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The Challenge: Clark/Lex, pre-relationship, trapped together by an accident, one of them suffering from amnesia and coming on to the other. Challenge by: Chris
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Rating: R
Disclaimers: Smallville characters do not belong to me. I'm just borrowing them. No profit being made etc. The scientific elements of this story are based partly on internet research and partly on total conjecture. I am not a scientist. Thanks to: Aly for her invaluable daily input on this story. Without her, it would never have been as coherent as it (hopefully) is. Thanks also to Dori for the final (and very thorough) beta.

All I want is to love you
All I need is to get through
What I believe is a light in the dark
The crying of a waking heart
-- Donna Summer

Clark paced the ER waiting room and kept checking the swinging doors for Pete, who was in with his sick niece. I hope everything's okay, he thought.

Pete had called him an hour ago, frantic, telling Clark that the one-year-old had a high fever and he couldn't wake her up. Pete's older brother and his wife had gone to Metropolis for the night to see a play, leaving Pete to watch Celia. Pete's parents had gone to a civic meeting and no one answered the phone at town hall when he called. Clark had rushed over and zipped young Celia to the hospital, while Pete followed along in the family car.

While he waited, Clark noticed the waiting room filling up with lots of people. A lot of those who came through the doors looked worn and bedraggled like they had a bad case of the flu. Some had red, swollen faces and others were coughing harshly.

``Is she alright?'' Clark asked when Pete finally came out of the examining room.

``They're not sure, Clark,'' Pete said, sounding worried. ``It looks like some kind of virus and she's really dehydrated. They need to admit her and I have to call my brother. I already tried to reach my parents but there was no answer at the town hall.''

Clark nodded and Pete went over to a pay phone to make the call. Just then, Lex strode through the hallway doors and toward the emergency room exit. He was dressed impeccably, as always, in a black suit and a white dress shirt.

``Lex! What are you doing here?''

``Hey, Clark. I was attending a hospital board meeting.''

``You're on the hospital board? Since when?''

``They asked me to join about a month ago, but this was my first meeting. I guess they felt it was the least they could do after the Helen debacle. I figured it could only help my image in the community. Why are you here?''

``Pete's niece is sick. Some kind of virus. They'll probably have to admit her.''

``I'm sorry to hear that, Clark. Is there anything I can do? Fly in a specialist from Metropolis?''

``I don't think Pete would say no, Lex. He's pretty worried. Celia is dehydrated and has a high fever.''

Lex nodded. ``I'll see what I can do,'' he said, taking out his cell phone, but Clark interrupted him before he dialed.

``Why were you going out this door?''

``I heard there was a bunch of press in the front lobby. They've been hovering ever since I got back from the island. I wanted to avoid them,'' he said, then began dialing as he stepped over a more secluded part of the waiting room.

``That was weird,'' Pete said when he came back to Clark. ``I was talking to my brother and the phone just went dead in the middle of our conversation. I couldn't even get a dial tone after that.'' He nodded toward Lex. ``What's he doing here?''

``He wants to help, Pete. He's going to try and reach a specialist in Metropolis.''

Pete looked relieved and grateful.

Lex was looking at his phone strangely as he walked back toward Clark and Pete. ``That was odd. I was talking to one of our researchers and the line just went dead. Now I can't get any reception at all.''

``Same thing happened to me, man!'' Pete said.

Just then a nurse walked out into the middle of the waiting room and asked for everyone's attention.

``I have an announcement to make. This ER has been exposed to a potentially lethal contagion and we are closing it down, as per health code regulations.'' There was a lot of murmuring at that and Clark exchanged a curious look with Lex and Pete. ``No one will be allowed to leave or enter this ER until we've identified the pathogen and found a way to contain it. Security personnel are guarding all entrances to and from the ER and will not allow anyone through the doors. All phone communications have been shut down to forestall any panic or misinformation.'' The nurse walked back through the doors while dozens of people yelled questions at her. She ignored them.

``Do you think it has something to do with Celia? Could she have this thing?'' Pete asked.

``I don't know, Pete. Maybe. Or it could be someone else. I think there'd have to be a few other sick people before they'd close things down like this. I've seen quite a few sick-looking people coming in for the past couple of hours.''

``Clark's right, Pete. They don't close hospitals down on a whim. There've got to be lots of other infected people here.''

``I should go check on Celia,'' Pete said and took off.

``How are you feeling, Clark?''

``Me? I'm fine.''

``If there is some kind of virus going around the hospital, there's a chance that we all might get it.''

``I guess you're right. I wish there was something we could do.''

``There might be something I can do,'' Lex said. ``I'll be back in a minute.''

``How much longer do we have to wait?'' an older woman asked one of the nurses at the front desk.

``I don't know, Ma'am, but it could be awhile. Why don't you just take a seat and relax? I'm sure someone will be out soon to make an announcement.''

``I don't like this,'' the woman complained. ``You can't keep us against our will.'' She coughed then and the nurse flinched.

``We can if the health department decides that allowing you to leave could pose a threat to the general public,'' the nurse said. She sounded impatient. ``You will probably have to be tested for the contagion before you can leave.''

Tested? Clark thought. How was he going to avoid that? He should have thought of that. There had to be a way for him to sneak out of here. But should he? He most likely wouldn't get the virus, but he might very well pass it on to others.

But how would he avoid a needle? Not that he was worried they'd get his blood, but a needle would break on his skin. How would he explain that?

When Lex came out of the bathroom, he saw Clark standing in the middle of the waiting room looking very worried. His face was pinched as if he was thinking about something bothersome.

``Clark, is something wrong?''

``Hmm? No, I'm just thinking about Pete's niece.''

``Have you heard anything?''

``Nothing new. Where'd you go?''

Lex gestured at Clark to follow him to a more private spot behind some plants. He leaned over and whispered in Clark's ear.

``I was able to get through to LexCorp using a special frequency to tap into Luthorcorp's private cell tower. They did some checking and it looks like the CDC has been called. They should be getting here fairly soon. I'm also having some of my researchers head to Smallville with a portable lab to volunteer services to the CDC.''

``You always come through, Lex,'' Clark said.

Lex gave him a rare smile. ``I'm glad you think so.''

They heard a commotion break out behind them and turned to see a group of people standing at the admit desk, arguing with the receptionist.

``You can't keep us here!'' one man yelled.

``We want to talk to someone in charge!'' said another.

Then others echoed them, talking over each other. The receptionist tried to speak over them to no avail. Lex confidently walked up to the crowd at the desk and whistled loudly to get their attention. They all stopped talking and looked at him.

``We all just need to calm down, folks. I'm sure the authorities will let us know what's happening as soon as they know,'' he said and turned to look at the receptionist. ``Maybe we could have a radio or a television to keep updated?'' he suggested.

``I'll see what I can do,'' she said and went to find someone in charge.

``I'm tired of waiting!'' a large woman said as soon as the receptionist was gone. ``We need to get the hell out of here.''

The others murmured in agreement with her and followed her to the door of the ER. Clark ran over to stop them. Clark looked suddenly queasy, as if he was going to pass out. Oh God, Clark is sick, Lex thought and walked toward him.

``Wait!'' Clark said, holding onto his stomach. ``We can't take a chance that we'll spread this virus - or whatever it is - to other people. We all have family and friends and I'm sure none of us want to see them get sick. If we could all just have a little patience...''

``Fuck patience!'' the large woman said. ``Get out of my way, sonny.'' She moved forward and a crowd surged with her. Clark didn't budge. Did he really think he was going to be able to stop a mob of angry people? The woman was enraged. She raised her purse high and swung it down onto Clark's head. Clark crumpled right before Lex's eyes and fell in a heap.

Security guards burst through the door and held the crowd at bay with guns drawn.

``Someone help me move him!'' Lex called out. Two hospital staffers came running and they helped Lex carry Clark into an examining room. A nurse followed them in and took Clark's vital signs. Clark didn't move.

``A doctor will be in soon.''

``That's all you're going to do? He could have a head injury!''

``His vital signs are normal. The doctor will be in soon. We're in the middle of a crisis, in case you hadn't noticed,'' she said sarcastically and closed the door.

``Clark? Clark? Are you okay? Clark, can you hear me?'' Lex called, shaking his shoulder gently.

Clark opened his eyes and pressed his hand against his forehead. ``Where am I?'' He glanced around the room.

``In the hospital. A woman hit you with her purse and knocked you out. We carried you back to this examination room. The doctor is supposed to be in soon. Are you okay?''

Clark looked at Lex, studying his face. He looked puzzled. ``Who are you?''

``Clark? Are you kidding? It's Lex. Are you know your name?''

``You keep calling me Clark. Is that my name?''

``You're not sure?''

``I wouldn't be asking if I was!''

``I'm sorry, Clark. I'm just a little surprised.'' Then Lex explained everything that happened in the last couple of hours.

``Why are you here? Do I know you?''

``Yes, we're friends. You might even say best friends,'' Lex told him. His voice held a note of affection.

Clark looked at him, studying his face. ``Best friends?'' he asked, smiling.

``Yes, Clark.''

``How did we meet?''

Before he could answer, the doctor came in and Lex was shuffled out of the room. ``I'll try to reach your parents,'' he called out to Clark before the door closed.

``I'm Dr. Lewis. How are you feeling?''

``Um, okay, I guess.''

The doctor ran a light over his eyes and asked Clark to follow it.

``Any dizziness?''

``A little, I guess.''

``Any vomiting?''

``No, not so far.''

``What day is it?''

``Day? Of the week? I'm not sure.''

``What is your name?''

``I don't remember.''

The doctor looked at him curiously. ``You don't remember?''

``Well, L..., um, my friend said it was Clark, but I don't have any memory of it.''

``Hmm. There may be some swelling on the brain. I'll order a CAT scan. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to reach your parents with communications down, but I think we should go ahead and scheduled the test in any case.''

``Okay,'' Clark agreed.

Just then Pete burst through the door. ``Clark, man, what's up? I heard you got clocked.''

``Who are you?'' Clark asked.

``What?! You don't remember me? We've only been best friends our whole lives.''

``But Lex said he was my best friend.''

``He wishes! Man, you and I go way back. You lost your memory? This sucks!''

``Young man, I am conducting an examination, as you can see.''

``Sorry, man. Lex said Clark was hurt and I had to check on him.''

``Who are you?'' Clark repeated.

Pete sighed. ``Pete. Pete Ross.''

``I'm sorry I forgot you, Pete,'' Clark said sincerely.

``That's okay, Clark. I'm sure your memory will come back,'' Pete said and reluctantly left the room.

``You might have to wait awhile before someone can come and get you in for a CAT scan. The hospital is a little crazy with the virus scare,'' Dr. Lewis said. ``The best thing for you to do is stay here and rest.''

``Can my friend come back and stay with me?''


``No, Lex.''

``I'll send him in if I see him.''

Clark lay back on the examining table while he waited for Lex. He wondered just how close the two of them were. Best friends, Lex had said. But it was the way he'd said it that made Clark think maybe there was something more than friendship between them. Lex's voice had gotten all soft and affectionate. Clark's stomach did flip-flops when he heard it. He wondered if he was just imagining it. He probably wasn't in his right mind, what with being hit on the head and all.

Plus, Lex was sexy in an older guy kinda way. And he had a really great voice. And his mouth. He had that little scar on his lip. If that wasn't a turn-on, Clark didn't know what was...

``Clark!'' The door swung open and Pete appeared again. Clark tried to hide his disappointment that it wasn't Lex.

``Pete, right? What's up?''

``You didn't tell them anything did you?''

``About what?''

``About your abilities?''

``I have no idea what you're talking about, Pete.''

``Oh great. That's just great. You don't remember that either?''

``Can you fill me in?''

``God, this is hard. Look, you have special abilities, Clark. Superhuman abilities. You're super strong, for one thing. And really fast. And you can set things on fire with your eyes.''

``How is that possible?''

``You're an alien, Clark.''

``What?! Are you kidding me?" Clark was stunned.

``No, it's okay. Don't freak, man. You were just a kid when you're birth parents sent you here in a small spaceship. It landed on earth in the middle of a meteor shower, so no one saw it. The Kents, your adoptive parents, took you in and hid the spaceship.''

Clark shook his head skeptically. ``A spaceship?''

``I know, Clark, but it's true. And you have to be careful and hide your abilities. You've been doing it for years.''

``Then how do you know about them?''

``That's a long story. But you need to keep quiet about them. Otherwise, someone might take you away and lock you in a lab and do nasty experiments on you. No one knows except your parents and me.''

``Not even Lex?''

``Especially not Lex! Don't tell him anything. He's been digging into your past ever since you saved his life.''

``I saved his life?'' Hmm. That was interesting. Could that be how they'd gotten so close? Could it have led to them becoming intimate? Pete certainly wasn't acting like Lex was Clark's boyfriend. But maybe he and Lex were keeping it a secret. Or maybe Lex did know about Clark's secret and they kept it quiet to protect Clark.

``Yeah, when his car went into the river. You peeled the top off his car and pulled him out.''

``Peeled the top off his car?'' Clark asked incredulously. ``I'm that strong?''

``You have no idea! You're practically invincible. Bullets bounce off your skin, man!''

``Then how did I end up unconscious with amnesia?''

``Oh yeah. I checked on that. The lady who hit you? She had a piece of a meteor rock on her purse as a decoration.''

``Meteor rock?'' Things were getting weirder and weirder, Clark thought.

``Yeah. They came down with the ship and they're the only things that can make you weak, Clark. They make you really sick. They might even be able to kill you if you're exposed to them for a long time. Stay away from any rocks that look shiny and green.''

``This is all a little hard to believe, Pete.''

``I know. I know. But it'll be okay. Just be careful. And don't let them try and take any blood because you'll break the needle. They're taking blood from everyone because of the virus. Keep giving them excuses. You can do it. Just check with me if you're not sure about something, okay?''

Clark nodded. ``Okay, Pete. Thanks for letting me know,'' he said, but he didn't sound very positive. Everything was getting complicated.

``It'll be okay, Clark. Really.''

Clark shrugged. ``Oh! Lex told me that we came here because your niece got sick. Is she okay?''

``They're still not sure yet, Clark. She might have the virus that's going around.''

``I'm sorry, Pete.''

``Thanks, man. You just rest up. I need to go back and check on Celia.''

The door opened again. ``Am I interrupting anything?''

``Lex!'' Clark greeted him cheerfully and then realized he should probably tone it down a bit, especially if they were keeping their relationship a secret. He wished he knew for sure if Lex was aware of his secret. It would things a lot easier to deal with.

``I was just leaving,'' Pete said, brushing past Lex.

``Oh, Pete, I was able to reach your parents and explained the situation. They said they would contact your brother and they would all probably head to the hospital and await news where the crowds are gathered outside.''

``Thanks, man. That's a relief.'' He let the door close.

Lex turned to look at Clark. ``How are you feeling, Clark?''

Clark gave Lex his biggest smile and rubbed his head. ``A little dizzy still, but okay. I'm glad you're here,'' he said and patted a spot on the examining table. ``Sit.''

Lex stepped closer but didn't sit. ``You should probably be lying down, Clark.''

``I will if you stay with me.'' Lex looked surprised but pleased. Good, Clark thought. ``I'm kinda bored in here.''

Lex nodded and sat in one of the nearby chairs. It had blue plastic cushions on the seat and back.

Clark lay down on his side, facing Lex. ``Can you tell me how we met?''

Lex winced and took a deep breath. ``It's kind of a long story, Clark.''

``We have time. Right?''

Lex thought about that for a minute and then nodded. ``It was the day I arrived in Smallville almost three years ago. My father put me in charge of the fertilizer plant here. I was driving down the road in my Porsche...''

Clark whistled. ``Porsche? Wow. Are you rich?''

Lex laughed. Clark liked his smile. ``I am,'' he said..

``Cool. So, what happened next?''

``I was driving over a bridge when a roll of coiled wire fell off a truck in front of me. I saw it too late and I drove over it, causing my car to swerve and hit...the railing of the bridge.'' Clark wondered why Lex hesitated. ``I apparently went over the edge and into the river. Luckily, you were there and you saved me.''

``Really?'' It was an interesting story, but Clark felt like Lex was telling it about someone else. ``How? Did I go in after you?''

``That's what you told me. I passed out and would have drowned if you hadn't gone in after me. You even gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.'' Lex's voice got a little deeper for a second and Clark felt his heart flutter.

He does like me! I knew it! Clark thought. But he was still uncertain if they were in a relationship. He needed to find out.

``What happened after that?''

``We became friends. Good friends. And we still are.'' Lex smiled.

``How good?'' Clark asked, his voice dropping a little. Wow, he didn't know his voice could sound like that.

``What do you mean, Clark?''

Clark sat up and got off the table and stood in front of Lex. He bent himself at the knees, using the armrests on Lex's chair for leverage. ``You said we became good friends, so I was wondering how good?'' Clark let one of his hands cover Lex's.

Lex looked surprised. ``Clark?''

There was a knock on the door, which startled both of them. Lex stood up abruptly, causing Clark to let go of the chair and fall backwards, landing on his ass.

The door opened and Dr. Lewis stepped in.

``Clark, I'm sorry,'' Lex said, offering his hand.

``What are you doing up, young man? You need to be resting.'' He helped Lex maneuver Clark back to the examining table.

``I'm fine. Really.''

``That has not been determined yet,'' Dr Lewis said.

``Will he be getting that CAT scan soon, doctor?''

``No, I'm afraid not. There is too much chaos in the hospital. Right now they are using all available medical staff to draw blood from patients to test for the virus.''

``I will need to draw your blood, Mr. Kent,'' the doctor said. Remembering what Pete said, panic rolled through Clark in an instant.

``No!'' he shouted, causing Lex and the doctor to look at him with concern. ``I have a fear of needles and I already feel kind of dizzy from my head injury. Couldn't it wait until later? I don't have any symptoms from the virus. Is one more vial of blood really going to make a difference in making a diagnosis for everyone else?''

The doctor seemed to consider this. ``I suppose not. And I really don't want your condition to deteriorate. I may need to come back later, though, if a high percentage of people turn out to be infected.''

Clark nodded. ``Okay.''

``In the meantime, I want you lying down! Mr. Luthor, you are to make certain that he does.''

``Yes, doctor. I will.''

The doctor nodded and left the room.

``Are you sure you don't have any viral symptoms? Just before that women hit you, you looked kind of unsteady, as if you were about to collapse.''

``I'm fine, Lex, really. Could you go find Pete? I really need to see him.''

``I'm not supposed to leave you, Clark.''

``It's okay. I promise to stay here and lie down. But I need to talk to Pete.''

``Alright. I'm going to hold you to your word.''

After he left, Clark thought back to the moment just before the doctor had come in. Lex had seemed startled when Clark had gotten close enough to kiss him. Maybe they weren't as intimate as Clark had hoped. Darn it, he thought. Now what?

But Clark was certain that Lex felt more than friendship. The way he looked at Clark. The way his voice changed when he talked about Clark performing CPR on him. The way he just seemed to wear his emotions out in the open when Clark was around. Surely, he wasn't imagining all that? Maybe Lex was just uncertain about making the first move himself. He looked like he was older than Clark, so maybe the age difference bothered him. Clark needed to find out. But right now, he needed to talk to Pete about the needle problem.

When Pete came back, he was alone. Clark hoped that Lex would let them talk privately.

``What's up?'' Pete said by way of greeting. He looked tired and flushed.

``Are you okay, Pete?''

``Yeah, fine. I'm just worried about my niece. She has a high fever and they're trying to bring it down. How are you feeling?''

``I'm okay. They just want me to lie down until they get a chance to do a CAT scan. I might have a concussion.''

``You're probably fine, but you should wait to be sure. Those meteor rocks are nothing to fool around with.''

``Yeah, but the doctor said they're taking blood samples from everyone.''

``They can't take one from you, Clark.''

``I know! I managed to get him to back off this time, but I don't think I can put him off forever.''

``Well, if they're insistent, they're just going to get a bunch of broken needles.''

``Wouldn't that make them suspicious?''

``Yeah, I'm pretty sure it would.''

``What should I do?''

Pete thought it over for a minute. He looked completely perplexed. ``Hey! I have an idea! Maybe I could borrow that lady's purse and bring it in here when they draw blood. That might weaken you enough to get the needle in your skin.''

That sounded a little risky to Clark. And Pete wasn't looking so hot. Maybe he was infected, too?

``Wait. That won't work `cause then we'd have to find a way to steal your blood before they could test it. Jeez, this is complicated! How do your parents do it?''

``I don't remember.''

Pete sighed and closed his eyes. He looked more tired by the minute. ``Maybe I should borrow Lex's phone to call your parents and ask them.''

``Okay.'' Clark wanted to put all his faith in Pete because there was no one else right now. Not even Lex and that made him sad. He wished he could trust Lex.

``Hey, Pete, why haven't I ever told Lex about my abilities?''

``Are you crazy? Have you forgotten who is father is?''

``Uh, actually, yes.''

``Lionel Luthor is ruthless and would have you locked up in a lab in a heartbeat if he even suspected you were an alien.''

``But what does that have to do with Lex? He seems pretty trustworthy to me.''

``Lex is just Lionel in training. Someday, he's going to be as bad as his father. You can't tell him anything.''

``Okay. If you say so.''

``I do.''

``Pete, can I ask you a question?''

``Sure. Go ahead.''

``Am I...'' Clark swallowed. ``Am I gay?''

``What?! No! You're in love with Lana.''

``Who's Lana?''

``The girl of your dreams, man. You've been crazy about her since we were all kids.''

``Am I dating her?''

``Not anymore. You broke up. But you're trying to win her back.''

``Hmm. Okay.''

``Why did you think you were gay?''

``I don't know. It's just that, well, Lex...''

``Lex! Lex isn't gay either! I know the purple shirts can throw you off a little. But jeez, man, how hard did that lady hit you? Lex was married. Twice.''

Purple shirts? ``Twice? Really? I didn't remember that.''

``You sound disappointed.''

``No, it's not that. I'm just...confused, I guess.''

``Man, you need to lie down and now. And keep those needles away from your arms. I'll go find Lex and borrow his phone.''

``Pete, it looks like you need to lie down yourself. You look awfully flushed. You might be getting this virus.''

``As soon as I reach your parents, I'll go rest. Okay?''

Pete left again.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a play and everyone around me is a character. They leave, they come back, but I have no idea what's going on behind stage, Clark thought.

Lex came into the room a couple of minutes later. ``So, you talked to Pete?''

``Yeah. Did he ask to borrow your phone to call my folks?''

``He's got it now.''


``Anytime, Clark.''

``Listen, about before. I'm sorry if I sounded a little...weird.''

``Don't worry about it, Clark. It's forgotten.''

``I'm not so sure I want it to be forgotten,'' Clark said quietly.

``I'm sorry?'' Lex looked confused again. And quite possibly scared. Perhaps even hopeful?

``I don't want to forget it.''

``I'm not sure what you mean by that, Clark.''

``Look, I might have amnesia, but I know how I feel, okay? And maybe I've been afraid to say it before but I want to say it now. I'm attracted to you, Lex. And I think you might feel the same way.'' Unable to look at Lex, he watched his feet instead.

Several minutes passed. Then he heard Lex exhale loudly.

``Clark, maybe these aren't the best circumstances to talk about this.''

Clark looked up then, and he saw Lex's emotions written all over his face. Regret. Love. Longing. It was all there as plain as day.

``Lex,'' Clark said and moved toward him, not listening to the words coming out of Lex's mouth, but responding to the feelings expressed in Lex's eyes.

``Clark, we can't...''

Clark pressed him against the wall of the examining room and began kissing him as if he'd been given permission.

Lex made a sound like all the air had left his lungs. His hands came up, holding onto Clark's shoulders. He was pushing at first, trying to move Clark away from him. But Clark gave no ground, becoming bolder with his kiss. His tongue begged entrance, teasing Lex's lips. When Clark moved his hips, Lex groaned and let him in. His hands found their way into Clark's hair, tilting his head so that their kiss deepened.

Clark could feel Lex's erection grow against his hip and it made him giddy. Oh God, he wants me as much as I want him, Clark thought, but the joy was fleeting. Lex abruptly wrenched his lips away from Clark, turning his head sideways. He was panting hard.

``Clark, Clark, we can't. We can't do this,'' he said breathlessly.

Clark leaned back a bit to look at Lex's face. ``Why? I know I want to and I see the way you look at me. You can't deny it, Lex.'' He twisted his hips again and heard Lex gasp. ``You're as hard as I am.''

Lex shuddered and swallowed. ``I won't deny that I have feelings for you, Clark, but I can't act on them. It would be...wrong. I'd be taking advantage.'' Lex gently pushed Clark away, but he still stood only inches away and wouldn't let go of Lex. ``You have no memory right now. And before you lost it, nothing like this was even remotely close to happening between us.''

``Maybe I was just too shy or...inhibited to do anything before. If I have these feelings now, I must have had them before. Doesn't that make sense?'' He ran his hands along Lex's arms, wanting to be in continuous contact.

``Maybe. But that doesn't change the fact that you're only 17 and I'm six years older than you. Even if you were in your right mind, I'd still be taking advantage. It wouldn't be right.''

``Don't you get tired of being noble all the time?'' Clark asked, his hands moving up to Lex's shoulders. Lex shivered when one of Clark's hands stroked his neck under the collar of his shirt.

``All the time? How would you know if I'd ever done anything noble before?'' Lex stepped to side and away from Clark's touch. Clark didn't want to push it, so he let his arms fall to his side.

``I'm not sure,'' Clark said, shrugging. ``Maybe there are some things I just know.'' Lex looked skeptical. ``What? Why else would I say that? Pete didn't exactly sing your praises.''

There was a knock on the door then. Lex turned toward the door. Dr. Lewis opened it. He pushed a wheel chair into the room.

``Your friend, Peter Ross, has come down with the virus,'' he announced. ``He's resting now but he wanted me to tell you that he had reached your parents. They're outside the hospital and they approved the CAT scan, although somewhat reluctantly, I'm told.'' He handed the cell phone Pete had borrowed to Lex. ``You'd better be careful not to be caught with that,'' he warned Lex. ``The CDC has arrived and, strangely enough, so has a group of scientists from LexCorp. After a brief disagreement, they seem to be working together.''

``Thank you, doctor. I appreciate that,'' Lex said.

``Things have finally started to quiet down a little, although we're still pretty busy with all the sick patients. Many of them have been moved upstairs to hospital rooms. It looks like now is as good a time as any to do the CAT scan. One of the technicians seems to be immune to the virus, so she can take you now. Mr. Luthor will have to escort you, though, as I have no one else free right now.''

``I'd be happy to, doctor.''

``Is Pete going to be okay?'' Clark asked, getting into the wheelchair.

``It's too soon to tell. So far, there have been no fatalities and that is a good sign.'' The doctor opened the door and Lex pushed Clark into the hallway. ``Take the elevator to the 1st floor, turn left when you get off and go straight down the hallway until you see the signs for radiology.''

Lex nodded and began walking toward the elevator.

``Lex,'' Clark said, leaning his head back to look up at his friend. ``I'm sorry if I was too pushy before, but I'm not sorry I kissed you.''

They passed sick people laid out on stretchers and leaning against walls all along the corridors. If most of them had been shunted off to rooms like Dr. Lewis said, he could only imagine what it had looked like earlier. A lot of sick people were wearing hospital uniforms.

Lex stopped the wheelchair and pressed the elevator button. ``It's alright, Clark. Things are a little crazy right now. We can talk about this later.''

Clark nodded as they entered the elevator. He moved his wheelchair so that he was facing Lex. ``I'm not giving up, Lex. Just wanted to give you fair warning.''

Lex dropped Clark off at radiology and said he'd be back in an hour.

As Lex got back on the elevator, he was still reeling from Clark's revelation in the examining room. He hadn't seen it coming; not even remotely. And he'd been stunned by his own reaction to it as well. He'd always held Clark in high regard. And he was aware he often went out of his way for Clark and his parents. But a sexual attraction for Clark? It was something that caught him completely off guard, but there was no denying it was there.

The way his body had responded when Clark pressed against him was evidence enough. He'd felt a tingle at the base of his spine and he'd gotten hard almost immediately. And Clark's kisses left him wanting more; so much more. Luckily, his common sense had overridden his hormones when he pushed Clark away. There was no way Lex could take advantage when Clark was in his current state of mind.

Lex got off the elevator in the basement level and, after a hospital staffer for direction, made his way to where the CDC researchers had set up a lab.

Lex could not imagine where Clark's suddenly amorous intentions had come from. He'd never given any indication that he was attracted to Lex before. Certainly, they were close and spent a lot of time in each other's company. And Clark always came to his defense when his family and other friends put Lex down. But that was certainly not indicative of romantic feelings. Lex knew he'd need to puzzle on this a bit more, but in the meantime he needed to talk to his researchers.

He had to wait outside the sealed lab area for clearance and even then they wouldn't let him inside. Looking through the plastic, he recognized ten researchers from LexCorp's Cadmus Labs. Another seven or so were with the CDC, he learned. They were all wearing special airtight suits because they had arrived after the crisis began. Anyone who was in the hospital at the time the outbreak was discovered was believed to be exposed.

The lead scientist for Cadmus, Robert Ludwig, came out to talk to Lex. ``How's it coming?'' Lex asked.

``Slow,'' Ludwig said and sighed. ``The illness seems to be limited to people who either worked at the hospital or had been inside the hospital in the last week. And it doesn't appear to be transmitted person to person, so we thought it might be Legionella.''

Lex whistled. The Legionella bacterium caused Legionnaire's disease, which had a fairly high mortality rate.

``But when we got the victims' bloodwork into the lab, it was hard to pinpoint the contagion. And you know that Legionella is tricky in the lab anyway.''

Lex nodded. ``Have the air conditioning ducts been tested?''

``Yes. And the hospital's whirlpool baths and spas, the condensers, the fountain outside, the ice machines, and the local streams. Everything. None of them are positive for Legionella or any other virus or bacterium we can identify.''

``Sounds like a puzzle, doctor.''

``Indeed. You don't seem to have any symptoms.''

``Not so far.''

``The incubation period for Legionella's is two to ten days, so you might still get it.''

``I'm aware.''

``Did they take your blood yet?''

Lex nodded. ``You should have it in here somewhere. Do you have people questioning victims to find the possible source of infection?''

``Yes, but we keep butting heads with the CDC. They want to do things their way, but their methods are excruciatingly time-consuming.''

``Do your best, Dr. Ludwig. I have faith in your team.''

``Thanks, Mr. Luthor.''

``Lex, please.'' Dr. Ludwig nodded. ``If there's anything your team needs, you have carte blanche from me to get it.''

``Thanks, Lex.''

Lex shook the doctor's hand and left the lab area. He headed back toward radiology and hoped he could figure out a way to handle Clark before the whole thing got out of hand.

Clark was bored. He thought if he had to lie still another minute, he might scream or break the machine open. Literally. Plus, the sound the machine was making drove him crazy. It was piercing and irritating.

``Just a few more minutes,'' the technician said. Yeah, right. He'd heard that one before. How was he going to keep still? He began to imagine what he might say to Lex the next time they were alone. He needed to convince Lex that they could be good together. And that he was not a kid.

He wasn't sure he could pinpoint what exactly it was about Lex that made get all hot and flushed. It might be the way Lex walked. Partly. He kind of sauntered in a really sexy way. His hips glided like they were oiled or something. And Lex was really self-confident. That was a turn-on for sure. He couldn't be certain what Lex looked like under all the clothes, but Clark could tell he was thin and wiry. He wanted to find out if he was right. And Lex's was low and kind of rumbly like a sexual caress. Clark shivered just thinking about that voice.

``Is he almost finished?''

Oh God, Lex! Clark got an instant erection just hearing that voice and Lex wasn't even using it in a particularly sexy way right now. Man, am I in trouble, Clark thought.

``Lex!'' he yelled and tried to sit up, banging his head against the contraption he was trapped in.

``Mr. Kent, I told you not to move.''


``Or talk,'' the technician reminded him.

``It's okay, Clark,'' Lex said. ``Relax. I'll wait for you.''

Cool. And when I get out of this thing, I'm gonna have a very nice surprise for you, Clark thought and grinned devilishly to himself.

When he walked out of the radiology department, Clark was grinning like he was carrying the world's best secret and Lex felt a rush of heat at the base of his spine. Clark was the only person who got him all twisted up like that.

``Hey, Lex!'' he said, patting Lex on the shoulder as he approached him in the hallway. ``Good news?''

Lex couldn't help responding to the infectious grin and friendly overtures. He enjoyed the feel of Clark's arm around his shoulder as they walked. ``I guess you don't need a wheelchair anymore?''

``Nah. I'm in the clear. I told everyone I was fine.''

``I'm glad to hear that, Clark.'' And he was. More than he could possibly say.

``So, the scientists?''

``They're working on a few theories. Nothing concrete yet,'' Lex said. No sense in explaining all the details as the contagion might turn out to be something completely different.

Clark nodded. ``While I was lying in that machine, I started thinking. There's really not much else to do when you have to lie still like that. Have you ever been in one, Lex? They're so loud.''

``Actually, I have, but it was a long time ago. When I was nine.''

``Oh yeah? What for?''

``It was after the meteor shower, Clark.''

``What happened?''

Lex chuckled. ``I keep forgetting you lost your memory. I've already told you this story but we can save a repeat of it for later.''

Clark smiled again and Lex nearly lost his breath.

``So what was I saying? Oh yeah. In the machine, I was thinking about you and me...''

``Clark...'' Lex said in a warning tone.

``Hear me out, Lex. Please?'' He looked around the hallway and pulled Lex into a stairwell.

``Where are you taking me?''

``Someplace quiet where we can talk, okay?'' Clark moved his arm from Lex's shoulder and ran up the stairs, not even waiting to see if Lex would follow.

Lex walked up the stairs a moment later and found Clark standing in the hallway on the second floor, which was fairly quiet, except for some sounds coming from labor and delivery down at the east end of the hall. The signs noted the way to the L&D to the east and the operating rooms to the west. Lex didn't hear so much as a voice or a footstep from the west wing. They'd obviously stopped all operations for the day.

``Come on, Lex! This way,'' he said and led Lex down the hall to one of the operating rooms. It was sterile and cool, Lex noted. ``We shouldn't really be in here, Clark. We'll contaminate the room.''

``They're probably going to sterilize the whole hospital after this thing is over anyway.''

``Good point.''

The room had an operating table in the middle of it, and it was the only place to sit. Clark hopped up on it and patted a spot beside him.

Lex walked up close to the table but declined to sit. Clark watched him, smiling, and let his legs swing back and forth off the edge of the table.

``You can sit. I won't bite, I promise.'' He grinned invitingly.

``I'm fine, Clark. What did you want to talk about?''

``Look, I know you're worried because I can't remember everything, but...''

``Can you remember some things?'' Lex was surprised.

``Well, not really, but there are certain things I just seem to know, but that's not...''

``Like what?''

``Lex! I'm trying to make a point here.''

``Sorry. Go on.''

Clark sighed. He sounded frustrated, as if he'd lost his train of thought. ``I just wanted to say that even though I can't remember everything, I'm still the same person I always was and I still have the same feelings I did before I got knocked on the head. And I'm pretty fact I know that I want to kiss you again.'' He reached out slowly and ran his fingers along the underside of Lex's lapels.

Lex froze in place and swallowed. ``Then how do you explain the fact that you never expressed these...feelings before?''

Clark looked him right in the eye and it was almost intimidating; it would have been if Lex didn't know Clark so well. Then again, perhaps he didn't know Clark at all.

``Maybe I was afraid you didn't feel the same or maybe I was just afraid. You can be kind of imposing, you know,'' Clark said.

You're not doing such a bad job of it yourself, right now, Lex thought. ``Apparently not anymore,'' he said dryly.

``Yeah, well, maybe I'm just not my usual inhibited self.`'

``My point exactly.''

``But that's a good thing! This whole memory loss thing makes me feel free, like I can do anything I want. And right now, what I want is to taste you again.'' Before Lex could say a word, Clark had grabbed him by the lapels and pulled him forward until their lips met; warm, wet and perfect. Clark kissed Lex like he owned him.

And in that moment, everything slipped into place and Lex knew that he needed to stop fighting this thing between them. His arms went around Clark's neck seemingly of their own accord. Tongues came into play and Lex was certain he must have been in heavy denial for months; maybe years. How could he have not known that he craved Clark's kisses; because he sure as hell craved them now.

Clark's hands released his lapels and moved to his shirt buttons. Seconds later, Clark's mouth was gone and Lex didn't have the time to mourn the loss before he felt wet heat on his neck, then on his collarbone, then his nipples. The noise he made would have embarrassed him had he not been lost in feeling.

``Oh God, Clark,'' he choked out, letting his head fall back.

``Lex. I've wanted to do this for so long,'' Clark said between licks to Lex's skin. His hands roamed over the expanse of Lex's chest, divesting him of his jacket and shirt. ``You taste so good.'' And to prove it, he bit gently on one of Lex's nipples.

Lex cursed, but Clark did not slow down his sensory assault, not even when Lex attempted to pull him up for another kiss. He felt like he was being eaten alive by Clark's gorgeous, magical, ripe mouth. Licks across his abdomen; teasing nibbles across his ribs; a tonguefuck to his navel. Lex thought his legs might give out before this was over.

And just when he thought it couldn't get any better, Clark was off the table and on his knees, unbuttoning Lex's pants and sliding the zipper down. And then a hot, wet cavern was engulfing his cock.

Another curse and then Clark was well and truly sucking everything out of him. This time, his knees did buckle; but he didn't have to worry. Clark merely picked him up and placed him on the operating table without moving his mouth. What the fuck? Before he could ponder that, his pants were shucked and Clark was up on the table, in between his legs. He was spreading Lex open and burrowing in.

Tingles and tantalizing sensations were flooding his nerves; Lex feared he might simple break apart. The only thing that was missing was a mirror so he could see the image of Clark stretching his legs wide and sucking him. Clark's licks and sucks lacked finesse but Clark wanted him and that was so much better than any expert could ever offer.

Clark's free hand wandered over his hips and around to his ass. Clark's hands were big and solid and assured. They never paused and they never hesitated. They knew exactly where they wanted to be and what they wanted to touch.

When Clark's hand brushed over his balls, Lex felt them tighten. Slipping further back, Clark's hand moved over his perineum and circled his hole, teasing and stroking. Lex bucked on the table and then the tingling started. It traveled up his legs and down his torso, centering in on his cock. He shuddered and twitched, emptying his load into Clark's waiting mouth.

The aftershocks went on for several minutes and he continued to pump weakly into Clark. Then, he slumped back onto the table, drained and sated.

``Jesus, Clark, where'd you learn how to do that?''

Clark smirked. ``Does that mean I did it better than Helen?''

Lex blinked in surprise. ``Clark?'' How the fuck did Clark know who Helen was?

``Yeah, Lex?'' Clark was grinning again, which made it really hard for Lex to concentrate. Plus, he was completely naked and Clark was still all covered up. Lex sat up, facing Clark, who was still kneeling between his legs.

``How do you know who Helen is?'' Clark looked at him guilelessly. ``Are you starting to remember some things?''

The faade slipped and Lex realized that Clark remembered everything. ``Clark, is there something you want to tell me?'' he asked calmly. Clark shivered.

``I'm sorry, Lex,'' he said, sitting on the edge of the table, his head hung in embarrassment.

``Are you telling me you never had amnesia?'' Barely controlled anger kept Lex's voice at a low pitch.

``No! I mean, yes. I had amnesia. I just got my memory back a little while ago and didn't tell you.'' His face was filled with guilt.


``During the CAT scan.''

Lex sighed. ``Why didn't you tell me?''

``I just...well, when my memory came back, I could still recall everything that happened since that lady hit me. And I was glad that you knew how I felt because...''

``Wait. Clark, are you telling me you had feelings for me before the amnesia?''

``Duh, Lex. You know, for a smart guy, you can be pretty dense.''

``But you never gave me any indication...''

``Maybe not in the ways you're used to. But, jeez, you'd have to be blind not to notice that I never took my eyes off you when you were in the room. And the way I talk about you to my folks and my friends. My God, Lex, do you have any idea how sexy you are? The way you walk and your voice and the way you'd sometimes look at me...'' Clark sighed wistfully.

``If that's true, why didn't you say something or make a move?''

``You're joking, right? Make a move on a guy who's older than me, has way more experience than me, and who I've only ever seen dating girls?'' he said, ticking off the reasons on his fingers.

Lex felt his heart clench inside his chest. He was starting to feel a little self-conscious about his nudity, but he wanted to finish this conversation. ``If you didn't think I had those kinds of feelings for you, why make a move during the amnesia?''

``I don't know! I guess because I didn't remember all of the history between us. And I was reading everything differently. I started to really see how you were looking at me and I had to take a chance. Then when my memory came back, I was afraid if I told you, you'd expect everything to go back to the way it was before. I didn't want that. It would have been like losing something that was in my grasp. I wanted to hang on to it awhile longer.''

Lex put his hand on Clark's back and Clark looked at him gratefully. ``I understand, Clark.''

``You do? So we're okay?'' He touched Lex's other hand, which was resting on his knee.

``We are.'' Lex moved in close.

``And this?'' he asked, using his finger to indicate the two of them. ``We can do more of this?'' He was blushing now.

``I'd like that very much, Clark,'' Lex said and leaned forward to kiss Clark lightly. ``If I'm not mistaken, we left you dangling earlier, didn't we?'' he asked, his voice low and deep. He pressed his hand against Clark's cock, which was still half hard, despite their mood-killing conversation.

Clark gasped.

``I think it's only fair that we get some of these clothes off of you, seeing as how I'm already nude,'' he said and grabbed the bottom of Clark's t-shirt; yanking it over his head. ``I can't think of anything I want more right now than to see you completely naked, Clark.''

Lex ran his hands appreciatively over Clark's muscled chest, groaning as he stroked the supple skin. He found the button on Clark's pants and undid it, pulling the zipper down. Lex kissed Clark again and slipped his hand inside the briefs and wrapped it around his fully erect cock. It was so hot it almost burned his hand.

He took only a moment to caress the gorgeous shaft before pushing Clark off the table so he could get the rest of his clothes off. And then he finally had Clark naked in all his glory. He pushed Clark back onto the table until he was spread out like a delicious buffet for Lex's eyes only. Long muscular legs, perfect abs and a chest so broad it couldn't possibly belong to a 17-year-old.

``You're beautiful, Clark.''

Clark grinned. ``Come here,'' he said and dragged Lex on top of him so they were pressed skin-to-skin and Clark seemed to have miles of it. Soft and lush and firm. Lex could get lost in it. His mouth wandered over it, tasting Clark's neck and nipples and mouth. He groaned on the taste of Clark's skin. It was even better than he expected.

Lex's hand encircled both their cocks as he began to grind against the perfect body underneath him.

``You feel really good, Lex.'' Clark wrapped his legs around Lex and thrust up into sensation. He moaned and shuddered as Lex snapped his hips harder and faster, bringing them both over the edge much, much too fast.

Several minutes later, they were still wrapped around each other, neither one inclined to move anytime soon.

Clark kissed Lex's forehead, sighing contentedly. ``Do we have to get up?''

``We probably should, although I'd rather not.''


``Yes, Clark?''

``I'm really glad I got amnesia today.''

Lex smiled. ``I am, too.''

``Can we get naked together again soon?''

``As soon as conceivably possible.''

``Okay, now I'm ready to get up,'' Clark said, getting off the table. Lex swatted him playfully on the ass.

After cleaning up and dressing, they headed back down to the emergency room area and saw lots of people hugging as if they were celebrating. Clark and Lex looked at each other.

``What's going on?'' Clark asked, just before he heard his mother calling his name. He turned to see her running toward him, his father right behind her.

``Mom! Dad!'' And Lex watched as he was enveloped in their hug, a sight he'd seen many times before and one that both warmed his heart and made him feel envious at the same time. He left them to their reunion and headed down to the lab.

``Lex! Where you have you been? We've been paging you,'' Dr. Ludwig called to him.

``I didn't hear it, doctor. My apologies. What's happening?''

``We solved the mystery,'' Ludwig said, sounding very excited.

``Really? Tell me.''

``Well, you may recall that those coming down with the contagion were either employees at the hospital or those who'd been here in the last week. We also theorized that it wasn't contracted mouth to mouth because no one who'd come to the hospital today was coming down with the virus.''

``Except Pete Ross.''

``Exactly. Then, when our researchers looked over the questionnaires, we discovered that every person who'd contracted the contagion had been at the hospital's summer picnic four days ago, including Pete Ross, whose mother works as a volunteer here. His niece was also in attendance at the picnic.''

``That is interesting. What was the source?''

``A fire hose that was used to cool off the picnic goers. It was left on for several hours and nearly everyone had been near it and probably inhaled the spray.''

``So it was Legionnaire's?''

``Actually it's a new strain of Legionella's. Strangely, it has not been as deadly, thank God, but it does seem be a bit more resistant to antibiotics, so most of these people will be in the hospital a bit longer than they might normally be.''

``Do you know how the bacterium got into the hose system?''

``We're not certain, but there's a theory that the hose was not emptied out after the last fire department drill.''

``Did we have any fatalities?''

``Yes, but only four. All of them were either elderly or in poor health.''

``Well, that is good luck, doctor. Please get me the names of the victims so we can offer assistance to the families.''

``I'll take care of it, Lex.''

``Thank you, doctor.''

``I think Cadmus Labs has a good shot at getting a government grant to study this new strain, Lex.''

Lex smiled. ``I have no doubt you'll convince them, Dr. Ludwig.''

When Lex got back to the ER, he saw Clark wandering the corridors alone, scanning the rooms. He looked concerned.


``Lex! I've been looking for you. Where'd you go?''

``To talk to the researchers. Looks like the lockdown is over.''

``Yeah,'' Clark said. ``After my parents found me, I turned around and you were gone. I didn't hear you say good-bye.'' He was frowning.

``I didn't want to interrupt your reunion.''

``Lex!'' Clark said, sounding exasperated. He clasped Lex's shoulder, seemingly uncertain of just how affectionate they should be in front of an audience. ``You can't think like that. We're best friends; you're my...well, you know,'' he said, smiling shyly. ``You're part of the family. Besides, everyone wants to thank you for bringing in the researchers from LexCorp! Come on.''

They began walking side by side down the corridor. ``Did you check on Pete?''

``Yeah, he's okay. He and his niece will have to stay here for a few days. But his parents and family all managed to get here.''

Lex nodded. ``Where are your parents, Clark?''

``Outside waiting for us. I said I needed to go find you. I told them what you did,'' he said, giving Lex a brilliant smile. He looked proud.

They passed an empty examining room and Clark stopped, grabbing Lex's hand, dragging him inside and closing the door.

``What is it, Clark?''

``Nothing. I just wanted to kiss my new boyfriend. That okay with you?''

Lex grinned. ``That's more than okay with me.''

``You should smile more often, Lex. It's a good look for you,'' Clark teased.

``Shut up and kiss me, Clark.''