Actions

Work Header

The Continually Vibrating I

Work Text:

The Continually Vibrating I

by Thamiris

http://www.slashaholics.org/thamiris/slash.html


"...the continually vibrating I in darkness. Swearing invulnerability, I measure mercilessly his shortcomings, and with luxurious scorn, ask who could be ensnared there." --Elizabeth Smart

"What's going on?" Clark is suddenly in the hospital corridor, watching them. As always, he comes from nowhere then fills the space like he's been there all along. It gives visitation a whole new meaning.

With Lex trying to find his balance, it's the doctor who answers him. "Mr. Luthor and I were just discussing the state of small-town medicine." She smiles away most of the sarcasm before walking off.

"How's your dad?" Guilt winds through Lex's sympathy, and he shrugs it off. He can flirt with Dr. Bryce since he and Clark are only hot-and-cold friends.

"He's okay. It's my mom I'm worried about. She blames herself for the accident."

"Well, your mom's taking on a lot." Working for Lionel Luthor isn't just a job but a lifestyle choice. "She's trying to find a balance. Believe me, it's not always that easy."

"Guess I'm just lucking she didn't take a nine-iron to a meter maid's car."

"You heard about that." Years of practice let him sound casual.

"The town," Clark says pointedly, "is called Smallville."

"I was having a bad day." He thinks, "bad month, and it's your fault," but hides it well, another quality they have in common. The smashed car tells its own story.

Only there's no lecture on the latest Luthor act of un-random symbolism, just, "Yeah," from Clark and a parting smirk.

Has he figured out the new message? Clark can veer from clueless to penetrating at sixty miles an hour, leaving Lex breathless beside a river all over again, and he's got each of the pieces: a ruined golf club, a broken car, a pretty doctor. Together they spell out something darker and greener than the usual symbols of their relationship, like the truck, the box, and the long-necked bottles of water.

Lex should invest in a dictionary of symbols to recover his lost subtlety because if he can see the blaring patterns in their relationship then so can Clark, and shared knowledge always leads to trouble. `Veritas in absentia' could be the Luthor family motto. It doesn't work badly for the Kents, either.

Clark is allowed his secrets because Lex is only a tyrant-in-training, but there's a difference between suspecting one truth and knowing another that Clark refuses to share. A month of quiet, of not-telling, has made Lex sick in a way he hasn't been since childhood. Brain-wrenching headaches, troubled breathing, and where does it lead? To Lex going postal on a meter maid for cracks he's heard a dozen times since crash-landing in Smallville. The silver Porsche was one ruined car too many; the second one's an embarrassment, and that's one emotion he hates more than almost any other except--

Time to take charge, get a life, and other very old aphorisms from his father's book on "How to Rule the World Before You're Thirty." Clark Kent and his school bag full of dirty secrets have no place in the new world order. They'll be colder than hotter, and Lex will date the doctor, who doesn't need to know his attraction's based on a farmboy template.

On the drive back from the hospital, Lex guns the engine, roof down for the brain-sweeping blasts of air. Smallville's been a lesson, and one day he'll learn self-control. As a show of it, he ignores the river as the car speeds over the bridge. `I don't want anything to stand in the way of our friendship,' he told Clark after the accident. Turns out his reading of that day and Clark's didn't mesh. The proof is in the garage.

A phone message waits for him at home, an angry red flash. It's the obligatory ass-kick from his father for decorating the meter maid's car with his nine-iron. Lionel understands symbols, too, only with his God-complex thinks he's the target. "It's not all about you, Dad," Lex says, while his father's still going on about emotions and weakness, and hits "erase." Too bad life can't be fixed that easily.

He avoids the lure of Absolut, heading for his desk and neat piles of distraction. It works with moderate success, and he's halfway through his study of expansion plans when footsteps interrupt him. He doesn't get up when Clark enters the room. Protection, not formality; easier to deal with Clark when there's metal between them.

The blue shirt under the red jacket looks like the sky at night. It's not the color of Clark's eyes, which are lighter, mixed with green like rain water. "I figured you'd be here working. You work too much, Lex."

"How's your father doing?" Detached concern--a nice touch.

"Ticked because he can't do all the chores himself. He thinks he's some kind of super man. You and my dad have a lot in common."

"Don't tell him that or he'll never work again."

Clark treats even bad jokes like gifts, and smiles wide to prove it. Sometimes Lex almost hates him. "Nothing could keep him away from the farm. It's driving him crazy that I have to pick up the slack."

"Just don't ask me to help out," Lex says, and feels guilty when Clark catches the edge in his tone, his smile dimming. "Cows don't like me. They know I prefer them better as filet mignon."

"They're dairy cows, Lex."

"And now I've just insulted the whole species."

"Unlike people, dairy cows don't hold grudges. You're safe." He settles into a chair near the desk.

The last time he sat there, a month ago, Lex lent him a red Ferrari. He should've paid more attention to Polonius and lessons about lending. "So what brings you here, Clark?"

"Don't worry: I'm not going to recruit you to work on the farm. I've got a favor to ask."

"Not the car again."

"No." Clark worries the edge of his jacket. "It's not that kind of favor."

"Something for Lana? Or is it Chloe this week?"

"They don't need anything from me. Besides," he adds, "I told them tonight that we're going to stay friends."

Lex refuses to be glad. "So what's the favor?"

"I need help with biology, and you know about stuff like that."

"Biology?"

"You know, the study of living organisms."

"Funny. What do you need to know?"

"Can we go outside to the garden? I feel like moving."

"Sure. Anything to help modern science." He logs off and follows Clark downstairs. Clark wears a very old pair of jeans, the fabric worn at the backs of his thighs, and Lex's fingers twitch.

It borders on night outside, the air purple as the flowers that die along the stone wall. Warm, too, like Nature thinks it's the end of summer. The ground is pliable as skin under his feet.

Clark crosses the grass and moves to the tree cradling the garden. "That doctor's very pretty. The one who helped my Dad."

"If you like the type." Lex stands within touching distance while the branches tangle around them, dry and brown in the last of the daylight. There are no apples, because this is real life and Lex isn't God, but Clark's mouth is soft and very red.

"You seemed to like it."

"What kind of biology class is this for, anyway? Sex education?"

"Yes."

Lex doesn't move. "I thought you had that already. With my...With Desiree."

"This is the second part. We got a new teacher after she left."

"I wish I'd taken classes at Smallville High."

"I've got to write a paper about virginity."

"Virginity?"

"You know, Lex. It's when--"

"I'm not that old, Clark. I remember virginity." He'd like to pretend his questions are Socratic, not neurotic, but he's been haunted by images of a ruined car. They're driving toward it now.

"Who'd you lose it to?"

"I didn't realize your teachers were that progressive."

"It's not for the paper. I'm just wondering."

"It was an old friend of my mother's. She came to see me a few years after my mother died, and it just happened."

"Was it good?"

"I thought it was good at the time."

"Did things change after?"

"I never saw her once it was over."

"How old were you?"

"Fifteen."

"Younger than me."

Lex has waited a month for this opening. "You've still got time," he says carefully.

Clark shifts, glances up at the sky, then back at Lex. His eyes are wide and sincere--a sure sign of guilt. "No. It's...I did it. A few weeks ago. The new girl at school. Jessie. We did it. Had sex."

He's pictured it a hundred times, but this is different, more sickeningly clear. Clark on top of her, her legs wrapped around his waist as he fucks her, as he fills her with come. Someone else saw his face, felt his cock. Good thing the girl is gone, long gone.

The silence nudges him. "You never told me," he says, like it's the lie that matters most.

"It wasn't...I wasn't myself when it happened. I guess I was embarrassed, so I didn't tell you."

"You were drunk?" Lex regrets not being drunk himself, not taking that bottle of Absolut Citron to bed and avoiding this delayed conversation.

"You could say that."

"Do you remember it?"

Clark nods, then stares at the leaf-covered ground. "It was in the car. Your car, the one you lent me. There wasn't a lot of room."

The next morning the borrowed Ferrari had smelled like beer and come. A close inspection revealed a white stain on the passenger side. Lex still hasn't cleaned it, although he only touched the dried semen once. Usually he stands behind the car, as though he can see inside, stroking the rearing silver horse emblazoned on the back. What was he supposed to do? Turn over a hundred thousand dollars of Italian engineering into scrap metal? That would be the most telling sign ever. "You asked me, Clark, so I'll ask you: was it good?" The question brings more pictures, and he shakes his head.

"It didn't happen the way I hoped."

"You mean with candles and violins and Lana Lang?" He doesn't snap it too hard, but the words still come out sharp.

"Lex," Clark says, watching intently, "why'd you bust up that meter guy's car?"

So he'd done the math: a car for a car. Lex wishes the shadows would grow. "Repressed hostility," he finally says.

"Did you have a fight with your dad before?"

"No."

"Because I was wondering if maybe it was because..."

"Because I knew what you'd done in my car?" It doesn't sound like a question.

"And you were mad."

"Why would I be mad? I've got plenty of cars." There's a pause as he looks at Clark, who might not be breathing. "Did you want me to be mad?" The surprise is slow and sweet, and his hands feel empty.

"You married Miss Atkins. Desiree. You knew her for, like, two weeks, and you married her."

The surprise spreads until he almost tastes it. Apparently jealousy is contagious. "It was a mistake. You knew that."

"You know what Chloe said?"

Clark's mind is a cornfield. "Enlighten me."

"At the wedding, she said that Miss Atkins looked like me."

"Really? I never noticed." Confession would be a gift, and he's not ready for that, not yet. Lex makes one last effort to control the conversation. "What exactly is the subject of this biology paper? 'The Mating Habits of Bald Millionaires' Sons'?"

"I was sort of lying about the sex ed part. It's `The Importance of Adaption in Evolutionary Biology.'"

"Learned anything interesting so far?"

"Just that adaption's harder than it sounds."

"Like everything else, it's a matter of small steps."

Clark takes one, and leaves break under his feet. Only he can give a kiss as a natural, logical act. That's Clark's talent: to turn the weird into the normal, but not so normal that Lex doesn't feel it over and under his skin, like the wind's blowing through him. Could be why he moves, following the straight line between them. `Weak,' his father would say. `We're gods; we can't afford to give in.'

Right now, with the sun a yellow blur on the horizon and the cold setting in, Lex can't find the energy to care. Clark's hair clings to his fingers as Lex slides his hand through it, pulling him close. The last time they were this close Lex died, which could happen again, why the air's catching in his throat. Suddenly he's freezing and needs Clark's arms as they go around him. Their eyelashes touch, then Clark presses his cheek to Lex's, says, "You're cold," before leaning in.

His mouth is warm and open, so open that Lex has to explore with his tongue. Clark sighs against him and bears closer, hard everywhere. When he returns the kiss, his tongue sliding over Lex's, the night goes quiet around them. Because it's cold, he rubs his free hand down Clark's back. Too many layers between them, and there's nothing wrong with touching there, so he slips his hand under Clark's shirt, feels this hot expanse of skin, the arrow of bone that's Clark's spine.

Clark's moan rumbles over Lex's mouth, tickling a little, and the kiss gets wetter, faster, while Clark untucks Lex's shirt. His hands are cold and he lays them flat until they're warm, then strokes in slow waves up and down Lex's back. When was the last time he kissed someone like this, so carefully, for so long? It's the kind of kissing you do before you take someone to bed, before you fuck them in a red Ferrari. Turns out knowledge isn't power, and he tries to pull away. "This isn't going to work."

"Why not?" Clark's hands stay firm on him.

"I'm not good at adaption."

"So I'm just supposed to leave?"

"Yes."

"That's not fair."

"Life isn't--"

"You're not my father, Lex. Or yours."

"Thanks for the insight, Clark. But it doesn't change anything."

"What would?"

He throws up his hands. "Ask you biology teacher."

"It's because of that girl, isn't it? You're jealous."

"I haven't been jealous of anyone since I was eleven."

Clark's hands tighten, then he lets go. "You know what, Lex? You're right. This isn't going to work."

And the warm, solid comfort of his body is gone as he leaves Lex standing alone under the tree.

Lex gives Clark a few minutes to escape. At least he thinks they're minutes; time never works right in Smallville. The moon sits still overhead, a few translucent clouds drifting past, unimpressed. The castle looks too big in the new dark, rows of blank windows between dull stone. He'd like a normal life, and Metropolis could give him that: condos and neon, and crowds and four-star restaurants. That's where he belongs, not here with life permanently imbalanced.

Lex gives up a second time to head back into the quiet house. It's still early, just after seven, and stacks of files wait for him on his desk. Only when he rounds the stairs a voice reaches him from the den. Clark is inside, phone in hand while he pokes through Lex's small, dusty collection of videos.

"Yes, we're having vegetables, Mom. Mushrooms count, right?" He grins at Lex, like this is the most normal thing in the world. "Look, I'll have extra salad tomorrow, okay? Hey, it's too late to stunt my growth. I'm six-three-- check the wall where you've been keeping track. Yes, I'll make sure he eats." Clark rolls his eyes. "Yes, Mom. Me, too. 'Night." He hangs up, still grinning. "You look surprised, Lex."

"Let's just say I wasn't expecting pizza."

"It should be here soon. You're hungry, right? My mom doesn't think you eat enough. She says you work too hard."

"Your mother doesn't think anyone eats enough." He's secretly pleased that they talk about him. Martha Kent earned his respect a long time ago for her quiet support, and the way she understands things without making a big production about it. "And I'm definitely hungry."

"Let's watch a movie while we wait. I saw that you have the Three Stooges collection." He's already popping it into the machine, cleaning the screen with his elbow.

Unused to people, the leather couch gasps as Lex drops onto it. "You weren't supposed to see that. It'll ruin my reputation as the big-city sophisticate."

"Your secret's safe with me." Remote in hand, Clark collapses at his side, propping his feet on the table. "My dad turned me onto the Stooges when I was a kid. Chloe says they're stupid but they crack me up."

He proves it as the first short begins, and Lex relaxes next to him. It's Clark after all, and they can recover from this, even if Lex's mouth feels tender, with the buzz still going under his skin.

They're five minutes into it, both laughing hard, when Clark says, "You should laugh more," and, with this flowing stretch, kisses him on the cheek. "They're great, aren't they? That Moe..."

"Sheer comic genius." With Clark's mouth imprinted on his skin, Lex isn't sure anymore which one's Moe.

"Did you see that? That's the thing that gets Chloe riled. Too much violence. She says it turns us into cavemen. The last time she said it, Pete started beating his chest and letting out these yells. I laughed so hard I fell off my chair. Chloe was less than amused."

His head goes back for another laugh, and when he finally straightens, Lex gives him a kiss in return. Soft cheek, hint of stubble, and a jolt of pleasure follows. Small steps are better than they sound. "My father hates the Stooges."

"So that's why you have the video." This kiss lands lower, just west of Lex's mouth.

With Clark so close it seems stupid not to put his arm around him. "I know--not a very impressive rebellion." Still, it's hard to hate his father right now, with Clark's hair still mussed from Lex's hands, his shirt untucked, his big, easy smile. It's Lex's turn to kiss him, a quick one on the lips. Quick in theory, anyway, because Clark throws his arms around Lex's neck and changes the kiss into something long and deep.

Clark's also the one to break it off, as Moe, Larry and Curly start to sing the alphabet song. "My favorite part," he explains, slouching to rest his head against Lex's shoulder.

Lex just swallows and thinks about trains, tall buildings and Ty Nant bottles. This could be the first time in history that someone's watched "Violent Is the Word for Curly" with an erection. He's just glad that Clark didn't decide to watch porn. "What's your mother's take on the Stooges?"

"She shakes her head a lot, but she always moves her ironing board closer to the tv. My mom's cool." Eyes still on the screen, he runs his fingers across Lex's mouth.

"I like her. She sees things." His scar tickles, and Lex licks the tip of Clark's finger, then sucks it.

"Yeah, she's pretty great." The moan breaks his laugh a little, and Clark reaches for him again.

This kiss is a highway at night, and Lex ends up on top of him, his tongue deep in Clark's mouth. Clark's hard when he arches up, and the heat from the friction travels to Lex's spine, his brain, and all he can think about is licking Clark everywhere. With his fingers under Clark's chin, he tilts his head, moving from his mouth to his throat, tracing lines with the tip of his tongue. Clark grinds into him, one hand warm on Lex's skull, the other on his back as Lex licks and sucks and bites, not thinking anymore. His cock's so stiff, and this feels so good, so good, just a little harder and--

The doorbell rings.

"It's the pizza," Clark says, trying to sit up. He looks rumpled and so beautiful that Lex gives him one last kiss. "I am kind of hungry."

"I'll go get it." He stands, smoothing his shirt, although his cock is conspicuously hard under his pants.

"That delivery guy's going to think you have a serious thing for pizza."

"Just what my reputation needs: stories about a pizza fetish."

The bell rings again.

"You can wear my jacket. It's on the chair over there."

Lex pictures himself at the door with a hard-on, wearing Clark Kent's jacket. "I think the pizza fetish is the lesser of two evils."

Sprawled on the couch, Clark straightens when he sees Lex. "Food! I'm starved."

"So am I." He puts the pizza box and the bag with drinks and napkins on the coffee table. "Do we need plates?"

"Lex, this is pizza. Only girls use plates. Sit down and let's eat."

The pizza is very hot and about two inches thick, piled with mushrooms over a pound of cheese. He holds it in two hands, his hands turning powdery from the flour dusting the bottom, and bites. "It's good. Chewy, but good."

"Smallville can surprise you."

He grabs a napkin as oil dribbles down his chin. "Smallville always surprises me."

"Is that why you stay?" Clark pulls the tab off each can, handing one to Lex.

"It's a challenge." The Coke is very sweet and he downs half of it in a single, throat-burning gulp.

"Bet you never thought you'd be sitting here scarfing down pizza with the town geek," he says between bites. "Or making out with him."

"I might've considered the last part once or twice."

"Even with all of those girls around? Victoria and Desiree and the doctor and that girl you brought to my party?"

"You've been keeping track?"

"Is that bad?"

"No, Clark," he says, and puts down his drink. "It's not bad at all." The kiss is sweeter than the Coke, spicy from the pizza, messy in a way he's never had before. Only friends can kiss like that, and he licks up the trace of tomato sauce beside Clark's mouth.

"Did you ever think about...No, forget it." Clark reaches for his Coke, takes a long sip like the can's filled with Lethe water.

"Did I ever think about you when I was with them?"

"Since you brought it up."

"Did you when you were with that girl?"

"My dad says people ask questions when they're trying to avoid something."

Bastard. "And here I thought he was a farmer, not a Freudian analyst. Did you?" he repeats.

"You don't deserve this, Lex, but yeah, I thought about you the whole time. I mean, she was pretty and everything, but I didn't know her very well, and she didn't seem to care." Clark's words start to tumble. "I thought about you especially when I was...You know. Inside her." Before Lex has time to react beyond the rush of blood between his legs, Clark's on his feet. "I'll be back," he says.

Ignoring the mess, Lex waits, trying to box his need to take Clark to bed, to put his fingers and his tongue and his cock everywhere in him. Not just to erase Clark's memory of that girl, not just to stake his claim by forcing him to come over and over again. But it's too easy to seduce him, use their connection so Clark will beg to be fucked.

Lex's hand goes between his legs and he strokes his cock. A mistake, with his body this charged. When he reaches for his warming can of Coke, it's empty, so he drinks from Clark's, runs his tongue around the opening where Clark's mouth has been. The connection's the problem--ever since he met Clark, he's devolved to something primitive, wanting in an irrational way, so convinced that this is Fate even while putting up barriers to deny it.

Clark's been gone a long time, and it's possible he's not coming back. Getting fucked by Lex Luthor, town pariah, is a big step even after the girl, and maybe Clark doesn't understand what Lex wants. Maybe he thinks a few kisses, some dry humping, is enough, maybe even too much. Lex gets up, pours himself a glass of juice, and goes to look for him. Maybe--

The sound of running water reaches him from the shower off his bedroom. Clark could be sick, so Lex leaves the half-empty glass on the bedside table, gathers a few towels and walks in. "You okay in there?" he asks, sidestepping a pile of clothes. The shower door is made of opaque glass--mostly opaque. Clark's form is still visible as he stands naked under the water, and Lex remembers to breathe.

"I figured I'd clean up after the pizza."

"Most people just wash their hands."

"You always say I'm not like most people. Besides, I was cold, too." The castle is about eighty degrees, heated warm against the stone walls. "Aren't you cold, Lex?"

"A little." He's sweating from the steam and the sight of Clark shifting behind the glass.

"You should have a shower. It's not like you're not already wet."

Confused, he's about to challenge that when a huge arc of water shoots over the shower door, drenching him. "I guess I'll have to now. When you're done." He swears that Clark sighs heavily under the rhythmic drumming of the spray.

"I live on a farm, Lex."

"I'm aware of that, Clark."

"And sometimes to conserve water my parents shower together."

Pointing out that he's a multimillionaire seems counterproductive. "Well, I wouldn't want any reporters to discover that I'm recklessly wasting water." Lex starts to unbutton his shirt, then drops it to the wet floor.

"They'd totally barbeque you. We're big on water conservation in Smallville. There's only one solution." The door opens, and he pokes out his dripping head, shaking it like a puppy. "Hurry up, Lex. We're draining the reservoir as we speak."

Lex kicks off his shoes, removes his socks, then his pants and briefs. "I've always supported environmental issues," he says, and climbs in, standing with his back to the spray, Clark in front of him.

"Hi," Clark says.

"Hi." At least Lex thinks he says it, trying to process the sight of Clark's wet body. He looks even bigger without his clothes, shoulders wider, chest broader. Lex isn't sure about the etiquette of showering with teenaged boys, but can't help staring down at Clark's cock. Uncut, big as the rest of him, and a little hard.

"You look good wet, Lex. Really good."

He's forgotten that Clark's seeing him for the first time, and forces his glance up to catch the reaction. Like Lex did, Clark stares down, and when he licks his lips, Lex steps closer. "I'm going to fuck you," he says, without thinking. "I'm going to fuck you so hard."

Clark lets out this soft, bruised sound, then his arms circle Lex's neck. When their bodies connect, he makes another noise, rougher this time. As his eyes close, his mouth opens, and Lex is there, pushing his tongue inside. Their bodies are pressed tight, wet skin against wet skin, their cocks hardening between them. This is the best kind of knowledge, the rush of getting Clark hotter than the water raining down, and he celebrates it with his teeth, nudging back Clark's head and biting along the line of his throat. Clark's hands slide down his back, cupping his ass, and Lex is the one moaning now.

"Say it again, Lex."

"I'm going to fuck you," he says into Clark's ear, biting his lobe. "Fuck you so hard."

"God," and he struggles closer, even though there's no space left. "Keep talking. Please. Everything you want."

"I'm going to suck you." Lex bends, sucks Clark's right nipple to show what his mouth can do, while Clark curves back.

"More. All of it, so I know it's real."

"Jesus, Clark."

"Say it." And he goes for Lex's neck, sucking hard enough to bruise, his fingers tightening on Lex's ass. "I want," bite, "to hear," bite, "you say it." A kiss for every bite, before he adds, "Then I want you to do it."

Lex backs Clark against the wall, takes Clark's hands and holds them above his head. Eye to eye, just far enough that the head of Clark's cock brushes Lex's hip and his own cock bumps Clark's flat stomach, he says, "I'm going to spread you open and put my fingers inside you." It's a test, but there's still this need for confirmation, for Clark to understand how fully Lex plans to take him.

Those long-lashed eyes go wide and almost hurt before Clark tries to kiss him, his hips rocking. "Do it. I want it to be better than it was with them."

"Is that why you're doing this? To prove something?"

"Not that. I just want to know that...You like me."

"We're friends, Clark. Whether this happens or not." He drops Clark's wrists and almost steps back, stopped by Clark's hands on his hips.

"If you go now, I'll tell everyone in Smallville about your pizza fetish." The smile's the biggest one that Clark can give, the one that crinkles his eyes and shows dimples. "I want this. God, Lex, can't you tell?" He lets go, raising his own arms above him. "Look at me."

And Lex does, a full sweep from Clark's slicked-back hair, his full mouth, the muscles on the insides of his outstretched arms, then down his flushed, dripping body. Clark's cock is stiff, jutting out, the head solid and the same shade as Lex's favorite shirt. "Stay like that." He closes his mouth over Clark's shoulder while reaching down for Clark's nipple, scratching lightly.

"I don't think I can take more. Is that okay? If I, you know, come by mistake?"

"It won't be a mistake. I want you to come. For me." He licks up from Clark's shoulder back to his neck, catching water on his tongue. With Clark's nipple tight under his finger, he twists it just as he bites him again.

Clark shudders, arching against the tile. "Oh, wow. This is so good."

Better than...

And Clark proves he's inside Lex's head. "Better than her. So much better. I'm so ready."

"This is nothing. Wait until your cock's in my mouth." He teases the nipple with his tongue, pressing down when Clark quivers.

"Lex. Do it now."

"No."

"Are you going to let me do things to you? Because I want you in my mouth."

The bite to Clark's nipple must hurt, and he kisses it better. "Sorry. Just be careful when you say things like that."

"I liked it. More." He twists his neck, looking down at Lex. "Did you like what I said?"

He rubs his cock against Clark's thigh. "Feel how much I liked it."

"I want to feel how much in my mouth. Sometimes when I'm jacking off, I suck my finger and pretend it's you."

Any more of his farmboy fantasies and Lex is going to shoot all over himself. "What else do you think about?" He returns to Clark's nipples, licking circles around each one, then sucking hard.

"You giving me a blowjob."

"Did she do it?"

"Jessie? Yeah, but not for long. Don't talk about her, Lex. I don't want to think about it."

Repentant, Lex drops to his knees, and Clark lowers his arms, placing one hand on Lex's head. Clark's hips are like a statue's, perfectly carved, and Lex traces the bone with his finger before doing the same thing with his tongue. Clark shifts, his cock a bare inch from Lex's mouth. Too soon for this, but Lex can't help himself: closing his hand around the base, he laps at the head.

Clark's arms fly out and his knees buckle, so that he's kneeling on the floor beside Lex. "Oh. Oh, God."

The reaction's all wrong, or very right--maybe it's the foreskin, but Clark seems unusually sensitive. "Stand up." When Clark's back against the wall, Lex licks him again, a long, slow pass with his tongue over the swollen skin.

Clark flails, then slides down the wall. "Maybe we should go into the bedroom."

"Is it always like that, even when you touch yourself?"

"You mean intense? Yeah. I can come just by rubbing the head a couple of times if it's been awhile since I jacked off. I know it's not like that with other guys. Pete and I talked, and I've heard the guys at school after gym."

Somehow it makes perfect sense that even Clark's cock is different from anyone else's. "It's hot, knowing how little it'll take to bring you off." He helps Clark up, then wraps his arms around him for a long kiss, Clark's big, sensitive cock aligned with his. Sucking Clark's tongue like it's his cock, Lex tugs Clark's nipples to feel the moan against his lips, and wonders how long he's going to last, how long either of them will. It has to last, go on forever, be epic and unforgettable. It has to erase that girl and establish Lex once and for all in Clark's life. His cock, though, doesn't seem to get the message.

To regain equilibrium, he finds the soap and lathers Clark's chest, getting cleaner by rubbing against him, then uses it under Clark's arms, down his legs, over his cock and balls. "Turn," he says, and hears the broken-glass sound of his voice. So much for a distraction. The soap foams over Clark's back, down his spine, then Lex returns to his knees and gently opens him, passing the cake over the exposed skin. "You're going to love my tongue there. Just wait."

"Can't." He pushes back, and Lex has to hold him still.

"My tongue will feel better. So will my fingers. So will," he swallows, "so will my cock." His brain keeps saying, "Slow down," but his body's all about urgency, so, back on his feet, he moves Clark under the spray, letting it wash away the lather that glows like new snow.

"My turn. And don't try to stop me." Grabbing Lex by the shoulder, Clark pries away the soap, running it down Lex's chest, then up again over his nipples. "You like that," he says, when Lex's cock jumps.

"I don't think there's anything you can do that I won't like."

"What about this?" On his knees, Clark draws the soap up along the inside of Lex's legs, stopping just under his balls.

"Good." He has to clear his throat, ready to fall at the sight of his cock so close to Clark's mouth.

"You're so smooth here," he says, circling Lex's groin.

Lex holds onto Clark's shoulder for balance. Clark's so eager for it, and Lex should've known, should've been prepared somehow. So many differences between them, but at heart they're shaped the same. "Then hurry up."

"But I'm having fun. You never let me do anything for you, and I'm taking my time."

The soap slithers down Lex's thigh, and he shivers, spreading his legs wider. When it comes up this time, Clark doesn't stop, letting it slide across Lex's balls and the shaft of his cock. Lex's heart is pounding hard as the water, and he blinks several times to focus.

Clark's very serious, chewing on his lower lip, trailing his fingers in the soapy film on Lex's inner thigh. His eyes on Lex's cock, he touches it again with his free hand, following a pale blue line down the front. "I'm going to lick that later," he says, nodding to himself.

Lex has visions of coming all over Clark's face. "Clark, you're supposed to save people, not torture them. Hurry up."

"I don't think you'd be that hard if you were really suffering." With a hand on Lex's hip, he turns him around.

Soft smear of soap across his shoulders, his neck, then down his back before Clark goes to work on his ass. Circle after circle, and Lex spreads his hands on the tile, his head bent. Not supplication, just pleasure. "That's good," he says, as Clark circles closer. The soap edges down the crack of his ass, then there's a push, and he's going to come if Clark doesn't stop. "I can't get any cleaner," he says, and twists to force Clark up. The water washes away the last of the soap, and he really hasn't ever been this clean before. "I want you in my bed," Lex tells him. "Now."

The steam from the long shower has heated the bedroom, and they walk together through the warm fog. Lex turns on the light beside the bed, then removes lube and a couple of condoms from the drawer, placing them beside his juice glass. "No pressure," he says, pulling Clark down onto the silk sheets until they're lying side by side. "We don't have to--"

"I want to. And Lex, we don't need the rubbers. I was careful."

Lex is always careful, and he'd like nothing more than to fuck Clark bareback. "If you're sure..."

The kiss is different this time, the slowest ever, because it's going to happen no matter what. Lex dares anyone or anything to interrupt them; he'll kill to be inside Clark. He has already killed for Clark, and that was before he'd seen him stripped to the skin, ready to be fucked.

Clark whimpers, pushing his tongue deeper into Lex's mouth, his hands moving from Lex's back to his ass. "This is so...I feel like I'm dying."

Lex has also died for Clark, and it's time to return the favor. "On your back." When Clark rolls, Lex straddles his hips, then waits just to see Clark's face. He looks fucked already, flushed, with his hair drying in messy curls. "Say my name when you come, Clark."

"You know I will. I did the first time."

"You could've come to me."

"I wasn't sure. Not with all of those pretty girls. Besides, you never said anything." He sounds accusing, even flat on his back.

"I said plenty."

"It doesn't count if it's not words."

"Does this count?" He opens Clark's legs, moving between them, and with Clark's cock in his hand, licks that full responsive head.

"It's...Oh, Lex, it's a start. A really good start." Clark half-rises, then drops back.

"How's this?" Another lick, slower, and this time it leaves a briny taste on his tongue. Clark from the inside, and he goes back for more, pushing into the slit, which starts a quiver that shakes the bed.

"If you don't stop..."

"Why would I want to stop?" Silver drops gather when he squeezes the head, and Lex rubs them in with the pad of his thumb. There's a satisfying rumble from above, and Clark goes up on one elbow. "Do that. Watch me." Eyes locked with Clark's, Lex squeezes again then licks as Clark claws at the sheet.

"Lex, you look so good." He's panting, his lips parted, eyes almost shut.

"So do you." He leans closer, his own mouth open, and takes in the head of Clark's cock. Blood rushes to his own cock as he sucks, with Clark writhing at every touch of his tongue.

"I hope you're not really attached to this bed," Clark says as the headboard crashes into the wall.

It's a huge, oak four-poster that once stood in a czar's palace. His father gave it to him when he turned twenty- one. He pulls off Clark's cock long enough to say, "Not at all." This is worth a dozen antique beds. The real problem is the sheet under him, silk that feels like a tongue every time Lex shifts. "How many times can you come in a row?"

"Two, maybe three. It starts to--yeah, like that, God--hurt at four."

At the quaver in Clark's voice, Lex begins to lap at the sides of his cock, which is very straight and long, and he enjoys making it wet and shiny as the head. While Clark's thighs are still shaking, the bed isn't threatening to break through the floor, which is good; Clark's first time has to be incredible, and he's not quite ready enough. He licks down to the base, then up again, feeling the blood thrum under the skin, then doing a quick pass over the top. More liquid, thicker now, and he sucks it away, waiting for the last possible second. Feels it even before Clark says anything, before Lex's name floats over to him.

Laying Clark's cock over his stomach, Lex darts his tongue lower over the soft dark hair, then cups Clark's balls in his hand. They're smooth and heavy, and Lex weighs them in his palm before rolling them gently. As Clark moans, opening his legs even wider, muscles taut, Lex kisses his thighs, then sucks Clark's balls into his mouth. So much power there, and he tests them with his tongue.

Clark groans loud as the bedsprings. "You're going to break me."

"If you can survive a car at sixty miles an hour," he says, letting them slide from his mouth, "you can survive this."

"This is like being hit all over again, only good." He touches Lex's cheek. "I want to do you now."

"No way. My bedroom, my rules--" The words are barely out when he's suddenly on his back, Clark with one leg on either side of Lex's thighs. "How can you move so fast?"

"It's easy when you know what you want." He places those strong hands on Lex's shoulders, holding him down. "This is like the first time on the river. You've got the same look on your face." His own goes soft and wanting. "Let me do what I want. Please."

"When I know how stubborn you can be? Yes. It's easier."

Clark grins and swats him across the chest. "Pot? Kettle? Meet Lex." Then he bends forward and kisses Lex on the tip of his nose. "I'm going to wipe that smirk off your face," he says, and buries his face in Lex's neck, nuzzling him.

A warm, wet tongue-bath follows, and he's arching into it when there's a sharp sting from Clark's teeth. He jerks with it, his cock getting even stiffer. "Clark..."

"I got carried away." He fingers the side of Lex's throat. "There's a bruise. Sorry. I didn't mean to."

"But you liked it. I liked it. Hold back everywhere but here with me."

Clark's still stroking the tender spot with his other hand. "Sometimes the guys at school brag about doing this to their girlfriends. I never got it, until now. I don't like hurting people, but this is different. I want to do it to you everywhere."

"Get wild, Clark. It makes me hot. Bite me here." He touches the other side of his neck. "And here," he adds, pointing to his inner thigh. "And here." Taking Clark's hand, he places it on the side of his ass. "Anywhere you want."

His eyes go dark, and he looks like the adult he'll become. "I will." He's on Lex's neck, sucking hard, then there's an electric graze of teeth. When Lex bucks, Clark holds him down, kissing the stinging skin.

A series of nips comes next, and Lex grasps Clark's head, pulling him up, his tongue diving into Clark's mouth like it's a river. Clark sucks him there, too, until Lex is the one writhing on the bed. His nipples are the next target, with Clark's teeth white against Lex's reddening skin. His cock aches now, overfull, and he can't stop thrusting up, harder and faster until the light striates and the room looks like dawn. Clark refuses to stop, licking and sucking, pinching and stroking like Lex's nipples are his favorite toys in the world.

"Clark..."

"Looks like I'm not the only sensitive one."

Lex almost says something about context, but bites his lip in time. Clark might see something, because he moves lightning-fast, ending up between Lex's legs. He doesn't touch Lex's cock, just lowers himself to lick around it, over Lex's hips to the crease of his thighs.

At the first swipe of his tongue up the shaft, the sight of Clark so intent on him, Lex swears, tensing so fast that his bones crack, a loud sound in the quiet room. At the second one, he threads his fingers in Clark's hair. Doesn't force him down, just holds on to keep falling somewhere too deep. And Clark knows, the bastard, glancing up with one of those riotous smiles, before taking Lex's cock in his hands and racing his tongue over the head.

"Fuck," Lex says too loudly.

"This first," Clark tells him, and slowly slides Lex's cock into his mouth.

Fighting against every impulse to shove it deeper, Lex watches Clark give his first blowjob. God, that mouth finally on him, after all of these months. It's messy and a little rough, with the occasional scourge of teeth, and wet, slurping sounds that keep it almost painfully honest. Those eyes watching him as Clark's chin and cheeks get wet from his enthusiastic lapping and sucking, like he's done this his whole life.

The jealousy's back, thin and green under the red haze, and Lex tries to make a joke. "This is your first time doing this, right? You didn't forget to tell me about you and Pete, too?"

Clark laughs then chokes, drawing back. "You're just trying to distract me."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Gee, I don't know, Lex. Maybe because you're a control freak." He ducks as Lex throws a pillow at him.

"It's the only-child syndrome. Just look at you. Now lie on your stomach."

"Geez, listen to him giving orders. Like I said, control freak." Clark flops down onto the mattress, smirking. "I just like it when things go my way."

"Same difference." Lex climbs over Clark, a knee on either side of his hips. Clark's so big, taking over the bed; it's hard to remember how young he is. "We just have different methods of going about it." With his hands on Clark's shoulders, Lex licks between them, his cock firm against Clark's spine.

"That's nice," Clark says, wiggling. "Are you finally going to...?"

"Not yet."

"Lex, has anyone ever told you that you're a tease?"

When he tries to rub against the sheets, Lex stills him with his teeth in the fleshiest part of Clark's shoulder, holding him there. "Let me do this. When I'm finished, that's when I'll fuck you."

"Promises, promises. Just see if I rescue you the next time you're in trouble."

It's the first time that Lex has ever laughed during sex. "You'd do it anyway. It's in your blood." With Clark's back so wide and untouched, Lex returns to it, leaving no curve or line dry. Clark's noises start again, and Lex wishes he'd stop; each one drives the need higher, and coming all over Clark's back like a horny teenager isn't the statement he wants to make.

When Clark is slick and glowing, Lex moves lower. His fingers leave quickly-fading red marks on the pale skin of Clark's ass, and so do his teeth. It's so full in his hands, urging him to spread Clark wide and fill him, but Lex is strong, kissing, squeezing and biting until Clark chants, "Do it. Do it. Do it." Gripping Clark's hips, Lex pulls his ass high, leaving him resting on his hands and knees, his cock away from the lure of the soft sheet. "Soon," he says, and grasps each round cheek before pulling wide.

"Lex, you're not going to--"

"Yes, I am."

"But it's--"

"Hot. It's really hot, Clark, to see you like this." And it is, to see this part of Clark that no one else has, with the skin pink as his mouth, darkening to a twilight purple deeper inside him. A round swipe of his tongue, and Clark cries out, burying his face in the pillow. Rich taste like plums, and Lex could do this forever, lick Clark's ass until they both come from it. He gets this urge for a cigarette, something he hasn't had since he was sixteen and hanging out in sleazy bars, but Lex remembers the nerve-soothing calm of it. His body's quaking like he's had too much caffeine, cups and cups of coffee, wider awake and more aware than he's ever been.

While this is a first for Clark, to be penetrated by a tongue, Lex is experiencing firsts of his own. Sex with Victoria was all cheap acrobatics and one-upmanship; with Desiree, it was surreal and vaguely distant, like an old dream he could never quite remember. With Clark, it's like he's always waking up. They met in a metaphor, and like it or not, it informs everything they do: Lex is fated to feel like a mystic reaching God. So much the better that his god has the sweetest, firmest ass in the world, and loves having it rimmed. Anyone can convert with the right incentive.

Clark rocks back, and they're cheek to cheek, doing a beautiful, perverse dance, accompanied by the creaking bed as Clark starts vibrating again. Lex holds on tight and licks shapes onto Clark's skin, into it: a long river, a square box, a rearing horse. How many symbols can fit on the tip of a tongue? He loses count, tracing more, licking deeper and deeper, while Clark gets wetter and wetter, his noises louder. Still, he tightens every time Lex plunges his tongue back in, so it's like new every time. The rhythm's dizzying, tight-loose, open-closed, and Lex is so greedy for him that he licks almost too long. He's glad the window's closed; Clark's keening, the bed is crashing so hard that a fine marble dust is spilling from the wall, and the last thing they need is the police.

With things on the edge of chaos, Lex reaches between Clark's legs and tests his cock. It's vibrating, too, the blood pulsing, and it's almost time. "On your back." Gently, he helps Clark flip over, staying between his legs.

"Lex," Clark says, looking like an El Greco saint, somewhere between pained and ecstatic, "now?"

"We're almost there." His tone is soothing, with Clark ready to break. Stretching over him, Lex picks up his glass of juice, drinking it down, then grabs the lube, settling back to squeeze a cool dollop into his palm, dipping his fingers in until they're as wet as Clark. The first one slides in easily, with Clark so open from his tongue, and they both sigh. Lex has never been so obsessed with penetration before, but he wants as much of himself in Clark as he can get.

So beautiful to see his finger enclosed, swallowed to the knuckle. "You're so hungry for it," he says. The referent is unclear. Clark doesn't seem to notice, or maybe doesn't care, lying there with his hand covering his face, his breathing so ragged it sounds like he's crying. His cock is as flushed as his face, big and stiff on his stomach, and when Lex twists his finger, angling it just right, Clark arcs and stays that way for seconds.

When he drops back, his hand falling to his side, he whispers, "Lex. I'm going to...I can't...Please..."

Lex can't refuse, not now. It's inevitable, his body screaming for it after months of built-up tension. And Clark looks too good, wants it too much, melting into the damp sheet. It's what Clark would look like if he'd been the one drowned in the river, vulnerable and overwhelmed, and Lex frees his hand to fumble blindly for the lube, then spreads some onto his own cock. "Wrap your legs around me."

"Don't know if I can lift them," Clark says, but does it anyway.

On his knees, Lex takes his cock and positions it against Clark. Not entering him, not yet, just holding himself there, memorizing details, like Clark's dazed eyes and his soft open mouth. "Tell me you want it."

"Lex..."

"Tell me."

"Want it."

"Tell me what you want." He rubs in slow, vengeful circles, because Clark did this, put his cock against someone else and pushed it in.

"Inside me. I want you inside me."

"Tell me you want my cock."

"I need it."

"Say it."

"I didn't want her, Lex. I wanted you. I want your cock inside me."

This is the hardest part, not to ram himself in, be swallowed whole. Not to come, either, as the head of Lex's cock begins to open him, to stretch Clark tight, and he's held in a saving grip. Lex looks down, then up, wanting to see Clark's face as he's fucked for the first time, his ass as he take Lex's cock. Face wins, because looking at Clark at any time is the biggest turn-on of all.

"More," Clark says, and he's watching as hard as Lex is.

"I don't want to hurt you."

"Can't hurt me."

Lex slides in another inch, and, God, his heart's beating too fast. So tight, hotter than summer, and he's not going to last. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. This is supposed to take hours, prove everything, and he's ready to come like a kid doing it for the first time in a borrowed car. "Clark, I..."

"Just--"

At Clark's forceful arch up, Lex is in, all the way inside him, so deep it has to hurt, so good it has to end. Lex grits his teeth, thinks of hated things, like his father and Clark inside a girl, and is able to move, slowly, awkwardly. He wants to explain, but that would mean confession, and this isn't a church. At least Clark's making all the right sounds; he'd threatened to break before, and now it seems like he has, his head back, his trembling legs locked tight around Lex's waist.

There's only one thing to do, and Lex takes Clark's cock in his hand and strokes his thumb over that sensitive, slick head. Does it again while he tries another ragged thrust. A mistake, as Clark's whole body tenses, clutching him tight, hot enough to sear his skin and dissolve his bones. He stops dead, far inside Clark, farther than anyone will ever go. As Clark's cock throbs, and the bedframe threatens to shatter, Lex says, "Now," like he's perfectly in control.

It's redundant: Clark's calling out Lex's name, his body convex, shaking hard as he comes in sticky bursts over Lex's hand. The sight--it's like being at the crucifixion, watching something bright, dark and eternal, and Lex can't move, just stays buried inside him to experience it all.

But all is too much, and Lex breaks on the last echo of his name, comes in a long rush, pouring like a river inside Clark. Says his name, can't help it, thinks, "Mine, mine, mine," and shoves himself deeper. It lasts impossibly long, not long enough, and he's about to spill out something hidden deep when Clark spares him with a kiss. They stay like that, locked above and below, until Lex can breathe again. His head falls against Clark's shoulder, and he lies there panting, listening to Clark's heart.

Vague sense of Clark's hand on his skull, holding him in place, and his eyes drift shut. He failed, but he's so comfortable here, even as his cock slips out of Clark.

"Lex."

He mumbles something.

"Thanks," Clark says.

"For what?"

"Helping with my biology paper."

Lex forces his eyes open to catch the sleepy grin. "I doubt this is the kind of research your teacher had in mind."

"Too bad. I'd ace this class for sure."

"I'd give you an `A.'"

"Was it...Did you like it?"

"Did you? Better than cheap sex in a Ferrari?"

Clark's smile fades. "It was way better. Just kissing you is way better."

Feeling like his father and hating it, Lex lifts himself up and kisses him soundly. This is an apology situation, but that would mean untangling the Gordian knot inside him. It's cheating to use his tongue in this other way, but denial is a Luthor tradition. Guilt, though, is not--it's something new and uncomfortable that he learned from Clark- -and he decides to make up for it later, after they've slept. Only he falls so soundly asleep, waking up only when Clark touches his shoulder, that he doesn't get the chance.

Blinking, he sees Clark standing beside the bed, fully dressed. "You're leaving?"

"Lex, I've got to go or my dad'll skin me alive. Even my mom won't be able to stop him. Can I come by tomorrow?"

Lex has been dreaming about horses and retribution, about a kid so strong he puts Lex to shame. "I've got some business to take care of. I'll call you."

"Okay."

A last kiss, then he says, "Be good."

"If you want me good, don't kiss me like that." One of those big, wide grins. "Goodnight, Lex."

"`Night, Clark." He yanks the quilt over his naked body and cradles the pillow, expecting instant sleep. It doesn't happen. There's a pile of unsaid words vibrating inside him, and he finally gives in, throwing on some clothes. His father's like Faust's dark angel sitting on his shoulder, whispering lessons about public displays of emotion.

His father can go to hell, and doubtless will. `It's about finding a balance,' Lex had said about Martha Kent, only it can't happen if you don't put yourself on the scale. Clark did, staying when it was easier to go, pushing with his pizza and his shower and his grin when it was easier to stay a thousand miles away from someone with issues the size of a very old, empty castle.

As he heads down to the garage, Lex tries on one of Clark's grins, and it fits surprisingly well.

Epilogue

It's history class, and Mr. Jackson is droning about something very important that happened a million years ago. Clark tries to care because school is what separates the hens from the roosters, at least according to his dad, who's been away from school long enough to think he liked it. Caring is hard, though, with his body tingling in very personal places after last night. The things Lex did to him, the things he did to Lex...

The desk's too small, and he shifts. The chair scrapes against the tiles, and Mr. Jackson gives him a Look. Clark looks back, using his innocent face, hoping the other stuff doesn't show. He's been worried about that all day, that his friends will be able to tell what him and Lex did, all the dirty naked things that get him hard just remembering. His mom was waiting up when he got home, and she said, "Clark, is everything okay?" And he swore she knew, `cos his mom's the one with the real X-ray vision, although she didn't seem mad. Chloe and Lana gave him looks at lunch, too, and maybe he's acting a little weird. Hiding the truth about having alien superpowers is one thing; hiding the truth about having sex with Lex Luthor's another.

At a tap on his shoulder, he turns around, and Pete shoves a note in his hand. Hiding behind his textbook, Clark unfolds the crumpled paper:

"What's up? You got PMS or something?

PS. Don't let Chloe see this."

He flips Pete the bird and almost gets nabbed by Mr. Jackson, who's staring at him over his glasses, which have slid down his nose. All he needs is detention--bad enough that he's got to do his chores before heading back to Lex's. If Lex wants him back.

When Clark called at lunch, Lex wasn't in, and on a bathroom break during English, tried again. No luck. Before he left last night, Lex had said he'd be busy today, something he had to take care of. It didn't sound like a brush- off, not with the kiss that made Clark's insides feel like strawberry jam, but Lex can be hard to read.

They didn't really talk about what happened, just did all that incredible stuff, and that's enough, isn't it? In Smallville, if a boy and girl do that, they're going steady, or one of them's a slut. Whacked on red meteor rocks, Clark had acted like a slut with Jessie in Lex's red Ferrari. He'd been a jerk, but she had a boyfriend back in Metropolis who was apparently better at it than Clark, so he didn't feel too bad. She'd been thinking about the boyfriend, and he'd been thinking about Lex, so it kind of balanced out.

Was Lex a slut? He'd had all those girlfriends, and he'd even married that stupid Miss Atkins after only two weeks, after she put the meteor-mojo on him. But Lex always talks about him and Clark like their friendship's special--he wouldn't just have sex with him and move on, would he? What did Lex say about Victoria? "Relationships aren't always about love, Clark. Sometimes they're about mutual goals."

Still, Clark's no expert, but the sex seemed pretty fantastic, for him and for Lex. Unless it's always like that for Lex, no matter who he's with. Clark wishes there was a book like that "Men Are From Mars" full of tips for when you've done dirty naked things with your best friend. The truth is, Clark's kind of crushing on Lex in a big way, has been for months, only the volume's turned even higher now. If last night was only about getting off, he...Well, he doesn't know what he'll do.

Time crawls by at three times longer than normal speed, and he ends up counting the minutes, then the seconds, before the final bell. He's the first one out the door, shouting, "Later!" to Pete, waving at Lana and Chloe as he races through the halls.

It's so bright outside that he bumps into Marty Roberts, then Geoff Rider, mumbling, "Sorry," as he earns himself a place in the geek hall of fame. He'd love to skip his chores, but his dad would go into lecture-mode and maybe ground him, then he'd never see Lex again. His dad's already shaky about Lex, what with the whole rich playboy thing, even though Lex saved his life and is employing half the town.

Then he's on the road, running fast as he can. Houses blur, then yellow fields, and the rush reminds him of Lex, Lex pushing inside him, Lex saying his name as he comes. Runs even faster, the wind a sharp whistle, the air cold as the inside of his mom's storage freezer. Lex better like him. Lex better like him a whole lot. Lex better not be using him for some `mutual goal'. Lex better--

Clark realizes he's just run two counties past the farm. Whirling around, he zips back, the world a smear of blue, brown and red, and makes it to the farm in record time. Does his chores extra fast, leaving the cows looking stunned. He pats one on the head, then bursts into the kitchen. "Anyone call?"

His mom's standing over the counter, kneading dough. There are six more loaves cooling nearby, one of them sliced and sending a delicious smell through the room. "No calls, but--"

"Chores done?" His dad sits at the kitchen table, tooling with a tractor part. A square white box rests in the center, a Fed-Ex envelope on top.

"Done."

"That Lex Luthor sent you something again, Clark," his dad says. "I thought he'd stopped that nonsense. Whatever it is, you're returning it."

Clark's heart, which didn't change speed during a sixty-mile run, suddenly goes wild. "Dad..." He decides to look into the box before making a scene. At first, he doesn't get it: just a bunch of broken pieces of metal, some covered with chipped red paint. Then he sees the logo: a silver horse rearing on its hind legs. "Dad, how much does a Ferrari cost?"

"A nice chunk of change, even by Luthor standards. Good Lord, he didn't give you a Ferrari?" His dad sounds horrified.

"Dad, there's no way you could fit a Ferrari into a box this size. Not unless you smashed it into a million pieces."

"I think there's a card." His mom turns and gives him a quick smile. There's flour on her nose.

He tears open the envelope, keeping his head down because his face is red as his mother's hair, and pulls out the note. It's written on a single sheet of thick white paper, and all it says is:

"I owed you this.

LL

PS. I'm ready for more pizza."

Clark reads it one more time, trying to breathe like a normal person, since it seems like Lex isn't a slut after all. "I'm going to Lex's for awhile. Is that okay?"

"I don't like it, son. One mysterious package and a royal decree, and you're running off--"

His mom picks up a slice of fresh bread and puts it in his dad's mouth, rumpling his hair, while he gives her a look between exasperated and tender. "I'm glad you're spending time with Lex," she says. "I think he needs someone like you for balance." And she goes back to kneading her dough.