For as long as he could remember, Clark had been more comfortable out of doors than inside, partially because for as long as he could remember he'd worked on a farm. Even at a young age he'd been able to do chores around the farm. He fed the chickens and gathered their eggs, stacked wood, hoed the garden - all outdoor things. Indoors he was always being told to be careful, particularly around other people; don't run, don't push, don't touch anyone or anything, keep your hands and your body to yourself.
At first he thought this was simply human protocol. Clark remembered very little of "before", but when he'd been small he did understand that "here" was different from "there", and certain adaptations had to be made. There had been a new language to learn, new foods to try, and new sensations to experience. He'd been very studious. He tried very hard not to displease the kind people who had taken him home for fear that maybe they too would send him away. Outside in the wide open spaces of the farm that had been much easier.
When Clark grew older, he came to understand that it was not just his surroundings that were different. He was different. It made him even more cautious as fear and paranoia stepped up to the plate. Confident in the love of his adoptive parents, Clark no longer feared being sent away, but taken away by some outside force instead. He grew even more cautious and withdrawn. He avoided crowds. Even now, knowing his ability to control his gifts was far above and beyond what it had been at twelve, Clark still disliked crowds.
And thus, parties.
Particularly Halloween parties.
Halloween had been fun for Clark when he'd been small. He liked dressing up. He loved candy. Again, that had changed as he'd come to understand how much he already hid from the world. This year, a year and a few days past the anniversary of learning his true origins, Halloween was hitting him particularly hard. It was forcing him to realize that he wore a mask year round, a mask of humanity, and underlined the fact that he was far from being human.
Despite possessing all the silly human foibles. Especially where love was concerned.
He'd escorted no one to Lex's big party. He'd simply arrived with Chloe, Lana and Pete as a "gang", claiming neither of the girls as a date. The three of them were rather miffed at him because of his costume, or lack thereof. In accordance to his mood, Clark wasn't wearing a costume, but had chosen, rather cynically, to don a head-band upon which were two felt devil's horns. He wore those, a red sweater, and his everyday jeans and boots. His three friends, who had gone all out for the big shindig, were disappointed in him.
"Claar-ruk!" Chloe admonished "Where's your costume?"
"On my head," he'd replied. "I like yours, Harpo."
She'd grinned from under her curly blond wig, and honked her horn at him.
Pete the vampire scowled, and only Lana seemed to give him any sympathy what-so-ever. He sat with her in the back seat of Pete's car and tried not to gawp at the skin tight leotard she was wearing as part of her tiger costume. Lana was not terribly fond of Halloween either. She remembered quite vividly the day she'd taken her fairy princess costume for a test drive, just a few days before her world was turned upside down. That thought made Clark even more depressed.
"Party pooper" was something Clark was used to being called. He was the epitome of the wall-flower, always hanging around the outskirts of all the excitement, rarely participating. Not many people paid attention to him. Six foot three inches of frown and mope, he stood in a corner and watched as Lex, in a hairy werewolf costume, greeted a group of pretty girls Clark did not recognize.
Duh, they're in costume.
There were many people Clark did not recognize though, all laughing, drinking, and jostling around in the big ballroom and he assumed they were friends of Lex's brought in from Metropolis. Lex was busy playing host and Clark, despite wanting to make a wry comment about hairy Lex, had also not wanted to interrupt him. Instead he'd found his corner where he stood sipping at a glass of punch he knew was spiked to high heaven. One benefit of alien metabolism was permanent assignment as designated driver because he never got drunk. Lex and the girls wandered off to stir up the music and the dancing. Later, when the games began, Clark slunk off onto the patio so he would not be called on to participate. Old habits die hard.
It was a beautiful night beneath a classic Halloween moon. The moon was full, and loomed large in a sky dotted with only the occasional sweep of wispy clouds. Even the bright lights surrounding the brick patio failed to overpower its magnificent presence. Clark loved the harvest-time moon. He'd spent hours gazing at it from the loft. He'd spent years dreaming about dancing with Lana beneath its brilliance, holding her close in the cool of the autumn night.
Somehow, over time, both Lana and the moon had lost their appeal, overwhelmed by knowledge, different perspectives...
"Beautiful view isn't it."
Clark started, and glanced over towards the doorway from whence another game escapee had exited onto the patio. It was one of the girls he'd not recognized and whom he'd noticed trying to catch his attention from the other side of the room. She was also a wall-flower. After her initial conversation with Lex and the others, she had wandered away from the rest of the party-goers. Like Clark, she'd found a drink and a corner, and had remained there throughout the dancing. He'd seen her glancing his way a couple of times, but had ignored her.
She was pretty, he had to admit, despite the ugly pink cat's eye glasses she sported. Her costume was that of a fifties era teenager, with a tight white cardigan cut just low enough to reveal the faintest curve of cleavage, and a hot pink poodle skirt flared with several layers of petticoats. Saddle shoes, the prerequisite bobby socks, and a pink scarf completed the outfit. Dark brown hair, held back by a broad, pink, cloth head-band, fell around her shoulders and flipped up at the ends.
The poodle was accented with rhinestones; white around its collar, and green for an eye. It winked at Clark in the lamplight as she sat down beside him on the patio wall. She smelled like baby powder.
"I like the costume. Subtle," she said quietly. Her voice was a low purr, reminding Clark of Demi Moore; deep and sultry.
He glanced at her again, then looked away. "Thanks."
"So is this the evil version of Clark Kent, snubber of party games?"
Clark sighed slightly, looking back out across the expanse of the lawn, and the moon hovering over the trees. "I'm not much of a party person."
"Neither am I."
They sat in silence for a long moment before Clark grew uncomfortable, wondering what she wanted. "So, are you a friend of Lex's?" he asked finally, hoping the smile he gave her didn't look as strained as it felt.
She stared at him, blinking behind the glasses.
Clark felt rude. He blushed. "I mean, you don't seem like you're from around here, and I saw you talking to him earlier. I'm sorry...."
"No - no. I'm not from around here." Her voice softened further. "Are you all right? You seem a little - distracted."
He shrugged. "I've had a rough year, and it started right around this time last fall. So I'm marking sort of an anniversary."
Rough year? Clark sighed again. That was an understatement. All that he'd learned, and all that he'd been through over the past year came flooding back; his yo-yo affections for Lana and Chloe, his full acceptance of his role in the world because of his gifts, the revelation that he was not a human at all but a whole other entity....
Realizing he wanted more from Lex than friendship.
That was tough, maybe even more difficult to accept than the whole alien thing. He was still reeling from the last time he saw Lex, sans the werewolf costume, when the thought had come into Clark's head, completely unbidden:
He looks really sexy in that outfit.
Which had caused a complete and total shut down of Clark's ability to hold a conversation with him. Upon fleeing from the encounter he'd been forced to reevaluate what had, up until that point, been a rather simple friendship. Clark saves Lex life, Lex is grateful, they talk, hang out, become friends - simple. Yet when Clark looked back at it all, it became evident that there was much more to their relationship. As usual, he had missed something along the way.
How can someone supposedly superior to a human being be so fucking stupid?
The reasons behind his father's irrational dislike of Lex became clear. His mother's fake sweetness whenever Lex was around became understandable. The odd looks his friends gave him when he said he was going to Lex's house made more sense. The subtle looks Lex would give him when he thought Clark wasn't looking, the way he stood closer than anyone else, his obsession with whatever Clark did - those things also made sense. Friends and family saw it, but Clark hadn't. Lex had a "thing" for him, and Clark, unconsciously, had responded to it.
That day, when Lex had strode into the Talon dressed in his customary black, but with a silvery grey sweater clinging to his muscular shoulders, Clark's awareness button had suddenly been snapped on. His subconscious had dragged itself to the forefront, and he had found himself feeling things he'd only felt for Lana before; affection, longing, and the faint burn of sexual desire. It grabbed him by the balls and gave them a yank. It turned his mind into that of a blithering fool, and had frightened him badly.
Here was something else for him to have to deal with: a suddenly awakened sexuality that wasn't taboo in modern society, but wasn't exactly readily accepted by everyone either. Given the fact he resided in a small rural community, it might actually be easier to tell everyone he was an extra terrestrial than gay.
Clark glanced at his companion.
Okay, well, bi, because this girl was pretty and God knew he was drooling over Lana in her clingy tiger costume.
As with anything Clark experienced, his new found power - The Sex Drive - was subject to analysis in terms of whether what he was experiencing was "normal" or something unique to his species. Were his feelings for Lex because he was bisexual or was there some weird sort of alien thing going on, like a puberty induced gender change?
Another way to look at things would be to focus on Lex himself. Perhaps Clark was not attracted to men, but rather, man. Lex was very sexually attractive. He walked into a room and heads turned, and not because of his baldness. The way he carried himself with confidence, the way he cultivated a mysterious air by always wearing black, his habit of making eye contact, all contributed to it. The way he moved was not that of a desk jockey, but of an athlete, making one wonder at the trim body that lay beneath his clothes. His voice was low, melodic, and sent a shiver down Clark's spine at times. He never swore, and always had a very cultured air to his speech. If he were to ever talk dirty, particularly to Clark....
Clark shifted his weight uncomfortably on the top of the wall. "I saved Lex's life you know," he blurted. "A year ago last Tuesday."
"Is that the anniversary you're marking?"
"I hope you don't consider it one of the negative parts of your year." She smiled slightly and examined her pink painted fingernails. "He can be an ass at times but..."
He jerked himself out of thoughts of having those nails run down his back. "No! No - that was a good thing, a very good thing."
"Lex and I have become very good friends," he finished lamely.
She pushed her glasses further up on her nose. "Lex can also be very charming, when he wants to be."
Clark met her gaze, and narrowed his eyes slightly. "Is that some sort of warning?"
"Partially. Everyone has a dark side. There are always things hidden, even between friends. Do you let anyone know your darkest secrets?"
"No." Clark said guiltily. He wanted to sometimes, especially to Lex, who not only wanted to know, but seemed to understand the pain of feeling like you didn't belong.
She shrugged. "Same with Lex."
"Have you known him a long time?"
There was no elaboration.
A burst of laughter from inside the ballroom caused both of them to turn and look over their shoulders at the square of light issuing from the French doors. Inside there was warmth and laughter beneath the bright lights of the big crystal chandelier. Outside there was solemn conversation beneath the full moon.
Clark's companion stood abruptly. "Let's walk," she said, and moved off down the steps towards the lawn.
After a moments hesitation, Clark got up and followed her.
The lawn was a dark midnight blue, stretching out towards the ornamental pond where Clark had confronted Sean Kelvin on one side, and an expanse of more formal gardens on the other side. As they walked across the grass in the direction of the gardens, their shadows reached back towards the house as if reluctant to part from it. The lawn was, as everything about the mansion, well tended. It had an almost springy feel to it, and the grass was thick and even, much like a golf course. Thinking like a farmer, Clark wondered how much money Lex spent to keep it looking so good over the hot, dry, Kansas summer.
The green eye of the poodle winked at Clark again as he caught up. "I'd like to get to know him better."
"Do you?" She brushed back her hair, and glanced over at him. "What do you think of him now, just out of curiosity?"
Clark considered. "He's smart, and always seems to know what I'm thinking, always one step ahead. He doesn't mock me out for it though, like some people would." He smiled wryly. "I go around pretty preoccupied sometimes. I think when he can't figure out what I'm thinking it frustrates him a little bit."
"He has a great sense of humor."
"Some people would argue that point with you, and claim the opposite. Lex Luthor has nada sense of humor. Or," she added softly. "A rather vicious one."
"Lex makes me laugh all the time, and he's far from vicious."
They slipped through the stone arch leading into the formal gardens. The only sound was her saddle shoes and Clark's boots against the cobbled walkway.
"Have you ever petted a cat," she said finally. "And had it rub against your hand and purr...."
"Then turn around and sink its teeth into your hand?" Her voice became clipped, slightly growling, paralleling the vision of the biting cat. She drew in a long breath, before concluding: "Lex can be like that."
Clark stopped walking. He stared at her as she noticed him gone and turned around to face him.
"I think you're being too hard on him," he said quietly.
Her skirt swirled around her calves when she turned to continue down the path. Her voice floated back to him from over her shoulder. "I think you just have a different vantage point."
He had to catch up to her again. "What do you mean?"
There was no answer right away, and when it came, Clark was somewhat surprised by it at first, but then realized it was exactly what he'd just recently come to understand about himself and Lex.
"You're looking from the inside-out, instead of outside-in. He let you inside, maybe because you saved his life, or maybe because there's something special about you. Whatever it was, it's resulted in you having a very unique perspective."
At the end of the path they followed was an arbor that angled around the back corner of the gardens. The blooms were long gone, and the climbing roses had been cut back in preparation for the long winter. The bare skeleton of the lattice-work sides and the criss crossing beams overhead, were stark and ugly against the background of a tall hedge wall. They paused within the shadow of the hedge, under the arbor.
"People wear many masks, Clark, and not just at Halloween. I think perhaps you've been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of what Lex is without all his masks."
Clark looked down at the cobbled path, where the dark green shadow of moss crept along between the cracks in the bricks, and in places spilled over the edges onto the raw stone. It was still able to survive there somehow. It reminded him of himself, set adrift and forced to live his life wherever he could find any kind of purchase.
"I know," he whispered. "I wish I could return the favor."
She took a step closer to him, and gazed into his eyes through the glasses. Her eyes, surrounded by the darker lines of her makeup, were silver in the moonlight streaming down through the top of the arbor.
"Why don't you?"
"Because the perspective might change," Clark whispered. "And I don't want to lose what ground I've already made with him."
"Why is that important?"
Clark couldn't breathe. "I think I'm - I - may have other feelings for him."
Something in her eyes changed. A wariness entered them. She stepped back once, then twice. "Really."
The word was uninflected, and hung in the air between them, forcing Clark to actually confront what he'd just said - aloud - to a perfect stranger. He stared at her, shocked at himself.
"I can't - I don't believe I just said that. I don't even know you. I don't even - God." His legs trembled, almost as if he were being confronted not by truth, but by a meteorite. He backed up against one of the support posts for the arbor, shaking. "I'm sorry, I..."
There was a soft snort of laughter not quite a chuckle. "Sometimes it's easier to make confessions like that to someone you don't know."
Clark put his face in his hands, inhaled, let the breath out in a long heartfelt sigh.
"Behind the mask - hidden affection?" she asked quietly. "On a night when most people are hiding behind masks, you take yours off."
"Sometimes he knows me better than I know myself." Clark raised his head, pushed back his hair with both hands. "Sometimes the only time I feel as if I belong is when I'm with him. He never judges me. He never asks anything of me except a truth I can't give him, and even then doesn't hold that against me. He makes me laugh when I haven't had much to laugh about..."
"Beware the fangs."
Features set in a cold expression, Clark met her gaze once again. "My skin is pretty tough."
She made a gesture of acquiescence.
The poodle winked.
Again she moved closer, and this time Clark could smell the baby powder mingling with the faint musky odor of her body as she came within inches of him. Her eyes behind the distorting glass lenses were wide and intense.
"You're an attractive boy, Clark. Maybe too attractive."
Clark's heart pounded in his chest. "Yeah?"
Oh, shit, I'm in trouble.
He tried indignant, got squeaky. "That's a personal question."
"If you answer that one, I won't ask the other one."
"What's the other one?"
"Have you ever been with another man before?" Her hands found one of his, and raised it to her lips, brushing his knuckles with the faintest of kisses.
"No," he breathed.
"How do you know Lex goes for that sort of thing?" Her tongue flickered out, moving in a small circle over the back of his hand.
"I don't but..."
It dawned on Clark, then, that perhaps this very pretty, very sexy, and extremely bold girl, might not actually be a girl at all. It was, after all, Halloween. It also dawned on him, as he watched her run her tongue down each of his fingers in turn, that he didn't care either way because he had a hard-on and a very active imagination.
"You do?" he managed - barely.
"I've known him," she replied softly, blowing on his fingers. "A very long time."
She kissed the very tip of his index finger, encircling it with her tongue, then drawing it deeply between her lips. Hot suction moved it in and out several times before she let him go. The petticoats rustled as she pressed her body closer to his, and raised her lips towards his where she paused to breathe soft words against his mouth. Her breath smelled of apple cider and cinnamon.
"I can show you what it might be like."
"I don't -- uhm -- know."
One hand pressed firmly against the warm bulge between his legs and Clark decided that if he backed up any further against the support post he would go through it and the whole arbor would collapse. He stopped, trembling, and moaned a little as she rubbed the straining cloth of his jeans.
"You can visualize it; pretend, put me in costume. Let us say that it's Lex with his hot mouth around your cock. It's Halloween, Clark, and you're not yourself are you?" A low chuckle. "You're Clark Kent's evil twin who likes having another guy suck his dick." Her hand curved, and the sound of her nails scraping against denim seemed unnaturally loud.
"I don't even know you," he whispered.
"And that's a problem why?" Her eyes glittered. "I can be discrete. Whatever happens," One corner of her mouth quirked wryly. "Will be kept between us. No one else ever has to know. It's Halloween, a time for darkness, and secrets." Her hips moved against him. "And things that go bump in the night."
Clark laughed uneasily, and it sounded forced even to his ears. "I think you're a witch. A witch in a pink poodle skirt."
"Have you fallen under my spell?"
He nodded, swallowing heavily. His voice was barely audible. "Yes."
Their lips met. Kisses were tentative at first, delicate and light, but gradually grew into something more passionate. She captured his tongue and caressed it with her own, making the heat increase between them until Clark felt his crotch throbbing painfully. When he heard her nails against the metal button at the top of his jeans, and felt the scrape of them against his stomach, he knew he was too far gone to stop her. The cool air against the heat of his erection was almost a relief, but short lived when her hand found him.
"Are you pretending, Clark?" she whispered, as her fingers caressed the length of him. "Are you pretending it's Lex with his hand on your cock." Fingers closed around it and the hand moved slowly up and back. "Jacking you off..." Her breath was warm against his mouth as she kissed him again, and he, mesmerized by the sensations assaulting him from his groin outward, could not say a word. "Would you prefer I use - my mouth?" Her tongue flickered against his lips, teasing him with hints of what else she could do with it.
Clark gasped, and she took that as an affirmative, as he'd known she would. His mind babbled incoherently at him as he watched her sink to her knees in the pooling cloth of the skirt and petticoats. Her hands ran down his thighs, pulling his jeans and underwear down just a fraction further, enough to give her more access. He wondered if he should stop her, (or him, as he was beginning to suspect but was too afraid to confirm) and get the hell back to the party where he belonged. In the split second he had before his brain turned completely to mush, he wondered what his parents would think, what his friends would think, and what exactly he was thinking by letting it happen.
He was letting it happen. He actually wanted it to happen, primarily because he was picturing Lex, and it was most decidedly turning him on more. Leaning his head back against the post, he sank his fingers into the wood, staring up at the lattice-work structure above his head. He did not touch. He did not want to reach out and have his fingers find the softness of her hair, not when his mind was filled with visions of the satiny skin he imagined instead. The strength of her hands against his hips as she guided their motions and the power of her breath as she sucked, all contributed to the fantasy.
Clark bit his lip, fought and failed to control his breathing. The movement of the warm, moist, heat of her mouth around him, and the caress of her tongue in all the most sensitive places, told him she'd done this before. Nerves screamed, inflamed by all new sensations so unlike what he'd ever experienced jacking off in the bathroom. There was no comparison. He tried to hold back but couldn't. His body had taken over control of every conscious thought. His hips pressed against her hands, driving forward and back between them and the post at his back until she had no choice but to let him go completely. She moved with him and opened her throat to take him all.
Way beyond imagination now, and sinking towards regressing back to whatever primal roots his originators had, Clark moaned. This was very much past his experience. He'd heard of orgasm being compared to dying before. It wasn't so much that as the point just before it, when one hung on the edge between pleasure and pain feeling as though if something didn't break, death would be the preferable alternative. Clark reached that point and grew still, hovering there, savoring the tension, rejoicing in the pain.
She withdrew, and as she let him go, she exhaled. Her breath was soft and tickling against hot, blood engorged flesh.
Clark whimpered, came with more force than he thought was possible, and spilled more cum than he thought he possessed. Burst after burst glistened bright in the darkness and the silverly light of the moon, falling against the dark stone of the pathway to slip between the cracks. With it went his strength, almost more effectively than if he'd been exposed to a meteorite. His body slumped against the arbor. Clinging to the post, he held himself upright, listening to the pounding of his heart in his temples. He had sweated once before, when he'd lost his powers to Eric Summers, but now he sweated naturally, feeling it bead on his upper lip and run down his forehead. He gulped great gasps of air into lungs that burned.
He'd squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and when he opened him, he expected her to still be beside him. Like an X-rated Cinderella story, however, she was no where to be seen.
Hastily Clark pulled himself together and looked out into the garden, invoking the X-ray vision and seeing only the faint outline of a figure running swiftly towards the steps of the mansion. He could catch her, but not without giving himself away. Groaning, he let her go, letting his vision fade back to normal, and his body to slump to the ground. He sat with his back against the post and his legs pulled up as the throbbing gradually faded from his groin and the rapid beat of his heart slowly ebbed. He faced the garden, away from the darker regions beneath the arbor where something had been both lost and gained.
Idly plucking at the grass upon which he sat, Clark looked out into the moon drenched garden. His mind still reeled with what had happened. He pulled the "horns" from his head and looked at them. Will the real Clark Kent please stand up? Was it the shy kid who longed for the pretty cheerleader and was too polite to make a move on her? Or the one who wanted nothing more than to be dominated by a sexy bald man, and who thoroughly enjoyed sexual encounters with strange transvestites at Halloween parties?
He chuckled slightly, but he heard the underlying unhappiness. He wasn't sure who he was, or what he wanted really, but somehow he'd fallen for Lex, and in his adolescent fantasies he thought Lex could protect him. Maybe the man behind Clark's mask was someone he didn't want to know. Maybe it would take Lex's strength to keep the person Clark thought he was from being overwhelmed by the one he'd always kept hidden.
There would be another anniversary to mark next year. Loss of innocence, coupled with the recognition of some sort of sexual identity. Could he now make an acceptance, and perhaps, finally, make a move towards forming a partnership beyond acquaintance, beyond friend, beyond the unattainable goals he'd previously set for himself?
Clark mulled over his thoughts for a while, then rose rather unsteadily to his feet. He had studied astronomy for years and could tell that the time was somewhere just before midnight simply judging from the position of the moon and the stars in the sky. He'd sat in the garden longer than he'd anticipated. The party was over. As he traversed the path towards the house he could see that the lights in the ballroom were out and there was no longer any sound coming from inside. The lights around the patio were still on though, and in them he could see someone standing at the top of the steps, watching him approach.
He was clad in black and grey as usual; black sweat pants and a grey sweater. In his hands he held a snifter of brandy, from which he sipped as his eyes monitored Clark's progress. He turned away as Clark came up the steps, and sat down on the wall where Clark had been sitting earlier. Clark stood uneasily at the top of the steps.
"We wondered where you'd gone. Chloe was miffed."
"My disappearing acts never go over well with Chloe, particularly after the Spring Formal."
"I'm sure you have your reasons."
"Most of the time." Clark said softly.
"Not much of a party animal are you, Clark." Lex chuckled. "I see you've taken off your costume." The glass he held dipped towards the devil horn head-band.
"Halloween is over. It's time to put away the masks."
"Or simply take out different ones."
Clark looked down at the head-band he held. "Yeah."
He looked up again as he felt Lex's eyes on him. It was a direct, analytical gaze almost as if Lex were the one with the X-ray vision and was trying to see inside Clark's mind.
Behind the mask.
"You do realize it's been a year since you pulled me out of the river don't you?" Lex said finally. "A year. That's a fairly long time, Clark. Some marriages don't even last that long." His gaze never wavered. "A long time, and I still know very little about the man who saved my life."
"There isn't much to know."
Lex sipped the brandy. "I always know when you're lying," he said softly. "I can see it in your eyes. There is the faintest sign of a wince..."
Clark looked away.
"As if it hurts."
"It does hurt." Clark swung his head back around, returned the frank gaze. "I don't want to keep anything from you Lex, but there is more here than the black and white of truth and deception."
After a moment of silence, Lex got up, setting the glass he held down on the wall. He stood before Clark with his arms folded across his chest in a gesture bespeaking a man used to putting his hands in his pockets.
"Shades of grey."
"Shades of grey." Clark echoed. "Things that would only make our relationship more complicated."
"We have a relationship?" Lex raised an eyebrow.
Clark ducked his head again, toying uneasily with the head-band. "Friendship," he amended hastily.
"Clark," Lex's voice was barely audible. "Do you want to have a relationship with me?"
He hesitated, remembering all the fantasies he'd ever had wherein he lay inside the circle Lex's arms and slept there safe, warm, and without a care in the world. He remembered the touch of hands on his body, and the kisses against his lips that he'd imagined were Lex's hands and Lex's kisses.
"No." He choked out the word, gagging on yet another lie. "No, of course not."
Lex knew he was lying again. "Don't do this."
"I can't, Lex."
"I'm asking you," His voice was low, and somewhat ominous. "To tell me the truth. One time, Clark. Just tell me the goddamn truth just this once!"
Clark didn't say anything at all. He would let Lex rage at him, and in the end, quietly walk away as he always did.
"Why?" Clark turned on him, giving him a cold and stony stare. "To make things worse, Lex? It's bad enough I know how you feel, I have for a while now, and to know I can't..." He swallowed, pressing the palm of a hand to his forehead. "So what then? We'd go about our lives knowing we're doomed to always look and never touch - Lex I can't."
"You turn everything into self sacrifice, don't you? Part of your ongoing messiah complex, Clark?"
"Stop goading me."
"I'm not goading you. I'm trying to tell you how much you mean to me. Nobody has ever gotten this close to me, not even my mother. I want - I need - acknowledgement, Clark, because god knows I've never gotten it before." He moved his arms, wrapping them around himself as if trying to manufacture the physical affection he'd never received. "Sometimes I just need someone to tell me I'm not the bad person everyone makes me out to be."
Clark sighed. Hadn't he had a similar discussion with his father once? By doubting Lex's motives weren't they pushing him towards the thing everyone assumed he was already?
Yet here, there were no motives. Stripped, bare, laid open for Clark to see, was the real Lex Luthor who wanted nothing more than to be held and told he was worthy of affection. He'd asked Clark to be the person to do it.
And Clark was denying it to him simply because he was afraid of drawing Lex into the mess that was his own life. Clark loved him too much to love him.
"You aren't a bad person, Lex," he whispered.
Lex glanced out towards the garden. Dew was starting to settle upon the lawn, and it sparkled beneath the bright light of the moon.
"But neither of us can afford complications."
Clark walked past him, and sat down on the wall, continuing to toy with the head-band as he joined Lex in looking out across the lawn. The faint scent of burning leaves and the hint of an oncoming cold front came in from the west, reminding Clark that in the morning he would be picking apples and making cider. Those were simple activities that did not require masks, or strategies, or complicated psychological manipulations. He could hide in them, and forget about being an alien, or the fact he was falling in love with his best friend, who happened to be the son of one of the most powerful men in the world.
If neither one of them had the inbred complications of being who and what they were, perhaps they could find happiness together. As it stood....
He turned his head to look at Lex, who still stood with his arms wrapped around himself. His slim body was rigid with tension. He could have been one of the statues standing out in the garden; cold, motionless, and unalive. Clark watched him somewhat uneasily, as if he suddenly feared that Lex had died, standing there cold and unloved, and it were all his fault. Unbidden came the memory of pulling him out of the wrecked Porsche. He'd been cold, and limp and very pale, with the tell-tale blue tinge around the mouth that spoke of lungs stilled. The lack of a pulse had frightened Clark more than anything had ever frightened him before, even more than the realization that he himself should have been dead.
Maybe if they'd both been killed in that accident, they would not now be living the painful half-lives they were now, for in giving Lex life, Clark felt as if he had given up half of his own.
Two halves made a whole.
"You're my friend, Lex. That's all." Clark said roughly. "That's all it can ever be."
Lex turned. "Because that's 'right'? Because that's what's 'supposed' to be?" he demanded. "You know I don't believe in letting life just happen, Clark. We make our own destinies. If you don't take life and make it what you want it to be, all it's ever going to give you is heartache and pain."
Clark stared at him impassively from behind the veneer of the cold hearted alien he so desperately wanted to forget existed. He didn't have the freedom to choose his path, and in truth neither did Lex, not as long as he bore the name Luthor.
These things we long for, love and freedom, will never be ours.
He wanted to cry out against the injustice, but instead, remained silent, cold, and alien.
Who was he, really? Again he found himself wondering just which part of him was the mask, and which was the reality.
Clark's quiet contemplation served to calm Lex's nervous frustration. He sighed, deeply, and seemed to gather up the reins of his control once again. His masks, his walls, rose up around him.
"You can't make it worse, Clark," he said softly, then he smiled slightly. "Right now, at this very moment, what is your heart's desire? Don't think about it, just say it."
"Right now?" Clark asked, and he did think about it, but only for the second it took for a cloud to pass over the bright orb of the moon above. "I want to dance," he said.
Lex appeared startled, as if this were the very last thing he expected Clark to say. "Dance?"
"Yeah," Clark looked up at the sky. "I've always wanted to dance under the harvest moon."
There was a long silence, during which Clark felt Lex's gaze on him, but he did not turn to meet it. Instead he continued gazing up at the moon, and the stars beyond it, trying to remember if he had seen the great satellite from the other side during his journey. No memory came to him, and he returned his gaze back to Earth at the sound of Lex's voice.
"Come here then, and we'll dance."
"Oh, no." Clark laughed. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Come on, Clark. It's just us, and there are no ulterior motives. On my honor."
Clark didn't believe him, particularly with the promise coming on the heels of their previous topic, but he did want to dance, even if it was just for a minute. Lana, Lex, Chloe, or even Pete, he wouldn't have cared who it was, just as long as he could stand beneath the full moon and dance.
Lex held out a hand. "Come on."
Tentatively, Clark rose, and stuffed the devil horn head-band into his back pocket. "I'm not much of a dancer. I have it on Chloe's expert authority," he said. "Just so you know ahead of time."
"That just answers the question as to who is going to lead."
Soft, smooth, and warm, Lex's hand closed around Clark's and drew him forward. Their fingers intertwined, and free hands found resting places on sides and shoulders. Lex's hand was firm against Clark's ribs as he guided their circular motion towards the center of the patio, and once there, slowed everything down to a gentle swaying. Clark only laughed, feeling silly, but Lex was dead serious.
"Not so bad."
"No," Clark admitted. "I'm going to start calling you Yul Brynner."
Lex cocked an eyebrow. "Is that a bald joke, Kent?"
"It's a dancing joke, Luthor. The King and I is one of my mom's favorites," he hummed a little of 'Shall we Dance.'
"A little fast paced for a harvest moon dance."
"Yeah," Clark replied, with a quiet sigh. "It is."
They swayed, slowly circling, and try as he might, Clark could not help stealing glances into Lex's face. The blue eyes were distant, thoughtful, calm, and after a moment, he disentangled his hand to place it on Lex's hip. Hip - shoulder, shoulder - side, they held each other and danced. There was nothing outwardly sexual about it. It simply seemed - comfortable.
Lex sang softly:
"But there's a full moon risin', let's go dancin' in the light. We know where the music's playin', let's go out and feel the night."
Clark's brows dipped together. "What's that from?" He murmured.
"Neil Young, Harvest Moon." Lex replied, and sang again.
"When we were strangers, I watched you from afar. When we were lovers, I loved you with all my heart."
They stopped moving, eyes locked, and Clark realized how easily he'd allowed himself to be trapped. Lex the manipulator. Lex the seducer. Lex the black Halloween cat who purrs so prettily before sinking its claws into your flesh and refusing to let go. Clark was only invulnerable to a point.
I'm melting, Dorothy's witch beneath the liquid blue of his eyes.
Clark closed his eyes, and felt the tickle of Lex's breath against his cheek.
The kiss was feather light, and lingered for only a breath. Clark could taste the faint sweet taste of the apple flavored brandy, the underlying bite of cinnamon...
Apples and cinnamon, and the scent of baby powder.
Clark's eyes opened.
The kiss ended, and the dancing resumed.
It took a minute for Clark to gather his thoughts, all of which were tangled in knots. He found his pulse quickening, and fought to steady his breathing. Horror warred with a strange sort of thrilled excitement.
"It was you, wasn't it?" he said finally. "In the garden."
"It was me." Lex replied. "Took you long enough," he added softly.
"Yeah, well, I'm not exactly known for my astute powers of observation, ask Chloe." Clark rolled his eyes towards the lawn and laughed slightly. "I don't believe this."
"The werewolf was the party planner."
Clark shook his head.
Lex's eyes were carefully searching Clark's face. "You aren't angry?"
"I should be, I guess, but I think I'm more relieved than angry."
Clark felt his face flush. "That it was you, and not a stranger."
Lex sighed. "I'm sorry, Clark. I honestly didn't think you'd let it go as far as it did."
It took him a moment, but when Clark spoke again, his response surprised both of them. "I'm not sorry."
They continued to dance beneath the moon.
"Right now, at this very moment," Clark whispered. "What is your heart's desire?"
Lex brought the dance to a halt.
"You," he said.
"I want to show you how much you mean to me. I want your first time to mean more, be more, than a blow job in the dark." The blue eyes lowered, and the man who never submitted to anyone or anything, turned coy under Clark's gaze. "I want to know I'm worth it."
He could have been honest, or he could have been manipulating Clark yet again, but either way, Clark had already been drawn in by the purr and hooked by the claws. His fingers found the smooth curve of Lex's jaw, and followed it from ear to chin, drawing him up for another kiss. He stepped closer, and although he was not cold, he basked in the warmth of another body close to his own. Yet another step, and the delicate kiss evolved into something more.
It was not filled with the raw and urgent passion they'd exchanged in the garden, but something deeper. Desire mingled with affection, culminating in the gentle press of lips and mouths together, the careful stroking of tongue to palate, and the tender suctioning of lips. Clark raised both hands to cup Lex's face. He marveled at the human fragility of the gracefully curving skull. They shared breath as they had a year ago on the banks of the river when Clark had given life to what had been dead, and thus preserved the mind beneath said skull. His own power frightened him. He could give life, and yet, with just a small flex of his hands, he could easily take it away again.
He struggled for breath suddenly gone, struggled to speak against the continued onslaught of kisses. "Lex - I - yes." He moved his head down and away, felt lips and teeth at his ear.
Eyes closed, Clark fought for the words he needed. He could no longer resist the temptation. His strength was failing. He surrendered.
I yield. What ever you want I give to you freely.
He could not give up the truth, and he could not let Lex have his soul, for those two things would give Lex Luthor far more power than he had a right to possess. There were two things Clark could give him, that he already had given him; his body, and his heart. They were all that Lex wanted. They were all that Lex needed.
For now anyway.
Lex broke away, taking his hand and leading him towards the house. He stumbled along blindly, made clumsy with the jumbled cacophony of thoughts pummeling his mind. Twisting dark corridors like the garden maze were all he could see before suddenly finding himself in the den behind locked doors, standing before the fire. More kisses, caresses, and Clark closed his eyes as his sweater came up over his head. Hands buried themselves in his hair, stroking him as if he were a favorite pet.
"God, you're beautiful." Lex breathed the words into his mouth. "Has anyone told you before?"
Clark's voice was rough, marking his unease and his own desire for more than just flitting touches. "No."
Lex ran his hands up his torso, and dipped his head to Clark's breast, licking and biting to bring a nipple up hard. He sucked there, and Clark moaned as the sensation ran from the nerves at his breast to the nerves in his groin. Lex's hands continued to rove, leaving Clark to find his own body where he pulled at his clothes. Clark clumsily lent assistance, until both their bodies were bare save for the flickering light of the fire on pale, flawless skin.
Turning away, Lex reached to the mantel, and a small wooden box there. Clark closed his eyes, swallowing heavily and fighting the urge to shrink down upon himself to hide his nakedness. He felt Lex's hard, warm body against him and he opened his eyes, turning his head to meet the blue eyes seeking his own.
"No masks." Lex whispered. His fingers ran down Clark's thigh, brushed against his erection, and across his belly. "No secrets, nothing between us." He pressed closer, moving against Clark's flank, letting Clark feel what he was offering. "Do you know what you're offering?"
"You're worth it." Clark murmured. "Don't let them turn you into what they want you to be, Lex. You told me, you like to be in charge of your own destiny. Don't let them destroy my friend." His fingers were light against Lex's chest. "Don't let the mask become the reality."
"You saved me once, you can do it again."
"I can't always be here."
Lex looked away, staring into the fire. His arms tightened around Clark's body. "I'll take what I can get, Clark." He looked into Clark's eyes again.
Clark kissed his brow. "I'll give what I can."
Kisses began anew, with a fresh sense of fulfillment. They sank together to the rug, a thick woolen pelt from some long ago hunt, meant to break the hard lines of glass, iron, and leather that made up the furnishings elsewhere in the room. The hard wood and stone of the floor could not be felt beneath the thick padding and the soft fur. Clark looked up at the recently repaired beams of the ceiling as he lay beneath Lex's slim warm body. There was something erotic about the medieval mansion he'd never quite realized before. Something wild, and untamed, from centuries past that somehow had been brought into the future.
His eyes roamed, and fell upon an ancient leather shield hanging upon a far wall beneath an unsheathed sword.
Leather and steel, one hard, one more yielding, and yet both possessing the strength to survive countless battles and the passage of time.
He closed his eyes, moaning beneath the hands of his lover as they rubbed at his sides and his flanks. He was steel, strong and invincible, but under Lex's power he yielded like the softest, most supple leather; a thin kidskin glove upon the delicate hand of a beautiful woman. Lex's hands guided him, turning him, and he curled his legs beneath his body, pressing his cheek to the soft fur of the rug. It smelled of woodsmoke and a faint muskiness perhaps left behind from the life it once held.
Arms outstretched above him, he surrendered. He vested himself of his identity as he'd divested himself of his clothing. Outside of this room, or this moment, nothing else existed and nothing else mattered. There was only the warmth of the fire, the sensation of soft fur against his cheek, and the strong hands of the man who, in this place and time, owned him completely.
I'm yours. I trust you implicitly. Do as you will.
He stretched like a cat, arching his back beneath the hands caressing his spine. A low voice moaned, filling his senses. It was his own. He had felt the touch of a warm hand between his legs, and he'd rocked against it, driving himself in and out of the strong curve of a fist, but it had left him abruptly. He moaned from the aching need that touch had left behind.
The hands touched him, stimulating flesh already screaming for a more intimate embrace. They ran up the backs of his thighs, kneaded the swell of his buttocks, and thumbs followed the hollow of his spine up and down, returning to tease the sensitive flesh behind his sex. One soft tipped finger circled the opening.
"Feels good." Lex whispered, and his voice seemed to be coming from every direction, running down Clark's spine to his head. He repeated the motion, delicately teasing the tightly bunched muscles into relaxing enough to allow admittance.
Clark couldn't speak. He felt for the second time, the sensation of sweat beading upon his skin. He couldn't breath normally. Giving in to the short gasping breaths burbling out of his chest, he punctuated them with the occasional whimper as the pleasure mounted but release was denied.
He gasped at the sensation of cold liquid gel against hot flesh, relaxed again as the careful circling continued. Slick and cool, one finger pressed slightly, then found penetration, staying itself just inside where it circled and rubbed, before slipping deeper within. One careful probe found what it sought - bumped.
"Shh, shh." As if soothing a baby, Lex's voice was soft. His touch was likewise soft as he kneaded the muscles of Clark's shoulder with his free hand. "You're fine."
"Oh, God." Clark pressed his face against one forearm. "Please..."
"Relax, relax."A kiss to the juncture of hips and spine, and a second finger joined the first, moving in and out in a steady rhythm. They brushed the sensitive gland only lightly this time, and instinctively Clark rocked back, trying to force the contact again.
I need more. I need you inside me. I want to be whole again.
"Please..." He thrust hard, backing against every inward stroke. "I need..."
Lex laughed. "Do you know how sexy you are right now? I could make you come right now just by doing this." He paused, and allowed the tip of his finger to make contact with the prostate once more.
"Nuuhno. No." Clark moaned.
He's trying to get me to talk dirty. God, what am I doing? What have I done?
The hand was removed. Clark struggled to catch his breath, and lost what little foothold he made when he felt Lex rise up against him. Lex did not enter, but held back, with just the tip of his erection pressed tightly against the opening he had so carefully prepared. His hands worked at Clark's hips, but did not ask for anything more than a gentle swaying motion, as if they were still dancing beneath the harvest moon outside. One hand strayed, finding Clark's throbbing penis again, stroking it with fingers still slick and cool.
His voice was a breathy whisper. "I can show you the world, Clark. I can give you anything you want." His hands continued to move. Their bodies continued to sway gently back and forth. "I've never wanted anything else as much as I want you." He pushed forward, slowly, holding back from going any further. "Your friendship, your affection, your body..." He eased deeper, then withdrew.
"I wanted you from the first, when I opened my eyes and saw you there, tasting your breath and feeling the warmth your lips left behind." Again he entered, and dove deeper this time with one slow glide....
Before leaving Clark bereft of his presence again.
Clark groaned. The pressure was building in his cock, and only a well placed squeeze prevented him from coming. It was exquisite torture. Sweat ran down his back, dampened his hair, and stung his eyes. He could smell his own body odor rising with the heat of the fire to mingle with Lex's cologne just as he so desired their bodies to merge.
"Months of looking but not touching." Lex murmured, his hips moving slowly back and forth as he entered again. "Seeing the hope of a reciprocal desire in your eyes and then seeing it fade again...."
"Wondering if I really saw it there in the first place, and beating myself up for daring to hope that someone like you could even begin to love me." His hands stopped moving. His body stopped moving, then in a long, slow thrust he entered completely, arcing himself over the huddled form beneath him to rest his head between Clark's shoulders. Reaching up, he intertwined his fingers with Clark's and squeezed.
"As I want to love you." His lips were warm.
Clark shifted against him, and brought the back of one hand down to kiss, still keeping their fingers interlocked. He said nothing, but pushed back against the steady motion of Lex's hips, meeting each downward stroke with an ever increasing tempo that harmonized with his pounding heart.
Love, lust, or something in between, Clark could not define the emotion coursing through him. It was a transmutation of the physical sensations, some core element driven into his soul by the pleasure growing in his body with every movement of their conjoined bodies. It wrapped around his heart and squeezed. At the same time he begged for a release of the blinding pressure building in every nerve, he longed for it to never end. Time was suspended in this place. There were no special gifts, no burdens, no gut wrenching feelings of exile. Here they both belonged, and in this raw, primal embrace, everything was right in the world.
Lex shifted his position ever so slightly, never missing a beat, until his pounding cock moved against just the right spot to send a burst of electric static buzzing through Clark's every nerve. Raising his head, he gritted his teeth and pushed back harder and faster against the pistoning hips driving against him. He needed more. He needed something more to find the breaking point.
It came, in the form of one hard push, and the pressure that had been slowly building burst forth in a flash of bright light behind closed eyelids. His body locked into convulsive spasms beneath the one riding him. His voice burst forth in a series of whimpering moans he failed to recognize as his own, until it rose in crescendo to one final note.
He collapsed forward, burying his face in the warm rug as cum spilled over his chest and his nerves ached with a sweet, sticky warmth as if they'd been bathed in sun-heated honey. Lex shuddered against him a moment later. His fingers clenched tightly around Clark's as he rocked them slowly down from the heights. He moaned into Clark's shoulders, and kissed them, sucking at the sweat-salted flesh. Eventually Clark felt him withdraw and missed his presence. He rolled onto his side, and after a moment he was gathered into Lex's arms as they curled together spoon fashioned upon the rug. Clark was still breathing heavily. Lex soothed him as he would have a child who had fallen and skinned his knee.
"You all right?"
"Uh-huh." Clark's voice caught in an almost-sob. He shuddered, suddenly cold and afraid of what he'd done and what he'd become. He'd passed some barrier into adulthood and the world on the other side was dark and frightening. "I can't breathe," he choked. "I can't breathe."
The same hands that had wrested away the last vestiges of his childhood, held him and brought with them comfort. Lex soothed his sweat dampened hair, and kissed him. "Lay still. You'll catch your breath. It's okay, shh, it's okay."
They lay together some time, dozing in the warmth of the fire, allowing nerves burned from the raw power of sex to cool and heal. Clark concentrated on trying to breathe and to understand the scope of what had occurred between them. He listened to the quiet murmur of Lex trying to comfort him, and his mind wrestled with the new emotions whirling around in his heart.
Friends had become lovers, and their lives had become...
"I don't want to leave." Clark whispered finally. "I don't want to go back."
"Go back to what?"
"The masks. The looking without touching."
The loneliness, and bearing the burden of being something more, yet something less, than human.
Lex held him tighter. "Sometimes," he said. "Other things can be hidden behind masks, and when the time comes for revelations, it's all the better for having been hidden."
"Meaning, we can be as before, but no one," He kissed Clark's neck, and rubbed his shoulders. "Has to know what goes on behind the masks."
Clark sighed, and closed his eyes to the sound of Lex singing softly into his ear the closing notes of their dance song - the lullaby by which he would drift off to sleep for many nights to come.
"Because I'm still in love with you, I want to see you dance again. Because I'm still in love with you, on this harvest moon."
He rolled over, and reached up with a finger to trace the curve of one pale eyebrow, peering deep into the blue depths of Lex's eyes as if he could see into the mind beyond them. He couldn't, not even with X-ray vision, but then, he didn't really have to either.
"Happy anniversary," he said softly, and settled, with another sigh, against the strength of Lex's breast, surrendering himself unto the protection of another.
Lex pulled him close. "Happy anniversary, Clark."