by The Spike
Author's notes: Unintentionally part of Livia's Bradbury Titles challenge because this title fit better than my own. Many thanks to Kitty Fisher for heartless beta. g
The building was a ruin. A fire-gutted tenement that stank of old, wet char, mildew, rats and human waste. Clark looked up through darkness and shattered drywall. There were squatters sleeping on the upper floors. Junkies. Runaways. People for whom help would be more complicated than rescue.
Lex was in the basement. The kidnappers, if that was the right term for them, were long gone. A single bare bulb illuminated the room. They'd left Lex tied, crucifixion-style, to the boiler. They'd worked him over a little. He still looked very calm, legs crossed, head tipped back. Doing his best martyred Jesus.
"Hello, Clark," he said. Slow drawl full of irony or something. Some Lexian emotion too refined for simple farm boys to understand. Clark ground his teeth on the knee-jerk anger.
A cautious recon at the bottom of the stairs revealed nothing. No one hiding, no bombs wired to explode, no mysterious lead boxes. No Kryptonite as far as he could see, except for the small stone in Lex's pinky ring. Nothing he couldn't handle.
Lex lifted his head as Clark came near. His jaw was swollen on one side, and a dark bruise was purpling the ridge of his cheek. Clark wanted to press his thumb into it.
"Glad you came," Lex said.
"It's nothing personal."
Lex's smile was crooked, his eyes slitted. He smelled of sweat and old fear. "Sometimes a cigar is a nice, juicy--"
"Don't." Clark stopped with his hand on the length of wire wrapped around Lex's wrist.
"You and your shiny new puritanical streak," Lex said. "Even your mother would have said 'shit' if she'd--" The slap snapped Lex's head on his neck and he bounced back drooling blood and still smiling that fucking smile.
"So you rate for coarse language, but not for viol--" The second slap rocked his head back the other way with a snap that sounded painfully wrong.
"Whoa," he said, groggily. "Good one."
"Shut up," Clark said. He felt sick. The Kryptonite ring. He wanted to rip it off Lex's finger. Maybe take the finger with it. He flicked the wire off Lex's wrist instead. Lex fell against him, warm and solid. Clark considered letting him hit the ground when he undid the other wrist.
"Get your legs under you," he said. Lex grunted softly but only slumped against the boiler when Clark freed his other wrist. "Can you walk?" he asked. Lex raised his head.
"Can Superman fly?" he asked, laughing softly. Clark felt rage like a new kind of power surging through his limbs. He wanted to hit Lex again. Smash him in the face, the ribs, the gut. Wanted to push him back against the curved steel wall and bend him until he broke. Until he felt it... Old, familiar need banked and ready to flame. So easy. Lex was so damn good at this.
He grabbed Lex by the collar, pulled him upright, liking the pained sounds he made.
"So what was it this time?" he asked, propelling Lex across the floor. "Did you cheat the wrong crook, Lex? Make one bad deal too many?"
"Yeah," Lex said, stumbling, tangling his legs in Clark's. "I missed you too."
"Don't..." He growled and shook Lex like the rat he was and they should have kept going but he'd stopped by the stairs and Lex was looking up at him in the weird, bare light. Glassy-eyed. Blood, sweat and grime a mask that stole all the charm from his lying face.
Left only the stark purity of need. Want.
I want you, Clark. The one thing that had never been a lie.
"I hate you," Clark said. Meaning it as he pulled Lex to him, leaned in and kissed.
Lex's mouth, slick and cold. Bright taste of blood, acid of his recent fear, ashes of the old, old want. And Lex. Lex, Lex, Lex. In his mouth, his nose. Soft, wet lips and the writhe of that hard body against his. Tendon and something denser than human bone. Lex was as heavy as lead.. How had Clark ever dragged him from the river?
Maybe he never did and they were still down there, drowning. He broke the kiss but didn't pull away. Lex was so warm. His arms around Clark's waist shook with effort, fists knotted in the flannel shirt he'd worn, he realized, just for this.
Rested his forehead against Lex's. The skin there was cold and clammy, slippery with sweat.
"Fuck, I hate you so much," he whispered.
"Good," Lex said, mouthing at Clark's jaw. Lex's teeth scraped at his stubble. He had blood on him now. Blood and sweat. Lust rising between them like the heavy air after a rain. "Hate me some more."
And he did, he did. Lex against the stairs, against the stone wall. The concrete floor was gritty under them and Clark let himself be just careless enough to hate himself for it later. Lex, his goad. Crying out so rough and raw at every touch, no matter how hard, how tender.
Clark swallowed every cry with his mouth. Wanting everything this time.
"Everything, Lex...You fucker, you fuck..."
Lex on his back, Clark's hands forcing his knees to his shoulders, spreading him wide as he shoved inside. Short, sharp thrusts that made them both jerk and whimper. Then the dizzying slide all the way in and they groaned together.
Lex's head fell back on the concrete.
"Ow..." he said. Clark whimpered. Thrust.
"Oh Jesus, Clark..." Lex's voice like smoke through catgut, strained and terrible. Like he was dying. Like it hurt.
"I want it to hurt," Clark said. And thrust again.
"It does," Lex gasped, eyes rolling up with every thrust. "It does. It hurts. Oh God." It felt so good. Fucking Lex. Holding Lex. The sound of Lex's words. The sound of Lex's voice. Over and over as he pounded out the broken rhythm of a million years. "It hurts, it hurts, it hurts..." Sobbing it, screaming it, bucking up into every thrust like he had to or die. Like it had to be true.
Too good to last and Lex came like he was coming apart, a soundless scream, every muscle straining, blood heat against Clark's belly. Clark's own orgasm hit him in the middle of it like a blow to the spine. Pumping mindless and nearly numb, his vision whiting out until Lex was blue eyes and blood-painted mouth and the rocking force of Clark's own need.
After a while, Lex nudged him. "Man of Steel, you weigh a ton."
Clark felt himself slipping out anyway so he rolled over to lie on his back on the ground. Not out of breath but still... drained. He felt a hundred years old, weighted with lead, dizzy...
Oh right, the fucking ring...
Still good though. Like he was finished for a change. Like he'd given his all. He looked over at Lex. Smeared blood had dried on his upper lip and chin, cracked like mosaic in places. His bruised face was swollen. There were more bruises on his chest, belly. Legs.
I made that, Clark thought. My new art.
Lex tried to turn his head but the wince looked genuine. His eyes still flicked to Clark.
"You could just call me, you know," he said. "Send me flowers. Ask for a date. I have a penthouse suite at the Metropolis Hilton."
"You keep saying that," Lex said.
"I keep trying to mean it."
Lex laughed. Winced again. Clark did a less than surreptitious scan. Was surprised to find no broken bones at all.
Lex said: "Love isn't just a bad habit, Clark."
"This isn't love." Clark covered his eyes with his hands. He really needed to get up.
"Quicquid Amor jussit non est contemnere tutum," Lex said.
"Which means?" Soft scraping noises made Clark look over. Lex was buttoning his shirt with painful slowness, staring at the ceiling.
"You're the reporter," Lex said. "Look it up. Hand me my pants." Clark rolled to his feet, doing up his own pants. He spotted Lex's farther away than he'd expected.
"I'll take you to the hospital," Clark said.
"Ah, the perfect ending to a lovely evening."
"You can press charges if you want. I won't fight."
"Such a gentleman," Lex said. "Just assault? Or did you rape me too?"
"I..." Clark looked at his hands. There was blood on them. Blood on his shirt. Blood in his mouth. So good. His cock twitched.
"Jesus, Clark. I had a good time too. It was your name I screamed when I came... wasn't it?"
He almost laughed. Was it the sex that made him this stupid or the stone? And wasn't it nice that lying to himself was getting to be as smooth a groove as lying to everyone else.
"Take me home, Clark," Lex said. "Tell that Superman asshole to go fuck himself and fly me over my city."
"I came in my car," Clark said. He crouched down beside Lex, slid his hands under shoulders and hips and lifted. Lex was light as a feather in his arms. He wondered at that. How Lex could be both. Maybe Lex wasn't human either.
"My pants," Lex said. Clark closed his eyes. He let Lex down. Felt him lean heavily as he got his pants on. One leg at a time he imagined, but he didn't open his eyes again until he heard the zipper. Lex's hands were shaking.
"I'm parked out front," Clark said. Lex pushed away from him and climbed the stairs on his own. Clark followed, watching him stumble on the torn up carpet in the dark. The stink of water-soaked char was nauseatingly thick in the building's gutted lobby. Outside the air was cool and clean, but Clark didn't think he'd ever stop smelling the after-burn reek.
He watched as Lex staggered to one knee and vomited beside the front stoop. It was interesting to see Lex weak like that, but it didn't change a thing. Lex was unbreakable inside, where it counted.
Just like me...
If they were brothers they'd be Abel and Cain, Clark thought. He wondered if Abel ever thought about hurting Cain the way he thought about hurting Lex. If he'd ever been as desperate to break through. Lex got up without looking at him and headed to the car.
He fainted while Clark was opening the passenger door. Clark caught him with one hand before he hit the ground, swallowed a wave of kryptonite induced nausea, and eased him into the passenger seat. Buckled him in.. Lex's head lolled against the headrest. Clark folded himself in behind the steering wheel and started the car.
The tenement was on the edge of the industrial zone. Clark drove through the moonlit streets between giant alien-looking vats and silos. They bumped over train tracks. When Clark looked over, Lex was watching him, eyes silvery wet.
"Clark..." he said. It sounded like 'sorry'. Like everything Clark had ever wanted to hear from him. Like the start of every lie. Clark turned away, stared hard at the road. The moon and streetlights bathed everything in blue. They could have been driving underwater, through Atlantis. Clark could feel the weight of all that water overhead. When he turned back, Lex was unconscious again. Or faking it.
Lex was still wrong. It wasn't love, only the endless echoes of the birth of some terrible white sun.
He pulled his cell phone out of the glove compartment, paged through the memory. Toby sounded stoned. He didn't recognize Clark's voice but he agreed to be at Lex's apartment in twenty minutes.
Lex didn't come around again. Not even when Clark laid him on his own bed, kissed his forehead, kissed his eyes. Ran his hand down Lex's chest to his belly and gently cupped his cock.
Said goodbye and really meant it this time.
He carried the taste of tears with him out of the elevator, into the world.
The Latin Lex quotes is Ovid: "It is not safe to despise what Love commands."
Also, why not join
Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?