“Hey, Lex, what does unmarked bills even *mean*?” Clark asked, frowning at the television. “I mean, bad guys always want ‘unmarked bills’… do the rest of us have to deal with marked bills or something? And is that, like, a bad thing? I don’t get it.”
When the only answer to his question was the continued demands of the extortionist on television, Clark glanced to his side. The light from the screen filtered over Lex’s face, trailing blue over his sleeping features – casting stark shadows on the hollows of his cheeks, under his eyes. His head rested against the back of the seat, legs and arms a sprawl across the soft leather of the couch, and Lex looked as though he was thinner, less substantial. Sleeping…he was dimmed, didn’t seem to take up all the space in the room like he did when he was awake. He looked…ordinary, like anyone else, and it was…strange, because Lex? Wasn’t.
And not just because he was bald and had more money than God. He was just somehow *more* than other people. Maybe it was because he was always moving, or because his eyes were so bright, or maybe it was even because of the way Lex used his voice. Either way? Lex Luthor wasn’t average or normal or anything like that. He was *Lex*.
And that was enough to make the world stop rotating on its axis and reverse course. Clark’s world, at least, and yeah, so that was a little dorky but Clark knew that Lex would really *like* the mental image of spinning the globe in the palm of his hand like some kind of marble, so maybe it was okay. And really? Being forced to question his sexuality on the basis of *one* person was kind of like, a huge compliment to that person, right? So, if Clark were to ever say any of that out loud – which he knew would be ill advised and just *way* too sappy for words – Lex would be flattered and not hideously shocked by the extent to which Clark Kent dorked out when left to his own devices.
Okay, maybe he’d be both.
But either way, Lex’s very existence hit Clark where he *lived* somehow and today, a woman on a motorcycle had fired several rounds into Clark’s back trying to *end* that existence and that was as far from okay as Clark could imagine. And suddenly Clark was having some kind of pain in the region of his chest, and breath was coming short, and no one, *no one* had the right to try and take Lex Luthor out of this world before Lex was ready to go. Or, really, ever.
Clark wanted to reach over, draw a blanket over Lex, pull Lex closer, do *something* but he couldn’t make himself move. It didn’t seem to be his place. He’d only known Lex for a few weeks, and Lex was a very private man, but Clark had somehow…wormed his way into Lex’s life…except as what?
A friend? He wanted to be that. He wanted to be the guy who Lex called when he needed something, the guy Lex had fun hanging out with. But it was more than that -- Clark wanted to *know* Lex. Wanted to really get under his skin and figure out what made him tick and know *why* and for some reason, Clark got the feeling that after a few weeks, he was already closer than Lex let most people get. The fact that he was still sitting there in Lex’s living room said something, at least.
“Is there someone you want me to call?” Clark had asked earlier, when Lex had calmed down on the alcohol intake and let Clark just…be there. For him.
Lex had snorted, raised an eyebrow, and just generally looked amused. “The Ghostbusters, perhaps?”
“No,” Clark said, impatient, “like, a friend or something. Is there anyone you want here with you?”
“No one other than present company springs to mind,” Lex had drawled, letting his eyes heat up just enough to make Clark flush, and the whole conversation was hijacked by some pretty intense flirtation.
But now, as Clark thought about it, there had been a rasping tone to Lex’s voice that only really showed up when he was saying something that was uncomfortably true, and that was…sad. And wrong, because Lex should have millions of people who were all enthralled by how amazing he was, and who wanted to just be there when Lex needed them simply because they cared about Lex. Or at *least* someone he’d known longer who he felt comfortable being vulnerable with – or as close as Lex let himself get.
At the same time, though? Clark was *glad* that he was the one who was sitting beside Lex, glad that this was a place that seemed to be reserved for *him*. For tonight, at least.
But, that didn’t mean he was close enough to be the person who tucked Lex into bed after a hard day, or soothed him, or protected him. He wanted to pull Lex flush against his side, and hold him – just hold him.
And yeah, that wasn’t something that someone just *did* with their friends, or even with the people they played around with, and so maybe that meant sometime soon Clark was definitely going to need to sit down and sort through the huge amorphous mess of feelings that Lex inspired in him, but this was not that time because he was still processing the fact that someone had *shot* at *Lex*.
Repeatedly. With intent to kill. And if Clark hadn’t been there?
All of the muscles in Clark’s body tensed at the thought, and he closed his eyes so that he didn’t accidentally set fire to Lex’s nice living room. He breathed slowly, in and out of his nose, and forced himself to relax. When he opened his eyes again, he was looking at Lex, eyes trailing over the curve of Lex’s instep, up his legs.
There was something so *vulnerable* about Lex’s bare feet, and all Clark could think about was that Lex, despite everything, was still very, very *fragile*. The fine, elegant bones of his hands, his arms, the delicate curve of his collarbone – all of those were so thin, so easily broken. He could die – Lex could *die*.
And then he’d just be…gone. No more Lex.
Which was so *deeply* unacceptable that Clark needed to do another quick breathing exercise to calm himself down.
The need to act – to find the people who wanted Lex dead, to stay beside Lex until it was figured out by some kind of law enforcement professional-type person, to wake Lex up and explain to him that Clark never wanted to see him hurt *ever* so he needed to be very careful, to smash his fist through a wall or just kiss Lex gently, all over his beautiful, upturned, sleeping face – pounded through him.
And yeah, those were definitely some feelings that Clark was going to have to think about. At some point.
But for now, he just sat, watching the slow, steady rise and fall of Lex’s thin chest with each inhalation and exhalation. After a moment he reached over, rested his palm over Lex’s heart, and closed his eyes, feeling the rhythmic pumping of Lex’s heart, and listening to the soft whistling of his breath, and Clark felt himself begin to calm, felt the cadence of his own breath decelerating to match Lex’s.
Sometime later, he felt slender fingers weaving in between his own, and opened his eyes to find Lex staring at him.
“Hey,” Lex said softly, voice husky.
Clark smiled sleepily. “Hey.”
“Sleeping on the couch’ll put a hell of a crick in your neck,” Lex told him. “I think I’m going to go to bed.”
“Oh,” Clark said, frowning, “I…okay. I guess I’ll just head home, then.”
Lex shook his head, eyes dark and intent on Clark’s face. “You don’t have to go.”
“I…I’d like to stay,” Clark confessed in a breathy rush, relieved. “And I don’t want to leave you alone.”
“Because you think I need a friend tonight?” Lex asked, puzzlement clearly written in the lines across his forehead. His free hand came up to push heavy curls off Clark’s forehead, and it was a small unconscious gesture, but it made Clark smile.
He nodded. “It’s…you shouldn’t be here by yourself. Not after what happened today and I – ” Clark broke off, struggling.
“I understand,” Lex said, and Clark wasn’t sure that he did, but didn’t dispute the statement, merely followed when Lex stood and led him to the bedroom.
He took off his shirt and jeans so that he was only wearing his boxers when he curled around Lex on the bed, finally giving into his impulses, and wrapped his arms fully around the man beside him. “Is this okay?” Clark asked quietly.
Lex nodded in response, squeezing his hand gently, and Clark laid his head on Lex’s shoulder, pressing a soft kiss there and enjoying the feeling of Lex’s body relaxing against his own.
There was a window across the room, and the dim light of street lamps illuminated the room gently. It seemed to soften the edges of the room, the edges of the past day, and Clark fell asleep, holding Lex against him, as though the curve of Clark’s back could keep away any unseen dangers lurking in the now soft night.
There were fingers tangling in his hair, threading through it and smoothing it back down with absent care, when Clark stirred and woke.
“Hi,” he mumbled sleepily into Lex’s shoulder, before stretching and smiling up at Lex. “Comfy bed. What time is it?”
“Eleven,” Lex answered, eyes trailing over Clark’s lips. “You’re beautiful when you sleep.”
“Oh, I…thanks?” Clark’s voice was breathy, and a thrill ran up his back at the texture of Lex’s voice – the raspy, rusty wanting edge it had. He looked down, and opened his mouth to say something that was hopefully a little less retarded, but Lex turned his chin up and before Clark get a word out, Lex was kissing him.
All soft lips and supple tongue and hard, white teeth. He sucked Clark’s lower lip into his mouth, nibbling on it. Licked at the outline of Clark’s mouth, basically *devouring* him one centimeter at a time, hands fisted in Clark’s hair, pulling him closer – and Clark didn’t need the encouragement.
Because, whoa, did he want to be closer, wanted to feel Lex’s body against his and when Lex straddled him, Clark basically knew that no matter what happened there was *no way* a day that started out this good could be anything but fantastic.
Fan-fucking-tabulous, with Lex leaning against the full length of Clark’s body, nipping at his jawline, sucking kisses down his neck and making little growly noises the whole time, which were pretty much in the running for ‘hottest thing ever.’
“Wow, is this how you always say good morning?” Clark gasped as Lex’s tongue drew patterns on his neck. “What if…you know…I had morning breath, or something?”
Lex didn’t answer. No, Lex’s mouth was too busy intimately acquainting itself with the skin over Clark’s collarbone, licking and biting and just generally making Clark gasp, writhe, moan and yeah, he definitely had a pretty firm grasp on Lex’s ass.
And Lex’s ass? Felt good under his hands – round, tight, and Clark was just about as hard as he’d ever been when he pulled Lex closer and found out that, yup, Lex was definitely not playing around because an erection like that? Was definitely not a ‘just playing’ kind of erection.
It was a ‘fuck you through the mattress and into next week’ kind of erection and…Clark wanted that. Wanted to feel Lex all the way *inside* of him, and *damn* that was a lot to process when Lex was still doing the growly noise thingy and learning the terrain of Clark’s bare chest with a level of dedication that would have been scary if it wasn’t so goddamned *good*.
And, okay, processing was definitely going to have to happen later, because Lex had discovered Clark’s nipples. He rolled them over in his fingers, then played them with his mouth like they were some kind of a toy, and looked up to see Clark’s face as he did it. Eyes dark, deep slices of blue that seemed to hold light on the surface in slicks of silver and a wicked, wicked smile below them that made it impossible for Clark to keep his eyes open if he wanted to last beyond the next ten seconds.
“God,” he bit off, throwing his head back, arching into the feather light touches that drifted across his stomach, teasing along the waistband of his boxers with the smallest scrape of nail, the tiniest touch of pressure.
Arching into *Lex*, who pressed back, and if Clark was human he would have already bitten all the way through his lip because. It. Felt. So. Good. And Lex was *rock hard* and Clark heard another growl, but he knew that this time it was coming from him. He pulled Lex back up the length of his body, and kissed him.
Kissed Lex like he was trying pull Lex inside of him with his tongue. Made Lex writhe and moan and *gasp* and that was such a good sound, such a *great* sound when Lex did it.
Wrapped his legs around Lex’s hips and ground up and yeah, that was pretty much *perfect* when Lex hissed in a breath through his teeth and bucked back against Clark, eyes glittering and it was like a wave of heat, just spreading up Clark’s body, crackling along his skin.
“Lex,” he gasped out, and pulled Lex tighter, letting his neck get *plundered* and forgot how to breathe when Lex pulled back and looked at him. Eyes half-lidded, color something like midnight but deeper and hotter, and lips wet and swollen from kisses and wanting, and *Clark* had done that to him, and nothing, *nothing* had ever been hotter.
Lex reached around and pulled Clark’s hands off his back, pressing them onto the headboard.
“Keep them there,” he ordered, voice husky and Clark’s hips pitched forward with rebellion, but his hands stayed put. Lex groaned, bit his lip and kissed Clark again. Hooked his thumbs underneath the waistband of Clark’s boxers and pulled and…normally Clark would have felt self-conscious, being naked and flushed but right here, right *now* with Lex’s eyes so bottomless, with the wood headboard underneath his fingers and Lex’s hands tracing up and down his thighs, over his hips….
He never wanted to wear clothes again, if it meant Lex would look at him like this every day for the rest of his life. Heard himself groan - loved the way it sparked in Lex’s dusky, burning eyes.
Pale, long fingers scratched up Clark’s inner thighs, and he tensed, cock harder than he remembered it ever being as Lex cupped his balls, fingers ghosting over them and Clark felt it like electricity through his whole body and *Jesus* it was fucking *incredible*. Got better when Lex rubbed a thumb over the head, pushing back the foreskin.
He thrust upward – didn’t even have a choice, felt himself leaking pre-come on Lex’s fingers and would have felt guilty about it, maybe, if Lex hadn’t given him a smile that was dirtier than anything else going on in the room.
And then the hot little triangle of tongue darted out of Lex’s mouth, licking over his red, swollen lips and when Lex leaned down the air caught in Clark’s throat and he closed his eyes, afraid that he’d set things on fire.
Lex’s tongue swirled over the head of Clark’s cock and Clark learned a new religion, and maybe he screamed that when Lex sucked ever-so-gently on the head. Clark wasn’t sure, because his whole world had narrowed down to warm, wet suction, a strong tongue, licking up the underside of his shaft, clever fingers reaching around, spreading his cheeks and when he opened his eyes, he saw that Lex had been waiting for this – for Clark’s eyes to meet his, so he could watch Clark’s face.
Saw the satisfaction when Lex’s cheeks hollowed and he sucked Clark in earnest and Clark’s head fell back with a thud and he screamed, “*Fuck*!”
Felt Lex’s laugh against his cock, a series of vibrations that made him arch up, made him push into Lex’s throat and Lex…took it. Took *him* -- and swallowed and swallowed, a long index finger pressing lightly on the thin skin around Clark’s hole. Pressing harder when Clark whimpered, pressing *in* when Clark shot more pre-come and his whole body started to shake. And all the while Lex’s strong, thick tongue was working him, his mouth taking the sharp snaps of Clark’s hips, the thrusts, like it was nothing, and Clark knew he might be being too rough but…he couldn’t *not* be rough.
Couldn’t *not* just *take* what Lex was doing and give it back because it was what Lex *wanted*. He knew that. Knew it because of the way he could *feel* Lex’s eyes raking over his body, knew it because Lex just sucked him harder, added another finger and found his prostate, brushing it, working Clark’s *whole body*.
Lex's gaze, like a kiss, focused on Clark's lower lip, which was tightly pressed between his teeth…and then Lex’s eyes sparked wildly, and it was so *hot* and so *wet* and Clark was coming, coming *so hard* that he was screaming and Lex just swallowed it all down.
And Clark must have left the space-time continuum far, far behind because when he was aware of the universe again, Lex was naked, sitting up and smiling down at him. Clark wanted to say something, wanted to let Lex know how completely and amazingly talented he was. Wanted to inform Lex, in fact, that clearly his mouth was a mind-blowing natural phenomenon, but really? He was only capable of lying there and panting, with what must have been a very dazed look on his face.
He hoped that dazed was a good look for him.
A slow, lazy smile spread across Lex's face. "Hey," he said softly, reaching up to run a thumb over Clark's lips.
"Hey," Clark said back, quietly amazed that he'd gotten the word out.
Lex leaned in and kissed him, slowly, passionately, and Clark could feel Lex's cock - still hard - pressing into his leg. Clark reached for him, but Lex pulled back, a half smile on his face as he placed Clark's hands on his hips.
"No, Clark…. Just…watch," he said, sitting back up so that he was straddling Clark's chest.
Lex ran his hands down his own chest, his eyes seeking out Clark's. They were lambent, fierce, and Clark shivered, feeling his own eyes become heavy lidded, his grin predatory.
"I'm watching," he said, and even to his ears, it sounded more like a purr than anything else. "Do it, Lex. I want to see you come."
Groaning, Lex grasped himself, flicking his thumb over the head of his cock, his eyelids fluttering. Clark had seen men naked before, had even seen naked men aroused before, but nothing like this. Nothing like watching Lex stroke himself slowly, his cock heavy and glistening with pre-come, cupping his balls in one hand and just rhythmically, smoothly jacking himself off - moaning and jerking and Clark felt his face heating up, as his thumbs stroked Lex's hipbones, his fingers smooth over the soft skin, keeping time with the motions of Lex’s hand.
"God, you're so sexy," Clark whispered, and Lex smiled down at him - all sharp teeth and smoky eyes. And while it was amazing, watching Lex, watching those slender white hands as he worked himself, it wasn't enough. Clark’s hands ached, and he wanted to feel Lex so badly.
"Lex, I want…*God* c-can I *touch* you?" he asked, uncertain.
Lex groaned, nodded, and Clark was *there* and Lex was so hot in his hand, and responsive. He set a fast pace, making Lex buck, throw back his head, growl.
With each stroke, Clark flicked his thumb over the head of Lex's cock and *god* it was sexy, so sexy to have Lex straddling him, making love to his hand, biting his swollen lips. To have the taste of Lex on his tongue, and feel the throbbing of Lex’s cock in his hands and it was almost too much when Lex finally arched his back, cried out, and came, pulsing hot between them.
Lex collapsed beside Clark, idly trailing fingers through Clark’s hair as he panted and it really should have been illegal for anyone or anything to be as stunning as Lex was with his pale lashes feathered out against the rose of his skin. Clark was sure of it.
He turned on his side, trailing a hand over Lex’s cheek. “You okay?” Clark asked, shyly.
The gingery lashes swept upward, and Lex’s eyes were hectically bright. “If today means to continue as it’s begun, then it’s a wonderful day to be alive, Clark.”
The words swept over Clark’s skin like dread, and he shivered, unconsciously moving closer to Lex. Two scars on Lex’s chest stood out now – white and smooth amid skin pink from exertion – and Clark noticed them for the first time. Round, high on his chest; right over his heart…bullet holes in Lex’s body, and Clark wanted to *kill* Lex’s ex-wife for doing that to him. Wanted it, a lot, but only after he’d killed whoever had shot at Lex yesterday, because at least the murderous ex was behind bars.
Lex was watching Clark like he was waiting for a response, so Clark shrugged, dredged up a half smile. “Today will go however you want it to,” he said quietly, pressing a kiss to Lex’s shoulder.
Lex nodded, and closed his eyes, leaning back against Clark’s side. “If only that were true.”
“What do you mean?” Clark asked, frowning.
“Press conference. Two o’clock,” Lex told him. “Those never go the way I want them to. Reporters have this nasty habit of…asking questions. Making accusations. Speaking. It’s all very tiresome.”
“Hey,” Clark said, mildly.
“It’s true,” Lex said, cracking an eye open. “And you’re not a reporter *yet*. There’s still hope for you.”
“You’re going to save me from my chosen career path?” Clark teased.
“No, I’m just going to dissuade you from becoming one of the evil, slavering minions of the mass media. As for saving people? That, apparently, is your specialty,” Lex said, trailing off. “Clark, you threw yourself in front of me last night. You could have died. That was…an incredibly brave, stupid thing to do.”
Clark shifted, uncomfortable. “Lex, it...I’m all right. Don’t worry about it.”
“You’re sure you’re all right?” He turned toward Clark, both eyes open, expression tight with concern. “I could have sworn that she hit you.”
“I’m all right,” Clark repeated firmly. And it wasn’t a lie, so much, as just…a circumvention of the truth, but Clark’s internal guilt-meter wasn’t buying that at all. “I promise.”
Lex relaxed against Clark and closing his eyes again. “Good.”
Neither said anything more, and soon Lex’s face went lax with sleep. And like the night before, the easy rhythms of Lex’s breathing and the solid, comfortable feeling of his body against Clark’s lulled Clark into slumber.
The phone trilled and Clark sat bolt upright, reaching toward the bedside table reflexively. When he encountered a warm sleeping Lex instead of the plastic of his phone, he opened his eyes and smiled.
It really *had* happened, then. His smile morphed into a grin as his eyes trailed over the hickey on Lex’s collarbone. It was weird – Clark had never really been a big fan of hickeys before, but seeing one on Lex was way hotter than he could have anticipated. Especially knowing that *he’d* put it there, and remembering the feel of Lex’s skin between his lips, the taste of Lex – like mint, juniper, something sharp and clean.
The phone stopped ringing, and Clark settled back onto the bed, curling closer to Lex’s pocket of warmth and reflecting wryly that pretty much anything in the entire world that could evoke those memories would qualify as *incendiary* instead of hot, so maybe his opinion on hickeys hadn’t been what had changed.
The phone rang again, and Lex stirred, rolling over and flailing until his hand connected with the receiver. He sat up, ran a hand over his face, and opened his eyes, still bleary.
“Yeah?” Lex said into the phone, voice slurred with sleep. “I’m here, what do you need?”
Ignoring Lex’s end of the conversation, Clark admired the pale curve of Lex’s back, the strong line of his shoulders, his profile. Lex shook his head a little, blinking to dispel tiredness, and Clark wanted to see this more often. Wanted to wake up right *here* again, and wondered if he’d be allowed to.
Wondered what he meant to Lex, and really, started to admit to himself that Lex meant a *hell of a lot* to Clark.
“*Shit*,” Lex said loudly, pulling Clark out of his thoughts. “All right, it’s one now. I’ve got the press conference in an hour. After that, I’ll meet you at your office and we can go from there.” There was a pause and he nodded. “Yes, I understand perfectly. I’ll see you then, Jack. Good bye.”
Lex hung up the phone, expelled a long breath, before straightening and leaning back against the headboard. He gave Clark a small smile and tangled his fingers in Clark’s hair, looking out the window. “Hi,” he said, distracted.
“Hi,” Clark said in return. “You okay, Lex?”
“I’m fine,” Lex replied, stretching. He opened his mouth, as if to say something further, but closed it, with a slight shake of his head.
“Lex? You’re really not convincing me about this whole ‘fine’ thing.” Clark frowned and sat up, putting his hand on Lex’s shoulder. “What happened?”
“Nothing,” Lex replied, squeezing Clark’s hand lightly before standing. “I need to get ready for the press conference.”
“We’ve got a little over an hour,” Clark told him, with a glance at the clock. “How long does it usually take before hand? To set up? I mean, with all the equipment and stuff. Is there a sound check?”
Both of Lex’s brows rose, and he half-turned, expression inscrutable. “‘We’, Clark?”
And Clark stopped short, because he very much so *hadn’t* expected that response. “Yeah, we…Lex, you’re not going on your *own* are you?”
“My lawyer will be there, as will the majority of Metropolis’ hot-shot reporter set, pens in hand and questions at the ready. I would hardly call that alone.”
And his tone was like a slap – condescending. Like Clark was being foolish. Like Lex wasn’t standing there totally naked except for marks that *Clark* had sucked onto his chest, neck. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” Clark responded, forcing his voice to remain even. “I mean, you should go with someone who can…protect you. Make sure you don’t get hurt.”
“Unless I’m greatly mistaken, Clark, you’re not a professional bodyguard,” Lex said, walking toward the bathroom. “What do you propose to do? Become my permanent human shield? That will work precisely *once*, if the shooter’s aim improves at all, and I’m not particularly inclined to gamble your life on the chance that it won’t.”
Clark only winced slightly at the phrase ‘human shield,’ and was a little proud of that, but mostly he felt both guilty and perversely giddy because even though he was the first to admit that he could be a little emotionally stupid at times, it was clear that Lex was *worried* about him. Which meant that Lex cared about him – at least a little, at least as friends – and that was good. That was *very good*.
“I’ll be safe, I promise,” Clark said, standing and following Lex into the bathroom. “Don’t worry about me, okay?”
Lex snorted, without humor, leaning against the marble of the countertop and studying his reflection. “I would suggest that you don’t make promises you can’t keep. You’re young, and apparently operating under the assumption that you’re immortal, but I can assure you that as invincible as you may feel? You’re not.”
Clark opened his mouth to argue, but Lex cut him off, his eyes intent on Clark’s in the mirror. “But let’s set aside that issue for the moment. How do you suggest I explain you, when you show up by my side at the press conference, hovering? My bodyguard? Your friends and family will all know that’s false, Clark, and Lois Lane saw you with me on the night of the fundraiser. The speculation will begin immediately, and are you really ready to see your name splashed across the Daily Planet as Lex Luthor’s new gay lover? Another in a long line of tawdry Luthor exploits?”
And Clark had to stop a second, because he *knew* Lex was right. That was definitely the spin the newspapers would put on it, on *them*, even though there was *nothing* tawdry about the way he felt about Lex.
But the fact that Lex could make Clark’s breath come short by laughing wouldn’t make it into print. That Lex actually *listened* when Clark talked wouldn’t be what his mother and father would read as soon as the Daily Planet hit the front porch, wouldn’t be what Lana saw, and when people saw Clark on the street? He’d be wondering if they were thinking about the stories people printed about him in the newspaper. It would be worse than the whole Superman thing, because it would be *Clark* making news. Which was *definitely* a far cry from staying under the radar.
And how long until people put Clark’s heroics back in Smallville together with Superman in Metropolis, after his name made the news because of his relationship with Lex? It hadn’t taken Chloe long at all, and the thought sent a chill down his spine.
“That’s what I thought,” Lex murmured, lips thin, eyes still fixed on Clark. There was a long moment, and Clark could feel thousands of unspoken recriminations pressing against him, but Lex looked away and offered him an out. “And I can’t take much more bad press. Not now, after Phelan’s accusations, and then his death. LexCorp is doing badly enough as it is.”
“Will someone be there to protect you?” Clark asked, voice tight. “You *can’t* go without protection of some kind. The police, whoever, it doesn’t matter. Someone out there tried to kill you, Lex, and standing up on a platform talking to an anonymous crowd of people you’ll be pretty much the most perfect target ever.”
“Yes, I’m very aware of that,” Lex said brusquely. “Having already spent quite a bit of time in Metropolis General for gunshot wounds, I’m taking steps to avoid a repeat performance. I do actually employ bodyguards, and they’ll be meeting me here in about twenty minutes.”
Clark nodded, looking down at his hands splayed across the cool counter. “Are they good? I mean, will they keep you safe?” he asked, the questions pushing their way out of his mouth despite his better judgment.
A slight smile flirted with the corners of Lex’s mouth. “Mercy and Hope are the best at what they do, naturally.”
“Naturally,” Clark echoed. Sure, they were the best at what they did, but they weren’t as good as Clark. He was faster, stronger, and more importantly? Bullets would bounce off him if not crush on impact against his skin, and as safe as Lex would be with Mercy and Hope, he’d be safer still with Clark.
But he…couldn’t go. And he couldn’t explain it to Lex, so he just nodded, and reached out to touch Lex’s shoulder, lightly. “Be careful anyway, okay?”
“I will,” Lex said, turning to give Clark an actual smile this time. “When it comes to my life, I’m very good at that.”
“Unless you’re behind the wheel,” Clark shot back, and Lex gave him a wry grin.
“Be that as it may, Mercy and Hope will be here very soon. You should probably leave before they arrive. I trust their discretion, but I’d rather not tempt fate.”
“When will I see you again?” Clark asked, and then bit his tongue, because, *god*, he really *was* one with his inner twelve year old girl, wasn’t he?
Lex didn’t seem to mind, though. His face softened, and he brushed fingertips over Clark’s collarbone. “Dinner? Tonight?”
“Yeah,” Clark replied, breath coming short as Lex’s eyes swept over him, head to toe, and reminded him that he was, in fact, still very much without clothing. “I’d like that.”
“Me too,” Lex said, lips curling up as he stepped into the shower. “I’d like it very much.”
The glass plates of the shower door were clear, and Clark watched as water ran over Lex’s pale body, curls of steam winding over the door, around his skin. Dinner couldn’t come soon enough at all.