Just Looking

by zahra

For Wendi. Thanks to Ali and Yvette.

Between voyeurism and exhibitionism, Lex really isn't that picky. There's always someone watching, all the better when they're watching him. As a general concept, Lex considers being watched a quasi-turn on. Countless eyes studying his every movement, counting his every breath, listening to every word that passes his lips. Lex likes being the center of attention and performing for an audience.

Being relegated to the audience is not high on his list of thrills; it lies somewhere between being hung from the rafters and being hit on by Lana Lang. However, Shakespeare said it best: the world is a stage, and if that's the case, Clark Kent deserves a Tony award.

Sometimes it's better to be the watcher rather than the watchee, especially when the watchee thinks he's alone. Especially when the watchee is built like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. Lex can't stand the clothing, but the ads are definitely worth their place in Vanity Fair.

Clark could be a model with all those clean lines and smooth skin, forget about the mouth. Forget about the water. Who knew that water from a hole in the ground could be so exotic? Lex knows an agent at Wilhelmina Models who would have a fucking heart attack if he saw Clark like this.

Lex has to make a point of never calling said agent ever again. Even if he promises Lex that he's really found Clark's legal doppelganger this time.

Lex doesn't mind being selfish. He doesn't mind not sharing with his fellow man. His fellow man would probably try and get in Clark's jeans too, and being an only child for so long really didn't help Lex's sense of fairness.

'Fair' is actually the only four-letter word not allowed in the Luthor manor, which is exactly why Lex has no qualms about watching Clark this way. No one else seems to want to.

At least no one worthwhile.

Smallville should be called Blindville; Lex has never seen so many willfully ignorant people that weren't on the LuthorCorp payroll. Maybe that's why Lex observes so much, because no one else does, apart from Chloe Sullivan and she's bordering on obsessive.

Not that Lex is pointing fingers.

Still, Lex doesn't mind watching Clark. He doesn't mind blending into the scenery if it means he can study Clark unobserved. Unobstructed, save for that stupid tree stump by the edge of the water.

Lex has seen the way that Clark tries to meld into the background with the slump of his flannel-covered shoulders and his mumbled answers. Lex has watched Clark try to contain himself when he shouldn't, when his life could be so much easier if he just let it all hang out.

Proverbially speaking of course.

But Lex has never had that problem. Lex has the opposite issue, sometimes he's so there that he can't hide. That he can't blend in. He's had to work hard at learning to be like everyone else. It's certainly not a skill his father would approve of, but that's why Lex will succeed where Lionel has failed. That's why Clark hasn't seen Lex yet, because Lex doesn't want him to.

Lex wants to watch. He wants to examine Clark when he's not hiding behind whatever the secret of the week is. Lex is trying really hard not to be seen, but he's not quite sure how long he can blend in with a bush of azaleas and something that he's praying isn't poison oak.

Maybe it will all be worth it if he can get in a few more minutes of quality Clark watching time. A few more minutes of praying that Clark does some sort of swimming somersault or dives under to look for whatever people find on the bottom of swimming holes. Lex actually just wants to see as much wet, naked Clark as he possibly can. It's doubtful, it's all equally unlikely to happen, but Clark wasn't likely to be naked on Lex's afternoon walk either, so who knows what could happen next.

Lex just wants to see if Clark's actually putting the skinny in skinny-dipping.

All the evidence is in Lex's favor. The clothes on that second tree stump by the bank are definitely Clark's. Lex would recognize that appalling check print anywhere, and there's only one pile, so at least Lex doesn't have to worry that some perky young thing with XX chromosomes is about to interrupt his idyllic existence. Still there are two tree stumps over there which means that someone else could be coming, or this could be divine intervention on Lex's behalf. But none of this rambling about fucking stumps is answering the real riddle which is exactly what Clark is doing out here. What else could he be doing out here: hidden in the trees, away from prying eyes, except going naked?

Clark naked.

Naked Clark, any way Lex thinks about it, is an excellent idea. Definitely one that Lex supports however it comes to pass. Even if it's not fully happening, it doesn't really matter. Clark's naked as far as Lex can tell, and if Lex's imagination wants to run rampant with that idea then there is no way he's going to stop it. Not when it's rocketing ahead of every part of Lex, with the possible exception of his cock, which probably figured out what was happening long before his brain did.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Lex only pictures Clark this naked when he's in the shower, or having a particularly irritating conversation with his father.

This scene could provide Lex with material well into the next decade.

Between the sunlight bouncing off the water and the appallingly lush greenery around the swimming hole, this scene is way too close to 'picturesque.' Lex might be tempted to start quoting Emerson if there wasn't a naked Clark in the middle of the entire menagerie making the whole thing XXX-rated.

Maybe Whitman would be more appropriate.

Maybe this is only a PG-13 movie with an NC-17 illusion.

That would really... suck, but it is a distinct possibility.

There is every chance that Clark is wearing briefs or those classic blue-checked boxers that brought Lex such great karmic luck out in Riley's field. Maybe those boxers should be burned, but for all Lex knows Clark could be wearing his jeans and boots...in a swimming hole.

It must be the sun affecting Lex's brain. Except that Lex is in the shade, and he's seen Clark's shirt by the tree stump, which means that to get dressed Clark has to get out, eventually.

Clark wet. Wet Clark.

The idea alone is enough to send Lex reeling, or wandering, or going places he's never been in his entire life.

Lex's cock must have a homing beacon where Clark Kent is concerned. He figures it has to because he never could've found this swimming hole of his own accord. He's not even sure where the hell he is. Not that that's really important, it's certainly not something he's going to examine too closely.

Not if the implications start screaming 'stalker' at him, because Lex isn't a stalker. Lex doesn't follow; he leads, so he didn't follow his cock to this swimming hole, it led him there.

If that reasoning seems a bit flawed, he's not going to examine it too closely. Besides, Lex is sure he was on his own property 20 minutes ago, okay, maybe 45 minutes ago, but it's not as though Lex actively went searching for this particular spot. When Mrs. Kent said Clark had gone swimming, she could've been talking about the Municipal Pool or any other swimming hole in town.

Clark could have been swimming anywhere, but he's swimming here, in this hideaway that's shaded by enormous oak and maple trees. Clark is swimming, ostensibly naked, in this postcard from Playgirl Goes Camping.

That issue never really interested Lex before, but he's adaptable, and Lex is not stalking, he's just not out in the open. And he's not staring, he's just 'observing.' It's kind of hard for him not to with the way that Clark is gliding back and forth, his long, golden arms parting the dark water like Moses.

He's provoking Lex, albeit unwittingly, and Biblical references are never a good sign of Lex's state of mind. Generally because he only thinks of them when he wants to defile innocents.

Clark is associated with a lot of Biblical references in Lex's brain.

Naked Clark is being associated with a complete mental breakdown on Lex's part. It's all that uncertainty that's the real problem: if Clark was in the chlorinated clear pool in the castle, Lex wouldn't have to be wondering about the state of Clark's nakedness. If they were at the castle, however, Clark probably wouldn't be skinny-dipping at all.

Screw the castle. Lex can do nature. Lex can do voyeurism.

Lex cannot stand here for the rest of his life when there's something crawling on his arm. Despite running a shit plant, Lex hates nature; he's an indoors kind of man. He fences and has a treadmill. Lex is a businessman. A businessman that should know better then to be hiding in the bushes like a Peeping Tom.

Nobody's perfect.

Even Lex. That's why he shifts slightly and steps on that twig. Not because Lex actually wants to be caught by Clark or anything. It's not because of some sort of unconscious desire or anything. No, of course not.

Right. Freud would have a field day.

"Who's... Lex?"

It's always nice to be expected, even when he's not really expected.

"You were expecting the Tooth Fairy?" Lex could be the Tooth Fairy, he's a kind of fairy at any rate. At least that's what his father declared a few months ago.

"Lex, were you -- where did you..."

"Always nice to see you too, Clark." Clark. God, Clark who's wet and wondering and coming closer to the edge of the watering hole. That's it, a bit closer, a bit more skin exposure. Wait, are those nipples?

Lex's original Mapplethorpe doesn't give him this many thrills.

"I was...where'd you come from?"

"Well, there's this thing, Clark, it's called sex. Among heterosexuals it involves a man and a woman, and sometimes..."


"You asked, I'm just answering." Clark never even let him get to the good part. Lex didn't talk about the schematics or even the different kinds of foreplay, of which there are many. Lex would be more than happy to draw up a detailed, graphic presentation for Clark's edification.

If Clark is really interested they could have an interactive learning session. Playing 'Show and Tell' is not just for the ankle-biters.

"Lex, I meant what are you doing out here in the woods?" In the middle of nowhere. It's called Kansas.

"It's called walking, Clark. Left leg, right leg, your body will follow." And if Lex is lucky Clark's body will walk him right over to Lex, or maybe not. Maybe Lex needs to ease off with the sarcasm, but he can't help it, all that blood loss is making him revert to his basic tendencies.

Sarcasm first, all else second.

"Very funny."

"I wasn't trying, I guess it just comes naturally." Naturally like nature. Lex likes nature. He fucking loves nature and he thanks Mother Nature for taking it upon herself to hide his erection behind this very convenient bush.

"I meant what are you doing here?"

"Well, there was this accident in Metropolis. It involved my mother marrying my father."

No one can change the subject like Lex.

"Lex, this is all really interesting..."

"But you've heard it all before, right?"

"Even *I've* heard about the birds and the bees... or the cows and the bulls."

Cows and birds and bulls and bees, and Clark referencing Lex's parents having sex. There is no erection on earth that can withstand that assault.

Lex can come out now, but maybe he should keep his hands in his pockets. Just to be on the safe side.

"Is there any particular reason you were hiding behind that bush?" Because Clark is semi-naked in a hole in the ground. This certainly seemed like a practical place to be fifteen seconds ago.

Lex is good at pragmatism; he just doesn't practice it as often as he should.

"I wanted to get you used to the intrusion."

"By talking to your disembodied head, Lex? For the record, you're not intruding. Actually, I think this might be your property."

"Well, if it is, you're Alexander too, make yourself at home."

"I kinda already have."

"Yes, I've noticed, but I'm glad to hear it. You seemed a bit startled when I first appeared."

Actually, Clark was completely engrossed elsewhere when Lex stumbled upon this little tableau, but Lex doesn't need to mention overhearing Clark's tone-deaf rendition of Prince's '1999.'

Personally, Lex would've gone for something a bit more appropriate, like 'Soft and Wet' or 'Wonderful Ass.'

"I was, but I'm cool now. I was actually kind of worried for a second, you seemed really fond of that plant." Lex has actually never been that fond of azaleas but desperate times and all that. He owes that plant a debt of gratitude, it was Lex's best friend for a while. Maybe he should have it removed to someplace near the castle. No, that might kill it.

"I take it you're not a big azalea fan?"

"I've never been that close with one before." Lex has, it was an intimate experience. He had the scratches to prove it for three days.

"Remind me to tell you about Freshers Week at Oxford sometime."

"I thought - you didn't go to Oxford, Lex."

"I didn't have to."


"You don't get it, do you, Clark?"

"If I say 'no,' you'll think I'm stupid, but if I say 'yes,' I'll never get to hear the story."

"How about I just tell you that it involved big azalea bushes, nudity and a first-year student named Jamie."

"Was she pretty?"

"I don't think Jamie was pretty, attractive is probably a better word." In Lex's experience, men hate being called 'pretty'.


Clark can't possibly be blushing, maybe it's all the heat. Maybe it's the water. Except that generally the whole idea of swimming is to cool off. Clark must be seriously warm-blooded. Nevertheless, it is really hot out today, which is exactly why Lex has no business wandering around in gabardine trousers and a button-down shirt. But he was just taking his afternoon walk... under the glare of a 95-degree Kansas sky with no sunglasses and no sunscreen.


Maybe Lex was passing by in search of something refreshing, like a cool Clark. Yes, that's his excuse, he's going to stick to it and pray it doesn't fall apart, or start getting dressed.

The refreshing part has merit, maybe Lex should go swimming, as soon as he checks out the temperature of the water. As soon as Lex sees how translucent the water is, and whether or not he can see a bit more of shirtless, and potentially naked, Clark.

"It's not quite as cold as I thought it would be."

"It feels really good." Lex bets it does.

"I'll be the judge of that." Shoes. Socks.

"Lex, um, what are you doing?"

"There's this other thing, Clark, it's called swimming. Sometimes it requires some skill, but in places such as these I think it just requires a lack of clothing and not drowning." At least that's how Lex thinks things like this work. He's never actually been to a swimming hole before, so there's only one way to find out. Tie. Shirt.

"You're coming in?"

No, Lex was just going to sit on the sidelines and stare. He's not a sick pervert, besides now that his erection is gone he can get undressed in front of Clark with a minimal amount of freakishness.

"Do you have a problem with that, Clark?"

"Yes, no. I mean no."

Hand on the waistband of his pants, and Lex thinks that that look on Clark's face might be panic. There's only one thing that makes people react to Lex that way, and it's not the worry that he's going to run them over.

"It's not everywhere, you know."

"What, who? What's not everywhere, Lex?"

"The whole hairless thing, it's not everywhere." But those goddamn freckles are.

Lex makes no apologies for how he is, people have stared and pointed at him for far too long. Yet there's was this hope he had, somewhere that he'll never admit, that maybe Clark might be above that.

"Lex, what made you say that?"

"You were staring, I thought you should know."

"I wasn't staring at you, I mean not like that. It's just that, you know, freckles."

Maybe Lex had hope for a good reason. "You were staring at my freckles?"

"Well, you have a lot of them." Which is something Lex would never deny, but there's something else flitting back and forth across Clark's face, and Lex doubts it's the sun reflecting off the water.

"Am I your first?" God, Lex can wish, right?


"First friend with freckles." Goddamn alliteration, all the same maybe Clark would like to study Lex's freckles in depth. Maybe Clark wants to touch them. Maybe Clark wants to touch Lex. Riiight. When that day comes, Lex will lay down and let Clark play Connect-the-Dots with his tongue.

Too much heat, too much delusion.

Too much silence without boundaries. It's far too easy for Lex's mind to wander when the water is rippling around Clark's stagnant form. Especially, when Lex has seen that look before. That wide-eyed, 'what the fuck have I gotten myself into now' look.

Clark had it on his face that time they nearly took out Farmer Ripple's cow, Blossom, on Route 19. Bad enough it took Hans three whole days to repair the fender of the Lotus after they crashed it into a ditch.

The poor car.

"Clark, I don't have to get in if you don't want me to."

"I'm sorry, Lex, I didn't mean it like that. I'm just..."

He's just what, never seen freckles? What the hell is going on here? If it's not the whole semi-naked Lex thing, Lex is at a loss. Oh well.

"Clark, it's a swimming hole. I won't die if I don't go for a swim, that's why we have a pool at the castle."

"Yeah, but that's not the same."

"Right, which is why I was going to get in. Am I supposed to stand on the bank, watching you swim, and get vicarious thrills?" Lex has being doing that for the last 15 minutes; he needs a change in his observational angle. Still, if Clark doesn't mind, Lex is sure that the resulting grass stains will come out of his pants, eventually.

Lex is so selfless.

"That's not what I meant."

"Look, Clark, if you're expecting a hot date or something, you can tell me." So Lex can get booby traps set up in the vicinity to take out the competition.

"No, Lex. I -- this is a bit embarrassing."

"What's a bit embarrassing about swimming in a hole?" Lex did not just ask that question, and he will deny it long after he's cold and stiff. Unless that water proves science wrong and he winds up being cold and stiff and still alive in the next 20 minutes.

"It's not the hole part, it's the other part." The part that Clark is motioning to by Lex's feet. Lex's feet are the problem? No, maybe it's the fact that only his shirt actually landed on that available tree stump. Or maybe it's his tie resting on Clark's boxers. Ah, now he gets it.

Naked Clark. Really naked Clark.

"Let me guess, they don't teach you about nudity in Kansas public schools?" Maybe Lex should take it upon himself to rectify this situation.


"I never actually thought you were dressed, if it counts." No, Lex just prayed.

"You don't mind?"

Mind. Mind? Lex would be disappointed beyond all reckoning if Clark actually was wearing underwear, although perhaps if Clark was wearing tighty whities he might be redeemed. Clark wearing wet briefs would redeem anything that could happen to Lex.

Head trauma and psychotic axe-wielding fathers included.

"Clark. Male. Twenty-one. Educated at a boarding school where sports were a requirement. Ask me again if I mind seeing another man naked."

Mind, pray, wish fervently, whatever.

"Oh, okay, I just wasn't sure and I didn't want to, you know, freak you out."

"Clark, do you honestly think you could 'freak' me out?" Lex would really like to see him try, as long as it doesn't involve Lana Lang and more public displays of Clark's obsessiveness.

"No, I guess not."

"Exactly." Now as to whether or not Lex can freak Clark out, the jury is still waiting for the defendant to present his case. Lex wonders how his underwear will go over.

"Even your underwear is black?"

Is that surprise in Clark's voice? Is this something he's actually thought about before? Not possible, things like this don't happen to Lex in Smallville. Besides Lex's birthday isn't for another three months. "I like black, Clark."

"I've never seen... is that cotton?"

"They're called boxer briefs, Clark. Do you want to try them on?" Oops, that's probably not what Lex was supposed to say. Maybe that's why Clark is giving him a funny look.

"No, that's all right. I just wasn't expecting cotton." No one ever is. Lex likes that element of surprise. Clark should see those Joe Boxers that Lex bought on a whim. Lex had no idea flannel could be that soft, the smiley faces are a bit off-putting though.

"Let me guess, you were expecting silk? Maybe in purple?"

"Yeah... No. No, I hadn't really thought about it too much." Too much. It looks like Lex's birthday has moved up this year, and his present has unwrapped itself. He's too old to think 'this is so fucking cool,' but that doesn't mean it's not happening.

"What makes you think that I would be wearing silk instead of what everyone else is wearing? Calvin Klein is an excellent investment." Especially when you've had their entire selection modeled by their male face, or crotch, of the month.

"Because -- because it's you, and you don't do what everyone else does, besides silk, it's smooth and you're -"

Lex is what? He really wants to hear the rest of his statement. Damn Clark for ducking underwater in embarrassment. Damn Clark for... for being wet. Lex needs to get in the water. Now.

Cold water equals erection death. Normally. Hopefully.

Lex knows he should know better than to apply anything 'normal' to Smallville living. After all, normally Lex isn't wandering in the woods in the appalling heat. Normally Lex is not perched on the edge of a body of water that's less like a lake and more like a really big hole in the ground. If it was glowing it could be meteor related. And on that note, maybe this isn't a really good idea. Maybe that's not really Clark, and maybe in all this heat Lex is hallucinating.

Oh, fuck. Maybe he's talking to Farmer Ripple's cow.

Lex has certainly had less pleasant hallucinations, but perhaps he shouldn't debate this while on the edge of a large body of water. Especially when there's mud involved.

Lex is usually a lot more graceful with his water entries. The whole belly flop thing is a new concept, but he supposes it's called something else when you go ass first.

"Lex? Lex, are you alright?"

Nothing that spitting a bunch of water at Clark won't cure. Lex always has a witty comeback, he just doesn't always use it.

"I'll take that as a yes, and also I'd like to add, gross. Do you even know what's in this water?" Yes, naked Clark.

The water is actually a lot warmer than Lex thought it would be, but maybe that's all Clark's doing. It's not nearly as deep as he would have suspected, either, but maybe the fact that it's right up to his shoulders is a good thing, in the event of an unplanned erection.

At least it seems to be clean, to a certain degree, not counting all the mud that's probably mixed in.

Lex really hopes that it's just mud.

"Well, I'm not seeing anything green and glowing so I'll say it's meteor-free. Was there something specific you wanted me to look for?" Perhaps naked Clark-bits.

"I was just... you know, I was actually worried there for a minute."

"I normally make better entrances, granted, but it's only water, Clark, see..." See Lex splash Clark. See Lex laugh. See Clark get even more wet, not that that's technically possible.

"What's wrong, did I get you wet, Clark?"


"Is that your warning voice I hear?"

"No, it's my 'you're going down' voice." Lex certainly hopes so, but he really wants to know when Clark learned to leer like that.

And God, Lex didn't think that Clark was that heavy. Lex had dreamt about it certainly, but approximations of that kind escaped him. What doesn't escape Lex is that rather than be pissed off by Clark's body being completely obscured by the water, Lex is overcome by how natural being with Clark feels, how Lex is having fun.

It's really disconcerting.

Apart from that, the entire experience is kind of... erotic, especially the being held under the water by Clark part.

Thank God Lex doesn't sputter when he comes up. He's just clearing his sinuses.

"Payback sucks, huh?"

"Clark, you have no idea what kind of payback I'm capable of." Lex is going to be capable of a lot more once he takes off his boxers. There's something really constricting about wet, clingy cotton, and who wants to be restricted when there's a naked Clark in the vicinity?

However, he's not really planning on explaining that to Clark. The stripping act should be enough. That whole 'plop' sound that his boxers make when they land in the mud doesn't sound very promising though; it's a good thing Lex normally goes without.

Lex can picture Enrique's face when Lex comes home smelling of nature and damp clothing, and his expression probably won't be that different from the look on Clark's face right now.

Maybe Clark is thinking about wet underwear too, maybe he's thinking about *Lex's* wet underwear. Yeah, whatever. Clark should actually count himself as grateful that Lex actually wore anything today.

Of course, Clark can probably only accept so many surprises before Lex's quota runs out, and the whole voyeurism thing probably took up a large percentage.

"Lex, are - did you just take off your boxers?"

"Give the man a prize. Yes, Clark, I did. Are there any other astute observations you'd like to make?"

"You didn't... have..."

"There's always safety in numbers, right?" There's always an off chance that Clark might want to cop a feel. Lex wouldn't want him to be deterred in any way.


"Don't mention it, always glad to help out a friend."

Except that Lex's friend doesn't actually seem to have much to say. In fact he's just sort of, well, swimming there, staring at Lex and Lex actually feels naked for a change.

Nudity has nothing to do with it.

If Lex thought Clark was slightly discomfited by the stares and the whole not-really-hairless thing, this is taking it to a new notch. There's something slightly off, but Lex's isn't even sure what it is so there's no way he can fix it.

"So, you never answered my question."

"Which question would that be, Clark?"

There are a million that Lex can think of right off the top of his head: Phelan, Jude, Hamilton, Level Three.

"What are you doing out here?"

"Out here in the world? Just trying to make a living like everybody else." A billion dollars just doesn't stretch as far as it used to, especially when Lex has to keep replacing cars and science labs.

"You know that's not what I meant."

Does he? Does Lex really know what Clark is talking about right now? There's a little alarm going off in Lex's head because Clark is cutting through the water and triggering that ingrained, Luthor-proximity-alert mechanism. Lex chooses to ignore the warning bell because this is Clark. Clark. "It's not? You should learn to be more specific then."

"What brought you down here, Lex. To the swimming hole?"

"Swimming. I thought we covered this. I could ask you the exact same thing. Do your parents know what you're doing right now?" The best defense is a good offense, and God, Lex hopes the Kents don't know about this little grotto.

"They know I've gone swimming, if that's what you mean."

"Do they know about the skinny dipping part, Clark?"

"It's not - I'm not skinny dipping."

"I hate to be the one to break it to you, Clark, but generally swimming around naked is called skinny dipping. I've done it before, I know." In other parts of the world it's called tempting fate or foreplay, but the concept is the same.

The game of Cat and Mouse never changes, no matter the context.

"I've done it before too, and..." And what? Before when? Why didn't Lex know? He could've had cameras installed.

"You've done it before, and what, Clark?"

"Nothing." Nothing? Lex wouldn't call it nothing. If Lex could actually see it that is, whatever this new 'it' is.

There's something happening in this goddamn swimming hole, but Lex can't figure out what it is. He can't figure out why Clark is so close and still so fucking far away. Lex doesn't have control; he doesn't even have a clue. Skinny-dipping with a sixteen year-old is suddenly the worst idea Lex has had since Victoria came to stay.

"It's always nothing with you, isn't it, Clark?"

It's never nothing to Lex. It's always something, and it's always happening to Lex. Because of Clark.

Lex is standing in a water hole of frustration because there's this setting and there's Clark and there's nudity, but it's just a tease. It feels like a set-up, like one of Lex's hopelessly repressed fantasies that are never going to come to fruition because Lex doesn't actually believe.

Lex is a realist. He's a cynic.

Clark doesn't want Lex. Clark just wants a friend. There's no something, there's no nothing. If this was the Matrix, Lex would be freaking out about there being no fucking spoon.

Lex hates being disappointed; Lex is hating a lot of things right now.

"Yet another secret you won't tell me, Clark?" That was low, Lex knows it. Oh well. The sun is too bright and Lex is wet and he's not getting laid and... and that was still really low. Even for Lex.

Especially for Lex. That stupid saying about the ones you love is ringing a bit too true right now.

God only knows what that says about Lex's dad.

"Clark, look, I'm sorry. That's not what I meant. You were trying to say something, and I was rude." Lex wants forgiveness for having hope? For feeling like he's been manipulated? Jesus, this is new. The heat is fucking with him like nothing else. Maybe the sun is a giant meteor rock.

This is why Lex stays indoors all the time; the sun is frying his fucking brain.

"It's not a secret, Lex. I just, I don't understand you sometimes. You treat me like an adult and then other times you act like I have the brain of a pigeon."

Other times Lex acts like a spoiled brat. Yes, he's definitely heard this one before, not from a 'friend' or anything. If Clark can be honest about this, why can't he be honest about other things? Why is it always so fucking complicated?

Why can't they catch a break?

"I apologized, Clark. I can't do anything else."

It's not like Lex hasn't tried. God, has he tried.

"All I was going to say was that I thought skinny dipping was something you did with other people, so technically I wasn't skinny dipping before."

Ah. So once again Shakespeare is popping up, but this time it's much ado about nothing. Only it's not nothing.

It's never nothing with Clark.

Jesus, the water may as well be clear, Lex is so blind he can't see a goddamn thing. It doesn't matter that Clark is only three feet in front of him, he might as well be in fucking Siberia for all the good it's doing Lex.

"You mean before I showed up and interrupted your tranquil existence." Isn't that the truth. Clark probably had an amazing life before Lex, a life without bald control-freaks and peeping toms. Actually that's not true, Lex has seen Clark with that telescope.

Maybe in another life they could've created a union. Peeping Tom's Local 109.

"It's not like that, Lex. I'm glad you showed up."

Of course he is. Clark is fucking thrilled that he and Lex are having some sort of metaphorical argument in Eden about things that neither one of them is willing to talk about. Yeah, Clark must be happy. Lex can tell. That's why Clark keeps getting closer and closer in a slightly menacing way.

Maybe Lex should dunk Clark to change the subject.

"Of course you're happy to see me, Clark. People are always happy when they're caught unawares by the crazy man in the castle."


"I was simply saying that you're perfectly justified in feeling a bit put out, especially with my behavior. I should probably go and leave you to it."

Maybe Lex should keep going when he gets to the castle, and head back to Metropolis. Forget that this ever happened. Forget that he ever got conned into feeling something for a hick from Smallville.

When Lex gets old and decrepit and is full of synthetic drugs, he'll tell this story to his grandkids as yet another reason not to eat organic produce.

All along Lex thought Clark was the one with the Martyr Complex. Newsflash.

The biggest shock of all is not what Lex has said, but that he actually means it. Some part of him must mean it because his body is swimming towards the bank, and Lex honestly doesn't think he's in charge of his own motor functions right now.

"Lex. Lex, you don't have to leave." Clark moves a lot faster than Lex does. Especially when Lex really doesn't want to leave at all.

Wow. Wet Clark. Up close and personal, and naked. And apparently able to see through the dreck a lot easier than Lex can because he's got a really firm grip on Lex's arm. Firm almost to the point of pain. Oh, God, Lex is not getting hard. It's time to recite the Periodic Table, in alphabetical order, from Zirconium to Aluminum.

Except that this water is murky, so Clark won't know what sort of effect he's having on Lex. And since Lex is shorter than Clark is, the water obscures more of Lex's body. But Clark on the other hand.

Lex is eye level with Clark's neck, and Clark's nipples are just an eyeroll away. If Lex were to look down, God only knows what else he might see, and then he might stroke out and drown.

Yay for Clark.

Even when Lex is angry and confused, he can still think with his libido. Maybe Clark should get a little bit closer just as a preventative measure. In case Lex tries to make a run for it or something.

Clark should probably push Lex back against the muddy bank of the swimming hole and do lots of other very physical things to prove his point too. That sort of activity in this locale could save Lex a lot on the mud-salt mix that his masseuse is always using to slough his skin off.

"Why does everything always have to be so intense with you?"

Lex hears Clark's question, but not in a million years did he ever think Clark would have the guts to ask. God only knows what Clark is going to say next. If he asks why Lex gives him those looks, they are going to be in real trouble.

It must be the sun breaking through the trees that makes Lex blink like that, and he has to swallow before he answers just to make sure that this is actually happening. It feels like he's swallowed a mouth full of water. "I don't know, Clark, why?"

"It's not a trick question."

"It's not?"

"I was swimming, and you came along, and I thought... I thought we were going to have fun, but now I feel like I've done something wrong. I feel like there's all this stuff happening and you're not telling me. You're shutting me out, and you're angry. I just want to help."

Help. Clark wants to help Lex. Isn't that how this whole fucking mess happened in the first fucking place? Clark helping Lex be more human. Clark helping Lex go slightly off the rails. Clark helping Lex by being endearing and guileless and secretive.

No wonder Lex is so crazy about Clark: they're both in love with lost causes, but only one of them can see it.

Lex really was just looking, but even if he was as blind as Oedipus he could see Clark. Point in fact, Clark is so close to Lex right now, that Lex could lick him dry.

"You haven't done anything wrong, Clark. I told you that." Not as long as all Clark's lies are exempt. Besides, this is Clark Kent. The same Clark Kent who's saved Lex from everyone, including himself. This is the same Clark Kent who calls Lex his 'friend.'

This is the same Clark that lies to Lex's face day after day and can't see what it's doing to Lex. For someone who's so astute, Clark is only sixteen. Sometimes Lex forgets.

"Why are you mad at me, Lex?"

"What makes you think I'm upset with you?"

"Because you're leaving, and you keep evading my questions. You're not supposed to answer a question with a question."

God, Clark is truly the son of Martha Kent, adoption records be damned. At the same time, Clark must be as thick as two planks. Why is Lex upset? Is Clark really that blind? What would happen if Lex actually showed Clark why he's angry, why Lex is hurt?

What would happen if Clark actually saw how much Lex wanted him?

Clark would go running off into the forest and that would be the end of it. At any rate, Lex isn't evading anything, it's called 'staving off.'

"I don't notice you answering my questions either, Clark."

"What do you want me to say, Lex?"

What does Lex want Clark to say? Anything, everything, whatever it is that will explain why Lex feels so manipulated. Lex just wants a little bit of truth from somebody. "What ever you want to say."

"Why do you do this to me?" Lex has been asking himself that very question ever since he met Clark.

"I don't do anything to you, Clark. You do it to yourself."

He really does, and so does Lex. All that willful blindness. Accessories to each other's crimes. Each one doing whatever they can to assist the other in their deception while still trying to dig the truth out of the sludge.

At least Lex can see the mess. At least he's looking at Clark.

But Clark's not focusing on Lex, or he's looking and not seeing. It's like Clark is looking everywhere but at Lex, and all Lex can think of are forests and trees and being blind. It's almost like Clark is the one driving the Porsche.

Lex didn't fall into a swimming hole; he fell into the river.

Maybe Clark won't save him this time.

"I don't want to lie to you, you know."

Lex would give anything to help Clark. He's trying so fucking hard to get it right, to not manipulate Clark, to not use him. Except that Clark has all this goddamn potential, and Lex just wants him to realize it. "I could help you, if you'd let me." Lex just wants Clark to open his eyes and see that what Lex is offering him is more than some fucking swimming hole in fucking Smallville.

This introspection is not where Lex had thought this afternoon was going to take him, but it certainly looks like that's where they're at. Maybe there's something in the water, maybe they're infected.

"I can't, Lex, you know that."

"I do know that, and that's why you lie to me, Clark: because you won't let me help you." As long as they have that all sorted out. At least Lex knows where he stands. Or swims.


No? It's as bright as daylight and as clear as Clark's eyes. "You're lying to me now." Lex doesn't have to grab Clark's chin and make him look at Lex to know this; but Lex does, because he can. If Clark is going to lie to Lex, Lex wants Clark to see what happens. What the lies do.

"Yes, but not for the reason you think."

At least Clark is being honest about his lying. That's a first. "Well, tell me what I think, Clark. Please, by all means." This should be interesting. Lex just doesn't have enough thoughts of his own, now he needs Clark's projections as well.

"You have to answer something for me, first."

First, as though there's going to be a second. Lex has been blowing smoke at Clark all damn day; Lex knows railroading when he hears it. "Why should I do that, Clark? What purpose is it going to serve? You know what, never mind, what do you want to know?" It's too draining, and there's too much water. From sixty to crashing into the river in less than five seconds.

"Why did you come here, Lex?"

"Does it even matter?"

"It always does. You always do."

Lex always does. Lex always matters, despite the lies. This is so not the answer that Lex was looking for, that Lex was expecting. He definitely didn't see this coming. Jesus, the ultimate headfuck, and Clark has to look at Lex, not just to lie to him, but to crack him open for the truth.

It's like a fucking dam break.

"I was looking for you, Clark."



Clark kisses Lex and it's good. That's certainly a word for it, except that Lex is obviously still upset and so is Clark and this is just a ploy. A ploy where Clark is cupping the back of Lex's head and tilting it that fraction of an inch, just so that they don't bump noses when Clark pulls back and smiles. All before kissing Lex again.


Christ, is that all it took to get Clark to kiss Lex? Nudity and mud and being upset over something neither one of them is willing to change? Shit. If Lex had known this before, he would've provoked Clark sooner. But maybe provoking is what this is all about, maybe that's what all the water and wetness and nudity was for.

Provocation: a reason for Lex to stop looking and start doing.

Lex has always been a doer; he's never been one to let opportunity pass him by. But since he's met Clark he's found himself second-guessing and having regrets, and maybe that's how they came to be in this place together.

Clark and Lex, in a hole in the ground, with nothing between them but each other.

"Clark, what are you doing?"

Not that Lex needs a diagram, but the whole Clark leaning down and actually pressing his lips against Lex's could stand a bit of explanation. If Lex didn't know better he'd swear that Clark was going to kiss him again. That Clark deliberately licked at Lex's lower lip and really did just, um, nuzzle Lex's neck.

"I'm trying to explain..." Clark is trying to explain by pressing his erection into Lex's navel? Well, it's an ambitious start, and people say manipulation doesn't work. Lex should probably put his hands on Clark and see how much manipulation he can inspire.

Judging by the way that Clark is rubbing against him, Lex is feeling pretty fucking inspirational.

Especially with the way that Lex can hear the water slapping against their bodies as they, um, manipulate each other. Shit, Lex has never been at a loss for words this way. And yet, as pliable as Clark's shoulders and neck and hips are beneath Lex's hands, something is wrong. There's mud and water and Clark nipping at his neck and, God, Clark's hands on his ass. But it's wrong, or it's desperation or it's drowning.

Lex knows there have to be worse ways to go than being groped to death by an overeager teenager with a mouth that tastes strangely like cinnamon and dirt. Still Lex feels this need to get everything clear first.

"Explanation through a tonsillectomy, Clark?"

"It's all your fault. You made me wait."

*Lex's* fault? "I made you wait?" Fucking priceless. Two deaf, dumb, and blind boys making out in a swimming hole because they couldn't bring themselves to actually see what was happening.

Lex will show Clark what happens when people make Lex wait. When people lie and scheme and make Lex fall for farmboys that should know better.

They get splashed. It's better than getting smacked.

"Sorry! Sorry, geez! Lex, I'm sorry." God, this day is really going to be one for the history books, and Lex is probably getting sunburned too. Lex hates being sunburned, it makes his shoulders peel. All the same, that seems a bit irrelevant right now. Now that Lex has got Clark, a naked Clark who seems very contrite, and Lex isn't going to let it all slide, but God.

It's been a long fucking day.

Lex is probably getting all pruney and red.

"There's nothing to be sorry for. Notice how I didn't push you away or anything?" No, in fact Lex has plans on wrapping himself around Clark so thoroughly he may never let him go.

Lex should probably kiss Clark again to drive his point home. Not that the emphasis is needed since Lex's cock has decided that cool water is no deterrent to being held by Clark Kent. Not that Lex has any reason to be embarrassed, not with Clark's cock nestled firmly against Lex's hip

God, Clark is beautiful, and he's young and he wants Lex. And Lex didn't see it. But now all Lex can see is want. Beneath the damp black hair plastered to Clark's forehead and the plump red mouth, there's nothing but this want. This really naked want.


Sometimes Clark makes it really easy to be crazy about him.

Lex has thought about how he wants to kiss Clark in every closet, loft, and backroom in town, but he doubts he ever imagined doing it with his eyes wide open in a swimming hole. Now though, Lex may never do it any other way again. He can't imagine seeing Clark any other way but with his eyes lidded and dilated. With the way the hazel irises dart back and forth between watching Lex watching Clark, and looking down at where their mouths are meshed together.

There's a lot to be said for looking, there's even more to be said for just feeling.

He may have all the time in the world to kiss Clark, but Lex thinks he should know what it's like with his eyes closed as well, just for clarity. And even in the darkness beneath Lex's eyelids there's this light creeping through, kissing Clark is like tasting colors. In Lex's imagination there are white teeth that taste like sugar and a bright pink tongue that tastes like cotton candy. There are so many tastes that they crowd and illuminate Lex's imagination until he can't see anything else.

Until he can barely breathe.

"Timeout, Clark... What exactly brought this on? Not that I'm objecting, but I'm a bit lost." In the woods without a map and his cock as the only compass.

"Lex, I - I saw you and I thought that...that --"

"You saw me when, Clark?"

"In the bushes."

"You did not." Lex is so startled he can't even deny his culpability.

"You were there for ages, Lex." Clark knew Lex was there. He knew Lex was watching him, and... and he must have put that display on, just for Lex.

"Wait. You knew I was there?"

Nothing but a grin. Nothing but that mouth descending again.

"Wait a minute, Nature Boy. Are you telling me you've known all along that I was out there?"


All that time. All that... baiting. Clark provoked Lex; he put on a goddamn show.

Jesus, Lex feels like an amateur. He never though that this was the secret that Clark was keeping from him. That Clark knew Lex was watching him, that Clark might actually have feelings for Lex as well. That would be 'hope' and all of Lex's experiences with hope have blown up in his face.

"You knew, and you didn't say anything?"

"Neither did you."

"I heard you singing Prince, Clark." Right, because that explains it all.

"That's not an excuse."

"I'm not saying it is." Lex isn't sure what he's saying. He's actually really fucking confused, yet again. In the space of an afternoon Lex has stalked, apparently been stalked, and exposed himself in more ways than one.

The police should arrest Clark for entrapment; Lex's stalking and indecent exposure are completely irrelevant.

"Would you prefer it if I sang Peter Gabriel, Lex?"

"Aren't you too young to know about either one of them?"

"My mom likes the 80's radio station."

"I see, and what do you like?"


Clark likes Lex.

"You couldn't have just told me this?" The fact that Clark baited Lex with the same question five times is irrelevant. It's clear that Clark has been spending his time studying the Marquis de Sade, and there are all sorts of hidden depths to Clark that Lex isn't privy to at this time.

Maybe that will change.

"I tried, but you hiding behind an azalea bush for 20 minutes didn't make it any easier."

Clark knows exactly what Lex was up to. He was watching. Lex got so lost in trying to see Clark that he was sure Clark never actually saw him.

God, Clark is good at this observation business; he needs to teach Lex some of his techniques.

"You're not going to let that go are you?"

"Would you?"

No, Lex wouldn't. He's not going to let anything go, least of all Clark. "Good point." Lex actually wants to make some other points too, but Clark is not making it easy to remember what they are. Not with the way that he keeps nuzzling Lex's neck and nipping at his earlobe, and Jesus, kissing his scalp.

That frisson of lust that just shot through Lex is going to shoot out somewhere, he's kind of praying it winds up being his feet. He's not going to come without some sort of manual stimulation from Clark. After all the lengths Lex has gone to get them naked, he'd feel cheated otherwise.

"You're scalp looks kinda red, Lex." Lex doesn't doubt it with all this damn Kansas sun, but that's no reason for Clark to stop kissing him. Knowing Lex's luck, however, his head can probably be seen for miles around by birds flying overhead. He's probably going to end up glowing in the dark for the next week or so. Maybe Clark will use him as a nightlight.


It's probably sunburn, but the way Clark is kissing and licking him makes Lex feel a lot better. Aloe vera never worked this well.

"It might be sunburn."


"Does your skin feel tight?" Oh yeah, and hot and hard and about a dozen other things. Lex should probably show Clark exactly what he means, even if that means Clark has to stop groping him for a second or two. The sacrifices Lex makes for the greater good.

"You have no idea." Which is why thrusting against Clark's stomach and adding in a little grind are so very necessary. Clark asked and Lex is answering, and as soon as they're out of this water, Lex is going to show him as well. The rippling water and about twenty thousand volts of lust are just temporary visual aides.

"That's not quite what I meant, Lex."

"Are you objecting?"

"No. No, I like seeing you like this, even if you're sunburned."

"You like seeing me naked, Clark?" If that's the case Lex can arrange for it to happen often and for prolonged periods of time. He could turn the castle into the first nudist camp in Smallville history.

"Yeah, yes."

Jackpot. "What else do you like, Clark?"

"Um, I like freckles."

Freckles. Freckles? Lex has those; Lex has loads of those. Finally, something that Lex can give Clark. There will be no dancing for joy, however, there will be much grinding against Clark and licking of Clark's chest. All in the name of 'freckles' of course.

"You do, Clark?"

"Yeah, I like them a lot." Oh shit, Clark is licking Lex's shoulder. He's licking Lex's freckles. Jesus. It's all too much. Lex has a naked wet Clark licking and biting at his neck and his collarbone, and his freckles.

Lex did not just whimper.

"You, uh, really like freckles, don't you, Clark?"

God yes.

"Just yours. Are they everywhere?"

Clark just likes *Lex's* freckles. Clark just likes Lex. Oh, Lex is so not dancing, not unless that whole grinding against Clark like he's a pole counts.

Lex knew there was something redeeming about all those strip clubs. Learning a good technique is invaluable.

"Pretty much, Clark. It's a red-head thing." More than that, it's a Clark thing. Lex would grow freckles for Clark if he didn't have them already.

"You're really a red-head?"

"I thought with all the freckles it was pretty obvious."

"Not really. I don't know a lot of red heads."

"Besides your mom."

"Yeah, but that's different."

"Okay, well now you know two." And as long as Clark keeps licking Lex that way, Lex will give him all the intimate knowledge Clark could ever want.

"So, you're really a red head, Lex?"


"Can I see for myself?"


Dedication: Wendi requested, I attempted. This goes out to Ali for being with me from the word 'naked,' and to the lovely Yvette for liking what I do. Thanks for witnessing and betaing this in all its forms.

"There's things I want, there's things I think I want There's things I've had, there's things I wanna have They say that life is what you make of it, and most of us just fake And I'm just looking..."
-Stereophonics 'Just Looking'

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