Feeble Excuses

by Signe

Pairing: Lex/Clark

Rating: PG-13

Category: First time, schmoop.

Spoilers: None.

Betas: Many thanks to A Campbell and Jen for all their help.

A/N: Written for Fizzabith, who requested "Clex - college dorm room."

Disclaimer: The characters portrayed belong to Gough, Millar et al.

Feedback: Lusted after, and fondled lovingly. So, that would be a 'yes, please!'

"I'll just try and turn it over one more time."

Clark had heard variations on that phrase eleven times already tonight. He leaned against the silver BMW, idly kicking the wheel. "Lex, face it, your car isn't going to start. Why don't you phone to get it picked up, and I'll give you a lift home?"

"What, all the way to Smallville when you have classes in the morning?!"

"It's no problem."

"It's already--," Lex checked his watch, "after midnight. It'd be past six o'clock before you'd get home again, the speed your old jalopy will do."

"Ignoring the insult to my car, I see your point." Clark hid his disappointment well. It would have been good to have three extra hours with Lex. This evening had been too short, and time spent with his old friend was too infrequent. "So, why don't you stay at the penthouse and send for the limo in the morning?"

"The penthouse is being redecorated, and the fumes affect my breathing."

"I thought you said you didn't get asthma any more."

"Things like that can still set it off. Anyway, it looks like you're stuck with me." Lex's tone brooked no argument. "You did say your roommate was away for the weekend, so I'll stay with you."

"Oh!" Clark hadn't expected that. "My room's not exactly what you're used to. Why don't you get a hotel room?"

"Anyone would think you don't want me to stay." Lex gave him a playful look, with maybe an element of hurt under the surface. Clark hated it when he was the cause of Lex feeling hurt. It had happened way too often over the years, however much he'd tried to avoid it. But unshared secrets inevitably bred hurt.

"Oh, I do, I just, well, you know." Clark hated it when he reverted to his old nervous stutter. It only seemed to crop up around certain people. It had always been Lana at one time, although her necklace was partly to blame for that. These days it was just Lex. Lex when he was in a flirty mood, like he was right now. He paused to get out a proper sentence. "You're used to better."

"I'm quite certain that I will survive one night in a dorm room. Now, are we staying out here all night, or going inside, because it's getting pretty cold out here?"

"Sure. Sorry, Lex. It's this way."

Three flights of stairs and a maze of corridors later, and Clark was finally fumbling with the keys to his room. He seemed to have trouble working out which key to use, and even the right one didn't want to fit the lock. He was tired, that was the problem, not nervous. There was no reason to feel anxious about spending a night with Lex, together, in one room, where they'd be within touching distance, able to hear each other breathe all night.

Oh shit, who was he kidding? He was petrified at the idea.

He walked in, consciously seeing the room from Lex's viewpoint. Bad idea. It made the room seem smaller, scruffier, even more in need of a lick of paint to brighten up the faded white walls. It was clean enough: Martha's influence still held, and he could tidy up the place in seconds when James, his roommate, was out. Worst of all, though, were the bunk beds in the corner. Expecting Lex Luthor to sleep in bunk beds was ludicrous, and sleeping that close to him was going to be hell. He'd have gotten more sleep if he'd driven Lex back to Smallville!

"It's nice, compact," Lex commented.

Clark raised an eyebrow and laughed. "That's the fancy, polite term for 'too small to swing a cat in', I presume."

"Well, yes." Lex laughed. "OK, it's a bit of a dive, but I've slept in worse. Boarding school dorm rooms aren't as wonderful as people believe."

Clark began to relax a bit as Lex settled on the small sofa and he sprawled on the thick rug beside it. They'd had a great evening together, catching up after months of just phone calls and emails, but the whole Lex-staying-over thing had made him feel almost as uncomfortable as he had the first day he'd visited Lex at the mansion, when Lex was simply some unknown rich guy who drove too fast, gave extravagant gifts and lived in a gloomy castle. Maybe Lex realized this, as he kept up aimless chat until neither of them could stifle the yawns any longer.

"I guess it's time to turn in," Lex said eventually. "I'll need to be at least reasonably alert for my meeting in the morning."

"If you need them, the showers are left out of here, down the hall, then left again and second on the right."

"Hmm, that must be quite a walk in a towel--. I think I'll do without tonight."

Clark grinned, but more in relief than amusement. Lex in just a towel. Well, he wanted to see it, but not unless he was going to be alone immediately afterwards to do something about the effect it would have on him.

"Do you want the bottom bunk? It's mine, and the sheets are fairly clean."

Lex looked discomforted for a moment, and Clark suddenly ran on. "I'll get fresh sheets, right now, there should be some in--."

"Clark, it doesn't matter. It'll be fine. And yes, I'll take the bottom bunk. I don't want to try sleepwalking from the top one."

They got ready for bed in companionable silence.

"Do you want a tee-shirt to sleep in?" Clark asked.

"Yeah, it's not that warm tonight."

Clark sorted through his drawer, carefully selecting his softest tee. He was sure Lex's skin was accustomed to only the softest fabric--, and thinking about Lex's skin was not a good idea when he was stripped down to boxers and tee-shirt himself. He took a quiet, calming breath and turned around, handing the tee to Lex.

Clark flipped the light switch, the city lights shining through the cheap, thin curtains providing sufficient light for them to see to get into bed.

Clark lay, flat on his back and rigid. He deliberately breathed more slowly. He didn't want to have to come up with an excuse to Lex as to why he couldn't sleep. He could hear Lex, small sounds, a foot rustling, soft breath partly smothered by the pillow. If he turned over, he'd be able to see him. He mustn't turn over, he mustn't use his X-ray vision. And most of all he mustn't get hard, because that would make this one very long night.

He tried all the distracting tricks he could think of: he recited the periodic table, and then again with all the atomic numbers and masses. He listed all the presidents by order of appointment, then by alphabetical order. He was starting on constellations when he heard Lex muttering. He couldn't make out words, but he seemed distressed.

Clark leaned over the side of the bed, hanging down until he could see Lex. It seemed more polite somehow than peering through the mattress, even if Lex wasn't awake to know he was being spied on.

Lex looked sweaty in the orange light, his head tossing restlessly from side to side. Clark got down, reached out towards Lex, then stopped. He didn't know what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but Lex was asleep and unaware, and he wouldn't take advantage of that, even if he could justify it as being for Lex's sake.

Clark pattered over to his closet and pulled out a clean towel, then knelt back down on the floor beside Lex and softly wiped his forehead. He whispered soothing words, random comfort. He didn't know if he was supposed to wake someone in a nightmare or not. One of those things he'd missed learning thanks to being an only child. Lex flung himself to one side, throwing the comforter down, his left hand hanging over the side. It looked horribly uncomfortable, so Clark took his hand, intending simply to put it back under the covers. The hand was warm though, and Clark's fingers didn't seem to understand that they should let go. He sat like that, leaning against the bed frame, pretending all the while that he was about to move Lex's hand back onto the bed. Lex seemed more comfortable now, which was good, and maybe he was helping sitting here, so he should stay a little longer.


He heard his name, but not in James' voice, and he couldn't smell coffee. Why hadn't James put the coffee on? And why--. Oh, shit! Memory flooded in at a painful pace, and even before his eyes opened, he knew he was going to see Lex laying beside him, and Lex's hand still in his.

He flushed, grasping for words of apology, some excuse that wouldn't declare itself a lie before it was even out of his mouth. He was barely able to lift his head from the edge of the bed where it must have slipped when he fell asleep, not wanting to see the look on Lex's face.

He had to though, and procrastinating was only making matters worse. He looked and saw-- hope! Lex's face was more open than he'd ever seen it before, and he was looking at him as though silently begging for the truth, not because he didn't want lies, but because he'd guessed the truth and he liked it.

He couldn't keep eye contact. His eyes flickered around, hunting for inspiration, no clue as to how to explain to his best friend why, even though they were both awake, he couldn't let go of his hand. Except that, even if he had let go, they wouldn't have separated, because Lex was holding his hand too. A mutual grip, and Lex's thumb was rubbing circles on the back of his hand, and it felt good.

He knew his own face must be giving him away. He thought maybe he looked like Lex, full of hope and desire, and clearly he was right because as he lifted his eyes Lex's face was right there, so close, and he didn't need to look anymore because they were together and kissing and holding on so tight with just one hand. Sweet kisses at first, still sleepy and wondering, nervous of morning breath. Then hungrier, because this had been so long coming, and they needed it so much. Lex's arm came around him, pulling him in, until he tumbled on top of Lex, squashed in against the wall in the narrow bed, just clinging and kissing, hot kisses that didn't stop.

"You had bad dreams," Clark finally said as they lay together in need of breath. "I wanted to stop them, I wanted to hold your hand. I wanted all this too, I wanted to be honest with you, but I didn't dare."

"I should make a confession." Lex sounded uncharacteristically subdued.

Clark turned towards him, wild panic breeding crazy ideas.

"I didn't have a nightmare. I was pretending. And the car would have started if I'd put the spark plugs back in properly and the penthouse isn't being decorated." Had it been anyone other than Lex speaking, Clark would have described his expression as sheepish.

He lay back down and howled with laughter in his relief. "And I suppose you don't have a meeting in Smallville this morning either."

"Actually, I do. But I ordered the helicopter to take me, so I'll still make it in time."

"I'm glad you made excuses. Do you think you can find an excuse to not make the meeting after all?"

Lex scoffed dryly as he ran his fingers down Clark's bare arm. "Oh, I'm sure I can come up with a good excuse."

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