Redefining Normal

by Vivian Darkbloom



They quarrel a lot; that's nothing new. This week's fight was about Lex's new transmitter, which Clark doesn't trust. He doesn't like the prospect of Lex communicating with aliens that aren't him and will quickly cite Zod and Brainiac as Reasons Why Not.

Mostly, their fights end with Lex's thighs clamped around Clark's waist and this fight is no different. But when they've both come and Lex is trying to regain his breath and Clark is flopped on top of him, Clark says:

"We need a break; a weekend away."

Lex stiffens. More than anything, death itself, he fears that Clark will one day leave him. Clark is not supposed to know this.

"Away from each other?" he asks, trying to sound neutral.

"No!" Clark kisses his nose. "Silly. A weekend off, together."

Which is why, at eleven o'clock on a Saturday morning in October, Lex is packing a bag for a camping trip. Clark packed the tent and the cooler last night. Then he flew off to deal with an earthquake and hasn't been back since. Lex sets his bag by the door and flops on the couch with a pile of newspapers and a croissant. He doesn't resent waiting for Clark; Clark has occasionally had to wait for Lex, when time has lost all meaning during a particularly engrossing experiment.

Clark flies in fifteen minutes later, his breeze scattering Lex's papers, his costume matted with mud. He swoops in for a kiss and tries to eat a piece of croissant directly out of Lex's mouth.

"There are more in the kitchen," Lex points out.

"Mmmm," says Clark. "Jeans." He strokes Lex's thigh.

When they'd finally overcome all their obstacles (Clark's secrets, Lex's secrets, diametrically opposed upbringings, Lana) to become a couple, Lex had assumed he would be the one to dress Clark. Not so. Clark's Superman persona was already in place by that point and he wouldn't be budged from his primary colours. Nor would he reconsider his shambles of a wardrobe for the Daily Planet. Lex has to console himself with the fact that at least Clark still looks perfect naked.

Clark, on the other hand, loves to dress Lex. His fetish for Lex in casual wear dates back to the long ago time Lucas kicked Lex out of the mansion and he'd tried to earn his keep at the Kent farm, doing chores.

"So sexy in jeans," Clark says, reappearing in jeans himself, two croissants stacked one atop the other in his hand.

"Where are we going?" Lex asks.

"There's a camp site I went once with my parents. It's about a three hour drive."

It's hard to plan a vacation for Clark. When you can circle the world in minutes, private jets to exotic locales are a bit redundant. When you have unlimited strength, adventure holidays - mountain climbing, white water rafting and such - are pointless and dull. Clark likes holidays that let him relax and remind him of his childhood.

Clark sleeps in the car, his profile tinted tawny by autumn sunlight. Lex doesn't mind the quiet. He's never had a relationship that could accommodate comfortable silence before. With Helen, and then Lana, silence had meant Trouble. There had been, for a time, the satisfaction of playing his role correctly, speaking up at the right cues, gaining the approval of his audience. But there was also the pressure of supplying more, always more. Helen had needed (or pretended to need) romantic declarations on a set schedule. For Lana, it was always more secrets, more pieces of Lex. He'd doled these out on a regular basis, feeding her pre-selected pellets of information. But she invariably wanted more and in the end, it hadn't been worth it for the sake of a relationship that was mostly strategic.

With Clark, all their secrets are out in the open now. They know the best and worst of each other. Clark doesn't allow Lex to accumulate new secrets. Superman is fond of conducting surprise inspections of Lex's lab and though Lex complains about this, and they fight, it's still a security blanket of sorts. It means Clark cares.

When they leave the main highway, Lex says "Clark" and Clark is instantly awake. He never wakes up foggy, like a regular person but achieves immediate focus.

"Mmm. Where are we?"

"You tell me. Your map became a doodle of a fern."

Clark gets the intent terrier look on his face that means he's using his x-ray vision.

"We're on the right road. It's the next turn after this."

The camp-ground is next to a lake, encircled by trees. It's a pretty spot but it's also completely empty. This would be, Lex decides, because it's really, really cold. He shivers. Clark stops unpacking the trunk and hugs him.

"We could have taken a vacation in our living room," Lex says. Clark slips a hand into his back pocket.

"But you needed a time-out from your transmitter-"

Lex glares.

"And I needed a time out from being called an Interfering Alien Bully," Clark finishes. He kisses the top of Lex's head.

"You always think you can pacify me with kisses," Lex grumbles. He's annoyed because this is absolutely true and Clark knows it.

Clark gives him one of those under-eyelashes looks that have been going straight to Lex's cock for ten years. Then, big flirt that he is, he lets Lex go and pretends to be all business.

"I'll finish unpacking if you do the tent."

The tent is a dome that assembles itself with a flick of Lex's wrist. Clark opens the cooler and breathes gently on the contents. Lex gives the cooler an apprehensive look; he probably shouldn't have trusted Clark to pack the food.

"Raisin bread and spaghetti sauce?"

"Well, we're not going to mix them," Clark points out. "C'mon, let's christen the tent."

There is something to be said for kissing on top of a pile of Clark's flannel. It's close to all those barn fantasies Lex had nurtured during Clark's high school years. He tips Clark onto his back and they wrestle. Lex loves doing this, play-fighting with the strongest creature alive. It's both an echo and an exorcism of the very real battles Lex and Superman used to have. Lex pins Clark by his wrists and grinds into him, then bends down to taste that lush mouth.

"Camping makes you frisky," Clark says, smugly. Lex puts an end to the smugness by running a hand across Clark's crotch. Clark shivers underneath him, then catches the hand and rolls Lex underneath him for a series of kisses that leave Lex breathless.

"Mmmm." One of them moans; Lex isn't sure which but now his cock is in Clark's hand. Clark always knows the exact right way to hold him; Lex thrusts into the big fingers until his vision blurs and the walls of the tent turn starry.

When he opens his eyes, Clark, still smug, is licking his fingers clean. Like a big, complacent, jungle cat.

"Your turn," Lex says, and pounces.

Clark can't be hurt in bed - but he can be teased. Lex loves to tease him to the point of fury. His blow jobs are refined works of art. Clark alternately glares, begs, and laughs, big hands clutching his own thighs so he doesn't accidentally over-squeeze any part of Lex.

Lex licks the vein along Clark's shaft, teases the tip of his cock with a few flicks of the tongue and gently tickles the blanket-soft skin behind Clark's balls with his free hand. Clark whimpers and gives him a reproachful look; eventually, Lex relents and takes him in all the way. All it takes is a few more swallows and Clark is bucking wildly underneath him, coming with a shudder, flooding Lex's mouth.

The first time Clark had come inside him, the temptation had been immediate; to save a sample and analyze it, duplicate it. The first eyelash on the pillow, the first sneezed-on tissue; the temptation was always there, always insidious. But Lex has never given in to it. He's never analyzed Clark because some things are too important to break down scientifically and he'll take Clark in his bed to Clark under the microscope.

"Deep thoughts," says Clark, reaching over to stroke his cheek. Lana would have needed to know exactly what Lex was thinking; Clark never pesters. They lie, intertwined and kiss for a while.

Clark sits up and nearly puts a hole in the tent with his head.

"C'mon. Let's go for a walk before it's completely dark."

Lex pulls on an extra sweater and accepts a hunk of raisin bread. They set off around the lake, hand in hand. Red and yellow leaves fall in synchronicity around them. Lex considers the leaves, his own contentment.

"It's our anniversary," Clark says. "Or close to."

"Twice over," says Lex. "A year since we reconciled and ten years since you pulled me out of the river."

"You were such a little punk," Clark says, grinning. "But I thought you hung the moon."

"I did," Lex says, haughtily. "I do; you'll see. No moon tonight because I'm wasting time here with you."

He gets pushed up against a tree and kissed for this remark and Clark runs a big hand over his head to make sure Lex isn't getting cold.

"You were so beautiful," Clark says. "Fresh from the river."

Clark was the beautiful one, still is.

"And your eyes," Clark says, tracing Lex's left eyebrow with his finger. "Do you know your eyes change colour like a mood ring? Steely blue when you're at LexCorp, scaring the underlings; Silver when you're pissed with Superman-"

Lex tries to fix a stern look on his face.

"But when you're on your back, with me on top?" Clark says. "Then you're green-eyed. That's your true colour."

"Green eyed for jealousy?"

Clark laughs at this because he thinks he's the jealous one. Lex allows him to think this. He doesn't let Clark know how much the cozy work relationship with Lois bothers him; In fact, it probably bothers him to the same degree that Lex and Clark's relationship worries Lois. She still sees herself as Clark's protector.

Thy sky is darkening, the blue turning to the mauve of one of Lex's shirts. Clark slips an arm around Lex's waist.

"Want to head back? We could have spaghetti, then roast marshmallows?"

Lex pictures spaghetti from a tin and dusty marshmallows. Only for Clark could he pretend to enjoy these. But before he can answer, Clark is tilting his head, listening to the air. Lex knows better than to speak over what he's trying to hear.

"A scream," Clark says. "From up the hill there."

He looks at Lex apologetically. There's no need to apologize; Lex accepts that Superman is never off the clock.

"Let's investigate," Lex says.

He's tucked under Clark's arm and a whirl of super-speed deposits them halfway up the hill. Now Lex can hear the screaming too; it's coming towards them.

A girl hurtles into the clearing and nearly smacks into Clark's chest. He catches her before she can hurt herself.

"What's wrong?" Clark asks, gently.

"My friends-" Her voice cuts off into hysterics. Lex fixes a concerned look on his face but this type of display always bores him. Clark, ever patient, calms the girl down.

"Where are your friends? What's happened?"

"We were hiking and I was behind and I was calling for them to wait for me-"

Lex notes the generous use of personal pronouns: "I....I....me" Evidently, the sort of girl who will contrive to make any occurrence about herself. Just what their weekend needed, a Lana-surrogate running in from stage left.

"It dragged them off, this big thing."

Clark does a 360 degree x-ray pan of the woods and gives Lex a puzzled look; he hasn't found anything.

"And I was screaming but then I thought it would get me too and I ran..."

"Which brings us to the present," says Lex, politely.

"It looked like a skinned bear," says the girl, abruptly. "A really tall, skinned bear."

Make that a crazy Lana surrogate? Clark still hasn't found anything but Lex has an idea.

"Perhaps it dragged your friends to a cave?"

Clark immediately scans the hillside and stiffens as he finds something.

"That, uh. That sounds like a good idea. There are, uh, lots of caves around here."

He's still a terrible liar. Lex rolls his eyes inwardly and the girl shakes her head.

"I grew up around here and I don't know of any caves and I-"

Lex listens fascinated; really, this girl needs to be matched up with Lana for a solipsism-off. But Clark has pin-pointed the cave and is giving Lex a speculative look. Lex knows what that look means: I can speed you back to Metropolis and dump you safely on the couch before you even know what's happened.

"No," Lex says, under his breath. The girl continues her monologue but Clark cocks an ear and gives Lex a stern glance, Superman in full effect. Translation: I'll put you out of harm's way if I damn well please.

"No," says Lex again. "You don't know what it is and I might be able to help."

Clark frowns.

"What?" says the girl, to Lex. "Did you just say something?"

"I asked "Where's your car?""

"A mile or so away, off the highway."

"You could wait there, while we investigate-"

There's a familiar whoosh behind him. Lex sighs but the girl hasn't observed Clark's departure.

"I'm not waiting there, not by myself! What if there's another one of those things-"

Now, she notices Clark is gone

"Where's your friend?"

"Let's find out," Lex suggests. Even without Clark's vision, he should be able to locate a cave large enough for a really tall, skinned bear.

It turns out no detective work is necessary. A series of crashes, the sounds of Clark in combat, lead them to a sheer sheet of rock with a notable fissure. The girl shakes her head:

"I'm not going in there."

"No, I wouldn't recommend it," Lex agrees. He pokes his head into the cave.

"Are you just going to leave me here?"

The girl's tone is aggrieved. Lex smiles politely.

"Yes."

His eyes take a moment to adapt to the darkness. The air in the cave smells fresh; there's a breeze blowing through so there must be another entrance somewhere. Lex cautiously steps along the narrow passage. There are no indications that the creature has been a long term resident in the cave. No bones from prey, no droppings.

The thumps and bashes emanating from Clark and the creature are still distant. But Lex's ears pick up a nearer sound: ragged breathing. There's a huddled shape pressed against the floor of the cave. Lex takes a few cautious steps closer. The shape turns over and Lex can make out a face. He reaches down to check the pulse and is greeted by a barrage of flailing limbs.

"Easy," says Lex. "Are you hurt?"

"Oh," says the boy. "I thought you were....My friends."

Lex runs his hands lightly over the boy's arms and legs. The boy flinches when his right arm is touched. Lex says:

"Can you walk?"

"But my friend-"

"I'll come back for your friend," Lex says.

The boy throws his uninjured arm around Lex's shoulder and together they hobble back down the passage-way. The fading light outside seems impossibly bright after the darkness of the cave and they both blink.

The boy is older than Lex had initially thought, college aged. He stares at Lex but before he can say anything, the girl comes running over.

"Oh my God, Darryl! I thought you were dead. I was all on my own and-"

Lex interrupts:

"Are you hurt? Apart from the arm?"

"No," says Darryl. "But our other friend, Paula, is still in there. I have to-"

"No, I'll go back," says Lex. "My friend is in there too. Look after him."

He directs this last remark to the girl, who interprets it as an invitation to vent her distress into the poor kid's ears. Lex returns to the cave. It worries him that it's taking Clark this long to deal with the creature, whatever it is.

He finds Paula five minutes past where he found Darryl. She is moving stealthily, creeping on her belly along the floor. Lex approves instantly; smart girl.

"Paula?"

A gasp.

"Yes?"

"Come with me. I'll get you out."

Paula has some cuts and bruises and a twisted ankle; the creature has also yanked out a hunk of her red hair. But with Lex's help, she's able to walk and soon they have joined the others outside, prompting a new wave of monologue from Girl One.

"Enough, Sandra," says Paula sharply. She rubs her swollen ankle.

"What about your friend?" the boy asks Lex.

"I didn't see anyone else in there, did you?" says Paula. "Except when that...that thing was dragging me, I think something crashed into it and it let me go."

"I hope your friend's okay, Mr. Luthor," says Darryl politely.

Lex gives him a forced smile. He doesn't have much in the way of reassuring patter; that's Superman's department. He just wants Clark out of the cave and these kids out of his life.

He leaves the three kids under a tree and returns to the cave, following the auditory trail of thumps. Lex knows exactly what the problem is; it's not that Clark can't kill the creature, it's that he won't. Clark never wants to kill anything.

There's a scrap of fur on the floor. Lex picks it up and rubs it between his fingers. Interesting. He puts it in his pocket.

"Clark?" he whispers.

"Get out of here!" It's a shout from the next turn in the passage.

"Not without you," Lex replies, calmly. He keeps walking until he actually can see Clark and the creature.

"Skinned bear" is not a bad description of it. It's about eight feet tall, with a piebald coat, claws and a snout. It hammers at Clark with its paws as he tries to hold it still. The creature snarls and slams Clark against the wall of the cave. There's an ominous cracking noise.

"Lex, so help me if you don't get out of here-"

"Not without you," Lex says, and waits, looking around the cave. There's a heap of bones and fur near his feet. The bones are small, from a rabbit, perhaps. Just one rabbit. The creature hasn't been here long. Lex notes the dents in its fur at the neck and paws. Someone has been keeping it chained up.

"Clark. This is not a naturally occurring bear."

"No kidding," says Clark, ducking a swipe to the head. "Oh, and would you GET OUT, already? Please?"

"I mean, it's a product of someone's lab, hence the unusual strength. A failed experiment, probably."

Clark says:

"How-" The creature makes a sudden lunge at Lex, who takes a step back. Clark swings the bear around, away from Lex.

"Lex, if you get hurt....please go."

Lex has no intention of leaving. If Clark isn't willing to kill the creature, Lex is, and his presence raises the stakes for Clark. This fight can't be allowed to last indefinitely, despite Clark's scruples.

In the end, it's the cave itself that decides the matter. The creature lunges for Clark, who dodges. Instead, the creature crashes into the wall of the cave and its impact triggers a rock fall. Clark catches the largest of the rocks but even Superman only has two hands. It's the third rock that delivers the killing blow to the creature, crushing its skull.

Clark looks sadly down at the body. His face...It never fails to amaze Lex how Clark can grieve for his worst enemy or greatest irritant. His compassion has rubbed off on Lex a little, as though Clark is somehow gradually re-instilling all the empathy that Lionel had drummed out. Lex reaches out to take Clark's hand.

More rocks fall; the cave seems to wobble. Clark turns away from the creature, sweeps Lex into his arms and speeds them to the mouth of the cave, just as the tunnel collapses behind them.

"Oh my God!"

It's the loud girl, running over. Clark carefully sets Lex down and by the time she reaches them, they're standing side by side, Lex flicking the dust from his jeans.

The other two kids limp over.

"You're okay," breathes the boy. "We thought-"

"We're fine," says Lex. Next to him, Clark is x-raying the kids for broken bones and not finding any.

"You saved your friend," the boy says to Lex. "You must have got there just in time."

Lex looks at Clark; there's no way to deny his heroism without revealing Clark's. Clark gives him a small smile and the tiniest shake of his head.

It's a long walk back to where the kids are parked. Lex can see frustration writ large through every bone in Clark's body. Superman could get them to their car in 5 seconds flat but Superman can't make an appearance now without exposing Clark. So they are forced to take the slow route and Clark is not used to traveling slowly. Loud girl leads the procession and relays her thoughts every step of the way.

Clark and Paula are next. She hasn't complained but as her limp grows increasingly pronounced, Clark picks her up and carries her, honeymoon style. Perhaps this makes Paula a little shy; they aren't talking.

Lex and the boy, Darryl, bring up the rear. Darryl is able to walk but occasionally puts an arm around Lex's neck to steady himself. They make some awkward small talk. Lex, when asked, says no, he's never seen anything like the creature before. The boy volunteers shyly that he's taking biochemistry at Met. U.

"That's your field, isn't it, Mr. Luthor?"

The boy seems to have sufficiently recovered to be flirting a little and Lex notices Clark's back go rigid with disapproval. Finally - finally, they reach the car.

"Will you be okay from here?" Clark asks. "You should probably go to the emergency room and get checked out-"

"We'll be fine," says Paula. "Thanks to both of you."

"Yes, thanks so much," says the Loud Girl.

"Thanks, Lex," says Darryl, then blushing, leans over to Lex and gives him a quick kiss. Lex is too startled to evade him. One of the girls giggles.

Clark frowns and the temperature promptly seems to drop ten degrees. Lex is astonished the kids don't notice. It's a relief when they get in their car and drive away. As the tail lights fade down the dark road, Lex looks at his watch.

"Now that we've done our quota of good deeds, do you-"

Clark doesn't let him finish. Lex finds himself abruptly pressed to Clark's chest, speeding through the forest.

"You could warn me before you do that," Lex mutters but either the wind whips his words away or Clark is ignoring him. He gets no answer, beyond the thump of Clark's heart.

They reach the campsite and Clark sets him down. Lex eyes him cautiously:

"Do you still want that spaghetti?"

"I want to go for a swim first," Clark says, his voice tight. "After fighting that thing, I feel-"

He doesn't complete the thought. There's a small whirlwind of Clark and clothes, then a lithe figure slicing through the water. Lex can track Clark's progress around the lake by the sound of startled birds, who can't fathom what this fast-moving thing might be.

Lex lights the camp stove and, with a sigh, heats the pot of spaghetti. Canned pasta - he never dreamed it would come to this. At least the wine he packed is guaranteed to be good.

Fifteen minutes later, Clark whisks back into the clearing and into his clothes. He looks a bit shame-faced.

"Lex, I'm sorry-"

"Spaghetti's ready," Lex says.

Clark spreads out a groundsheet and a blanket and they sit side by side, with bowls of spaghetti and plastic glasses of wine. After one bite of spaghetti, Lex decides he's going to require a lot of wine to wash down his meal; Clark drinks half a glass of wine and eats four bowls of pasta.

"I'm sorry I was a jerk before," Clark says. "But he shouldn't have kissed you."

And Lois shouldn't slip her arm through yours, or ruffle your hair, Lex thinks. He says:

"It's not like it did anything for me."

"I know," says Clark. "Anyway, that wasn't all that was bugging me."

Lex waits. Clark toys with the last noodle in his bowl.

"We never get be normal, you and I. You know? Never get to have just a weekend off."

As far as Lex is concerned, this is no loss. He's tried "normal" and failed spectacularly at it. But "normal" still occasionally matters to Clark. That worries Lex.

Lex takes the empty bowl out of Clark's hand and sets it on the grass. Then he climbs into Clark's lap, straddling him, and bends down for a kiss that tastes of red wine, cheap pasta and a sweet, underlying Clark-ness.

"The weekend isn't over yet," he whispers in Clark's ear.

"Mmmm." A big hand rubs his back. Lex weaves his fingers through Clark's hair and adjusts Clark's chin to the right angle for kissing. A single raindrop falls between them and nails Clark on the forehead.

"Oh, that figures," says Clark. He gathers up Lex and carries him to the tent. Lex wraps his arms around Clark's neck and kisses him the entire way.

It's dark in the tent but Clark's eyes always glow in the night, like a cat's. He lays Lex down on the sleeping bag and settles heavily on top of him. Lex arches up and gets kissed multiple times. Clark pulls back from a kiss and frames Lex's face with his hands.

"He doesn't get to kiss you, that guy. Only I get to kiss you."

Lex curls his lip in a way he knows very well is provocative:

"You're not letting this go anytime soon, are you?"

A growl from Clark. He can look so sweet and puppyish, but right now, at this moment, he's pure wolf, pure aggression. Lex loves him like this: head tilted, eyes glittering, looming over Lex like the purest distillation of sex.

Clark pounces and strips Lex of his layers of sweaters. He plants sloppy kisses over Lex's neck and chest, hitting all the most ticklish spots. Lex laughs; he can't help it. Clark lifts his head and gives him a stern look, then resumes tonguing Lex's left nipple. Lex moans and tries to shove the nipple right into Clark's mouth. Firm hands hold his hips still and his cock strains against his jeans. Clark stares down at him:

"Who do you belong to?'

"Victoria?" says Lex.

Clark growls again and bites Lex's nipple. It amuses Lex that of all his women, it's still the memory of Victoria that enrages Clark the most. He fondly remembers Clark's initial jealous reaction to Vicky, how his brow had furrowed at the first sight of her. It had given Lex jerk-off material for months.

Clark climbs back up Lex's body until his mouth is tickling Lex's ear. He says:

"You're teasing me."

"Always."

"The thing is," Clark sits back on his haunches, looking down at Lex. "Teasers always get teased back."

"Really?"

"Mmmm. It's one of Newton's laws or something."

Abuse of Newton, Lex will not stand for. He props himself on his elbows.

"It is not. You-"

He gets no further. There's a whirl of speed and suddenly Lex is completely naked and Clark is still mostly clothed which is all kinds of cheating. They've had the conversation about Use of Powers in bed before. Lex folds his arms and puts on his most imperious face, which is hard to maintain naked, with Clark lying between his legs.

"I'll ask again," says Clark, politely. He shifts Lex's thighs onto his shoulders. Those impossibly red lips are just a lick away from Lex's straining cock.

"Who do you belong to?" Clark says.

"Lana? It's Lana, right?"

Clark dives between his legs and sucks a bruise onto Lex's right inner thigh. He knows very well, the brat, that Lex dresses to the right and that his cock will be rubbing against the bruise all day Monday at work. Lex squirms and receives a nip on his other thigh. He tries to aim his cock at Clark's mouth but Clark's grip on his hips is unyielding. Clark finishes with Lex's thighs and starts tracing a lazy pattern across Lex's balls with his tongue. Lex grabs Clark by the hair and tries to drag him up to his cock but all he gets for his efforts is his hands pinned to his sides and a smirk from Clark.

"Who do you belong to, Lex?"

"Helen?

Another growl. One quick lick to the tip of his aching cock and Lex arches up, helpless in Clark's grip. He's so close to coming, just needs Clark to touch him again.

"Clark!"

So damn close. Clark raises an eyebrow and sucks a mark onto Lex's right hip bone.

"Clark, please!"

Clark licks a circle around Lex's belly button, plants a few more kisses. Lex whimpers, all his words gone.

Clark sits up again.

"Last time....who do you belong to?"

"You, always you. Only you. Just, please-"

But Lex doesn't get to finish his thought because Clark, after a few more teasing licks, relents and takes him in all the way. Lex whimpers again but a warm hand strokes along his ribs, soothing him and Clark's green eyes are shining up at him. Clark always keeps his eyes open during blow jobs and it never fails to amaze Lex to see such beauty loving him, wanting him. He reaches down to pet Clark's face, enjoying the feel of his own hard cock behind Clark's cheek.

A few more rough swallows from Clark and then Lex unravels completely, coming so long and so hard he blacks out for a moment.

Clark knows how to ease him through the after shock. There are gentle kisses along his belly, then Lex is pulled into Clark's arms and rests panting against his shoulder. Raindrops pelt the tent. Lex watches their shadows drip down the dome.

He rolls over so he can see Clark's face. Clark blinks up at him, harmless again, a wolf playing at being a puppy (or had the puppy been playing at being a wolf?)

"Why would you want to be normal?" Lex says softly. He straightens Clark's messy hair. "What we have, it's better than normal, isn't it?"

Clark gives him a sweet smile and tilts his face up to be kissed. He lets Lex undress him, raising his arms up like a little kid. He grins as he watches Lex fold each piece of clothing and pile it neatly on the suit case. He wriggles impatiently as Lex hunts for the lube.

When Lex fucks Clark, he'll take him in any way he can have him: on his hands and knees or with his legs in the air; up against the wall or bent over Lex's desk. But when Clark fucks Lex, he insists on seeing Lex's face. Lex has wondered if this is a Kent trait - or perhaps some atavistic Kryptonian memory - but he never protests.

Lex applies some lube to his fingers and strokes his slick hand down Clark's cock. Clark grunts and thrusts into his hand. Then, a little roughly, Lex grabs Clark's hand and works two of Clark's fingers inside him. Riding Clark's hand is an experience all in itself. It's too soon for Lex to be getting hard again but his cock did twitch just now, most definitely.

Clark watches Lex, his eyes huge.

"See, normality," Lex says, through gritted teeth. "isn't quantifiable anyway. Oh. OH."

The second "OH" is because Clark's big index finger has just bumped his prostate. Lex's cock instantly revives itself. And Clark is already so hard, he's trembling. Lex slides off Clark's fingers and straddles his hips, the tip of Clark's cock just grazing his ass.

"The thing about normality-"

Clark bucks below him. His cock narrowly misses Lex's hole and skids along the crack of his ass instead. They both groan.

"Could we," Clark says, his breath coming in pants. "Could we have the lecture on normality after the sex?"

Lex raises an eyebrow.

"What was it you said about Teasers?"

Clark somehow manages to pout and glare simultaneously. He writhes under Lex, his cock wet at the tip.

"If we were normal," Lex continues. "You'd never want to do this. Not with a Luthor."

He lowers himself slightly and the tip of Clark's cock works its way inside him. Lex gasps. With all the times they've had sex, he still feels the burn, the stretch, every single time Clark breaches him. You just don't adapt to a cock the size of Clark's. It makes Lex remember all the Greek myths about foolish mortals who couldn't survive coupling with the gods, their bodies too frail to contain the tumult of the Heavens.

Clark is watching him anxiously, wanting more, wanting it now.

"If we were normal-" Lex says, and slides down another inch. They both moan and Lex would swear Clark is throbbing inside him like a second heart beat.

"You'd never have forgiven me for all the things I've done. Never-"

Another inch and Lex has bitten his lip so hard it's bleeding. Clark's hands are cradling his sweaty hips.

"Never been able to love me. And I know I don't deserve your love-"

Protesting noise from Clark and Lex looks down into that face, the face that he's cherished and wanted above all things since he first saw Clark ten years ago. He sinks down, taking more and more, until his ass is resting in the curve of Clark's hip bones. For a moment, there is silence, except for the rush of their mingled breaths and the patter of rain on the tent.

"So that's why-"

Lex raises himself up again. His thigh muscles are straining and Clark whines.

"I see normality as the enemy, the trap-"

He sinks down again but Clark has had enough of this slow, tortuous pace. One more whine, a loud "Lex!", and Clark has flipped them around and Lex finds himself on his back.

Clark says:

"I'm sorry, I just have to-"

And he hooks Lex's legs over his shoulders and pushes back inside him. From this angle, Clark feels even bigger and Lex yelps.

"Sorry, love. Too fast?"

And Clark is bending down for another puppy-kiss, his eyelashes brushing Lex's forehead.

"No, it's perfect," says Lex, breathing a little hard. "Keep going."

Clark finds his rhythm with a series of thrusts that wipe Lex's mind clean of all worry, guilt, thought. All he can think of is that cock slamming into him, filling him, and Clark's hands on his shoulders, his hot breath on his cheek. Lex tightens his legs around Clark's waist, tilts his pelvis up to take him even deeper. It hurts - but it's a pain Lex wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Clark always looks worried right before he comes and the thrusts are harder now, less controlled. Lex moans as Clark's final thrust seems to land somewhere behind his ribcage; then Clark is coming, hot and messy and loud. Clark collapses on top of him and Lex wraps a leg around Clark's waist to hold him in place for a while, to keep them locked together, because while Clark might think he's the possessive one, secretly Lex knows better.

Clark reaches between them and strokes Lex's cock until he comes too, making both their bellies sticky. Then, Clark buries his face in Lex's neck with a satisfied grunt, about three seconds away from going to sleep.

"Clark?"

"Mmm?"

"This is the point at which normal people would brush their teeth."

A chuckle and Lex is thrown over Clark's shoulder, while Clark roots for their toothbrushes, then carried outside, bare ass pointing up to the night sky. They stand naked in the rain, rinsing their mouths from one of Lex's Ty Nant bottles, watching the rain drops make sockets on the dark lake.

Lex shivers and instantly Clark shifts into Mother Hen mode. He rushes Lex back to the tent, dries him off with a sweat shirt and begins his post-coital ritual of checking Lex for bruises. The first time he did this Lex had tried to reassure him: "Clark, I'm fine." But now he just lies back and lets himself be looked over. When Clark finds a bruise or a finger mark he kisses it and sometimes he croons words into Lex's skin that may or may not be Kryptonian. By the time, Clark has flipped him over to inspect his ass, Lex is nearly asleep, definitely too sleepy to put up a fight against the flannel pyjamas Clark is clumsily putting on him. He shivers again. Clark grunts and says:

"Get under me."

And then Lex is sandwiched between the sleeping bag and sleepy Clark, flannel on all sides, perfectly warm, perfectly safe. He falls asleep with his face pressed against Clark's shoulder. In the pre-Clark days, Lex used to consider it a good night if he managed to sleep an hour without a nightmare. Tonight, he only wakes once, when Clark rumbles a growl in his sleep, perhaps recalling the fight with the creature or the boy kissing Lex.

In the morning, they sit in the sun and eat limp waffles. Lex remembers the scrap of fur in his pocket and shows it to Clark.

Clark looks at him sternly:

"Lex, you are not going to clone that bear. I forbid it."

Lex grins and spears a piece of waffle.

"Certainly not. My skill at gene-splicing extends far beyond that primitive thing, whatever it was. But I can probably identify the lab that produced it. I doubt Metropolis is in danger; it doesn't seem like the work of any of our local labs. But if there's a mutant bear attack slated for Gotham..."

Lex trails off, enjoying the image of Batman under Mutant Bear Siege. Clark laughs.

"Yeah, Batman loves it when you save the day."

Clark finishes his sixth waffle and sprawls in the sun. The vague worry that has been tickling at Lex since last night resurfaces.

"This isn't exactly a normal breakfast conversation," he says, trying to sound casual.

"What do you mean?" Clark says, lazily. "Don't all couples start the morning by arguing over mutant bear scraps? Mom and Dad did, all the time."

Lex doesn't answer; Clark sits up and gives him a sharp look.

"What's wrong? What's the sudden fixation with being normal?"

Though he won't put it into words, Lex is scared that one day Clark might decide to seriously pursue a normal existence. And if he ever did, Lex would be the first thing to go. Clark can't slough off his powers or his ancestry but he could all too easily abandon Lex, could leave him for Lois, a tract house, a mortgage, a baby.

"Hey," says Clark softly. He pets Lex's shoulder. "What I said yesterday about sometimes wanting a normal life.....I didn't mean a conventional life."

Lex frowns, not seeing the difference.

"I almost had a conventional life once," says Clark. "With Lana. She offered me everything I claimed to want and what did I do? I instantly set up as many barriers between us as possible."

"You were trying to protect her," says Lex.

Clark gives him a long look.

"That's how I justified it at the time. But Chloe knew my secret and was fine. Deep down, I just didn't want Lana to know. And it was more than not sharing the secret with her. Even when I was dating Lana, I was spending the bulk of my time with Chloe and Lois."

And, in the meantime, Lex was being called into service as Lana's reserve guy. Lana and Lex had always had a lot in common. They'd bonded over their shared, thwarted love for Clark. It was not a healthy bond. Lex winces, remembering.

Clark says:

"I told Lana I didn't want to have sex when even Chloe said it was just a matter of, um, calibrating. I did everything I could to win Lana and then everything I could to drive her away. And do you know why?"

Lex waits.

"Because I've discovered I don't really mesh very well with normal people," Clark says. His smile is rueful. "Apart from you, my best friends right now are Lois and Batman. Think about it. Not the most well-adjusted pair."

Not to mention the rest of the Justice League, Lex thinks.

"Lana and I...." Clark pauses, stares up at the sky. "The formality never wore off, you know? The ice never completely broke. I mean, look at you and me. We were practically best friends by our second meeting, when you gave me your big Trojan War spiel."

Fifth meeting, thinks Lex. That was our fifth meeting. He remembers every detail, down to the blue of Clark's shirt.

"With Lana, it was the opposite," says Clark. "We would have these polite conversations, like strangers at a dinner party. Even our arguments were polite. I always thought one day we'd have our breakthrough and she'd make me laugh like Chloe or fascinate me like you did....but it never happened. And it wasn't Lana's fault. I just wasn't meant to be with someone that normal."

"I guess I'll take that as a compliment," says Lex stiffly. Clark gives him a flirty nudge with his shoulder.

"So when I say I want to be normal," Clark says, "I mean this kind of normal. I mean stealing a weekend away with you, even if it means saving annoying kids from poorly engineered bears."

Lex can't suppress a smile at this. Clark continues:

"For you and me, normal is fighting over transmitters. Or Lois-"

Lex has the usual Pavlovian response to her name; Clark leans over and kisses his frown.

"Our normal is brushing our teeth naked. Or me lying here in the grass with you, counting the freckles you claim not to have."

Clark licks one of the disputed freckles and Lex smacks his head.

"That's our normal," says Clark. "The "normal" we've invented. You see?"

Then, evidently bored with explanations, Clark tackles Lex, rolling him onto the grass. Lex reaches around to access the ticklish spot on Clark's lower back but Clark grabs his hand and blows a loud raspberry into his palm.

"Careful!" says Lex. "I need that hand for bear-cloning."

And Clark laughs and swoops in for a kiss, a kiss that goes on so long that all Lex's worries about work, Lois, mutant bears and the conventional life are blotted away and all that remains is one word: Clark, Clark, Clark.

And that, for Lex, is Normal.

.



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