But I Like It

by The Spike

spoilers for Fever and Rosetta

*Don't fall out the window*, the voice says in Lex's dream and he wakes up. He's still in his chair, still in his shirtsleeves, still in his Clarkness. Like a fog.

That was the dream of course. Clark in the middle of the road in the middle of the night, that was real. Lex the jaguar sliding down from 80 to 40 to silence. Tick tick tick.

Clark? He feels his mouth slide around a smile. Clark.

He's not even angry. It's actually a low grade giggle in the back of his throat, like he's broken some small bone that isn't important enough to hurt and this is how it feels.

Clark in his car smelled like ozone, lied brightly and badly.

You'd think he thinks by now Clark would have some standard lines but no, it always catches him off guard and that is more than laziness. More than denial. That is flirting, Clark. That is playing out the line and you shouldn't play like that. You need to be a better secret agent, Clark. Make it a challenge. Because all I'm going to have to do is find one thing. You have no deniability whatsoever Clark I am going to eat you alive

He considers that one in a nonsexual light. Licks his teeth.

Eat. You. Up.

Clark's calves are hairy. His back is smooth and wide and slightly damp. In the car he'd smelled of ozone. Of hardly anything at all. Lex had driven without looking at him while night sped past to the sound of their voices asking and answering in the most meaningless canto imaginable. His questions, Clark's monosyllabic answers. It could have been anything. Caring about it ebbed and flowed like the sound from his speakers when his blood pounded in his ears.

He remembered thinking as loud as he could scream inside: do you know you have a brothersisterlittleliarlittlepoisonseedand*Clark* like this was the only way it would penetrate. Like this was the real language of the likes of them. He wonders if it worked.

Why not? This was Smallville. This was Clark Kent.

Clark who had filled the seat while the car felt empty. Lex had wanted to turn his voice down like a radio so he could hear what was being said between the words but he missed his chance. Slick silver shiver to 80 without a thought and they were at the farm, Clark stumbling out into the yard with this secret bubbling out of him like shaken soda. Guarded in the curl of his shoulders, cupped to his bare chest like a saint's secret heart in a cage of flesh. Not even goodnight. Lex didn't offer to come in. Clark was gone.

Here in his home Lex considers now a world without Clark and knows it isn't possible. Was there ever such a place? He can't even imagine it. It feels like Clark must have been there in the back of his mind every night since the meteor shower. The world feels that changed.

"Lex?" Helen asks from the bed. Her voice is webby with sleep and plaintive.

"I'm brooding," he tells her. It sounds like he's being ironic. Like it's already a joke between them. Nothing of the kind.

Everything that binds them is elaborate basting. Loose, broad stitches that vanish like a magic trick with the slightest tension.

Helen. He doesn't know what he was thinking. He doesn't know who that boy is that keeps offering his heart to random strangers.

Helen is a soft clean coil of supple flesh and boxes and sitting up at odd hours in her fragile sweats and tank tops. Eating apples. Reading journals. Like his home is a train station and she has a long time to wait. At the hospital they try to strike sparks. The hospital smells like dud matches and fire-starter. The yellow-green lights, the packed down sound. A bomb could go off there and nobody would know.

Helen says: "I'm up in two hours. Come to bed." She sounds warm and sleepy. Inviting. The boy who wants love gets up and crawls into bed beside her, curves his chin into her throat. Lex stays in his chair. She'll be asleep soon, spooning with his ghost. And awake soon and away soon and soon gone.

Farther gone than Clark who can vanish and still be as ubiquitous as intangible as air as nitrogenoxygenargonhydrogenozone

There is another ghost boy lurking by the bedroom window -- palms to the glass, mouth half-open, leaning hard.

Far below them all the interstate is dark and completely empty now.

Lex is up too late. He has his plans in place. There is nothing more to do here, nothing more to see. In the morning the sun is going to shine.

Still he doesn't go to bed.


If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to The Spike

Also, why not join Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?


Level Three Records Room