by Jaded

Disclaimer: If they were mine...All Naked, All the Time. But alas.

Feedback: Pretty please? With Clark and Lex on top?

Author's Notes: Thanks to catpower2000 for beta-ing!

"Lex? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm fine."

He's reached the foot of the stairs before Clark says his name again.


He stops, but doesn't turn around because there is no way in hell he's going to let Clark watch him cry.

The touch on his arm nearly breaks him though, and he swallows hard over the lump in his throat. He turns his head to stare at the hand on his shoulder, vision blurring even as he's trying not to be completely fascinated with the curve of Clark's fingers curling solidly against the fabric of his sleeve.

"Clark, don't..." There's a warning in his voice, but it's feeble, dying in his throat as Clark gently turns him around.

Lex refuses to look at him.

A hand on his chin now, and blue eyes jerk, startled, to meet green ones with an open, frantic look, desperation and something else -- something much like...hope.

"Clark..." His voice breaks, and he's ashamed but he can't look away, can't tear his eyes from Clark's face and the way he's looking at him with worry and what Lex thinks is...pity.

It makes him angry.

He tries to push away from Clark, his hands scrabbling at his shirt, but Clark's solid as a brick wall, and god knows Lex isn't trying his hardest, but there's just no give -- none at all -- and Lex wonders how that could be possible.

He's still struggling when Clark's arms fold around him and whispers of "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" reach his ears.

"Don't-" But it's muffled against the curve of Clark's shoulder, and he doesn't mean it anyway, not really.

He thinks he might be crying now.

Deep shuddering breaths, ragged and harsh, are smothered into Clark's chest and yes, he might just kill himself tomorrow -- or maybe he wouldn't have to, not if he dies of embarrassment right here and now.

Lex feels a shock of wetness slide down the top of his head, and he pulls back enough to look up at Clark's face.

"Lex... Lex, I'm sorry. I didn't mean -- I just...I'm sorry. I don't know why I -- I don't know what the hell I'm doing, Lex." Clark chokes and his name is twisted into a sob.

"I keep hurting the people I love, and I don't know why." He's whispering now and his eyes skitter away to stare off into a corner of the barn, but he doesn't drop his hands from Lex's back, doesn't pull away. Lex doesn't know what to say to that, and so he only sidles closer, resting his chin on a broad shoulder and bringing his arms under Clark's to hold him tighter.

Clark clutches closer, and Lex can feel him trembling under the slight fabric of his shirt. Next to his ear, Clark's mumbling something, quiet and strained, his voice raw from crying. The murmurings slowly assemble themselves into coherent speech, into something that sounds very much like -- "Forgive me."

Lex pulls back and opens his mouth, but before he can say anything, Clark leans forward and brushes his lips tentatively across his. Clark's eyes are closed, eyelashes still glistening from tears, and Lex tries to remember how to speak.

"Please, Lex, forgive me," murmured against his lips, and Lex can taste the salt of their tears in Clark's kiss.

He reaches up to cup the side of Clark's face and tells him -- with his whole body -- the answer to his plea, whispers it in the smooth slide of tongue and lips and the brushes of his fingers against bare skin.

I forgive you.

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