When Clark Met Lex
Clark was beginning to really hate art galleries.
Zacharias Westin chomped pompously on his cigar, as he droned on about recently becoming the leading manufacturer of biodegradable containers in the Midwest. "My old man wanted to keep making cardboard boxes and plastic bottles. I told him that was the way of the dinosaurs. Everyone's recycling. Green is the new black."
Clark hoped his face wasn't betraying any of the emotions he was feeling. Lex always told him he was a horrible liar, though he hoped his experience of covering interminable city council meetings in the last year had at least trained his face to feign interest. He knew Westin had been trying to corner him all night. Clark had caught him staring several times during the evening, but as his eyes never quite made their way to Clark's face, Clark figured Westin wasn't really interested in discussing the meaning of the artist's judicious use of negative space. And while Clark had recently...finally...realized he was into guys (he grinned a little at the memory of Lex's eye-roll at that "revelation"), Westin was definitely not his type. Clark was pretty sure he knew what his type was, but he tried not to think too hard about that.
In fact, it was because he was lurking in a corner trying really hard not to think about it (he was definitely not staring at Lex) that Westin was able to catch up with him. As was the case with every gallery showing/museum opening/charity auction/symphony concert he and Lex attended together, Lex spent most of the evening seeing and being seen. Clark understood that these events were about business more than anything else. He understood that he was simply a convenient warm body that allowed Lex to fulfill his social obligations, without having to date in his social circle. Lex said dating people he had to see on a regular basis made relationships needlessly complicated. Clark wasn't sure he even knew what that meant. So while Lex worked any given room, making everyone feel as if they were the very center of Lex's universe, Clark stayed in the background, trying hard not to feel neglected. And really, he was fine with that. Really.
Tonight Lex was dressed casually, dark pants, pale blue shirt open at the collar, his jacket checked at the front of the gallery. He moved easily from group to group, hands tucked into his pockets, talking art to the hipsters who were actually interested in the show, chatting off the record with curious reporters, negotiating coolly with business rivals and allies. He laughed openly, even genuinely, at something the artist said. He whispered conspiratorially to the 12 year old son of the gallery owner. And every once in a while, he glanced Clark's way and smiled.
Not for the first time Clark wished he understood everything those smiles promised.
He was so lost in thought, Westin was already talking before Clark knew he was there.
"You know, I've seen you around these things a lot lately." He gestured dismissively with the hand not holding the cigar.
Clark shifted uneasily from one foot to other. He desperately wanted this conversation to end, but couldn't risk offending him. He never knew who might turn out to be a good source or who Lex was actively doing business with. "Lex and I think it's important to support new artists." Clark knew exactly how that sounded. Westin didn't have to know that Lex never gave any signs at all of being interested in him. Not that he was looking for signs.
Westin glanced over to where Lex was making the president of the Junior League blush. "I know men like Lex." Clark barely held in a snort. It would take a lifetime just to list the things this man didn't know about Lex. "Their tastes and affections are fickle. While I'm sure your relationship is mutually... rewarding," he said as he slid a single finger slowly down Clark's arm, "it will only last so long."
Clark pulled his arm out of reach, not even bothering to hide his disgust. "What are you saying exactly?"
Westin made a deliberate show of stepping back and raking his eyes over Clark's body, lingering for several moments at his crotch, before making his way back to Clark's face. "In the inevitable event that Luthor moves on, you should know you have options. I'm certain you and I can come to agreeable...terms."
"What terms would those be, Westin?" And that was Clark's sign that this night would end exactly like all the others, now that Lex had swooped in to save him from some oversexed businessman, thereby confirming every single thing the pervert assumed about their relationship. It didn't help that Lex was as territorial as possible in these situations. It was as if the concept of personal space completely disappeared. Clark could just imagine how they looked--Lex, one hand on the small of Clark's back, looking up at Clark, grinning, as if Clark were exactly what he'd always been looking for; and Clark, staring back, probably with an equally goofy grin because, as usual, when Lex was this close, when he'd turned his Lex-o-meter all the way up to 10, even if it was just for show, Clark was at a loss for words. (Lex also smelled really good, and while that was probably irrelevant to the present situation, Clark still found it awfully distracting.)
Of course Westin thought Clark was Lex's rentboy. Clark barely believed they weren't sleeping together. "I'm handling this, Lex," he said finally. He hoped he sounded less petulant to Westin than he did to himself.
"Clearly," Lex smirked. He began to rub his hand in small circles on Clark's back. And really, that was just too much, because now Lex was teasing him, trying to make him blush in front of the Midwestern recycling king, and it just wasn't funny at all.
Westin cleared his throat loudly, and Lex and Clark turned to find him a bit put out that this conversation clearly no longer involved him. "Lex, I was just talking to your friend here."
"I can see that." He gave Westin the briefest, dismissive glance (Lex was just as good at showing people how little they mattered, as he was at making them feel like the most important person in the room), before steering Clark away. "There's someone I want Clark to meet. I'm sure you don't mind if I steal him away," he called over his shoulder as they walked away.
And just like that, Clark was saved from any more innuendo and lewd propositions. He was usually gratefully, but tonight felt different. When he was sure they were far enough away that Westin couldn't hear, he pulled away from Lex's hand and started for the exit. "I need to get out of here."
Lex followed silently, not speaking until they got to the sidewalk in front of the gallery. "Hey. What's up? What did that guy say to you? You look rattled."
The moon was high and bright in the sky. They were in the arts district of Metropolis, a collection of art galleries, restaurants, independent bookshops, nightclubs, and trendy organic grocery stores in an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood, recently made hip by an influx of young, wealthy professionals. It didn't hurt that most of these new inhabitants worked for Lexcorp. Hundreds of fairy lights twinkled from doorways and windows, and soft music spilled out onto the sidewalk from the jazz club next door. It was the perfect night for a romantic stroll through the city. The thought worsened what Clark was only beginning to recognize as an exceptionally bad mood.
"He said what they always say." He turned to look at Lex. "I don't always need you to come to my rescue." His tone was harsher than he intended, though he had to admit he sounded exactly like he felt.
"Are you mad at me?" Lex stopped just short of sounding incredulous.
"Yes. No. I don't know." He gave a loud frustrated sigh and sat down on the sidewalk. Suddenly he just didn't have the energy.
"Well, that helps." Lex's tone was light. Clark didn't know why it bothered him so much that Lex wasn't taking this seriously.
Two young women--they looked like students from the local art school--walked by. The shorter one did a double take in their direction and then whispered to her friend. They both giggled as the continued down the sidewalk.
"People think we're sleeping together."
"Probably, yes. Some of them do." Lex sat down next to Clark. If he sat just a little bit closer than a friend would, Clark chose not to notice.
"Doesn't that bother you?" He turned so he could see Lex. He really wanted to know.
"No." Lex spoke casually enough, but Clark could hear the edge. He wished he knew what that edge meant. "But apparently it bothers you."
"Why wouldn't it bother me? People think you're paying me. Do you know what that makes me?" He was trying not to shout.
"And what does it make me?" Lex's voice was low and dangerous, the voice he used when he was trying to hide. "Someone so pathetic and unappealing that money is the only way to explain why someone like you would stick around?"
"That's not what I--"
"I can't control people's thoughts. And you won't let me take care of people like Westin."
"You can't 'take care of' somebody just because they say something I don't like." It was an old argument.
"Then what do you want, Clark?" Lex was the one close to shouting now. Clark wasn't sure how they had gotten into a fight.
They sat for a few minutes in silence before Clark decided he couldn't take anymore. "I think I'm going to go."
Lex sighed. He sounded almost defeated. "Wait a minute. I'll get the car."
"Don't bother. I feel like running." Lex hated when he used his abilities in public, but he really felt like being alone.
"Clark. What if someone--"
"I think we should take a break from this."
"From what?" Lex's face was instantly expressionless, his blue eyes suddenly cold and distant.
"Going out together." It was the only thing Clark could think to do.
"You don't want to be seen in public with me?" Lex had gotten to his feet. He looked liked he was bracing himself to be hit.
"Maybe just for a little while." Clark got up, too. He wanted to reach out and touch Lex, but everything about his friend's body language screamed 'back off.' "It's not that I don't like hanging out with you. It's just...I need some time to think."
"It's not me? It's you?" Lex didn't bother hiding any of the incredulity now.
Lex stared at Clark for a moment. He sighed, rubbed the back of his head, then shoved both of his hands in his pockets. "Fine, Clark. I'm going back inside. Let me know when you're done thinking."
Clark watched until Lex disappeared into the gallery, and then sped all way to Alaska before returning home to a fitful sleep.
Clark couldn't remember the last time he'd gone seven whole days without seeing Lex. They didn't always go out to some function. Since college, they spent entire evenings playing video games or watching Star Wars marathons at the penthouse. Even during weeks when work (Clark had been a full-time reporter for a year now) kept them too busy to take in a movie or to go to dinner, they met early for breakfast. Or really late for a drink. If all else failed, they got a cup of coffee at the diner that sat between the Lexcorp and Planet offices.
He didn't realize what a constant presence Lex was in his life, until he was completely gone from it. No phone calls. No emails. No random knocks at his door in the middle of the night for a game of Pac-Man World Rally.
He was even having his personal calls routed through Caroline, his assistant. Clark wasn't used to a world where Lex was unavailable to him.
Which is why he forgave himself for stopping just short of begging Caroline to put his call through. He knew he was asking her to risk Lex's wrath and that wasn't entirely fair. He knew Lex was probably really pissed at him and the best thing to do was wait for him to calm down. But he didn't know how much more of this he could take. Besides it was important.
Caroline had a soft spot for Clark and connected him to Lex.
"Clark." Lex could convey so much just by saying his name.
"Does Caroline think we're sleeping together, too?" As openers went, it probably wasn't his best.
"We've had this conversation, Clark. What do you want?"
He was rattled by Lex's impatience. "Have you seen the paper this morning?"
"No. I've been busy. I'm on my way out now."
"Oh." He really wasn't prepared for a Lex who didn't want to talk to him. "I just...I'm on the front page. Well, I'm not. My story is. Above the fold. Byline and everything."
"That's great Clark." There was pause. Then a soft, sincere, "Really."
Clark felt a little bolder. "So, it's Planet tradition for the reporters to all go out and celebrate whenever someone gets their first front page byline, and I was wondering if you could make it." His words came tumbling out.
"I can't, Clark." Still sincere, but the edge was back.
"Busy day, huh?" For the second time in less than an hour, Clark found himself uncomfortably close to begging.
"No, actually." Another pause, like Lex was deciding. "I don't have any plans tonight."
"Listen, Clark. You're the one who said we should take a break from appearing in public together."
"I just meant movie premieres and museum openings and stuff. I don't want us to skip the important things."
"I can't, Clark."
"Well, can we meet up later? After the party? It doesn't have to be in public. We can just hang out at the penthouse." Clark knew he sounded desperate though he didn't quite know what he was desperate for.
"No, Clark. You were right. Everyone needs to be clearer about what the boundaries of this relationship are. I have to go."
Lex hung up without saying goodbye and Clark didn't think there was anywhere he could run to shake the feeling that his world slowly coming undone.
He went to the party because he couldn't get out of it. But he didn't enjoy it all. Everyone was congratulating him, patting him on the back and saying things like "Welcome to the club" and "You're one of us now, kid." Many of the reporters had more to drink than was strictly necessary and Lois did a truly dreadful rendition of Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero" during the karaoke portion of the evening. He was miserable. Looking around at all the people enjoying themselves, he felt like an alien. And yeah, he got the irony.
The thing is, the only time he didn't feel like a freak was when he was with Lex. On his 18th birthday, after the best birthday party he could have imagined (the only present his parents would allow Lex to give him), he told Lex about the ship in the cellar. Both Chloe and Pete knew by then, and while both of them eventually came to terms with the alien in their midst, their first reactions were less than comforting. Clark had braced himself for rejection, disgust, fear, even (though he didn't want to admit it) a threat. But Lex had just stared, more serious and determined than he had ever seen him. "I will never let anyone hurt you, Clark. I would die before I let anyone take you away." Clark didn't know until Lex had said them that these were exactly the words he'd been waiting to hear.
Through research paper crises, girl trouble, ill-fated attempts to see if drugs and alcohol affected him, through calls from his alien father to assume his role as Alien Overlord and from his earth father to keep his head down, Lex never made him feel like a freak. He was never scared, not even when Clark developed a new power and defied yet another law of physics. Clark could always be all of himself with Lex and feel certain that all of him would be accepted, wanted.
The people at the party didn't know him, not really. The only person who did couldn't even be bothered to show up. He slipped out of the party while no one was looking and went home to eat cold pizza alone.
And because his life didn't suck quite enough, Clark woke up the next morning floating three feet above his bed. While this alone was plenty enough to up his feeling-like-an-alien quotient, it, sadly, didn't stop there. After he coaxed himself back to the bed, for reasons he couldn't quite explain, he tried floating himself back up again. He'd never willfully floated before. It had always happened by accident and he'd always been all too happy to get back down to solid ground. But today, he didn't want solid ground. He wanted to float.
He closed his eyes and concentrated. At first he could barely lift himself off the bed. After a few minutes though he could lift and lower himself at will. Feeling brave, he tried floating himself off the bed and across the room. And when that worked, he floated himself into the kitchen. His apartment wasn't big and the distance from his bedroom to the kitchen wasn't very much at all. But the fact that he'd floated that distance, rather than walked it, was causing Clark to freak out a bit. The fact that he could feel his body wanting more, could feel the almost irresistible urge to use his speed while floating, freaked him out a lot. He crashed to the floor with a loud thud and lay there staring at the ceiling, trying to calm himself down.
He was pretty sure he'd just developed the ability to fly and the only person he wanted to tell (needed to tell), the only person whose reaction would be genuine enthusiasm and wonder rather than thinly disguised horror, wasn't speaking to him.
He stayed on the floor until the alarm clock in his bedroom told him it was time to go to work.
Clark felt he had plenty cause to be in a bad mood. He was having, all things considered, a really crappy day. If that meant snapping at the copy editor or kicking the copy machine because it was broken again, then so be it.
He'd just gotten off the phone with a source who was having a change of heart. He was cursing under his breath when Lois walked up.
"What's got your panties in a twist?" He'd been working at the Planet for a year and Lois had been assigned as his mentor. Clark thought a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed reporter with a serious caffeine addiction and a healthy disdain for personal property laws wasn't the best choice to mentor new reporters. Still, he liked her.
"My panties are fine," he said.
"Clearly," she snorted. She dropped lazily into the chair next to his desk. "You and the boyfriend having a fight?"
"Lex and I aren't fighting," he said automatically.
"But you are dating?" She perked up, clearly sensing a story.
"What? No. Geez. Lex and I are fine." All he needed was for Lois to start snooping around. Lex would definitely never speak to him again. But wait. How did she know his bad mood was about Lex? "Why do you think we're fighting?"
She settled back into the chair. "Well, it's been an entire week since I've seen nauseating pictures of you two staring blissfully at each other in the Style section, and he was conspicuously absent at the party last night. I figure there must be trouble in paradise. Either that, or Lex has found some new farm boy to keep him warm at night."
"We're not--we're just friends." Clark couldn't even begin to count the number of times he'd said that to people. He didn't even sound convincing to his own ears. The truth was, he didn't know what he and Lex were anymore.
"So why wasn't your friend at your party?"
"Lex was busy."
"Busy? Please." Another snort. "He thinks you waking up is cause for celebration. I find it hard to believe he'd miss celebrating your first byline. Unless--" Here she paused and looked at Clark, the way she did when interviewing politicians. She was looking for the truth, convinced whatever he said next would be a lie.
"Unless what?" Clark said, uncomfortable under her gaze.
"What did you do, Smallville?"
"How do you know it was me?" He could admit he and Lex were fighting. But it could just as easily be Lex's fault. And, yes, his inner voice was pouting like a five-year-old.
"Whatever, Smallville." Lois got up and looked down at Clark. If Clark didn't know better, he could've sworn he saw pity in her eyes. "You might want to pick up some Cherry Garcia on the way home."
"Ice cream always soothes a broken heart."
Clark was in his apartment exactly three minutes before he decided he couldn't take another night alone. He called Lex's office, knowing Lex wouldn't take his call, but still devastated to find out that Lex had left the country.
"He's gone to Tokyo with Mr. Wayne," Caroline told him gently. Clark felt like he'd been kicked in the gut.
He called Chloe next. She and Pete had moved back to Metropolis so Pete could attend MetU's MBA program, and Chloe could breathe new, respectable life into the Inquisitor.
Chloe laughed when he asked if she and Pete wanted to see a movie.
"Free on a Friday night, Clark? Did Lex dump you or something?"
"God. Why do people keep saying that? We didn't break up. We're not dating. Can't I just want to hang out with my friends?" Clark bet that if he could actually get migraines, he'd have one coming on right about now.
"I was just joking, Clark." Chloe sounded worried. "What's the matter with you? Did you and Lex have a fight?"
"Yes, we had a fight," he snapped. "But people fight okay. It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean we broke up."
"So let me see if I understand. You're in a bad mood because you didn't break up with the guy who isn't your boyfriend?"
Clark felt like crying.
He'd been at the farm for three hours before his mother came out to the barn. After talking with Chloe, Clark felt like running again. He'd made it halfway to the farm when he decided to try to fly. It was surprisingly, scarily, easy to lift off and figure out which direction he should be going. The thrill of it was so exhilarating, a thousand times better than running at his top speed, that he flew high into the atmosphere and stayed there until thinking how cool it would be to take Lex flying brought him back to earth.
He was lying in his hammock, brooding, when Martha finally came out to find him.
"What are you doing?" She was standing above him now, a cup of hot chocolate held out. He adored his mother.
He sat up and took the mug. "Hiding?" he replied.
"From?" Maybe he didn't give his mother enough credit. Maybe Lex was better with all the alien stuff, but his mom was never thrown by his angst.
"My life." There were levels that Clark couldn't even see.
"Wanna talk about it?"
She scooted his legs over to make a space for herself on the hammock. "I doubt you came all the way here just to sulk."
He wanted to tell her about the flying. She would understand. She might be freaked out, but she would understand. Instead, though, he heard himself saying, "I think I'm having a fight with Lex."
She didn't even blink, as if his spectacularly bad mood and retreat to his childhood fortress after fighting with Lex was the most normal thing in the world. "You think?"
"Well, I'd ask Lex, but he's not talking to me right now. So that means we're probably fighting."
"I don't know."
She raised her no-nonsense eyebrow. "Really?" Clark was powerless.
"I said something stupid. Only, I didn't know at the time that it was stupid. I'm still not sure why it was so stupid."
"Let me tell you a story. The first year your father and I were married was very difficult. Farm life isn't easy. You know that. It's even more difficult if you add in a new marriage and a wife who had very little experience working with her hands or fending for herself. There were a lot of miserable days that first year." She paused, obviously lost in thought. Clark waited for her to continue.
"On that first Valentine's Day, your father gave me a gift certificate to a day spa in Metropolis. It was the spa I frequented the whole time we were in college. He made this big speech about how hard I'd been working, about how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. He wanted to me to enjoy something he knew I was probably missing." She smiled at the memory. "I was livid."
"What?" Clark sat up, intrigued by the story. "Why were you upset? That sounds like a thoughtful gift."
"I thought your father was telling me that I was no longer the cute co-ed he fell in love with. I thought he was saying I looked dumpy and that I needed to do something about it."
"That's crazy," Clark said. "He probably just wanted you to feel special and probably felt bad that you had to work so hard."
"I know." She brushed his hair out his face and rubbed his head the way she did when he was little. "I know. But I couldn't hear what your father was saying. I could only hear my own fear. My fear that your father would think I was too soft to be a farm wife. The fear that he wouldn't love my callused hands as much as he'd loved my manicured nails."
"Are you saying Lex heard his own fears instead of what I was actually saying?"
"Or maybe fear prevented you from saying what you actually meant."
Clark didn't know what to say. His mother was usually right about these things. But he didn't know what he really meant to say to Lex.
After few moments, Martha got up and held out her hand. "Why don't you come keep me company? I was just getting ready to watch a movie."
"That one I like. With Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal."
Clark rolled his eyes. The last thing he wanted to do was watch some mushy fantasy of love. But, then, again, a romantic comedy with his mother was a lot better than being alone with his thoughts at his apartment.
Martha fell asleep before the movie finished. When it was over Clark covered his mother with the quilt they kept on the back of the sofa, made sure the house and barn were locked up tight, then shot up into the air. He hoped he remembered where Tokyo was on the map.
Finding Lex and Bruce wasn't difficult. Lex was a creature of habit, though he would deny it if asked. He stayed at the same hotel every time he went to Tokyo and Clark's x-ray vision located his skeleton almost immediately. He didn't have a plan, didn't know what he would say. He was only half-aware of what he must look like after flying half-way around the world. The important thing was to get up to the suite where Bruce and Lex were meeting.
When Bruce opened the door, he took in Clark's appearance, smirked, and called into the room, "Lex. I think it's for you."
Bruce stepped out of the way so that Clark could come in. He didn't take his eyes off Clark, though. Clark wished he could get away from the intensity of that stare.
"Lex." It was if Clark had been holding his breath for days and he could finally breathe again. How he had not seen how beautiful Lex was?
"What are you doing here, Clark?" The sound of his name shook him out of his reverie.
"I needed to see you."
"You came all the way to Japan to see Lex? No cell reception in Kansas?" Bruce was talking, and Clark was pretty sure he was laughing at him. Or maybe he was calling him a liar. It didn't matter. Lex was talking to him again.
"How did you get here?"
Oh. "I flew." Clark had promised no more lies.
Clark knew that Lex knew immediately what that meant. He smiled, a wide that-is-so-fucking-cool smile that made Clark's stomach do a hundred little flips. Beautiful? How he had not realized how fucking sexy Lex was.
"You flew?" Was Bruce still here? Clark looked at Bruce and started to panic.
Lex closed the distance between them, placing his hand lightly on Clark's arm and said, "The Lexcorp jet is at Clark's disposal. The pilots have been instructed to treat Clark's travel requests as if they were my own. I'm sure you've made the same arrangement for Dick." Clark couldn't quite read the look that passed between them.
Lex turned his attention back to Clark. "Is something wrong?"
Lex was worried about him. Lex already had a dozen plans in his head to fix whatever was wrong. Because Lex wanted him.
"No, nothing's wrong." He glanced nervously at Bruce, and then back at Lex, whose face looked exactly like home. "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
There was undignified snort from behind him.
"Bruce." There was a hint of warning in Lex's voice.
"What? He's quoting from 'When Harry Met Sally'." Clark was pretty sure he hated Bruce Wayne.
"Can we finish this up in the morning? I need to talk to Clark." Bruce shook his head, mumbled something under his breath (Clark thought he caught the words "sentimental" and "whipped") and left.
Lex led Clark to the sofa. He never took his hand off Clark's arm. "You really flew?"
"Yeah." The fact of it still made him giddy.
"And you're sure you're okay?" Clark nodded and Lex settled back into the sofa, taking his hand with him. Clark instantly ached for the return of that touch. "You know, this isn't exactly the behavior of someone who doesn't want people to think we're sleeping together."
"I was wrong about that."
"Now you want people to think I'm having sex with you?"
Clark was flustered. Lex was too far away. He was putting up his wall, disappearing. "No. Yes. Wait." He took deep breath. "Can I hold your hand?"
"Excuse me?" Clark didn't think he'd ever seen Lex thrown.
"Can I hold your hand? It'll be easier."
Lex looked suspicious, but held out his hand. Clark took it, rubbed his thumb on the inside of Lex's wrist, and smiled at the low moan that escaped Lex's lips. "I've always liked touching you. Even before I knew I was attracted to you, before I knew I was attracted to guys. You hardly let anyone touch you. I noticed. Every playful punch or hug, every time we bumped shoulders or knees at the movies--it was always special, like you and I knew a secret language no one else did. And you always felt so solid, like even if I hugged you with all my strength, you wouldn't break." He continued to rub Lex's wrist, but couldn't look at him, not yet.
"I was scared Lex. Ever since I left MetU, ever since you've stopped protecting me from the press--"
Lex tried to pull away. "You insisted. I wanted--"
"I know, Lex. Let me finish." Lex nodded for him to go on. "I was afraid people wouldn't understand. I was afraid people would see that I'm just some rube from the sticks and that you'd finally see that our relationship doesn't make any sense."
"Clark," Lex said indulgently. "I don't let other people decide who I spend my time with. We'll always be friends."
"I don't want to be friends." Clark looked at Lex now. It was now or never. "You've been my best friend since I was fifteen. I think I've been falling for you the last nine years. The reason I don't want people to think we're sleeping together, is because I don't want them to think we're casual. I don't want you to think we're casual." He brought his other hand up to Lex's face and rubbed his fingers across Lex's lips. "I don't want to be casual."
"So, what? You want to date me?" Lex's expression was unreadable.
"Um? Yeah?" Clark had suddenly lost his nerve and tried to pull back.
Before he could get away, Lex reached up and tangled his hand in Clark's hair. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Hide? Die of embarrassment?"
Lex laughed. "You are something else, Clark Kent." And then Lex was leaning in, taking what Clark was offering. The kiss was tentative at first, chaste even, like Lex was trying to protect him, as usual. But when Clark didn't run away or break or change his mind, Lex dove in, and suddenly Clark's entire world was Lex's tongue and lips and hands and the low, dirty sounds he was making every time Lex pushed his erection into his thigh.
When they stopped, Lex was lying on top of him on the sofa and Clark was certain they wore matching goofy grins. "Is that a yes?" he asked.
"Did you really quote 'When Harry Met Sally'?"
"It worked." He shifted and pulled down on Lex's hips, so that their erections now rubbed together. "Not that I think you're easy or anything," he groaned as Lex sucked and nipped at his neck, "but since you've agreed to the date, can we just assume that it'll go well and skip right to the sex?"
That got him a loud laugh from Lex. "I thought we weren't doing casual."
"There is nothing casual about what I want to do to you."
Lex's laughed again, but this time his smile was all wicked promises. "C'mon, farmboy. We have a lot of catching up to do."
As Clark fell asleep that evening, wrapped around his best friend and lover (!), he swore he'd never again mock one his mother's romantic comedies.