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Originally part of the Slash Advent Calendar of 2003 at http://www.kardasi.com/Advent/2003
"Today's the day." Lex felt rather than heard Clark's low murmur against his shoulder.
"I'm asleep," he moaned blearily. "Go start unwrapping your presents, and leave me in peace."
"Le-ex." Clark sat up, pulling the covers off Lex and letting the cold December air into the bed. "You have to get up soon anyway. We have to be on the road in an hour so we'll get to Smallville on time. You know Mom hates it when we're late for dinner."
"As if her food could be anything less than perfect. Don't worry, I wouldn't insult Martha by keeping the turkey waiting. We'll take the new Ferrari. I've timed it. It's significantly faster than the Porsche, and it handles better. I've got at least 43 more minutes before I need to get up."
"Lex! We are not driving that fast! Anyway, didn't you hear what I said? Today's the day."
"The day for what, Clark?" He really was awake now, but maybe if he hid under the pillows Clark would let him go back to sleep. He'd gotten in so late the night before, what with all the last minute crises he'd had to deal with before he'd been confident Lexcorp wouldn't disintegrate if he took a day off, and he hadn't exactly done a lot of sleeping once he had tumbled into bed.
"The day to tell them. I want to tell my parents about us. We'll do it over dinner."
That made him sit bolt upright. "Clark, Christmas day is stressful enough at the best of times. Let's not make it any more difficult."
"Difficult? Lex, this is the best day of my life. You just asked me to marry you, and I said yes, and we're engaged. We're getting married."
"I know, Clark, I was there, remember? As tired as I was at four o'clock this morning, I haven't forgotten. I just don't think this is the way to break the news. 'Pass the potatoes Mom, and by the way I'm gay. Can you pass the gravy too, Dad, and oh, yeah, in case you didn't just figure it out, I've been sleeping with Lex the last two years.'"
"'Put the shotgun away Dad, he's already asked me to marry him.'"
"Lex don't. That's not funny."
"I know it isn't. I just think we need to work up to things. Spring one surprise at a time. It's a lot to take in."
"It isn't. Just I'm in love, and I'm happy. And it's forever. Besides, you said it yourself, the minute I tell them I'm gay they're going to figure it out."
"I'm just so tired, Clark. I want to be on top of my game when we tell them. Lionel's been running me ragged the last few weeks, I barely got all the reports he wanted out of the way, and I feel like half the time I just speak without ever connecting with my brain. I never know what's going to slip out."
"Is that what happened this morning?" Clark looked horrified. "You didn't want to ask me, it just slipped out?"
"No! No, Clark, wait!"
Lex lunged out of the bed after Clark, but Clark was too quick for him. "Clark, wait, please."
He caught up with him in the living room, where Clark was wrestling his discarded clothes back on.
"You know, I've put up with a lot from you recently, Lex," he snapped. "You're always working, and you're always tired, and you act like Christmas and holidays are for other people, not you. But then there's times like this morning when you're so sweet you make up for everything. The way you just wanted to go to bed, but you sat up with me anyway and had cookies because I'd waited up for you. And I could tell you were so glad I had, even though you'd told me not to."
"I'm always glad you do. Especially when I tell you not to."
"And then we had sex for the first time in I don't know how long, and it was great, it was the best it's been in ages, and then you said you wanted this forever, you wanted me forever, and now you say it just slipped out?"
"I didn't say that, Clark. But it did just slip out."
"God damn it! What's the matter with you?"
"I didn't mean to say it like that at all. I had it all planned out, it was supposed to be much more romantic."
"Open your present."
"Your present, Clark. Under the tree. The little one, not the big one."
"Lex, what are you..." Clark looked around impatiently, broke off as the tiny gift-wrapped box right at the foot of the tree caught his eye. Faster than thought, he'd scooped up the box, grabbed Lex by the arm, and pulled him onto the couch beside him. Heavy silver paper disappeared in an eye blink, but nerves kicked in at last as he fumbled to open the purple velvet box. He succeeded on the third try, gasping at what was revealed inside - two gleaming platinum bands, one slightly smaller than the other, snugly locked together.
Lex looked him in the eye, and tried to remember the speech he'd had planned. It was gone, evidently beyond recall. Perhaps the right words had slipped out, after all. "I love you Clark, more than I've ever loved anything. I want this forever. I want you forever."
"Oh my god."
"Will you marry me?"
"Yes! Oh my God, yes!"
And with that, he had a lapful of wriggling, squirming Clark. Clark pressed up against him, Clark grinding down on him, Clark crushing lips to his, forcing his mouth open, stealing his breath, kissing him like it was the first time, the last time, or maybe just every time in between.
"I love you, Lex," he whispered, when they finally broke apart to breathe. "Come back to bed. We still have 33 minutes, and I can think of better things to do with them than sleep."
"You're late." Jonathan Kent looked seriously aggrieved.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Dad." Clark was still walking on air, and it showed.
Jonathan turned to his son, affection replacing annoyance on his face. "Merry Christmas, son. But you know how your Mom gets when she thinks dinner is going to be ruined. You should have called."
"I'm sorry we're late, Mr Kent." Lex smiled at the older man. "It's my fault. I worked really late last night and I slept in this morning. I was late to pick Clark up." He sensed, rather than saw, Clark's frown, but stumbled on regardless. "He'd been ready for ages."
"I guess I should be grateful you obeyed the speed limit for once."
Lex's smile died. This wasn't exactly an auspicious beginning. Fortunately Martha emerged from the kitchen to break the silence.
"Clark, honey." She kissed her son, hugging him tightly for a moment, before releasing him and turning to Lex.
"Merry Christmas, Lex. I'm so glad you could make it." He hugged her back, kissing her on the cheek, and breathing in the smell of her perfume. At times like this she really reminded him of his own mother, though Lillian wouldn't have been wearing an apron and holding a giant wooden spoon. He reluctantly let her go, and she turned to her husband. "Jonathan, get Lex a drink. Clark, there's juice in the fridge."
"Sure, Mom." Clark cheerfully headed off into the kitchen, and Jonathan poured Lex a glass of wine.
"Red all right?" he asked, already extending the glass.
"It's fine." Lex looked around desperately for Clark, but he was evidently helping his mother with something in the kitchen. "How's everything here in Smallville?"
"Fine. Same as always." Jonathan was looking round too, plainly just as uncomfortable. "Metropolis?"
"Fine." Dear God, what's wrong with me?
Mercifully Clark and Martha walked back into the room then, bearing heaped platters and steaming bowls. They sat down to eat, and for a while all was well.
The meal was superb, as always, and Lex was about to compliment Martha on it, when Jonathan suddenly interrupted. "Lana's back from Paris for the holidays, Clark. You should go round to the Sullivans' and see her."
Clark looked confused. "Yeah, okay. Maybe later. Dad, I..."
"Lex won't mind. He knows you two go way back. Anyway, he probably wants to check the mansion out while he's here."
"She would like to see you, Clark," Martha said gently. "She asked me especially to tell you."
"Sure, Mom." Clark blushed, and concentrated on his potatoes, avoiding Lex's gaze.
"Anyway," Martha smiled. "How about you, Lex? No romances in the offing?"
Lex choked on a mouthful of stuffing. It was Clark's turn to flash an irritated glare. We have to do it sometime. "Actually, Martha, I have been seeing someone."
Her smile grew wider. "Someone special?"
He felt his own smile grow to match hers. This is going to be okay. "Yeah, really special."
Jonathan laughed. "Have you proposed yet?"
"What?" Lex gasped for breath, gulping down a mouthful of wine to clear his throat.
"Well it doesn't usually take you long. Where is the third Mrs Luthor?"
Lex slammed the glass down, hard enough to break the stem. Wine flooded his plate, splashing onto his shirt.
"Dad, stop it!"
"I was joking, Clark. I didn't realise it was still a sore spot."
"For God's sake, how can it not be?"
It wasn't really a sore spot, not anymore. The truth was he barely thought of Desiree or Helen at all these days. And maybe Jonathan was just joking. But he didn't want to think of Clark as the third anything. He was the first. The one and only. And to even imagine bracketing him with Lex's former wives was obscene. He opened his eyes to see Martha dabbing at his shirt with a napkin.
"It's okay, really. Don't worry about it. I'm sorry about the glass."
"Forget it. Are you okay, Lex? You look a little peaky."
"I'm fine. I think I just need some air. Could you excuse me for a moment?" He got up from the table, and headed for the porch door. Clark followed immediately, of course.
"I can't do this, baby," he gasped, as soon as the door had swung shut behind them. "I can't, I don't know what I was thinking."
"Lex, calm down." Clark pulled him into his arms, stroking his back soothingly. "We can leave it, it doesn't matter."
"No, I..." That's not what I meant. What the hell was I thinking, that I could marry you and everyone would just forget that I've been there before? Just because I forgot. You deserve so much better than me.
"You have to calm down. It's going to be okay. And I know what you're thinking. So stop it right now."
"Stop it, Lex. I love you. I don't care that you've been married before. I don't even really think you were. I mean, how long was it? A day? A week? That's not real. Not like this. Not like us."
He pulled Lex in again, hugging him like he wanted to make him part of himself, and Lex wanted that too, wanted to crawl right inside Clark's skin and never come out.
"It's okay," he whispered at last. "I'm okay."
"Okay." Clark smiled. "We'll finish dinner and go home."
"Yeah." Lex smiled back weakly. "But you're not going round to Lana's."
"Not till I've got your ring on my finger." Clark shifted a hand to cradle the back of Lex's head, used the other to pull him up to meet him. Their mouths met, gently at first, just reconnecting after the trials of the day, then with rising passion.
"Are you okay, Lex? I didn't mean to... What the hell?"
Lex sprang away from Clark, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, even as Clark reached out and pulled him in again, flush against his side.
"Mr Kent, I..."
"You're a lying son of a bitch, and I should have known that all along."
"That's not fair. I know this is a shock, but..."
"And I'm disappointed in you too, Clark. I didn't raise you to lie to your parents."
The door slammed shut behind Jonathan, as he went back into the house. Clark flicked it open again, dragging Lex in with him.
"Dad, I wanted to tell you. We were going to tell you, today."
"How long has this been going on?"
"Two years. But you wanted to tell us today."
"Dad, it's not like that."
"Well what is it like, Clark? Because it sure as hell looks to me like the Luthor relationship with the truth is rubbing off on you. What's the matter? Is he ashamed of you?"
"No! That's not it at all, Mr Kent."
"Then what is it, Lex? Why all the secrecy?"
"I just wanted him to enjoy his time at college. To meet people, and not have them judge him because of dealings they've had with me."
"Well that's noble of you. And they would, wouldn't they? The sort of people you know, the kind of life you've led?"
"Jonathan, that's enough."
"I said that's enough. You're entitled to be angry at being kept in the dark, but you don't have to be nasty about it."
"I suspected. That's not the point. Just calm down and discuss things rationally. It's obvious they love each other."
Clark smiled at his mother gratefully. "We do love each other. It's not just some fly by night thing. We're getting married."
"Married?" Jonathan laughed derisively. "That's a joke. What does marriage mean to someone like him?"
"Mr Kent." Lex swallowed convulsively. He had to explain, he had to make this right. But he was so tired, and the words just wouldn't come.
"You're just another plaything to him, Clark, and he'll move on to the next one soon enough."
Lex's fist was flying before he had time to process the thought, knuckles connecting with Jonathan's face. The older man sprawled backwards into the dining table, overbalancing chairs and knocking over glasses.
"Oh my God!" Lex's fury died as quickly as it had flared up. "I'm sorry. Let me..." Jonathan batted his hand away. "Martha, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say, I... I have to go." He forced himself to walk to the door rather than run, and didn't look back to see if Clark would follow.
Clark insisted on stopping at the mansion for a while, instead of heading straight back to Metropolis, and Lex agreed, if only to humour him. The short car ride concluded in silence, but the moment they were inside the dam burst.
"I'm sorry Clark. I'm so, so sorry. I shouldn't have lost my temper like that."
"Lex, it's okay."
"It's not okay. I shouldn't have hit him."
"I'm glad you did." And Clark sounded glad. Lex studied his face in disbelief. "If you hadn't, I was going to, and I'm so mad, I don't know if I could have controlled how hard."
"You wouldn't have, Clark."
"I think I would have, Lex."
"You wouldn't have." Clark was visibly shaking. "I've seen you mad a hundred times before now, and you've never lost control. Never."
"I've hurt people."
"To stop them hurting other people. Never because you were angry."
"I wanted to stop him from hurting you." Clark's eyes were welling up, and Lex didn't know what to do. He'd never seen Clark cry before. "You pretend it doesn't bother you, the things he says, but I know it does. It always has. It kills me, knowing that I can protect you from anything, except the people who hurt you the most. Your father. Mine."
"I didn't pretend very well today, did I?" Lex joked, trying to lighten the mood. "My father can't hurt me anymore, Clark. He hasn't been able to for a long time. And yours can't either. Not really. I was only so angry because I knew he was hurting you."
Clark laughed wryly. "We're quite a pair, aren't we?"
"We're the perfect pair, Clark," Lex said seriously. "I don't want you ever to doubt that."
"I don't. I won't."
"Good. Then everything will be okay. Let's grab a couple of coats and go. I want to take my fiance home before he changes his mind."
Clark grabbed Lex's chin, hard, and pulled till he looked him in the eye. "I'm not going to change my mind, Lex."
"I know. I was kidding."
"No you weren't. You think I'm going to leave you."
"I think your family's important to you, and I think it's pretty obvious they're dead set against this."
"Mom's not. I think she's happy for us, she just didn't get a chance to say so. And I don't give a damn what Dad thinks."
"You do. You will."
"Not enough to give this up. Not enough to give you up."
Their kiss was interrupted by the sound of banging from downstairs.
"Maybe you should get that," Lex said quietly. "He might want to apologise to you."
"I don't want to hear it unless he apologises to you first. And means it."
"You never know, Clark." Yeah, and right now Hell is freezing over. "There's a first time for everything."
"Yeah." Clark laughed again, but there was no humour in it. "Today's the day."
"It might be, Clark, it just might be. It could be our own little Christmas miracle." Lex wanted to slap himself for even pretending to hope, but a tiny part of him, the part that had been born when he met Clark, and continued to grow stronger the more time he spent with him, refused to give in. "Let's go find out."
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