Love is a Place

by Caro

For Bexless, who demanded the happy. Title from e e cummings. Much love to OT4 for audiencing.

Mexico was a cliche. It was every cheesy Spring Break movie. It was all those commercials on late night television for illegal amateur videos. It was garish and loud, and hurt Lex's eyes.

Damn Clark, and his penchant for being the eternal boy scout, Lex thought, as he pulled up to the hotel.

"Lex, I'm so glad to see you," Clark said, meeting him at the car.

He got out of the car, flinching only the slightest bit when his feet sunk into the sand. Five years, and Lex still wasn't overly fond of the beach. "What am I doing here?"

"Being the best friend in the entire world?" Clark grinned. One of those toothpaste-commercial grins that Lex still fell for after all this time.

Lex groaned inwardly and gave up. He'd never been able to resist Clark when Clark needed him, so why was he even trying?

"How's Pete?"

"Whining. He hates the cast."

"Well, next time he decides to body surf the crowd, tell him to make sure that the crowd is sober enough to hold him up." Lex rubbed a crick out of his neck. Ever since Clark's phone call last night, he'd been as tightly wound as a spring. The hideous rental from the airport hadn't improved his disposition. "Next time you decide to go on Spring Break in Cancun, remind me to beat you. Soundly."

"Hey, it's not my fault. This was Pete's idea."

"You went along with it."

"Because Pete insisted. This isn't exactly my scene."

Lex smiled. "Really. I thought you'd be at Phat Tuesdays participating in the Wet t-shirt contest."

Clark glared at him. "Pete dragged me to that."

"You mean you...?" Lex gestured at Clark.

"No!" Clark groused. "Okay, Pete's upstairs. We can get him and then head out."

"We've got a couple of hours. The plane's refueling. My pilot will call when it's ready."

"Thanks again for this, Lex. I didn't feel comfortable staying here with Pete's broken leg. And if we called his folks, they'd kill us."

"No problem, Clark. You know you can call me anytime."

Clark's face tinged with the slightest bit of color, still visible under his tan. "I do know."

Lex felt himself relax for the first time since the 3 a.m. phone call. "Let's go get Pete."

Pete was grumpy. Okay, that was an understatement. Pete was in a rotten mood, and seeing Lex didn't seem to improve it.

"What's he doing here?"

Clark shot him a look. "Helping us. Be nice."

"Who asked for his help?"

"I did," Clark replied in a tone that brooked no-nonsense. "Now, Lex's plane is here. It's going to refuel and we'll leave in a couple of hours." He walked over to the bed and threw a couple of shirts into a bag. "I think, maybe, we'll grab a bite to eat while we're waiting. Do you want to come with us?"

"No. I'm not in the mood to hobble all over town. I'll just stay here."

"Fine. Do you want us to bring you back something?"

"Don't worry about it."

"Okay." Clark shrugged. Lex got the impression that Clark was nearing the end of his patience as well. He threw the closed bags onto the floor, next to the door, and then walked out of the room, pushing Lex out as he did. He closed the door shut behind him and sighed.

"Let me guess: he's been that way since last night?"

Clark nodded. "Ever since we left the hospital. He's pissed that he's hurt. And that we have to go home early. And I think he blames me."

"He's being an idiot. Don't pay him any attention."

"I know. He'll be okay once he gets some sleep, and we get home." Clark shoved his hands into his pockets. "I'm sorry about the way he's treating you."

"Don't worry about it. It's nothing I'm not used to."

Clark frowned. "Still, it's not right. I'm going to have a talk with him once we get back home."

"Clark, I'm used to people hating me because of my name. Pete's probably never going to like me, which is okay with me, except for the stress it causes you."

Clark paused, and Lex turned around to look at him.


"Anyone who hates you because of your name is an idiot, Lex. I'm not going to allow Pete to be an idiot for much longer."

Lex grinned. "Come on. Let's get lunch. And margaritas."

"Margaritas are always a good plan."


They'd found a cantina not too far from town, a compromise after the death glare Lex had given Clark when he'd mentioned the words 'all-inclusive.' It wasn't much, but it did have tequila. And plenty of it.

Lex licked away the lime taste on his lips. "So, it's not completely all bad."

"The water is gorgeous."

"I was referring to the tequila."

Clark snickered. "You're so on your way to getting thrashed."

"Am not." Lex pouted. Then tried to remember the last time he pouted when he was sober. "And anyway, if I am, I deserve it."

"That you do." Clark leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes. Lex stared appreciatively at the column of his throat, wondering for a second if the salty taste there would be the same as the shaker in his hand, before reminding himself to move onto more appropriate thoughts. Perhaps it was the tequila combined with the exhaustion that made him forget his self-control.

If that was the case, he should stop drinking now before he did irrevocable harm to their friendship.

"Hey, do you think we can just buy the bottle?"

Lex blinked. "You want the whole bottle?"

"Well, I don't want to stop drinking. But I don't want to sit here either. Let's go down to the beach."

And once again, he was convinced it was Clark's smile that made him do it, forget his better judgment and proceed to do just that; buy the bottle and amble his way down to the beach with Clark.

They nestled in a forgotten bluff, Lex ignoring the prickles of unease he got when he felt the sand all around him. Instead, he concentrated on the feel of Clark's body behind him, and the taste of the tequila sloshing down his throat.

He supposed what he and Clark were doing could be called cuddling. Except you know, in a completely platonic, manly way.

Maybe the tequila was stronger than he'd thought. He took another swig.

Clark grabbed the bottle out of his hand and brought it to his own lips.

Lex gulped.

"So," he began, "has vacation been fun? Met any interesting...people?"

"I guess." Clark shrugged. He shifted, causing Lex to fall closer against him. They were skating the edges of manly cuddling now. "Pete's been having a blast."

"I saw."

Clark laughed and Lex could feel the vibrations against his neck. He closed his eyes and tipped his head back, resting it against Clark's shoulder.

"I hate the beach," he mumbled absently. "The sand gives me nightmares."

He felt Clark tense up. "I'm sorry, Lex. I didn't even think--"

"No, no, no." He waved Clark's apology away. "It's different here with you."


"Yeah. It's less scary and..." Lex trailed off. He wasn't quite sure what he was saying, and maybe it was better that he shut up now. He closed his eyes against the sun.

He felt warm lips graze against his temple.

"Clark, did you just kiss me?"


"Oh." Lex paused. "We're not being very manly."

"We were being manly?"

"Yes. Drinking. Hanging out on Spring Break."

"We're cuddling, Lex."

"Yes. But manly cuddling."

Clark smiled against his face. "Lex, shut up," he said, before moving in for a kiss.

His lips tasted like salt and tequila, and Lex clung to him with both hands.

Clark shifted again, pushing Lex down so that he was on top, never breaking contact with his lips the entire time. Lex heard the tequila bottle tip over, but he didn't care. Clark was kissing him. And there was sand in his shirt.

And neither was as scary as he'd expected it to be.

"It's not bad at all," Lex mumbled, when they finally broke apart.

"The kissing?" Clark asked, grinning down at him.

"Mexico," Lex replied.

Clark frowned.

"And the kissing," Lex quickly amended. "The kissing is wonderful."

Clark laughed. "You're so weird. God, you're so amazing. You're just-- when do we have to go back?"

"Never," Lex mumbled.

"I can deal with that," Clark said before kissing him again.

Lex laid under the bright sun, and gave thanks for Mexico.


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