Not the End of the World

by Maia J

Summary: It's been a long summer for Clark. But now, Lex is back, something strange is afoot, and suddenly life is getting more interesting again.

Notes: Thanks to arm and jen for beta. My first fic in this fandom, please let me know what you think.

The Talon was quiet, a low hum of conversation and cups clinking the only background noise. It was all much too unobtrusive for Clark's liking - there was nothing to distract him from his current torment.


Maybe that seemed harsh, but he'd had enough.

A couple of years ago he'd have been curled up on the floor with laughter at the idea he could ever feel this way. But then, a couple of years ago he wouldn't have believed he'd be yearning to spend his time drinking expensive bottled water and hanging out in an old castle, either.

Now though, Lana was telling him that she wanted to honour the anniversary of her parents' death by doing something special. What the special thing was wasn't clear. Or, at least, each time he'd tuned back into the conversation she was having (supposedly with him), she didn't seem to have covered that part. And since it was only August, he didn't think he needed to be too bothered yet.

Besides, it wasn't like he could ever forget what had happened in the first place. Lana's celebration would be yet another reminder of the freakiness he'd brought on the town, so the idea wasn't exactly appealing.

Clark nodded encouragingly as Lana looked up at him unsurely from under her dark lashes. Hopefully that was the right response.

He thought longingly of escaping on his dad's now trashed motorcycle for about the hundredth time that summer. Barely five miles out of town and Jack Leckhart - former Smallville track star, then Smallville mutant of the week - had run into Clark. Literally. He'd been sent flying - the bike, the ring, and with it the 'screw it' attitude, all destroyed in one sideswipe of a superfast shoulder.

He'd stumbled home and hidden from the world for two days before he'd forced himself to try and make amends somewhere. Clark couldn't make up for what he'd done to his parents, so he kept out of their way and did his best to compensate for hurting Lana instead.

Which had involved weeks of sitting and talking with her, and was how he'd discovered it was possible for him to get a permanent caffeine buzz. And was why he'd had to perfect his smile-andnod routine.

Clark took a sip of his coffee, for something to do as much as from any real desire to drink it. It was cold and bitter and he was tempted to think that was an apt description for his probable future, but that was a bit maudlin, even for him.

"After all, Clark, I'm sure that they would want me to..."

It was weird, this unwavering habit of Lana's to bring her parents into everything. And Clark had fairly loose standards when it came to anything in the strange category.

But Pete had frequently commented on her 'obsession', and her 'freaky murder-weapon-asjewellery'.

Chloe used to tell him much the same thing, before Lana suddenly became her best friend and Clark had discovered superspeed came in particularly handy when he was suddenly being threatened by the overwhelming peril that was two teenage girls in league against him.

Though all that was before Chloe possibly began to hate Lana again and had started with her spiderto -Clark's-fly looks - which had done nothing to help the desire he had to run away.

Lex used to say that Lana's obsession was just her way of keeping her parents' memory alive. That's what he'd worked out that Lex had meant anyway - Lex's actual version was twenty minutes long and contained several ancient illustrations of his point that Clark had had to look up on the Internet later. More recent mentions of Lana, though, had resulted in Lex getting this weird look and mumbling in (as far as Clark could tell) Latin.

But, anyway, he'd been at the cemetery with her enough times now to get the odd impression that her conversations maybe weren't as one-sided as they should be. And, God, Lana had been exposed to Kryptonite a lot from her necklace ('creepy' his internal Pete voice interjected), and nobody else seemed to walk away from that normal, so what if she really could hear her parents when she talked to them? The rocks seemed to work in some bizarre 'be careful what you wish for' way, so it would make sense. Maybe Lana thought what she could do was perfectly normal.

Although she'd freaked out at the whole Emily situation so maybe that was a strike against the theory.

Clark squirmed in his seat. He could hardly ask if her if she heard dead people. If he was wrong she'd think he was crazy. Or that he thought she was crazy. And maybe it wasn't something he really wanted to know at all.

If it was true, at least it was harmless - she wasn't creating zombies or anything.


Clark glanced furtively behind him as if expecting decomposing departed members of the community to be lurking behind the pillars waiting to pounce. He really should know better than to risk jinxing himself by thinking things like that.


Whoops, he'd forgotten he was supposed to be pretending to pay attention. "Sorry, I, uh, thought I heard the phone ring in the back."

Lana frowned. "I didn't hear anything."

"Just hearing things, I guess." He dredged up a weak smile. "Sorry, um, what were you saying?"

Another odd look, but Lana didn't question it any further. "Right. So, I think we should celebrate life and..."

Clark frowned, though he quickly corrected it before Lana could notice. That was something Lex didn't seem to be doing. Celebrating. And he was alive. Which was very, very good, as far as Clark was concerned. And probably Lex too.

Lex had seemed... carefully blank when Clark had been by the mansion. Just tired, Clark wanted to think. It wasn't that Lex was withdrawing from him. Maybe when your second wife in the space of a year turned out to be another murderous psycho bitch, that was what happened to you. Lex didn't even seem to be plotting revenge like Clark had expected. Hoped even.

Clark had only seen him a handful of times since Lex had got back to town a couple of weeks ago. They'd bumped into each other a couple of times but Clark had been running messages for his mom, or just running late for meeting Lana. And Lex had been on the phone and hadn't asked him to stay when he'd delivered the produce. Though Clark hadn't even waited around to see if Lex was going to be long so they could hang out afterwards. No, he'd just stuck his head in, waved and left.

And Lex hadn't been out to the farm once. Maybe Lex thought Clark didn't want his company, what with Clark skipping his wedding and being so apparently uncaring about his latest near death experience.

Well. This sucked. He was a total lameass friend whose existence Lex was probably forgetting about right at that very moment. He couldn't let that happen. Besides, it wasn't healthy for Lex to be brooding up at the castle all alone and Clark shouldn't have let him get away with it for this long.

Clark was halfway to the castle before he realised Lana had still been talking.

The mansion was really pushing the mausoleum feel, what with the absolute silence, constant chill in the air and lack of people around.

Other than Lex, whom Clark found sprawled bonelessly over the sofa in his study.


Lex directed a wide grin his way as he propped his head up enough to drain his glass. "Clark!" He flopped back down and beckoned Clark over, letting his empty glass drop to the floor.

Clark approached carefully, thrown off by the cheerful expression, and paused indecisively by Lex's feet when his friend made no attempt to get up.

"Lex... are you drunk? It's only six o'clock!"

"It is?" Lex dragged his arm up to his face and considered his watch carefully. "Huh. I lost a few hours there."

Clark shifted the glass from the floor and knelt down beside Lex. This close, he had a clear view of Lex's pupils, swollen and swallowing almost all of the usual clear blue. A chorus of voices of everyone who'd ever lectured him to Just Say No automatically clicked on in the back of his mind, and he had to force back the urge to blurt out a lecture on the topic.

Clark flicked through his mental filing system, but couldn't think of anything that would apply here. Nowhere in all those years of scholarly advice had anyone ever told him what to do with your best friend, who had endured serious mental and physical trauma, when he was lying blissed out in his imported family castle on a balmy Tuesday night.

He pressed his hand against Lex's forehead, wondering if he'd even be able to tell if it felt too hot. Lex turned into the touch, which Clark's brain wanted to label as 'nuzzling', with the rest of him keen to agree. He pulled his hand away hastily, before it did something stupid, like stroke the skin it rested on.

"What have you taken, Lex?"

Lex waved a hand at the table, and the bottle of pills spilled there that Clark had failed to notice. "Medicine. Present from Toby." Apparently some form of Lex's mental processes were still working, or Clark's worry was just written all over his face, because Lex anticipated his next question. "And I only took one, just like I was told."

Oh God, Lex was pouting. Clark thought he had now officially reached his limit for all things bizarre. Any more and he might lose his mind.

He cleared his throat. "And half a bottle of Scotch too?"

Lex dismissed Clark's concern with a wave of his hand. "I've survived worse. I'm fine." He performed an odd flopping motion with his whole body, which was apparently supposed to demonstrate that fact and finished up lying on his side, facing Clark.

Lex reached the short distance between them and combed his fingers through the hair curling away from Clark's neck. "I like it longer like this," Lex sighed.

Clark found himself caught in Lex's gaze as the moment stretched between them. Lex shuddered, pulling his hand back and turning away from Clark.

"No, bad Lex, no corrupting the pretty minor."

Clark was reasonably sure he wasn't supposed to have heard that low mutter, but something still spurred him to reply, "I'm seventeen."

Lex stiffened. "I destroyed it all, even the car," he said softly. "You can check the room, there's nothing there."

Room? What? Okay, that was not the reaction he'd expected and the back of Lex's head offered Clark no answers. He was starting to sympathize with how Lana must have felt when he paid no attention to her. "Lex, I don't..."

"I thought it was worth it, whatever happened. But someone's always going behind my back and trying to fuck me over - Victoria, Desiree, Helen, my father, and those are just the one's you've met." Lex laughed bitterly, before twisting back round to face Clark. "I was wrong, it's not worth it. I don't want to be like them, Clark."

Lex looked so lost that Clark flailed for the words to fix it. "You won't."

"How can you sound so sure? You don't know that. What if it's too late? What she saw killed her." His voice dropped to a whisper, "Touching me... I never should have asked her to look. I should have known. I must be some kind of monster, that's the only explanation."

Clark wanted to hunt down every single person who'd made Lex think that about himself, willing to do anything that would clear the desperation from his face. Lex was already pulling away, when Clark blurted, "I believe in you." And following the old adage that actions spoke louder than words - kissed him.

After a second's shocked stillness, Lex's lips parted under Clark's in invitation. It was softer than the fantasies Clark had pretended he wasn't having, though he found Lex's skin was as smooth as he'd imagined, as he skimmed a hand over his head to cup the back of his skull.

The angle was awkward due to their positions and Clark felt every inch the clueless hick, just waiting for Lex to laughingly push him away. He tentatively swiped the edge of his tongue across first Lex's bottom lip then the top, noting the slight difference in texture the scar gave, before nudging his way between and licking Lex's tongue lightly.

His fear vanished as Lex moaned into his mouth and tried to pull him even closer using the hand that had snaked around to the back of his neck, as though Clark was really going to go anywhere once Lex had started sucking at his tongue. It was hot and wet and nothing like anything he'd ever experienced before. He happily surrendered control to Lex's eager mouth, drowning in sensation as gentle hands combed through his hair and mapped his face.

Lex's pupils were still wide and dark when he and Clark finally broke apart, but Clark didn't know if it was from whatever he'd taken or... from something else. His smile seemed more real this time though and Clark could hardly help but return it. It seemed like a long time since he'd done anything except make people miserable.

Clark watched as Lex's eyelids slowly drooped, remembering again the drugs Lex had taken but telling himself he was sure he hadn't really taken advantage of Lex. There was a creak of leather as Lex shifted further back on the sofa, looking down at him with tired, hopeful eyes as he patted the space left at the edge.

Clark clambered up beside him. With some manoeuvring, he curled himself up around Lex.

"I really should go."

Lex tightened his arms around Clark. "Yeah."

It was dark when Clark woke and it took several minutes for him to cautiously inch out of the tight grip Lex had on his shirt and untangle their legs without waking him too.

Scanning Lex's desk, Clark retrieved a pen and piece of LexCorp stationery from the top drawer and quickly scrawled a note, not wanting Lex to think he'd just run out on him.


Had to get home. Talk to you tomorrow.


Clark debated about whether the note was too abrupt and if maybe he shouldn't add something else, but then told himself to stop being such a girl and just leave it.

He folded the note carefully and placed it on the floor by the sofa so Lex would see it when he woke up, then stood, looking down at Lex. He knew that Lex showed him a different version of himself-- no, just showed Clark more of himself than he showed to others, but the sight of Lex completely relaxed was new to Clark and had to be catalogued to pore over later when he was alone.

Clark shrugged out of his shirt and tucked it carefully around Lex's upper body to keep him warm, making a mental note to ask/scavenge for blankets here so Clark would know where to find them. For next time.

He made his way quietly out of the mansion, thinking that maybe he'd take the slow way home - normal speed - to give him time to think. That he'd kissed Lex. That he wanted to do more than just kiss Lex. A lot more. Soon.

The breeze swept his hair into his eyes as he considered how big a problem this might be. This was still Kansas after all, where most people would probably find being an alien preferable to being gay. But then he thought of Lex gracing him with a rare smile and came to the same conclusion he had many times before - people were stupid.

Clark spun as a noise from behind him broke through his thoughts. It had sounded almost like footsteps on the gravel of Lex's drive, only not quite. He turned in a full circle, using X-Ray vision, but nothing appeared out of the ordinary. He briefly considered going to investigate and then decided against it on the basis that he was forever being told by his parents not to go looking for trouble. Not so useful advice since trouble usually tended to find him instead.

Clark sped the rest of the way home. Just in case anything popped up to spoil his evening.

He knew it was a bad sign when he was placing mental bets on which dust mote would get the furthest before another breeze wafted them away again.

Clark shifted, though the lumps and springs beneath him refused to conform to anything bearing a closer resemblance to comfort. A creak on the stairs up to the loft made him jump and had him sitting up and abandoning the hopeless pursuit.


"Yeah" Clark tried to flatten his hair into some semblance of neatness as Lex appeared with a handful of flannel and an unsure expression. "I'm here." It was a totally pointless comment to make considering Lex could actually see him. Why did his brain have to be so stupid so often?

"I thought I should return this," Lex said, handing him his shirt.

He dropped it in his just-created pile of 'Never to be Washed Again' clothes while pretending he wasn't being soppy because Lex had slept with something of his. "I do have others. You didn't need to rush over with it." Clark cringed as he realised how that sounded, waiting for Lex to take it the wrong way.

But Lex just affected an expression of horror. "What would the townsfolk say if they knew I'd deprived the farmboy of his flannel?"

"I think they'd wonder what had made you give up the lavender silk in favour of primary colours and nubbyness."

Lex laughed and dropped down on the old sofa beside him, several huge inches of air left between them. "Nubbyness? Is that a word?"

"Of course." Clark aimed his best 'What are you, stupid?' look at Lex for good measure. "So, uh, how are you feeling today?"

"Better. Substance-free too." Lex looked down at the dusty floor and cleared his throat. "I wanted to apologise if I acted inappropriately last night, Clark. I hope it's not going to affect our friendship."

Wow, so that was what it felt like when your insides dropped into your feet.

"Lex, I..." ...was up most of the night thinking about you. "Was it..." ... just the medication and alcohol? Me getting it wrong?

And Lex had said 'if' he'd done something wrong - did that mean Lex didn't remember what had happened or just that he wasn't sure of Clark's feelings about it. How could one sentence be so confusing? Lex still had his eyes down and wasn't offering any help.

Clark shifted closer to Lex and, taking a deep breath, placed his hand on his knee. "Lex, what if I wanted it to affect our friendship?" Clark blushed as Lex looked up at him, startled. "If you wanted it too, I mean," he amended quickly.

Lex shook his head, in disbelief rather than negation. "I was convinced you were straight. I mean, straighter than Colin Farrell, straight."

Clark grinned. "Apparently, not so much."

Lex matched his expression and slid closer so the space between them vanished. Clark felt so happy he thought he might bounce on the spot - impersonating Tigger seeming completely logical right then.

"You know, you're probably the only person in this whole town who would feel the need to ask if I wanted more than friendship with you. Which is funny, considering. But I'm sure everyone else has been tutting over my inappropriate way of looking at the good Kent boy for years now. "

Clark felt the need to double check that nothing was going to burst his bubble at the last minute, since he still hadn't mastered landings. "So, you don't think us... kissing, was a mistake then?"

Lex flashed him a smirk. "That's not how I would have categorised it, no. But I would have been willing to put it aside if that had been how you felt."

Clark shook his head frantically. "Lex, it was... I haven't been able to stop thinking about you. It was the best thing I've ever felt."

That surprised a laugh from Lex. "You must have shockingly little to compare it to then, Clark." Lex slid his hand up Clark's arm to wrap around the back of his neck. His breath whispered over Clark's lips as he moved in. "But I think I can do something about that."

This... this was not the same as their kiss the night before. This was not placid or languid, this was Lex crawling into his lap and biting at his lower lip. This was him helpless under Lex, who completed a thorough exploration of his mouth before scraping teeth over his rough jaw. He moaned as Lex nudged his chin up and continued with the nipping, licking a path down his neck.

Clark gripped Lex's hips a bit firmer when he shifted back and broke the contact of lips to skin.

"Not pity then?" Lex asked, pink, swollen lips quirking and distracting Clark from the question.

"Huh? Wait... you thought last night... Lex, I definitely need to buy you a new dictionary. For those difficult Metropolis-rich-brat to Smallville-innocent translations."

"Smartass." Lex shifted, and Clark gasped at the sensation of Lex's hard cock pressed against his. Lex moved again, but it was away and Clark had to fight to suppress a whine. "Sorry. Too fast?" Lex asked.

"Nearly two years is not fast. Though I might be having a slight brain overload." Clark knew he was wearing his goofiest grin but couldn't bring himself to care. He pulled Lex back against him easily. "Fast is good."

"Clark, Clark," Lex said with a shake of his head. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that slow and steady has definite," a slight rock of his hips, "bonuses?"

Lex smoothed his hand over Clark's chest before slipping out of his grasp and back down to the sofa beside him. "Though maybe not in your parents' barn at this time of the morning."

Clark squirmed, and still miraculously didn't whimper, trying to find some relief from the thick seam pressing uncomfortably into his crotch. "Tease," he muttered.

Lex just smirked and let his head drop back against the worn material of Clark's sofa, though his hand remained running through Clark's hair as if he couldn't quite bear to let go. Clark had no sympathy for Lex since he himself wasn't the one who'd started something and then decided they shouldn't finish.

Lex was gazing idly around at the piles of Clark's clothes and books everywhere. "Are you living out here now?"

Clark shrugged and didn't make eye contact.

"Where are your parents, anyway? I didn't see the truck."

Clark considered telling him about the truck flipping over and that they'd had to get another one second hand until they could afford a new one, although since the present one needed constant expensive repairs, they didn't know what that would be. Only that would require too much explanation and might result in another bow-adorned truck in the drive, which he'd just have to return.

Instead, he just shrugged again. "Went to Metropolis early for some stuff. For the weekend, I think." Lex raised an eyebrow and he had to look away. "We're not on, uh, the best of speaking terms just now." Since every time he looked at his dad he remembered the disgust and blame and hatred his father had shown at the hospital. "Mom... lost the baby."

Lex's eyes widened in shock. "God." He clasped Clark's shoulder tightly for a moment. "I didn't know. I'm so sorry, Clark."

Clark looked down at the hand on his arm and remembered the time months ago, when Clark had had to tell someone that he was going to be a big brother. The same hand clapping his arm warmly and then offering a hearty handshake, as Lex smiled and congratulated him. He was saved from thinking of something to say by the chirping of his cell phone.

He reached for the phone blindly, pressing a button to answer and raising the phone to his ear without looking up from the contrast of long pale fingers settled loosely around his tanned arm.

"Hello? Lana? What are you... slow down, I can't..." The cushion rose slightly as Lex stood and moved away, the straight line of his back seeming somehow accusing to Clark. "Okay, I'm coming over."

Lex glanced over his shoulder as Clark tossed the phone to the side. "Problem?"

"I think that's what the screaming was about, yeah."

A shrug of his shoulders to straighten his jacket and it was Lex was at his most unapproachable. "I'll let you go then."

"Lex, wait..." He was on his feet, in front of Lex and blocking the stairs before Clark even thought about moving. "It's not like that." Except it was since he'd been dating Lana since his failed rebellion, and the fact he was the worst liar ever was reflected in Lex's expression. Plus Lana's sweater was draped right there over the banister.

Lex regarded him coolly. "You don't owe me any explanations, Clark."

Wasn't that the biggest lie of them all?

"Lex, please. She's Lana." Why couldn't he be the one who was good with words for a change? "I just, felt like I owed her something." And that didn't explain it at all.

"Right, Clark. All those years of trailing around behind her were only out of some misguided sense of obligation. Let me pass."

"No." Clark grasped Lex's upper arms, despite the tension in the muscles under his hands that were yelling at him to back the hell off. "Everyone expected it, Lex. Yeah, I've trailed around behind her practically my whole life, and I thought I loved her, and then she was really there and I didn't... And I made her cry!" That wasn't what he'd meant to say, but Lex relaxed infinitesimally. He swallowed. "I didn't think I had particular options, Lex. But what I wanted when I was six doesn't apply to what I want now. Don't you get that?"

There was an incredibly long moment where Lex appeared to be examining Clark, before seeing something that apparently satisfied him. "I wanted to be a florist when I was six."

Clark couldn't think of anything to say to that and Lex looked smug that he'd made him speechless.

"My mom loved flowers, but I had asthma and we couldn't have them in the house. Since I laid that ambition aside a long time ago, yes, I 'get that' things change."

Clark let out the breath he'd been holding.

"But if you're off to rescue the damsel in distress again, I'm coming too."

"Protecting your interests?" Clark asked with a hint of a smile

Lex had a carefully blank expression. "I don't know what you're talking about. All I know is that everything odd in this town gravitates towards two people: me, and Miss Lang. If I'm there too, it'll make rescuing both of us that much simpler for you. Plus, I can provide transportation."

Clark couldn't resist giving Lex a peck on the nose. He smiled as Lex wrinkled up his face. "Aw, you know you don't need to bribe me with cars, Lex."

"It's the new Ferrari."

Clark grabbed Lex's hand and propelled them both down the stairs. "In that case..."

There was a small, nervous-looking, crowd gathered across the street from the Talon when they pulled up. Clark looked from the huddle to Lex as they climbed out of the car. Lex shrugged and tilted his head towards the Talon.

Clark interpreted that as 'Who cares what those people have to say about what's going on. Let's get this over with as fast as possible so we can go make out again.' Of course, there was a chance he might have been projecting slightly.

Clark cupped his hand against the glass and peered into the deserted coffee house. "Lana's up at the back, standing on a table."

"If this is just about a mouse, I swear I'm selling this place. Although if it's a special brand Smallville mouse it might be amusing..."

Clark ignored Lex's muttering as he cautiously opened the door and slipped inside. "Lana? We're here."

"Oh, Clark, thank God!" Lana sobbed. "I don't know where it's gone. I hit it," she said with an awkward wave of the broom in her hand, "but it ran so fast!"

Clark crossed the floor towards her, skirting fallen chairs, with his arms raised in a placating manner. "It's okay. Just tell me what..."

"Holy shit."

Lex's awed voice came from behind him. Clark turned with a frown, intending to tell him to keep out until he'd at least figured out what they were dealing with. He took an unconscious step back as the words died in his throat.

A huge spider was now on the floor between him and Lex.

Not tarantula-huge. Dog-huge.

This was not good.

Lana was screaming again. Lex had backed up against the door but hadn't fled through it, which he thought was admirably stupid, since Clark might have run if he could. Clark, surprise, was stuck in the middle.

Literally, he realised when he heard scuttling behind him and turned slowly on the spot to find another spider, staring at him with glowing green eyes, now between him and Lana.

Oh, crap.

Obviously not having received the memo about the correct targets for Kryptonite mutants, the spiders were ignoring Lex and Lana and advancing on him. It was hard to keep an eye on both of them and he couldn't help the sinking feeling that they might pounce when he was distracted.

"Clark? I don't suppose you have a giant can of Raid up your sleeve?"

Clark couldn't look at Lex as he replied. "I'll try to lead them away. You get Lana out."

"That's your plan?" Frank disbelief was audible in every word, and Clark found it vaguely insulting.

Okay, who was the genius in this room? And why wasn't he coming up with better plans if he thought Clark's were so bad? If he hadn't been otherwise occupied, Clark might have been tempted to direct a burst of heat at Lex's shoes. Instead he had to settle for gritting his teeth. "Do you have any other ideas?"

Lex sighed, which Clark was willing to take as a sign of total acceptance of his plan.

He edged towards the door through to the back, pushing it open and forcing the two spiders to come together in the narrow space as he backed away. Clark saw Lex start to move slowly towards Lana just before the door swung closed, cutting off his view and leaving him alone with the mutants.

In theory, that was good. He could use his powers after all now. If he could think of something to do with them that would work to get him out of this mess.

He could set them on fire. The thought of burning spider hair and exploding guts made him feel slightly queasy, but not as much as the thought of what Lana or Lex might do if he set the Talon on fire again.

What were his other options? Squash them? Run around them really fast until they got dizzy and fell over?

Clark ducked instinctively when he saw something fly towards him. He glanced back as the gooeylooking mess sailed over his head. Despite the number of times he'd seen Spiderman, and the corresponding number of times he'd had to listen to Lex bitch about what a terrible casting choice Tobey Maguire had been, it still took him a moment to realise that it was webbing that was now stuck to the wall behind him.

So they, what? Wanted to eat him? What a great way to twist what had been a really good fantasy over how today with Lex was going to go, and hey, didn't that thought make him blush?

He ducked another spurt, aware of its greenish tinge, which made him even more eager to avoid being hit.

Clark snatched a box from the shelf beside him and hurled it at the nearest spider, the crash of smashed crockery mostly covering the squelch. He watched avidly to make sure the thing wasn't going to arise out of the ruins of emergency tableware.

He'd almost forgotten about the other one.

Clark snapped his head around as he detected movement in his peripheral vision, the surviving spider advancing quickly on him. Without thinking, he jumped - a movement which succeeded in putting him into the path of the incoming webbing from the second mutant.

His eyes burned as the stuff slapped him in the face and clung to his head. He clawed at his face, but had to give up when it became clear that it was more likely his skin would come off than the webbing.

Clark cast his eyes around, desperately searching for the next point of attack, but everything around him was blurred.

The creak of the door opening was very loud in the small space. There were only two possible people who would walk into a situation like this, and since Chloe was in Metropolis with her dad...

The rush of displaced gas and the change in the taste of the air came together and identified themselves to Clark's mind as the discharge of a fire extinguisher. He coughed slightly for appearances sake when the noise stopped.

The door creaked again. Expensive shoes clicked across the floor, back and forward across the small space before finally stopping in front of him.

"I think the other one must have escaped," Lex said.

"I would say we should go look for it, but..." Clark waved his hand around in front of his covered eyes.

Lex made a noncommittal noise. "Clark?"


"Are you aware that you're floating?"

What! Clark sucked in a panicked breath as he tried to feel the floor beneath him and realised it wasn't there. He mentally rewound the past couple of minutes - he'd jumped, gotten distracted... and forgotten to land.

"I..." There was no way out of this.

"So. Alien, huh?" Lex asked cheerfully.

He sighed and jerked his shoulders in a self-conscious shrug. "Yeah."

Clark could hear Lex's satisfied nod.

"Do you need some help down?"

He tried to think 'down' thoughts and only managed to make himself bounce slightly. "That might be a good idea," he concluded with another sigh.


"If you would stop moving, I might be able to finish this."

Clark clenched his hands by his sides, willing himself to stay still. "If you'd stop poking me in the eye, I wouldn't keep moving."

"I hit you with my car at sixty miles an hour and you walked away without a scratch." Lex paused as if expecting Clark's usual denial, which there was obviously no reason for now. "I suspect you'll survive this."

Clark knew he was pouting and didn't care. "Okay, first of all, the level of invulnerability my eyes have may still be up for debate, for all we know. Second of all, you know what the meteor rocks do to me, so having some form of it all over my face isn't exactly making me relaxed!"

He could at least see slightly better now, thanks to the chemical Lex had carefully rubbed over his skin to melt the webbing. The smell of it was making the back of his throat burn but he didn't think Lex would appreciate him complaining about that, after his efforts to de-gunk Clark.

Apparently finished with the little spongy stick of evil he'd been jabbing Clark with, Lex was wiping a cloth over Clark's face now and the world became warm and purple. Clark inhaled surreptitiously, catching the lingering scent of Lex and smiling to himself.

Lex left the cloth draped over Clark's face and started picking through his hair, presumably for stray bits of goo. Clark felt strangely like a gorilla being groomed.

He folded the end of the cloth up so he could speak. "Lex, just how far does your obsession with purple stretch? I mean you have the clothes, the towels, the bedcovers..." Clark stroked the soft material under his hands though he couldn't see it. "You don't have a purple car, though," he mused.

"And the chances of you ever even seeing me in a purple car are extraordinarily slim. Is this the point where I question your primary colours issue?"

"I've always liked bright colours." Clark was tempted to call Lex on the fact that he'd passed grooming and moved on to petting his hair now. But then that might have made him stop. If Lex had an almost magnetic attraction towards his hair, that was all right with him. "I remember going shopping with my mom when I was about five and I was determined that everything we bought had to be red or blue." Clark grinned. "Mom had to get really creative with the food dyes for a while there, too."

"Everyone has at least one weird food story from their childhood. I practically lived on the finest pate teamed with salt and vinegar chips sandwiches for months. It's still my favourite emergency snack."

Clark could hear the warmth in Lex's voice and wondered how many other people had the privilege of hearing Lex's silly secrets like this.

The heat disappeared from Clark's face and he blinked carefully.

Lex brushed a curl from his forehead. "Better?"

Clark grinned as Lex's bedroom came into perfect focus. "Great."

Lex rose from where he'd been kneeling and sat down beside Clark on the bed. "You might want to take a shower to make sure all traces of it are gone." Lex frowned. "You're not feeling ill at all, are you?"

Clark shook his head and flopped back on the bed, pulling himself up until only his feet dangled over the end. "The Kryptonite must have been too diluted or something to make me sick."

Lex hesitated barely a moment before lying down, too, facing Clark but leaving too much distance between them as far as Clark was concerned.

"Kryptonite-- that's the meteor rocks?"

Clark swallowed uneasily. "Yeah. They're from Krypton. My... planet."

Lex smoothed his hand over Clark's arm. "Do you know anything about it?"

"Krypton?" Clark shook his head. "Only that it's gone, blown up. Me and those rocks - the legacy of a whole world."

Lex bumped Clark's chin with his finger to make him look up and meet his eyes. "It's not your fault you know - the affect the ro-- Kryptonite has had on some things."

Clark shifted under Lex's intense gaze. "How..."

"One thing you are, Clark, is transparent," Lex said, with a sad smile. "Your every particle screamed guilt whenever anything 'Wall of Weird' happened."

"I know. I mean, I know that it's not my fault, but I just," Clark reached across and stroked his hand over Lex's bare scalp, "I can't help feeling that it is."

"Red, Clark," Lex said with a hint of a smirk. "My hair was red and wavy and puffed up whenever there was a hint of moisture in the air. You did me a favour." Lex's grin faded as Clark shook his head.

Clark blinked back the tears that were suddenly welling in his eyes. "I keep thinking about how scared you must have been, out there alone with the sky falling."

"I won't deny I had nightmares for a long time, but, in all seriousness, the meteor shower made me stronger in the long run-- healthier than I ever would have been otherwise. Do you know how good it is for business that I never have to take sick days?"

Clark pulled Lex flush against him, the warmth of Lex against him reassuring. "Sucks when you just want a day off, though, and can't even fake it," Clark said with a watery grin.

"Speaks the voice of experience." Lex brushed his lips lightly across Clark's. "I have the advantage of being the boss now for that. So tell me if I've got this right then - invulnerable, strong, fast..." Lex counted each item off with a soft kiss to Clark's face. "...the floating thing-- flying?"

"No. The floating's never happened when I've been fully awake before, only when I've been, um, dreaming." Lex raised an eyebrow and Clark blushed. "Yeah, about, you know. Stuff."

"Have dreams of me ever made you float, Clark?" Lex purred.

Clark thought he might actually burst a blood vessel, if his face got any redder. He cleared his throat. "You could say you've been the most frequent cause of my latest weirdness, yeah."

Lex looked incredibly pleased with that. "Not Lana?"

"No. Lana doesn't make my fingers tingle like you do." And, oh God, it was possible to blush more. His feet were probably blushing now.

The reward for his utter embarrassment made it worth it though - a brilliant smile from Lex and a long, sweet kiss.

Lex was still smiling when the kiss ended. "Have I covered everything, then?" He looked thoughtful. "Maybe some kind of super-vision? Or you have some kind of bloodhound ability which makes you unerringly able to detect things."

"X-Ray. I can see through everything. Well, not lead, but everything else so far. And there's heat vision too."

Lex actually looked mildly surprised at that one before comprehension dawned. "The fires at the school and the Talon."

"I had slight control issues with it at first."

Lex looked him over assessingly, and Clark was preparing himself for biology questions. Instead Lex grinned. "This is so cool!"

Clark laughed in surprise. "You're not freaked? Even a little?"

"I think I came to terms with it during the time I spent obsessing over unravelling the Clark Kent mystery." Lex ran his hands over Clark's back. "Though if there are any anatomical differences, I would appreciate an advance warning."

"Not as far as I know." Clark bit gently at Lex's bottom lip. "You might have to check for yourself."

"I think I can manage that," Lex murmured against his mouth.

Clark relished in the chance to explore Lex. His hands wandered carefully across the other man's body, but it was soon obvious to him that they were both wearing far too many clothes. How to remove them without separating from Lex was a problem and not one Clark felt capable of solving since all the blood in his body was rushing to places other than his brain.

Lex's hands were shockingly cool against his skin as they slid underneath his thin t-shirt. He hissed when Lex scraped a nail over his nipple but made himself push Lex away enough to be able to whip the top over his head.

Hands that might as well have had five Twinkies attached rather than fingers, for all the dexterity they showed, fumbled with the miniature buttons on Lex's shirt. Finally, with a growl, Clark ripped the shirt off and tossed it aside.

Lex blinked and looked down at his bare chest. "Impressive. And good thing I'm rich since we're making that a habit."

Clark 'hmmmed' in agreement, tentatively sliding his hands down Lex's sides and over his stomach, feeling the strength of muscles normally hidden by well-cut suits tense and relax under his hands. He glanced quickly up at Lex's face before sliding his thumbs up over Lex's hardening nipples.

Lex arched into the touch and his head dropped back, offering his neck up for Clark to trail sucking bites up its pale length.

Clark shifted onto his back and easily lifted Lex into his lap, both of them shocked into momentary stillness as their cocks met, before Lex groaned and ground down. Clark found Lex's mouth again, placing sloppy, desperate kisses as he struggled to unfasten Lex's pants.

"Wait. Wait. Clark, stop."

Lex had shifted back to sit on his thighs and Clark looked down at the hands holding his wrists lightly between them. It took several seconds before Clark's brain engaged to form words. "Lex, if this is about 'too fast' again, I might have to kill you." He dotted eager kisses along Lex's jaw. "I promise I won't tell that you put out before you even get to the first date."

Lex traced circles with his thumbs on the thin skin of Clark's inner wrists as he moved his head to catch Clark's wandering lips. He explored Clark's mouth lazily, and they exchanged puffs of breath as they pulled back and bumped noses. "I'm not going to say that we're going too fast, but, I think maybe we should slow down."

Clark gaped at him. "Is this some strange Earth logic I haven't grasped yet?"

Lex laughed gently. "It's your first time. And I've been thinking about this for a long time." Lex looked slightly embarrassed. "I think we should savour it."

Clark tugged Lex back down so they lay side by side again on the soft comforter. "We have all day," he whispered.

Lex matched his quiet tone. "I don't think I ever really believed I would have you here."

"In your bed? Because I have some, um, ideas for your pool table too."

"No." Lex flushed slightly. "I mean... here. With me. I never let myself believe you could really want me."

Clark wrapped his arms around Lex tightly, hating everyone who had ever hurt him and made him see himself as so worthless.

The latest Smallville evil could wait for them to have this.

Clark was having trouble believing this was real. That it was just another hot summer day outside, where everyone was going about their normal business, while here he was sprawled in Lex's huge bed.

With Lex sucking his toes.

When Lex had declared he'd wanted to taste every part of him, he hadn't imagined that it would all feel this good.

He didn't have a foot fetish, he told himself as he bit back a whimper. He had a Lex fetish - anywhere part of Lex's body came into contact with his, a hot connection was set up straight to his cock.

"Please, Lex. Please, please, please, please..." touch me before I die, he finished in his head but couldn't make the words come out.

Lex released his big toe with a wet 'pop' and crawled up his body, grinning lazily. The part of Clark's mind still in working order noted that he'd never seen as many happy expressions on Lex's face as he had today.

Lex licked a stripe up his inner thigh and held Clark down with ease as he sucked hard in the crease there. Clark tried to buck his hips, twist in Lex's grasp for more contact, better contact, but couldn't make himself move.

Lex's mouth - a new alternative to Kryptonite.

He was pleading again, and Lex should have just tried seducing him in his search for answers since Clark was ready to sell him his soul now if he would just Touch. Him.

Maybe Clark actually managed to say that out loud, because Lex was looking up at him with bright eyes and wrapping his hand around the base of Clark's cock and lowering his head and...

Clark nearly came off the bed when Lex's tongue pushed at his foreskin and scraped roughly across the head of his cock. Lex closed his eyes and made an appreciative noise as he tongued the fluid leaking from the slit.

"God, Lex, I..." He didn't know what he was trying to say. He didn't know why he was trying to say anything at all.

Lex's lips closed around Clark's cock and his eyes were open again, fastened on Clark's as he inched slowly downwards, swallowing Clark's cock. The sight of Lex's lips stretched, his mouth full, was maybe as good as the feel of it, and only a lifetime of self-restraint stopped Clark from thrusting desperately up into that welcoming heat.

But Lex's hands slid up to find his, prying them away from their deathgrip on the comforter and placing them on the back of his head. Clark met the hot gaze unsurely and Lex raised an eyebrow and bowed his head in a fraction of a nod.

He pushed cautiously up, worried about hurting Lex, but...

Lex moaned. And swallowed.

His eyes widened as he slid into Lex's throat, as Lex hummed and worked his tongue against the underside of his cock. Clark panted out something that might have been Lex's name as he pulled back and thrust with slightly more confidence.

Clark grabbed one of Lex's hands from it's resting place on his hip and sucked hard on three of his fingers. Desperate to taste any part of Lex he could, he worked his tongue between Lex's fingers, licking away the salt to taste the skin beneath.

He let the saliva-dampened fingers drop as heat shot through his body. Lex rolled his nipple between the free fingers and that was all it took to push him over the edge, and he arched into Lex's mouth a final time and yelled his name.

Clark collapsed, thinking he could live with never moving from this spot. Lex climbed up the bed, and positioned himself lying half on Clark, half on the bed.

Lex licked his lips and lifted his head to kiss Clark, tongues tangling and sharing the taste of Clark. Clark ran his hands in long strokes over Lex's body, everywhere he could reach without shifting from his happy sprawl.

Lex turned a small smile up at Clark. "Hey."

"Hey." Uncontrollable, biggest grin ever on Clark's face and he kissed Lex's head and nibbled on his ear since he couldn't think of words to describe the greatness of it all.

"We're just getting started you know," Lex said.

Clark stretched below Lex. "I'm not sure I'll survive. I think I've discovered a new weakness."

"No one else will get a chance to know it, since I won't share you," Lex said fiercely.

"And since I don't want you to," Clark reassured.

"Good." Lex reached behind him and rummaged in the drawer in the bedside table. "My attempts at being noble only extend so far." He produced a small bottle with a flourish of triumph. "You're sure?"

"Yes," Clark sighed impatiently. "If I was going to run screaming and crying about my virtue, it's a bit late now."

"It's a big step, Clark." Lex looked down at him seriously, which just made Clark want to laugh since it didn't have much effect when combined with the mutual nakedness and full body contact.

"I get it, Lex. Can't be undone, something that will always be part of me, blah blah blah. I know. That's what I want." Clark pushed his already-growing erection into the hollow of Lex's hip. "You inside of me, as soon as possible."

Lex propped himself up on his elbows over Clark and licked along his collarbone. "Where have you been hiding this pushy side, Clark? It's incredibly hot."

"You're obviously a bad influence on me."

"Oh, I hope so."

Clark watched from under heavy eyelids as Lex flicked the top off the lube and slowly coated his fingers with the thick liquid. He slid his hand down between Clark's legs, which Clark let fall open easily in anticipation. Lex twisted his fingers around Clark's cock in a single, teasing stroke, before skimming over his balls with the faintest of touches.

'Not enough,' Clark chanted as he groaned and thrust up into empty air. Lex dragged a single nail across Clark's perineum, exerting only the slightest pressure on the thin skin. 'Stupid. Teasing. Stupid. Lex,' Clark thought but thankfully didn't manage to vocalise, and so didn't encourage Lex to further torture.

"Relax, Clark."

That didn't seem likely really, not when Lex's free hand stroked up the hard muscles of Clark's thigh and the other moved in tightening circles around the rim of his hole.

Lex pushed a single finger in slowly, pausing as Clark flexed around him. Clark stilled, then let out a long, low breath of a moan and pushed down onto Lex's finger. Lex twisted it slightly as he pulled out and Clark moaned in disappointment.

"More, Lex, please. You can't hurt me."

Lex looked at him consideringly and added a second finger. It was still too slow for Clark's liking but Lex seemed determined that this be good for him, though Clark couldn't imagine anything being bad right now. Lex scissored his fingers, thrusting them slowly.

It didn't hurt, he'd been right in that, but he could feel it, more real than he could remember anything being for months. The stretch as Lex pushed his fingers as deep as they would go made his toes curl. He could feel every slight callus, the small irregularities from bones broken long ago, even the impression of the whorls that made up Lex's fingerprints.

He felt like he was being imprinted upon, like no matter what, from this point on he'd know Lex, whatever the circumstances.

Clark wailed and bucked up as the slightly rough pads of Lex's fingers scraped over his prostate. "God!" He struggled to gasp out words between shuddering breaths. "Lex, need you, now."

Lex pulled his fingers out, quickly found the discarded lube and slicked his cock. He wiped his hand on the bed beside him as he urged Clark to spread his legs further.

"Lift your knees, Clark," Lex said softly.

Clark followed the direction eagerly. He thought that maybe he should feel nervous or selfconscious. But there was Lex, who looked like he'd been handed all his Christmases early. Clark watched as Lex bit his lip and the heat in his eyes as he raked them over Clark's body made him feel... hot-- and nearly made him come on the spot. He arched his spine a little and couldn't help the slight moan that escaped his lips.

His teeth were already on edge from holding his orgasm off for this long. Okay, so he'd come once, but it felt like Lex had been tormenting him for days and he knew this wasn't going to last long. That was traditional, right? For first times to be fast.

Lex stroked Clark's thigh as he positioned himself and pushed in, never breaking eye contact and moaning in unison with Clark as he slowly filled him. "So fucking tight."

Lex stopped, trying to gather his control once he was fully inside. "How does it feel?"

Oh God, Lex wanted some kind of coherency? "Weird. Hot. Good. I..." Clark snaked his legs around Lex's waist and pulled him down for a hard kiss. "Now."

Clark waved a cheery goodbye to the last of his working brain cells as Lex thrust steadily into him. He was writhing beneath Lex, panting and babbling nonsensically as Lex shifted from long and slow pushes to something more erratic and desperate. Their chests skimmed over each other, slick with sweat, and Lex shifted his weight so he could wrap his hand around Clark's cock.

The slight change in angle caused Lex to hit Clark's prostate with each flex of his hips and the small flick of Lex's hand over the head of his cock was all Clark needed. He screamed and shattered, coming in Lex's hand. Lex's whole body was tensed over him, watching Clark come apart before he too stiffened and came, shouting Clark's name.

Clark sucked in huge breaths, relishing the sensation of his pulse racing. He couldn't force his eyelids to open again as he felt Lex wipe his stomach with the sheet perfunctorily and drop heavily to the bed beside him.

He curled up against Lex, arm around his waist and head pressed against Lex's chest. The sensation of Lex's hands soothing his trembling body followed Clark into sleep.

"The largest spider in the world is the Goliath Birdeater, which, despite the name, doesn't actually eat birds. It's reported to have a leg span of up to 12 inches. What we saw tonight was larger, but I'm sure it wasn't the same species anyway since Smallville doesn't have the right living conditions."

Clark rolled over and groaned. "Lex, you have a really bizarre idea of what is acceptable pillow talk."

Lex ignored him. "A fossil arachnid was discovered that was 50cm long, but current opinion is that it was some kind of ancient predecessor to a spider rather than a spider itself."

Clark raised himself up on an elbow and gazed at Lex curiously. "Lex, how do you know all this?"

Lex shrugged. "I read it at some point."

"And I thought I had a good memory."

"You never know when a piece of information might come in useful, Clark." Lex frowned. "Our best hope is if there's a single nest, then we'd have a better chance of eradicating them all."

Clark flopped onto his front and muffled a moan of complaint in the pillow. ""Why can't we just wait for them to die? How long can bugs live, anyway?"

"Some spiders can live for decades, Clark, and that's before you take into account the possible effects of their mutation. And have you considered what they may seek out as a food source?"

Clark turned and bit Lex's shoulder lightly. "I think my hero complex is catching."

Lex looked somewhere between mildly offended and pleased. "As long as I'm not a sidekick and there's no spandex involved."

Clark was constructing a very nice picture of Lex in a very clingy lavender number, like Warrior Angel minus the wings, when a huge crash resonated through the castle.

They both sat up, Clark clutching the sheet around his waist. "Servants?" Clark asked hopefully.

"Sent them all home." Lex slipped out of the bed and padded over to the door. He carefully tugged it open and craned his neck around the gap.

Clark focused and looked through the wall, and saw nothing but an empty corridor.

Lex pulled the door open fully and strode out. "Come on, Clark," he said impatiently.

Clark stared at Lex pointedly. "Um, clothes, Lex?"

Lex glanced down at first his naked body and then over to Clark's. "Good idea."

They crept slowly along yet another silent, slightly dusty, corridor. Clark couldn't remember even seeing this one before, with its huge portrait of a guy with a scarily small head watching them from up ahead. He vowed that at some point he was going to drag Lex off for some exploring.

Secret passages would be cool.

Lex had not been impressed that he couldn't see anything wrong using X-Ray and had declared, in that case, they had to search the whole castle. Despite the fact Clark was almost positive the noise had come from somewhere on the ground floor.

They turned another corner and Clark idly wondered if Lex actually knew where they were. This place seemed to breed rooms and halls whenever you looked away.

"I feel like I'm in Scooby Doo. Or the Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew. The Famous Five or the Secret Seven. Or maybe The X Men would be better. Or..."

"Clark, I love you, but keep up with that list and I will find a way to kill you."

Clark stopped and grabbed Lex's hand, tugging him round to face him. "You said..." He grinned. A lot. "I love you, too, Lex."

Lex pulled him closer and stroked his face softly, before kissing him slowly. He caressed the back of Clark's neck as he stepped back. "We have mutants to catch."

My boyfriend - the romantic, Clark thought with totally inappropriate giddiness. He heard a faint clatter and looked down through the floor. "Lex, it's coming from the kitchen."

Lex nodded and caught his wrist. Endless twists, turns and stairs later, Clark found himself at the door to the familiar room. On their way, Lex had picked up a pool cue and an old ceremonial sword. He tossed Clark the former.

Clark rolled his eyes. "I feel so much safer."

Lex grinned maliciously. "Think of it as a really big skewer."

Okay, gross. Clark hefted the cue anyway and nudged the door open with his foot. They both edged quietly into the room and Lex flicked on the light switches.

Clark and Lex froze.

As did the spider on the counter.

The unidentifiable chunk of meat oozing blood all over the clean white surface was long past the movement stage.

Clark knew it was an obvious observation, but he still needed to say it. "That one's even bigger, isn't it?"

"Big enough to knock over my fucking fridge."

Clark felt like they were stuck in some kind of grisly version of freeze tag. Neither of them seemed keen to do anything. He reluctantly declared himself 'it', on the basis that one of them had move or they could be here forever.

He set the pool cue down gently on the floor behind him and took a step to the side, away from Lex.


Clark cut Lex off before he could start complaining. "Just keep back against the wall." He sped across the room, opened the side door he sometimes used for deliveries, and ran back to his starting position.

Lex looked at Clark as if he thought he was mad. "Please tell me you're not going to do what I think, that you're not going to touch it. Fuck knows what those fangs could do to you!"

"I wasn't planning on keeping hold of it long enough to find out."

"And what was wrong with the 'killing it' idea?" Lex hissed, never taking his eyes off the spider in case it decided to suddenly attack them.

"The fact that this is your kitchen, and I know that I'll never want to eat anything out of here ever again if I have to picture the results of that."

Clark didn't wait for a response. He darted forwards, grabbed a disgustingly hairy leg and threw the spider out the open door. An instant later, Clark had the door shut and locked, and the fridge upright again.

He looked doubtfully at the mess in the middle of the kitchen.

"I'll give the maid a considerable bonus," Lex said and led Clark from the kitchen and back upstairs.

"We should go out and look for them, shouldn't we?" And Clark couldn't have been less enthusiastic about the idea.

"I just need to grab a couple of things and then we can go."

It was dark by the time they managed to shower, dress, fool around, redress and get out of the castle.

They'd been rambling around the Luthor grounds for hours now and Clark was not impressed. He kicked at the dust as he trailed slightly behind Lex. "It's funny."

Lex turned back to him, the flashlight beam briefly hitting Clark in the eyes. "What is?"

"You. Everyone thinks you sit up in your castle, counting your gold and concocting dastardly plans to ruin people, and you let them believe it."

Lex looked amused. "And?"

"If this," Clark waved his arms around at the empty Smallville night, "is any kind of example, you don't plan well at all." Clark shook his head sadly. "Next thing you know, they'll be revoking your Evil Overlord membership card."

"It's the Benevolent chapter I belong to, not the Evil." Lex resumed sweeping the light in wide arches across the huge expanse of grass.

"My mistake," Clark said with a grin. "I know Smallville is barely a blip to you, but I don't think we're going to find what we're looking for by wandering aimlessly like this. We don't know that these things are even on your land. Shouldn't we at least check out the Talon for clues?"

"No. If something of their size had set up home in town, people would have noticed. So they must live in a more sparsely populated area, where it's also more likely there are caches of meteor rocks."

Clark decided it wasn't worth pointing out the number of places that could fit that description. Or that people in Smallville had demonstrated their wilful blindness regarding mutant oddness before.

Something occurred to him and he fought a smile. "Then how did they get to the Talon, hypothetically, from here?"

Lex paused in his searching, looking thoughtful. Horror grew on his face as he obviously had the same idea Clark had. "I'll have all the cars detailed tomorrow."

Clark didn't laugh. Much.

Lex just narrowed his eyes and glared in a way that promised retribution. "You could cover a much larger area, much faster than this if you aren't happy with my method."

Clark considered it. "I don't think I can look and run at the same time like that. Not without leaving Clark-sized holes everywhere. I usually stop and stare, then start again." Lex shone the flashlight at him again. "I'm still getting used to all this, you know," Clark said defensively.

Lex shrugged his shoulders and they continued in silence as they came onto a more uneven patch of ground. They bumped against each other as they walked.

"You should talk to Lana," Lex announced.

Clark made a face. "Do I have to?"

"I think it would be wise. She didn't look particularly pleased when you ignored her in favour of coming home with me." Lex didn't look particularly distressed about this though. "I am curious as to what has caused this change in your feelings about Lana."

"We've been spending a lot of time together. I just realised that she's..."

"Manipulative? Self-absorbed?" Lex offered.

"I was going to say 'just a friend'."

"But you don't disagree with my points." Clark didn't say anything and Lex looked incredibly selfsatisfied. "I think this is officially one of the best days of my life."

Clark rolled his eyes and poked Lex in the side. "Glad I could help. Come on, spider hunting remember." Not that he was changing the subject, oh, no. "Do you know what we're going to do if we find them, oh great benevolent one?"

"It's so sad. You used to be so sweet, and now this sarcasm has appeared." Lex shook his head. "Youth of today. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with you."

"I'm sure you could come up with some fun ideas, Lex, if we went back to that nice spacious mansion of yours."

"Not turned on by the wild outdoors, Clark?"

"Just didn't think you'd want to get your pretty clothes messed up by rolling around in the dirt," Clark said sweetly.

"It's more what could be living in the dirt. Okay, use your magic eyes around here and then I think we might as well leave it until morning when we'll be able to see better."

"They're not magic, Lex. They don't pop out."

Lex looked at him blankly.

"Mad Eye Moody." Clark clarified. "Harry Potter?"

Lex turned his light idly over the bumps and dips in the ground. "Don't tell me you've been reading those books again, Clark. How many times is that?"

"Only six. Can I help it if I identify with someone suddenly finding out why they can do weird things? And they have... interesting subtext."

Lex looked shocked. "You know about things like subtext, too, Clark? I'm starting to wonder what you did with the original Clark while I was gone."

"Lex, I might be a little slow on the uptake sometimes but I'm not blind. I could hardly miss you and your stroking bottles and pool cues and everything vaguely phallic."

"I do not do that!"

Clark laughed. "Please, you so do."

"Okay, fine, so maybe I make my own fun sometimes," Lex said dismissively. "It's not like I thought you were ever going to do anything about it. Do your thing so we can go."

"I don't even know what I'm looking for," Clark grumbled as he obediently scanned the surrounding area. "Nothing. Bed now?"

"I've created a monster," Lex said, shaking his head.

Clark could have had them back in Lex's bedroom and undressed in seconds. He was just about to suggest this to Lex when the ground fell out from under his feet.

"Clark! Clark, will you fucking answer me right now!"

Clark coughed and rolled over, grabbing at his ribs with a hiss of pain. "I'm... alive," he croaked.


He pulled himself into a sitting position and looked up at Lex's worried face peering over the edge of the hole. "There must be Kryptonite down here somewhere." His veins weren't standing out though so it either wasn't that close, or there wasn't much of it.

"How badly are you hurt?"

Clark stood and stretched out his limbs carefully. "Just bruised."

"I'm coming down."

What? "Lex, stay there..."

Lex landed a few feet away from him in an easy crouch.

"What do you think you're doing? You could have broken your neck, Lex!"

Lex brushed himself off calmly. "Did I ever tell you about the time I fell out a third floor window when I was seventeen, Clark? I walked away without a scratch."

Clark hauled Lex towards him by his shirt. "You're not invincible! You can't keep taking all these stupid risks!"

"I wasn't going to just stand up there while those rocks could have been killing you."

"I said I was fine, Lex!"

"You were unconscious, Clark! You vanished in front of me and I looked down and you were lying there deathly still." Lex shoved Clark back only to advance on him. "I didn't survive for six weeks on a patch of sand in the middle of the ocean to have a fucking heart attack from fright, two miles from my fucking house!" Lex pushed Clark a final time, hitting him up against the wall and holding him there.

"Sorry?" Clark offered faintly.

Lex let him go and took a step back. He ran his hand over his head. "Don't expect me to stand back or walk away when you're in danger, Clark. You're at the top of a very short list of things I will protect with everything I have."

Clark wanted to shout that he was the one who was supposed to be doing the protecting. He had visions of them having this same argument over who was the invulnerable one countless times in their future. But for now, his head hurt from where he'd smacked it on landing and the meagre light they had was shimmering-- Lex's hand was shaking.

Clark wound his arms around Lex and hugged him tightly. "Let's leave it at the fact that we're both okay, and try to find a way out." He kissed Lex's head before letting him go and looking around. "Did you know you had tunnels down here?"

"No. But then I wasn't really aware I had a lake either until it was frozen solid." Lex had turned his attention to the deep grooves that scored the wall. "These marks look relatively recent though."

Clark trailed his fingers across the faintly damp earth. "What are the chances we've stumbled into the exact place we were looking for?"

"Since all logic and probability go out the window in this town - and don't look guilty, Clark - I'd say the chances could be fairly good." Lex looked up-- the roof of the tunnel was several feet above Clark's head. "And I get the feeling what we've seen were only runaway babies, while mommy and daddy stayed safe at home."

Clark shuddered at the thought of what they might find down here. His life was a B-movie. "There's no way for us to get back out of that hole. We might as well start walking and see if we can find some other way out."

They trudged along mostly in the dark since they'd decided they should save the batteries in their only light. X-Ray was as good as useless when there was nothing to focus on except dirt and the odd coin or small bone buried in it.

Clark didn't know how long they'd been walking, but the further they went the more sick he was starting to feel and the silence was getting to him. It made him feel alone with the walls pressing in.

"Lex?" His voice echoed slightly and he wondered if the space around them had widened even further. "If I had been able to fly, I would have come looking for you."

Lex didn't need to ask what he was talking about. "I had fantasies where you appeared out of nowhere and saved me."

Clark found Lex's hand in the dark and held it firmly in his, squeezing the smaller palm in an apology.

"Don't, Clark. That definitely wasn't your fault. It was Helen, and probably my father, despite his attempts at demonstrating familial distress. You were there in spirit, and there's a fine line between fantasies and hallucinations, but going a little crazy out there probably kept me sane. You kept my mind off the sunburn at least."

"I wish I could have done something. I kept reading about it in the papers, but I never thought you were dead. Everyone kept shaking their heads and saying I should expect the worst, but I knew how strong you were and that you wouldn't let them beat you."

"I don't deserve the faith you have in me."

Clark shrugged though he knew Lex couldn't see it. "Guess you'll just have to look into earning it then."

There was a stirring in the air around them, barely enough to even qualify as a draft, but Clark tried out the X-Ray again to check their surroundings.

"Oh, shit."

"What..." Lex clicked on the light.

Three, very people-shaped, web-wrapped bundles were propped against the wall.

Lex threw out an arm to try and stop Clark from rushing forwards to help, but he'd have had as much luck stopping a freight train.

Clark got within three feet of the victims before burning pain shot through his body and he fell helplessly to the ground. Now, when it was too late of course, the green, pulsing stones embedded in the walls were obvious. He curled into himself, feeling like his lungs were being twisted and there was no way he was going to be able to get in enough air.

He felt Lex's hands wrap around his arms and drag him backwards, very slowly and Clark felt like he should apologise for being such a dead weight. He looked up at Lex through a blur of tears and realised he would have to apologise for scaring him, again, too.

Lex stopped pulling him when the thick green veins had faded from Clark's arms. "Don't move from that spot or I will break every bone in my body trying to stop you. And you really don't want to see what a terrible patient I can be."

Clark felt too sick to try and sit up, never mind argue with Lex.

He watched as Lex withdrew a wickedly serrated knife from inside his boot and strode over to the bodies on the ground. God, Clark had a sudden panic that maybe they were actually dead already but a quick glance showed him three beating, if slow, hearts.

Lex sliced carefully up the middle of the cocoons that had been created, swearing as the webbing stuck to his hands and sleeves. He didn't try to remove it all, their earlier experience having demonstrated the difficulty of that. Instead, Lex cut carefully in a way that would allow those inside to move, providing they were conscious, and cleared as much of their faces as possible. Clark vaguely recognised one of them as a janitor at the school, but he didn't know the other two.

Lex stalked back over to him. "Stay there, I'm going to look for the source of this fresh air."

Like hell he would. "I'm faster," Clark protested.

"And at risk of collapsing should you stumble across more of the rocks."

Stalemate. Neither of them was going to budge on this. Clark sighed in exasperation. This compromise thing sucked. "Fine, we'll both look and then we can get them out."

Clark's legs shook a little as he stood, but other than that he was back to the low level of discomfort he'd had since falling into the tunnels. He wasn't keen on leaving the people still lying there unconscious but Lex rationalized that they'd been fine up to this point and could wait a little longer.

They found it faster than they'd hoped anyway, since the concealed entrance to the tunnel was around the next corner.

They exchanged a quick look and turned and ran back into the murkiness of the tunnel. Clark rounded the corner and skidded to a halt when he realised he wasn't back in the open cavern.

He was in the nest.

Lex thumped into Clark's back with a groan of pain. "What now?"

"Your theory was right." Missing a fork in the path had now added another 'running blindly into trouble' to his ever-growing tally. Clark was keeping very still in the hope that then they wouldn't be noticed.

Lex shifted to the side so he could see past Clark. "Fuck. Me."

The babies, and there were a lot of them scattered around if all the flashes of green were eyes and not just Kryptonite, had some serious growing to do before they reached full size. Mommy and daddy were the size of single storey houses.

And advancing on them.

"Lex, go back and get those people out."

"While you...?"

"Distract these."

Lex hesitated and for a moment Clark thought he wasn't going to leave, but then there was a fleeting touch on his back and Lex was gone.

He ignored the advancing giants and aimed his heat vision on to some of the smaller spiders towards the back. They quickly burst into flame and a high-pitched screaming started, making him wince.

The spiders were careening around, alighting more of them as they brushed against each other. He shot another quick blast of fire towards the other corner, before a huge leg snapped out from his left and kicked him back into the wall.

Clark scrambled to his feet, feeling dizzy. He could feel the Kryptonite just on the edge of his senses, which made it hard to concentrate. There was no way he could go into that cave properly to try and kill them. He had to do what he could from out here.

Eight quick bursts of heat, and one of the giant spiders wavered towards him upon its burning legs. The flames licked up towards the vast body and it toppled over slowly, flattening many of the scurrying young as it fell with an impact that shook the walls.

The ground continued to tremble and Clark had to cover his ears as the screaming cranked up a notch. Dust drifted down from the ceiling above him. There was a deep rumble from somewhere down the tunnel.

He didn't even know if Lex had gotten out safely. There should have been plenty of time, but what if he hadn't been able to get the people to wake up?

"Lex!" The single yell started a bout of coughing and he didn't want to think about what it might mean if there was Kryptonite dust in what he was breathing in. He dug his nails into his palms as worry flooded him and he shouted at the top of his voice. "Lex!"

It made more dust fall around him, but that was okay, since he heard his name yelled back in return.

"Clark! We're okay, get the hell out!"

Clark squinted through the cloud of smoke and dust that was steadily gathering around him. He aimed his heat vision blindly into the chaos of the room in front of him in a sweeping line. Then he slammed a fist into each side of the tunnel wall.

He ran as the passage fell in behind him.

"I'm fine," Clark insisted.

"If you're fine, then why is my back about to give in from having to support most of your weight?"

"Sorry." Clark shifted away from Lex and toppled dangerously towards the floor, before Lex righted him again and steered them both towards his bathroom.

"That wasn't actually a hint for you to try and fall on your face again."

Clark stumbled over a stray towel they'd left lying in their earlier hurry and this time succeeded in dragging them both to the ground. If he'd been feeling less ill he would have been more appreciative of Lex sprawled on top of him. Now, he was more concerned with the part of his head that had resumed its earlier throbbing from connecting with the floor.

He groaned in absolute self-pity. "How do people put up with this kind of thing all the time?"

"I hate to break it to you, Clark, but most people's greatest source of pain is do-it-yourself or stress, not giant mutants. We're not exactly at risk of dealing with any form of normal here."

Clark wondered if aspirin worked on aliens anyway.

He would have been quite happy lying there feeling vaguely sorry for himself, but Lex was intent on stripping him and shoving him towards the shower.

"These clothes are only fit for burning," Lex declared as he threw them across the room.

Clark slumped in the corner and rested his cheek against the cool tiles. "Not burning my clothes."

"I think the rock fragments are permanently embedded in them," Lex said as he removed his own and discarded them too.

"Not going home naked - not burning."

"I'll find you something to wear." Lex leaned over him to turn on the shower controls and Clark felt bizarrely tiny as he looked up at Lex towering over him.

Lex lounged against the wall; in the same pose Clark had seen hundreds of times before, though Lex had never before been naked and wet. His hand reached down towards Clark's head but stopped before he made contact. "Your hair's sparkling. It'd be pretty, if it didn't hurt you."

Clark summoned enough energy to look indignant. "I am not pretty."

Lex smirked. "We'll see what the general consensus is when I show you off in Metropolis, won't we?"

That thought was scary, but it eliminated the worry that Lex would want to hide them away, at least. Clark caught the hand still stretched out to him and pulled Lex gently. "Come down here and wash me."

Lex dropped smoothly to his knees beside him. "A bath is really a better place to be playing Master and Servant. Or a bed, obviously."

Clark hummed happily as Lex lathered a cloth with soap and rubbed it over his chest and arms. He inhaled steam and the faint taste of Lex in the air before leaning down to press a kiss to Lex's bent head. "Don't want to be Master of anything." He unfurled so Lex had better access to his legs. "Your shower is the size of my bathroom."

"All the better to share," Lex murmured, intent on his task.

Lex's hands moved up to massage his scalp and Clark closed his eyes. He let Lex manipulate his head back and forth under the stream of water until Lex was apparently happy that Clark could get no cleaner.

"Okay, you'll have to stand to rinse off properly."

Clark pulled himself to his feet, realising the room had stopped with the nauseating tilting. He still leaned back against the wall, content to watch Lex through half-closed eyes as he quickly cleaned himself.

Clark smiled to himself as he watched Lex clean his ears, just as his mother had told him to, he was sure. Lex's pale skin was flushed slightly from the heat of the water and Clark wondered what Lex would do if he started following the water droplets trail with his tongue.

Lex wiped the soap out of his eyes and looked down at Clark's groin pointedly. "I thought you were exhausted."

"I might need a little more tiring out after all," Clark said hopefully. "We done here?" Clark didn't give Lex a chance to reply before turning the shower off and opening the door.

The change in temperature didn't bother him, but Clark saw Lex shiver as the cold air hit his wet skin. Clark grabbed one of the huge fluffy towels and wrapped it around Lex.

Lex looked at Clark in amusement as he carefully rubbed Lex dry. "What are you doing?"

Duh. "Drying you." He felt himself blush as he reluctantly pulled his hands away from Lex. "Am I not supposed to?"

Lex brushed Clark's dripping hair out of his face. "Clark, even if there was a handbook for this type of thing, I'm positive I'd be throwing it out of the window with you."

Clark reddened even further and, realising he was still standing there naked, snatched another towel and started drying himself frantically.

Lex's hand on his arm stilled his furious movement. "I meant that in a good way, Clark. Not to sound like the stereotypical poor little rich kid, but having someone who genuinely cares for me is a new experience. So we'll be figuring things out as we go along together."

"You have to stop me when I do stupid things."

"Clark." Clark noticed Lex's authoritative tone and looked up at him. "Your hands on me is hot, not stupid. You're not stupid. Clear?"

"Yes, Sir," Clark said softly.

"Please don't make me feel like my father before we go to bed." Lex pulled both their towels away and dropped them on the floor. He took Clark's hand and led him back into his room.

"No parents in the bedroom, got it," Clark said with a small grin.

Lex groaned, climbing into the bed. "Thanks for that mental image. I'd probably have to flee the country - I hope you have a passport, Clark."

Clark slipped in behind Lex, curling himself around his back. "You'd take me with you?"

"Life wouldn't be very interesting without you," Lex said through a yawn.

"Less trouble, maybe."

"Boring. Normal."

"I love you, you know." Clark traced patterns on Lex's flat stomach - writing the words in a language he hadn't yet explained to Lex.

"I love you, too, Clark." Lex threaded their fingers together as Clark's hands slowed their movements. "Thought you weren't tired."

Clark tightened his arm around Lex's waist. "Maybe a little," he admitted, already drifting into sleep.

The thick curtains in Lex's room kept it shrouded in the same level of darkness regardless of whether it was day or night. It was just another difference for Clark to treasure, away from his room or the barn where every slip of light found its way in through gaps or thin fabric.

Rain hissed against the window; he loved summer storms. The way the clouds would burst open as suddenly as they would later dissipate. If he hadn't been in this bed, Clark would have been outside, head raised up to the heavens.

Lex stirred beside him and blinked sleepily.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" Clark whispered.

"No." Lex rubbed his eyes and turned to kiss Clark's shoulder. "I'm not the most restful sleeper, especially post-trauma."

"I hope those people are okay."

"The paramedics said they'd be fine." Lex shifted so his leg slipped between Clark's. "Now that you've woken me up," he said, with a hint of a smile, "I think it's only fair you tire me out."

Lex reached behind him for the lube and handed it to Clark, who looked at it, dumbfounded.

"You want me to..."

Lex lifted the small bottle, opened it and poured a generous amount over Clark's hand. "You might have to take it slow. It's been a while, and some of us haven't been blessed with a switch of pleasure for pain receptors."

Clark's hand was shaking as it drifted down Lex's back to rest tentatively against the cleft of his ass. "I could hurt you. You're--"

Lex pressed his fingers against Clark's lips. "I'm sure, Clark." He kept his fingers where they were, rocking his hips into Clark's and biting along his jaw until he felt Clark smile under his hand. "Do you...?"

"I know what to do." In theory at least. Clark captured Lex's palm as he lifted his hand away from Clark's face and pressed a kiss to it in promise.

One hand curled around the back of Lex's head, drawing him into a slow kiss as the other stroked over the small hole. Lex lifted his leg higher, wrapping it around Clark's waist, and nibbled at Clark's bottom lip.

Clark stretched Lex slowly; one, two, then three fingers, carefully monitoring every hitch in Lex's breathing, ready to stop at the slightest hint of pain, but Lex just shuddered and moaned, pushed into it and sighed.

Lex mewled in displeasure as Clark again drew his fingers out. "Don't... That's enough." Lex turned onto his other side, facing away from Clark and pressing his ass back urgently into Clark's cock. "Now."

Clark swallowed harshly. He carefully pushed so he was just inside, conscious of not going too fast, or gripping too tightly with the hand on Lex's hip.

Lex spoiled his show of restraint by pushing his ass back until Clark could go no deeper.

The wash of rain, Clark's frantic gulps for air and Lex's slight panting were the only sounds in the room.

Lex clenched around his cock and Clark's hands tightened their hold on Lex fractionally, knowing he was leaving bruises he would be sorry for in the morning.

A lifetime later, Lex moved again, fucking himself slowly as he silently encouraged Clark to pick up the rhythm.

Clark's hand slipped on Lex's sweat-slicked skin, sliding around to join Lex's on his cock. Lex twisted his head to catch Clark in a messy kiss, their tongues, teeth and lips connecting and colliding with desperate force.

Clark bit Lex's lip as his orgasm suddenly washed over him. He thrust shallowly and sloppily several more times before Lex cried out and exploded over their joined hands.

Lex shifted, hissing as Clark slipped out of him. He turned and pressed a kiss to the corner of Clark's mouth. "That worked," he murmured.

Clark lifted his hand and licked it tentatively - then moaned appreciatively as he sucked his fingers. He finished cleaning himself and paid the same attention to Lex's fingers, knowing Lex was watching.

Lex bit off a groan as Clark released him. "Fuck. I don't deserve you."

"Mmmm." Clark pulled Lex tight against him, head tucked under his chin and a proprietary hand on his ass.

Lex sighed and relaxed into the embrace. "You'll be the death of me, pretty boy."

What's the first thing you do in the morning?

Get out of bed/ Check email/ Have shower/ Make pop-tarts/ Feed animals/ Put glasses on.

None of the above.

Lick Lex.

Clark chuckled low in his throat, and then slightly louder at how easily he could amuse himself. The vibrations from his lips against the back of Lex's head were enough to wake the other man up - Lex jerked slightly and his leg kicked back, his foot connecting with Clark's shin.

Lex cursed softly, cradling his foot. "Bastard."

"Yeah, sorry about my leg being attached to the rest of me there." Clark sucked again at the bump on the back of Lex's skull. He couldn't even count the number of times he'd resisted the urge to run his fingers over that spot.

"... What are you doing?"

"Licking," Clark said with another rumble of laughter to himself.

Lex uttered a surprised squawk at his change in position as Clark turned him onto his front; though Clark was sure Lex would deny making the noise until non-Smallville pigs flew.

Clark scraped his teeth over the top of Lex's spine. "Now I'm repositioning for more, and better, licking, see?"

He trailed his tongue down the length of Lex's back. When he reached the crease of skin where back became ass, he sucked hard enough to leave a mark.

Lex gasped and shifted on the sheets below him.

Clark blew softly over the wet line he'd left, before turning his attention elsewhere. He felt spoiled, presented with this pale, unmarked canvas to play with - actually not so unmarked, he realised as he kissed along Lex's shoulders. He couldn't help grinning at his discovery - Lex had freckles.

"You have..."

"Don't say a word," said the ever-perceptive Lex. "Even you'd probably freckle if you had the level of sun exposure I did."

Clark just kept grinning and played join-the-dots with his tongue.

He scraped his teeth lightly down Lex's side until he reached his ass. Clark bit into the firm swell of one cheek, causing Lex to jerk up off the bed. He soothed the redness with his lips before sliding his tongue across and scraping it down the cleft.

Lex shook and pulled his knees up under him, raising his ass up higher. Clark spread his cheeks and pressed a kiss to the small hole, then pressed just the tip of his tongue against it. Lex groaned and tried to push back but Clark stopped him with his hands on his hips.

Clark slowly worked his tongue inside as Lex twisted under his hands and moaned. Lex tasted dark and musky and perfect and... Clark flicked his tongue slightly.

Lex sobbed out his name as he drew back. His knuckles were white from clenching the sheets and he turned his head in disbelief towards Clark. "Why are you stopping?" he panted eventually.

"You still taste like me. Like us. It's..." Clark nipped at Lex's smooth ass. "I like it."

Lex thrust into the bed. "Oh, fuck."

Clark pulled Lex's hips back and returned happily to his task, alternating thrusts as deep as he could make them with short, fast stabs of his tongue and scraping against the sensitive skin around the hole.

He wrapped a hand around his own cock, jerking himself off in time with the desperate movements of Lex's hips. Clark hummed against Lex as he came, triggering hard spasms of Lex's ass around his tongue as Lex followed him, without any contact to his cock.

As soon as he stopped shaking, Lex yanked Clark up and kissed him until they were both gasping for breath.

"I have no idea how you learned about that."

Clark grinned. "The Internet, Lex, is a boy's best friend. I don't know how people survived before it."

"I'm suddenly very thankful that I don't have to find out."

"See, I realised you were negligent in your declaration to taste all of me yesterday, Lex. Thought I'd better point it out, through demonstration to be clear."

"You're so self-sacrificing," Lex said. "I was under the misguided impression it might have been too much for you. I'd be happy to rectify my mistake as soon as is convenient."

Clark licked at the almost faded mark from where he'd bit Lex's lip the previous night. "Now's good for me."

"I was hoping you'd say that," Lex said with a feral grin before capturing Clark's mouth with his own.

Ringing. Ringing. Ringing.

"Don't answer that," Clark instructed.

"It's not mine," Lex pointed out between kisses.

Huh? Oh, his cell must be in here somewhere. Clark disengaged himself from a thoroughly unhappy Lex and tried to pinpoint the location of the phone.

"So, I wasn't allowed to answer it, but it's fine for you to just leap out of my bed and leave me."

Clark ignored him as he found the phone buried underneath a pile of blankets that had been kicked off the bed at an early point in their encounter. He groaned as he saw the number.

"Clark, that better not be..."

"Hey, Lana," Clark said tiredly. "What now?"

Lex scowled and hauled himself out of bed. He disappeared into the bathroom as Clark once again tried to decipher hysterical Lana-speak. Once he finally realised what was going on, he assured her they'd be right there

"Right... No, I do believe you... Massive, I get it. Really. Just stay inside." He hung up and dropped the phone on the bed.

Lex emerged from the bathroom, took one look at Clark's face and headed for the closet. He rummaged around in the back before returning with a long pair of sweats and a t-shirt for Clark as well as his own clothes.

The two of them dressed quickly, Clark grimacing at the way the slightly too small clothes clung to him, and were soon out the door. Clark retrieved his filthy boots as Lex grabbed a set of car keys and two swords off the wall.

"So?" Lex asked as he checked the keys and headed for the black Ferrari.

"Apparently, one of the mutants escaped."

Lex rolled his eyes as he slipped into the drivers seat. "Surprise. When don't they?"

"And it's now terrorising downtown."

"Where I'm sure Lana is now, hiding in the Talon and protecting it with the power of her big eyes and glossy hair."

Clark's turn to roll his eyes. "Lex, forget Lana. I have absolutely no interest in her. Concentrate on the Talon, which you own and is in danger of being destroyed. And, I can't believe I'm saying this to you, but, drive faster."

Lex produced a pair of sunglasses apparently from nowhere, slipped them on, flashed a smile and stepped on the accelerator.

"Do you think it's the Mommy or the Daddy?"

The two of them stood by Lex's car, which was parked a safe distance away from the commotion, watching as a few brave people ran up to the spider in the street, threw stuff at it and then instantly fled into one of the surrounding buildings.

"I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter, Lex."

They both had their swords - that Lex assured him were indeed sharp and not merely decorational - slung across their shoulders. And, okay, there was an extremely good chance they were going to end up filthy and disgusting again, but Clark couldn't help feeling quite cool as he strode along beside Lex into chaos central.

He had the 'Bad Boys' song running through his head as they came up behind the mutant and, exchanging a quick glance, both swung their swords into the leg of the creature towering in front of them.

Clark winced, as the giant spider emitted a scream loud enough to rattle the shop windows.

Ducking, Clark scrambled underneath the spider, leaving Lex to continue chopping. He slammed the sword in above his head and slashed across the huge belly, moving just fast enough to avoid the stream of innards that leaked out. He slipped back out as Lex succeeded in slicing clean through the leg, causing the spider to tip precariously to one side. It only lasted a fraction of a second before it righted itself on its remaining limbs.

Why the hell did they need eight legs anyway? Clark wondered.

The spider turned towards them - or tried to, since Clark and Lex could move a whole lot faster than the huge monster, even at a normal human speed. Clark was conscious of the dozens of spectators watching them from behind the safety of thin sheets of glass.

They hacked through another leg. The spider reared up, a towering mass of black almost crushing them back against the wall of Fordman's. Clark pulled Lex off to the side just before it slammed into the building.

The spider was bleeding profusely, missing limbs and dropping internal organs but still didn't want to just lie down and die. And avoiding its rear end had placed the two of them in striking distance for the huge net of sticky webbing that now shot out it.

Clark moved, too fast he thought with a wince, and got them out of range again. He could hear sirens in the distance - they had to sort this out before help arrived and forced Clark and Lex away from the area. Like there were really any 'professionals' who could deal with this sort of thing.

He didn't quite avoid the next squirt of gluey substance. It hit the side of his leg and attached him to the ground. Clark swung his sword awkwardly at the material.

Only for it to become stuck, too.

Lex stepped away from Clark and drove his sword into the creature's side. The spider roared as the old metal sliced into its thick flesh.

Clark ripped through his sweats to free himself. Lex darted out of the way as a leg swung towards him and tossed his sword to Clark with an ease that disguised the weapons weight.

Lex stood back as Clark dashed around, confusing the wailing spider as he slashed at it from all directions. Clark saw the glint of metal as Lex reached into his jacket pocket and drew out his knife, yelling at Clark to get out of the way.

Clark sprinted back towards Lex, reaching his side just as he threw the knife.

They both watched it spin through the air, as if time had slowed down, before it reached its target: the spider's eye.

Windows shattered down the street as it screamed, wavering on the spot and leaking thick, green fluid from its newest wound.

Clark and Lex took one look at each other and ran, as the spider fell towards them. The impact when it hit the ground knocked them both off their feet.

Fire engines and police cars drew up as people began pouring out of the surrounding shops and businesses.

Clark wiped at his face with the cleanest part of his t-shirt he could find - yep, all of him was filthy, what a surprise. He climbed to his feet and offered Lex a hand up, pulling him into a tight hug as soon as they were both standing.

"How does it feel to be a hero?" Clark asked.

Lex glanced down at his ruined, blood-stained clothes. He looked back up at Clark with a smile. "Pretty good."

People were yelling their names. Clark could pick out the Sheriff's and Lana's voices among them but didn't look away from Lex.

Clark tugged Lex against him, one arm around his waist, the other hand caressing the soft skin at the back of Lex's neck.

Lex looked up at him in surprise, a question in his eyes.

"I have more than enough secrets, Lex. And if I blush every time you walk into a room, I think that will cancel out even my best attempts at lying." Clark stroked his thumb over the base of Lex's head and smiled widely. "I'm sure, Lex."

Lex slid both arms around Clark's neck and pulled his head down. The kiss was chaste for about three seconds before their lips parted and they conducted a leisurely exploration of each other's mouths, there in the middle of the street.

Clark placed his hands under Lex's thighs and pulled him up, Lex's legs wrapping around his waist as he bit gently at Clark's tongue.

Lex was the one to break the connection, resting their foreheads together as Clark easily held him up. He glanced over at the people gaping in their direction. "I give it about half an hour before everyone in town has heard about this."

Clark kissed his cheek. "It means I don't have to talk to Lana now, though."

Lex dropped his head back and laughed. "I like your priorities." He let himself slide down Clark's body as he returned to the ground. Lex smirked as he looked down at the tent in Clark's tight, torn sweat pants. "That's maybe a bit much for the good folks of Smallville, though."

Clark groaned and pulled Lex against him to hide the evidence - which might have worked if Lex hadn't been responsible for it in the first place. "It's your fault, looking all hot and kissing me in front of everyone like that." Lex raised an eyebrow and Clark flushed. "I'm seventeen, Lex!"

"And looking at linoleum makes you want to have sex, right?"

Clark laughed. "Geek."

Lex shrugged, not denying the accusation. After all, Clark had seen his comics room and his Lord of the Rings collection. "You're the one who made me buy those DVDs."

Clark kissed Lex again, just because he could. "I don't care what people say, you know."

"I'm seeing that."

"Because I love you."

Lex smiled. "I know."

"And I'll always be there for you, no matter what," Clark promised. He knew it was true, even if part of him was wondering if maybe it was too early to be declaring it to Lex. Then again, Clark wasn't the one who'd announced they had a future, a day after they'd met. "Even when you're mad about something and think you don't want me to be there," he added, in a lighter tone.

Lex took Clark's hand and waved off everyone, whether standing dumbfounded or clamouring for attention. He walked in front of Clark to protect his modesty as best he could, and headed for the car.

Lex threw him the keys and offered his own vow. "I'll hold you to that super-boy."

Clark grinned to himself as Lex climbed into the passenger seat. Stuff of legends indeed.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Maia J

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