by Vivian Darkbloom
They've been living together a while now and though there have been a few ups and downs, Lex is confident that he thoroughly knows Lana, can predict her triggers and trouble spots.
What he hadn't taken into account was her curiosity. Lana doesn't have Chloe's abstract curiosity about the world at large; if it doesn't relate to Lana herself, she's not interested. But when it does concern her, Lana can be relentless and Lex should have recognized that.
He can actually feel the molecules in the library shift when Lana enters and though it's been a few years, Lex remembers this sensation. Remembers the utter helplessness of being questioned by Chloe, knowing that whatever she asked him, he was bound to answer. Lex has never forgiven Chloe for that. And facing Lana now, he knows his only chance is to speak first.
"Lana, I don't know how you managed to acquire a dose of Levitas but it is a very, very dangerous substance. We need to get you to the hospital."
Big, reproachful eyes. She is so good, always has been, at shifting blame and re-directing the conversation.
"Lex, are you keeping secrets from me?"
Horrible to be compelled to answer. And what makes it worse is Clark's sudden - but eminently predictable - arrival in the doorway. His worried eyes meet Lex's; for the first time in a long while, they're on the same side.
"Lana, you need to go to the hospital," Clark says. "Remember what happened to Chloe? You have to get an injection right away."
Lana ignores him.
"Lex - you promised - we promised to be honest with each other."
But it's impossible to ever be honest enough with Lana. Her hunger for secrets and personal revelation is bottomless. She always needs more. Lex has already had to invent secrets in order to have something to tell her.
"Do you even love me?"
This is a rhetorical question. She's expecting an honest answer - but not the one she gets.
"No," says Lex, sadly.
Lana gasps like she's taken a blow to the stomach. She looks - of course - to Clark for support. Clark says:
"Lana, you need to stop-"
And she does, she really does.
"I care about you," Lex manages to say and this is also true, though obviously of little comfort. Caring is not the same as loving.
Lana's voice is always softest when she's angriest, which is perhaps the one thing she has in common with Lionel Luthor. Lex has come to dread that whisper.
"You've been lying to me all along."
Again, not a question. If he could, Lex would push both Lana and Clark aside, make a run for it, but Levitas has the side effect of pinning its victims like butterflies.
"Have you ever loved anyone, Lex?"
"Lana," Clark says, a warning note in his voice.
"Yes," says Lex.
He wonders... if he bites his tongue in half, can he dodge her inevitable follow-up question? Perhaps, it wouldn't matter. His hands would take over and scribble out his secrets. Lana's eyes flash:
"Is it Helen?"
Dim hope that she'll keep scrolling through ex-girlfriends' names, coming up empty. Perhaps Clark can create a diversion. Lex casts a glance of appeal at Clark, still rooted in the doorway. Lana says:
"Then who? Who do you love?"
It's like having a vital organ torn from his body. This secret has been intertwined with Lex for so long, it almost defines him. It's a load-bearing secret, the core of who Lex is:
His voice seems to echo through the library. For a moment, no one moves; Lex needs to rest a hand on his desk because the room is swimming a little. He's dimly aware of Lana storming out the door, of Clark pausing to give him a quick look before he hurries after her. Clark rushing to the rescue, which is exactly what Lana has always wanted.
Lex isn't sure how he makes it upstairs. He's got brandy in his room and painkillers and other sorts of pills too. He takes an assortment of pills from a couple of bottles, doesn't care enough to count them. He washes the pills down with a big drink and lies down, unsure whether he's praying for sleep or oblivion. Please don't let him dream again of his mother presenting him with impossible choices, unhappy endings in both directions. Please, for once, just a night of nothingness, a blank chalkboard, forgetting.
The room fades to black.
"You have to get up."
Big hands tugging at him. Lex tries to hunker down in the bed. His head hurts; his eyes don't want to unseal.
But it seems he's not getting a choice, as the hands haul him out of bed. The floor is cold on his bare feet. He manages to open his eyes in time to see the ceiling spinning. Well, that's interesting...
"C'mon, Lex. You have to wake up."
"I am awake." That's what Lex intends to say but it comes out as a rusty whine and doesn't satisfy Clark - who may or may not be a figment of Lex's imagination.
"Right," says Clark, grimly. "Come on."
"Where are we going?" Did he say that or just think it? Clark doesn't answer and pulls Lex across the floor.
"Lex, what did you take?" Urgency in his voice. Lex can't answer because he doesn't remember.
"The hospital. I'll take you to the hospital."
That word at least comes out clear enough and Clark seems slightly relieved.
"Okay, okay. If we can get you walking...."
Clark is walking Lex in the same way a toddler "walks" his teddy bear. Lex's feet drag along the floor and if it wasn't for Clark's arm around him (and isn't that a beggar's bliss?) he'd be flat on his face.
"Why," Lex manages. His voice is starting to sound less rusty. "Why do we have to walk?"
Clark leads them out to the hall.
"Um," says Clark "I don't know. I guess it's what we do with the cows when they're sick?"
And here, Lex had thought he'd never laugh again. The laugh makes his stomach lurch like the North Sea.
"Lex, what it is?"
Flash of Clark's anxious face through half-closed eyes. And since when does Clark care if Lex lives or dies anyway? Even Lana tells Lex this.
"Bathroom. Going to be-"
Clark steers them quickly to the nearest bathroom and Lex collapses gratefully by the toilet bowl. He sees Clark reaching for the light switch-
"No! No light."
Better to be thoroughly humiliated in the dark, thank you.
The first retch is huge but dry. The second produces a Niagara of booze and froth that burns Lex's throat. Again and again, he's sick. There's a warm hand on his back and why does Clark feel the need to watch this anyway?
"This is good," says Clark, as the echoes die down. "Get it all out. Saves you from having your stomach pumped."
The warmth leaves his back and he hears a tap running. Clark returns with a glass of water and crouches down next to Lex.
"Drink it slow, okay? Or you'll be sick again."
How many times has Lex craved this exact sort of attention, solicitousness from Clark? And it's ruined now because this isn't affection. It's pity. Pity, coupled with Clark's stubborn sense of public duty: touching the untouchable, saving the unworthy.
Lex rinses his mouth and spits, splattering the toilet bowl, then does it again. The fingers have returned to his back and in lieu of his own nausea, he focuses on the gentle rhythm of Clark's breathing and the cool tile under his knees.
He rinses his mouth again. One more heave but there's nothing left to throw up.
"You ready to go back to bed?"
Lex nods and submits to those big hands again. Idly considers feigning a collapse to see if Clark might carry him, then actually does trip over his own feet on the bathroom threshold and has to be caught.
"Okay. You're okay." Clark continues to pep-talk him in this vein all the way back to the bedroom and Lex has figured out why. Lana must have already left him for Clark. Yeah, it's fast but Lana always has a back-up plan in place and no one knows that better than Lex. Clark must feel guilty but there's no need, really there isn't. He should tell Clark that.
"She's better off with you," Lex manages to blurt out.
"What?" say Clark, distracted. He's trying to ease Lex onto the bed. "Look, I'm going to lift you up, just a little, okay?"
For a moment, it's almost like his mother carrying him to bed. Lionel hated that: "Let him walk on his own two legs, Lillian. He's five years old, for God's sake."
Clark actually tucks him in, which is unexpected. The room is dark and the smell of the brandy still hangs in the air. Lex's head seems to weigh a ton and his pillow comes rushing up to meet it.
"Lex?" Clark's inquisitive voice, close to his ear.
"I have to go back to the hospital to check on Lana but I'll be back soon, okay?"
A fresh wave of humiliation hits Lex. Clark knows. He knows Lex's biggest secret. He's being kind and generous because he's sorry for Lex. Clark and Lana will talk about how pathetic Lex is, how lucky they both are to be re-united and out of his orbit.
Clark clearly isn't leaving until he has an answer.
Footsteps out the door - he had thought he wanted Clark to leave but the room suddenly feels so lonely - then sleep. Not a restful sleep but weariness settling like a load of bricks on his chest.
Lex wakes, hours later and there's a blissful split second before he remembers. Memory hits hard, then comes back for the re-bound. Lana knows; Lana hates him. Clark knows; Clark is sorry for him. Perhaps he should give overdosing another try.
Instead, he has a shower, gets dressed. Goes down to the library and tries to put on his game face. This is exactly the sort of day when Lionel is liable to turn up and bait him: "More difficulties on the romance front, son?"
It's also quite possible Lana will come, to announce their break-up. Even if Lex gives his immediate blessing to her reunion with Clark, before she even opens her mouth, that won't spare him the scene to follow. He should probably have a drink right now, to prepare himself for it,
Clark is back, hovering in the doorway again.
"Why not?" Lex says but he moves his hand from the decanter and takes a bottle of Ty Nant instead. He offers one to Clark, who awkwardly crosses the floor to accept it. There's a silence.
"Lana's recovering," Clark says finally. "I took her to the hospital."
"And the antidote for Levitas?" Lex asks, not expecting a proper answer.
He doesn't get one.
"I have a source," Clark says. He doesn't meet Lex's eye. "You know, from last time."
"Lex, Lana shouldn't have done that to you....it was unfair."
"It's done. And anyway, it's not like anything I could say could make you hate me more, is it? You may as well know the worst."
"First of all, I don't hate you. Even with everything....I've never hated you. I get mad at you when you lie to me or put yourself or Lana in danger."
Lex bridles a little. He thinks: and what about when you lie to me, Clark?
"Knowing that....that you, um, like me-" Clark says. "That's very far from being the worst secret you could tell me."
Lex can handle almost anything, but not pity, and especially not pity from Clark.
"I'm sorry, Clark, I think you should go-"
"Wait," says Clark and grabs his arm.
"I don't want your pity," says Lex, through clenched teeth.
"You're not getting it," says Clark, equally flinty. "I just want to try - just once....because you said..."
And suddenly Lex's entire personal space is filled with Clark, like a flannel wall closing in on him. There are strong arms around him, a hand tilts Lex's chin up and then, unbelievably, Clark is slowly moving in for a kiss. Lex has had dreams like this and thinks for a moment he must be still asleep. He'd pinch himself if his arms weren't pressed to his sides in a flannel vise.
It's not a skilled kiss; it's sloppy, poorly aimed and their noses smash. Yet, it's also the best kiss Lex has ever had. And all he can do is stand there and experience it. Lex has probably kissed more people than Clark has actually ever met in his whole life yet the fact that this is Clark kissing him instantly transforms Lex back into a stunned, trembling virgin.
"Lex?" Clark pulls away. "I'm sorry...I didn't ask and I know we shouldn't...."
Lex isn't one to waste a second chance. He grabs Clark by the shoulder and this time he takes charge of the kiss.
Sweet, soft mouth - underlying taste of apples. Tongues fighting for dominance; Clark's enormous hands seeming to span his entire back.
They pull apart, finally, gasping. Clark's eyes are huge. When he speaks, there's an underlying plea in his voice.
"Lex, if you felt like this, how come.....why did you never tell me?"
Lex has always found it easy to make declarations to women. He'd been blatant in his pursuit of Helen, then Lana and many, many others in between. It had been easy because the stakes were never very high. Whereas, with Clark, Lex had been so petrified of losing him that in the end the stress wore him down. He'd never known when the next accusation - false or well-founded - would be coming. He'd hated seeing Clark's eyes become a mirror of Jonathan's when they looked at him. In the end, it had just been easier to toss in his hand and wrestle Victory - in the form of Lana - from Defeat.
But he doesn't say any of this to Clark. Instead, he says:
Clark is still standing very close to him; Lex can feel the heat from Clark's body, smell the fabric softener from his shirt. Clark hesitates, then ducks his head and says in a low voice.
"Lex, can we....can we go to your room?"
Lex takes a sharp breath. Clark is staring at him, the way he used to stare when they first met. Lex had tried, but never succeeded in deciphering those eyes. He could never tell if it was longing or love or just regular, friendly interest that made Clark watch him like that.
"Yes, we can go to my room."
The bed is still unmade. Clark sits down on the corner and looks up at Lex, so much shyer than Lana, who'd cheerfully stripped Lex down and pounced on him. Lex enjoys an aggressive woman but nothing compares to a doe-eyed, nervous Clark.
He sits down next to Clark and this time they move smoothly into each other's arms. One of Clark's hands finds its way under Lex's shirt and Lex gasps at the contact. To his amusement, this prompts Clark to take charge. He eases Lex onto his back and kisses him again. One of Lex's hands is threaded through Clark's soft, shaggy hair; the other is deftly undoing the buttons of his flannel shirt.
Skin. Warm skin. Hard little nipples that blossom and swell under Lex's thumb.
Clark thrusts involuntarily against the bed. Lex lowers his hand and discovers that Clark is hard as a rock. He's all set to come in his jeans but Lex has a better idea.
"On your back. You'll like this."
And he will. Blow jobs aren't in Lana's repertoire and it makes Lex's mouth water to think he might be Clark's first.
Clark rolls onto his back, hands awkwardly flopped on his chest like big puppy paws. Lex pushes the hands aside in order to lick and kiss his way down Clark's chest. Clark's stomach quivers under his tongue. Lex licks a circle around the salty belly button, as Clark moans and clutches the sheets.
Unbutton the button fly...push down the cheap blue boxers....
Clark's cock bursts free: hard, thick and all rosy-damp at the tip. Lex uses his thumb to toy with the foreskin. Clark watches him, eyes huge.
"Feel good?" Lex asks.
"Yeah," Clark's voice is tight. "But I'm going to....Lex, I'm going to ...."
"Yeah. Lie back now."
Intoxicating to wrap his lips around Clark, so responsive and alive in his mouth. He puts his hands on trembling hips. Clark, ever polite, is fighting his impulse to thrust but Lex knows exactly what to do about that. He wraps his hand around the base of Clark's shaft and licks him. Gentle ice cream cone sweeps first, then rougher licks around the base. Clark starts moaning at first contact and doesn't stop. It's a gorgeous sound: rough, needy and undeniably male.
Lex pulls Clark's jeans down a bit further so he can cradle Clark's balls in his hand and tickle behind them.
"Oh!" says Clark, eyes wide open, endearingly surprised by this. "Lex!"
Then, he's coming, in a blast of warm salty cream down Lex's willing throat. It's been a long time since Lex gave a blow job but Clark doesn't seem to taste different than any other man. Only, you know, better. Because he's Clark.
Lex licks him until Clark whines and gently pushes him away. Lex sits back on his haunches and watches Clark. Rosy cheeks, sooty lashes fluttering slightly, a very becoming flush that descends from his face to his neck.
What happens next is critical. If Clark decides to adopt his posture of affronted virtue and walk out, Lex will let him go. But he won't forget and Clark will pay for it. Lana's a moot issue at this point but there's still Chloe and Lois and Lex wouldn't balk at seducing either, or both of them, if Clark hurts him now....
"What are you thinking about?" Clark props himself up on one elbow.
Lex decides to be honest:
"Miscellaneous evil plots."
Clark raises an eyebrow.
"Well, I can't have that."
And with that, he flips Lex onto his back, leaving him a little breathless. It's shameless how much he wants, needs, Clark to pin him to the bed. Big hands locked in his, holding him down. Warm mouth anchoring him.
"Can I take your shirt off?" The combination of polite boy with powerful man is going to have Lex coming any moment now.
He wonders if Clark will imitate what Lex did to him but, no. Clark has his own itinerary in mind, one that involves licking the hollow of Lex's throat until Lex is whimpering. Was that a slightly wicked laugh from Clark? Hands toying with his nipples, twisting gently like Clark's trying to tune in the local country music station.
"Pants now," says Clark softly and Lex lifts his hips so Clark can pull them off. Clark settles in between his legs; Lex throws one leg over Clark's shoulder. It's resting partly on flannel and partly on skin. Feels so good....
"Let me know if I'm doing this wrong." Earnest look on Clark's face; Lex's view is partly obscured by his own straining cock.
"I'll do that." Lex's voice is tight as a guitar string, which makes Clark grin.
And then Clark's mouth is on him.
Lex would estimate that he has thought about having sex with Clark approximately every thirty seconds since their first meeting on the river bank. He has thought about sex with Clark while sitting in boardrooms and pacing the factory floor; while arguing with his own father and while desperately trying to curry favour with Clark's. He has thought about sex with Clark while riding in helicopters and networking at cocktail parties, while tied to chairs waiting to be rescued and in hospital under anesthetic.
Lex has thought about Clark while Victoria was going down on him, while Helen had her silky thighs wrapped around his waist, while a thousand anonymous women moaned the same moan and scratched the same glossy nails down his back. As he eased himself into Lana, the first thought on Lex's mind had been: "Clark has been here...I am now one step removed from having sex with Clark." Lana had asked him what was so funny and Thank God she hadn't had access to Levitas at that particular moment.
The irony is that now that he is actually having Sex with Clark....all he can still think about is Sex with Clark. Full circle has been achieved. Lex laughs, prompting Clark to withdraw his perfect mouth, already sticky with Lex's pre-come and ask, just like Lana:
"Everything," Lex says. "Nothing. Keep going....you're perfect."
Big beam from Clark and he resumes his blow-job, which is, in fact, very far from perfect and features a little too much teeth to be comfortable. Yet it's still perfect because that is Clark's mouth, Clark's beautiful face between his legs, Clark's heart pounding against Lex's right thigh, Clark's big hand grasping Lex's hip like the handle of a coffee mug.
Lex arches, higher than he thought his back could go, and comes in three desperate spurts into Clark's mouth. Clark, surprised, doesn't catch all of it but good boy that he is, licks up the residual splatter from Lex's stomach and his own hand.
Lex closes his eyes and waits for his heart to stop racing. He hears the bed-springs creak as Clark moves up to lie next to him. When he opens his eyes, Clark is lying on his side, watching him, tracing an idle pattern on the sheet with a finger. Lex notes that Clark's cock is half-way to hard again, which is a truly prodigious recovery time. He takes Clark into his hand and jacks him in long, slow strokes, watching the sensations play across Clark's face. Clark gasps once, then leans over to kiss Lex, reaching for Lex's cock.
It's too soon but Lex conceals his wince. Telling Clark to let go of his cock would be against nature. And soon enough, it feels good again, the blood in Lex's body figuring out where it's wanted. They stroke each other slowly, eye to eye, cock to cock. Clark comes first, spattering Lex's hand and the sheets. The sight of this, and the astonished look on Clark's face, is enough for Lex to come too.
Clark loops an arm around Lex, pulls him closer and falls asleep in under a minute.
Lex stays awake and watches him. This may be his one chance to hold Clark, to see him sleep, feel his breath against his neck and he's not going to waste it. It occurs to Lex that this would be an interesting moment for Lana to return and check out the surveillance cameras. For all her initial objections to the cameras, he knows she's come to appreciate them as a way of tracking Lex's movements around the mansion.
Lex yawns, mingling his breath with Clark's, then settles against a comfortable corner of farm-bred shoulder and sleeps.
A noise from the hall wakes him. Clark is already awake, sitting up, with his head cocked to one side. He reaches for his clothes on the floor.
"Stay here," he tells Lex. "I'll go."
Lex, amused at being treated like the damsel in distress in his own bed, complies. He's certain it's Lana and the voices that reach him from the hallway confirm this. Actually, he can only hear Clark but this means Lana, angry, has reverted to whisper-mode.
A few minutes later, Clark returns, looking slightly abashed. Lex sits up and wraps his arm around his knees.
"She, uh," Clark says. "She didn't figure out what we were doing. She thanked me for looking out for you."
"I'm surprised she'd forgive me that quickly," Lex says.
Clark shifts on his feet.
"She just came to get her stuff; she's going to Nell's."
Lex restrains a laugh. Poor Nell, always Lana's absolute last resort.
Clark sits on the edge of the bed:
"Lex, I'm sorry if....this makes things worse for you and Lana. I also hope it doesn't make things worse for you and me, though I guess....well, that's hardly possible, is it?"
Lex senses this is a critical moment; their future, yet again, hanging in the balance. He has to say this quickly. Or he never will:
"Clark, the mansion has cameras in every room, including this one; you should take last night's footage with you, when you go. Otherwise, apart from me watching it repeatedly-"
"- there's a risk that I'd use it against you, if things get bad with us again."
"And these sheets.... you can take them with you. So you'll know that they're safe."
Clark leans forward:
"And if I leave them, what will you do?"
"I'll be tempted," Lex says. "Part of me, right now, wants to rush them down to the lab and analyze the hell out of them. That's why they have to go with you."
Clark stands up:
Lex wasn't expecting that:
"You told Lana you love me," Clark says. "Now, prove to me that you understand what love means. If I take the sheets, take the video tape, it only proves that I still can't trust you-"
"And maybe you can't," says Lex and damn his traitorous eyes for starting to get teary.
"Maybe," says Clark. He suddenly looks so adult, looming over the bed. "But the choice is yours. Don't pretend otherwise. And by the way-"
He leans down to brush a kiss across Lex's mouth.
"-I love you too."
Then he's gone, leaving Lex in a messy bed and the throes of temptation.
Lionel does eventually arrive, some three hours later. He stands in the threshold and sniffs the air.
"It's a warm day for a fire, Lex."
Lex sips his brandy and says nothing.
"I hear Ms Lang has retreated to the more commodious arms of her Aunt."
So Nell has been talking. Even though their affair was years ago, Nell retains an unfathomable affection for Lionel; this was the one barrier that caused Lex to reject her advances when she'd flirted with him during his first year in Smallville.
Lionel watches him:
"You're not upset, son?"
"Nothing wrong with Lana taking some family time."
"Reconsidering her options," Lionel says. "I hear Clark Kent was here last night."
He's fishing, doesn't know anything. Lex glances at the fire place and returns to his drink.
"Yes, what are you burning in there Lex? It smells foul."
Lionel goes over to take a look for himself. He picks up the poker and prods the ashes.
"Sheets and - is this film? Is this evidence, son? Evidence of what?"
Lex doesn't rise to the bait. Let him theorize. Lionel, thwarted, circles the library again and stops at Lex's desk. As Lex had hoped, his eye is caught by a book.
"This is new reading for you, isn't it, Lex? "Six Characters in Search of an Author" by Pirandello? Not your sort of thing, I would have thought."
It's the cue Lex has been waiting for:
"I've actually been considering writing a sequel, Dad. Even have the title picked out."
Lionel cocks his head:
"And what would that be?"
Lex walks to the doorway, pauses and turns.
"Two Characters who Escaped the Plot".
As exit lines go, it can't be improved upon. Lex walks down the hall with a smile on his face, leaving Lionel, alone and puzzled, in the library.
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