Chinese Whispers IV: Drowned World

by Ice and Pablo

TITLE: Chinese Whispers IV : Drowned World

AUTHOR: Ice and Pablo

EMAIL: and

DISTRIBUTION: List archives OK, anyone else just ask. Archived on Elegant Slumming

SPOILERS: Set during Craving, spoilers up till then.

CLASSIFICATION: Lex/Whitney, Clark/Lex implied, Clark/Whitney implied

SUMMARY: Some accidents take a long time to recover from.


FEEDBACK: Begging is so unbecoming, but don't for a second think either of us are above it.

DISCLAIMER: If they belonged to us they'd be exhausted. Gough and Millar, The WB and DC comics own all.

DEDICATION: Thanks to Vic for the beta, to LaT and Tham for unparalleled encouragement and to Hope, Wendi and Andy just because. wallows. As always for Ali.

NOTES: This is a sequel to Chinese Whispers I, II and III, which can be found at

There isn't a night that goes by where Lex doesn't think about that day. Typically he isn't one to dwell in the past but he looks back on it as some kind of lesson. Not in that cosmic-proof-of-a-higher-power way, more in the there-was-a-reason-it-was-Clark-that-he-hit-into kind of way.

Even if he tries not to, he always ends up wondering how things would have turned out if it had been somebody else that he'd hit in to at sixty miles an hour. What difference it would have made if the only thing between him and the river had been something other than Clark Kent.

It doesn't matter what Clark says, or doesn't say when Lex talks to him about it. It doesn't matter what he says with his eyes when Lex doesn't mention it at all. When instead Lex simply watches Clark and waits till he's finally able to explain that day.

Lex doesn't like mysteries. The one thing he abhors above all else is not being able to arrive at an explanation.

If it wasn't for Clark, Lex would have met his untimely death. Drowned in a river outside of Smallville. A place intended and on Lex's part viewed as a prison. Just one he'd always thought he would have eventually been able to escape from.

Lungs filling with brackish river-water. The only thing between Lex and drowning had been Clark.

Now Lex wonders if there's anything separating the two at all.

Lex hates surprises.

He can guarantee that anyone who turns up unannounced is going to incur his wrath. Particularly when he's trying to work from home. So when he's advised that Mr. Fordman is here to see him, Lex considers sending the boy away. If Whitney can't get his head around the way these things are supposed to work, then Lex isn't going to do him any favours by making it easier for Whitney.

Having said that, he's reminded of the old clich: never look a gift-horse in the mouth. And he has to admit; this one really does have a great mouth.

Lex has been thrilled at how easy it's been to bring Whitney out of his shell. At first, Whitney seemed reticent, but now? Well, now when he walks through that door, Whitney's faade of golden-boy disappears and he's totally willing to give himself up to Lex. Whitney may still be completely repressed out there in public, but when he's alone with Lex, there's nothing repressed about him.

Whitney is, if anything, a little needy. Not needy in a 'school-girl in love' kind of way, but in a desperate-for-sex kind of way, and of course, Lex is not about to complain about that. Whitney has this want, which borders on desperation and Lex finds that quality extremely addictive. Nothing more satisfying than having a high-school quarterback begging to be fucked, particularly given Lex's own high-school history.

Perhaps if Whitney was older it might be less endearing, but Lex is working out his issues here, and for now, he's happy to oblige Whitney's needs. It's not that difficult wanting to take advantage of Whitney, after all.

"Hey, Lex."

Lex nods his greeting to Whitney and immediately goes back to the files he's working on. Lex may not be ready to send Whitney away, but that doesn't mean he's ready to pay him his undivided attention, either.

Whitney always acts like he's fighting to keep his head above water and at any moment he's going to lose control. He's always struggling and Lex can't help but find that appealing.

However, Whitney still has a lot to learn.

"How old are you, Whitney?" Lex is still looking at his work, and, from the corner of his eye, can see Whitney looking uncomfortable, confused.

"I... how old am I?"

Lex looks up at him briefly. "Are you going to answer the question, or are you just going to keep repeating everything I say straight back to me?"

Whitney walks towards Lex, slowly, carefully. "Why do you want to know? Does it matter?"

Lex grins. "No. Well not to me, anyway. Just think of it as professional curiosity."


"If you liked, Whitney, you could pretend that I give a damn?"

Whitney looks shocked for a minute, but then there's something else flitting across his face. Lex thinks it may be realisation. He knows Whitney isn't as dense as he sometimes pretends to be. All part of the jock faade.

"Seventeen." Whitney pauses. "I'm seventeen." His voice changes as he finishes answering, becomes more confident.

Lex looks up and holds Whitney's gaze this time. He lays his work aside as he stands. He's proved his point and he'd much rather be taking advantage of what he has here: six foot and more of blonde high school boy, radiating that heat that Whitney always does when he's alone with Lex.

Lex closes the distance that separates them; slow fluidity to his movement as he touches Whitney's face, thumb stroking his cheekbone. "Sometimes I forget just how young you are, Whitney."

He leans in and brushes his lips against Whitney's, just a touch. He lets his tongue trail slowly over Whitney's upper lip, removing the salt and sweat that's gathered there. Whitney leans forward, trying to grab at Lex, desperately trying to gain more contact. Lex pulls back slightly, avoiding Whitney's touch momentarily and tries to keep some distance between them, to make Whitney work for it a little more. Whitney just shakes his head, grinning a little and he drops down to the floor, hands trailing up Lex's thighs.

He looks down at Whitney, slight smile, but apart from that, Lex's face is a picture of composure. Lex rubs his thumb against Whitney's lower lip, pushes in slowly until Whitney sucks on it. Whitney's tongue moves in circular motions as he unbuckles Lex's belt, undoes the zip and pulls Lex's boxers down and away from him, exposing his cock.

Not even enough time to take his clothes off, and that's what Lex loves about Whitney's desperation. He loves that Whitney is so far gone, in so deep that the 'got to have it now' mentality is never far from his mind. Lex thinks there's a lot to be said for fucking a teenager.

In all the times they've slept together, it's a rare occurrence if they actually make it to the bedroom. Whitney's apparently just discovered that he loves sex. It's this new, exciting thing that he can't get enough of, and usually the distance to the bedroom is just too far. Lex 's lost count of the number of times he's fucked Whitney against the wall of whichever room they happen to be in at the time, in his car, in the shower and god knows where else. If Whitney thought they could get away with it, he would probably blow Lex right in the middle of Plant Number Three.

Whitney's voice sounds low, broken, as his tongue flicks over the head of Lex's cock. "I've been thinking about this all day." His voice sounds distorted, it's heavy and sounds deeper than Lex can remember, muted, like Whitney's underwater.

Lex gasps, a short intake of breath as Whitney starts to tongue the slit and Lex is leaning back against his desk, hands grasping the sides. His fingers grip the polished wood and as he feels Whitney's lips move down the shaft, tongue tracing the vein underneath, Lex's breathing becomes laboured. Shallow. "You... all day, Whitney? At school?" There's something so inherently wrong about that and Lex is moving off the desk now, grabbing handfuls of Whitney's hair and thrusting forward, pushing himself deep into that warm, wet mouth. Fucking it.

Lex can just see it: Whitney in class, unable to even comprehend a word of what the teacher is saying. Furtive glances around the room, as Whitney has to adjust himself at his desk because he's getting hard. Having to head for the bathroom between classes, lock the door and jerk off. Because all Whitney can see when he closes his eyes is himself, on his knees, servicing Lex and Lex can tell Whitney can't get these types of images out of his mind.


Lex is pushing Whitney away from him, gesturing for him to get up on his feet.

Whitney looks confused, like he's done something wrong. So self-conscious. But Lex can't blame him, really. Having to deal with Lana's attention being anywhere but with him, with her reluctance to let him get near her physically, that all equals major insecurity for someone Whitney's age.

Let alone the fact that he's had to repress exactly who he is for the last seventeen years.

"Don't look so wounded, Whitney."

"But... I... why did you make me stop?"

Lex pushes him backwards towards the desk, begins to pull off his shirt before he moves his hand to the front of Whitney's jeans. Roughly unbuttons them and lets them fall to pool around his feet.

"Does it look like I want you to stop?" Lex grabs Whitney, pulls him in and licks at his lips. "I just want to fuck you and it's rather difficult to do that when you're sucking my cock."

"Well, when you put it that way..."

Lex doesn't wait for him to finish. He pushes Whitney back against the desk and Whitney grins as he toes off his shoes and gets rid of the jeans around his ankles. Lex hears Whitney's breath hitch as he leans down and pulls Whitney in towards him. Lex's tongue moves across Whitney's lower lip. Lex pulls it inside, sucks on it as Whitney moans and starts to move, hips grinding upwards. Lex starts to stroke Whitney's cock through the dampness of his boxers, then removes them. Lex can feel the thin material soaked with sweat and pre come.

Whitney shifts his weight back so he's sitting on the desk. Lex moves to take the remainder of his own clothes off, watching the expression on Whitney's face as Lex moves closer to him. Whitney's face is a picture of anticipation, lust and awe. Still so young, still so very young and everything is new to him. Lex almost admires that in a way. There's nothing like discovering sex for the first time and he imagines it must be even more exciting for someone like Whitney, stuck in Smallville. Lex doubts that Whitney's male peers have experienced much more than getting to fuck high-school girls. If that.

Certainly they wouldn't have felt anything like this, Lex thinks, as he moves to the drawer, pulling out lube and a condom. Lex pushes Whitney back so he's lying down and straddles Whitney's hips as he squeezes the lube onto his fingers, slicking them. Lex pauses to kiss him, his tongue thrusting inside Whitney's mouth, slowly exploring every inch of it. He moves back and just looks at Whitney: lips bruised, hair all mussed and sweat slicking his face and body, mouth wide open and breath coming in shallow bursts. So damned fuckable. Whitney is, right now, a picture of wanton abandonment and it makes Lex's cock twitch to see it. Knowing that all this is laid out for him and that nobody else is going to see this side of Whitney.

Especially not Lana.

Lex doesn't like to share his toys. This is why he needs to make sure Whitney is going to be absent from the party Lex is throwing for Lana's birthday. Seeing Lana with her hands all over what's his is not his idea of a fun night. Unless the night were to end with the birthday girl seeing her boyfriend's face contorted in orgasm as Lex pounds into him. Now that would be worth it, he can just see her lower lip quivering, right now.

Lex grins and slowly moves down Whitney's body until he's at the opposite end of the desk from him. He draws Whitney's knees up and pushes two fingers slowly into him, inch by inch. Lex pauses to watch Whitney's face, look of complete pleasure on it as he chews on his bottom lip. Lex moves his fingers, withdrawing them so they're almost all the way out and then pushes them back in: faster this time, harder.

Whitney moans, loudly and as Lex brushes against that spot inside him, he gasps audibly.

"Nnnngh. Oh Christ, Lex..."

Lex is fucking Whitney with his fingers now; hard, deep and Whitney almost thrashes about on the desk, hips thrusting up to meet Lex's fingers. Lex can't get enough of this: moving his fingers, twisting them inside that tight heat and if it weren't for the fact he really wants to fuck Whitney right now, he thinks he could keep doing it for hours. Lex would love to see Whitney's face as he pushed more fingers inside him: three, four. Can just imagine the wide-eyed, hungry expression. But right now he needs to fuck him.

"You want more, Whitney?"

"Fuck. You. Lex. You... know... I do."

Lex laughs as he pulls his fingers out. He tears open the foil packet and rolls the condom onto his cock. He squeezes more lube into his hand and rubs his cock, slowly coating it. Lex pulls Whitney's legs up over his shoulders and just slams in. Doesn't wait to see if Whitney's adjusted, just pushes in, hard. He grabs Whitney's hips for leverage as he starts to fuck Whitney ruthlessly: pulling all the way out and then thrusting in, hard and fast. Whitney's head is thrown back and he's whimpering, mewling as Lex continues to fuck him with long, deep strokes. Lex starts to rub Whitney's cock with his still-slick hand, thumb rubbing the head in small circles, before making a tight fist for Whitney to thrust in and out of. Whitney moves his hips back and forth, meeting Lex thrust for thrust.

Large intake of breath and Whitney moans, coming into Lex's hand as he murmurs his name over and over. Whitney's muscles clench around Lex's cock and that's all the extra push Lex needs. He slams into Whitney one last time before his own orgasm hits. Lex pulls Whitney into him and kisses him roughly as Whitney's breathing starts to return to normal.

Whitney thinks that Lex might be starting to let him in.

Oh, he's not stupid enough to think that Lex may be falling for him, or whatever, but he does think that maybe Lex likes him enough to allow him certain privileges.

Like this, for example.

The first few times Lex fucked Whitney, Whitney was expected to leave straight away. Well, after he'd showered and dressed, anyway. There was certainly no 'basking in the afterglow' to be had: no way would Lex have ever let Whitney lie on the couch with him like this.

But that's exactly what they're doing and Lex hasn't even mentioned the fact that Whitney should leave yet. In Whitney's mind that's a big thing. Whitney's not an idiot, he knows it's small things like this that matter when it comes to how Lex treats people.

Whitney wants to push this to see if he's right, to see how far Lex'll let him go. So he moves in closer, uses his hand to stroke Lex's hipbone and kisses him. Lex grabs a handful of Whitney's hair and pulls him in, close. Lex sucks on his tongue and Whitney whimpers, starts to feel those first stirrings of arousal through his body, again. It's like Lex's kiss is somehow connected to his cock. Everything about Lex makes him want. Makes him burn in the pit of his stomach.

Lex kisses him and Whitney finds it hard to breathe. He knows they'll have to break contact but somehow that seems wrong. Like nothing else is as important as this.

They finally pull apart and Lex holds Whitney's face away from his. "Next time, call before you just turn up. I don't like to be interrupted."

Whitney blushes and he can see the shift in Lex's expression. Lex pushes him off gently and gets up from the couch, picks up his clothes and walks to the door. Whitney knows this is Lex code for "fuck off" and now he knows that he has pushed it too far, that this is the limit as far as Lex is concerned.

Whitney walks over and picks up his clothes from where they're lying on the floor, starts to get dressed.

Lex turns back in the doorway. "Whitney? Do you not want to fuck me? Not even one of these times?"

Whitney just stands there with his mouth open. He's pretty much gobsmacked at what Lex has just come out with. His tongue feels thick in his mouth and he doesn't know if he can even speak entire words right now, let alone form coherent sentences.

"I... God, Lex. I'd love to, it's just..."

Lex just stands there, one eyebrow raised, bemused expression on his face.

Whitney gulps. "I just... I wasn't sure what you wanted and you always make the first move and..."

Lex just smirks at Whitney, shaking his head. "Like I said, I forget how young you are sometimes."

Whitney has a temper. He knows this; everyone knows this.

His mom always told him that he needed to watch himself, that one of these days that quick temper of his was going to get him in trouble and he's lost count of the number of times it has.

Case in point, Clark. If Whitney could take what he did to him back he would give anything to. He knows now that his reason for seeking revenge on Clark was just merely him 'acting out': taking out his repression on the one person who made him want to be honest with himself.

Clark, who looked so beautiful that night, so broken and Whitney wanted to just reach out, and...

But Whitney can't allow himself to give in to those old feelings of Clark-love again, because everything's fucked-up enough without complicating things even more. If he were to give into that, there would be guilt. Incredible guilt, because if there's one thing Whitney sees in Clark's eyes, it's his love for Lex. Whitney doesn't love Lex, but he has him and he can't help but feel that he's betraying Clark in some way by carrying on the way he has been.

The scarecrow debacle was a prime example of what happens when Whitney loses his temper. He knows he needs to think twice about losing it like that again, but one thing's for sure, right now he's angrier than he has been in a long time. He doesn't know how he's going to control his feelings, but he wants to, rather than letting them control him, like they usually do.

He can't even think about what happened earlier this afternoon without his skin getting flushed and that feeling like he's going to explode welling up inside him.

//You, Fordman?//

//Yeah, and you are...?//

//I'm Danny. I'm the one who came before you.//

//I don't follow...//

//How do you think you got the tryout, dude? You think the scout put your name forward? Do you know how many places come up? Fordman, it's who you know, not what you know that counts right now. Although the what's pretty important too, I guess. //


//Okay, I'll make it simple for you. Lex Luthor. You're not the first and you certainly won't be the last. Do I need to make this any clearer?//

And no, it didn't need to be any clearer than it was. Crystal.

He knows it's best to stay away from Lex right now, to calm down, but Whitney's mother was right; he's never done what's best. If he had, he wouldn't have let himself get involved with Lex in the first place.

Whitney's tired of having to read Lex's mind; tired of playing these games that Lex seems to enjoy so much. This situation really is the final straw. This time Whitney wants some answers, needs some honesty. He's given a lot and now it's time he got something back.

Lex is at his desk, reading, when Whitney walks into the study. Lex looks up, stares right through him and Whitney marvels at the fact that Lex can always make him feel completely exposed, uncomfortable. Whitney's palms start to sweat and he rubs them on his pants. It was one thing thinking he was going to just storm in there and give Lex a piece of his mind, but now that they're in the same room, he's nervous.

What is it about Lex that makes Whitney like this? It's like he's a child, or something. Lex makes him feel self-conscious and unaware of himself and that is not the kind of person Whitney is.

Lex just sits there, one eyebrow raised, not saying or doing anything, just still. Whitney knows that means Lex is in 'observe' mode. He knows that Lex is expecting him to talk or whatever, but he doesn't think he can just yet.

Whitney walks over to the drinks cabinet and pours himself a scotch. He downs it in one gulp and it burns his throat slightly. He needs something to take his mind off how nervous he is and, in the hope that he might be able to actually string a few words together, he pours himself another.

He looks back at Lex and can see the confused expression on his face. It's almost like Whitney can see Lex's brain in action, trying to process what's going on. Whitney finishes his drink and pours himself yet another, which he again downs in one. Third glass in a row and he feels a little shaky. His throat's dry, scoured from the roughness of the alcohol and he knows he's had way too much to drink, way too quickly.

Lex walks over, unreadable expression on his face and pours himself a drink. Such close proximity and Whitney's not quite sure where his head is right now. He's dizzy from the alcohol and having Lex this close to him isn't helping matters at all. He backs away a little, putting space between them.

"I take it the trial didn't go well?"

Whitney sighs and bites his lower lip. He wants to just yell at Lex, to shake him, to find out once and for all just what the hell he wants from Whitney. He's starting to feel like he doesn't know who he is. The situation this afternoon has only served to further confuse his feelings about just what his role is in all this: kept man? Whore? Lex's play-thing?

Lex looks at Whitney quizzically and pours him another drink, which Whitney snatches and finishes in seconds. Now Whitney is really feeling drunk, mind slightly fuzzy, legs like liquid. He leans against the wall for support, because he's scared his legs are going to give way, and that is not the look he's aiming for at all.

When Whitney speaks, his speech is slightly slurred, "What am I to you?"

Lex finishes his drink and puts down the glass. He moves in closer so he's in Whitney's space again, each hand braced on the wall on either side of him. "Look, Whitney, if you think this is where I comfort you and hold your hand while you work through your issues, I really think it's best you reassess what exactly it is that you're looking for from me."

Whitney can feel himself getting angry again, flush creeping into his cheeks, "They wouldn't even take me seriously, they said... look, Lex. All I want to know is what exactly you think it is that I'm getting out of this."

Lex laughs and shakes his head, trails his hand down and starts to rub Whitney's cock through his pants. "I would have thought it was fairly obvious what you're getting out of this, wouldn't you say so?"

Whitney knows he could so easily give in right now, but he needs to stop this. He needs to prove to himself that he has even just an ounce of self-control left, so he pushes Lex back, nudges his hand away from his crotch.

Lex sighs. "Listen, Whitney, I'm many things but a mind-reader is not one of them. If there's something you want to discuss you'd be best to go ahead and discuss it." Lex backs away from Whitney to give him some space, a condescending wave of the hand urging him to go ahead.

Whitney takes a deep inhalation of breath and then looks Lex straight in the eye. "Is it true?"

Lex rubs his forehead as if he has a headache and needs to relieve some pressure: "Whitney, I have no idea what you're referring to..."

Whitney jumps in and cuts him off before Lex can go any further. "Is it true... that you organised the spot on the trial for me? That they didn't want me because I was the best choice?"

Lex just stares back at Whitney, blank expression on his face, but he doesn't answer.

"Lex? Is it true?"

Lex doesn't shift his gaze as he picks up his drink and takes a sip from it. "What would you do if I said yes?"

White-hot rage wells up inside Whitney and he forgets his promise to himself not to lose his temper. He picks up his own glass from the table next to him and hurls it across the room, smashing it against the opposite wall.

Lex doesn't even flinch or move at all, he merely takes another drink from his own glass, gaze never faltering, as he watches Whitney the whole time. "Whitney, tell me what worries you more: the fact that you might not have earned your place at the try outs, or the fact that you're starting to think that maybe you did?"

Whitney didn't think it was possible to get any angrier than he already is, but Whitney can feel it bubbling away, building and he knows he has to get out of here or he really is going to lose it. He walks towards the door, not even looking back, but Lex's voice halts him.

"I would have thought it was obvious that this was arrangement was a mutual one, Whitney?"

"What?" Whitney clenches his jaw, tight and he pants a little, trying to get his breathing under control. Lex just smiles and walks over to him, stands so close that Whitney can feel Lex's breath on his skin.

"Whitney, if it makes you feel better let me just tell you that you've more than earned a place on that team." Lex reaches out to touch Whitney, but Whitney's still angry, he can't give in just yet and he pulls away.

"Do you think I'm only doing this because I want a place on a football team? Is that what you think I am?"

Whitney feels like he's drowning, struggling for air. He needs Lex to understand how this is making him feel, but it's just not happening. Lex doesn't seem to care one way or the other and it's driving Whitney insane.

"Oh. I get it." Lex smirks. "You're worried that I'm stealing away your masculinity. You're worried that I'm making you less of a man, because you feel you're being treated like a whore. Is that what this is about?"

Lex pushes Whitney up against the wall behind them, hips holding him in place. "You know, Whitney..." Lex's hand drifts under Whitney's shirt, fingers gliding over smooth skin. Whitney gasps as Lex starts to rub at his nipple, "I would have thought it was fairly obvious that I was trying to make you feel a hell of a lot more of a man."

Lex pulls Whitney's head down towards him and tries to kiss him, but Whitney grabs Lex by the shoulders and turns him around so he's facing the wall. Whitney unbuttons Lex's shirt and lets it fall to the floor. He pushes up against him, grinding his cock into Lex's ass as he licks a long, wet trail down his back.

Whitney reaches around in front and starts to rub Lex's hardening cock. He can feel Lex thrusting his hips forward; trying to create more friction as Whitney simply runs his thumb along the outline of Lex's erection. Feels it pushing against the material of Lex's pants.

"Still think I'm too young, Lex?"

"That depends." Lex is trying to keep his voice neutral, controlled, but Whitney can hear the slight quiver.

"On what, Lex?"

"On how hard you fuck me."

Clark hopes Lex is still awake. He knows it's late, way too late to be doing things like returning projectors but he's restless and he needs someone to talk to. Needs to sort some things out in his mind and Lex always knows exactly what to say.

But Clark doesn't know if this situation is one that Lex's advice is going to be able to fix. He's so confused right now about what he's feeling and who he's feeling it for and, well, he doesn't want to be confused. He wants everything to be normal.


He knows that's one thing he can never have and he thinks that that's why he wanted Lana. Wants, wanted, whatever. And since when did Lana become this past-tense thing?

He has to hang onto Lana, because she's the only one who can make everything normal. She can keep him walking along that straight line and he won't be able to deviate. He'll be just a normal teenager with her, she's pure and good and there's nothing about her that's... different.

Not like him.

Not like Lex.

Clark finds his thoughts inevitably returning to Lex. He's always there and Clark would like to think that it's just because he's his friend. His best friend. But he knows there's a lot more to it than that.

And that's not normal.

Not normal to lie awake at night and think about your best friend, wondering what he's doing. How he looks, lying in bed, moonlight streaming through the plate-glass windows. Wondering how the moonlight looks reflecting off pale skin. Heavenly. Like one of those archangels in the paintings his mom took him to see at the Metropolis Museum of Fine Art.

Except Lex is no angel.

Clark knows that from what Lex alludes to in their everyday conversation, but most particularly from the way Lex is with him. Clark may be young, but he's not an idiot and he's certainly not blind. He knows that the way Lex looks at him isn't the way he would look at Pete or at Chloe. Perhaps it's more akin to the way Chloe looks at him and that's just something he hadn't thought he was ready to think about. More complications.

So where does all this leave him? Confused as all hell. He reaches the gates of the mansion and is still unsure as to what he's actually going to say to Lex, if anything. He buzzes, but nobody answers. He thinks Lex must have let the staff go home after the party and he wonders briefly whether it might not be such a good idea to be there right now, but he sees the lights in the study are on. Knows that Lex is probably working. Clark grins and starts to ponder what he's going to say to Lex, how he'll hassle him for having no life beyond work. Some flippant comment so that Clark won't accidentally say what he really wants to.

He whips his head around briefly to check nobody's there, and uses his strength to push the bars open enough for him to climb through, quickly pulling them back into place. He feels guilty, because if his father was here he'd be lecturing him on using his powers unnecessarily, and he knows his father would be right, too.

But then again, why shouldn't he be able to use his powers occasionally for his own good? He's so busy using them to combat all the meteor-rock weirdness in Smallville and to save people, without any recognition. He figures if he uses them for himself every so often there's nothing wrong with that.

Clark walks in through the front door, which should really be locked at this time of night, but he guesses Lex isn't particularly worried. Not with the gates locked shut and nobody around to let people in.

He walks down the hallway, the door to the study's slightly open and Clark can see that there are lights on in there. He's almost to the door but barely muffled noise from the room stop him in his tracks. Clark may not have super-power hearing, but he doesn't need it right now. There's... moaning. The kind of moaning that he heard for the first time when Pete swiped his father's porn video.

But unlike that video, this time the noises are most definitely not coming from a woman's mouth. Clark knows this because there is nothing feminine about that sound. It's so very male: rough and animalistic, primal.

And also not Lex.

Clark's reeling from this, he still can't quite get his head around it. He grips the wall for support, he's shaking and he doesn't think he can steady himself without it. He moves closer to the door and sees Lex kneeling on the floor, bent forwards. Naked. Clark knows he should move back down the hall, should leave, but he's riveted. Frozen.

The body covering Lex is long, lean. The head that's buried in the hollow of his neck, licking it, sucking on it is covered in blonde hair, and as Clark hears Lex speak, his mouth dries up and he very nearly drops the projector that he'd almost forgotten he's still carrying.

"Harder, Whitney... yeah, that's it."

Clark wonders if this is what it must have felt like for Lex. If he'd struggled for control before he lost consciousness, trapped in his car, submerged underwater. Every breath he takes only making things worse as his lungs quickly fill. This must have been what it was like because Clark can't quite seem to breath. Almost like he's forgotten how.

Being hit at sixty miles an hour doesn't hurt as much as what Clark's feeling now. This time he's the one drowning and he can't rely on somebody else to save him, like Lex did. Clark knows that nobody can save him.

Lex turns his head back and kisses Whitney. Clark can see it's an awkward angle for him, but Lex doesn't seem to care and Whitney moans as Lex starts to suck on his tongue. A messy kiss, open-mouthed, and more like sex than any kiss Clark has ever seen on TV or in movies. Certainly nothing like the kiss he shared with Tina Grier when she'd looked like Lana.

Nothing like that.

And Clark could easily have been seen, but the two of them are so completely oblivious that they aren't even aware of his existence. It's like all that matters is the two of them and their bodies being wrapped up in each other.

Clark gulps and backs away quickly, uses his superspeed to get outside. He feels ill and he thinks that maybe Whitney has meteor rocks ground up in his blood. Because Clark hasn't felt this weak, this helpless and this ill since Whitney and his buddies strung him up in Riley Field with Lana's necklace as a keepsake.

He's nauseous. Can taste the bile, bitter, at the back of his throat and he has to struggle not to be sick. Needs to get rid of that burning, acidic feeling before it consumes him.

Lex and Whitney having sex. He just can't get his head around it. Lex hates Whitney, and Whitney doesn't even know Lex, but somehow in the midst of all that, they managed to have sex, anyway. No, not sex. Fucking.

Clark wonders how long this has been going on for. He tries to recall the times he's been in the same room with them. Were there signs then? No, this is Lex. He can bet that there has never been a time when Lex was less than discreet.

Do they laugh about it together? Behind his back, do the two of them make fun of how incredibly stupid and blind he must be? Clark can't fathom why they wouldn't, or even worse, does Lex not even think of Clark at all?

How could he not have seen it?

Clark knows what it feels like to be betrayed, now. He doesn't understand how Lex could do this, how he could screw him over so totally as to be sleeping with Whitney. It would hurt Clark to see Lex with anyone, but Whitney?

Like Whitney hasn't hurt Clark enough. Like he doesn't have enough already? Clark can't have Lana, because she has Whitney and now... now Whitney has Lex too.

Unfair, unfair, so fucking unfair.

When Clark swallows all he can taste is bitterness, bile at the back of his throat and there's nothing right about this, it's all wrong. All so very wrong. Now he knows why his mother said if she could see anything, she'd learn to close her eyes. But it's too late for that. Too late because he will never forget what he's seen tonight.

Although he wishes more than anything that he could.

Lex has mastered the art of appearing interested in something or someone but really he's thinking about something else. It's a valuable skill and it's gotten him through many times in his life. Those times where there were much more important things to occupy his mind other than what was boring him senseless.

He realises that this is another one of those times. Mrs. Palmer is being industrious, attempting to keep him informed on what has and hasn't been done around the house and he couldn't care less. He's feigning interest, but his mind is elsewhere, on things that are much more important.

Like Clark.

Lex is a bit concerned that he hasn't heard from Clark in the last few days. He would have thought at the very least, Clark would want to report on how successfully Lana's 'present' was received. Normally not a day goes by without Clark either calling or making an impromptu visit at the house and it's been almost a week without a word. If it weren't so ludicrous, Lex would swear Clark is avoiding him.

Every time Lex has called the Kent home there has always been some reason as to why Clark can't come to the phone. And he swears he can almost hear the tone in Jonathon Kent's voice change to one of pleasure when he palms Lex off, saying Clark is doing his chores or at Chloe's or whatever the excuse du jour may be.

"I'll be able to get those delivered for you by at least the end of the week, Mr. Luthor."

Lex blinks. "Thank you, Mrs. Palmer. That'll be fine."

"If there isn't anything else, I'll leave you to get back to your work?" Mrs. Palmer can sense something's wrong and Lex knows it. She's been around Lex long enough to be able to tell his moods and Lex appreciates her discreteness, it's one of the main reasons he brought her with him when he relocated.

"Sure ... sure." Lex gets out of his seat and moves towards the door. "Oh, one more thing. When Clark Kent arrives can you have him shown up to the study?" At least that way Lex can see for himself what the problem is. Lex knows that as long as he's in the same room with Clark, he'll be able to gauge the situation significantly better than he is right now, by assuming the worst.

"There won't be another delivery for a week, Mr. Luthor." She follows him out into the hall. "Unless you wanted something in particular?"

Lex's face betrays his confusion. He looks at his watch to check what time it is and frowns. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Palmer. What time do you make it?"

"It's three-thirty. Clark's been and gone, sir. He looked like he was in rather a hurry." She smiles. "A boy that age, I imagine there was a girl he didn't want to leave waiting for too long." Lex manages a weak smile as Mrs. Palmer leaves him, heading for the kitchen.

Lex wonders what he can possibly have done wrong and laughs it off, can't believe he's being so ridiculous as to be worrying over something so trivial. His father would have a field day right now if he saw him wasting his time worrying as to what he's done to upset somebody Clark's age.

Well, he's not a slave to his emotions, as Lionel so incorrectly put it. He'll find out for himself exactly what Clark's problem is. Better that than sitting around turning what must be a minor thing into a major issue.

The smell of burned coffee beans greets Lex as he enters The Beanery and he wonders if there is any chance that they'll ever get the concept of good coffee right. He laughs to himself because he knows that's just too much to ask for from a town like Smallville. He knows that there are perks he had to give up when he was forced to move here and good coffee was one of them. He was thinking for a while that sex was something he'd have to go out of town to enjoy, but luckily he came upon Whitney Fordman.

And yes, sixth months ago he would've laughed if anyone had told him he'd be fucking a high-school boy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And Whitney certainly screams desperation, and Lex has to admit, at least he's not predictable.

Clark however, is. He's a creature of habit and Lex is for once relieved at that fact, because he's exactly where Lex expected him to be. Where he always is. Sitting in the same chair at the same table, talking to Lana Lang.

Lana looks up as Lex walks over. She smiles at him and stands up, moving away from the table and gesturing for him to sit down. He sits opposite Clark and notices how uncomfortable the boy looks. Eyes looking down at the floor, shifting in his seat, fiddling with his collar. Looking like all of a sudden he'd rather be anywhere else. Lex knows now that at least he's not being paranoid about the situation.

Clark really is upset with him.

"How about a drink, Lex?"

So wrapped up in observing Clark he'd totally forgotten Lana was still standing there and he turns away from Clark for just a second, acknowledging her. "Yes, thank you, Lana. I'll have a Cappuccino."

Lex smiles at Lana as she walks away, then quickly turns his attention back to the reason he's braving bad coffee and squawking teenagers.


Clark finally looks up. Fake smile on his face and Lex wonders if Clark realises how easy he is to read. Clark's like cellophane. Transparent. Clark's eyes flick around the room, still avoiding Lex, but every so often he lets his gaze fix on Lex, before looking away almost instantly.

Lex just smiles. "You know, Clark, the first girl I ever wanted to go out with was named Jane. We were, I think, 13 years old. She had one of those infectious smiles, like you couldn't resist smiling along with her."

Clark shifts in his seat and stares out the window, it's pretty obvious that he'd rather be anywhere else but here listening to Lex talk, but Lex isn't fazed.

"I was never sure why we didn't get together. I always thought it had something to do with the accident and being bald. But when I met her again a couple of years ago I mentioned it to her and she seemed genuinely surprised. She'd always wondered why I hadn't asked her out as well. You want to know the reason why we never went out, Clark?"

Clark nods carefully, very intense and serious look on his face and Lex can see him swallow, gulp slowly.

"Apparently it was because I'd never asked her."

Clark exhales and looks straight at Lex, maintaining eye contact, holding his gaze for the first time and Lex doesn't move, doesn't speak, just waits for Clark to react. Clark's voice appears soft, his lack of confidence evident. "I'm not really sure why you're telling me this, Lex."

Lex leans forward over the table, moving into Clark's space. "Sometimes you think people aren't asking you questions but really it's just that they don't know what you want them to ask."

Clark jerks back. "I don't... I'm..."

"Don't get me wrong, not knowing what to ask isn't a bad thing it's just..."

Clark gets out of his seat and walks, almost runs towards the exit. Nearly knocks into Lana as she's coming back to the table, carrying the coffees, but he doesn't even stop to apologise. Lex can tell Clark must be incredibly upset, because normally Clark would consider that to be bad manners, Martha's teachings are instilled in him so deeply.

Lana looks puzzled and Lex just smiles at her, gesturing to the cappuccino she's carrying: "I guess it's too late to get that to go?"

Lana doesn't say anything as Lex drops the money for the coffee on the table and leaves.

Luckily for Lex, some geriatric Smallvillian has cornered, Clark. Lex has no idea who the woman is, it's not his business to know these things but he can guarantee that Clark knows her name and probably what she likes for breakfast as well.

He watches them talk, Clark rubs his hands on his jeans and sways slightly back and forth. Clark is obviously keen to get out of there before Lex can catch up with him, but it's too late for that. As soon as she starts to move away, Lex moves in behind Clark.

"You'll have to forgive me, Clark. I'm not very good at this."

Clark flinches slightly and turns around to face Lex. "Look, Lex, I just need to be on my own, okay?"

"Have I done something to upset you?" Lex berates himself, inwardly. He can't believe that Clark has reduced him to acting like this: sounding like he should give a damn. Not something that Lex ever anticipated happening, but Clark is his closest friend, his only friend, really, and his silence is not only speaking volumes, it's making Lex panic. And panic is not something he handles at all well.

"Or is it perhaps something I *haven't* done?"

Clark just shakes his head. "Lex, I don't wanna talk about this right now... I..."

Lex cuts him off. "What, you don't want to talk here, or you don't want to talk to me?"

Clark doesn't answer.

"C'mon, Clark. I'll drive you home and if you feel like talking on the way, so be it."

Lex gestures for Clark to follow him and he unlocks the car, gets in. Clark opens the door, but he just stands there, odd expression on his face. Now, Lex is really puzzled. He can't read Clark and that's not something he's used to.

Clark just blurts it out, so quickly that if Lex wasn't paying so much attention it's possible he may have missed it.

"I saw you."

Lex is confused. Clark looks like he's getting angry and Lex still can't work out what the hell is going on.

"Clark, please. I'm not Nostradamus, you'll need to give me more than that if..."

Clark jumps in before Lex can finish.

"I saw you. I saw you with... Whitney."

Lex is speechless. He can feel the adrenaline coursing through his body; his heart beating faster than it had been before. This is not something he could have possibly foreseen happening and he has to focus, find a way to salvage this. But not here.

"I think you're right. This probably isn't the best place to talk, get in, Clark." Lex gestures towards where his car is parked.

Clark doesn't move.

"No... There's no reason we need to talk about this. You don't owe me anything, you don't have to explain yourself to me, what you do is fine and who you do it with is none of my business. It's nothing to do with me it's between you and... you and him. It's..."

Lex can almost hear Clark's words sticking in his throat. Clark's voice is shaky, quavering and he sounds almost like he's close to tears. This is the last thing that Lex wanted. To hurt him. And he can totally understand now why Clark has been so upset, why he's been avoiding him. Clark has seen Lex with Whitney, with the person who not only traumatised him a few months ago, but also has everything that Clark wants. Everything he aspires to be, that's Whitney. Lex looks up at Clark, eyes imploring, almost pleading.

"Clark, please?"

Clark nods his head and slowly, carefully climbs into the passenger seat as Lex inhales, trying to regain composure, and drives away.

They're both silent for the entire time it takes them to get to the Kent Farm. Lex parks at the roadside and for several minutes they just sit there in silence, not looking at each other. Lex wants to leave it to Clark to speak, but he knows that he's going to have to do a great deal of work here if he wants to rectify things. He makes sure he's completely focused and calm before he speaks.

"Do you want to know why?"

Clark looks up at Lex and there's such hurt in his eyes that Lex almost can't stand to look at him. Clark looks totally wounded. Lex knows Clark well enough to know that right now he's hoping the earth's going to swallow him up. Even more so than usual. It looks like Clark wants to run away, but he's too scared to.

Lex exhales slowly and gives it a few moments before he starts again.

"I don't agree with what you said."

Clark turns around to look at Lex, puzzled expression on his face.

"I do owe you an explanation. You deserve to know the reason, but firstly I need to know if you want to hear it, Clark."

Clark gulps and slowly nods, looking slightly apprehensive and Lex pauses before continuing.

"I'm truly sorry you had to find out this way, Clark. I guess I don't need to tell you that Whitney and I..."

"Please, Lex, I saw you two... even in Smallville we've heard about that sort of thing."

Clark laughs and it's clear to Lex that he's trying to now act like it doesn't really bother him. But brashness is not a good look on Clark and it's already too late for that. Lex just stares at Clark and that makes Clark drop the act, it's clear that he's unnerved.

"What? So he's your boyfriend now, is that it?"

Lex shakes his head. "No, Clark. We fuck."

Clark blushes. Lex probably could've thought of a more subtle way of approaching the subject, but Clark has seen them, so the time for subtlety has passed. All Lex can do now is reassure Clark, make him feel like he does matter. Lex knows that jealousy can be an ugly and damaging emotion, and Lex knows that Clark is feeling it right now, in abundance.

"Whitney and I have sex. I'd never intended to lie to you about that, I was under the impression that it wasn't something you wanted to know."

"But you're my best... we're friends, Lex."

Lex nods. "And I don't want that to change, that's why I haven't brought this up before."

"So, why Whitney?"

Lex tilts his head to one side, holds Clark's gaze. "Because he's not you."

Clark looks shocked and angry; he opens the car door about to get out when Lex stops him with a hand on his shoulder. Lex pretends not to notice the way Clark flinches when he touches him.

"Don't you see, Clark? I don't love him; I don't care about him. It's not him I want so that's why I chose him. Like I said, he's not you."

Clark bites his lower lip. "So what does that make him?"

Lex doesn't think Clark would appreciate being told what Whitney's attributes are right now. The fact that he's sexy, hot for it, great at giving head. The fact that he screams Lex's name when he comes, has a beautiful body. No, he doesn't think Clark needs to hear that.

"Whitney... Whitney's there." Lex pauses. "I don't think you understand how hard this has been, adjusting to living in a place like Smallville. I've found it hard, Clark and opposite to what we want you to believe there's some things even a Luthor can't resist."

Clark laughs, which Lex views as a major improvement. He knows he's not off the hook yet, but at least Clark looks happier. He doesn't look or sound so hurt anymore, which is just as well because Lex really doesn't know how to handle that.

"So that's... it? That's all he is?"

Lex sighs, "Like I said, Clark. Not knowing what to ask isn't a bad thing but that doesn't mean to say you should be afraid to say it."

Clark gets out of the car and turns back towards Lex. "What if I'm not ready to say it?"

"Well, that's a different story altogether." He smiles at Clark. "You'll know when you're ready, Clark. Trust me."

Lex smiles at Clark who grins back and runs down the driveway towards the house. Lex sits there for a few minutes, processing exactly what's happened before he starts the car and drives away.

Lex is distracted.

Drink in his hand, thinking about Clark and wondering just what it is about Clark that gets to him so much, that makes him care about how Clark feels. Lex went out of his way to placate him this afternoon and he really cared that Clark was hurt, something that's completely new to him. Lex isn't used to being mindful of others, particularly when there's no immediate payoff.

Mrs Palmer clears her throat and advises Lex that Mr. Fordman is here to see him. Lex nods as she leaves, closing the study door after Whitney walks in.

Lex doesn't even acknowledge him this time. Turning up once off the bat he can forgive, twice is an annoyance, but doing it three times proves that Whitney is making assumptions and Lex most certainly *isn't* in the mood to deal with this.

He downs his glass of scotch and grinds his teeth together and moves to the drinks cabinet to pour himself another, keeping his back to Whitney. Lex knows that Whitney is quick to anger and this'll really piss him off, but Lex is running out of patience and right now, Whitney's feelings are the furthest thing from his mind.

Lex turns around and Whitney is smiling, looking extremely pleased with himself. Lex has no idea why and frankly, doesn't really care, either. He takes a sip of the drink and places the glass on the table nearby

"I thought we'd discussed how I don't appreciate you simply turning up unannounced, Whitney?"

Whitney shrugs. "I haven't seen you all day and thought if you weren't in the middle of something..." Voice trailing off, suggestively and Lex just shakes his head and sighs.

"One day, Whitney, you'll recognise that there are things in life more important than your libido."

"Yeah? Well, you wanna prove me wrong?" Whitney moves in so he's inches away from Lex, facing him. He reaches out, but Lex avoids him, moves away out of his reach.

Whitney looks exasperated. "What? So I'm not welcome here anymore? What are you gonna do, have me thrown out?"

Whitney moves forward again, trying to gain some contact but this time Lex puts his hand on Whitney's chest, to push him away. Whitney's cheeks become flushed and his fists clench at his sides. His voice is strained, like he's attempting to keep control.

"I'm not your toy, Lex. You can't just play with me whenever it suits you and ignore me when it doesn't. And I'm not just sex on tap."

Lex just snorts and turns away." You're not?"

Whitney's voice becomes raised and he shakes his head at Lex.

"You can't tell me what to do all the time, Lex. I'm not just a kid. I don't need you."

"Oh you don't, do you?"

Lex moves in towards Whitney, mocking smirk on his face and controlled anger in his voice.

"So you can get a trial for Kansas State on your own, can you?" He pauses, taking a sip of his drink, which he places down on the table behind him. "You *don't* need me to show you just what you've been missing out on? How you're stuck in this small town, destined to marry the cheerleader and make nothing of your life?"

Lex moves even closer, so he's right in Whitney's face. His voice is cold and brittle: "You don't need me to show you exactly what it is you'd have missed out on? Well, Whitney, that's where you're wrong. You need me, because if it weren't for me you'd end up just like all the rest of your friends. Rotting here, living a lie and making nothing of yourself." He spits the last few words out. "Whitney, you're nothing without me."

There is complete derision in Lex's voice. He's had a demanding day and Whitney should've known better than to turn up like this. He's gotten too used to having things his own way and Lex wants him to see that he is not the ruling party in this arrangement. Lex nearly lost Clark today and Whitney is just going to have to deal with the fallout from that.

"Well, Lex, that's where *you're* wrong. I don't need you and if you don't believe me, just keep watching..."

Whitney's tone is similar to Lex's, cold, brittle, but there's more underneath it. Hurt and bitterness and anger and Lex is almost shocked. It takes him a second to work out what's happening and he just stands there staring as Whitney turns around and walks out on him, not looking back, slamming the door behind him.


Lex picks up his glass of scotch again, finishes it and throws the empty glass against the now-closed door.

This wasn't part of the game-plan at all. Lex didn't think for a minute that Whitney would walk out on him like that. And now he agrees with his father, he is ruled by his emotions.

But he won't dwell on this there's no point, because he knows Whitney'll be back.

This isn't finished until Lex says it is.

the end

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