Chapter 1: Falling (Clark, Lex)
“No,” Lex ground out, even as his body slipped further over the edge of the building.
“Shut up, Kent.” After all the times Clark had saved him, there was no way he was letting the farm boy drop to his death. “If you go, I go.”
Bright, green eyes filled with emotion stared back at him. “Trust me.”
Despite logic, despite sanity, Lex simply nodded and let Clark’s weight pull them off the roof.
As they fell upward, instead of down, hands still clasped tightly together, Clark whispered, “I think we need to have a talk.”
Chapter 2: The Greater Good (Clark)
"So, Clark Kent," the deejay said, slowly drawing each word out in a weak attempt to build tension, "will you keep the hundred dollars in your hot little hands or will you trade it for a chance to host a party where none other than the Goo Goo Dolls will provide live music?"
Clark laughed as his friends screamed at him to take a chance. He handed the money back to the deejay.
"So what will it be, Clark? Door number one? Door number two? Or door number three?"
Clark focused his vision on each of the three boxes on the fairground stage. "One," he answered confidently.
His friends shrieked enthusiastically as sirens screamed and confetti exploded all over the stage, announcing his win.
Clark's eyes widened in surprise when he saw Lex's smirk. His friend shrugged. "All for the greater good. Right, Clark?"
Chapter 3: Second Chances (Clark, Lex, Hannah)
Lex sat on a bench in the shade, idly watching the toddlers of Smallville prepare for the annual LexCorp Easter Egg Hunt. There was something in their innocent eagerness that touched him. He sighed, wishing that just once he had been able to enjoy that same unsullied anticipation in his youth. Luthors, however, would never participated in anything as mundane as a hunt for candy. He couldn't even begin to guess what his father's reaction to such an event would have been if he had ever been foolish enough to make such a request.
"Wex!" Clark's baby sister shouted joyfully as she wobbled to his side.
"Hey, Hannah," he greeted softly, then flashed a smile at Martha. "Do you have a partner to help you with the hunt?"
"Yes," she answered happily as she took his hand and pulled him toward the starting line.
Chapter 4: The Massacre (Lex, Clark)
“What happened here?” Clark surveyed Lex’s ruined kitchen, taking in the macabre crimson streaks of fruity pulp smeared on the ceiling and walls.
Lex ignored him and continued to clean the cupboards, although his attempts seemed to be making the mess worse.
“Where’s Mrs. Anderson?”
The look Lex shot him made Clark infinitely happy that his lover wasn’t the one with heat vision; otherwise, he would have been reduced to a pile of ash.
Clark ran his finger through a lump on the counter and brought it to his lips. Strawberries and raspberries. A warmth passed through him as he realized that Lex had been trying to make him a berry slush like his mother used to after a stressful day at school.
“I do know how to use a blender.”
“I know you do,” Clark whispered, seconds before brushing his lips over Lex’s.
Chapter 5: First Times (Clark, Lois)
Clark closed his eyes, feeling drops of perspiration bead on his forehead. He had faced a myriad of mutants and megalomaniacs without ever breaking a sweat, but the mere thought of standing up now was practically more than he could bare. “I can’t do it, Lois.”
“Don’t be silly. This is child’s play.”
“Maybe I’m not cut out for this sort of work.”
“You’re a great reporter.”
“Really? You think so?”
“Of course, I do; otherwise, I wouldn’t let you hang out with me. Besides he expecting you to do it.”
“Just suck it up, Smallville.”
Clark swallowed hard, then nodded in acknowledgment and stood, casting his voice over the murmur of the crowd. “Mr. Luthor, Clark Kent with The Daily Planet. How do you intend to address the public’s concerns over the long-term effects this spill might have on the environment?”
Chapter 6: Running (Clark, Lex)
Clark ran; his father’s small town pronouncements still ringing in his ears. Jonathan Kent had no idea what it meant to be different. Clark wanted to run until he dropped with exhaustion, but even that simple exercise was denied him. He could probably run to the coast without breaking a sweat *and* be there by the end of the day.
He stopped, halfway between Smallville and Metropolis, torn between heaven and hell.
A car passed by him, then stopped and slowly backed up.
“Running away from home?” Lex grinned.
Clark shrugged. “Maybe I’m running toward my future.”
Lex raised an eyebrow. “Care for some company?”
“Love some,” Clark said, climbing into the car and wondering how Lex always seemed to find him when Clark need him the most.
Lex flashed him a knowing grin as if he had heard Clark’s thoughts.
“To the future.”
Chapter 7: Sledding (Pete, Clark)
Pete and Clark tossed their gloves and hats onto the floor as they stumbled into their room.
“Now that was a blast!” Pete hooted. “We totally ruled the Hill!”
Clark leaned the cafeteria trays that had served as their sleds against the wall, then flopped onto his bed.
Pete’s stomach grumbled. “Man, I’m famished.”
“There’s pizza in the fridge.”
Pete set a chilled plate on the desk by Clark and raised an eyebrow.
“Why can’t you just eat cold pizza like everyone else, you freak?”
“I wouldn’t be laughing, boy. After all, you’re the one who floats in his sleep.”
Chapter 8: Oops (Clex)
Gasping, Lex drove his hips downward and was rewarded with a moan that made him forget his name and his ambitions, made him forget everything but the physical connection they shared. He thrust deeper and harder, watching Clark’s outstretched hands tear into their mattress and made a mental note to have the staff bring another one up from the basement. Lex wanted their connection to last forever, never wanted to see anything but his lover stretched beneath him writhing in ecstasy; however, as his world exploded he felt a small snap and stopped abruptly.
“Oh crap, the condom broke.”
Chapter 9: Risky (Clark, Lex)
Despite what Pete had implied, Clark was not moping because Lex was away on a business trip. He was only at the mansion to make sure everything was secure, since Lex had sent the staff to Metropolis.
Good thing he was, because someone was definitely inside. From the driveway, he could feel the thundering beat of the music.
Clark frowned, trying to identify the music as he slipped inside.
No, it couldn't be.
Lex slid to a stop in the doorway on socked feet, wearing nothing but a long shirt and sunglasses.
*This* was going to be fun!
Chapter 10: Saint Lex (Lex, Hudson, Chloe)
Never taking his eyes away from the spreadsheets before him, Lex hit the speakerphone and answered absently, "Yes?"
"Mr. Luthor, it's Peter Adams from Security. I have two young women down here who are insisting on seeing you."
Lex frowned, finally drawing his attention away from his papers. "And you're calling me instead of my secretary because..." he let his voice trail off, letting the guard know he wasn't pleased.
"My apologies, sir. Both *are* on your admittance list. It's just that one seems rather... incapacitated at the moment, shall we say."
"Oh, for...give me the damn phone," Lex heard in the background. "Lex, it's Chloe. I have Hudson with me...and I...I need some help." Lex heard an indignant squeak before the security guard gained control of the phone. "Mr. Luthor, I--"
"Send them to the penthouse."
"Put them on the express elevator. I'll meet them upstairs."
Lex immediately gathered his paperwork and moved to his private elevator. Looking at his watch, he noted it was only one o'clock. He couldn't even begin to guess how Hudson might be incapacitated at this time of the day. Even though she was a freshman in college, she was one of the most responsible girls he'd ever known - a blessing and a curse stemming from being raised a Kent.
He set his papers on the entry way table and moved to the express elevator, arriving just moments before the metal doors opened.
"LEX!" Hudson cried out happily when she saw him. Dressed in a pink mid-riff t-shirt and low rider jeans, she moved toward him with a sleekness that reminded Lex of a giant cat on the prowl.
"She's drunk?" he asked Chloe, unable to keep the disapproval out of his tone.
"Umm, no," the blonde answered hesitantly, then blushed. "She's...uh...apparently...umm... horny."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You love me, don't you, Lexy," Hudson purred as she draped her arms around Lex's neck and pressed her lithe body against his.
Lex jerked, startled, then wrapped one arm around her waist and attempted to move her to his side, but Hudson refused to be moved. "What happened?" he asked Chloe, ignoring the fact that his voice broke slightly on the last word.
"I don't know." Chloe lifted her hands up helplessly. "We went to the new Indian restaurant on Central and ordered several things that sounded good, but that we'd never heard of before. The waiter teased us that a couple of the items were considered aphrodisiacs and that the young men on campus had better watch out."
"Leeeex," Hudson whined, "You're not paying attention to me."
Chloe started talking faster as Hudson pressed herself closer to Lex. "We were taking the subway back when she started...uhm...coming on to the guy next to us."
"I know. That so isn't like her. It took all my powers of persuasion and bribery to get her here."
"Why here?" Lex closed his eyes and willed himself to be strong, despite the fact that Hudson's fingertips were dipping beneath his waistband.
"Because she's supposed to have a meeting with her advisor this afternoon. Her male advisor. I-"
"Oh, my appointment." Hudson straightened, stopped her sensual assault and took a step back.
Lex grabbed her wrist as gently as he could. "Why don't you take a nap first, angel," he suggested softly.
"A nap?" she asked confused, but then a slow smile blossomed over Hudson's face.
"To refresh yourself before your meeting," Lex said, winching slightly when he realized the clarification sounded weak even to his own ears.
Hudson closed the distance between them again, cupped her hand around the back of his head and snuggled her face against his neck. "Okay," she whispered against the collar of his shirt. She languidly released her grip, her fingers trailing over his cheek as she withdrew her hand, and sauntered through the penthouse toward the bedrooms.
Lex watched her leave, then swallowed hard and looked back at Chloe. "Stay."
"I can't," the blonde apologized as she pressed the button and stepped back into the waiting elevator. "Really. I'm sorry. You know I would if I could, but I'm meeting with my advisor this afternoon, too."
"Chloe," Lex entreated, although if was ever questioned, he would steadfastly refuse to acknowledge his pleading tones. The elevator doors started to slide shut. "Reschedule her?"
"That," she said, pointing at him with both index fingers, "I can do." Just before the elevator doors sealed, she said, laughingly, "Good luck."
"Luck," Lex growled, not appreciating her humor. "Luthors don't need luck. We make our own."
He turned, but didn't immediately move back toward the bedrooms. Couldn't Hudson being delivered to his doorstep in such a state be considered luck? He shook his head. He was beyond such thoughts. He had resisted her for four years. Surely, he wasn't going to give into temptation now when it was clear that she was under the influence of some strange substance. She was his friend, his best friend, and it was obvious that she needed him, and not in the way she thought, at least not at the moment.
He walked slowly through the penthouse, trying to think pure thoughts, then realized he didn't have a clue as to what one focused on when trying to remain chaste.
A pink shirt laid crumpled in the middle of the hallway and for a moment Lex considered praying, but didn't because he wasn't sure if he would ask for strength or sing praises for his blessings.
He bent over and picked the shirt off the rug. "Get a grip," he chastised himself.
Walking several more feet, he found Hudson's jeans in front of his bedroom door. His hands were definitely not trembling, he decided, when he picked up the pants.
Taking several deep breaths to steady his nerves before he pushed open the door, he walked into his room, trying to project the same confidence he used during board meetings. He set Hudson's clothes on the corner of the bed and walked to the side, only to falter in his steps.
Kitten was the word that immediately popped into his mind. Hudson was nestled into his blankets, her expression was on of lazy naughtiness, like a cat who was enjoying the thought of partaking in forbidden cream. Her tongue lightly traced her upper lip and he almost whimpered.
"I thought you'd be asleep," he said in a strangled whisper, only because he knew his voice wouldn't support any volume.
"I was waiting for you." Her foot moved over the covers and rubbed lightly against his leg.
Focusing on her face, he said, "The idea of a nap is to get some rest."
"I had something else in mind."
"Oh?" His voice did not squeak. It didn't.
"You work too hard," she observed, wiggling further down into the blankets.
"So you've said before," his whisper grew quieter.
Hudson patted the bed next to her. "Come lay down beside me."
"I hardly think--"
One moment he was standing, the next he was laying next to her. Her laughter bubbled around the darkened room.
Tender lips teased his neck. "Nap with me."
"Please," she mewled.
Knowing the only way he was going to preserve any shred of his resistance was to acquiesce, he toed off his shoes and wrapped his arms around her. "Lay your head on my shoulder, Angel."
Humming contently, Hudson snuggled closer, throwing one leg over his and pressing her body to his side. He allowed himself to bury his nose in her hair, even as he vowed to get out of bed the moment she fell asleep. As her breathing started to even out, Lex decided that if he were a religious man practicing restraint, he'd be elected pope.
Chapter 11: First Day of Kindergarten (Pete, Clark)
Petey Ross tugged on his teacher's skirt and pointed across the playground at the child who was sitting under the tree all by himself. "What's wrong with him?"
"Nothing's wrong with him, Peter."
"How come he isn't playing with anyone?"
"Maybe he's shy."
"Well, his mother says English isn't his first language. He could be worried that the other children might make fun of him."
"That would be mean."
"Yes, it would be."
"If he was my best friend, I could protect him and make sure no one else was mean to him."
"So what are you waiting for?"
Chapter 12: The Christmas Present (Clark, Lex)
What do you get a man for Christmas who can literally buy anything he wants? And what would he receive in return? Would it mean as much, knowing there was no sweat in pulling it together?
So much had happened during the past year. He had graduated from college and gotten a job at the Planet, on his own. His father had passed away, and he and Lex had officially gotten together as a couple.
How then to make their first Christmas memorable?
Clark had thought long and hard and finally came up with the perfect gift, confident it would touch Lex’s heart in ways only a few things could.
He looked at his watch. It was almost time.
“Lex. Do you have a moment?”
Lex was looking at his Rolex as well. “Clark. I was just looking for you. I wanted to speak with you as well.”
The doorbell rang.
“Go open the door. That will be your Christmas gift,” Clark said with a bright grin.
“Your Christmas gift was supposed to arrive now, too.”
“Then let’s go open it together.”
The door opened to reveal Martha Kent, her arms filled with baskets. “Merry Christmas, boys.”
Chapter 13: A Guy Thing (Lex, Hudson)
“Lex? Sweetheart, where are you?” Hudson Luthor pushed the door to the kitchen open and watched her husband slowly fold the towel around the ice and deliberately wrap it around his hand. She started to open her mouth, but his glare stopped the words before they formed.
He was angry, she knew, but was surprised to find that he was embarrassed as well.
“I know you can take care of yourself,” he said, and she knew it was as close to an apology as she was going to get.
“He was a jerk.”
He nodded once, sharply.
“I love you,” she told him, knowing he needed to hear it. “And I need you. Not necessarily to protect my body, but always to protect my heart.”
His eyes met hers and conveyed so much love that she closed the distance between them and lightly caressed his injured hand. “I x-rayed him when he was on the ground. You broke his nose.”
His face brightened. “Really?”
“You’re not going to be so happy when he hits us with a billion dollar lawsuit.”
Lex shrugged. “He touched my wife.”
“It’s a guy thing, isn’t it?
“No. It’s a love thing.”
Chapter 14: Flirting (Clark, Lex)
Lex had always considered flirting just as much of a weapon as he did an art. Using nothing but a speculative look, he could size up his opponent in a matter of moments. Were they ruled by earthly pleasures? Did they lose their train of thought while trying to guess what he was thinking? Were they disgusted? Did they get angry?
Verbal flirting was more like fencing. Parry and riposte. With the right partner it could be exhilarating. It was a way to match wits, to try to gain the upper hand with nothing but words and innuendo. It was a game at which he excelled.
He learned very early on to use whatever emotional response he received to his advantage. He could take a angry reaction and quickly push an opponent over the edge. He could take a nervous twitch and learn all of a person's secrets and desires in less than a week. He could burn innocence and literally have a person on their knees in an hour if he so chose.
Flirting, however, was now a thing of the past or something he only used on mild settings. He could still make the entire Holy Cross Christian Quilting Bee blush and titter like school girls, and they adored him for it. "Aren't you sweet, young Mr. Luthor?" "Do go on, Mr. Luthor." "What are you going to do with a harem of fifty-year-old women, Mr. Luthor?" Smallville matrons might be salt of the earth, but they had a very earthy streak in them that he found amusing.
Flirting was simply too dangerous with the younger set. It would be too easy to rule Smallville through pain and humiliation. Also, too easy to get shot. While the 'wild' (and he used the term very tongue in cheek) element of Smallville tried to compete through seduction, it was unsophisticated and clumsily done.
So, he kept his skills honed by flirting with a totally clueless farm boy. No harm, no foul, right?
Clark Kent, Smallville's answer to Adonis, and as thick as a post, as the locals would say. Oh, not that they'd say it about Clark. Clark was decent, honest, and dependable; basically, a boy scout; and not that Clark wasn't intelligent because he was extremely bright and well-read. Lex enjoyed discussing history with him and debating world's politics and philosophies with the idealistic boy. It's just that Clark had no idea how desirable he was, didn't understand either his sexuality or attractiveness. In many ways, Clark was like a puppy who hadn't quite yet grown into his adult feet yet.
Lex was grateful that he hadn't met the boy two years earlier. He would have resented Clark's boyish charm and teenage gawkiness. He would have seen Clark as a challenge and gone out of his way to corrupt his innocence, to teach Clark how to use his sexuality as a weapon, or to destroy him for his refusal to see it. All very 'Dangerous Liaisons' to be sure.
Despite Clark's down-home values and beliefs, he still possessed an air of mystery, was still a contradiction of terms. The inconsistencies drove Lex to distraction. While he pursued avenues to learn the secrets Clark strove so hard to keep hidden, he also enjoyed the friendship for what it was.
He tried his hand at guiding Clark through the perilous waters of teen-dating. However, he often found his advice out-of-place in such a small town environ. He learned that simply being a sounding board for Clark often made the teen happy.
Lex helped in other ways, ways that Clark or his parents would never find out about or suspect. Some nights he lay awake and wondered why this boy's happiness meant so much to him. Sure, there was the whole 'saving-his-life' thing, but he knew it was more. It was almost as if Clark and his family were the antithesis of everything the Luthors weren't. Honest. Hard-working. Caring. He wondered what it would mean to have a relationship as steady as the one shared by Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Most teenagers dreamed of being rich beyond Midas. Luthor heirs dreamed of being content -- which was just too fucked up for words.
For Clark's eighteenth birthday, he gave Lana the funds to throw a big bash at the Talon, congratulating himself the whole time on being able to give Clark a gift that Jonathan couldn't make him give back.
Lex had spent a lot of time thinking of the perfect birthday gift to give Clark, knowing it was for all intents and purposes a goodbye gift. LexCorp was growing in leaps and bounds and if it was going to continue to grow, he would have to run it from Metropolis. Clark would be going to college soon and their paths would simply split. While a part of Lex railed at the inevitable, he was also thankful for the time he had had with normality.
He knew from Clark's bright eyes bright that he appreciated the gift he had finally settled on, one that hadn't cost a penny. And even though Jonathan frowned, he thought his own mother would have understand and even approval. The watch had been given to him in love and he had passed it along with the same intent. A thank you for teaching a spoiled rich brat how to appreciate what he had.
"I must say, Mr. Luthor, you look very James Bond this evening."
Lex blinked in shock as a familiar warm voice whispered seductively from behind him. He turned to find an almost arrogant smile on Clark's face.
"Clark. What are you doing here?"
Lex blinked again, caught off guard by the cat-in-the-crème expression of his friend. "Watching me what?" he offered, gamily trying to get back in the socializing groove.
"Watching you work a room. I don't think there's a woman at this event you haven't charmed, and the men here either love you or hate you. Have you noticed that you rarely engender neutral feelings?"
Lex felt his lip quirk up in a smirk and tried to change the subject. "Speaking of debonair, who would have thought you'd clean up so well. What's the occasion?"
"I'm covering the event for the University paper."
"Pretty boring, isn't it?" Lex turned to face the crowd.
Clark stood by his shoulder. "I wouldn't say that."
Shrugging, Clark smiled slyly. "Oh, on the surface, yes; but watching people play psychological games with each other is fascinating."
Lex raised an eyebrow.
"There are several people who excel at the game, but no one in this room is even close to your level of expertise."
Again, Lex's smirk found its way to his face.
"You use flirting like a weapon, but you do it so effortlessly, so gracefully that it becomes its own art form. I can practically see you molding people to get the reactions you want."
"Why, Clark, I think you're reading too much into a dreary meet and greet."
"I don’t. Within a half hour of entering the room, you knew exactly which people you could easily control and which ones you'd have to take another tack with," Clark continued as if he hadn't heard. He leaned closer to Lex so no one could overhear their conversation and breathed warmly against the side of his face. "You own them."
Lex closed his eyes, not liking his body's reaction to the low spoken words. "Own is such an ugly word, Clark."
"People whine that you take advantage of them, that you use them and throw them away, never realizing or unable to admit that they've willingly given themselves to you, that they've prostrated themselves for a moment of your undivided attention."
"Despite the rumors, Clark, I never force anyone to do anything against their will."
"And that's the beauty of your power."
Lex turned slightly to face his friend, and realized how intimate their stance was.
"You make me sound like the devil."
Clark's gaze never left his. "Not the devil. You never actually lie. You're vague. You let them misinterpret what you say and they end up hoisting themselves onto their own petard, don't they?"
Lex grinned unrepentantly. He liked the gleam in Clark's eyes, which was practically screaming at him to try his worse and yet still managed to maintain an air of shyness. He opened his mouth to--
"There you are, Lex. I was just telling Councilman Winters, here, about your latest proposal," the Mayor said as he joined them, not realizing he was intruding on a moment.
"Mayor Barnes, Councilman Winters. How are you this evening?" Lex turned smoothly and shook both politicians hands. "Have either of you met Clark Kent? He's an old friend of mine from Smallville. He's covering the event for the university's paper."
Lex was amazed by Clark's transformation when he turned to bring him into the conversation. His friend had gone from confident and self-assured to bumbling and awkward in a blink of an eye. And when had he gotten glasses?
Lex rolled his head back onto his shoulders and inhaled deeply as he stood on the steps of the Hilton, taking a moment to appreciate the clean night air. He straightened when he felt eyes upon him, but relaxed when he realized who it was.
"Friend or foe?" he asked with amusement. He continued to watch the night sky, refusing to look around for the intruder, knowing that Clark would make his presence known soon enough.
"Which would you prefer?"
Lex smiled as he realized the confident Clark was back. "Both have their pros and cons."
"Yes." Clark moved to his side. "I can see where they both might."
"You gave an interesting performance in there." Lex didn't turn to face his friend, but thrust his head back a bit to indicate the hotel.
"Now that's the question, isn't it?" He cocked his head to the side and watched a blush wash over Clark. "That's what I thought." He took several steps but found his path blocked.
Clark pressed his hand gently against Lex's chest. "It wasn't all performance."
Lex rolled his gaze heavenward. "Of course it wasn't." However, when he went to move around Clark, the reporter stayed in front of him.
Frustration lined Clark’s face as he tried to find the words to express himself. In the end, he simply looked at Lex, trying to say everything with his eyes.
“Don’t worry, Clark. It was all done in harmless fun. Isn’t that the point, after all?”
Clark shook his head in frustration. “Lex.”
“Clark,” Lex said with amusement.
“I can’t compete with you. I have nowhere near your level of expertise.”
“Very few do.” Lex smirked. “But we aren’t competing, Clark. This isn’t about winning or losing.”
“But it is,” Clark whispered.
Clark took a step up, so that his face was level with Lex’s, then leaned forward and gently brushed his lips over Lex’s. “It’s all about winning and losing.”
“Clark?” Lex stepped back in surprise.
“It’s about winning or losing you. And I can’t afford to lose.”
Lex frowned. “You’re not playing by the rules, Clark.”
“Flirting may be all fine and good for Metropolitans, but in Smallville we appreciate the direct approach.” Clark swooped in for another kiss, deeper and needier than the first.
Lex hummed softly to himself as he lost himself in the warm lips. “There’s something to be said in the direct approach. After all, flirting is acting amorously without serious intent.”
Clark cupped Lex’s face in both his hands and kissed him tenderly. “Oh, I have serious intent alright, have had for years.”
“Really? You could have fooled me.”
“I did fool you,” Clark said with amusement, peppering a light kiss between each word.
“But you never indicated...”
“What would you have done if I had?”
“I would have--”
“Either run or done something about it. I was too young then to understand what I wanted. I needed time to come in to my own. In the meantime, I allowed myself to enjoy the attention.”
“So you knew?”
Clark chortled happily. “Of course, I knew, Lex. Hell, half of Kansas knew. You can’t be the recipient of that sort of attention and not know.”
“But I always thought...”
Lex thought back to Clark’s performance in the hotel and realized that he had believed the innocent façade for years. In its own way, Clark’s clueless performance rivaled his flirting. “But why now?” he asked confused.
“Because now I know for sure, now I want the serious intent.”
Lex smiled. “So the direct approach, huh?”
“Who knew that’d work for me?”
Clark nibbled lightly along Lex’s jaw line. “I did,” he said smugly. “Now let’s get out of here so I can show you what else I’m serious about.”
Chapter 15: Tornado (Lex, Lois, Clark)
Lois braced herself against the car door. "We're not going to make it."
Lex shifted into fifth gear, pushing the Porsche even faster, mindful of the tornado behind them and the one veering in from the east.
"What's that?" Lois shouted as something whizzed in front of the car.
A second later, another object flew in the opposite direction.
"Another cow?" she asked, trying not to sound hysterical.
Seconds later a flash of flannel caught his eye. Lex rolled down his window and shouted, petulantly, "Damn it, Clark. Quit fucking around and get us out of here."
Chapter 16: Snowballs (Pete, Clark)
Normally, Pete hated playing with his brother's friends. They always seemed to go out of their way to make his life unnecessarily hard. Their teasing always made him mad at his brother for being a wuss and not standing up for him.
He didn't mind, however, having snowball fights with them. He didn't even mind it being just him and Clark against his brother and his three best friends. At least, not when Clark was around. Clark might be pretty quiet, but he made snowballs faster than anyone he knew. In addition, Clark never ever missed.
Revenge was so cool.
Chapter 17: Snowball (Clark, Lex)
Clark stumbled to a stop and looked down in astonishment at the mushy white mass dripping slowly off his jacket.
There was no way. No way.
His gaze snapped up, but everything was as it should be. Lex was still walking toward the car. Clark quickly scanned the area, but there was no one even close.
Another plop and he was nailed in the shoulder.
He shook his head. This wasn’t happening.
But this time, he caught the crooked smile and his heart practically leaped with joy.
It was silly. It was childish. But Lex was finally learning to play!
Lex was rather annoyed by the fact that he couldn’t seem to stop the giddy feeling from bubbling up within him.
Luthors were not giddy.
Okay, if he ever took over Microsoft, he’d allow himself a couple of minutes of giddy, maybe even an hour.
But this…this was ridiculous.
And yet, he couldn’t stop his lips from curling up in a smile as he got out of the Aston Martin.
Clark was in Smallville…at the same time he was.
Even though they both lived in Metropolis, they had only gotten together a half-dozen times in the last two years. It seemed like Clark was always studying or tracking down leads for the college paper, or, more often than not, he, himself, was jetting all over the world to establish his own business contacts for his foundling company.
Truth be known, Lex missed Clark.
Missed his easy smile.
The way he could make Lex feel like a dork. Grown men trembled at his feet, for God’s sakes. Yet a farm boy from rural Kansas could make him like he was back in junior high again.
Maybe it was because Clark never saw the corporate CEO or the multibillionaire. All he saw was Lex. And in a world where he could never be himself, Lex realized how much he needed someone to see him for him, and not his money or power or reputation.
Lex’s feet took him into the barn, never doubting for a second that this was where Clark was.
He found himself replaying the phone conversation in his head as he headed toward the loft.
"Clark. How’d you track me down?"
"I heard you were in Smallville"
"You heard I was—Does this mean you’re here, too?"
"Yep. Think you could make some time to swing by the farm tonight or do you have to head back right away?"
"You’re in luck. My schedule is clear."
It hadn’t been, but that hardly mattered.
Then stop by when you’re free. I have some good news.
Lex jogged happily up the last flight of steps, but froze when he reached the top.
Clark was sleeping in the hammock, surrounded by pillows. In and of itself, the image before him should be enough to fuel his fantasies for several months to come, but he knew there wouldn’t be any more fantasies…not with the sleeping baby sprawled over Clark’s chest.
I have some good news.
Clark had a child?
Clark had met someone, had fallen in love and had a child? A part of him scoffed at his sequence of events, but he knew Clark Kent better than anyone else on the planet, or at least he had at one time. Clark would never dabble in casual sex. If there was a child, it was because things were serious.
And he hadn’t told Lex.
Hadn’t even hinted at a romance.
Studying the sleeping figures, Lex realized the baby had Clark’s ears and lips. If he was honest with himself, he’d have to say the baby was adorable. But then again, any child of Clark’s would be.
Without realizing he was moving, he backed down the steps to the first landing, careful not to awaken those above him, then turned and quickly moved to his car.
“He called again.”
“And you told him?”
“That you were in negotiations and probably would be for the rest of the week.”
“He said the gifts were greatly appreciated.”
Lex frowned as he tried to track down the beeping noise in the kitchen. It sounded almost like Morse code.
Finding the blinking light on a panel on the far wall, he pushed it. “Yes?”
“Vegetable delivery, sir.”
“The cook isn’t here at the moment. Can you come back tomorrow?”
“You don’t have to pay now, sir. My boss will just bill your boss.”
Lex rolled his eyes. Mrs. Danvers hadn’t said anything about a delivery before she left for the night. “All right.” He sighed and pushed the button that would allow the elevator to stop on the main lobby. He didn’t worry about burglars because he knew everyone was thoroughly searched after hours.
He started to head back toward his den, then stopped. Truth be told, he was bored. And vegetables reminded him of Clark. Lex shook his head in amusement, pondering on the sad state of his life. He went back to the kitchen and stopped as the delivery boy got off the freight elevator.
Lex swallowed hard. “Clark. What are you doing here?”
“Vegetable delivery,” Clark said, holding up a crate of vegetables.
Lex blinked stupidly, feeling his IQ drop at an alarming rate. “Of course. Just, uh, set them on the counter. I didn’t know Ms. Danvers ordered from your parents.”
Clark looked sheepish. “Well, she doesn’t, technically.”
“Okay, she doesn’t at all.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It was a ploy to get up here, since you’re ignoring my calls.”
“I’m not ignoring your calls. I’ve been...busy.”
Clark set the crate on the counter. “There was a time when you were never to busy for one of my phone calls.”
Lex’s gaze snapped up to Clark’s. “There was a time when you used to share things with me.”
“I always share things with you.”
Lex huffed. “Look, it’s getting late--”
“Lex, don’t shut--”
“Go home to your wife, Clark.”
Clark blinked at him. “Wife?”
“Mother of your child. Whatever. You’ll see yourself out, won’t you?” Lex turned to leave, but found Clark in his path.
“What are you talking about?”
Lex was surprised by Clark’s confusion. He opened his mouth to speak, but decided that the best offense was to say nothing at all.
“You did come to the farm, after all,” Clark whispered, as if speaking to himself. “I thought...” Clark stopped shaking his head, then smiled brilliantly at Lex, like one would smile at a child whose feelings were hurt by something silly; sweet, careful, non-patronizing in a totally patronizing way. The smile that made him feel like a dork. “Elaine appreciated the gifts you sent.”
Lex shrugged and tried to move around Clark, but found himself pinned in the doorway by Clark’s right hip and shoulder.
“I had taken her home because I was really worried about her. Her boyfriend dumped her, she was afraid to go home to her own parents and she really needed a break. When I told mom, she said to bring her home so she could take care of Elaine for a while. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the gifts started showing up. Enough gifts for Elaine to realize her situation wasn’t hopeless. Enough gifts to give Jacob a wonderful head start in life.”
“So...” Lex said softly, realizing the implications of what he had just been told. It took him a moment longer to take in his position in the doorway. “Oh,” he said softly.
Clark’s hands came up and gently cupped his face. “I think we need to talk.”
Lex smiled. “Yeah, I think we do.”
Chapter 19: Bonkers (Clark, Lex)
“Is this some sort of revolutionary humane way to deal with your rodent problem?” Lex asked with amusement, stopping in his tracks and blinking in shock as he watched a hamster ball roll past Clark’s dorm room door.
“What?” Clark smiled a greeting as he turned in his chair, then followed Lex’s gaze. “Oh, that’s Bonkers.”
The plastic ball ran into the corner of the dresser, making a small bonk noise.
“Enough said.” Lex shut the door behind him. “So when did you acquire the new roommate?”
Clark shot him a goofy grin, then grew serious. “Two days ago. Sarah’ father had a heart attack. He lives by himself so she dropped out of school to go back home to take care of him. She flew and couldn’t figure out a way to get Bonkers home. Kyle was going to take him, but he wanted to feed him to Justin’s ferret.” Clark frowned. “And I couldn’t allow that. It would have broken Sarah’s heart.”
“So you decided to become the patron saint of gerbils?”
Clark placed one hand dramatically over his heart. “Hamsters, if you please.”
“So does your sanctification keep you from going out for pizza?”
Clark hopped to his feet. “Not at all.” He chased after the ball and tried to ignore Lex’s snickers in the background.
SIX WEEKS LATER
“Yes?” Lex hit the speaker phone absently, still reading the prospectus in front of him.
“Mr. Luthor, Mr. Kent is on his way up to see you.” Before Lex could ask why the special announcement, the security guard added, “He seems upset.”
“Thank you, Karl.” Lex disconnected the call, then buzzed his head secretary. “Stacia, please send Clark in as soon as he arrives.”
Less than a minute later, Clark all but burst into the room, soaked to the bone and carrying a plastic box and two backpacks.
“Lex, I need your help.”
“Of course,” Lex said, getting up from his desk.
“Justin ratted Bonkers out to the RA, who gave me an hour to get rid of him and I have a mid-term in thirty minutes. I need you to look after him this week. Please. I swear, I’ll come over every night and take care of him. I just need somewhere to keep him so Justin and Kyle don’t get a hold of him,” Clark said in a rush, giving Lex his best wounded puppy look.
“I wouldn’t normally ask but the Chem--”
“Oh, alright.” Lex wiggled his fingers to accept the paraphernalia, frowning unhappily as he did so. “But you’re going to owe me.”
Clark slid one of the backpacks off his shoulder and laid it on the coffee table. He then thrust the cage into Lex’s hands. “You’re the best.”
“Send Stacia in on your way out.” Lex instructed, holding the box away from his suit and sighing heavily.
FOUR DAYS LATER
Clark moved through the penthouse with a familiar ease and headed toward Lex’s home office. He smiled when he noticed Bonkers’ cage on the credenza behind the CEO. “He escaped again, didn’t he?” Clark asked, leaning against the doorway.
Lex looked up, then rolled his eyes. “Three times, just today.” He glanced back toward the cage, a smile teasing the edge of his lips. “He’s definitely smarter than the average hamster. I’m thinking of renaming him Houdini.”
Clark moved into the room. “I’m sorry he’s being such a pain, but I--”
“Have you found a home for him yet?”
Clark shook his head, miserably. “Not yet.”
Lex leaned back in his chair and played with a pen. “Well, I…”
“Yes,” Clark prompted when Lex hesitated.
“I’m willing to keep him until the end of the semester. I mean, since Angelina doesn’t seem mind changing his cage and all.”
“I can’t pay--” Clark stopped when Lex frowned at him. “I won’t be able to come over every night.”
“It’s okay,” Lex reassured him. “Once I find a cage that’ll hold him, it won’t be a problem at all.”
“Well, if you’re sure.” If Clark didn’t know better, he would have thought his friend was excited by the prospect of keeping the furry creature.
TWO WEEKS LATER
“Ready for dinner?” Lex asked as Clark stepped off the elevator.
“Yes, but we’re just going to the diner, right?”
“Yes, Clark.” Lex sighed with great exaggeration. “We’re going to the diner. Not that it would hurt you to--”
“Ah. Ah. We talked about this.”
“Whatever. Come on, let’s go. I’m starved.”
Clark turned back to the elevator, then turned back. “Wait. I want to see how Bonkers is doing first.”
“He’s doing fine,” Lex said, pushing the button.
“Lex,” Clark said suspiciously. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Why would you think something was wrong?”
“Oh, no. He didn’t die, did he?”
“Now why would you even say something like that?” Lex frowned.
“Because you’re acting all weird.”
Lex sputtered. “I’m not--”
“Show me the rodent, Lex.”
Lex rolled his eyes. “Show me the rodent,” he mocked. “He’s a hamster and a very smart one at that.”
“So show me the hamster.”
“We’re going to miss our reservations.” Lex pushed the elevator button again.
“You said we were going to the diner.”
Clark started walking toward Lex’s office. “The diner doesn’t take reservations, Lex. Get real. What are you hiding?”
Lex started forward, but Clark laughed and ran into the office. He stopped in his tracks as he stepped inside, his mouth dropping open in shock. Several layers of hamster tubing ran along every wall of the room, interspersed with solid cages with tiny padlocks on their lids. “Oh my God, it’s the Metropolis of Hamsterdom.”
“I got tired of tracking down the ball.”
“He needed his exercise.”
Clark blinked in fascination as two little hamsters shimmied up the tubing around the door.
“He was lonely,” Lex said defensively when Clark turned to face him.
Clark leaned forward and brushed his lips over Lex’s. “Lex Luthor, CEO, billionaire, hamster slum lord.”
“Shut up.” Lex pushed him backward, but couldn’t stop the smile from growing over his face. “Just for that, we’re eating at Antonio’s.”
“Lex,” Clark whined playfully, following behind the retreating figure.
Chapter 20: Chance Encounter (Lex, Clark)
Heathrow in July is a madness he can normally avoid, but the company jet is down. He has thirty minutes to dash through two terminals to reach the concord. Racing through the crowd, he zigs when he should have zagged and collides with a solid mass.
“Clark,” he says, startled.
“Where are you headed?”
Neither of them move, a testament to feelings they’ve been unable to set aside, despite the past and their families.
“The fifteenth?” Clark says challenging.
A nod and they’re both running again, away for the moment, but not for long.
Chapter 21: Dropping In (Jonathan, Clark, Lex)
"I hope you don't mind me just dropping in on you like this, Clark," Jonathan said quietly, then took a sip of iced tea from the glass in front of him. "But since I was in Metropolis to pick up the part for the tractor, I thought I'd swing by and say hello."
"You know I don't mind." Clark clapped his hand on Jonathan's shoulder as he walked toward the stove. "Besides, I'm making Swedish meatballs for dinner and there's more than enough to go around."
Jonathan perked up. "Your mother's recipe?"
Frowning critically at his creation, Clark lifted the lid on the sauce pan and sniffed. "Like I would use anyone else's."
"What the special occasion?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, nothing. It's just that your mother usually cooks it when she's going to ask for a big favor."
Clark stirred the sauce and flashed his father a silly grin. "I didn't know that."
"Well, er, that is." Jonathan tugged at his collar, then grinned in his relief when Clark laughed. "So how's Lois?"
"Still a spitfire. In fact, at the moment--"
"All right, Kent, where's this promised meal that's guaranteed to make me drop to my knees--" Lex Luthor strode into the kitchen like he owned it, but his step faltered when he spotted Jonathan. "--in gratitude for sharing. Hello, Mr. Kent."
"Lex," Jonathan acknowledged, trying hard to keep the smile off his face as he watched Lex try to rally from his near faux pas.
"Lex!" Clark greeted with what Jonathan could only consider a mixture of surprise, apology and warning. "Dad was in town and stopped by to say hello."
"And where is the lovely Mrs. Kent this evening?"
Jonathan watched as Lex instinctively started to lean toward Clark as he passed him on his trip around the table. Clark raised his hand, but let it fall helplessly back to his side.
"Fine. She and Lana are busy organizing with setting up the town's spring fling."
"Ah, is that this weekend?"
Jonathan watched Lex's gaze flick up to Clark.
His son returned a brilliant smile. "Didn't you say something about wanting a face-to-face with Gabe?"
"Perfect. You can drive the Lamborghini."
Clark practically bounced with happiness.
"So when is this comparative taste test going to happen?" Jonathan asked, feeling a slight tinge of guilt for breaking into the silent conversation going on around him."
"Comparative?" Lex asked, cocking an eyebrow at Clark.
"It's mom's recipe."
Waving his hand imperiously at the unset table, Lex grinned wickedly and Jonathan knew that Lex was enjoying getting out of a normal chore for the sake of propriety. "Ah, by all means, bring it on."
Jonathan busied himself with putting the leftovers in containers, all the while ignoring the radio playing in the background and blatantly eavesdropping on the two men cleaning dishes.
"So what's the favor?" Lex asked Clark softly, accepting a plate and drying it with an ease that surprised Jonathan.
Feeling his son's gaze on him, Jonathan concentrated on scraping the bottom of the skillet.
"I was wondering if you could arrange a meeting with Peter Simmons."
"What happened to your wanting to land the interview by yourself?" Lex asked, putting his plate away and accepting another one from Clark.
"Is getting to you again?"
"Am I that transparent?"
"Only to me."
"What do you say?" Clark asked, flashing Lex his puppy dog eyes.
"I say it's going to take more than your mother's Swedish meatballs, no matter how delicious they were," Lex teased.
Jonathan watched as the two men pressed their shoulders against each other good-naturedly then exchange grins with promises of things to come.
Lex Luthor was not his father, Jonathan thought with a flash of insight. Lionel Luthor would rather be caught dead than washing dishes in a two bedroom apartment in midtown, no matter how quaint he might find the experience. And yet, here stood his son with a man who was racing up the Fortune 500 list like a sprint runner, a man who could buy anything his heart desired, who had the power to make or ruin people on a whim, and had, who was doing an ordinary chore simply for the sake of spending time with someone he cared about.
Jonathan opened the refrigerator and started squeezing in the containers, noting the abundance of fresh exotic fruits and vegetables and cheese whose name he couldn't even begin to pronounce, and knowing that Clark would never buy them for just himself.
Two aliens seeking their way in a world who didn't understand them. Two men who had forged a bond that had survived the snide innuendo of friends, family and society. Two boys who had a good time playing with each other, despite the world telling them they couldn't be friends. Two lovers who saw each other for who they really were and not the facades they projected to the world.
And despite his fears for his son, despite his having spent a lifetime to protect Clark's secret, he knew, looking at the men trying so desperately not to touch each other, that everything was going to be all right.
Chapter 22: Anger (Clex)
Lex’s hand shook with suppressed rage as he very deliberately and gently placed the phone back in its cradle.
He picked up the crystal scotch glass, spun, and with all his might threw it at the door on the far side of the room. The explosion of shards against solid oak made an extremely satisfying noise and he moved to the credenza to get another glass.
He grabbed the decanter, poured two fingers of liquid into the next victim, then dropped the container onto the desk. The alcohol disappeared in one swallow and he spun and flung the now-empty glass with all of his might, turning to find another glass as soon as it left his hands.
Frowning over the lack of tinkling shards, he turned back toward the door, only to find the glass safely ensconced in the right hand of his lover.
Lex opened his mouth to speak, but knew he was only capable of a harsh tirade, so said nothing. He nodded instead.
Quirking an eyebrow at the glass in his hand, Clark asked, “Feel better?”
Lex shook his head, grabbed another glass and hurled it at the balcony window. But as he knew would happen, nothing shattered. However, he didn’t let that little set back stop him. He picked up another glass and aimed it back at the study door.
In total, he threw seven glasses, but other than the first one, none of the others broke.
Clark closed the distance between them. “Need to take a swing at me?”
Lex immediately frowned and took a step back. He had never, in the ten years they had been together, taken Clark up on his suggestion. It upset him that Clark still offered, but he also knew it was Clark’s gentle reminder that not only was violence never the answer but that while he may still be Lionel Luthor’s son, he had stepped away from his father’s path a long time ago.
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, feeling his shoulders slump in defeat. He heard Clark set the glasses down on the desk and felt the unconditional love radiate toward him as his lover closed the distance between them.
“So, are we broke?”
For the first time in what seemed like forever, Lex felt a smile grow blossom over his face. He raised his face to meet the green eyes which sought his and nodded.
Clark paled slightly. “Really?”
Lex huffed in amusement, then shook his head.
“You realize it wouldn’t change anything between us if we were?”
“I know,” he whispered, never doubting the truth of the statement.
“It’s just that it’s Lionel,” Clark said knowingly.
“More than anything,” Lex said softly. All his troubles seemed to vanish like mist on a sunny day when he and Clark flew. “Can we find a 747?”
“Lex!” Clark said, trying to sound stern, but failing miserably. “We aren’t pulling the thrifty fare gag again.”
Lex gave him a hanged dog expression.
Clark’s lips quivered in amusement. “We’re not.”
Clark closed his eyes and sighed in resignation, and it was all Lex could do not to crow in triumphant glee.
“Just once,” Lex quickly agreed.
“Then we’re taking over LuthorTech.”
“Why, Clark, I’m shocked.”
“No, you’re not. I’m tired of playing your father’s game. It’s time he starts playing ours.”
“After we fly?”
Warm lips brushed softly over Lex’s. “After we fly. Come on, lover. Let’s go give some frequent fliers a reason to use their drink coupons.”
Chapter 23: A Father's Perspective (Lionel)
The boy was nothing but a distraction, a beautiful one to be sure, but still a fly in the ointment. If he swung that way… No, this was better.
It had been childishly simple to plant the clues that would lead the reporter to LexCorp. The fact that Kent carried his father’s self-righteousness was just icing on the cake.
Lionel leaned back and inhaled his cognac appreciatively as he watch the screen. A chuckle emanated from his throat when the scene had finally concluded, but the amusement turned to horror as the gun was withdrawn from the drawer.
Chapter 24: The First Step Is A Bit One (Clex)
“If you don’t forgive me, I’m going to throw myself off the balcony.”
“You’re such a drama queen.”
“I’m serious. How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”
“Well, you’ve already apologized in fifteen different languages. I think we should make it an even twenty.”
“You’re mocking me.”
“Maybe a little.”
“You don’t think I’ll do it?”
“I don’t…Crap!” Clark jumped after his lover and caught Lex with a quiet ‘oomph.’
“Damn it, Lex! What if I hadn’t been able to catch you?”
“You always catch me, Clark. Forgiven?”
The man of steel sighed. “Yes, you always are.”
Chapter 25: Found (Clex)
Written for Patrese1
“You look tired.” Clark wasn’t sure who was more surprised by that statement, Lex or himself. He’d been in the middle of one of his full blown Superman rants, trying to lecture Lex once again about what would happen if Lex continued his death ray experiments, when he finally got a good look at his ex-friend and current nemesis.
“The cancer hasn’t come back again, has it?”
Lex’s frown deepened. “No. I’m still in remission.”
“When was the last time you ate?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It’s not a hard question, Lex. When was the last time you ate?”
“I’ve been in meetings all day.”
“Did you, at least, have breakfast?”
Lex shook his head. “I don’t see how any of this is relevant to our current discussion.”
“You’re looking paler than normal.”
“It’s been a long day, what with superheroes feeling they have the right to drop in unannounced and start babbling about things that aren’t their concern.”
“I wish you took better care of yourself. You look like you’re about to pass out.”
“If I took better care of myself, you’d probably be running yourself ragged cleaning up after me.”
Clark grinned; he couldn’t help himself. However, the history between them slowly caused the smile to fade. “I miss you, you know?”
“Whatever do you mean, Kal-El?”
“Don’t.” Clark paused. “Please.”
Lex looked at him but remained silent.
“I haven’t lied to you in a long time,” Clark finally said when the silence got too thick.
Shrugging, Lex turned and picked up his scotch glass. “Perhaps, but you haven’t gone out of your way to tell me the truth either.”
Clark took in a deep breath and released it slowly. “Lex, I’m an alien.”
Lex blinked at him in disbelief. “No, shit, Sherlock.”
“While I knew I was stronger and faster than anyone else, I didn’t find out about my origins until after you hit me on the bridge.”
Lex took a sip of his scotch, but said nothing.
“My parents were terrified for my safety and I allowed their fear to color my views of the world.”
“You were sixteen.”
“Yes, but I’m not sixteen anymore.” Clark closed the gap between them and took the crystal tumbler out of Lex’s hand and placed it on the bar.
“Because even I will eventually recognize foreplay when I see it.”
Lex blinked at him in shock. “I beg your pardon?”
The smile blossomed over Clark’s face once again. “You once told me we had a destiny together. And while we aren’t walking side by side anymore, you’ve been doing everything in your power to keep me close, haven’t you?”
Frowning, Lex took a step back. “I think I still have that kryptonite ring around here somewhere.”
“We lost track of our path once, but I think we can find it again.”
“As a heart attack.”
“It’ll never work.”
“If it doesn’t, you can go back to pretending to try to kill me.”
“Oh, come on, Lex. We both know if you wanted me dead, I’d be dead, alien or not.”
“Can I keep the death ray?”
“Are you going to point it at me?”
“Only if you break my heart.”
Chapter 26: Relaxing (Lex)
Despite his net wealth being somewhere in the double digits billions; despite the fact that he lived at the highest point in Metropolis; despite his penthouse holding more treasures than most museums, Lex was a man of simple pleasures. Sure, that hadn’t always been the case, but as he embraced his thirties, he no longer had the desire to push his body to its limits. Instead, he enjoyed the peace often found in solitude, whether it be on his private island in the Maldives or in his penthouse suite.
After a trying day, he would retreat upstairs (the joys of owning your own building), happy in the knowledge that his staff would have retired for the evening. He would leave his briefcase by the elevator (why he brought it upstairs he wasn’t ever sure), then pour himself a snifter of scotch and retire out onto his balcony. Most nights, he wouldn’t even bother with the lights, simply letting the city illuminate his way.
He would take a moment to enjoy the night breeze as it caressed his body, as if picking up little bits of stress and carrying them away on the wind. The jacket would come off, as would his tie.
During the summer, he would continue to remove his clothing until he stood in all of his god given glory. He would take his snifter, then slowly sink into his Jacuzzi, sighing as the bubbles welcomed him into the warm water. Leaning back, he would survey his kingdom and let the sounds of the city surround him. Instead of gathering his anger or counting the wrongs perpetrated against him, he would release them into the atmosphere, until he felt his body relax in the churning water.
Once he felt as fluid as the water surround him, he would open his eyes and wait for Clark to join him.