natured jostle against Clark's shoulder. "It's great to see you, buddy. The family's fine, my sister still asks about you. Wow, I had no idea you knew my friend Lex. Next time warn a guy, would ya?" That comment was directed at Lex along with a subtle challenge as Mike moved in close to Clark again. "I'm the headliner tonight, Clark. Two half hour sets so you'll get to see what I've been up to."

Clark laughed, easy and confident while he stepped out of Mike's reach once more. "Please tell me you're not singing." He brushed shoulders with Lex and as the house lights came down, Lex took the hand Clark offered, quietly marking his turf.

Mike had the reaction to Clark that Lex expected. Anyone who'd been with Clark had similar reactions. He observed it first in Jenny Collins, a Poli-Sci major who he discovered spent a few weeks as Clark's girlfriend during his freshman year at MetU. Neither Lex nor the Kents knew about her and Lex only found out at a party where he observed her staring at Clark. Ever the gracious host, Lex sidled in with a glass of twenty-five year old scotch and determined after a few minutes of conversation that he was talking to the first girl who ever let Clark into her bed.

Jenny got progressively drunk over the course of an hour, confessing at one point to how much she still loved Clark and how she didn't understand why he'd left. It'd been only a little bruise, nothing important and it faded after a few days. Lex closed his eyes in instant sympathy, calling a cab for her as it was evident she wouldn't make it on her own. When he escorted her to the door, he found Clark hovering by the coat closet, his head tucked down between his shoulders as if he were ashamed.

Once the rest of their guests left, Clark told him about Jenny. He didn't love her, she just caught him one night when he was really homesick and the next thing he knew they were naked and she was slipping a condom onto him. Nodding in silent understanding, Lex listened to the progression of their relationship, an uncomfortable disaster which led to an afternoon when Clark got too energetic and left her with deep bruises on her hips.

Bruises Lex himself got almost every time he had sex with Clark, but Lex healed fast and Jenny didn't. Jenny followed Clark around for a few weeks, always trying to lure him back to her bed. He finally dropped out of the class they shared, avoided all the places they used to go together and when winter break rolled around, Clark got himself assigned to a different dorm.

There were a few other people like that. Many with sad tales to tell, although all of them remembered Clark fondly and most wanted him back.

Apparently, Mike was no different.

Mike was also very, very sharp. He caught the implications of Clark's move, his eyes flicking down to the joined hands and then back up to Lex's face. There was a flare of anger, followed by something Lex could only assume was a challenge before he answered Clark. "No. I'm not singing. I won't subject you to that. Comedy. You'll love it. Trust me."

"Didn't I always?" Interesting. Lex had thought Clark incapable of ironic detachment. He'd just been proven wrong. The hit was sharp and sweet and Mike accepted it with a wince.

"Guess I deserved that. Look, we'll talk after the show, okay?" Hurt flickered behind the professional smile, quickly masked as Mike held his hand out to Lex again. "Lex, always a pleasure. And Clark... God, you look good. I'll see both of you back-stage."

With that, Mike bounded off, moving easily through the crowd as they took their seats. His red hair caught the lights, the color similar to Lex's own lost and no longer mourned crop of curls. Lex watched Clark track him through the club, wondering briefly how much trouble he was in for not warning Clark. Sleeping in another room held no appeal, nor did waking to an empty house. Clark never went back to his dorm after the night they'd spent on the balcony and Lex would move heaven and earth to make sure Clark remained in their home.

Slowly Clark turned to Lex, studying him intently. A slow trickle of sweat insinuated itself between his neck and the collar of his shirt but Lex stayed perfectly still, letting it slide down his back. After what felt like an hour, Clark sighed and shook his head, his hand tightening around Lex's. "You jerk." Soft and low and anything but angry, pitched so Lex alone could hear him. "Yours."

Yes. The last test had been passed, the last hurdle and Lex felt his heart race as he dipped his head in acknowledgment. "Mine." He shot back in the exact same tone, pride taking the forefront over relief. Clark was his. Even when presented with the reality of his first lover, Clark had still chosen Lex.

Pleased with the outcome, if not the form in which his vindication arrived, Lex guided Clark back to their seats. The house lights flickered, their waitress delivered their first round of drinks and Lex took a sip of his scotch while Clark did the same from his beer. Music preceded the announcer and within a few minutes, the first act was on stage.

True to his promise, Mike was incredibly funny. His style was sharp and concise, catching the audience's interest with the first line out of his mouth. He owned the stage, fielding hecklers without batting an eye and turning them into part of his routine.

Lex watched Clark through the whole show. Watched him light up when Mike started talking about his construction worker days and his pal who labored right alongside him through a long sweltering summer. Clark laughed at the story about the girl downstairs, hiding his face behind his hand when Mike regaled them about getting stuck on a ladder while her dog tried to eat him for lunch. Bittersweet regret flickered for a moment while Mike spoke about losing the love of his life by doing the right thing.

Reaching under the table, Lex brushed his hand over Clark's and got a sad smile in return. This wasn't a good idea. He should have left well enough alone. Clark still had feelings for Mike and all he'd done was stir those feelings up again. Being worried Clark would leave him was a ridiculous over-reaction to the situation but having Clark in his life brought Lex in touch with a lot of over-reactive tendencies. Promising himself he'd take Clark home and simply hold him rather than engage in their usual round of nocturnal gymnastics, Lex covered Clark's hand with his own as Mike's second set drew to a close.

The applause was through the roof when Mike fired off the last punchline, then left the stage. The crowd whistled and Lex laughed to himself as he heard a few feet stamping. Not the usual reaction from the Metropolis sophisticates. Mike's stardom was a sure bet after tonight. Mike's agent was probably falling all over himself right now. Served old Harvey right, he could use the exercise.

What happened next however surprised everyone, Lex included. Mike came back out on stage, took a bow and then held his hand up for silence. He grabbed the mike and a separate spotlight appeared at his feet, glowing brightly and following the direction of his free hand as he pointed out at the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, there's somebody special out there tonight and I want you all to give him a great big welcome."

The light settled on their table, creeping across the snowy expanse toward him and Clark. Immediately, Lex let go of Clark's hand, straightening up and narrowing his eyes in anticipation of the light landing on him but instead it veered over to illuminate Clark. Who blushed, fast and hot, the color washing out a little in the harsh light. "Everybody, meet Clark Kent. Yep, the Clark, the one I talk about all the time. My old construction buddy. Probably the nicest guy on the planet and well, just look at him. Have you ever seen anybody that perfect before?"

The blush grew deeper and Clark ducked his head as his ears turned a bright red. The light stayed on him while Lex smiled. Mike was right, Clark was everything he'd said and more. The crowd laughed, applause filling the room again before Mike continued, "He's modest too. Just the sort of guy you'd like your sister to bring home."

There was a pause, a breathless moment of anticipation Lex instinctively recognized as a sign of impending disaster. Mike had something up his sleeve, something Lex knew he wasn't going to like. Mike's voice dropped, shifting into a growl as he said. "Of course, if my sister brought him home, he wouldn't end up sleeping in her room."


Mike was going to out Clark in front of all these people and there wasn't anything Lex could do to stop it. Clark's head snapped up, oceans of warning in his gaze which Mike ignored in favor of crooning into the microphone. "Hey, pretty, you want to take a ride with me? Welcome to my world."

The voice wasn't bad but the choice of song was beyond inappropriate. Coupled with the wink Mike shot in Clark's direction and he might as well have taken a billboard and written across it in letters ten feet tall: CLARK KENT IS GAY.

It didn't help Clark's blush had no signs of fading. Lex started to reach for Clark's hand under the table only to hear Mike talking again. Christ would the guy never shut up? "Don't get any ideas though, folks. He's spoken for... by the luckiest person who ever lived."

Lex breathed a sigh of relief.

No gender.

Thank God.

Mike did have some sense of discretion after all. Clark shot him one of those unreadable looks and while Lex tried to puzzle out a meaning for it, Mike chirped over the scattered applause. "Oh. Right. The guy next to him? You know, if you don't recognize him, you need to get out more. Or at least open a newspaper."

There was the open note of challenge Lex had been expecting and Mike looked right at him as the spotlight shifted from Clark to Lex. Mike was daring him to make a choice. Either be the smooth operator, be the guy who tracked down his lover's exes and flaunted them before him while denying to the world as a whole that he was desperately head-over-heels in love with the same lover because he was a man.

Or be the man Clark needed him to be, the man Clark deserved to be with.

It was surprising how easy the decision turned out to be. Instead of shirking from the challenge, Lex faced it head-on. He laughed, loud enough for everyone in the room to hear him. When he had their full attention, Lex spoke. "Mike, they all know who I am." He paused, waiting until all eyes rested on him before he stated simply. "I'm the luckiest person who ever lived."

Slowly, Lex leaned over, giving Clark the option to back away.

Clark didn't.

He met Lex in the middle, his mouth opening for a sweet and very public kiss. There was dead silence for a few seconds, long enough for Lex to hear his political career go down the drain.

Then there was pandemonium.

The room rang with applause. Loud and sharp and Lex was too involved in kissing Clark to acknowledge it. He clung to Clark, his hands in Clark's hair and Clark was shaking. In fear or happiness, Lex didn't know but he'd made his choice.

He'd chosen Clark.

Mayor Harris was at their table as soon as the house lights came back up. Lex stood, holding out his hand to Clark who took it, rising shoulder to shoulder with Lex. A smile crossed Lex's face at that sign of support from his lover. They would face the consequences of Lex's decision together.

But there was no censure from the Mayor or anyone in his party. He clapped Lex on the shoulder and his hearty voice rang out clear as a bell. "Good for you, son. I was wondering when you'd get the balls to tell everybody the truth. Congratulations. Mr. Kent," Arthur Harris took Clark's free hand and shook it. "I've got a nephew who's gay, nicest kid you ever met."

Stunned at his misreading of the situation, Lex searched for words only to have Clark come to his rescue. "Lex didn't want to offend anybody, sir. He respects everybody's right to privacy and their opinion. I think he's been protecting me, too."

"An admirable quality. My hat's off to you, Lex. Discretion can be a very good thing but Clark's got a good head on his shoulders. He'll be an asset to you." Harris was beaming and so was his wife. The two Councilmen flanked them and Melinda Bragg stepped in to kiss Clark's cheek. On cue, Clark blushed and Lex watched all the ladies melt.

"I always found him to be, sir. He's my best friend, has been for years." Lex's hand tightened on Clark's as he turned just enough to look up at Clark. With a voice full of pride and wonder, Lex stated quietly. "He's a lot more than that. He's everything."

"Good. Use that line when Lane goes after your throat again. You'll confuse her." Henry Bragg laughed, his hand resting briefly on Lex's shoulder. He leaned in close to Lex. "You still have our vote."

"Thank you, sir. I appreciate that. Now if you'll excuse me, I think there's an old friend of Clark's waiting for us." They parted from the circle of politicians, Lex accepting their offers of support while he and Clark made their escape. As they approached the stage, Clark hesitated, pulling Lex back for a minute.

Concerned Clark didn't want to see Mike again, Lex stopped and looked up at him. No trace of nervousness or worry colored Clark's face. Instead, all Lex could see was love and pride and damn if it didn't feel good. "Lex."

"Yes, Clark?"

"When we get home, we need to talk."

Lex thought he reacted well, no pulling away or even a flush of panic at those dreaded words. But something must have slipped because Clark was moving in close, his hand resting on Lex's arm as if Clark were keeping him from running away. "It's nothing to worry about. At least, I hope you don't worry about it but it's time I told you."

"Told me what, Clark?" Lex moved into the embrace Clark was looking for. Easy and companionable, his hand rested in the small of Clark's back while Lex watched the world dawn in Clark's eyes.

"The truth, Lex."

Oh. God.

The truth took a lot longer to learn than Lex would have expected. They met with Mike for a few minutes and while Lex still had the urge to punch him, he understood Mike's motivations. Especially when Mike took Lex aside and shook him for a second or two, then hugged him close while calling him the luckiest bastard alive.

Lex even stood still while Mike kissed Clark goodbye. A light touch on the lips, nothing more than a brush before Mike turned away. Clark said nothing, he simply took Lex's hand as they walked to the limo and then curled up on top of him until they made it back to the penthouse.

It was a few minutes before dawn. Clark was lying on him still although they'd moved from the car to the balcony, Clark's favorite place. Despite the height, Clark felt safe there. Given this was where Lex believed their relationship had been cemented, he was quite fond of the balcony himself. The bed was moved after that first night from the center to underneath the canopy, heavy canvas walls added to shelter them from wind or rain as there were many nights they chose to sleep outside.

This was one of those nights, even though sleeping was the furthest thing from their minds. The walls were tied back, leaving the sky open for them to watch. While the stars moved overhead, Clark pointed to an empty space where the one he'd come from used to be and told Lex everything. Every question he'd ever had was answered by a quiet and patient Clark.

In the end, Lex didn't hate Clark for not telling him.

He understood Clark's reason even as Clark laid them out for him.

Clark never told him before they became lovers because it wasn't safe for him to know. The story Clark told him about Pete and Pete's reaction to the truth about Clark's existence was enough for Lex to understand why Clark held back.

After they became lovers, Clark waited because it wasn't his secret to tell. It wasn't until Jonathan Kent took Clark aside that morning, the earnest discussion Lex witnessed earlier had been where Clark received permission from the other two people who would be most affected by Lex's knowledge of Clark's origins. Until that conversation, and more specifically Lex's actions in the nightclub, Clark hadn't felt he could share his one final secret.

When Clark's voice finally faltered and he turned to Lex for forgiveness for keeping the truth from him, Lex gave it without question. He kissed Clark, long and slow and they made love right up until a few minutes ago. Exhausted, Clark fell asleep, his body covering Lex's and pushing him down into the soft bed, the weight leaving Lex a little breathless as he studied his lover from another world.

Clark wasn't a mutant.

Clark wasn't human.

It didn't matter.

Lex studied the too beautiful features, marveling that he held the one proof of extra-terrestrial life in his arms and he'd never tell a soul about it. For Clark, the person, was more important than where he'd come from or why. Jonathan and Martha Kent were right to make Clark wait; for the man he'd been, the man his father raised him to be would have slapped Clark down on an examining table so fast everybody's head would've spun.

Not now though.

Not ever.

After spending a year with Clark, falling asleep in arms Lex knew could crush the life out of him and waking in those same arms, feeling completely and utterly safe, Lex would never betray Clark. He loved Clark. Like the Kents and Pete Ross, Lex Luthor would do anything, including give his life to protect Clark and protect his secrets.

As the horizon lightened to the east, Lex turned to face the dawn.

And laughed.

For the sky was pink.


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