All in all, Clark thought, he was handling everything really well. He’d gotten out of bed, and he’d even gone to work, thereby proving that anyone who had ever called Clark Kent high strung had been wrong. He was completely calm. Totally Zen.
He was Clark Kent, Calm Guy.
Calm, Bisexual, Alien Guy who had made the headlines *yet again*, to be more precise.
Not that Clark was looking at the newspaper. He hadn’t looked at it all morning. He hadn’t watched the news, or answered his phone, or listened when the people around him talked about the news, because really? He was happier that way. Like, galaxies happier. Not to mention calmer.
Ignorance was *totally* bliss, and Clark would stand by that. Hell, it was his new motto.
However, Lex had a different philosophy. A philosophy that involved reading the Daily Planet at lunch. And wanting to talk to Clark about it. And maybe in a world slightly less fucked up than Clark’s, that would have been both normal and acceptable, and not something that would end up making Clark want to crawl into a hole and die.
This was not that world.
“Metropolis’ inferiority complex has really gotten out of hand,” Lex muttered, reading the front page of the Daily Planet and shaking his head.
Clark made a noncommittal noise, and applied himself to eating his gyro.
“Have you ever noticed that as soon as Gotham has something, Metropolis wants one, too?” Lex asked him, smiling. “Gotham has a new opera house? Metropolis builds one! Gotham has an unbalanced vigilante, so what happens? Metropolis gets one, too.”
“Unbalanced?” Clark asked, defensive. “What do you mean ‘unbalanced’?”
Lex’s eyes shimmered with amusement as his lips curled up. A pink triangle of tongue flicked out to wet his lips, and he shook his head and yeah, Clark was definitely as bisexual as he’d been last night because that was *hot*.
“Clark, do you think sane men go around prowling the seamier side of town in order to find someone who needs saving? This ‘Superman,’ or whatever it is they’re calling him now, is a thrill-seeking personality type or maybe he’s just addicted to the attention he gets from saving people,” Lex shrugged, turning the page. “Either way, I don’t say it argues well for his sanity.”
“Wait, who’s Superman?” Clark asked, confused. “Isn’t the Masked Samaritan, or Sumerian, or something?”
“‘The Masked Sumerian’?” Lex quoted, laughing. “No. Not likely. The Sumerians were an ancient Mesopotamian civilization. It *was* Samaritan, as in the biblical ‘good Samaritan.’ The Daily Planet editors, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to change the handle they’ve given our emerging hero to ‘Superman.’ Because, quote, you people have got it all wrong, he doesn’t wear a mask or anything, end quote.”
“Who said that? And why are they calling him Superman now?” Clark was beginning to regret not answering his phone. It would really have been easier to get this with a dose of snark from Chloe, because hearing Lex’s voice, thick and dark with amusement as he tossed out random details from the article, was totally shooting any and all calmness to hell.
“The man who pointed out that Metropolis’ new celebrity does not wear a mask also said his savior was stronger than the average man. ‘He was like a superman’,” Lex read, snorting. “I’m not entirely sure that Nietzsche would agree with that assessment, no matter how fast and how strong he may have been. What do you think, Clark?”
Clark frowned. “Do you really think this guy is ‘unbalanced’? He just saves people. I mean, maybe he just likes to help people and is in the right place at the right time. Is that so unlikely?”
“Frankly, yes,” Lex told him with a sharp smile. “While it pains me to have to tell you this, Clark, I’ve found that people rarely do things out of the goodness of their heart. Or, even if they do, they have an agenda. Everyone has an agenda.”
“Everyone?” Clark challenged, irritated. “Even you?”
Lex raised an eyebrow and cocked his head, studying Clark as his smile got brighter, sharper. “Especially me,” he said eventually.
His voice rasped along Clark’s nerves, and Lex was doing that thing again. That thing where he might or might not be checking Clark out, and yeah, Clark was definitely checking Lex out, and the manly mini condors were doing some manly mini-fluttering all throughout Clark’s body.
God. So, revision of theory: Not only was Clark bisexual, he was a *lot* bisexual and a *lot* attracted to Lex Luthor.
Oh, his dad was going to *love* this.
Lex held Clark’s eyes with his own for a moment longer, before shaking his head and turning back to the newspaper with a small, satisfied smile. He flipped the page, and his expression hardened, eyes flickering briefly with something that looked suspiciously like hurt.
“What?” Clark asked, concerned. “Lex? Are you okay?” He leaned in, and his eyes flashed over the newspaper.
The bold print across the top of the page read, “Former Mrs. Lex Luthor to Corroborate Phelan’s Testimony.”
“I didn’t…know you were married,” Clark managed, trying very hard to find something a little less inane to say.
“I wasn’t, for very long,” Lex said, shortly.
“Can I?” Clark asked, reaching for the newspaper. Lex nodded, and Clark pulled it over so that he could look at the picture of ‘the former Mrs. Luthor.’ Lex’s ex-wife was…hot, Clark thought, as he looked at the inset picture. Her dark hair was pulled back, and she gave the camera an expression of artful innocence.
He cleared his throat. “So, is that going to be a big deal? Her testifying, I mean? Is it going to cause a lot of problems?”
Lex’s lips thinned. “Most likely, otherwise she wouldn’t have done it.”
“Well…that sucks,” Clark muttered. He was going to have to work on that ‘not saying inane things’ issue, he thought, blushing.
“Well put,” Lex said dryly, which didn’t help with the blushing.
Clark studied the picture, noticing for the first time what she was wearing; an orange jumpsuit. “She’s in jail?” he asked, looking up at Lex’s perfectly blank expression.
“Yes. Attempted murder is not something that Metropolis takes terribly lightly,” Lex responded quietly.
“Who did she try to kill?” Clark blurted out before thinking.
Blue eyes cooled further, but Lex shrugged, sitting back in his chair comfortably. “Me. Actually, she didn’t do it. A student of hers shot me twice in the chest, but conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree is just as serious as attempted murder.”
Lex looked away, a corner of his mouth curling up into something that would have been a smirk, had it not been so bitter. “It was not one of my better break ups.”
Someday he was going to learn tact. Someday he would *think* before opening his mouth and hopefully, that day would be soon because Clark never wanted to live through anything this awkward again. Ever.
“I…wow. I’m sorry to hear that, Lex,” Clark stammered, blushing at how inadequate the words were. “That’s terrible.”
Lex made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Our marriage was one of my greater failures, yes.”
Confusion knotted Clark’s brow. “What do you mean? It wasn’t your fault. She tried to *kill* you. How is that your fault?”
“I didn’t take my own advice. I forgot for a moment that everyone, *everyone* has an agenda,” Lex said flatly. “It was a mistake. A mistake my father never would have made. He doesn’t let emotions cloud his judgment.”
“So what? You’re not your father,” Clark said with a shrug. “What he would have done doesn’t matter.”
Lex half-laughed, surprised. He met Clark’s steady gaze, and incredulity was written across his features. “I’ve never heard Lionel dismissed so easily before.”
Uncomfortable, Clark shrugged again, looking down at his empty paper plate before glancing back up to meet Lex’s eyes. “Well, it *doesn’t* matter. You’re Lex, not Lionel.”
“Both Luthors,” Lex pointed out, tilting his head to the side.
“Doesn’t mean you’re the same person. Or even that you should be,” Clark argued, impatient. “Did you love her?” he asked, gesturing toward the photograph.
Clark thought for a moment that he’d pushed too hard, because Lex sat silent and expressionless for several long seconds before answering simply, quietly, “Yes. I thought I did.”
“And then you married her. It’s what people *do*, Lex. She played you, it *wasn’t* your fault.” It was important that Lex got that, and Clark wasn’t really sure why it mattered so much to him, but it did, dammit. “Being passionate isn’t a bad thing.”
“Being reckless is,” Lex fired back. “I’ve learned that lesson very well.”
Clark felt a sudden, overwhelming desire to crush her with his bare hands. “She’s a *con* artist, Lex.”
“Which, ironically, now works to my advantage,” Lex said, deftly changing subjects. “Even beautiful con artists don’t have much credibility in court.”
“True,” Clark murmured, looking away. He listened to the traffic behind him, and watched his fingers as they crumpled his napkin methodically.
When he looked up, Lex was still watching him, eyes silver in the light. “What?” Clark asked.
“It’s odd,” Lex began, watching Clark carefully, “that I said any of that to you. I…I don’t usually discuss Desiree, or my father, for that matter. Not with anyone.”
“Why not? It’s the kind of thing that you *should* be able to talk about with your friends,” Clark said slowly.
Lex raised an eyebrow, considering. “Are we friends, Clark?”
“Yeah, I think so. If you want to be, that is,” he responded quickly, tripping over his words.
He held his breath as Lex thought, still studying Clark.
This was one of those moments, Clark thought, when things were decided. Pivotal things, and he could feel the importance of Lex’s consideration.
He sort of wished that Lex would consider faster. Because he needed to breathe soon, and was finding it strangely difficult to do so.
A slow smile teased Lex’s lips. “I don’t know. I’m not sure my ego can stand being friends with someone who’s better at playing videogames than I am.”
Breathing was no longer a problem, and the biggest, toothiest, happiest grin in Clark’s repertoire was all over his face. “Hey, who won at Zelda? I don’t think it was me.”
“It most definitely wasn’t,” Lex agreed, grinning back as he checked his watch.
“Lunch over?” Clark asked, standing.
He didn’t want lunch to be over. He didn’t want to have to go back to his desk, and see Lex disappear into professional mode, and possibly have to wrestle with the photocopier again. What he wanted was to stay here, at this little round black table, and keep talking to Lex, because talking to Lex was pretty amazing when Lex *actually* talked.
But Lex nodded. “Yes, and I have to get back for a meeting.”
Clark suppressed the urge to pout, nodding instead and following Lex.
And damn it, his friend Lex really…moved well. Okay, his *friend* Lex sauntered, and Clark couldn’t really take his eyes off the way his *friend’s* hips moved from side to side and those were *not* friendly thoughts and Clark was *really* going to have to work on his whole ‘insanely-attracted-to-Lex’ thing because it was *not* a good idea to get involved with your friends and Clark *knew* that.
Clark was still affirming his knowledge of that fact when he almost ran bodily into Lex.
“What?” he asked, when he noticed the questioning look on Lex’s face.
“You know, you haven’t asked me,” Lex commented. “If it’s true or not.”
“If what’s true?” Clark was *totally* lost and he was sure it showed on his face when Lex smiled briefly.
“Phelan’s accusations.” Lex was serious again, mouth a hard line in an otherwise completely expressionless face. “You didn’t ask me if they were true or not.”
“Oh, that. I didn’t have to,” Clark told Lex. “I don’t believe him. Plain and simple.”
Somehow Clark knew that the small, astounded smile Lex wore back to the office was the Lex-specific version of the Clark Kent goofy grin.
And he’d put it there. And that was pretty cool.
When they got back to the office, Lex disappeared into a meeting and Clark went back to his desk. He steadfastly continued to ignore the newspaper, and any and all thoughts of the …fame? notoriety? attention?... he was getting in the Daily Planet. He didn’t think about what his parents must have thought when they opened the newspaper, he didn’t wonder whether or not there had been a description of him, and he *definitely* didn’t try to figure out if he was going to keep doing this saving-people-in-high-profile-kind-of-wa
Because if he thought about *any* of that, he wouldn’t be able to do any work. And doing work, while maybe not the world’s most *stimulating* activity, was important because it led directly to being paid. Which was *key*.
Also? Clark didn’t really want to think about any of those things. They made him uncomfortable, in a kind of prickly-guilt-and-dread kind of way.
Clark was typing away at his computer happily, thinking of nothing newspaper-related, when his phone rang. He glanced over at the caller ID and winced when he saw his parent’s number. Reflexively, he reached out to answer the phone, but on second thought, let his hand fall, and ignored the call.
At the desk across from him, Jenna raised both light eyebrows in confusion at Clark’s behavior. Or maybe it was disapproval.
The phone rang again five minutes later, and Clark decided it was *definitely* disapproval as he tried to disregard the shrill ringing.
After the fourth time Clark let his phone go straight through to his voicemail, Jenna gave Clark a *look* that should *not* have been as effective as it was. She was five foot two and looked like she was fifteen. She had *freckles*. And yet, she only had to stare at him accusingly and Clark found himself doing what she wanted him to.
That is, picking up the phone, which was *not* something Clark wanted to do. Dammit.
“Clark? Clark are you there?” his mother’s worried voice asked, the minute he snagged the phone.
He winced. She was…two decibels above worried. In the angry-danger zone area of loud.
God, he was in trouble.
“Yeah, I’m here, Mom,” he said, suppressing a sigh.
She let out a long breath. “Are you all right? Your father and I tried to reach you all morning and there was no answer.”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said hastily. “Just…busy. I’m actually kind of in the middle of something right now….”
“Busy? Busy how? We called you ten times, Clark. Where have you *been*?” Yeah, his mother was *definitely* yelling now.
“I went for a run this morning. To clear my head. And I’ve been at work since then,” Clark told her, trying valiantly not to blush as he lied. He failed spectacularly. “I’m at work right now, too, and I really should go.”
“Clark Kent, when you get done with work you call home, do you hear me?” His mother ordered, voice tight. “Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Call home immediately after walking through the door, got it?”
Oh shit. Damage control. “Mom I – ” he started, turning so that he wasn’t facing Jenna while groveling to his mother.
“I know what you sound like when you’re lying to me, Clark,” his mother cut him off. She sucked in a breath, and Clark could just *see* her trying to calm herself down. “Do you have any idea how worried I was this morning? And now you’re lying to me. We are going to *talk* later.”
His mom sounded…hurt and worried *on top* of being angry, and Clark felt about an inch tall. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I just kind of –”
“We’ll talk about it later. You said you were busy. I’m sure there’s work you need to go do,” she cut him off. “I’m glad you’re all right. Call when you’re home from work.”
He agreed, and they exchanged goodbyes and hung up, and Clark would have banged his head against his desk if he hadn’t been worried about breaking it.
He’d known they’d be worried but he didn’t think they’d be *this* worried. What had been *in* that article?
Maybe, Clark realized, this whole ostrich impersonation he had going on wasn’t a good idea. He pulled his head out of the sand, and brought up the Daily Planet web page on his computer.
And there it was. Moved faster than the eye could see, really strong, and oh yeah, probably about six feet tall, dark haired, blue eyed and…handsome? Clark would have blushed if he hadn’t been preoccupied with panicking.
Lois Lane had been busy. Like, really busy. She’d found twenty people that Clark had helped in the past year, and they’d all given her descriptions of him that were fairly accurate. No wonder his parents were crawling the walls with worry.
And she didn’t stop there, either. She tried to explain his strength and speed, and Clark took satisfaction in the fact that she was unable to do so without sounding ridiculous.
Take that, Lois Lane.
He read the article again, and it struck him that for an article about a cocaine bust, there was very little information about the bust itself. Clark’s internal Chloe was snarking about the quality of Lane’s reportage as he tried to piece together the details that *did* make the paper.
And go Metropolis PD, Clark thought, because they didn’t know who was moving the cocaine. The warehouse belonged to Peter Vladenko, the crime boss that Phelan had just put in jail. But, really, no one man was going to be able to sell that much coke and the Metropolis police were coming up empty on possibilities.
They couldn’t be trying too hard. Metropolis was crawling with criminal types. Okay, not crawling, and it was certainly safer than Gotham, but organized crime was *definitely* well-ensconced and high profile.
High profile enough that Clark’s parents still needed to be assured that he was locking his door at night before they would stop worrying and he was *bulletproof*.
It could be that the police didn’t have to try and figure out who was selling the cocaine; maybe they knew and were withholding the information. Or maybe, Clark thought cynically, they knew and were being paid to let it go.
As Clark’s eyes landed on Phelan’s photograph on the screen in front of him, he realized that was what Phelan had been saying all along.
Just enough truth in Phelan’s lies to be disconcerting, he mused, not for the first time, clicking the link beside the picture. It pulled up the article he’d looked at before about Lex’s ex-wife.
Desiree Adkins. Clark really hated her. Without question, and fully, *hated* the woman for the desolate cool he’d seen in Lex’s eyes earlier.
The line of her brow, the eyes, the lips…they all looked like something he’d seen before, and often.
Clark leaned back in his chair, glancing over at the clock on the wall. Mid-motion, he stopped. His eyes had fallen on his reflection in the window, and realization hit hard.
Lex’s ex-wife looked like *him*. Clark’s air left his lungs in a ‘whoosh,’ and Jenna looked over at him, curious.
He smiled, waved her away, bit his lip to keep from saying, “Oh, nothing to worry about. Just realized that I’m more or less the male equivalent of the ex-wife of the first man I’ve
ever been attracted to. Don’t mind me.”
Glaring at his computer, he closed out the Daily Planet web page. He *hated* that newspaper. Violently. He would never read it again. Ever. It caused too many problems. He’d switch to a subscription of the Inquisitor.
And be bored out of his skull by the society pages. Dammit.
Clark took a long, deep breath, and stood. “I’m getting some coffee, do you want any?”
“Coffee will give you an ulcer,” Jenna told him.
Taking that as a no, Clark picked up the mug on his desk and walked to the staff kitchen. He leaned against the counter, and sipped his coffee slowly, doing a quick mental rundown of his day thus far.
1. He and Lex were officially friends.
2. He wanted to jump Lex’s bones. Like, a lot.
3. His mother was going to yell at him next time he spoke with her because he saved someone’s life and prevented a large quantity of drugs from being sold on the streets of Metropolis. Clearly the wrong thing to do, Clark, he thought sarcastically.
4. He was the spitting image of a Lex’s former wife who was a con artist and a would-be murderer.
All he needed was a meteor mutant or two and he’d feel like he’d never even left Smallville, because his life was still *that* weird.
Clark finished his coffee, and headed back to his desk, but two steps outside of the kitchen, he stopped. Lex was in the lobby, shaking hands with a thin, arrogant looking man who was flanked by two of the most obvious bodyguards Clark had ever seen.
Thugs, he revised, X-raying the two huge men when he noticed an odd bulge on one of their backs. It turned out to be one of many guns. Both of the bodyguards were armed to the teeth, and neither was a stranger to fighting.
What kind of man needed bodyguards like that? It could be that he was just paranoid, and liked having the muscle behind him, but the man talking to Lex oozed a smarmy kind of confidence. No, there was definitely something…sleazy about him.
Why would Lex do business with someone like that, Clark wondered, walking back to his desk and frowning.
“Hey, Jenna,” he said, sitting. “Who’s that?” He jerked his chin the man talking with Lex.
She looked up, and eyed the man with distaste. “His name’s Micheal Berenson.”
From her tone of voice, Jenna didn’t like him anymore than Clark did. “What’s he doing here?”
“I don’t know,” she told him simply. “We’ve never done business with anyone like him before.”
“What do you mean?”
Jenna snorted, turning back to her computer. “Let’s just say that he keeps some of the city’s best criminal attorneys on his speed dial.”
Clark’s eyes widened and he wondered again why Lex would associate with a man who probably bankrolled every crooked lawyer in the city.
It was five million degrees in Clark’s apartment when he got home. It even *smelled* hot.
He dropped his keys, jacket and tie on the table in the kitchen, toed his shoes off and opened the door the freezer, standing in front of it for long minutes with a blissful smile on his face.
Fans were *still* crucial. Clark *would* buy fans. He would buy all of the fans that he could find. And with X-ray vision and the ability to fly long distances very quickly, he could probably find a lot of fans.
Happily imagining his apartment as filled with gale force winds, Clark poured a lemonade and lay down on his couch, starting when the phone rang. His parents. Damn.
“Hello, Clark.” His father’s voice greeted him with about the same amount of warmth as an ice bath. This was the sound of disappointment.
Clark’s stomach dropped. He *hated* that sound.
“Hi, I was just about to call,” he said into the phone and cringed at the skeptical silence. “Really,” he added lamely.
His father cleared his throat and skipped the preliminaries. “Son, your mother and I want you to come home.”
“I can’t, Dad, you know that. I have work until the weekend,” Clark explained. “And then I have unpacking to do.”
“No, I don’t mean for the weekend. We want you to come home from Metropolis for the summer.”
Clark blinked. This was not what he had expected. It was infinitely worse.
His father drew in a deep breath and continued. “We…well, we’re concerned. It’s been three weeks since school’s been out and you’ve made the paper three times in the past week alone. Clark, here in Smallville, the things you do…it’s just safer if you can’t help yourself.”
A slow burn of anger started to travel up Clark’s spine. “No,” he said firmly.
“No what?” Jonathan asked, confused.
“No, I’m not going home,” Clark stated, an edge to his voice. “I’m staying here, working, and paying off my lease. I am not coming home.”
“I don’t think I appreciate your tone.”
“And I don’t think I appreciate *any* of this,” he snapped. “If I ‘can’t help myself,’ Dad? You make it sound like I’ve got some kind drug problem!”
“You *know* how dangerous it is for you to draw attention to yourself, Clark, and you’re doing it anyway. Do you think that you can keep doing this without getting recognized eventually?” his father asked, angrily. “This isn’t a game, son. This is your *life* we’re talking about here.”
“Believe me, no one knows that better than me,” Clark fired back. “I can’t remember the first time I had a nightmare about being caught. My whole life I’ve been terrified of that possibility. I’ve done my *best* to keep from attracting attention, Dad, and you *know* that.”
“Until now, yes, you have,” Jonathan agreed, reluctantly. “But, Clark, the Daily Planet is looking for you. This Lois Lane is on your trail, and you keep giving her ammunition.”
Clark stood, pacing across the length of his living room and raking a hand through his hair. “So what do you want me to do, Dad? Should I have listened to that man plead for his life and then get *executed*? Would that have been the *right* thing to do?”
There was a tell tale silence, and Clark smiled grimly. “That’s what I thought. You’ve told me over and over that I have these gifts for a reason. That I should use them to help people. Does that mean I should only help people we know?”
Jonathan sighed, and Clark could practically see him pinching the bridge of his nose. “You can hear it happening?”
“Yeah, Dad, I can hear it. What, did you think I just walked around looking for people who need help? I can hear…everything, sometimes. And I *don’t* always go,” he added. “Sometimes, when it’s not a life or death situation, I let it slide. But I…there’s no way I could have allowed that man to get killed yesterday. And there’s no way you’re going to persuade me that I did the wrong thing by saving his life.”
“No, no one ever said that it was the wrong thing to do,” his father said quietly. “Just…dangerous.”
“I know. But…I couldn’t *not* help him,” Clark struggled to explain. “It’s just…I couldn’t. You always told me that the only thing a person can do is his best, right? Well that’s what I’m doing; my best. And…when I hear someone who needs help, it…hurts not to help them. Because I *know* I can.”
“Son, are you sure you don’t want to come home? Smallville’s…quieter. You wouldn’t have that problem here.”
He shook his head. “I can’t hide in Smallville forever. And I *would* have that problem there. I don’t know how far off this hearing thing works. It’s kind of off and on…and besides, Smallville’s got its share of disasters.”
Jonathan exhaled audibly, and Clark knew he wasn’t pleased. It didn’t matter, though, because Clark was staying in Metropolis. It *was* his life, and he was going to live it *his* way.
As much as he could, anyway.
“What are you going to do about the Daily Planet?” his father asked, resigned.
Clark sighed. “I really don’t know, Dad. I’m not *trying* to get anyone’s attention. I’m trying to be low key. It’s just not working very well. I guess I’ll just try and keep the lowest profile I can and hope it blows over, or something.”
“Clark, I want you to be careful,” his father warned. “Your mother and I worry about you.”
“I know you do, and I *am* careful,” he said, trying not to sound as exasperated as he felt. “As careful as I can be.”
“All right. Your mother wants to talk to you. I love you, Clark.”
And Clark knew that he did. He knew that his father wouldn’t have been have been half as worried and angry if he didn’t love Clark a great deal. He reminded himself of that and forced his voice to remain even when he spoke next.
“Love you too, Dad,” he said by way of farewell.
“Clark? Hello?” his mother called into the phone.
“Hey there, Mom.”
“You’re not coming home, are you?” she asked. Clark could hear the smile in her voice, and found an answering one spreading across his own face.
“No, I’m not.”
She laughed. “I tried to tell your father that you wouldn’t. But you know how he is.”
“Stubborn?” Clark suggested, grinning.
“Now, who else would fit that description?” his mother teased, before sobering. “You will be careful, won’t you Clark?”
“Yeah, I will be,” he promised. “I don’t *want* to be caught or anything.”
“I know, honey. But I worry. I’m a mother, it’s what we do,” she told him, pausing for a moment. “I heard some of what you told your father.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Eavesdropping, Mom?”
She chuckled. “No, just standing next to your father. Your voice carries when you’re angry.”
“I was yelling, wasn’t I?”
“Yes, you were yelling,” she confirmed. “But, sweetheart, I don’t want you to feel like you have to take on *that* much responsibility. It’s not fair.”
“Yeah. You’re right,” he agreed tonelessly. “It’s not. But…it’s not like I’ve got much choice, is it?”
There was a long pause, and he sat down heavily. “I…sometimes, I hate having responsibilities, and I even hate people for needing saving. And I know that’s not reasonable, but I just want to live my life like anyone else, but…well. That’s not going to happen. I mean, how could it? I’m…”
“Wonderful,” Martha told him, thickly. “You’re wonderful, Clark, and I love you very much.”
He smiled shakily. “I love you too, Mom. I’m going to go, okay? I…need to clear my head.”
“That’s fine, honey. Call home soon. Oh, and Clark? If you ever let your father and me worry like that for an entire day again, I will drive up to Metropolis and turn you over my knee,” she promised, with enough steel in her voice that Clark was inclined to believe she meant it.
“I’m really sorry, I just –”
Martha cut him off. “I know,” she told him. “Call soon?”
“I will. I promise. Bye, Mom.” Clark placed the receiver down gently, and leaned against the counter, staring sightlessly down at his feet.
He wondered if sometimes his parents didn’t wish he were…different. Human. Clark wasn’t always sure if his parents were proud or annoyed with his powers, or when he saved people. That pissed him off sometimes, because wasn’t he *supposed* to do the right thing? And wasn’t the right thing keeping people safe?
Or was it keeping himself safe? It seemed like his mother and father couldn’t decide.
They just wanted him to have a normal life. But, how the hell was he going to have that? He couldn’t have a normal life for a human, because, well, he *wasn’t* a human. And he couldn’t have a normal life for a Kryptonian because…he was the only one left.
And Clark wasn’t really sure that he *wanted* a typical Kryptonian-type life. Not if all Kryptonians were like his birth parents – obsessed with being some kind of alien overlord for masses of humans.
What the fuck was normal anyway, Clark wondered, suddenly angry. Why was it so *important* to be *normal*? Wasn’t being *happy* enough?
Clark would settle for happy. He really would.
It was so still in his apartment that Clark jumped when the phone rang at ten-thirty that night. He knocked his bowl off the coffee table, lunging at top speed to catch it before it broke and spilled ramen all over the floor.
Heh. Not being ‘normal’ had some benefits, he thought, picking up the phone.
“Clark, tell me, do you read comic books?” Lex asked him, and Clark noticed how…husky Lex’s voice was. Kind of raspy. “You *must* read comic books.”
He laughed. “Uhm…some. I like X-Men a lot.”
“Let me guess, you’re a Cyclops fan,” Lex said dryly.
“Kinda, but I always liked Beast better,” Clark admitted, leaning back on the couch, comfortably. “Why?”
“Did you ever read Warrior Angel?”
He thought for a minute, frowning. “Warrior Angel? No. Never. How come?”
Lex sighed. “I’m disappointed in you, Clark.”
“Yeah, I guess I’m not as much of an all-purpose dork as you thought I was,” Clark said, rolling his eyes.
“Really, you’re missing out on one of the best comics out there,” Lex informed him. “It’s rife with subtext and political commentary, not to mention –”
“Whatever, Lex,” Clark grinned. “Let me guess. You’ve got every issue.”
“An incomplete collection is hardly worth as much as a complete one.”
Clark laughed again. “Right. And you only keep it for its monetary value. In case you need to liquidate your assets in a hurry.”
“I’m not sure that liquidating an entire collection of Warrior Angel comics would be something one could do in a ‘hurry’.”
“The wonders of ebay,” Clark said immediately. “You can sell anything at any time.”
Lex chuckled. “Clark, you wear about a 32 waist and 34 inseam, right?”
“Wow, and now for something *completely* different,” Clark said, blinking. “Uhm…yeah. Why?”
“You don’t own a tuxedo, do you?” Lex sounded incredibly amused by Clark’s confusion.
“Uhm, no. Again, I gotta ask, why?” He felt like in the past few seconds Lex had left him far, far behind. Had Clark fallen asleep or something?
“I have to go to a fundraiser tomorrow night. It’s a black-tie event, and I’d like you to come with me, if you’re not busy,” Lex explained.
Clark? Busy? That was almost funny.
“I’m not busy,” he said quickly.
“Wonderful. I probably won’t see you at work tomorrow. I’ll be spending the day out of the office, but I’ll come by to pick you up around eight-thirty, and I’ll have a tux sent around before then,” Lex said, sounding pleased.
Clark frowned. “You don’t have to send a tux over. I can –”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lex interrupted. “I’ve already arranged the tuxedo for you.”
“Well, okay then,” Clark acquiesced. “So…what kind of a fundraiser is this?”
“A very boring one. Which is why I’m so glad you’re coming.” Lex was joking, but Clark blushed anyway.
“It’s not connected to Warrior Angel in any way?” Clark asked.
“No, why would you ask?”
He shook his head. “Because most people employ this conversational tactic called a ‘segue’ when they’re changing topics completely. The last thing we were talking about was Warrior Angel, and then this fund raiser, so I just kind of assumed that they had something to do with one another.”
“They have no connection whatsoever. Although, Warrior Angel did have a couple of issues that included fundraisers. There was one fight scene in the middle of a charity auction…”
Clark smiled, and listened as Lex launched into a half hour description of various Warrior Angel story lines. They talked for an hour or so, and by the time Clark got off the phone he was yawning.
It sucked that Lex wasn’t going to be around for lunch tomorrow. Clark really liked hanging out with Lex at lunch. He liked spending time with Lex, liked talking to him, liked being friends with him.
Of course, he also was beginning to deal with the whole ‘he liked the way Lex looked’ thing. And the way Lex sounded. And moved. And smelled.
The thing was…Clark wasn’t just *attracted* to Lex. He really…just, well, *liked* him. A lot. If Lex had been a girl, Clark would have called it a crush. And maybe it *was* a crush? But it didn’t…feel…like any crush Clark had ever had before. He was just getting to the point where he talk to Lex without making an *ass* of himself.
So what did all of that mean?
Clark wasn’t sure. He wasn’t even sure he was completely bisexual. Maybe he was just…Lex-sexual? Or something.
Maybe Lex had that kind of sex appeal that transcended genders…like David Bowie. Or Prince or whatever he called himself. Everyone thought they were hot.
Okay, maybe Pete didn’t and maybe Clark’s old roommate, Kevin, didn’t. Maybe Clark was the only one. Besides Chloe and Lana, both of whom liked men.
But David Bowie and Prince were famous. They were the men that everyone admitted were attractive. They were incredibly sexually charismatic. They were lean, elegant men.
They were… a lot like Lex, actually.
So Clark had a …type? And he hadn’t even known. He’d just had this free-floating bisexuality lurking in his system his whole life. Dammit, this whole sexuality thing was suddenly very, very confusing to Clark. And it had been the one thing he’d thought he had a pretty clear handle on.
In the past, on any given morning, he didn’t know what his body would do but he cwas fairly certain that he was straight, that his name was Clark (or Kal-El), and that his parents loved him.
So …maybe it was time to adopt the ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ philosophy.
He really wished he could talk to Lex about all of this, because something gave him the feeling that Lex would be able to say something both comforting and useful. But, that idea was just…all kinds of bad.
So tomorrow he was going to a fundraiser with the object of his bisexual desires. Lex was going to come over and pick him up at eight-thirty. In any other situation, Clark would have called it a date.
Clark’s eyes widened, and his jaw dropped open. Oh. God. What if it…*was* a date?
Did Lex…? *Was* Lex…? Were those eye contact moments really happening? Was Clark imagining it? Was it just one sided? Or…was…did…?
Wow. A *date*?
“Calm down,” he told himself, blushing. “You don’t *know* it’s a date. It might just be…two friends. He’s been *married*.”
But…what if it *was* a date? What then?
Clark blushed even harder, but forced himself to think about it. If it was a date…was he ready to…?
Okay. If it was a date, then it was a first date, and on a first date people usually…kissed. Maybe they made out. But…they didn’t usually just…jump right into bed, did they?
Clark’s experience was really pretty much limited to Lana and Jessie, but with Jessie there’d been the red meteor rocks involved, so it didn’t count. With Lana…things had evolved slowly. He’d always wanted her, just, never…
He’d never wanted her quite as much as he wanted Lex. Because Lex *was* sex. And Lex probably had different first-date-rules than Clark did, anyway. After all, Smallville and Metropolis were pretty different social circles, and Lex was…well. He was *way* more experienced than Clark, even if he *wasn’t* actively bisexual.
And a hell of a lot more confident, too. Just as a general rule.
So Clark came to the question again: if it was a date, was he ready for it? What did he want from it?
He squirmed a little, still uncomfortable. Okay, he’d take it point by point.
Did he want to kiss Lex? Well. Yeah. A lot.
Did he want to see Lex naked? God, yes. Those clothes were such a *tease*. They conformed to every line of Lex’s body and Clark just wanted to reach out and learn how Lex felt against his hands, wanted to feel the strong shoulders, the delicate flare of Lex’s hips, to learn the taste of Lex’s skin, and lick away sweat as it pooled on the flat of Lex’s back, graze his teeth against Lex’s pale inner thigh and run his tongue up and –
*Fuck*, he wanted to suck Lex’s cock… and he wanted Lex to suck his cock. And wow, just forming the words in his head was enough to make him pretty damned hard and this was definitely going to be one of those introspection-moments that ended with him in the shower, jacking off.
But not quite yet, because it was *important* for him to figure this out.
Blowjobs. Clark knew how those worked from one end, anyway. He knew what *he* liked anyway, and he was pretty sure he could recreate it. Assuming that this was a date, of course.
And if he could give Lex a blowjob, then he’d definitely not have any problems with a handjob. *That* he *knew* he could do. He had years of experience…well, on himself, but the only thing that really changed was the angle.
And the mental image he was getting of Lex was…wow.
But was he ready for full on intercourse?
Clark thought, for a moment, imagining Lex below him, around him. Imagining himself pounding into Lex, and yeah, he wanted it, but it was still so…
He wasn’t ready for that yet.
But just the thought of it was enough to send Clark into the shower, and fast. When he came, this time it was with a jagged cry that might have been Lex’s name.
Clark woke up, got dressed, and worked in a kind of fugue state.
Because. At eight-thirty Lex was going to pick him up. And then they were going to go –together – to a black tie event. Clark was going with Lex. There would be dinner involved, and possibly dancing, though Clark couldn’t really see himself dancing with Lex, or anyone else for that matter. And *Clark* was going with *Lex*.
Lex was going to *pick him up* and then they were going to go *together*. Clark. And *Lex*.
Who Clark wanted more than he’d really ever wanted anyone before in his life.
And it might be a date. It was an outside chance, but it *might* be a date. And if it *was* a date, Clark was going to…well. He was going to go with the flow. But he had some very definite ideas.
But, in all likelihood it was *not* a date. And Clark kept reminding himself of this.
There were a million and a *half* reasons why it probably wasn’t a date. Why it *most likely* wasn’t a date. Like, for example, the fact that Lex was doubtless straight.
Despite the pretty constant possible flirtation that he had going with Clark. Possible, being the key word. It could be that Clark was misinterpreting the eyefucks, and the innuendos and it was equally possible that Lex just didn’t know how to exist without being way too sexy for his own good. Or, rather, for Clark’s good.
But putting aside that one, fairly *huge*, obstacle there were others. Like the fact that Lex was his *friend*. And, oh yeah, his boss, too.
Wow. That wasn’t something Clark had really thought about before. Lex was his *boss*. It couldn’t be a date. That would be…way beyond unprofessional. And kind of weird to boot, right?
Office romances *never* worked. Did they? Especially not when it was boss-intern. God, Clark groaned internally, the Monica Lewinsky jokes were *never* going to end if Chloe or Pete heard about this…date, that could possibly turn into more dates, and whoa, he was already planning a relationship?
Clearly, Clark was losing it completely. This was *out of control*. He had to get himself together or else he’d get into Lex’s car and jump on top of Lex and refuse to let him up until Clark was satisfied that Lex had been blown into submission. Then Clark would take Lex back up to his apartment and proceed to continue having his way with Lex and really, Clark was too young to go to jail for kidnapping, right?
He was going to work, and he was going to stop obsessing, and he was going to realize that this thing he was doing tonight with Lex? It wasn’t a date. No more than any of the times the two of them had played Zelda together.
So *completely* not a date.
Clark made it through two hours of only minimal obsessing over the fundraiser, when a tux was brought over to his desk with a note.
“See you tonight. –L”
He spent the rest of the day trying to figure what *might have been* the subtext of the note.
The tux fit perfectly, Clark thought, looking into the mirror. But then, of course it did. It was *Lex* after all, and Lex wouldn’t make a mistake like that.
Clark was very calm as eight-thirty approached. He was a calm guy, after all. He was not pacing because *he* was a *calm* guy.
At eight twenty-seven the doorbell rang, and Clark did *not* run to the door. He walked. Calmly.
Lex didn’t have a corsage, or flowers, or chocolates, or any of the things that Clark had weirdly half-expected. Instead he had a really satisfied, feline smile on his face. “It fits even better than I thought it would,” Lex observed smugly.
“Yeah, you did a good job,” Clark allowed, blushing. “It’s comfortable.”
Lex raised both brows. “It’s not supposed to be comfortable, it’s supposed to be fashionable.”
“Uhm…it’s both?” Clark tried, turning a deeper shade of red at Lex’s laugh.
“Yes, it is. Come on, we’ll be too late.”
“Too late?” Clark asked, following Lex down the stairs. “What do you mean ‘too late’?”
“It just seemed a little more precise than saying ‘come on, we’ll be late.’ We’re already late, but it’s all right. Another ten or fifteen minutes and it would be rude.”Lex shot Clark a smile over his shoulder. “Right now we’re just being hip and young.”
“Right, hip and young,” Clark echoed, watching Lex and trying to figure out what kind of vibes he was getting. They were no different than usual, so it must not be a date after all. Clark felt his stomach fall with disappointment, even as a mild relief flowed over him. At least he knew how to handle this, right?
They stepped out of the building, and Clark paused to give Lex’s car his attention. God, it was beautiful. A sleek, black Lamborghini. “That’s…” he began but trailed off.
“The sexiest car you’ve ever seen?” Lex purred beside him, eyes bright. “Trust me, it’s the sexiest car I’ve ever owned.” He walked toward the car, grinning at Clark when he reached the driver’s side door. “I thought you’d like it.”
“I like *all* of your cars, Lex,” Clark said, getting in.
Lex chuckled and turned the car on. The motor revved with a smooth growl, and the bass rumbled before Lex turned down the loud music. “Have you ever been to something like this before?” Lex asked.
Clark shrugged. “I’m guessing that prom doesn’t count.”
Laughing outright, Lex pulled away from the curb and sped away. Clark grabbed onto seat, watching the road worriedly.
“Let me give you a few tips, then. If we get separated, which I don’t plan on letting happen, avoid my father at all costs. He’s got a talent for ruining an otherwise pleasant night. If you have to dance with someone, dance with one of the older, married women.” Lex slanted Clark a grin. “It’ll make them smile. Oh, and stay away from the pineapple upside-down cake.”
“Why is that?” Clark asked, jaw clenching as Lex veered around a corner.
“Because I want it,” Lex told him, grin growing.
That startled Clark into laughing, despite the nervous fear that weighed down on him whenever Lex drove. “That good, huh?”
“We could fight over it and reenact that scene from your comic book you were talking about,” Clark suggested, joking. But rolling around on the floor with Lex? Did *not* sound like a bad idea.
He *really* needed to get a grip, he thought, shaking his head.
“Warrior Angel, Clark,” Lex corrected smoothly. “And while I don’t deny that sounds like a lot of fun, I think that wrestling at a fundraiser would probably not be terribly good for my public image, tarnished as it already is.”
“We’d bump Phelan out of the headlines,” Clark agreed, grinning.
“Superman, too.” Lex pulled into the valet parking at the museum and turned to Clark, raising both his brows. “Ready to swim with the sharks?”
“Uhm…yes?” Clark said, the beginnings of something like panic crowding out all the thoughts of Lex that had been racing through his brain.
“Don’t worry, Clark. None of them will bother you,” Lex promised, getting out.
“Why won’t they bother me?” Clark asked, following as Lex proceeded to the red carpet. He was blinded by the sudden flashes as people took pictures of the country’s youngest billionaire, who in turn just smiled at Clark.
Lex’s eyes glittered in the light, and he leaned in, lowering his voice so that only Clark could hear him. “Because the shark with the sharpest teeth will be right next to you.”
It wasn’t really so bad, Clark thought several hours later. There was no need for him to have panicked. This was…actually kind of fun.
Because it was him and Lex. And Lex kept sneaking comments into conversation that went straight over people’s heads and sent Clark into coughing fits to hide his laughter, or shooting Clark looks that said clearly ‘Can you believe this guy?’ or whatever the Lex-speak equivalent of that was.
Besides, Clark was learning how to mingle from a master of the art. Lex was good at this. He was *damned* good at this. Even people who didn’t like him were laughing and smiling by the end of their conversations with Lex. Because Lex was really charming when he put his mind to it.
Clark was glad that Lex wasn’t charming with him, though. Well, he was, but in a more unintentional way. And when Clark had eaten the last piece of pineapple upside-down cake Lex had given him a very un-charming death threat.
Clark had been half hoping that Lex would try to fight him for it.
“Clark,” Lex’s voice said softly, pulling him from his thoughts.
He turned, brows raised in question. Lex held up a champagne bottle and tilted his head toward a door to the side of the room. “Let’s escape for a little while,” Lex suggested.
Nodding, Clark snagged a clean champagne flute from a side table and followed Lex outside, into one of the museum’s sculpture gardens.
It was warm outside, warm enough for Clark to know that his apartment was probably an oven, but a slight breeze tickled the nape of his neck. Lex popped open the champagne bottle, and filled both Clark’s glass and his own.
“We should be able to hide out here for a half hour at the very least,” Lex said, smiling slightly.
Clark’s forehead crinkled with confusion. “Hide? You looked like you were having fun in there.”
Lex gave him a skeptical look. “Fun? No. That’s not exactly what I would call this. These fundraisers are interminably boring, as are all of the people who attend.”
“You’re not boring.” Clark was *so* going to need to work on blurting things out like that.
Turning, Lex studied Clark for a long moment, intent. “Neither are you,” he said, and that low, raspy voice seemed even raspier. “I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again. You make life interesting, Clark Kent.”
“I’m really not interesting. Like, at all,” Clark protested, and if Lex’s voice was raspier, *his* was breathier. Lex’s eyes were so *dark* in the low lighting, and he was standing so *close*.
“I beg to differ,” Lex murmured, leaning against the black, iron railing. He took a sip of his champagne, but his eyes never left Clark’s face, and Clark could *feel* Lex’s gaze on him, like invisible hands, skimming over his entire body.
Maybe this wasn’t a date, but Clark *knew* what sexually charged tension was when it hit him over the head, and Lex was still just…watching him, and Clark’s mouth was dry. He raised his own champagne glass to his lips, and drank deeply. And choked.
“Traditionally champagne is sipped, not gulped,” Lex said dryly, still watching.
Turning nine shades of red, Clark recovered. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Lex nodded, and cocked his head. “You really do blush amazingly.”
Clark bit his tongue to keep from offering to show Lex that it was, in fact, a full body blush. He settled on “Thanks.”
Smiling, Lex shrugged and looked out at the sculptures and Clark could breathe again.
“Have you ever been here in the day time?” Lex asked.
He had been, with Lana, but Clark didn’t really want to think about Lana right now. In fact she was among the things that he wanted to think about *least*. “A couple of times,” he admitted. “It’s nice.”
“Nice?” Lex’s eyebrow arched with amusement. “I think the museum wanted it to be somewhat more than ‘nice.’”
Clark opened his mouth to say something more intelligent, but the flash of a picture being taken blinded him.
“Good profile shot, Jimmy,” a woman’s voice said.
“What the fuck?” Lex snarled, whirling around. Clark’s stomach *sank* because behind them stood the bane of Clark’s existence; Lois Lane. And she had a young, puppyish looking photographer in tow.
“Mr. Luthor, would you like to respond to your ex-wife’s statement corroborating Sam Phelan’s accusations?” she asked, seemingly unperturbed by the venom in Lex’s voice. “Or would you like to make a statement about Phelan’s accusations in general?”
“Ms. Lane, I have nothing to say to you,” Lex informed the young reporter, tone frigid as he propelled Clark back toward the fundraiser with a push to the shoulder. “Good night.”
She cocked her head to the side, dark eyes shrewdly assessing Clark. “Well, what would you like to say about yourself and Mr. Kent?”
Clark’s heart stopped pumping for a minute and Lex froze, half turning. “Excuse me?”
“‘Clark Kent and Lex Luthor: Employee Snags Billionaire’?” Lane said, in a voice not unlike Chloe’s ‘headline-voice.’
Clark wanted to break the camera, and laugh hysterically all at once, because really, this had become *surreal*.
“I hadn’t realized you’d left the Daily Planet for the Inquisitor,” Lex said silkily, and didn’t Lois Lane realize she was courting disaster? That kind of calm, cold voice meant that Lex was not only angry, he was *furious*. “If you want a statement about Phelan, however, you may call my office any time tomorrow and ask to speak to my press secretary. I’m sure she’d be glad to read you the official statement.”
Lex took Clark’s elbow and guided him back inside, face hard. “I’m going to make a few calls,” he said, as the door closed behind them. “I’ll come find you, and then we’ll get out of here.”
Clark nodded, frowning. “Lex, I –”
“They won’t print that picture, or a story including your name. I can promise you that,” Lex said, tightly, turning away, but Clark stopped him with a hand on the shoulder.
“No, Lex, I was going to ask if you were okay.”
Lex blinked. “What do you mean?”
Rolling his eyes, Clark shook his head. “I mean are you upset?”
“I’m fine,” Lex replied, looking slightly baffled. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Gee, I don’t know Lex. Maybe because people have been accusing you of committing crimes and being a junkie for the past couple of weeks? Or maybe because your ex-wife is joining the chorus and you can’t even go out to dinner without someone reminding you of it?”
The hardness slipped from Lex’s face, and he looked…grateful that someone cared? “I’m fine, Clark. Really. I’m going to go take care of this.”
“Okay,” Clark said, smiling. “I’ll just…go mingle. Or something.”
“Clark, if they give you any difficulty,” Lex said, nodding at the crowd of Metropolis’ elite, “don’t be afraid to bite.”
They went back to Lex’s, and Clark, bent on putting Lex back into a good mood, came up with a *brilliant* idea.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t *brilliant* but Clark was a college student, and it was his *job* to incorporate alcohol into as many passtimes as possible. And besides? Drunken Lex? Who *wouldn’t* want to see that?
About six games in, Lex was tipsy and Clark was tipsier, and they decided to abandon the whole concept of Zelda altogether, mostly because Clark was quickly realizing that the controllers were really *way* too small for his hands. He kept pressing all of the buttons at once, instead of just one at a time, and it was annoying.
Lex was talking about the archetypal roles played by the main characters in the game, but Clark didn’t complain because he liked listening to Lex’s voice. And besides, Lex was just so…hot. So Clark nodded earnestly every now and again and totally ignored what Lex was saying, just watching him.
He moved his hands around a lot when he talked. And they were really nice hands. Pale, long fingers. Elegant.
E-l-e-g-a-n-t. That was Lex.
Oh. Lex was talking to him. “Clark?” Lex’s eyes were narrowed, little slits of blue. “Are you listening?”
“Not really,” Clark told him honestly. “You’ve got nice hands.” Wow. So apparently being drunk-ish made him even *more* likely to just blurt things out. “I mean, really…long and…so Link is a hero?”
“Yes,” Lex said, but didn’t seem inclined to elaborate. Instead he was looking at Clark. Really *looking* at him like on the balcony, and through the warm fuzz of alcohol the corresponding tingle up Clark’s spine was even *more* acute.
What would have happened? If they hadn’t been interrupted?
“If Link’s really a hero, he should do something about Lois Lane,” Clark muttered, “maybe chop her in half or something.”
“That could be arranged.” Lex smiled and it was so…maybe if Clark wasn’t drunk he would be able to come up with a term that adequately described the mixture of heat and ferocity in Lex’s eyes, but he was going to have to settle for ‘sexy’ because it was that, too, and really? Clark’s vocabulary wasn’t currently up to the challenge.
Clark didn’t want to talk about Lois Lane. He didn’t want to talk about Link. He wanted to kiss that sexy smile, wanted to push Lex back on the cushions and make that tux disappear. Clark wanted to do that, a lot.
“Clark?” Lex called, softly, leaning forward, his mouth opening to say something, but before he could, Clark leaned in to meet him.
And they…kissed? Not quite what Clark had mind. It was awkward, and Lex looked completely startled.
“I…shit. Sorry. I’m going to…” Clark stammered as he stood, refusing to look Lex in the eye. He’d…wow. What a *massive* fuck up.
Lex grabbed his hand and pulled him back down, with surprising strength. Or maybe Clark was a little unbalanced; either way, he fell back onto the couch. “Clark, stop. Look at me.”
Obedient, Clark looked up. Lex’s eyes were shining with silver, and he was smiling. That wasn’t the face of a man who was unhappy, and Clark let out a long breath. “You caught me by surprise, is all.”
“I caught me by surprise, too,” he admitted, smiling back.
“How about we try that again?” Lex suggested, and…*this* was what Clark had wanted. Lex’s lips teasing his, nipping at his lower lip, tongue tracing the contours of his mouth.
God, Lex tasted so *good* and Clark had pinned him to the couch without even thinking about it, was nuzzling at Lex’s neck, learning the taste of Lex’s ear lobe as he sucked it into his mouth and Lex? Was bucking up against him and Clark hissed in a breath through his teeth, rocking against Lex.
“Shit, Clark,” Lex gasped. “You don’t waste time.”
“Sorry,” Clark said, feeling as though he’d just been chastened. He started to pull back, but Lex grabbed his shoulders and held in him place.
A big, sharp grin and Lex was so *magnificent* lying there, lips red, eyes bright. “Hey, I’m not complaining.”
Clark grinned back. “Cool,” he said, leaning down to kiss Lex again when the phone rang.
“Shit shit shit *shit*,” Lex cursed, sitting up and forcing Clark to move back. He reached over and picked up the cell phone sitting on the coffee table. “Yeah?” Lex listened to the person on the other end of the phone, annoyance rapidly dissipating and Clark was *not* liking the interruption because Lex was still hot, and Clark was still hot *for* him, and Clark was still a lot less than sober.
Lex stood, one hand over the mouthpiece. “Clark, I’ll be right back, okay? I really have to take this. I’m sorry. Just…wait here for me.”
Wanting rather desperately to pout, Clark nodded instead, and lay down on the couch. Lex spared him a quick, appreciative glance, and disappeared. Clark rolled over and stared up. “I hate phones,” he told the empty room.
He looked at the ceiling, squinting. There weren’t any stains on Lex’s ceiling, but there was a weird texture to it. Kind of…bumpy looking.
Lex’s couch was really comfortable, Clark thought, yawning. Maybe he’d just close his eyes for a while. When Lex got back, he’d wake up, and then he’d take all of Lex’s clothes off and…well. But for right now? Clark stretched and let his eyes fall closed. For right now, he’d nap a little.