Risk Management

by Vivian Darkbloom

Clark gets the alert from the A.I. in the middle of the night. There's a mudslide in Northern California. He costumes up and flies off to help.

After rescuing a few people, Clark decides that Californians are sensible. More so than his fellow citizens of Metropolis, whose first reaction when faced with danger is generally to stand in the middle of the street and gape at it. Here, the locals are at least trying to get out of the way and Clark helps by lifting cars to safety and shifting rocks around to dam the rush of muddy water. For Superman, this constitutes mindless busy-work and Clark allows his thoughts to wander.

Chloe once told Clark her theory that whatever walk you had in high school, that was your walk for life. She'd proved her point by gesturing at the people walking around the Smallville farmer's market and, yeah, Clark could easily spot the ex-football players, the ex-cheerleaders, the student council alumni.

"So there's no hope for us, then, I guess?" he'd asked Chloe.

"Nope," she said, cheerfully, "I'll always be gunning along with my shoulders thrust forward, figuratively carrying an armload of research; you'll always be doing your big-dog lope. Our walks, assigned for life."

Clark has never forgotten that conversation and thinks of it now, as he lifts a fallen tree out of the path of an ambulance. Lana's walk - she'd have denied it, but her walk signaled entitlement. The walk of someone who'd never questioned her place in the school hierarchy; whatever she did, whether signing up for cheerleading or quitting it, dating a football player or dating the coach, she knew it would be validated by the admiring eyes of her peers.

Lois walks like she's stomping on bugs and she'd be the first to admit it. When she came to stay with the Kents, Clark's dad had gently teased her about it and Lois was unrepentant.

"The General says my walk sounds like two guys carrying a canoe. But it's better than Lucy. She's got a sneaky walk. And, at least, I don't constantly bash into things like Smallville, here," and she'd prodded Clark in the arm.

As a reporter, she's deliberately amplified her graceless walk. It's a tactic. People see the clumsiness and think it will carry over to her thought processes, her line of questioning. And that's where Lois gets them, where the steel trap snaps shut.

Lex's walk was the talk of Smallville for, oh, years. Farmers, their mouths set in straight lines, murmured disapprovingly how a man shouldn't walk like that. Like the swivel of Lex's hips was an affront to heartland masculinity.

Lionel's walk had been purely masculine, all forward momentum. Lex, probably as an unconscious rebellious gesture, had adopted the thrown back shoulders from Lionel but the hip-waggle was wholly his own, a visual dare to any man to just try and challenge him. Just try it.

Clark carries a trapped car over a cataract of water. The woman inside waves and takes his picture with her phone. Clark smiles awkwardly and sets the car down out of harm's way. There's a distant rumble of falling rocks and he flies around to the other side of the hill to catch them.

He remembers seeing Lana, on the first day of kindergarten. It was a sunny September morning. He was holding hands with Pete, a bit scared to be going to school with the big kids. Lana had come in, all huge eyes and pink fuzzy sweater, another girl at her side. Pete said:

"Do you know about her?"

Clark, wide-eyed, shook his head.


Pete said:

"Her mom and dad are dead so we have to be nice to her."

And everyone was nice to Lana. Kids let her choose the best desk and offered to share cookies from their lunches. The teachers smiled brightest at Lana and called on her first. And Clark, who at five already knew he was different, very different from the other kids, looked at Lana and thought: if I am with her, I will always be accepted. People will see her and not me and I can be safe beside her.

Clark can't quite pin-point the moment when he decided he loved Lana. He remembers noticing, as far back as the third grade, that a lot of other boys liked her and that she got the most Valentines of all the girls. Clark had to be careful playing sports and he tried to blend in, rather than shine academically. But loving Lana was a safe way of fitting in because everyone did.

He'd been stark naked in a field when he met Lois, something that's been mentioned by her just about every day since. Clark has tried to get her to eliminate it from her repertoire of stories without success. Sometimes, he'll find her in the dive bar down the street from the Planet, surrounded by rowdy lady journalists, who hoot and roar with laughter when Clark walks by. When Clark complains about this, Lois says:

"Now, take it easy, big guy. You've nothing to be ashamed of in the naked department and my account is pretty flattering."

He knew he loved Lois a few years after his Dad died. That's when he began to see how Lois's irritating qualities - her mouthiness, her bossiness - were a cover-up for the truly kindhearted, loyal person underneath. To cope with the General, Lucy and her mother's death, Lois had been forced to develop a hard shell. ("That's no shell," Jimmy had said once. "That, my friend, is titanium plating.")

Clark spent so much time as a teenager suppressing his feelings for Lex that it's hard to determine exactly when those feelings began. Some time between the Returning of the Truck and The Giving of the Box, he thinks now. By the time Victoria appeared on the scene, his possessiveness towards Lex was well-established enough for Clark to hate her on sight. And that possessiveness has never entirely receded. Lex's affair with Lana had made him furious with Lex at the time but in the longer term, it has been Lana who has disappeared from Clark's life without a trace.

Clark thinks about traveling back in time a few years and telling his nineteen year old self "By the time you are twenty four, apart from Mom, the three most important people in your life will be Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Perry White. Yes, Lois, the annoying girl who invaded your parents' house and won't leave; Lex, your former best friend and secret crush whom you're never ever going to forgive for stealing Lana, and Perry, that goofy drunk guy who wreaked all kinds of havoc in Smallville during the solar flares. These will be the people you'll see most often."

His teenaged self wouldn't have believed it. And even now, Clark can barely credit how much time he spends with all three of them. Though they broke up last year, Lois still cheerfully expects him to be at her disposal, day or night. Perry considers his reporters his personal property; their time is his time. As for Lex...Superman spends countless hours rescuing, corralling and generally managing Lex. And after Superman thwarts a Lex-scheme, Clark has to go to the inevitable Luthorcorp press conference and be on the receiving end of one of Lex's private smirks. Because, of course, his Secret Identity is no secret whatsoever to Lex. "The primary colours alone were a giveaway," Lex remarked once. But he knows Lex will never tell anyone; he likes to hoard his secrets. Clark suspects Lex enjoys that he can use the secret as a means of getting twice the attention from Clark, not that Lex would ever admit to that.

Dawn is staining the skyline a blossom pink. Clark has flown all the families stranded by the mudslide to safety. The rush of water is gradually being slowed down by sandbags and no further rocks appear to be on the verge of falling. If Clark flies home now, he'll have just enough time to change, get to work at the Planet and avoid a telling off in stereo from Perry and Lois. He's preparing to launch himself for the flight home when he hears a voice in his ear.


It's Lex. It's Lex, half a country away and this is not his plotting voice or his taunting voice. It's a small, scared, hopeless voice that Clark hasn't heard in years and Clark is halfway to Metropolis before he even realizes it, terrified that he won't be fast enough. Because now the A.I. is telling him that there's a bomb and it has already begun to explode.

Normally, Clark disposes of bombs by flying away with them, even swallowing them as a last resort. But once an explosion has begun, there's not much he can do. He can survive the blast, but he can't contain it.

He's never crossed the country this quickly; the wind in his wake knocks over pylons and bends road signs double. The A.I. directs him to the chemistry laboratory at Metropolis University. The bomb has already consumed most of the building; one more infinitesimal fraction of a second and there will be nothing left but a shell. Already, most of the people inside are beyond Clark's saving. But not Lex, please, not Lex....please.

He hears the familiar heartbeat at the east fringe of the explosion and swoops in just in time to snatch Lex and the two people next to him out of the advancing inferno.

The next moment, the building flares up, lit from within by a massive fireball.

There's an eerie instant of absolute silence, the aftermath that usually only Superman gets to hear, followed by reactive chaos: sirens, screams, panic in the streets.

One of the people in Clark's arms, a woman, is crying; the second, a man, has urinated all over himself and fainted. The third, Lex, is silent and completely still.

Clark lands at Metropolis General Hospital and leaves two of his three people in the care of E.R. nurses. Lex is holding onto his arm and doesn't seem to want to let go, so Clark doesn't force him. But he needs to get back and help extinguish the fire.

He considers leaving Lex on the rooftop of one of the buildings. But Lex looks so dazed, like a bird that just flew into a window, that Clark worries he might walk right over the edge.

A block away from the bomb site, Clark flies past an apartment building. People are out on balconies with their phones, scared, trying to figure out what has happened. Clark notices one older woman with a kind face, hand up to her mouth in dismay. He makes a neat landing on her terrace.

"This man is in shock," he tells the woman. "May I leave him with you?"

If the lady is shocked at the appearance of Superman and Lex Luthor on her balcony, she rises to the occasion masterfully.

"Of course," she says. "He'll be safe with me, Superman."

And she takes Lex by the hand like a small child and leads him into the apartment.

The fire trucks are arriving at the scene but the building and any people left within it are all too obviously beyond their help. Clark grimly circles the fire, using his breath and hands to hold back the flames. Cops, firefighters and frightened University officials stand in knots on the pavement and confer. Clark listens in and hears only confusion. No one knows who might have done this or why.

Clark catches a large chunk of masonry before it can fall on a fire truck; the driver waves her thanks.

The media arrives and begin to set up their trucks one block away; Lois is almost certainly among them. Clark hears the television reporters stumbling to form coherent statements about a disaster no one yet understands. Suddenly he's very tired. But the efforts of the fire fighters, combined with Clark's assistance, prevail and at last the fire is contained.

Clark deliberately ascends out of talking-range when he passes over the media. They won't blame Superman for failing to stop the bomb; even journalists recognize he can't be everywhere at once. Only the Inquisitor might print a pointed line or two tomorrow about why Superman was on the West Coast when he was needed at home.

The reporters shout as Clark flies over, tilt their cameras up to get a photo of him. Lois manages to drown everyone else out in her demand for an interview. But Clark doesn't want to give any sound bites; he's tired. Tired and sad that people have died today and he didn't manage to stop it.

When he returns to the balcony, the woman is waiting for him, holding a thermos of tea. She pours a cup for Clark.

"He hasn't spoken since you brought him," she whispers.

Lex is sitting on a corner of her sofa, looking uncharacteristically small, pale and completely expressionless.

"He should drink something," the lady says. "Sugar's good for a shock....but he didn't want any tea."

Clark sits down next to Lex, feeling ridiculously large and primary-coloured in this tasteful living room.


Lex turns to look at him; his eyes are puzzled. He says nothing.

"Come on," says Clark. "Let's get you home."

He's picked up Lex before but generally Lex is talking the entire time, complaining about officious aliens who think they have the right to ride roughshod over perfectly legitimate scientific practice and so forth. Lex still doesn't like heights but flying has never deterred him from arguing; he'll cling to Clark like a baby koala to its mother, lecturing him all the while.

Now, as Clark lifts Lex into his arms, he's eerily still and compliant. Clark carries him to the balcony, then turns back to the woman.

"Thank you-" he pauses. There had been no time for introductions before.

"Mary," she says, smiling.

"Thank you, Mary."

"Of course, you're welcome Superman. And I think it's very kind of you to look after this one," she points at Lex "when he gives you so much trouble."

"We have a history." Clark nearly says but stops himself in time. Instead, he smiles and launches himself from her balcony, Lex lolling against his shoulder.

He had intended to take Lex to the penthouse. But despite all the people on his payroll, Lex doesn't really have anyone to take care of him. Hope and Mercy aren't the sick bed types and Lex has kept his lovers at arms length for the last few years. He hates to appear vulnerable, though he constantly puts himself in vulnerable positions. Lex has faced death well over a hundred times. To Clark, it sometimes seems he goes out of his way to court death. But he's never seen Lex go catatonic like this before. Generally, after a near-death experience, Lex dusts himself off and then it's right back to the usual business of being a huge, verbose thorn in Superman's side. This time it's different and Clark thinks he might know why.

A bomb. A fireball coming towards Lex. Almost like that autumn day twenty years ago when the meteors nearly killed a small, asthmatic boy, dragged unwillingly along on his father's business trip.

Clark clutches Lex a little closer and in a blur of speed, flies in the open window of his apartment. His entrance shakes a cloud of dust from the curtains and when he comes to a halt, Clark finds his left foot has crunched a box of cereal on the floor, scattering bran pellets.

It's very quiet. Ten past eleven in the morning. All the neighbours have gone to work, except for Mavis down the hall who'll be on her first bourbon and talk show of the day.

"Lex?" Clark says softly. He sets Lex down on the couch and speeds into the bedroom, blurring out of his costume and into some jeans. Lex stares at a spot on the carpet.

Clark fetches him a bottle of water and Lex drinks a little. They sit in silence. Clark considers turning on the TV but every channel will be airing footage from the explosion. Well, except for Country Music Television but that doesn't seem like Lex's taste.

Clark finds a bag of bagels in his cupboard. They must be three days old but there's almost no mould on them. He toasts two bagels, spreads them with jam and returns to the couch. When he holds a bagel under Lex's nose, Lex stares at it like he's never seen one before. Clark sighs:

"Do you want to go to the hospital?"

Lex shakes his head.

"Then, maybe you should sleep for a bit. C'mon."

Clark takes Lex's arm and leads him into his messy bedroom. There's a sweater on the floor, scattered books and magazines and the blankets on the bed are twisted into a pretzel from Clark's hasty departure last night. It can't be what Lex is used to but he allows Clark to guide him to the bed, lay him down and pull the covers over him.

"I'll be back soon," Clark says. "I just have to go by the Planet before Lois decides to come here looking for me."

Normally, the mere mention of Lois provokes Lex into a vituperative monologue. Now, he says nothing, just gazes up at Clark from his pillow. Clark leaves him alone in the silent bedroom, hoping he's doing the right thing.

He worries all the way to the Planet. Lex has managed to survive homicidal wives, weekly attempts on his life, a hat trick of deadly viruses, possession by a murderous alien host and Lionel Luthor as a father. Whatever disaster fate hands him, he always somehow manages to bounce back like a rubber duck. One bomb scare won't break him, surely?

The Planet is in turmoil. Lois spots him across the newsroom, points a finger and shouts "Kent!"

"Sorry, I'm late," Clark says. "I was visiting Mom and then the roads...."

"All the highways are closed," says Lois, impatiently. "I know."

"Do they know who did it yet?" Clark asks and the words catch in his throat. If Lex was somehow involved.... If there was a plan and he got double crossed....

"Russian mob hit," says Lois, briskly. Jimmy's hurrying by and she prods him with a pencil. "We need the correct spellings of the suspects' names."

"I'm on it."

"They already have suspects?" Clark says.

"Yeah, a traffic camera caught an image of some very well-known Russian gangsters probably on their way in to plant the bomb. It's one of their signature bombs. Apparently, they weren't striving for anonymity."

"But why hit the Met. U. Chem. Lab?"

"Because of one of the Professors," explains Lois. She rifles through the papers on her desk. "Professor....Professor Stanislavsky. Not his real name. He'd had death threats back in Moscow and came to Kansas to start a new life. Worked out real well for him, huh?"

"Yeah," says Clark, sadly.

"He managed about a year of peace. Then last week he received a package in the mail: his brother's ear, gift-wrapped in a jewelry box. He was going to press charges but...."

"Poor guy."

"Yes," says Lois, with unusual vehemence. "He was never a criminal himself. The Mob was only after him to complete their vendetta against his family. His research was on vegetables; he was trying to increase size and seed pods in certain veggies, with the goal of ending world hunger...."

That explained Lex's interest; Clark remembers Lex's ill-fated attempt at trying the same experiment using kryptonite back in Smallville.

"...so that's ironic," Lois is saying.

"Sorry? What?"

Lois reaches over and gently tweaks his nose.

"You're off your game today, Smallville. I was just saying it's ironic that for once Lex was a completely innocent bystander, part of a tour group of scientists being shown round Stanislavsky's lab..."

"Is Lex okay?" Clark is still a miserably poor liar and Lois gives him a curious look.

"His lucky bastard streak continues unabated. Superman arrived just in time to save Lex and two others; the other twelve people in the building died in the explosion."

"Twelve," says Clark flatly. Lois misreads his tone.

"I know - if it had happened just an hour later, when students were arriving for classes, it could have been so much worse."

Jimmy returns with a piece of paper. Lois glances at it and immediately begins pounding her keyboard. She says:

"Clark, you should work the Superman angle."

"What angle?"

Lois gives him a serious look.

"People are going to question why, of all people, he managed to save Lex Luthor. I bet the Inquisitor will run an editorial theorizing that Superman is secretly on Lex's payroll."

Clark feels his cheeks redden.

"But that's not fair, he-"

"I know," says Lois. "He probably just grabbed the nearest people and Lex's luck held, as always-"

But that isn't quite true either, Clark thinks, guiltily. He'd aimed himself straight for Lex because even with all their tangled history, their layers of grievance, a world without Lex is still not to be imagined-"

"I'll try and contact Superman," he hears himself saying. Lois looks up.

"Okay. Send me the interview when it's ready. See if he'll pose for a photo; he wasn't in the mood at the bomb site, understandably. And Smallville-"

Clark has already turned to go.

"It's a rotten day; I know. For all of us. Look after yourself. Call your Mom and let her know you're alright."

And Lois grabs his hand and briefly squeezes it.

"Thanks, Lois."

When he gets back to the apartment, he finds Lex sprawled on the couch, watching CNN. He's wearing a pair of Clark's sweat pants and an old blue sweater. He looks up as Clark enters.

"I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your clothes. Mine were smoky."

It's not quite his normal voice. Clark approaches cautiously and sits opposite Lex.

"How are you feeling?"

Lex shrugs. Clark notices how thin he looks under the baggy sweater.

"Like I'm coming down from an anesthetic. And you?"

Clark decides to be honest:

"I wish I'd gotten there sooner, been able to get the bomb out before anyone was hurt."

"You were in California," Lex says, and it's no surprise to Clark that Lex knows this, just as he almost always knows where Lex is.

"I was sure-" Lex says, then stops.

"Sure of what?"

"I was sure this time you wouldn't save me," says Lex. "Too far away. I don't see how you-"

"You said my name," says Clark.

Most people, when they think they are about to die, cry out for their mothers, for God. A few might call for "Superman". But Lex had said "Clark."

Lex gives him a curious look.

"And that surprises you? That you would be the last thought on my mind?"

Clark's heart speeds up a little. Something big is about to be said. Lex stares down at his lap.

"You're the first - and last - thing on my mind, Clark. Always. Ever since-"

Silence. But it's a silence you could cut with a knife and sell in slices.

"I don't know why I'm telling you now," Lex is saying. "After all these years. Perhaps, it's the shock. Or maybe I'm tired of dissembling. And it's not like you didn't know anyway, is it?"

Yes, Clark had known - or thought he had known. But there's a big difference between hypothesizing it in your head and hearing it said aloud. Just like there's a big difference between sitting next to Lex on the couch and crossing the divide and pulling him into your arms. Which is what Clark does now.

Lex moves to meet him and their noses bump, in what Mom would have called an Eskimo kiss. Then Lex's arms are tight around Clark's neck.

Clark wants everything and he wants it all at once. Eight years of suppressed yearning rise up in him and demand that he throw Lex down on the couch and take what he's wanted, what he's been promised, since that first day by the river.

But he's still not sure if Lex is completely himself so he lets Lex take the lead. Lex shifts his weight into Clark's lap and finally - finally - kisses him. It's a gentle kiss, a feather light graze of Lex's lips across Clark's and Clark moans and doesn't know what to do with his clenching hands.

Lex tilts Clark's head back for better access and bends down for a second kiss. His eyelashes lightly brush Clark's cheek. This time, Clark kisses back; the instinct to claim Lex's mouth is too strong to resist. He runs his hand along Lex's back and feels Lex's muscles ripple in response.

"Are you-" Clark needs to catch his breath. Lex is in his lap. His lap. No, don't think about that for a moment. Lex draws back and looks at him. Clark has had dreams like this but he has to be sure....

"I don't want to take advantage," Clark says. Lex tilts his head, quizzically. "Of you. Because you're traumatized or not in your right mind. Or something."

Lex strokes his hair, smiles a little sadly.

"If anything, I'm the one taking advantage, Clark. You're feeling sorry for me. So I'm extorting mercy sex from you, knowing you're too kind to say "no."

Clark can't suppress an exasperated noise. Lex always likes to cast himself as the master manipulator but he's delusional if he thinks what's between them hasn't been completely, dangerously reciprocal since moment one.

Clark stands up, scooping Lex into his arms. Lex reclines there and looks calmly back at him, like he's renting the space.

"You..."growls Clark and speeds them to the bedroom. One sweep of an arm gets the blankets out of the way and then Lex is lying there, startled, blinking up at him.

"Me?" says Lex. Clark's skin is over-heating; his heart too full to hold its blood. Lex could have died today but instead he's on Clark's bed, half hard under the folds of the sweat pants, a little sweat pooled on his upper lip, staring at Clark. Clark climbs up the bed and hovers over him; Lex watches him, perfectly poised, perfectly arrogant.

"You know I want you," Clark says. "And you've known that a long time." He bends down for a kiss that lasts so long that when it ends Lex is gasping a little. "And I will always come to save you."

"That's just old habits dying hard," retorts Lex. "It doesn't mean - oh, God-"

Clark thrusts against Lex; he can't help it. Lex thrusts back. It's as though their cocks have picked up the dropped argument and are continuing it. Clark closes his eyes but the heat inside him is so strong it feels like it might radiate out through his pores. And how ironic a death would that be for Lex?

"Frying pan...fire," Clark murmurs, making his own fun. Lex takes advantage of this momentary distraction and has the cheek to tip Clark onto his back and climb on top of him. Clark smiles; if Lex is trying to dominate him, it's a sign he really is feeling better. He lets Lex's probing tongue investigate his mouth. One of Lex's hands clutches Clark's thigh; the other is tangled in his hair. Lex takes a strand of hair and rubs it appraisingly between his fingers; this is such a Lex thing to do, to caress and investigate simultaneously, that Clark laughs.

Lex draws back and gives him a severe look.

"Is there something funny, Clark? Would you prefer-ah-"

That's as far as Lex gets before Clark rolls him onto his back and kisses him. Hard, bruising kisses now. One of Lex's hands tries to creep back up to Clark's hair but Clark intercepts it and pins it to Lex's side. Because Lex always has to test his limits, he wriggles underneath Clark and doesn't seem bothered to find himself held in an iron grip. His hips arch up against Clark, his lips part for Clark's frantic tongue and oh fuck, Lex is ready for it. They both are.

Clark sits back on his haunches, thighs spread in a wide V over Lex's hips. He pulls off his shirt and throws it on the floor, then reaches down for Lex's sweater. The sweater is an old one of Clark's, cheap blue wool and it leaves little balls of navy fluff on Lex's perfect, porcelain chest. Lint-speckled Lex is oddly arousing - though, to be fair, Clark is so aroused right now that absolutely anything placed in conjunction to Lex would be hot. Lex plus waffle iron would equal instant orgasm.

Clark can't get his jeans off fast enough and there's an appreciative noise from the bed when his cock bursts free from his old plaid boxers, rock hard and an angry red at the tip. Beneath him, Lex is shimmying out of the sweatpants, revealing silver boxers and a hard cock of his own that Clark instantly wants to take into his mouth.

He pulls the boxers off, parts Lex's legs and lies between them, hands grasping Lex's silky hips. Lex moans. His long legs tremble and he gives another uncontrollable thrust.

"Steady," says Clark and licks a line up the nearest thigh. There's a dusting of tiny freckles here. He licks a few freckles, prompting rude words from the other end of the bed. Lex tries to sit up and Clark plants a big hand on his chest - God, his skin - and pushes him down again.

He feels the mad thump of Lex's heart under his fingers as he licks at the soft, fragrant inner thigh skin, then the tiny division between Lex's balls. He shoves a hand under the sweaty small of Lex's back to tilt him up for easier tasting. Lex is making un-Lex like noises: whimpers, squeaks. It's very cute. Clark could listen to it forever but he'll be lucky if he can hold out another minute.

He climbs back up Lex's body. Their cocks brush and surge for each other. Lex's head is thrown back and Clark kisses the impossibly long, graceful arc of his throat. Lex's eyes are closed so he kisses the quivering lids then moves around to a perfect, pink ear to whisper a question:

"Lex, can I...?"

He knows Lex will understand what he wants.

"We need-" says Lex, the words bitten off like he's holding himself together by sheer force of will.

"Yeah-" Clark doesn't have proper lube but he does have Vaseline in his bedside table and that'll do. He grasps Lex by the hips and flips him over so he's ass end up - and what a perfect, heart shaped ass it is. Just seeing his hands sinking into that satiny skin makes Clark's achingly hard cock even harder.

Clark smears his fingers with the Vaseline, then applies some to his cock. He positions Lex on his hands and knees and dips his sticky hand into the hot cleft of Lex's ass. God, it's so....Clark is compelled to pull the smooth cheeks apart, to see where his cock will go - and that's probably a mistake because his balls tighten dangerously. The need to come throbs through him like a drum beat. He closes his eyes; he's right on the brink and is determined to come inside Lex.

Clark takes a moment to compose himself; the only sounds in the room are his own heavy breathing and Lex's fractured panting.

"Did you-" Lex is panting so hard he can't get the words out. "Did you just save me in order to tease me to death?"

Clark laughs; he moves up behind Lex and his cock nudges the tiny hole. They both groan.

"Who's killing who here is up for dispute, I think."

He makes a small thrust and the head of his cock breaches Lex, who feels amazing, like nothing else on earth. No, fuck that, like nothing else in the universe, in history. Clark's hands clutch Lex's hips, slippery with sweat and he eases himself in, pulling Lex up, until Lex's smooth back is pressed against his chest. He's all the way in, now. Deep as he can get inside Lex, his hard nipples prodding Lex's back, balls grazing Lex's ass.

"You-" Another thrust cuts off what Lex was about to say. "Oh."

Clark wraps an arm around Lex's chest, holding him in place like a seat belt. He grasps Lex's hip with his free hand and every thrust sends a stronger jolt through their bodies. Sex with Lana had been careful and reverent; Sex with Lois was therapeutic and fun. But sex with Lex is a whole different category altogether and should come with a side effects warning: may cause synapses to explode, cock to launch from body, brain cells to bounce loose like popcorn.

Thrust. Thrust. Thrust.

Lex's head lolls back against Clark's shoulder; he whimpers:

"Clark, please..."

Clark moves a hand round to grip Lex's dripping cock; Lex is sandwiched between Clark's cock on one side and his hand on the other. As Clark fucks Lex, Lex fucks Clark's hand until Lex is shuddering and coming and the feel of him spurting over Clark's fingers....Clark brings his sticky hand up to Lex's shoulder and lets milky come drip down milky skin, the better to lick you clean, my dear.

Lex falls back against him, spent and helpless and Clark grips his hips and fucks him even harder, the Kal part of him, the part that he pushes deep down inside, rising to the surface and thoroughly enjoying the sensation of owning Lex, fucking him into a temporary submission.

Then it's Clark's turn to be helpless, in the grip of an orgasm that hits so hard it blinds him for a moment and flattens Lex onto the bed.

Some time gets lost. Clark finally checks back into his body, which is sprawled on top of Lex. His cock has softened but he doesn't want to pull out of Lex just yet.

But then Lex makes a small protesting noise and wriggles below him. Clark reluctantly rolls on his side and with a wet "pop" his cock slides free. He hears Lex getting up and padding to the bathroom and behind the orgasm daze a vague worry sets in. What happens now? Post-coital Lex is likely to be as difficult to handle as every other incarnation of Lex.

In a few minutes, Lex returns and Clark feels cool hands nudging him onto his back. Then - Oh....Lex is methodically licking his nipples, making tiny ice cream cone swoops that have his tired cock twitching all over again.

He reaches down to pull Lex up for a kiss but his hands get swatted. Lex is making it very clear that it's his turn to be alpha male now. Clark doesn't mind, not when that perfect pink mouth is wrapped around his quickly reviving cock and those fingers are teasing his balls and slipping inside him.

Lex intends to fuck him? Clark can't suppress a laugh, which earns him a sharp nip to the thigh. Lex wants his efforts taken seriously. And Clark's cool with being fucked, it's just that all the times he'd envisioned doing stuff with Lex, even back when he was fifteen and uncertain exactly what two guys could do together, Clark always pictured himself on top. Bending Lex over the pool table, straddling him in the barn, pressing him up against the wall and pushing into him....

But it's fair enough that Lex might have his own set of fantasies.

Lex bends Clark's knees back and Clark has a momentary twinge of embarrassment at being exposed like this. Then, Lex's tongue gets to work and Clark can't believe that those desperate, begging noises are coming from his own throat.

When Lex stops, Clark can't hold back a whine. Lex grins and retrieves the jar of Vaseline from the floor. With his usual precision, he applies the Vaseline to Clark's ass and his own cock, then positions himself between Clark's legs.

Clark gasps at the first slow push. It feels...he's only done something like this once before. Lois had been determined to expand his sexual horizons which had led to predictably comic results: "Stay still, Smallville. It's just a vibrator... stop squirming! Oh! Oh, that's my curling iron. Sorry! You okay?"

Lex feels completely different than any vibrator: warm and alive and gentle. He's being gentle with Clark, because even though he knows Clark can't be hurt, this is still his first time. This is so terribly sweet and unexpected that Clark almost wants to stop the sex for a moment and hug him. Then Lex hits a spot - that spot - and a moan forces its way out of Clark's throat.

Wolfish grin from Lex. He pauses mid-thrust.

"You like that?"


Lex's thrusts speed up and Clark loves watching the advent of orgasm on his face. He looks so intent, beautifully serious. Their eyes are locked together and Clark suddenly realizes he recognizes that look on Lex's face, has been seeing it since he was fifteen years old. Lex has never looked at anyone else the way he looks at Clark and if Clark hadn't been such a stubborn idiot as a teenager, they could have-

Clark reaches up to pet Lex's back. Lex grunts and strokes Clark's cock. One touch of his hand is all it takes and Clark comes messily over Lex's fingers and his own stomach. His orgasm does something to his ass; he can feel himself spasm around Lex's thrusting cock. Lex's gaze wavers a little, the pink lips part, then he's coming too, spilling his warmth into Clark and collapsing onto Clark's chest like a broken doll.

Gasping. Panting. Several minutes go by, then Clark laughs.


Well-fucked Lex, looking up at him, bleary eyed.

"This bed....there's not a dry spot left."

"Well, carry me back to the couch then."

That's Lex's most imperious voice. Clark laughs again and does just that, grabbing a blanket from the floor and speeding them back to the couch. He wraps the blanket round Lex and settles him in his lap.

A phone trills.

"That's not mine," Lex yawns.

"I know; it's probably Lois." Clark grins. "Do you know what I'm supposed to be doing right now?"


"Interviewing Superman to find out why he saved you."

Lex shifts off Clark's lap and sits next to him on the couch. His face has gone blank.

"Does Lois think I planted the-"

Clark interrupts:

"No, of course not. It was a Russian mob hit. She said herself you were an innocent bystander."

"I haven't been innocent in a long time."

And...that's Lex's formal voice. He's starting to retreat back to his usual posture; his naked shoulders go rigid. Clark watches him, thoughtfully, then says:

"If I hadn't been in California, I might have been able to save everyone today. Twelve people died-"

"You can't pick and choose," Lex says. "You knew about the mudslides, you didn't know about the bomb. And yet you still managed to save three people, even if one of the three was somewhat undeserving."

Clark ignores this little jab of Lexian self-pity; he has a larger point to make.

"You called me," he says. "And I came. I will always come for you. I will always save you. I was once prepared to give up the world in exchange for your life-"

Referring to Zod takes them into dangerous territory but Lex just looks at him steadily, and says:

"I keep you busy; I know. Which is why, even if I wanted this to be more than just-" he pauses, "-sex, I can understand if you don't. If it's too much work...."

Clark is exasperated again and shows it by hauling Lex back onto his lap. Lex makes a surprised little huff.

"I swear, Lex, there is nothing on earth you can't turn ass-backwards."

Offended silence, then Lex says:

"I don't know what that means."

"It means that I have everything to gain by having this become more than just one-time sex."

Lex blinks; Clark deliberately keeps quiet. Make him ask...

"What do you gain?" Lex asks, finally.

"Increased peace of mind," says Clark.

Lex looks puzzled. Clark says:

"Look, it's a form of risk management. Every minute you're here with me, perched on my lap-"

Lex snorts.

"-is a minute I know you're safe and not trying to start trouble. Ergo, the more time we spend together, the less time I spend worrying about what the hell you might be doing."

Lex narrows his eyes.

"You do realize that works both ways? Every minute we're together, I know my labs are secure from Superman's paranoid rampaging and-"

Clark nips the back of his neck, causing Lex to squirm on his lap.

"Fine!" says Clark. "You win at logic. No surprise there. So maybe it doesn't change our on-going stalemate but at the very least, we'd relax a bit more. And I've missed spending time with you, these last few years..."

"So have I," Lex says, in a softer voice. He adds. "And, to clarify, I am not sitting on your lap, I'm pinning you with my ass."

Clark tips him onto his back and lies down next to him on the couch.

"Whatever you say."

Lex gives him a sudden, sweet smile. Clark reaches over to stroke Lex's cheek. Strange feeling of dj vu as he does it. Strange, but pleasant. He asks:

"So...are you hungry?"

Lex yawns.

"I could go for Italian a bit later-"

Clark holds his breath for a moment; that would be almost like a date, definitely a peace offering. They haven't sat down for a meal together in years.

"But right now I just want to sleep for a bit," says Lex.

"A nap sounds good," Clark says.

Lex rolls over. His back is against Clark's chest and his head is resting against Clark's arm. He yawns again, then says:

"Does this mean we'll have to give up our traditional banter? Because I'd miss that."

Clark laughs, then says in his sternest Superman voice:

"You'll never get away with this, Luthor!"

"You'll never hold me, Superman!" Lex replies, sleepily. His eyes droop closed and his breathing is slow and steady.

"But I am holding you," says Clark, softly. However, Lex is already asleep, snug in the crook of Clark's arm.

The few times that Clark and Lana shared a bed, she'd lain next to him as still and remote as a doll in a box. When Clark asked her if she dreamt, she shook her head.

Lois, on the other hand, dreams every night and is the star of every dream. "I had a fantastic one last night," she likes to tell Clark, over coffee at the Planet. "I solved the Greenhouse Effect and won the Pulitzer; I should really start writing my dreams down. I think there's a story in that..."

Lex makes himself small when he sleeps, curling into Clark. Clark pets him through his first nightmare and whispers encouragement through his second. Lex wakes up briefly and stares at Clark, through wide, unfocussed eyes:

"You're still here?"

"Always," Clark whispers back. He's not sure if that's a promise, a threat or just a statement of fact. Whatever it is, it's sufficient for Lex, who turns over and promptly falls back asleep.

"Always," says Clark once more, this time to himself.

Then he falls asleep too, lulled by the gentle thrum of Lex's heartbeat.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Vivian Darkbloom

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