by Annie


By Annie

Rated: PG-13
Summary: There had to come a rift somehow. Spoilers: Assume all episodes.
Disclaimer: Not mine in the least.
Kudos to whoever finds the Wiseguy references. Feedback:

It's the best sex they've ever had. Lex makes sure of it. Makes sure that Clark will always think of this evening, every time he thinks about what's going to be happening next. After the best sex they've ever had.

Lex makes sure. Makes certain with lips, tongue, fingers and cock. Makes sure with every sharp gasp he can pull from Clark, every brush of toned flesh with tongue and fingers, every movement of hands and mouth on Clark's cock. Makes sure to elicit every moan of pleasure he possibly can, makes certain to taste everything, warm skin, hungry mouth, even the tangled black silk of Clark's hair as Lex empties himself into the body clutching at him desperately.

Lex disentangles himself and moves to Clark's side, resting against the familiar heat, one leg thrown over Clark tiredly, a hand aimlessly tracing slow, wandering circles on Clark's chest.

Waits for Clark to start to drift off, waits for the feel of Clark giving in to the body that wants to relax, regroup. Lex knows the routine. Clark will sleep for five minutes. Just five. Then his hands will start roaming over Lex again, needing more, wanting Lex to need more.

No sleeping today. Lex makes sure.

"Clark?" Lex breathes quietly, hand still moving on Clark's skin.

"Mmmm," comes sleepily from above Lex's head, and Lex can feel the vibrations of the reply in his hand. Distracting.

Not distracting enough. Lex is steel.

"Why didn't you remind me that my Father murdered my Grandparents for money?"

Sharp intake of breath and the body beneath him freezes instantly. Lex doesn't still his hand, keeps drawing his fingers along Clark's skin casually. Lex feels Clark move then, and raises his head from Clark's chest, meeting stricken hazel eyes, with more than a hint of fear. Lex's heart starts to beat a bit faster, now that the time has actually come.

"Lex," Clark is fumbling for words, caught totally by surprise, and any amount of satisfaction he's been feeling is long gone.

"Clark," Lex prods lightly, almost amused at the sight, the sheer panic moving across that face he's loved so long. Lex moves away from the warmth and stands beside the bed, glancing around on the floor for his pants. Clark has sat up in bed, unconcerned about his own clothes for the moment.

"Lex, we have to talk about this. Lionel......"

"Oh, we are going to discuss it, Clark." Lex interrupts him matter-of-factly, pulling his pants on and finding Clark's jeans almost in the same second. He picks them up and hands them to Clark. A deceptive gesture no more threatening than if they were just getting dressed to go to the kitchen for a snack.

Clark already knows better, a sharp tang of fear and loss in his throat as he gets up slowly and pulls on the jeans, watching his fingers work the zipper and button, unable to meet Lex's eyes. Still feels way too naked and grabs his tee-shirt from the floor, pulls it over his head. Can't avoid Lex's gaze any longer now.

Lex's steady, all-too-unreadable gaze, and Clark is still desperate for the words that will make it right. Feels a stab of fear through his invulnerable body as he realizes they probably don't exist and he's already lost.

"Lionel....I just wanted to protect you, Lex. You have to believe me."

"Protect me." Lex repeats, face still blank, ungiving. He turns and heads for the far corner of the bedroom, where he keeps a small table with his scotch and a few glasses, pours one and stands looking into it silently for a few long seconds. Cocks his head slightly to look at Clark again. "Want one? Want to protect me from this, Clark?"

Clark opens his mouth and nothing comes out, voice frozen at the sudden break in Lex's expression, the move from blank waiting to barely contained rage. To the hurt hidden beneath it.

"What was that? Oh, never mind. I can understand how difficult it must be for you to find the right words. Nullify this and smooth it over with even more lies. My Father drugged me, had me committed, fried my brain, and my best friend, the man who claims to love me, doesn't even bother to tell me." Downs the drink now, quickly, eyes closing briefly against the sharp burn of the liquid and the words in his throat.

Turns and pours another, as Clark finally finds his voice.

"I was trying to protect you, Lex. I knew the minute you found out about all of this you'd go after him again. The next time he might have just killed you! I couldn't stand by and let that happen!"

Lex moves back across the room toward him.

"That's the reason? The only reason? Come on, Clark. Do you have any idea how many opportunities I have given you since then to tell me the truth. Any idea at all? I've lost count, there have been so many. And yet, nothing. Nothing about Lionel. Nothing about the drugs and the trumped-up insanity diagnosis. Nothing about you. Which, by the way, I also remember, and the only reason we're having this conversation is because I know you tried to break me out of Belle Reve. Finally. Took you a really long time to do it, and I haven't forgotten that you wouldn't when I asked you. I got as close to begging for that as I've ever been for anything in my life."

"Lex." Clark is keeping the desperation out of voice with an effort, but Lex can hear it anyway. "I wanted to do something for you. I wanted it to be legal. I just kept thinking that if you took your medication, they'd let you come back home and then we could do something about it together. I never thought you'd be in there that long, and when we found out about the electroshock, Chloe and I tried to stop it. We even went to Dr. Foster, and Lex, I think your Dad had her killed because she changed her mind."

"Not convincing enough, Clark. I can take care of myself against my Father."

Clark takes a step closer earnestly. "No, Lex, obviously you couldn't! Can't you understand, I couldn't take the chance."

Clark reaches a hand up towards Lex's face, but Lex takes a sharp step backward, and he is even further away now than his physical distance implies.

"Yes, I can protect myself, Clark," he states quietly. "I remember telling you once that there is no such thing as too much information. I would have proceeded cautiously. I'll never let my Father have the upper hand again. I'd never tell him anything. Did you think I would never remember what I saw you do with my own eyes? Stop Edge's car, push it away like it was nothing, rip up that cage they locked me in at the Asylum. How did you get in there anyway? Beam me up, Farmboy?"

"I tore a hole in the fence," Clark replies softly. No sense lying now, when every fiber of his being wants to turn the calendar back, wants to visit Lex after he comes home from the Asylum and tell him everything. Right away.

Lex nods. "I see. That would be the same fence I tried to scale in a quite painfully interrupted escape attempt, after you refused to help me."

Clark reaches for him again, stops himself. "Lex..."

"No!" Lex exhales sharply, preventing him from speaking, and he sounds so much like Lionel in that second that Clark loses track of what he was going to say.

"How many times have you come to me for help, Clark? Even after that. You asked me for twenty thousand dollars, for fuck's sake, to help out a friend of yours who hates me and everything Luthor. I would have given it to you, for yourself, even then. But you know what gets me the most, Clark? Can you even think what that might be?"

Clark is dismayed at the still-rising anger he can hear now in Lex's voice, the barely-controlled rage that makes Lex hold the glass of scotch in his hand so tightly that he might shatter it at any moment.

Clark blinks against tears he thinks might be forming in his eyes. He's not sure, because he's numb all over. "No, Lex, I can't. Just tell me, because you know you can't wait to."

"I could have stopped it myself. The electroshock therapy. I could have stopped it with four words. Four little words that Lionel would have been salivating over if he'd only known. I know Clark's secret. Think that would have gotten me out of the treatment, Clark?"

Clark is shaking his head in denial, because there isn't any way he could have known this, it hasn't ever occurred to him that Lex had the means to save himself all along. "Lex, why didn't you? Why didn't you stop him?"

The glass does shatter now, and Clark reaches out to grab Lex's hand. Lex pulls his arm away, droplets of blood flying across the carpet.

"Lex, let me see," Clark is pleading, intending to head into the bathroom for a towel.

"It's fine, forget it," Lex almost snarls, and the venom in his voice stops Clark in his tracks.

"Fine, bleed." Clark shrugs, because he knows now there isn't any getting out of this. It's definitely over. And Clark Kent is going to be shouldering most of the blame.

Lex wipes his lacerated hand on his pants, unconcerned with it. "Why do you think I didn't stop him," he asks, almost ludicrously. "You'd be a forgotten science project by now. You were my best friend! You saved my life! More than once. I loved you. I had the biggest bargaining chip in the history of negotiation and I wouldn't have used it even if I thought he was going to kill me. But you didn't trust me. You never have and you don't, even now."

"This isn't about trust, Lex. If you remembered everything, why didn't you just come right out and say so? Haven't I believed all this time that you lost your memory? You haven't been honest with me either."

"You left me unprotected. You left me without the knowledge I need for self-preservation against my own Father."

"This isn't about protection either, Lex," Clark argues, stepping closer, despite the ominous sound of the shattered glass under his bare feet. Lex glances down casually, raising an eyebrow at the fact that Clark hasn't even noticed he walked on it. Looks back up into Clark's face as he keeps going, desperately clutching at some kind of logic, anything that will salvage them

"This is about you needing to know everything. About your need to run over other people just because your fire burns brighter than everyone else's. About your need to know everything so that you can twist every situation and every person around the way you want them. Do you think I don't know that?"

Lex pours another drink, more careful with the glass this time. "Who's twisting things now, Clark? You're doing it to me, turning this around on me. Don't bother. The simple fact is - you should have told me. I trusted you more than anyone, and all you've done is dig away at the foundation of that trust until there's nothing left. Protect me from my Father? You might as well be my Father. Et tu, Brute?" Lex mumbles, downing half of his new drink in one harsh swallow.

"Skip the ancient language lesson, Lex. It's a bit before my time."

Lex looks up sharply, meeting Clark's eyes. "Like honor."

Silence then, for a long minute, and Clark can't take the tacit anger still on Lex's face, obvious in Lex's stance. "What do you want me to do, Lex? Want me to play 20 Questions with you? Ask me anything, go ahead. Want me to rip my heart out of my chest and lay it on the table for you?"

Clark is having trouble breathing because he can't see any way clear of this, and he's losing Lex. Has already lost Lex and needs to be able to pick up all the broken pieces and go home. Needs to not care so much. Needs to turn this around and knows he can't.

Lex gestures toward the floor, to the wet, glistening pieces of glass on the carpet. "Well, we both know you can't do that, don't we? You didn't cut your feet, and I can't hurt you either. Ironic, don't you think, that it really should have been the other way around the day we met?"

"Lex, what are you talking about?"

"You should have been dead. I should have been the one bringing you back to life, instead of the way it actually happened."

Clark sighs and moves in closer to Lex, wants to reach out and touch him, but he's afraid. Lex is up against the small table and has nowhere to go other than around Clark.

"Lex, I'm sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing. Please don't send me away." Clark's hands are up, one on either side of Lex's face, not touching, just there, and Lex wants to feel them, can't let his gaze telegraph that fact to Clark. Can't stand the hungry, desperate look on Clark's face, the shimmer of imminent tears he can see in Clark's eyes, the aura of hope and helplessness coming off the boy in waves.

In another second Lex is going to forget it all, the betrayal and the lies, his anger and hurt. In another second Lex is going to be the one saying please.

But Lex is steel. Has to be steel today because what Clark has done is unforgivable, reprehensible, hurts too much to carry around even one more day. Clark has mistaken his silence for uncertainty, actually places his hands on the sides of Lex's face and leans in to brush Lex's lips with his own lightly, anxiously. Lex freezes, won't allow any response, closes his eyes, because he can't let Clark see, can't have Clark by his side anymore, won't ever be able to trust him ever, can't stand to see Clark go and knows he must.

Lex has to protect himself. Can't count on anyone else, something that has become painfully obvious to him over the years.

Clark pulls away from Lex and drops his hands from Lex's face reluctantly. Lex's eyes are open now, as enigmatic as ever. "Go home, Clark. We're done here."

Clark is crumbling right in front of him and that's not acceptable. "Lex, I love you," he starts, and Lex knows he is about to plead, won't listen. Can't.

Lex turns to face the table, turns away from Clark, examining the scotch bottle, distracting himself from Clark's face. "That's your problem. Just go, Clark."

He hears the bedroom door open, and just as Clark is about to close it behind him, Lex speaks again, still not looking. "Oh, and Clark? That hero complex of yours? I'll be keeping an eye out for you. I don't want you saving me anymore."

The door closes firmly and Lex waits a few moments, heads across the bedroom, away from the windows because he doesn't want to see the red truck going down the long driveway away from the mansion. Walks on the broken glass he has already forgotten about and just stands there, the sharp crystal in his flesh an excuse for the painful moan that escapes him finally.

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