Heat 5

by Ionah


Please, please, please send feedback of some sort, just so I know someone is reading this thing!


Author's Notes: I guess at this point I need to say that this story has officially veered off into AU territory since I'm blatantly ignoring the canon set during and after Heat.

Heat 5
by Ionah

<><><><><><><>

It was after dark before Clark left the mansion. He ran home, despite Lex's offer to drive him, just so he could feel the wind in his hair and see the stars over his head.

When he got home, he wasn't surprised to find his mother waiting for him in the kitchen. "Where have you been, Clark? You missed supper, and your father and I were getting worried."

Clark propped his hip against the kitchen counter, and then ran his hands along the front of his jeans nervously. He hesitated to tell his mom the truth, but after looking into her eyes and seeing the trust there, he couldn't lie. Not to her. "I had to go see Lex. He just got back from Metropolis, and...and I needed to see him."

Martha crossed the floor to come stand by him. She gave him a quick hug, then pulled back to look up at him, keeping one arm around his waist. "Oh, sweetheart. I know this has to be hard on you."

Clark felt immense relief at his mom's understanding attitude. He counted on her sympathy, always had. "It is hard," he said. "I don't like leaving him, and it...it's getting worse every time."

Her eyebrows drew together. "Every time you leave him?"

"Every time we--uh, well..." Clark straightened abruptly. "You know what? It's not really important."

"Sweetheart, I know talking about your new...relationship with Lex isn't easy, but I would at least like to try to help you."

He looked away, toward the entrance to the living room. This was not something he wanted to talk to his mom about, but she was probably right. In the past, she'd always been there along with his dad, trying to help him whenever something new and strange happened to him. Even if the only help they'd really been able to offer was a few words of comfort. He returned his gaze to his mother. "I don't know," he mumbled.

"Clark..." Her voice trailed off, and Clark watched as she stared up at him, her unblinking gaze filled with confusion.

"Mom?"

The phone rang. Abruptly, Martha stepped back, shaking her head as if to dismiss an unwanted thought. "Get that, Clark. I need to go talk to your dad about something."

Clark stared after her as she hurried from the room. What had just happened? When he heard the porch door slam, he slowly turned and reached for the kitchen phone.

"Clark, you don't know how relieved I am that you answered instead of one of your parents."

"Lex? Why are you calling? All you have to do is--"

"Yeah, yeah, I know. But I--Fuck, I don't know. I just had this urge to hear your voice."

Suddenly lighthearted, Clark held the phone closer. "Lex...you miss me already?"

Lex sighed. "Clark, you sound ridiculously insecure."

"I'm not--" Clark stopped, knowing he couldn't fool Lex, not now. "Okay, maybe I am, a little, but you're always so sure of yourself. You probably never worry about whether or not I miss you." Clark was afraid his last statement sounded more like a plea for reassurance than an offhand comment, but it was too late to take it back. He waited nervously to see how Lex would react to his words.

Lex didn't respond right away. Clark almost gave in to the temptation to find out what Lex was thinking, but before he got up the nerve to do that, Lex spoke. "Of course I worry about whether or not you miss me, Clark. Why the hell do you think I risked making such a fool of myself with all those damn fuck-me glances?"

"Uh...because you wanted to have sex with me?"

"Good answer, but no. I don't normally chase after teenage boys I'm almost certain are straight. It was all your fault. You brought back the keys to that damn truck. How could I let that go? I could have fallen in love with you then, Clark, if I had let myself."

Clark ran his fingers through his hair. "Wow, that's...kind of sexy."

"I wanted to fuck you the first time I laid eyes on you. But that didn't have anything to do with love, Clark."

At Lex's blunt statement, a burst of tingling heat went straight to Clark's cock. He peered around the room to make sure he was still alone before reaching down into his jeans and adjusting himself. Lately, it seemed like the only thing he could think of was having sex with Lex. But he wanted to talk -- even though his body obviously preferred the idea of action to words.

Clark leaned back against the counter and closed his eyes, feeling a flush suffuse him from head to toe. "Lex?" he asked quietly.

"Yes?"

"I want you again. Bad. You don't think I could just zip back over--"

"That's flattering, but there's no way in hell I'd let you fuck me again right now. I need recuperation time, which brings me to a point I meant to bring up. Were you not at all sore yesterday after your first time as the bottom?"

Confused, Clark asked, "The bottom?"

"Yeah, whoever takes it up the--"

"I get it," Clark interrupted, "I didn't know there were names for it."

"There's a lot you don't know, Clark, but I'll be more than happy to enlighten you. So, were you sore?"

"No...was I supposed to be?" As the implications of Lex's question became clear to him, Clark jerked away from the counter. "Oh, God, Lex, I'm sorry if I've hurt you. Have I? I swear, I didn't realize--"

"You haven't hurt me, Clark. You would've known if you had, believe me. I just wanted to make sure that all of you was as...special...as the rest."

Clark sighed and slumped back against the counter's edge. "Oh. Good. I don't ever want to hurt you."

"You won't. But you are more than I'm used to handling. The morning after our fuck in the car, you wouldn't believe the looks I got every time I eased myself into a chair. I actually had someone offer to get me an appointment with his doctor." Clark felt Lex's mental shudder. "His proctologist."

He wasn't going to laugh, he really wasn't. Clark clamped his lips shut, but paid dearly a moment later when his laugh escaped anyway--through his nose.

Lex sighed, exasperated. "Clark, get that stupid-assed grin off your face. I didn't find that nearly as amusing as you seem to think it was."

"I'm not grinning--much. But can't you imagine how much nerve that must have taken that guy, to make that offer?"

"I fired him."

"Lex! You didn't. I can't believe you would do that." Clark shifted against the counter, uncomfortably aware of how empty his protest sounded.

"Believe it. His ass was out the door within the hour."

Ass. Lex had just had to mention ass, when Clark was still feeling the effects of that last tingling surge of heat. He tried to feel bad for the man who'd lost his job because of him--sort of, since the guy would never have made his offer to Lex if Clark hadn't made Lex sore--but he failed since his body was busy getting hot, and hard, and he was having a tough time trying to keep his mind clear of remembered images of Lex's smooth sculpted back as Lex bent over the couch, the view of Lex's tight ass and crack, and then when Clark had parted Lex's cheeks, the sight of that puckered opening, and God, Clark thought he was about to go crazy at the sudden white-hot flare of want and need.

His lips parted on a rough groan. His hand pressed hard against his erection, the layer of jeans and underwear an unwanted barrier to feeling his hand on his dick. But he was in the kitchen and he had to remember that. And then Clark remembered something else. He had hurt Lex.

The intense feeling of arousal dissipated. "We'll start doing it the other way," he said.

"The other way?" Lex asked.

"Yeah, you know, where I'm always the...uh...bottom."

"Oh, really? Do you enjoy having a dick up your ass as much as I do?"

"I really liked it."

"Ah, the kiss of death."

"I did like it and you know it."

"I never said you didn't like it, Clark. I know you liked it, but let's clear something up here. I love having your dick in my ass just as much as you love having it there. I'm not willing to give that up just because you're afraid you'll hurt me."

Clark tugged on his earlobe. "But I don't want to hurt you, and sometimes, I want you so bad..." Bad enough that when this conversation was over, he had plans to run up to his room, close his eyes, and picture Lex as he'd looked just hours ago, while he finished that masturbation experiment Lex had put a stop to last night.

"I know."

"Huh?"

"Clark, what are you thinking about right now?"

Clark felt himself flush. "Uh, well, nothing really."

"Now, Clark," Lex said softly, seductively. "You know I'd never compare fucking you to nothing. In fact, I rank fucking you right up there with closing a lucrative business deal. That has to count for something."

"It does, Lex. It's number three on the list of things most likely to piss me off."

"Not too bad. And the top two items on that list are...?"

"I'm not telling, but I'm guessing you'll figure it out eventually."

"No doubt. Look, as much as I would love to continue this conversation, I really need to finish running some numbers on a deal I'm putting together for dear old dad. I want you to meet me at the Talon tomorrow after you get out of school. It's Friday. I know we can find something to do with the evening. Hell, maybe you can -- fuck, I can't believe I'm going to say this -- maybe you can sleep over."

Clark felt a grin spread across his face. The thought of actually sleeping with Lex caused a lazy heat to spread throughout his body. "I'll have to talk to my parents," he said.

But they both knew Clark would stay the night, regardless.

<><><><><><><>

A few minutes later, Clark found his parents in the barn. He'd decided his masturbation experiment could wait just a few more minutes while he talked to his parents.

His mom was standing beside the workbench, next to his dad. They both wore expressions of guilt that made Clark think they'd been discussing him. He noticed that under the bright light his mom looked flushed, and when his mom's gaze wouldn't quite meet his, Clark's eyebrows drew together in a tight frown.

He'd been right, he thought. Something had happened in the kitchen, something that had made his mother uncomfortable around him for the first time since all this alien puberty stuff had started.

"Is everything okay, mom, dad?"

"Actually, Son, there's something we need to talk to you about." His dad sounded ominous, and Clark wondered if he was about to discover some remaining deep, dark secret. Although honestly, he didn't think anything could ever top finding out that he was an alien.

Surprises like that just didn't come around that often.

"Okay," he said, drawing out the word, not sure he wanted to hear whatever it was his parents were going to say.

Jonathan stepped forward, putting his hand on Clark's shoulder and patting him roughly. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but then seemed to change his mind. He cleared his throat before trying again. "Your mom's been telling me all about your new admirers."

"Just a few people at school calling me. It's all Pete's fault. He was selling my phone number to a bunch of girls on the bus today."

Martha shook her head and smiled for the first time since Clark had entered the barn. "Pete's always been a real entrepreneur."

"Yeah, but he's supposed to be my friend. But when I said something to him about it, he acted like he was doing me a big favor."

"In his mind, he probably thinks he is, Clark. You have to remember that most teenagers would love to be as popular with the opposite sex as you are now."

"I know." He did, too. It hadn't been that long ago when he'd been dreaming of being a football player for that very reason. And that was why he hadn't been able to be angry with Pete about it.

Jonathan cleared his throat again, bringing Clark's attention back to him. Martha glanced sideways at him, sharing another of their special looks that usually meant she was encouraging him to talk to Clark about something. But Jonathan still hesitated, glancing down at his work boots. When he raised his gaze to Clark, he wore an expression serious enough to make Clark swallow hard.

"Clark...Son...we weren't going to say anything to you about this, but...well, your mother's been noticing some odd..."

"Vibes," Martha added helpfully.

"Yeah, vibes that you seem to be giving off, and we thought it might be time to mention that you're giving off these...vibes...to everybody. Not just the girls at school."

"Ev--" His voice cracked. He cleared his throat then tried again. "Everybody?"

Martha gave a sharp nod of her head. "We felt like we had to tell you, in case you didn't realize..." She paused as if debating whether to continue. Finally, she said, "It's getting worse, sweetheart. Just before the phone rang in the kitchen, when we were talking, I had this crazy urge to -- I don't know what to call it except to say that I had this crazy urge to pet you. It was the weirdest feeling I've ever had in my life. Whatever this is that you're going through, it's definitely--" She raised her hands and patted her flushed cheeks, giving Clark a weak smile. "--potent."

Clark knew his mouth was hanging open. He stuttered before finally realizing that to talk, he needed to breathe. But when he gasped in a breath, he choked. Finally, when he could get his throat to work again, he said, "Why didn't you tell me? So you think I'm...I'm...Oh, God, does this mean you've been wanting to have sex with me?" Clark sounded horrified and he knew it, but this was his mom. And she was telling him she'd been having urges. Agh!

But when she gasped out, "No!" sounding just as horrified as him, Clark realized she hadn't quite expected him to jump to that conclusion. She rushed forward to stand in front of him, and Clark just stared down at her, his brows drawn together and his eyes wide. "No, that wasn't what I meant, Clark, not at all."

What the hell kind of signals was he sending out? It wasn't like he wanted to attract his mother. No way. He had Lex, and just the thought of having sex with Lex made all his insides clench in anticipation. He didn't want anyone else.

...That's reassuring news, Clark....

...Lex, quit being a smart-ass. Did you notice what my parents said? What am I going to do? I'm sending out signals to my mom!...

...Clark, I know you're upset, but stop screaming at me through this fucking link. It feels like a sword stabbing into my brain....

...*But-- *... "Ow!" Clark reached up and grabbed his cheek, prodding the area inside with his tongue where Lex must have bit himself. Clark wasn't really hurt, despite the sudden feel of sharp teeth biting into tender flesh, but the shock had been enough to stop his panicked thoughts in their tracks.

His mother looked at him, concerned. "Sweetheart, are you okay?"

"Son?"

...That was uncalled for, Lex....

...What? Learn a little self-control and things like this won't happen....

Clark narrowed his eyes.

His mom and dad shared a look of concern.

A feeling of unease trickled through from Lex. ...I didn't mean anything by that, Clark....

...Oh, really? It sounded like a threat to me....

...Fuck. I'm going, before this turns into another argument. I'll see you tomorrow....

Clark hesitated. But in the end, he couldn't say what he really wanted to say right then, not without looking like a wimp later when he ended up at Lex's anyway. He knew he wouldn't be able to stay away. ...Yeah, tomorrow....

Then Lex was gone, and this time Clark took care to shut him out. If Lex wanted to butt in again, he'd be out of luck. Clark hoped, anyway. Their mental link wasn't exactly the easiest thing to figure out.

Jonathan reached forward and rested his hand on Clark's shoulder. "Whatever it is, we know you don't have any control over it. We don't blame you and we won't let this change us. Okay, Son?"

"I...How can this not change us, Dad? I'm...I'm even more of a freak than I thought."

His mother's hair flew around her face as she shook her head. "No--No, you're not. You're just a boy going through a normal part of adolescence. Just because puberty is different for you than it is for norm--humans doesn't mean you're a freak."

Jonathan spoke up. "But this is dangerous, Son. You're drawing attention to yourself. We need to help you find a way to control it, just like you control your other abilities."

"You think this might be another special ability?" Clark asked anxiously. He sure hoped not. The idea that he was sending out signals to his own mother was...was disturbing, at best. He felt a shudder building. Admit it, he thought, disturbing didn't even come close.

"It could be," Jonathan said. "It'll be safer for you if you treat it like it is, anyway. A power like this...it's a damn sight more dangerous than any of your other abilities."

"It's insane! For God's sake, I'm sending out signals to...to--I should stay away from you guys."

Martha started shaking her head again. "No. You'll learn to control--"

"How can I learn to control it? I don't even know what it is!" Clark didn't wait for his parents to say anything else. Using his superspeed, he ran from the barn, straight to his room.

His parents didn't follow.

<><><><><><><>

By Friday afternoon, the sky had turned dark. The wind blew in rough bursts and rain pounded to the ground during intermittent thunderstorms. The air temperature had dropped by at least ten degrees in the last three hours.

In the shelter of the Talon, he held the phone to his wet ear and spoke hurriedly, talking to the answering machine. "I'll, uh, be home in the morning, first thing," he said. "In plenty of time to get my chores done and to ride with you, dad, to the tractor supply store to pick up those parts. I took care of everything else this morning, and...well...just don't worry about me. Love you guys. See you tomorrow."

When he hung up, he felt an enormous relief that that was over. He'd deliberately waited until he knew his parents would be away from the house, and Clark fought the guilt he felt at not having told his parents in person that he was planning to stay the night with Lex.

The Talon was crowded, even for a Friday afternoon, and Clark decided it was probably because the place offered shelter from the unexpected storms. Lex hadn't arrived yet, so Clark sat down at one of the few empty tables to wait.

He looked around the Talon and noticed that Lana was at the counter, getting ready to start her shift. She caught his gaze and offered him a friendly smile, then started easing her way through the crowd toward his table. A strong sense of dissatisfaction filtered into his emotions from Lex, and he felt a rush of guilt for having drawn Lana's attention to himself.

But then he straightened his back. He didn't have any reason to feel guilty. It wasn't as if he lusted after Lana or anything. The only lust he felt anymore was directed at Lex, and Lex knew that. But Lana was still his friend, and he had every right to maintain his friendships.

...Of course you do....

...I wondered when you'd decide to pop in, Lex. Couldn't resist, could you?...

...*Just don't want you to forget who you belong to.*...

...You aren't upset about that, are you?...

...Fuck, yes. You took advantage of me. I never would have said that if you hadn't been acting like such a fucking tease....

...Hey, I wasn't teasing you. The choice was yours, but I'll never let you have anybody else while we're together....

...Which you've already explained means until one of us dies, Clark. That's a hell of a long time....

...Not too long for me....

Clark felt a brush of contentment through their bond, muted, as if Lex had tried to stop it from filtering through to Clark. ...Fuck. Ignore that. You've obviously destroyed my common sense....

Clark smiled softly. Lex might not admit it easily, if at all, but Lex wasn't unhappy at the idea of them being together for such a long time.

"Hi, Clark." Lana slid into the seat across from him. She stared at him, her eyes glittering from under thick, dark lashes. "I'm glad you're here," she said softly, reaching out and covering his hands with her own. "There's something I want to talk to you about."

Not again, Clark thought. He tugged his hands from under Lana's and then gripped the edge of the table.

...If you encourage her, I'll pull my money out of the Talon faster than she can scream fuck me, Clark....

Clark could feel his face heating up, even as he fought the impulse to laugh, because he just couldn't imagine Lana ever screaming out the word fuck.

...You're right, she'd say something utterly predictable like make love to me, Clark...

...There's nothing wrong with that....

...The fact that your name is in that sentence makes it wrong....

...That's not what I meant. You don't always have to call it fucking, you know....

...I prefer to use exact wordage, Clark, since it leaves less room for misinterpretation....

...Like hell you do. Every time you get in one of your moods you start spouting off incomprehensible quotes and historical references, like you haven't figured out yet that most of the time I don't have a clue what you're talking about?...

...Ah, but that's different....

"Clark? Hello?" Lana's voice snapped his attention back to her. "Something on your mind? You haven't heard a word I've said."

"Uh, sorry, I was thinking about something..." ...Need to learn to think about more than one thing at a time....

...Yes, that might stop you from making such an ass of yourself when you're around Lana. But I doubt it. Just turn her down, send her own her way, then wait for me, I'll be there in another few minutes....

...Uh huh, after that smart-ass remark, you think I'm going to sit back and let you tell me what to do? You know she's my friend, and I'm going to talk to her, so get over it, Lex....

...Fine, talk to her, but don't say I didn't warn you.... And then Lex was quiet, but Clark wasn't fooled. Lex was still there, invading that small space in the back of Clark's mind that seemed to belong only to Lex now.

Lana took that moment to reach across the table for his hands again. She slipped her fingers under his, clasping them tightly and brushing her thumbs across the back of his hands. Clark jumped at the strangely intimate contact. He decided that Lex had probably been expecting something like this to happen. Lana stared into his eyes, then said, "I thought about what you said, when you suggested I should make up with Whitney, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't want him to leave again thinking that I'll wait for him."

"Oh, he's...uh...already gone again?"

"Yeah. They didn't give him much leave time after basic training. So anyway, Clark, I thought now that it's official that me and Whitney are no longer together that you might like to--"

"Hello Mr. Kent, Ms. Lang."

At the unexpected interruption, Clark's head jerked up. He yanked his hands free of Lana's and then rested them in his lap, permanently out of Lana's reach this time.

The man who'd spoken came to a stop beside the table. With his large, round body, the stranger looked like a blond-haired Robbie Coltrane. He propped his hands on the edge of the table and leaned toward Lana conspiratorially. "Sweetie, I don't think it's going to work."

Lana frowned up at the man. "What are you talking about?"

"Who are you?" Clark demanded.

Turning his head in Clark's direction, the man stuck out his hand. "Paxton Targus, at your service."

Reluctantly, Clark shook the guy's hand, and then when Targus offered his hand to Lana, she did the same.

Then Targus straightened, reaching into an inside pocket of his jacket and pulling out a thick envelope. He slapped it against the palm of his other hand as he said to Lana, "As I was saying, sweetheart, if I were you, I wouldn't waste my time putting the moves on Kent here." Targus shrugged and then dropped the envelope on the table in front of Clark. It landed with a loud thwack, startling both Clark and Lana. Targus's eyes flicked over to meet Clark's confused gaze. "He already has a special friend, one that might not take kindly to interlopers. Isn't that right, Kent?"

Clark swallowed hard. The steely satisfaction in Targus's eyes was impossible to ignore. Clark stared down at the envelope, concentrated, and suddenly he was staring through it at a photograph of himself and Lex, in Lex's car. The picture had been taken with a zoom lens, allowing the photographer to clearly catch Lex's expression of...something, either intense pleasure or pain, while he sat with his back to Clark, wedged tightly between him and the dash of the car.

Oh, shit, Targus knew about him and Lex. He had photographs of him and Lex together. Very...explicit photographs, if the one Clark was looking at was anything to go by. Panic unfurled in Clark's gut, and he did the only thing he could think of. He slapped his hand down on the envelope and pulled it to him as he sent out an urgent message to Lex. ...Hurry up and get in here, Lex, now!...

...Fuck, Clark, for God's sake, don't scream, I can hear you just fine, don't need a migraine....

...This guy's got pictures of us fucking in your car! What am I supposed to do? Shit, what do you think he wants?...

...Money. It's what they all want. Just keep him there, whoever the hell he is, because I want to meet him. I'm parking the fucking car now....

"Special friend?" Lana asked, her eyes wide with disbelief. She tilted her head, looking sideways at Clark. "You are dating Chloe, aren't you?" Then she muttered under her breath, "That backstabbing tramp, I don't know why I thought I could trust her."

"No!" Clark denied fiercely. "I've already told you that I'm not seeing Chloe. I don't want to come between your friendship."

"Then who is it?"

Desperate, he grabbed at the excuse he'd used on Chloe. "Uh, well...it's someone...older. I'm sorry, but I really can't tell you. If it makes you feel better, I can't tell anybody. It might get h--her into trouble."

Targus chuckled. "You know, Kent, that wasn't half bad. You almost managed to stick to the truth."

Lana looked confused. "The truth?"

Clark ground his teeth in acute frustration and fought an almost uncontrollable itch to punch the guy. "Listen, I don't know what you're up to--"

"Targus?"

At the sound of his name, Targus jerked around to face Lex. Clark felt a wave of relief that Lex had finally arrived, just in time as far as Clark was concerned.

"You aren't bothering my friend Clark, are you?" Lex's silky voice carried a hard edge.

Targus paled, just before he demanded, "How the hell do you know my name, Luthor? We've never met."

"I'm psychic." Lex raked his gaze over Targus. "Now, let me guess. You either work for a newspaper or my father." When Targus stiffened, Lex's eyebrows rose. "Ah, I see. You're a reporter and you work for my father."

"This doesn't concern you. Stay out of it."

"If it concerns Clark, it concerns me."

"That's right, you have to keep the boyfriend out of trouble, don't you?"

Lana's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. "Boyfriend?" she asked faintly.

Clark dropped his head on his forearms, before jerking right back up. He had to put a stop to this before everybody figured out he was Lex's boyfriend. Hell, boyfriend didn't even begin to describe their weird new relationship.

But it was too late. Lana looked at Clark with a slowly dawning look of comprehension. "Clark...tell me this isn't what it sounds like..." When Clark's eyes just widened in total panic, she frantically alternated her gaze between him and Lex, who merely quirked his eyebrows. "I mean, it's perfectly all right, really, it's just that I would never have thought you were, uh...you know -- gay."

"No! I mean, it's not what it sounds like. We're just friends. I'm not--"

Lex's eyebrows rose even further as he interrupted. "That's enough, Clark. Let it go."

"But--"

...Let it go....

...Shit, I can't. You don't understand. I can't go through high school with everybody thinking I'm gay....

...What the hell do you think it means when you're fucking another guy? And you know what, this is just what I needed to start the evening off right, Clark....

Lex turned to Lana. "Clark's not my boyfriend, Lana. This man just wants to make trouble for me and he's using Clark to do it. I've never made it a secret how much Clark's friendship means to me. Fortunately, I know just how to take care of this problem. So, if you wouldn't mind, why don't you take Clark to the counter and get a couple of coffees for us?"

As a dismissal, Lex's words worked perfectly. Lana's face flushed and she jumped to her feet, cleared her throat, and then muttered, "Of course. I'd be happy to." Lana hurried away.

However, Clark wasn't nearly as anxious to follow Lex's orders. "I should stay," he said.

Targus's smile returned. "You should. I have a message for you."

"You can leave it with me."

"Lex..."

...Clark, go. Fuck, you don't even have to trust me on this. You can sit in the back of my head and listen to everything I say....

...It's not that I don't trust you--...

...So do you, Clark? Really?...

...Shit, I'm going, okay?... And Clark got up without another word, or thought, carefully handed the envelope of pictures to Lex, and then headed toward the counter.

Lex watched Clark walk away, then returned his attention to Paxton Targus. "So what is it you're after?" He held up the packet. "Where are the originals?"

Targus's eyes flickered at Lex's knowledge of the envelope's contents. "How--"

Lex interrupted with a predatory smile. "I have my sources. So...are you going to answer my questions?"

Targus stared at Lex. He appeared to be weighing his choices carefully. Finally, he spoke. "I don't have them, if that's what you're asking."

"I'll give you three times what my father's offering."

"I wasn't lying. The pictures aren't mine to sell anymore."

"Fuck." Lex shoved the envelope into his jacket pocket, careful to conceal the fact that his hand was shaking. "Why did you bring these photos to Clark and not me?"

"The only thing I can tell you is that your father doesn't like the idea of you having a sexual relationship with a boy Kent's age. I was supposed to let Kent know that if he doesn't want to see those pictures delivered to a few of his school buddies, he'd better find another boyfriend. It's not an idle threat." Targus glanced away, his expression almost guilty. "I'm just doing my job. Your reputation can handle almost anything, but I seriously doubt Kent's can handle this."

"You do what you have to do, Targus, but I'm warning you now, my father has an unfortunate habit of underestimating me. And I will not be happy if you screw with Clark or his reputation."

Targus made a show of looking at his watch before he returned his gaze to Lex's granite expression. "Look," he said, "I'm running behind. If you have a problem with your old man, take it up with him. I'm just an employee. Besides, you're the one screwing with Kent right now, not me." Then Targus walked away without a backward glance.

Lex stared after him thoughtfully, his throat tight with anger and frustration.

<><><><><><><>

Clark wasn't sure why it happened. He hadn't felt any kind of trigger this time. Lex was still talking with Targus on the other side of the Talon, and Lana had gone behind the counter to personally prepare the coffees for him and Lex.

Lucky for him, he'd just sat on one of the barstools while trying to divide his attention between Lana's suddenly inane chatter -- most likely her way of ignoring the thought that Clark might be gay -- and reading Lex's thoughts as he talked to Targus. Lucky, because if he'd been standing, he'd probably have fallen on his face in the middle of the crowded coffee shop. As it was, he felt himself slowly tipping forward, until he was barely inches away from smacking face first into the countertop.

If he'd been able, he would have winced at the thought of what was going to happen to him when he came out of this.

Then suddenly, his alien mother stared down at him, and he wondered for the first time why he always seemed to be laying flat on his back when he was with her. Really, it didn't make a whole lot of sense.

"It's because you aren't really here, my son. You have no physical form."

"Oh, okay." Then, slightly panicked, "Why am I here? The adjustment period isn't over yet, is it? You aren't about to...to change me, are you?"

"No, my son. The adjustment period has barely begun. You'll have many months to become accustomed to the bond you share with your partner. The device implanted within your brain is programmed to offer advice in small increments, to allow you adequate time to process the information it gives you at each visit. These visits deal with the most serious issues you'll face and will occur infrequently, unless the device perceives a crisis."

His mother smiled. "The mix of chemicals within your body indicates that your coming of age has truly begun, my son." Then her soft expression hardened, and her smile turned almost vicious. "Those who destroyed our world would wish to have you, but your father and I have bested them, and now you will begin to fulfill your destiny as the true savior of our people. One would wish that you had chosen a female as a partner, but after analyzing the data you have gathered from your partner's mind, the device has ascertained the true strength of the mate you did choose. As long as you're able to maintain your sense of self with this man, your choice will serve you well in the future as you rebuild our race."

"However," she said, her smile disappearing entirely to be replaced by a look of intense concern, "the device has also ascertained that your chosen partner has the ability to be your greatest enemy. You must never forget that."

"Believe me, I won't forget. I really don't want to have my mind altered just because I let Lex influence my thoughts."

Her gaze turned cold. "Influence is merely another word for control, my son. Now, our time is short, and I have to tell you something very important. The device has determined that your body is giving off a very special pheromone that will attract other potential mates. Considering you're satisfied with your partner, it's unusual that you would do this. You must realize that the particular chemical you're excreting is extremely dangerous. Watch out for those who become sexually aggressive towards you, because those affected in this way often become violent and will not hesitate to challenge your partner for you."

"You mean I'm doing this to myself? Attracting all these people? How do I make it stop? And what do you mean by challenge?"

"You can't make it stop, my son. It's a natural phenomenon that developed in our people in response to the permanence of the mating bond." She shrugged and gave him a helpless little smile that made her look even younger than she looked already. "We had to have some way to get out of an unsuitable bond. If you want someone else, your partner must die."

So...so if he kept giving off these signals, someone might try to kill Lex? Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, he thought as pure panic overcame his muted emotions.

"That's...insane. It's like having somebody else do your killing for you. I can't believe--" Clark stopped as he looked at his mother's confused expression. She didn't understand. He couldn't believe it, but it was obvious from the look on her face that she didn't understand that it was murder. Or maybe she just didn't see murder as wrong. But how could that be? Murder was murder, no matter where one was from.

He had to forcibly remind himself that this wasn't really his mother. The implanted device only projected the image of his mother into his mind. She wasn't really here with him. Surely his real mother, when she'd been alive, would have understood so simple a concept as murder, would have understood his horror at the idea of it.

"There has to be some way to stop giving off these signals," he said frantically.

"You may be testing your partner's commitment, his strength, and his...love, if you would call it that. I can only surmise that your body will stop excreting the chemical once you feel your partner has been sufficiently tested and proved worthy. I'm sorry, my son, but the device has no data to allow further analysis of this subject."

She gave him one last smile, and then it was over.

The counter rushed up to meet his face, and the sound of his nose and forehead smacking against the hard surface brought Lana's head around.

"Clark!" She rushed over to him. "Are you all right? What happened?"

"Uh, nothing. It's nothing, just got dizzy for a minute, but I'm okay now." He grimaced and raised his hand to rub his nose. Invulnerable did not always mean ow proof, even if the ow was more along the lines of being stunned rather than genuinely hurt. "You should go to the doctor. You almost passed out the other day, remember? Maybe you have low blood sugar or something."

"No, I just need to...eat something. Those school lunches just don't have enough, uh, protein for someone my size."

Lana's expression slowly changed from concern to speculation to something else altogether. As she closed the distance between them, Clark's eyebrows rose. She leaned forward to rest her elbows on the counter, and then cupped her chin in her palms, giving him a perfect view of the swell of her breasts above the low-cut bodice of her shirt. Hurriedly, he glanced up just in time to see her spear him with a hot gaze.

"Clark, I don't know what it is that's going on between you and Lex Luthor, but I sincerely hope it isn't protein that you want in your...diet. No, I think you need something sweet, sweet and soft and definitely female." She reached forward with one hand to trail her fingertip along the bridge of his nose. "Someone like--"

"Lana, do you have those coffees ready yet?" Lex's voice came from over Clark's shoulder.

Lana jerked upright, away from the counter, and gave Lex a frown. Clark was relieved that Lex had interrupted a scene that could only have become embarrassing for Lana and himself if she'd kept on. However, he could sense the unnaturally strong animosity between Lex and Lana, now that he knew there was something to sense. Lana had been getting increasingly forward in her attention. Would she try to hurt Lex? Clark really didn't think she was the type, even with outside influence.

Nevertheless, he would have to keep an eye on her until this testing thing was over.

...Testing? What are -- Ah, you've had another visit from your mother, haven't you?...

...I don't like this habit you have of sneaking into my thoughts, Lex....

...Then don't let me....

Lana chose that moment to plop down two cups of coffee in front of them.

Lex slid his hands into his pockets and rolled his shoulders as if to ease a sudden bout of tension. "Make those coffees to-go, Lana."

<><><><><><><>

They were in Lex's car, having sprinted through the pouring rain to get to it. Lex had long ago become used to the feel of rain on his scalp, and he was patting the moisture off his head, neck, and face with a couple of thick tissues from the glove box. When he finished, he tossed the tissues onto the backseat.

"So what did he want?"

At Clark's question, Lex clenched his jaw and swallowed back the emotions that threatened to rise to the surface. Now was not the time to indulge in a fit of anger at his father's machinations.

Which brought up another interesting point. How had Clark known that inside that envelope there were photographs of them having sex? Lex fully expected Clark to explain later, since Lex had noticed that the envelope was still sealed -- with a two-inch thick strip of postal tape.

However, at the moment, Clark had a right to know just what those photographs meant for his future.

"I want to protect you, Clark, but...there may be things and people I can't protect you from, including my father." Lex paused and cleared his throat, staring straight ahead at the car parked in front of him at the curb. He gripped the steering wheel, his knuckles almost white from the force he used.

When he finally spoke again, he chose his words carefully, intent on getting his point across as clearly as possible. "The pictures, my father plans to send copies to some of your classmates. It'll be all over the school that we're fucking. I can live with it if everybody in Smallville finds out that I like having your dick up my ass. But I need to know if you can."

"Oh God, your father?" At Lex's nod, Clark groaned. He leaned his head back against the seat, staring up at the rain beating against the sunroof. "Surely he wouldn't --"

"He will, if he thinks it'll garner him the results he wants. But Clark, I swear to you, I'll do my best to make sure it never happens. But you have to be prepared...just in case."

"I...I...God, Lex, I don't know what to say."

"Just...think about it."

"I don't see how I couldn't think about it. It's strange, but one part of me actually burns to have everybody know." Clark choked on a rough laugh. "Probably the same part of me that wanted to mount you in front of everyone at the bonfire Tuesday night. It's...I don't know...Shit, I don't know if I can handle this."

"I should have just let him die when I had the chance."

"Lex!" Clark's outraged cry came a half-second later than Lex expected. Clark half-turned in his seat to face Lex. "You can't mean that."

"Can't I?" he asked Clark. When no answer was forthcoming, Lex stabbed his key into the ignition and twisted savagely. The car purred to life like the expensive machine it was. "Read my mind," he offered. "You won't have any doubts then. My father hasn't done a damned thing to make me thankful I pulled him out from under that fucking column."

Lex yanked the steering wheel to the right and slammed his foot down on the gas pedal. The car fishtailed before the tires gripped the asphalt of the road, headed toward the mansion. His plans for the evening had been shot to hell by the revelation that Lionel was trying to force Clark out of his life.

"Did I ever tell you what he said to me after his surgery?"

"Lex, don't." Clark seemed to know where Lex was headed with this conversation. But hell, he probably did know, since Lex wasn't making any effort to hide his thoughts right then.

"What? You don't want to hear how my father told me I should have left him to die? Now that I've had a little more time to think about it, I have to agree with him. Father knows best and all that trite shit."

"Lex..."

"He has a surprise coming." Lex swung his gaze around, to stare at Clark before whipping his attention back to the road. "While he's been busy with therapy, my new company has been slowly picking away at his precious LuthorCorp. Once he's back on his feet, he'll notice what I've been doing, and fuck, he might even be proud of me for a change. He's the one who told me the weak get left behind. We live in a meritocracy, he said. He'll find that I've learned a lot from him. Maybe more than he wanted."

Clark stayed silent, seeming to know that Lex didn't want pity or empathy or any damned thing right then.

Then Clark's hand brushed Lex's cheek, and Lex flinched. There was tenderness in Clark's touch, tenderness Lex wasn't prepared for right then. But Clark's warm palm cupped the back of Lex's neck, squeezing lightly, offering comfort regardless.

And Lex wanted to close his eyes and lean into that touch, but he couldn't -- not unless he wanted a repeat of their first meeting. The bridge was coming up soon. It wouldn't be long before they would be at the mansion where Lex could touch Clark and let Clark touch him, however he wanted, tender or rough or somewhere in between.

Lex's mouth twisted as he captured an errant thought from Clark. "I don't care how well-meaning your intentions are, Clark, if you try to fix me, I'll be extremely pissed at you."

"I can't help imagining what it would feel like if I could take your pain away from you, but I wouldn't do that, no matter how much I might want to, Lex. But I don't like it when you hurt like this. I never realized...how much you...hate him."

"Yeah, and I never realized how much an alien going through puberty thinks about fucking either, but you don't see me trying to fix you."

Clark took the hint and didn't try to stop Lex from changing the subject. "As if you'd want to. It turns you on to know how often I think about some of the...uh, stuff we've done."

"You're right, it does. But there's still one thing we haven't done that I really want to do with you, Clark."

"What's that?"

"I want to fuck you face to face. I want to see your expression when I ease my dick inside you and fill your ass." Lex paused and looked sideways at Clark, who had a distinctly uncomfortable look on his face as he shifted in his seat. "I want your long legs wrapped around me, Clark, and my mouth on yours, and I want to hold your dick in my hand and make you come at exactly the right moment. I want to catch your breath in my mouth as you scream out my name, and I want to know what it feels like to sleep wrapped up in you."

...Oh, God, Lex, don't talk like that. I swear, I don't have your self-control....

"It doesn't matter, Clark. We're here." And Lex skidded to a halt in front of the castle, releasing his seatbelt before the car even stopped rolling. He shifted into park, pushed himself sideways, turned, and captured Clark's head in his hands, pulling Clark toward him for a hard kiss. They hadn't done enough of that, Lex realized. They'd been so busy with the fucking that they'd skipped right over the soft and hard kisses, the sweet, heady flavors of tongue and lips and teeth.

But he planned to make up for all that tonight. They had hours and hours to spend exploring, learning each other. Lex had dreamed of having Clark like this. Now his dream was a reality, and he was going to enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Which might not be as long as he wanted, now. Damn his father to hell.

...Lex, stop, stop, I can't do this with you thinking about him, stop....

...Ignore it....

...No.... Clark pushed Lex away.

Lex fumbled for the door, opened it, and then ignoring the rain, climbed out. Clark hurried out on his side to follow Lex's rapid stride to the mansion's front door.

"Lex, wait..."

Just inside the entrance, Lex stopped and turned to Clark. "Be honest, is your interest in me waning already, Clark?"

"You know it isn't," Clark said, shutting the door behind him. "But we need to clear up a few things first."

"Like what, Clark? Have you decided that I'm not worth the trouble? If that's the case, let me remind you that this shit is all your fault in the first place. You did this to us. You made this fucking bond. You don't have a choice anymore--"

Clark reached out and grabbed Lex by the arms, pulling Lex hard against his body, his grip almost too tight.

"Fuck," Lex muttered.

"Lex, listen to me. The only way out of this thing for either of us is death. I don't want that and neither do you. But it wouldn't matter anyway. I...like this bond with you. I want it." Clark's voice deepened. "And now...now...I wouldn't let you free of it even if I could."

The toes of Lex's shoes scraped the marble as Clark pushed him backward toward the wall, and Lex realized Clark was actually holding him off the floor. His back bumped into the wall, hard enough to steal his breath for a second, and when he finally mustered a reply to Clark's declaration, it was too late. Clark's mouth covered his, rough and wet, and Lex decided words could wait.

Then he would have smiled if his lips hadn't been otherwise occupied. Who the hell needed words when there was an alien mating bond involved? ...Don't want to be free, Clark, ever.... He sucked Clark's bottom lip into his mouth, then bit down on the soft flesh. Clark's gasp fed Lex's desire to nibble and nip at Clark with his teeth.

But Clark pulled back to stare into Lex's glittering eyes. "I know you're afraid I'll want out if everybody finds out about us. But it won't happen. It might make trouble for me, sure, but then again, it might turn out that nobody cares who I'm sleeping with. But it's something I can live with, either way."

"You make it sound so fucking easy, Clark. But it won't be."

"Like my father would say, nothing good ever comes easy."

"Shit, that does sound like your father."

"Yeah. Now let's change the subject to something that doesn't cause quite so much...uh, shrinkage, 'cause I really want to do what you were talking about in the car."

Lex reached down between their bodies and pressed the palm of his hand tight against the bulge of Clark's rapidly hardening cock. "You're absolutely right. We have better things to do than worry about what-ifs. I can't believe how damn big you get so fast. Good thing you're an alien, otherwise you'd give me a complex."

Clark's face reddened. ...Thanks so much, I'm the one that's gonna end up with the complex as much as you talk about it....

"Clark, you have nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to be ashamed of. With a dick like yours, you'd make an excellent porn star."

...Oh, God....

"Yes, I know. You would have to learn to enjoy fucking the girls, but really, I think you could do it."

"Lex..."

"Come on, take it out. Let me see what you've got, we'll do a mock interview, and you can show me all your--"

Clark had obviously had enough of Lex's teasing. But Lex didn't mind. Not since Clark had captured his mouth in a hot kiss and was even now -- Oh, fuck, Clark was easing Lex's zipper down, and as the teeth slowly parted, Clark's knuckles brushed against the hard length of Lex's cock. Lex's hips jerked forward in a desperate attempt to increase the pressure against his dick.

Barely a second later, Clark pressed the length of his body roughly against Lex, pushing him hard into the wall. Lex swallowed a choked gasp. At some point, Clark had unzipped his own jeans, and Lex could feel Clark's cock bumping against his own, nothing but silk and cotton separating their heated flesh.

Suddenly, Clark gripped Lex's wrists and pulled Lex's arms over his head, holding them tight against the wall. Lex was immobilized, and he was surprised to find that he didn't give a shit. He actually liked it.

Clark nuzzled against Lex's neck. ...Have to remember that....

...You do that.... Lex leaned his head toward Clark and grasped Clark's earlobe between his teeth. He tugged gently, then sucked the flesh into his mouth for more thorough exploration.

The phone rang. Considering Lex had sent the servants home early in anticipation of bringing Clark back to the mansion, and what had happened to them the last time they had ignored a telephone call, Lex forced himself to stop sucking on Clark's earlobe long enough to gasp out, "I need to get that."

Clark buried his mouth against Lex's collarbone. ...Do you have to?...

"What if it's your dad? Do you really want an unexpected visitor later?"

Clark pulled back. "You're right."

They stood there as the phone continued to ring until Lex realized Clark wasn't going to move without some kind of encouragement. Lex wiggled his fingers, drawing Clark's attention up to where he held Lex's arms caged to the wall above their heads. "I can't answer it if you don't let me go."

With a sheepish grin, Clark eased Lex's arms down to his sides and then backed away.

<><><><><><><>

Standing over the telephone in his office, Lex stared at the number showing on the caller-ID display panel. He'd learned a long time ago not to answer the telephone without knowing who was on the other end. Resolutely, he reached for the handset and brought it to his ear.

"Hello, Father."

"Lex...you've surprised me, Son. I do so enjoy your voicemail." His father's tone turned challenging. "Ah, but I'm certain you have something you'd like to discuss with me, don't you?"

"When did you start paying a reporter to spy on me?"

"Lex, you're my only child. Despite the hardships and indignities I'm currently suffering, I still feel it's my responsibility to look after you. Smallville hasn't been the best influence on you, after all. I certainly never expected you to become quite so attached to the place. However, in light of recent events, I've gained a new insight into your motivation for staying."

"Insight? You paid someone for photographs of me having sex. I find that somewhat disturbing...Father."

"Don't worry," Lionel said. "I'll never see them. Although my personal assistant seems to think they offer a certain appeal, if one enjoys homoerotic photography."

"Don't tell me you're surprised."

"In this instance, Lex, I can honestly say that I had no idea. You've managed to hide your predilection for boys from me quite well."

"I've slept with more men than women, father. I don't see how you could have overlooked it. Maybe it was a case of fatherly denial."

"Maybe you've shown more discretion in the past when it came to your less acceptable partners."

Lex felt his throat work as he bit back a scathing retort about Clark's acceptability. "Why are you threatening Clark? When have you ever cared who I've slept with?"

"When it encourages you to make unproductive and unprofitable business decisions, Lex. After some thought, I've concluded that this sudden urge you have to forge your own destiny is the result of a bad case of infatuation with the Kent boy. I don't like the level of influence you've allowed him to have over you. It's made you weak. Just look at what happened with Danielle."

"She sold her shares to you."

"Only after you almost ruined your chance with her."

"I got the results you wanted, regardless. And you're wrong, Clark has nothing to do with why I chose to stay in Smallville. I have a degree of freedom here that I never had in Metropolis. Without you standing over my shoulder at every turn, I find my acumen for running a business is even greater than I thought." Lex paused. "I want you to back off Clark."

"Child molesters don't get good press, Lex."

Lex's nostrils flared as he sucked in a harsh breath. "Clark Kent is not a child."

"He's underage. That makes him a child as far as I'm concerned. You've been keeping a low profile lately, and the reporters are sniffing around, looking for a juicy story about you. I don't want to see you and your...young man in the tabloids. Regardless of what you think of my tactics, my motivations are pure. You need guidance. Otherwise, you would have already seen that this new relationship of yours can do nothing but cause trouble for you and your new company."

As Lex stood there holding the phone tightly to his ear, he let his eyes drift shut. Bullshit. His father was up to something, and he obviously thought Lex and Clark's new relationship would interfere. There was no other explanation. At least none that Lex would accept.

The first thing he had to do was get his father off Clark's back.

"You have nothing to worry about. Clark and I have an understanding."

"I'm afraid that isn't good enough, Lex. You have responsibilities. If not to me, then to your own newly formed company. I can't sit back and watch you ruin your future over a boy still in high school."

"I should have guessed. You're testing me, aren't you? You wanted to see how I would react to a threat to Clark."

A low laugh reverberated through the phone line. "An excellent deduction, however wrong it might be, Son."

"Oh, I'm not wrong, Father." Lex looked down and caught sight of his reflection in the glass top of his desk. He hoped to hell Clark would forgive him for what he was about to say. "But it doesn't matter. Release them. Send the photographs to Clark's friends, to his classmates. Or better yet, send a glossy eight by ten to his parents. I'm sure they would love to see their son fucking a Luthor."

"Lex, anger is no excuse for vulgarity."

"I'm only speaking the truth."

"You're being foolish. If that boy's parents find out what you're doing with their son, they'll try to take you for everything you have. And since a large portion of what's yours is actually mine, I can't let you make such a foolish mistake."

"You've never had a problem paying off greedy paramours in the past. Why such concern this time?" Lex was tired of this conversation. Although he'd hoped he could discover the real reason for his father's interest in his relationship with Clark, he'd begun to realize that it wasn't going to happen--not today, at any rate. Lex would have to spend some time gathering information before he could do anything more than guess as to his father's true motivations. He decided to steer the conversation away from Clark. "So, aside from trying to satisfy your interest in my sex life, is there another reason you called?"

"Now that you mention it, yes, there is. I want you to fly to Europe for me. My doctors have regretfully informed me that I'm not yet fit for traveling. I need someone I can trust to put in an appearance for me at a stockholder's meeting in London."

"I'm afraid I can't. My schedule is full, indefinitely. But maybe we can work out some kind of...deal, Father."

"A temporary reprieve at best, Son. I've already put portions of my plan into motion, so any dealing we do will have to be for something other than Clark Kent's continued presence in your life."

Lex felt his hand tighten involuntarily on the phone's receiver. "What have you done?"

"Just giving the boy a push in the right direction. I thought it might be necessary to prove to Kent that the warning he received wasn't in jest. Someone close to your young man is no doubt discovering an unexpected facet to his friend even as we speak."

Why hadn't he just let the man die? Lex had asked himself that question so many times since the tornado that he'd lost count weeks ago. If Clark ever found out that there had been only one reason why he'd pulled his father from under that column...but he couldn't think of that. There was too much risk that Clark would discover the one thing that Lex knew Clark might never understand.

"At least we know that being blind isn't going to soften you, Father. Clark is waiting for me, so I'm cutting this conversation short. If you need me before next week, you know how to contact me. Just don't be surprised if I don't return your calls right away. Your contrivances are going to keep me busy for the next few days."

"I'll have someone contact you with the details of the trip to Europe."

"You do that. But it's going to cost you."

"I would expect no less from my son, Lex."

A moment later, Lex replaced the telephone receiver in its cradle. He controlled the shaking of his hand by an enormous force of will. "Fuck," he muttered, then ran his hand across his face. Clark was not going to be happy to find out what Lionel had done with at least one of those photographs.

The soft touch on his left shoulder was unexpected. He jerked, then spun around. "Shit, you startled me, Clark."

"I tried not to." Clark seemed hesitant, as if he were unsure of what to say. Lex wanted Clark to reach out and grab him and pull him close. Or was it Clark who wanted to hold him tight, keep him safe from the emotions his father brought out in him?

Hell, Lex decided, maybe it was both.

"I heard what you told your father."

Lex jerked. "Were you in my head?" he demanded. "You know I can't stand it when you spy on me."

Clark's eyebrows rose, disappearing behind the dark hair that had fallen over his forehead. "Me? You're the one always spying, Lex, and I let you get away with it. I don't spy on you. You left the door open and when I came looking for you, I heard what you were saying. It's not my fault you didn't notice me. I wasn't trying to hide or anything."

"I'm sorry, Clark. I shouldn't be taking my irritation out on you. My father tends to upset me when he calls, and after what happened today..."

"I know. He hurt your feelings."

"Fuck, no, he didn't hurt my feelings. He pissed me off."

Clark looked at him, but Lex refused to acknowledge that there might be any truth in Clark's statement.

"Listen, Clark, he's apparently sent at least one of the photographs to one of your friends already." Lex glanced at his watch. "You should call Pete. The way my father was talking, I got the impression that it might be him."

"I...it doesn't matter, Lex." Clark moved closer, and put his hands on Lex's shoulders.

Lex avoided looking directly into Clark's eyes. "Under the circumstances, it might be best if you went to see him. We can do this some other time."

"Lex, look at me."

Lex twisted out of Clark's grip. He walked behind his desk, and then stood there, the width of the glass-top between them. "I have plenty of work to keep me busy until you come back." And he couldn't say the rest, not out loud where he would hear the plea in his voice, the weakness. ...* You will come back, won't you?*...

"I'm not leaving. There's nothing we can do about it if your father's already sent a photo to Pete, or whoever he sent it to."

"You can make sure he stays quiet about it. Try to explain things to him, so he doesn't turn against you. I haven't forgotten just how much Pete dislikes me."

"Pete...he wouldn't do that to me. We've been friends for too long. He's the closest thing I have to a brother. And it doesn't matter if he likes you, does it?"

"I would rather your friends didn't hate me, Clark. Your parents are the only people who'll ever know the truth of how we became lovers. To the rest of Smallville, it's going to look like I seduced you."

Clark smiled, the first smile from either of them since Lex's father had called. "Lex, you'd been making passes at me for months. You were trying to seduce me. Are you saying you wouldn't have done anything about it if I'd responded?"

Lex felt a flush creep up his face. It wasn't often that he let himself get caught up in his own self-deception, but this time he had. He'd blamed their current situation entirely on Clark's alien urges, when in reality, it was unlikely that Clark would have given in to his urges to mate if Lex hadn't already shown a marked interest in him. In fact, Clark had said as much that first night when he'd come back to explain things to Lex.

"Fuck. Just forget I said that. But you still have to realize that it's different now that my father knows. I never intended for him to find out about you. In fact, I never intended for anyone to find out when--if I succeeded in seducing you and we became lovers."

"Oh."

"Don't act so surprised, Clark. You don't really want anyone to find out about us either."

"Only because...because..." Clark stopped. At that moment, he could come up with exactly zero reasons why he didn't want anyone to know he was with Lex. A sharp surge of longing shot through him. He wanted everyone to know that Lex was his, completely and utterly. And with that realization, Clark felt stronger, more in control of his own destiny, as if accepting who he loved was an acceptance of himself. And maybe it was.

He spoke slowly, saying the words to Lex, but also to himself, "Let them find out. I don't care. I want everyone to know."

"You don't know what you're saying."

Clark caught Lex's gaze and held it. "I know exactly what I'm saying, Lex. I want everyone to find out that you're mine. That I'm yours."

Lex shifted, swallowing hard. "That's nice, Clark, but I don't want everyone to find out. Not if I can help it."

Clark's brow lowered as he frowned. "You don't?"

"Clark, you're sixteen. Do you know what it would do to my reputation if it got out that I seduced a boy your age?"

"I'm almost seventeen."

"Almost doesn't count. The perception is what matters. Everyone will say I seduced a boy barely old enough to drive."

"God, Lex, I've been driving for years. You can't live on a farm and not know how to drive."

"Clark, stick to the point."

"I don't want to stick to the point. I'm tired of this conversation, Lex." Clark closed the distance between them, coming around the desk, trapping Lex against its edge. "Let's move on. There are things you told me you were going to do to me tonight, and I really want you to follow through on them."

"You--umph."

Clark's mouth cut off Lex's words. The realization that he didn't care who found out about him and Lex had left Clark feeling strangely carefree and...hot. He wanted Lex.

He didn't like the feelings radiating from Lex. Feelings that were obviously strong enough that Lex couldn't completely block them from Clark.

Clark wanted to replace those dark emotions with something else. And he would.

Clark tasted the coffee on Lex's tongue--the coffee Lex had taken one sip of then tossed in the trash before leaving the Talon.

Clark took hold of Lex's ass and lifted him off his feet to set him on the desk. Then Clark stepped between Lex's spread thighs, pushing his cock against Lex. Although Lex had zipped his trousers back up before taking the call from his father, Clark had never zipped his own jeans back up. With a few deft movements, Clark returned Lex to his unzipped state.

Lex's hands slid under the soft, red fabric of Clark's t-shirt, bunching it up under Clark's arms, exposing his chest to Lex's heated gaze. Lex gave Clark a half-smile before leaning toward Clark's chest and running his tongue over Clark's right nipple.

Clark gasped at the hot touch, then groaned when Lex circled his warm, wet tongue around the hard pebble of flesh. Leaning his head back, Clark felt his eyes drift shut as he savored the wave of heat that coursed through his body and settled in an aching puddle in his groin.

A moment later, Clark's eyes snapped back open. He frowned.

"Uh, Lex?"

Lex bit down on Clark's nipple before giving it another swift lick. "Yes, Clark?" As Lex spoke, his warm breath teased over the wet flesh of Clark's nipple. Shivers raced over Clark's skin, and his breath hitched.

"There's, like, no way anyone could get a camera in the castle here, is there?"

Lex pulled back from Clark, his body suddenly tense. "Fuck. Where is it?"

Clark pointed up at the light hanging over Lex's desk.

Lex twisted to stare up at the two thousand dollar lighting fixture above his head. He clenched his teeth. By God, someone was going to pay for invading his privacy like this.

He crawled to the middle of the desk, then stood. His first attempt to grab the light fixture merely sent the light swinging. As it swayed back toward him, Lex snared it and held on tight.

He turned slowly, making his way around the outside of the custom designed glass shade.

"It's...yeah, right there," Clark said a moment later, pointing to the crease where two of the glass panes were joined together.

A miniscule camera was taped inconspicuously to the joint. It hadn't been there long, or surely one of his cleaning crew would have discovered it by now. Unless...

...Someone on the cleaning staff put it there....

Lex sighed. Of course Clark didn't spy on his thoughts. Of course not.

"Sorry," Clark muttered.

"It's okay." Lex climbed down from the desk, camera clenched in his fist. He offered it to Clark. ...Here, show me some of those alien abilities you've been hiding from me, Clark. Destroy this....

Clark took the tiny camera and crushed it with one swift squeeze. When he opened his hand to show Lex, pieces of broken plastic and bent metal dropped to the floor.

Lex raised his eyebrows, his mouth quirking sideways. "Fuck. That was...interesting." Lex rubbed the back of his head and stared around the room. "Shit, now I'm going to have to hire someone to come in and go ever the entire fucking castle." He looked at Clark. "Do you know how long that's going to take?"

Clark shrugged. "Not really."

Lex reached down and yanked his zipper up, then started pacing across the floor. He stopped next to the window and turned back to Clark, once again rubbing at the back of his head. "Even if I can get someone in here within the hour, we're talking about half the night to sweep every room in this place."

Clark approached Lex, slowly, half-afraid that Lex would start walking away again. "Maybe...I can help."

Lex's hand dropped to his side. "And how is that?"

"I can--"

...Not out loud....

...Shit, you're right, I didn't think about that....

...Don't worry about it....

...What I was saying was that I can see through things. My parents--we've been calling it x-ray vision....

Lex's expression turned to one of patent disbelief. "You have--" He cut himself off when he seemed to realize that in his shock, he'd spoken aloud. ...You have x-ray vision? That's how you knew about the photos in the envelope?...

...Yeah....

...Fucking unbelievable....

Clark had known it was a bad idea to tell Lex too much about his alien abilities too soon. The look Lex was giving him made him want to cringe. But he didn't. Lex was going to have to get used to the truth about him sometime. And really, Lex had been the one pushing for the truth all along anyway.

...You think I'm a freak, don't you?...

...Alien, Clark. I think you're an alien. Big difference.... Lex waved his hand. ...Go ahead, do your thing so we can fuck, then we'll decide what to do about those damn photographs....

...Lex!...

...What? That was what we were trying to do before you discovered that camera....

...Is that all you're ever going to call it?...

...Clark, it isn't that big a deal. It's just a word, a way of telling you exactly what I want. Hell, if I said make love, it could include any number of things that have nothing to do with fucking. And fucking is what I want to do with you. I--want--to--fuck--you. And dammit, until we're sure there aren't any more of those cameras, we can't fuck....

With a sigh, Clark closed his eyes. He wasn't going to win this one. Probably not ever. He would just have to get used to it, and that was all there was to it. ...Okay, I give up. Let's get this over with so we can get back to fucking....

Lex smirked. ...That's my boy....

Clark grimaced. ...Lex, that makes me feel...weird. Let's not say that again....

Lex laughed.

<><><><><><><>

Three hours later, they'd made it to the master suite. It was the last room in the castle that Lex felt it necessary for Clark to look at. Clark went over the bathroom last, noticing belatedly that the tiles seemed to be a different color than he remembered from their shower together the other night.

"Like it?" Lex asked, gesturing toward the glossy black ceramic tiles.

Clark shrugged. Hadn't they been green -- or blue? "I guess. Why?"

"Because you're the reason I had to redecorate, Clark. Imagine my surprise to discover quite a few cracked tiles in here the morning after our shower."

"Oh." Clark cleared his throat. "You know, I think I remember that now that you mention it. I'm really sorry."

"Hey, I'm not complaining, Clark. It's a testament to my skills that I made you lose control to the point that you broke the tiles in my shower. Don't take that away from me."

Clark felt his throat closing on him as he remembered just what Lex had done to him in that shower, how Lex's mouth had felt on his cock, how hot he'd been, how he'd wanted Lex to swallow so they could be together forev--

"Fuck!"

Clark's gaze flew from the tiles to Lex's suddenly red face. "What's wrong?"

"You knew! You fucking knew that if I swallowed--"

"I did not! How can you even think--"

"Because you're thinking it! Dammit, Clark, I just heard! Don't try to deny it."

"But--I don't understand, Lex. I was just remembering what we were doing, when you were...uh, sucking my...cock..."

"And how you wanted me to swallow so that we could be together forever," Lex finished coldly. "What the hell do you think that means?"

"Uh..."

"It means you knew!"

Clark felt panic forge a path through his chest as Lex stepped backward, away from him. He lunged forward, grabbing Lex's upper arms. "But I didn't know...you don't understand, I was just...just...I didn't realize what it meant! I've told you that. You said you understood..."

Lex jerked but Clark held on tight. At that moment, Clark wished his mother hadn't already visited him, because he sure could've used some advice right then. He didn't know how to prove to Lex that although he'd had thoughts that could have been a warning of what was to come between them, he hadn't known what it meant at the time. He would never have taken advantage of Lex like that. Never.

The only thing he could think to do was open his mind fully to Lex and let him in, to see for himself what Clark had known. Maybe this was what Lex needed--a chance to share utterly every thought Clark had ever had about him, every feeling Clark had ever felt towards him. It might scare Lex away, or it might give him the proof he seemed to need so desperately.

And it was harder than Clark had ever imagined it would be, to open himself like that. Lex's eyes widened as he realized what Clark was doing. His lips parted on a gasp, and he went stiff in shock.

And Clark felt himself drowning in a morass of emotions and thoughts that were not his own. He hadn't realized what would happen as his mind was flooded, too swiftly...

...Oh, shit.... His hands slid away from Lex's arms, and before he could catch himself, he toppled forward to his knees. He felt himself bump into Lex, who staggered backward. Slowly, Clark tipped over, falling to the floor at Lex's feet.

He was in an agony of self-loathing, disgust, anger, worry, and...

Oh, fuck, how could he have done this to him? Why did he find it so hard to trust? He loved him, and now he was crumpled on the floor...looked like he was dying...but...he couldn't be...

He felt his eyes drift shut, yet he could still see clearly, the room before him, himself on the floor--no, that couldn't be him, he was standing, he could feel the floor beneath his feet...

But the marble was cold beneath his hands and cheek, and--

Who was he? Was he Clark, sprawled on the floor, his cheek pressed into the cold, hard marble, or was he Lex, standing, looking down in horror at the boy he loved but couldn't seem to trust?

...Clark, what the fuck have you done?... And then hands were on his body, pulling at him, until he was lying on his back beside the fancy tub. He couldn't summon the energy needed to open his eyes, and he felt like his brain had been put through a sieve.

A hard smack on his left cheek finally encouraged him to lift his eyelids enough to see Lex's frantic expression. Only...something wasn't right, but for the life of him, he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was that was wrong.

"Clark, damn you, you didn't have to do that. You scared the shit out of me. Are you okay?" Lex waited, but Clark didn't feel like answering. "Clark?" Lex's eyes remained locked on Clark's, but after a few seconds of the intense stare, Clark gave up and let his eyes drift closed again. "Clark?" This time Lex sounded even more frantic than before, and he gave Clark a rough shake. "You've already been out for more than five minutes, don't do this to me again. Wake up!"

Clark's entire body quivered with fine tremors of exhaustion. "Oh, God...this has to be worse than the meteor rocks, Lex."

"Finally! Clark, what were you thinking?"

Clark managed to open his mouth to answer, but Lex forestalled him with a raised hand. "No, don't answer that. You weren't thinking at all, were you? Of all the foolish, asinine stunts to pull, this one has to top them all. If you ever--"

Clark actually laughed. Admittedly, he knew the sounds coming out of his chest and throat were sickly, but it was laughter. "I will never do that again. You can count on it."

"Good." Lex sat back on his heels. With a quick push against his thighs, he rose gracefully to his feet, then offered Clark a hand up.

Clark took it, because he wasn't all that sure he would make it upright on his own.

As they stood facing each other, Lex shook his head. "I'm...sorry, Clark."

"Sorry? For what?"

"I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. I already knew the truth, but when I caught the tail end of your thoughts, I seemed to lose my objectivity about the entire situation."

"Okay. I don't get it, but...okay."

"No, listen. This is important, Clark. You have to understand that this...will probably happen again. My father would be the first to say that I sometimes let my emotions interfere with my better judgment. I'll never admit it to him, but he's right about that. But you can never do whatever it was that you did here again. You don't know how tempting it was to just go in and take what I wanted to know from you. And even though I restrained myself, I still found out more about you than I ever wanted to know." Lex's mouth twisted. "There's something to be said for a little mystery in a relationship, Clark. Believe me."

"But you were right, Lex. Maybe I did know. Maybe I was just deluding myself so I could get what I wanted."

"You didn't know, Clark. I have absolutely no doubts about that anymore. You didn't know."

...God, Lex, I hope you're right, I can't stand the thought that I would do something like this to you on purpose, against your will....

"Here," Lex said, reaching for Clark's hand and grasping it firmly. "I don't know about you, but I really want to hold you right now."

"That's my--"

"I don't care who thought of it first. It's a damn good idea. However, this time I have to disagree. I've wanted to lie in bed and hold you while you sleep almost as long as I've wanted to fuck you."

Clark ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair, noticing absently that the fine tremor had eased until it was almost unnoticeable. He seemed to be recovering remarkably fast. "That's...a long time."

"Too fucking long."

"I know this might not be the best time to mention it, but do you think we could...you know...do what you talked about in the car? I really want that. You could hold me while we--well, I think you could anyway." Clark frowned. "Can you? I mean, now that I think about it, it seems like it would be kind of hard for your...uh, penis to go into my...well, you know, from the front."

Lex blinked. "I swear to God, Clark, sometimes it frightens me how fast your mind flits back and forth between subjects--to land on sex every fucking time."

"Hey, that's my line. Sort of. Except for the sex part."

"You just let me worry about the logistics of how I'm going to fuck you." Lex started for the bedroom, tugging on Clark's hand, encouraging him to follow.

Which of course Clark did.

<><><><><><><>

"Oh, God," Clark muttered a few minutes later as Lex's hot mouth engulfed the head of Clark's cock.

They were sprawled in the middle of Lex's bed, and Clark was supposed to be sucking on Lex's cock at the same time (that was the reason Lex had his feet at the head of the bed after all) but Clark kept getting distracted by the feel of Lex's tongue as it rubbed along the length of his dick. Because every so often Lex would remove his mouth from Clark's cock and ease his tongue along the skin behind Clark's balls, getting ever closer to his clenching asshole.

And then he felt the first soft touch of hot, wet tongue against his puckered flesh, and he couldn't hold back the wild grunt of surprise. It felt amazingly good, but it was weird, and he wasn't sure how he felt about Lex's mouth on him there.

"You like it," Lex whispered.

"Don't, oh God, don't stop."

The rough scrape of Lex's tongue over his anus intensified, and a second later, Lex was twisting around on the bed to get into a better position. He pushed Clark's legs up toward Clark's chest, then slid his hands under Clark's hips, holding his ass tightly. Clark's head lolled to the side, and for the first time he noticed his and Lex's reflection in the floor length mirrors across the room.

He looked...different. He had is eyes half closed, and his mouth was parted. He looked...slutty, maybe a little kinky, but he didn't mind. He grasped his legs behind his knees and pulled them closer into his chest. The placement of the mirrors and his and Lex's position on the bed gave him a perfect view of what Lex was doing to him. He watched, entranced, as Lex's tongue flicked out toward him. When the tip connected with the sensitive flesh of Clark's asshole, he couldn't stop a harsh gasp.

Then Lex's tongue started to play at fucking him with teasing, light strokes that barely entered the ring of flesh. It was wild and hot, and Clark pushed his head back into the mattress with a long, loud groan, and a gasp. And then, "Oh God, Lex, Oh God, I'm coming!"

His hips bucked when his orgasm shot through him, sending his semen spattering across his abdomen, but Lex didn't stop what he was doing and Clark felt his asshole spasm at the continued teasing invasion. "Lex, fuck me. Fuck me now...please...I need you..." ...I want you, oh God, I want you so bad....

Lex didn't wait for further invitation. He crawled up Clark's body, ignoring the mess of Clark's semen as it smeared across their bodies. He clamped his mouth over Clark's, and Clark tasted himself on Lex, and it was odd, but not nearly as disgusting as he might have thought, if he'd had the presence of mind to think about it at all.

"We're a permanent couple now, aren't we, Clark?"

Clark sucked in air, still trying to catch his breath. "Yeah...permanent, Lex."

"Until death do us part, Clark, whenever that might be."

"Forever."

"I'm not using a condom this time. I know I've said it before but I want you to hear it again. I'll never fuck anyone else, Clark, and I'll never let anyone but you fuck me. Ever."

"Me neither."

"Good, I'm glad we have that settled. Now I'm going to fuck you."

"Just...one thing."

"Yes?"

"I'm not afraid." Clark brushed his hand across the back of Lex's head, caressing the smooth scalp. "I mean, if anyone finds out about us, but if you don't want anyone to know, because of my age, or because I'm a guy, that's okay with me too."

"Fuck, Clark. You know I love you, right?"

Clark nodded.

Lex leaned down and started kissing him again, roughly. With his left hand, Lex scrambled to grab the lube off the pillow by Clark's head. Just a few seconds later, Lex was rubbing the slick liquid over Clark's asshole and then his own dick. When he finished, he kneeled between Clark's thighs, lifted Clark's hips while Clark held his legs up against his chest, and then held his dick in place as he pushed hard into Clark's asshole.

Clark hissed as Lex's cock pushed through his sphincter, stretching him wide. Then Lex stopped for a moment to let him adjust, and Clark said, "Wow, it isn't nearly as awkward as I thought it--Oh, oh yeah..."

Lex's forearms flexed with the effort of holding himself steady while he slowly pressed the full length of his cock into Clark's ass. "Clark, I swear, you were made for fucking. But next time, I want to be the bottom."

"Oh, yeah, that sounds...perfect."

Lex closed his eyes and started to pump into Clark in earnest, fucking Clark with single-minded determination. Clark felt the light brush of Lex against his mind, and he knew Lex was reaching for their bond, trying to capture that strange sensation of being in two bodies at once, the feeling of simultaneously fucking and being fucked.

And then it was there.

...Shit, it feels so good to fuck you, Clark....

...You're loving me....

...Yeah, I am....

When Lex picked up the pace, Clark released his legs and wrapped them around Lex. It was impossible to tell from whom the gasps and grunts and groans came as their sounds mingled together. When Lex got close to orgasm, he reached between their bodies and grasped Clark's cock and began to slowly jerk him off.

...So good, Lex, so hot....

Two, three more hard thrusts, and Lex's hand fisted tight around Clark's cock. He came with a full-body shudder, spurting his semen deep into Clark's body. Clark jerked and his own orgasm crashed over him in a wave of tingling heat and fire.

When Lex was able to move again, he flopped over onto his back. He left his hand on Clark's stomach, right in the middle of the sticky mess that signified that Clark had indeed had two powerful orgasms within the last half-hour. "Fuck, Clark, it's worth having a bond with you just to get to feel that."

Clark rolled to his side, propping himself on his elbow, and aimed his biggest, goofiest grin at Lex. He wiggled his eyebrows. "What can I say? I'm good."

"Shit, Clark, you're an idiot."

"Nope. Just an alien."

THE END

(Aha! There's another sequel--if you care!)



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