It was still odd to Lex how easy and effortless this was. He sat cross-legged on the couch; Clark was stretched out half-naked across the leather, head resting in Lex's lap, looking as if he'd never been any more comfortable than he was at that very moment. The couch was long enough so his feet didn't quite reach the end, and every few minutes he wiggled his toes happily, like he couldn't quite grasp his luck.
Lex let himself run his fingers through Clark's hair, and Clark closed his eyes and yawned. He shifted cheerfully before settling down into a new and slightly different position, like a tired puppy.
"Do you believe in God?"
Clark smiled up at him. "Lex, you think too much."
"I know. You're always serious."
"I'm not always serious."
"Yes, you are. Even when you're joking."
He gave Clark a look. "Come on."
"Jeez, Lex, I don't know." Clark scrunched up his face a little. "My parents do, but it's in that kind of vague way. You know, church twice a year, and grace before dinner."
"What about you?"
"I never really thought about it."
"Ah, Clark," Lex said. "Where's your intellectual curiosity? You should be wondering about your place in the world, how it all fits together."
"You always come up with these discussions right when I'm about to fall asleep." Clark was grumbling. "It's not fair."
"The world's an unfair place," Lex said lightly.
Clark frowned. "My parents say I was a gift from above."
"But you don't think so?"
"It just seems like a pretty ... stupid way of going about it," Clark said. He bit his lip.
Lex rubbed his thumb over Clark's cheekbone. "Exactly. It's all too badly run. I refuse to put my belief into such an incompetent manager."
"You just think you could do it better."
"You don't think I could?"
"I'll pass on that one," said Clark, turning his head so his cheek rested against Lex's thigh.
"Free will, Clark. I know I can do it better myself."
"What about--" Clark paused dramatically. "Destiny?"
"We make our own destiny."
Clark let a laugh into Lex's trouser leg that sounded suspiciously close to a snort.
"Clark. There are moments in our life that end up defining us, that change everything. Most people walk blindly through life, never taking an active role in their own destiny. I believe we choose who we are."
"Lex, I don't think it works like that," Clark half-mumbled slowly into the fabric. "Things just happen. You don't get to choose it, or change it, or whatever."
"You can choose who you are because of it. Look at me, for instance."
Clark turned his head. "I'm looking." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Lex paused. "Remind me why I keep you around?"
"Um. My boyish charm?"
"Otherwise you'd have to give your philosophical discourses to the mice in the kitchen?"
"Smart-ass." He tugged at Clark's hair. "There's a cliche about standing at the crossroads, caught at the intersection of two separate paths. So you can choose what way you go, who you are."
"But you can't choose who are, Lex. It doesn't work like that. You're just ... you."
"That's the point, Clark. It's just a matter of will." Lex tightened his grip and looked ahead dreamily. "It's about rebirth."
"You can recreate yourself in your own image, not some AWOL deity's. Leaving it up to him is just weakness."
"God, Lex. You're so weird."
Lex looked down at Clark and smiled. "It's what you do when you can't face your choices."
"You never met me when I was in my early teens."
"I was at boarding school. The bald freak. Years younger than everybody else. Genius. Poor little rich boy with the dead mum and brother. Comic books and science fiction make surprisingly effective armor."
"Lex." Clark reached his hand up. Lex shook it away.
"You don't get it. I changed. I decided I was sick of being that person. I decided to change who I was. As soon I got back to Metropolis for college, I killed him off. I made myself anew."
Clark gazed at him. "I think I would have liked you when you were younger."
"No. You wouldn't," Lex said, letting his voice sharpen. "I didn't even like me. I was an asshole. You just like the exotic little glimpses that I kept around."
Clark made a face. "Whatever."
"That was one of those moments. The meteor was the same. My mother's death. The day at the bridge." Lex frowned across the room.
"So then, who's the real you?" Clark said doubtfully.
Lex glanced down again. "All of them."
"But--" Clark stopped, thinking.
"Think about it, Clark." He leaned over and took Clark's head in his hands. "The whole world is out there. You can be whoever you want. Whatever you want."
Clark blinked. "You sound like my parents when I was little."
Lex ignored him, and said urgently, "I've seen you changing, Clark. You're not the same kid you were a year ago."
"You've changed me," Clark said. He reached for the back of Lex's head.
"No. You've changed yourself because of me. There's a difference."
"Do you understand?" He leaned back again and smiled, hand still on Clark's jaw. "Now is when you have to decide. You don't have to be limited by who everyone thinks you are, or by this stupid little town. Our futures have nothing to do with our pasts."
"You really believe that," said Clark slowly.
"Of course I do."
"Wow, Lex. I never knew you were this..."
"Arrogant," Clark finished with a blinding grin.
"I'm not arrogant."
"Lex, you're comparing yourself to God. You don't think that's arrogant?"
"It's not arrogance if it's true."
Clark laughed as he raised himself up the remaining distance to kiss Lex softly.
"Clark. You still sleepy?"
Lex was sure he could see the miniature battle play out across Clark's face. "Not too sleepy," he said after a moment. "What did you have in mind?"
"I don't know," Lex said innocently. "I was thinking we could ... play church. You know. Sing hymns. Communion. Sacrificial rites."
"If you make a joke about priests and altar boys, this ends right now," Clark said, but he sat up and knelt beside Lex anyway.
Lex muttered as Clark began to kiss his neck. "Confessions. Baptism. Sacraments."
Clark paused and said, "Lex? Seriously? Sometimes you come really close to leaving 'sexy' behind and just being creepy."
"I know. It's a good thing you're sixteen and a walking hard-on or we might have a problem." He moved his hand down to demonstrate his point; Clark blushed and let out a tiny moan.
"Lex. Shut up."
"Yeah," said Lex. "All right." And he kissed Clark again.
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