Set You Free

by Nifra Idril



It will be hard, after, for Clark to explain exactly what happened - the details. He'll have a bundle of impressions; hands, lips, gasps and friction and the sweet way Lex smiles at him.

But he won't be able to say, with any type of surety, what he has done, or where his hands have touched, or what he said as they made love. He'll know he meant every whispered word, and he'll know that there are streaks of green and red across Lex's skin and that they both smell like the wild strawberries and grass they have crushed beneath them.

Lex will remember, though, how Clark's eyelashes sweep down to kiss the gold of his skin, and how the soft triangle of tongue slips out of Clark's mouth and traces its way across his bottom lip, and how Clark's hand on his hip is tentative, skittish. How Clark's fingertips flutter, nervous and charming.

Their first kiss is a whisper, lips brushing against one another like leaves in a wind, and their second is a wave that pushes them down and rolls them over, wet and rough. Uncontrollable.

Gravity pulls and pushes them, bending them down toward the spicy smelling soil, but they feel - they both feel - the sun on their backs and the rush of air over them. They are flying, and they are falling, and they are learning the fumble and rush of their straining bodies. They are breathing life into each other, one soft sigh after another.

This is how it is: they tremble together. The air is thick and hot. It shimmers. Sweat tracks its salty way across Lex's spine, and he twists closer to Clark. They are young gods, and it is mid morning. Above them are dark leaves, and singing birds.

In ten years, they will be living together in an apartment that will smell like warm laundry and cloves. There will be coasters and napkins and glasses they will have picked out together. Clark will wake up early in the morning and watch Lex sleep, and Lex will stand by the windows, smiling a small private smile as he watches the sky.

They'll have cocktail parties on the balcony, and Lex's hand will lie on Clark's lower back. Someone will ask how long they've been together, and Clark will want to say they always have and Lex will answer, "Fourteen years, ever since he saved my life on a riverbank in Smallville." And it will be true even if it isn't accurate, and Lex's eyes will sparkle in the low candlelight, and Clark will kiss him right where his jaw meets his ear, where his skin is thin as paper.

Now, though, Clark watches Lex's chest move up and down with each breath and he rests his hand across it. He can feel solid ribs beneath Lex's skin, and the strong beating of Lex's heart and the hot red flush splashed across his chest. Clark tingles, and quakes, and he blinks again and again.

Lex tells him it's all right, and pulls him down. They're sated and quiet and Lex smoothes his hands over Clark's neck, again and again.

When Lex woke up earlier that morning, the sky was purple and deep, the moon stuck in it like a round tipped pin. There was condensation on the outside of the windows in his bedroom, tiny beads of water - silver circles, like replicas of the moon against the glass. He walked the skinny dark halls of his home, and felt little and alone. He found work on his desk, and wondered when his life had become one long black string of numbers. The sun hadn't come up yet, and he felt like the day was shut to him already.

He didn't expect this. He couldn't have.

Clark woke up to sun touching his face like fingers, and saw the yellow tips of the sunflowers in the window box outside. He thought of Lex, and he felt something clench inside himself and break open. It would be the longest day of the year, long enough for promises and explanations. Long enough to start over, so Clark followed the light outside. He followed the light to Lex, and they walked where the grass was tall and wild. It brushed the backs of his calves, and he told Lex things that were true.

He told Lex everything, and when he thought Lex would walk away, Lex swayed in place, pushed by the wind.

"Can you forgive me?" Clark asked, his voice rough and seeking, his fingers knotted and tense. "Will you forgive me?"

Lex could see the shadows at the edge of the trees. He could see something dark and secret moving there and Clark's confessions rattled harshly through his mind, and it seemed like everything around him was splitting. As though beneath his feet, the ground was coming open and above the sky was crumpling inward like paper.

"How...how could..." he laughed harshly, and then Clark's hand was on his and Clark's eyes were bright. Between them hung the strangled sentence, and Lex's skin burned where Clark touched him.

Lex stared hard at the ground. He didn't move his hand from Clark's. The silence pressed in, oppressive and thick, and finally, he said, "Why should I?"

"Because you love me," Clark said, watching the hard line of Lex's shoulders. "Because I love you."

"You love me," Lex repeated, his voice cracked and hollow. "Why?"

The sun was clean and light on Clark's shoulders through his worn t-shirt. Lex's skin was pale and fine, and his face was beautiful in profile. He didn't know he was already speaking.

He didn't know he was already saying, "You put your hands in your pockets, and your mouth twitches to the side, and I want to kiss you. You don't know how to be anyone but yourself and you...you know me. You touch me when you talk and you listen when I do. I love you because I have to, and because I want to. Because you're not perfect and you won't ever expect anything less of me than what you deserve. Because...because I wake up in the morning, and I open my eyes and I think about you."

Lex turned and his eyes were wet and his hands were dry, and behind him the white wings of a butterfly fluttered twice as it landed on a tree branch. His lips moved, and no sound came out, and he pulled Clark to him and that moment is a still life that Clark will always carry. He will be able to close his eyes and see Lex forgiving him, choosing him, until the last long breath leaves his lungs and he lies still, done with this life.

What Lex will remember longest is this moment: Clark, heavy and happy and calm, sprawled across him. Clark, his now, and when Lex laughs it seems to bound and rebound across the field, through the trees, and into the sky. Into the endless blue of the sky.



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