The expression on Lex's face was something close to priceless as he nodded at all the appropriate places in the one-sided conversation. Clark nearly snorted lime sherbet punch up his nose when, taking advantage of a momentary distraction, Lex shot him a threatening look over his uncle's meaty shoulder and mouthed, "Kill me now."
Clark figured he owed Lex. Like, a lot.
Lex's distracting presence at the Kent farm during the biannual family reunion had kept most of the, "You've grown so tall!" and, "Such a fine young man!" comments and cheek-pinching to a minimum.
Lex had weathered the cooing of the Kent clan well, circulating amongst Clark's relatives and ignoring the thunderous glares from Clark's dad. Clark figured that Lex had been to enough cocktail parties from hell to manage a little family get-together like this.
He did lose a little of the Luthor cool when Clark's great aunt Bev goosed him in the kitchen, and Clark had never been so glad to be on camera duty in his entire life.
Thank goodness Lex had been too occupied extracting Great Aunt Bev's hand from his left butt cheek to notice Clark snapping pictures.
Not for blackmail purposes. At least, not real blackmail. More like if Clark needed to pry Lex away from work or whatever latest exotic arm candy he'd brought home from Metropolis.
Not that Lex usually required all that much prying, and who was Clark kidding, someone was going to have to pry those pictures of Lex's shocked face from his cold, dead hands.
Clark wandered over to where Lex was still nodding and poked at the potato salad on his plate with a plastic fork. When he heard what his uncle was actually saying to Lex, he choked on a big lump of potato and celery. Lex whacked him on the back with his open hand, and Clark loudly swallowed the offending bits of food.
"Uncle!" he said, voice thick and strangled.
"Kids these days," Einar said, shaking his head, his accent still thick from when he lived in Stockholm. "They can't even take time to chew their food properly."
Lex made a non-committal noise in his throat and continued to rub between Clark's shoulder blades.
"So, about the gay," Einar said, scratching at one of his lamb chops with his stubby index finger. He leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "I gather Jonathan doesn't approve of your relationship."
Clark widened his eyes. Lex blinked.
"The gay," Lex repeated evenly.
Clark glanced at Lex, and found Lex looking back out of the corner of his eye. Clark shrugged helplessly.
Uncle Einar propped his hands on his flannel-covered beer belly and smiled. "Now, now. I may be old, but I'm not hidebound like Jonathan Kent, young man."
"Speaking of Jonathan Kent," Lex said smoothly, "you're not his brother, are you?"
Einar laughed and waggled his thick hand. "No, no, there's no family resemblance, is there? And don't go trying to change the subject until I'm ready to talk about something else, boy."
"My apologies," Lex said, voice low. He looked at Clark like he was checking to make sure Clark was still breathing.
Clark shrugged helplessly. And barely remembered to breathe. "Uncle," he said. "We're really not --"
"Used to discussing it openly like this," Lex said, curling his hand over Clark's shoulder.
And, okay, maybe this was a little bit of revenge for not warning Lex to stay clear of the Kent farm while Clark's relatives were overrunning the place, but despite the fact that he was a sixteen-year-old alien with super powers and a martyr complex that would send the school counselor into raptures, sometimes Clark just liked seeing Lex squirm.
"You're a petty, petty little boy," Lex had said when Clark had forcibly pulled him away from his Ferrari and into the jam-packed backyard barbeque. "People usually lure me with the promise of locked doors and etchings, Clark."
"Scared, Lex?" Clark had taunted.
Lex's mouth had twisted. "Clark, I don't think you realize that Luthor family gatherings are like playing Clue. Grandmother Lorraine in the conservatory with a 9mm."
"Your family's weird, Lex," Clark had said. "And there's no 9mm in Clue."
"Pot?" Lex had said. "Meet kettle."
And then the crowd of family had descended upon the famous guy, allowing Clark to escape Granny's clutches with only a few swats and pinches, and embarrassing references to the size of his biceps.
Clark looked at Uncle Einar and shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah. We're, uh, not out. Or. Anything."
"Oh, you two don't have to be embarrassed around me!" Einar said loudly and chuckled. He heartily smacked Lex's shoulder, which sent Lex caroming into Clark's chest. The remainder of Clark's potato salad ended up dripping down Lex's sleeve and smeared across the front pocket of Clark's new flannel shirt.
Clark caught Lex against him and held on, and boy, did this seem familiar.
And by familiar, Clark did not mean the potato salad or the knowing grin on Uncle Einar's face.
Clark reminded himself not to scheme anymore, not if his schemes were going to land him a rich boyfriend and a world of red-faced embarrassment while they both stood in the middle of his nearest and dearest family members wearing runny food.
At least it hadn't been a slice of his mom's blueberry pie.
"Excuse us while we wash up," Lex said.
Uncle Einar winked broadly. They fled like a manure truck had crashed in the driveway.
Clark was practically glued to Lex's back as they walked inside the house, walking around pockets of Clark's chatty relatives. Lex glanced over his shoulder as he led the way to the upstairs bathroom.
"Clark," he said, and wow, the last time Clark had heard him use that tone, Lex had been holding a semi-automatic weapon.
Lex paused and nodded at one of Clark's relatives as she passed them on the landing -- he thought it might be his second cousin Jackie, but Clark hadn't seen her since he was eight, so he couldn't be sure. "Might I bother you for an explanation?"
Clark followed Lex into the bathroom and decided to play dumb. "Sure, Lex. What about?"
Lex didn't look up as he dabbed at his jacket sleeve with a wash cloth. "Oh, I don't know, Clark. Why don't we start with why I'm here and work our way up to the man we were just talking to who sounds like the Swedish Chef, and why your cousin Bobby asked me to meet him in the barn later so I could suck him off."
Clark's fingers slipped on the buttons of his shirt and a few went flying to clink against the mirror behind the sink. "He what? He's-he's got a mullet, Lex."
Lex smiled finally, his mouth a little off-center. "It wasn't my idea, I assure you."
"And tattoos," Clark continued indignantly, shrugging off his shirt. "And he drives a semi."
"Clark," Lex said, "I don't plan on blowing your cousin Bobby."
"Good," Clark said firmly, checking his T-shirt for potato salad stains. Because if Lex did plan to blow Clark's cousin, Clark first had to kill Bobby, demand that Lex see a psychiatrist, and then find some way to blame it all on the meteor rocks so he wouldn't have to admit he was jealous.
Then Lex's warm fingers were on Clark's wrist, and he was staring up at Clark with those light blue eyes. "Why am I here, Clark?"
"Chloe's in Metropolis," Clark said. "And besides, she'd just interview all my relatives for embarrassing stories about me when I was little. Lana's too busy with the Talon, and Pete flat-out refused to even come near the place while my family was in town."
Lex's face shut down a little, not enough for most people to notice, but Clark wasn't most people. "I see," he said.
"No, Lex, I don't think you do." Clark grinned. "I wanted you to be here."
"Why?" Lex asked. He looked suspicious.
Lex sighed and glared at the towel rack. "Because why?"
Clark didn't really have a reason beyond the fact that he did, not one he could give Lex, anyway. That he could have Lex over without his dad running Lex off, that Lex would probably still talk to him after running the gauntlet of his relatives, and that Clark really liked the thing Lex did with his mouth when he was uncomfortable.
That was definitely not a heterosexual thought Clark had just had.
He'd been having a lot of those thoughts since he met Lex, so maybe his Uncle Einar wasn't pulling this gay thing out of his dentures, and wasn't that going to make his parents happy.
Clark absentmindedly peered through the wall to see what was going on in the backyard and was saved from having to answer Lex's question by an immediate sensation of panic. Clark brushed past Lex to pull back the curtains on the window in case his x-ray vision was playing really, really mean tricks on him today.
"Oh, god," Clark said.
"What is it?" Lex pressed against Clark's back in order to look over his shoulder. "Oh, god."
Down on the lawn below, his laughing Uncle Einar had cornered his dad. Clark had seen an expression of murderous rage on his father's face before during the whole mutant flower thing, and he wondered why it seemed to be escaping Uncle Einar's attention right now. Maybe they got angry differently in Sweden.
Clark could see the vein throbbing at his dad's temple from here.
"We're dead men walking," Clark said.
Lex dropped his forehead to Clark's shoulder. "You know, Clark, if I'm going to be executed for a crime, I really would have liked it to be something I'm actually guilty of doing."
"They'll never let me leave the house again," Clark said. "They can't legally ground me until I'm thirty, right, Lex?"
Lex didn't lift his head. "You'll say nice things about me at the funeral, I hope?"
Clark turned around and pressed his back to the window. He tried to remember how to breathe again. "This sucks, Lex."
Lex laughed, and the sound just did things to Clark's insides. "In a manner of speaking."
Clark grinned at Lex, and suddenly the situation didn't seem so bad.
Okay, so it was still really bad, and Clark's dad was going to be breaking down the bathroom door any minute now, but in the meantime, Clark was getting some really interesting ideas.
It was easier to be brave when he knew he was going to be dead meat before the end of the day.
"So, Lex," Clark said. "Wanna be guilty with me?"
It took a moment for Lex to get what he was saying, but when Lex finally did, Clark was glad he was already leaning against something. Lex's eyes gleamed, and he tilted his head in a way that Clark finally recognized as interest.
'I want to do you' interest.
Lex hadn't exactly been hiding his interest all this time, Clark realized, but then, neither had Chloe, and he hadn't picked up on that, either.
Clark stopped thinking about how he was going to explain everything to his dad when Lex kissed him. Full lips, wide mouth, slick tongue. The first time he'd kissed a girl -- Chloe -- he'd had all these expectations about what it was supposed to be like. Like it was supposed to be momentous or move the earth under his feet, or something.
The earth hadn't moved, and three years ago, he'd wondered what all the fuss was about.
Maybe Lex just knew what he was doing, or maybe Clark liked the fact that he didn't have to fold himself in half to reach Lex's mouth. The other kisses had been nice, but they hadn't made him want to climb inside the other person's body like he wanted to do with Lex.
Still awkward and weird, but in a really hot way. A way that had his heart pounding in his ears so badly that Clark didn't think he'd be able to hear it if anyone walked up the stairs. Hot in a way that made him not care about anything else.
Although Clark was pretty sure he'd care about what his dad had to say later.
Now he finally understood why Lex kept driving too fast.
Clark swung them around and pressed Lex against the wall between the toilet and the towel rack. Lex broke the kiss to pant into Clark's open mouth, his eyes barely open. He traced the outline of Clark's lips with his tongue, and the tickling sensation made Clark lean into Lex even more.
"Your father's probably calling the police," Lex said, then sucked a kiss into Clark's neck.
Personally, Clark thought his dad would probably rather shoot Lex himself instead of having him arrested, but he figured sharing that would be a bad idea. It might stop Lex from sliding his hands down Clark's back and tucking them into the back pockets of Clark's jeans.
And Clark really didn't want him to stop doing that right now.
"Doesn't have any evidence," Lex was mumbling as Clark licked at his neck, "I could probably get off."
The fact that he was necking with the guy who was also his best friend in his parents' bathroom while his relatives were probably lining up outside the door wondering why it was taking him so long to wash his hands notwithstanding, Clark just had to snicker into Lex's throat when Lex said, 'get off.'
"Oh, Clark," Lex said, his voice husky and sounding like a pained adult. "You'll be the death of me."
The door shuddered as someone pounded on it from the other side. "Clark? Son?"
Clark looked at Lex with his eyes open as wide as they could go, and experienced a moment of supreme panic unlike any he'd ever felt before, not even the first time he'd woken up floating five feet above his bed. "Just a minute, dad."
Lex side-stepped around him and used the mirror to straighten his clothes.
"How obvious is it that we've been making out?" Clark whispered, untucking his T-shirt and running his fingers through his hair. He picked up his flannel shirt from where it lay crumpled on the floor.
Lex smirked into the mirror and then turned his head. "Not obvious at all."
Clark made a noise in his throat, something like a gurgle. Lex's lips were red and little swollen, and high on his neck his skin was already starting to darken from broken blood vessels.
Oh, god. He'd given Lex a hickey.
Clark felt almost proud of that until his dad knocked on the door again and made him jerk in shock, nearly ripping the flowered shower curtain off the rod.
"Clark?" His dad sounded annoyed, which was never good.
He took one last look at Lex, and then whipped open the door. "Yeah, dad?"
His dad leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed. "Son, your mother and I have had this conversation with you before."
"We have?" Clark asked, because he really thought he would have remembered a 'no gay sex with the Luthors, especially not under our roof, young man' lecture.
His father sighed. "Yes, Clark. You're old enough to understand that you're not allowed to hide in the bathroom when we have guests in the house. C'mon back downstairs, son, and rescue your old dad. Uncle Einar was chewing my ear off about being accepting of 'alternative lifestyles' for a good twenty minutes. The man's an angel, but enough's enough." His dad flashed a grin. "I think that might explain why Aunt Bev found your cousin Bobby in the barn with his pants down a few minutes ago."
Behind him, Lex stifled a cough, but his father caught the sound anyway. "Mr. Kent," Lex said, stepping closer to the door. Clark nearly jumped when Lex rested his hand against the small of Clark's back, out of the sight of his father.
His dad nodded. "Lex." He looked at them both for a minute, his eyes narrowing.
"We both had an unfortunate incident with a plate of potato salad," Lex said. Clark held up his ruined shirt as evidence.
"So I see," Dad said. "All done cleaning up?"
"We certainly are, Mr. Kent," Lex said, pushing Clark forward. "After you."
Clark followed his father down the stairs and out of the house, Lex close behind him.
"I think Clark's monopolized enough of your time, Lex," his dad said, doing that squinty thing with his eyes that he thought was intimidating.
Okay, so it was pretty intimidating.
Lex, always swift with the hint, held out his hand and said, "I've enjoyed spending time with your family, Mr. Kent."
"I'll walk you to your car," Clark said quickly.
His dad reluctantly shook Lex's hand, then his eyes went wide and his face paled. "No, Jimmy! Not the fence!" His dad dropped Lex's hand with a hasty apology and ran to keep the ten-year-old step-son of somebody from releasing the cows.
"Are you feeling guilty yet?" Lex asked when Clark's dad was out of earshot. He looked like he could either bolt at any moment, or bend Clark over the hood of the Ferrari.
Clark knew exactly which one of those things he'd rather have happen. When Lex leaned against the driver's side door of his car, Clark stood too close.
"I kinda wanted to be a lot more guilty than that before I got caught," Clark said.
Lex narrowed his eyes, then looked up through his faint eyelashes. "How guilty?"
Clark stared at Lex's mouth for a minute too long. "So I deserve being grounded until I'm thirty, Lex."
Lex made a noise in his throat that made Clark want to say everything that he wanted, but there was no way he could say the word 'fuck' around any of his relatives without it getting back to his mom.
"Clark Kent in the billiard room, with a candlestick," Lex said softly, glancing around and then brushing the back of his knuckle down the front zipper of Clark's jeans. "Come over later, Clark," Lex raised his voice. "We'll play some Clue."
Clark smiled at Lex with what was probably the biggest dopey grin on the planet. "It might be late, Lex."
"I don't mind," Lex said. Then he winked. "Watch out for cousin Bobby, Clark."
Clark stepped back so Lex could get into his car and waved as Lex drove slowly down the driveway, then punched it as soon as his tires reached pavement. Clark turned around and almost ran smack into Uncle Einar, who was packing away a big chunk of green Jell-O with sliced bananas trapped in the bottom.
Uncle Einar poked Clark in the chest. "Sent the boyfriend home, yeah?"
"Yeah," Clark agreed, for lack of anything better to say. He put his hands in his pockets and tried not to look as uncomfortable as he felt.
"Next time," Einar said around a lump of gelatin, "close the curtains when you're wanting to be alone. Was all I could do to keep your father from turning around."
Also, why not join Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?