Clark sat back on the bench, eyes hooded as he watched Lex carefully. As he’d predicted, Lex was pushing himself hard; more often than not, harder than he should. Clark had very quickly had to become adept at spotting when Lex had reached his limits, because nine times out of ten, his boyfriend would just carry on regardless.
And, exactly as he’d predicted, Lex was continuously frustrated by what he considered lack of progress, despite reassurances from both the PT and the doctors that he was actually making incredible progress.
The last three months, since Lex had woken up, had been pretty hard on both of them. Clark was still dividing his time between Lex and school, which was fine. What was not fine, to Clark anyway, were Lex’s attempts to get him to spend less time at the hospice.
They had regular arguments about it in fact, and Lex still hadn’t seemed to accept the fact that Clark *wanted* to spend as much time as possible with him. Especially as Lex still hadn’t really faced the issue of his paralysis. He claimed he was fine, but Clark knew he wasn’t; as evidenced by Lex’s behaviour. Fits of temper and often downright stroppiness that were simply not like his normally controlled boyfriend.
Clark’s eyes narrowed as he caught sight of a tremor in Lex’s arms. Sharp ears picked up a stifled grunt of effort.
“Okay, Lex, that’s enough,” he said quietly.
“No,” Lex continued with his exercises.
“Yes,” Clark got up and walked over to the weight machine.
“I’m not done yet,” Lex insisted, glaring at him.
“Yes, you are,” Clark said firmly, forcibly removing Lex’s hands from the bar.
“Clark!” Lex snapped.
“Lex, how many times?” Clark sighed, “I will not sit here and watch you damage yourself deliberately.”
“Well don’t fucking watch me then,” Lex growled.
Clark sighed, trying not to let the words hurt him. He bent down and picked Lex up to carry him to his wheelchair.
“God damn it, Clark! I can manage on my own.”
“I know you can,” Clark said quietly, “I want to help.”
“Then let me carry on,” Lex replied.
“No,” Clark shook his head, as he adjusted Lex’s legs.
“Haven’t you got a class?” Lex asked coldly.
Clark flinched and gritted his teeth, “You know I don’t.”
“Lex!” Clark was glad he was pushing the wheelchair, so his boyfriend couldn’t see the pain he knew was visible on his face.
“Just get off my back,” Lex hissed, wrenching control of the chair out of Clark’s hands.
“When are you going to stop this?” Clark sighed.
“Stop what exactly?” Lex rolled into his room, leaving the door to shut in Clark’s face.
Clark pushed the door open and walked into the room, closing it firmly behind him. “Stop torturing yourself and trying to push me away?”
Lex sneered at him, “When are you going to stop acting the martyr?”
Clark sighed again, ignoring Lex’s attempts to stop him as he lifted him out of the chair and back onto the bed.
“Thanks,” Lex said sarcastically, “You can go now.”
“Don’t do that!” Clark snapped, “Don’t treat me like some lackey. You’re not going to push me away. I’m here because I love you, no more, no less. And I’m always going to be here.”
“Even if I don’t want you here?” Lex asked coldly.
Clark froze, heart clenching painfully in his chest, eyes stinging with tears. “You don’t mean that.”
“Don’t I?” Lex looked away.
Clark cleared his throat, “E-excuse me.”
He hurried out of the room, closing the door behind him. Leaning back against the wall, he slid down to the ground, hands balling into fists as he struggled not to hit something. His breath hitched painfully in his chest and he dropped his head onto his knees, unable to stop the tears any longer. Clark wrapped his arms round his legs and sobbed quietly.
“Clark? Oh honey, are you okay?”
Clark shook his head, not looking up at Cherie. He felt her kneel down beside him and leaned into her embrace. She didn’t speak, just rocked him gently until he’d cried himself out.
“He wouldn’t even let me kiss him this morning,” Clark whispered, remembering the pain of Lex flinching away from him. “Why won’t he let me help him?”
“Oh honey, I know it’s hard…”
“It’s more than hard, Cherie, he’s pulling further and further away from me and I can’t stop him,” Clark squeezed his eyes shut, “I want him to be independent, but I still need him to need me. I need him too, why can’t he see that?”
“I’m sorry, Clark, but until he accepts his condition, I don’t think it’s going to get any better. Just try and hang in there,” she sighed, “And you know where I am if you need to talk.”
“Yeah,” Clark nodded, “Thanks Cherie.”
She smiled gently and kissed his cheek before getting up to go. Clark stood up and walked down the hallway to the bathroom. He leaned over the sink and washed his face, before staring at himself in the mirror.
Laughing humourlessly, Clark noted the shadows under his eyes and the slightly haunted look in them. He looked like shit. Taking several deep breaths, Clark steeled himself before heading back to Lex’s room, grabbing a soda on the way.
Lex was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, “Still here then.”
“Always,” Clark replied quietly.
Clark stifled a sigh, knowing that was as close to an apology as he was going to get. He looked up, Lex had turned his head away from him. “Lex…” he started hesitantly.
“What?” Lex’s tone was empty of emotion and weary.
“Nothing,” Clark stared regretfully at his boyfriend, wishing he knew what he could say or do that would help. In the end, he sat down and opened up a textbook, settling in to study.
Clark sat on the chair next to Lex’s bed, trying to resist the urge to reach out and touch him, especially after the baleful glare that action had earned him the previous night.
Lex was lying on his side, facing him. He’d woken earlier in the night and actually asked Clark to help him turn over, pretty much the only indication that he was sorry for what he’d said.
Sighing, Clark leaned forward and rested his head on the edge of the bed. He was bone tired, but reluctant to turn in for the night; as if not going to bed could put off the coming day and more arguments. It was stupid, he knew, but he couldn’t help it; Lex was getting more and more venomous and it was getting harder not to just burst into tears in front of him.
That day had been the closest he’d come.
Clark turned his head to look at Lex, whose expression was almost soft for once, or maybe just sleepy.
“Go to bed.”
“Okay,” Clark sighed. He got up and leaned over automatically to kiss his boyfriend. Lex closed his eyes and turned his head into the pillow away from him. Clark stopped, swallowing hard round the lump in his throat, and pulled away.
Climbing into his bed, Clark stared across the room at Lex. Something was going to have to give soon, before he broke.
Clark walked slowly through the corridors towards Lex’s room, almost reluctant to return after the morning. Not that they’d argued for a change; in fact Lex had barely looked at him, let alone spoken to him.
As he got closer, Clark heard raised voices and sighed, until he heard a crash and a yell of pain. Clark ran to the room, almost forgetting where he was and using his speed.
Lex was on the floor, Cherie kneeling beside him, covered in what looked like coffee and Lex was swearing loudly, batting away her hands.
“Lex,” Clark exclaimed worriedly, “Cherie, what happened?”
Lex glared up at him, “Oh look, and super-boyfriend returns, how wonderful.”
Clark closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he went to pick Lex up and put him back on the bed. “Cherie, are you okay?” Clark asked quietly.
“Yes, it was cold coffee,” she replied, eyes narrowing as she glanced at Lex.
Clark walked with her out of the room. “What happened?”
She sighed, “I’m sorry, Clark, I said something I shouldn’t have.”
Clark frowned, “What?”
“I told him what I thought about the way he was treating you,” she grimaced ruefully.
Clark closed his eyes and sighed, “Great.”
“I’m sorry,” she squeezed his shoulder gently, “I just… the look in your eyes this morning just broke my heart…”
“It’s okay, Cherie, I’ll deal with it. Thanks for trying.”
She nodded, squeezing once more before leaving him standing in front of the door. Clark braced himself and walked back into the room. Lex watched him walk to the bed and sit down, glaring.
“So, got anything you’d like to say to my face?” Lex snapped.
Clark flopped back in the chair. “Why bother? You never listen to me anyway,” he said quietly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think it means?” Clark snapped, “I’m starting to wonder why I even try.”
“Only starting?” Lex sneered, “Well, you always were slow to take a hint.”
“Excuse me?” Clark exclaimed angrily.
“Now who’s not listening?”
“That’s it!” Clark got up.
“Running away now?”
“Shut up,” Clark ground out.
“I beg your…”
“I said,” Clark leaned over Lex, “Shut. Up.”
Lex stiffened, nostrils flaring angrily.
“You are paralysed, people deal with it every day, fucking grow up and deal with it!” Clark yelled into Lex’s face.
“I am *not* people,” Lex snapped.
“Oh no, that’s right. You’re Lex Luthor, that makes you *special*, doesn’t it?”
“I didn’t say…”
“No, but you think it. You think if you deny it long enough, it’s going to go away, well it isn’t! And neither am I, so just *deal* with it!”
Clark leaned forward and kissed Lex hard, forcing his tongue into his mouth, ignoring the hands that tried to push him away. Finally, the hands stopped pushing and started pulling and Lex kissed him back just as hard, biting at his lips, pushing his own tongue into his mouth.
Clark pulled back when he tasted salt. Lex stared at him wide eyed, tears pouring down his face.
“Oh God, Lex, I’m sorry,” he breathed, mortified.
Lex shook his head, he opened his mouth to speak, but all that came out was a sob. His face crumbled and he reached out, clutching at Clark’s shirt. Clark sat down and pulled Lex round into his lap, holding him close, gently stroking his scalp as his boyfriend’s hot tears scalded his skin.
“What did I do to deserve you?” Lex whispered.
Clark closed his eyes and rested his cheek on Lex’s head. “Loved me?” he whispered back, hopefully.
“Oh God, Clark! How can you… how can you still…” Lex stopped, his breath hitching.
“I love you,” Clark said simply, turning his head slightly to press a kiss to smooth skin, “I’ll always love you.”
“But I,” Lex gestured at his legs, “I’m never going to be…”
“Your legs don’t work, that’s it. You’re still you, Lex, that’s all that matters to me,” Clark sighed.
“It’s not that simple,” Lex said quietly.
“I know,” Clark took a deep breath, “I know Lex, but it doesn’t change anything. Do you remember what you said to your father when he visited?”
“That you were my significant other?” Lex asked softly.
“Yeah,” Clark smiled, “I told you then, that’s what I wanted. Do you remember what else you said? That I had been and would continue to be by your side? You can believe that, Lex. Believe in me, because I’ll always be here.”
“I’m sorry, Clark,” Lex whispered, “I thought, I don’t know, I was so scared that you’d realise what you were missing and leave, that I tried to shut myself off. And I… God, I’m sorry… I hated you for accepting all this so easily.”
Clark sighed and held Lex closer, “Not easily, Lex, it’s not easy at all. But I have had longer to deal with it. And, well Lex, you’re alive, you’re awake and that’s worth everything to me, even when you’re a complete shit.”
Lex chuckled weakly, “I have been, haven’t I? I’m sorry, I’ve been really selfish, I didn’t even think about how hard this must be for you too.”
Clark smiled and kissed Lex’s scalp, “You’re allowed to be selfish.”
“No, Clark,” Lex pushed back and looked up at him, “No, I’m not. I’ve been indulging in self-pity and I didn’t even see that you weren’t treating me any different. Jesus, when was the last time I didn’t snap at you? When was the last time I told you I love you?”
Clark smiled ruefully, “Fifty nine days, eleven hours and uh,” he glanced at his watch, “Thirty three minutes.”
Lex laughed, a little hysterically, “God, Clark, you sap.”
“Yes,” Clark grinned.
“I love you.”
“I know,” Clark whispered, swallowing back tears, “I know.”
“And?” Lex said hesitantly.
“You don’t know by now?” Clark asked gently.
“I love you, Lex,” Clark said quietly.
“Thank you, love,” Lex sighed.
Clark shifted on the bed, sitting up against the headboard with Lex still across his lap. It felt so good to have finally had it out with Lex, to break down the walls he’d been building. It still wasn’t going to be easy, he didn’t have any illusions about that; Lex could be a stubborn bastard, but hopefully now he wouldn’t try to push him away.
Lex snuggled in his arms and tilted his head up. “Clark?”
Clark smiled happily and bent his head, pressing his lips to Lex’s gently. His boyfriend’s mouth opened to his tentative probing and met his tongue with his own, stroking into his mouth.
Clark groaned and pressed deeper, sucking and lapping and lips and tongue, shivers coursing through him. Lex pushed himself up slightly and pressed against Clark, hip digging into his groin.
Clark gasped and pulled back, “Lex?”
Lex stared at him breathlessly and licked his lips, “I… I want you, Clark.”
Clark felt his breath catch in his chest. He’d waited a long time to hear those words. Even before Lex had started pushing him away, they’d barely skirted around the subject. He’d sometimes wondered if it had had anything to do with the argument they’d had that had caused the crash.
“Are you sure?”
“Clark,” Lex said quietly, “I’ve wanted you since I woke up from the river and drowned all over again in your eyes.”
Clark flushed. “Now who’s the sap?” he teased gently.
“I need you Clark, please?” Lex asked quietly.
Clark nodded, suddenly feeling a little nervous, “Lex, you know I, uh, I’m still…”
Lex stared at him, confusion melting into shock, “You’re still a… I mean, you’ve never…?”
“No,” Clark whispered, “There’s only you.”
Lex shook his head. “Oh my God,” he breathed, “I really, *really* don’t deserve you.”
“Yes, you do,” Clark whispered.
“Help me,” Lex pushed on the bed, twisting round, “I want to face you.”
Clark lifted Lex, pulling one of his legs over his lap and moving both until Lex was straddling him. He gasped at the feel of Lex’s erection pressing into his hip. Lex braced himself on Clark’s shoulders and shifted again, moving forward until their cocks pressed tightly together. Clark groaned quietly.
Lex leaned up and captured his lips again, tongue plunging into his mouth immediately. Clark couldn’t quite stifle a whimper and rocked his hips up.
Lex pulled back, “Shit!”
“What?” Clark gasped.
“I can’t…” Lex squeezed his eyes shut and Clark froze, trying to brace himself for rejection. “Damn it, I can’t move!” Lex dropped his head onto Clark’s shoulder.
Clark blinked in sudden understanding. He dropped his hands to Lex’s hips and pulled. Lex gasped, lifting his head.
“Oh!” Clark did it again and Lex blinked rapidly. “Well, that works,” he breathed.
“Yeah,” Clark groaned, rocking Lex’s hips against his groin. He searched out his lover’s mouth again, claiming it possessively and Lex gripped his hair, pulling him closer.
Lex explored his mouth with a thoroughness that made him whimper and Clark tugged harder, rolling Lex’s hips up, erections grinding together. Hands slid from his hair, down his chest and slipped between them and Clark groaned as nimble fingers undid his jeans and spread the flaps wide. Lex tugged his boxers out of the way and wrapped a hand round his straining cock.
Lifting his head, Lex stared at him for a moment, eyes hooded and dark with lust, mouth wet and swollen. Clark groaned and thrust up into his fist.
“Clark, help me,” he tugged at his pyjamas with his free hands. Clark slipped his fingers under the waistband and pulled them down, freeing his lover’s cock. Lex’s grip shifted and Clark gasped when he felt the silky heat of Lex’s shaft pressed against his before his lover’s fist closed around them both.
“God, Lex,” he moaned. Lex took his hand and wrapped it round his own so that they were both stroking steadily. Clark put his free hand back on Lex’s hip to help him move into the circle of their hands and against his cock.
The feel, the contact, the sound of Lex panting, hot breath against his mouth, was just too much and Clark felt his body tense before shuddering helplessly with his release. Lex gasped his name and Clark tightened his grip instinctively, holding Lex close as his lover jerked against him.
Lex flopped forward against his chest and Clark closed his eyes, burying his face in Lex’s neck. He was aware of Lex muttering something quietly into his hair and concentrated on the words, smiling when he realised his lover was repeating the same phrase over and over.
Clark pressed a kiss to the soft skin below Lex’s ear. “I love you too,” he whispered.
Lex lifted his head, eyes bright, and gently kissed him. “If I act like a jerk again, don’t take it. Tell me, slap me, kiss me, just don’t let me, okay?”
Clark nodded, “Okay.”
“Good,” Lex smiled and leaned forward again. “Clark?”
“What time are your parents due?”
Clark froze and glanced at the clock, “Shit!” Gently, he lifted Lex from his lap, glaring at his lover, who was failing to suppress laughter, and put him back on the bed. Grabbing some tissue, he managed to clean them up and did his pants up, before sitting down by the bed.
Lex looked at his pyjamas and raised an eyebrow at him, smirking again when Clark sighed. He helped his lover change into a clean pair before moving to sit down again. Lex raised an eyebrow at him again.
“What?” Clark pouted. Lex stared pointedly at his stomach and Clark looked down to see the stains on his t-shirt. Flushing, he quickly changed. He was about to sit down, glancing warily at Lex, when his lover held out a hand.
“Sit with me?” Lex asked quietly.
Clark smiled happily and slid back onto the bed, sitting up against the headboard again, with Lex between his legs, leaning back against his chest. He slipped his arms round Lex’s waist and hooked his chin over his shoulder.
“When you go out, will you get some flowers? I want to apologise to Cherie for earlier,” Lex sighed.
“Sure, she’ll like that,” Clark nuzzled Lex’s neck. “I, uh,” he started hesitantly, “I didn’t ask her to say anything, you know.”
“I know, Clark, but it needed saying,” Lex patted his arm. “She was right.”
Clark just squeezed Lex gently. He was happy. That morning, things had seemed so bleak, but now, he was filled with hope. Things were going to work out after all.
There was a quiet knock at the door and his mother poked her head in the room hesitantly. Clark wasn’t surprised, Lex had been a complete bastard last time they’d visited. She smiled when she saw them and Clark grinned at her.
“Clark, Lex,” she was followed into the room by his father. “I guess I don’t need to ask how things are then?” She walked over and kissed his cheek.
“Clark,” his father smiled, “Lex,” he greeted Lex in a cold tone.
“Martha, Jonathan, it’s good to see you,” Lex said quietly. Clark took his hands and interlaced their fingers and Lex squeezed gently. “I, uh, I’d just like to apologise for my behaviour last time you visited.”
Clark’s mother smiled, “It’s okay, Lex, we understand.”
His father grunted and Clark stared at him pointedly. “It’s fine,” the older Kent muttered.
“Thank you,” Lex said quietly and Clark hugged him, kissing his cheek softly. “Why don’t you head off?”
Clark hesitated. He and his parents usually went out for a meal when they visited, but Clark wasn’t sure he wanted to leave Lex right now.
“I’ll be fine, Clark,” Lex said quietly, stroking his arm.
“You sure?” Clark asked gently.
“Yeah. I’ve got some thinking to do anyway,” Lex twisted his head and smiled ruefully at him.
Clark nodded, “Okay.” He eased Lex forward and climbed off the bed, before turning to help his boyfriend sit back. Dropping a kiss on upturned lips, Clark smiled softly, “I’ll see you later.”
Lex nodded and squeezed his hand gently.
Clark sat opposite his parents a little nervously, wondering what the lecture would be this month. His mother was usually okay, having got used to the idea that he and Lex were forever, but his father was a different matter and the last two months had been worse due to Lex’s behaviour.
“So, what happened, honey?” his mother started, “Last time you phoned, you and Lex were still having problems.”
Clark fiddled with his bottle of cola, “Yeah, I finally broke through his defences.”
“Defences,” his father snorted.
“Yes, defences, Dad,” Clark scowled, “Being a Luthor doesn’t make him immune to being scared, you know.”
“Scared of what?”
“You try dealing with losing three years of your life and the use of your legs in one go,” Clark snapped.
The older man shifted uncomfortably, “It’s still no excuse for treating you like he did,” he muttered.
“He was scared I’d leave him, okay?” Clark said quietly.
“Leave him? You didn’t prove enough by staying with him for three years?!”
“Boys, enough,” Martha snapped.
“We’ve started to talk and he’s apologised. Just accept that I love him and move on, please,” Clark sighed.
His father shook his head, “You’re just going to forgive him?”
“Yes,” Clark nodded.
“Why?” Clark frowned, how could his father even ask that? “He was my friend before we became anything more. I know him, and I know for him to admit that he’s scared is a big deal. And he’s made a start at making it up to me.” Clark flushed, thinking about the progress they’d finally made that afternoon.
His parents looked a little uncomfortable when they realised what he meant.
“Um, that’s nice, dear?” his mother asked hesitantly. Clark couldn’t help smiling broadly and ducked his head, staring at his meal. “So, how are Chloe and Pete?”
Clark looked up, smiling gratefully at his mother.
“They’re good. I’ve only seen them at school recently. Chloe’s really busy with the campus newsletter. Pete’s enjoying plenty of female company as usual,” Clark grinned. “I’m not sure how much work he actually gets done though.”
“Are you keeping up okay still?” she asked.
“Yeah, Mom, it’s really not a problem, you know. I’ve had three years practice at dividing my time up,” Clark nodded. His father opened his mouth to speak, “Don’t even start, Dad,” Clark said quietly. The older Kent closed his mouth and clenched his jaw.
It was a relief when the meal was finally over. As much as he loved and missed his parents, it could be difficult when he saw them. Phone calls were easier in a way, they couldn’t really argue about Lex over the phone. Clark kissed his mother goodbye and hugged his father before speeding off to his last lecture for the day.
Glancing round the hall, he spotted Chloe and jogged over to sit with her.
“Hey Chloe,” he grinned. She blinked at him and then smiled, “Hi, Clark, you’re looking cheerful. What’s up?”
Clark grinned wider, “Lex and I made up.”
“You finally got through to the stubborn idiot?” she exclaimed, “What did you say to him?”
“He’s not an idiot, Chloe,” Clark pouted, she snorted and raised an eyebrow, “Anyway, he’d had an argument with Cherie, so I shouted at him, then I kissed him.”
“That’s it?” she looked sceptical.
Clark pulled a face and looked away. “Well, I kinda f-forced him,” he admitted hesitantly.
“Forced him?” Chloe exclaimed loudly.
“Chloe!” Clark snapped, “He hasn’t been letting me kiss him at all,” Clark whispered, glaring behind him at other students who looked a little too interested, “So, yeah.”
“It got that bad?” she asked sympathetically, “Damn Clark, I’d have smacked him.”
“I was tempted,” Clark smiled ruefully. Chloe chuckled and shook her head.
After the lecture, Clark said a quick goodbye to Chloe and zipped back to see Lex, pausing only briefly to buy flowers for Cherie.
He walked into the room cheerfully, then stopped short. Lex was curled up in his bed, arms wrapped round his head.
“Lex?” Clark said cautiously. Lex didn’t reply but held out a hand. Clark hurried over, putting the flowers on the table and sat down by the bed taking Lex’s hand. Lex squeezed gently but didn’t look up, so Clark sat quietly, shifting closer so he could hold his lover’s hand to his chest.
Although he was worried, Clark forced himself to be patient. Lex was either upset, or he was thinking. Whichever it was, he obviously needed to work through it on his own. Clark was just glad he hadn’t gone back to simply ignoring his presence.
Eventually, Lex squeezed his hand again and Clark looked up.
“Hey,” Lex said quietly.
“Hi,” Clark smiled gently, “You okay?”
“Not particularly,” Lex sighed. He pushed himself back on the bed and tugged gently on Clark’s hand, “Come here?”
“Of course,” Clark climbed onto the bed and lay next to his lover, pulling him into a hug. “You want to talk about it?”
Lex snorted, “Not really,” he paused, “My Dad,” he said quietly.
Clark tensed reflexively, “He was here?”
“No,” Lex sighed, “Apparently he’s found enough time to visit, he’s coming tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” Lex shifted so he could look up at Clark, “I’m surprised he bothered letting me know.” He smiled ruefully, “Will you be able to stay all day tomorrow? I don’t really relish the thought of facing him on my own.”
“Of course I will,” Clark smiled, recognising the gesture as part of Lex’s apology. Besides, there was no way he’d leave his lover to the mercy of his father alone.
Lex lifted his head, then frowned. “Clark, help me out here, I can’t kiss you like this.” Clark grinned and hauled Lex up and half on top of him. “Mmm, better,” Lex grinned back and lowered his head to kiss him gently.
Clark groaned quietly and slipped a hand up to the back of Lex’s neck, pulling his lover down harder, lips parting to eagerly accept Lex’s questing tongue, meeting it with his own.
Lex’s fingers wove into his hair, gently massaging his scalp. He teased Clark with soft, nibbling kisses, resisting his efforts to pull him closer.
Lex lifted his head and smiled down at him. “I love you,” he said quietly.
Clark smiled, “I love you, Lex.”