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Bruises of Knees

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Lex instantly awoke to the cold of an empty bed. He looked around the hotel room, but there was no sliver of light from under the bathroom door. There wasn't the sound of anyone rummaging around in the dark. But Clark could probably see in the dark, and didn't need to rummage. Or turn on the light in the bathroom. But there were no sounds from the bathroom either. And the other side of the bed looked as though it had been remade, sheets smoothed and pulled tight, and the pillow fluffed. Lex's pajamas had been picked up from the floor where they'd been thrown, folded and placed on the empty side.

Eyes adjusted to the faint light from the windows, Lex looked towards the loveseat and chairs. Superman's suit was no longer laying over the end table, where it had been carelessly flung after he arrived and had divested Lex of his clothing. The boots were no longer tossed in the corner by the dresser. Superman had left no signs that he'd been there, and the only sign of Clark was his scent in the sheets.


Superman checked his watch as he touched down on the terrace at Lois Lane's apartment. He scrambled back into his Clark clothes as he pushed through the door. Lois was fastening an earring as she walked into the living room, and stopped short upon seeing him skulking next to the bookshelves.

"Jesus, Clark, I thought maybe you'd use the front door for a change, but now I see I didn't need to leave it unlocked for you."

Clark shrugged and grinned sheepishly as Lois grabbed her purse from the sofa.

"Let's get going," she said, giving him a peck on the mouth before twirling towards the front door, "The movie starts soon, and I don't want to miss it."


Lex chose to have his lunch on an outside table at a small cafe. He had a light lunch: a salad of baby greens with pieces of grilled chicken. And as he stabbed at the chicken with his fork, he thought of Clark.

It was 7AM in Metropolis right now, and Clark would be waking up in Lois' bed. It wasn't fair that someone other than Lex had access to Clark's unbelievable bed head. The way Clark's hair frizzed out during the night due to Lex's constant petting was at once funny and adorable, and Lex felt a small smile forming at his lips, before he remembered that Clark's morning hair wasn't exclusive to him.

Lex scowled as he shoved his salad away. Then he threw more than enough money down on the table and left.


Clark couldn't concentrate. He'd already demolished four of the letters on his keyboard, and he'd chewed through several pencils. Lois had asked him what was wrong, and he'd made up some story about some little girl's grandmother and smoke inhalation and how he was worried for her safety even after he'd pulled her from her house fire last night and that she already had emphysema and outlandish medical bills and now she'd lost her home and did anyone deserve to have so many things go wrong? He'd punctuated his outburst with a pen to the ceiling, and both he and Lois stared at it for the moment it stuck before it plunked back onto his desk.

Lois made the scrunched eye face that said she knew he was lying, but was going to let him get away with it this time, because obviously whatever was going on with him was More Than She Wanted To Deal With. Clark felt he shouldn't read her so well. He wondered what it meant that he could read Lex even better.

Clark accidentally bit the eraser off another pencil and tried to get back to his article.


Lex paced barefoot back and forth wearing his pajama pants in front of the balcony door of his hotel room. Every once in awhile, he smacked his fist into his palm. He really wanted to talk to Clark. He wanted to tell Clark to make up his goddamn mind already--smack--and choose him or Lois. And he didn't want to talk to Clark, because he didn't want to have to tell Clark to choose. Clark should've already chosen--smack--and Clark should've chosen Lex--smack--and if Clark still needed to choose--smack--then maybe Lex needed to move on. He stopped walking with a sigh and let his hands fall to his sides.

He loved Clark. It wasn't going to be easy to move on.


At 29, Clark Kent was too old to be jacking off in his bathroom, especially when there was no one else in his apartment.

Lois had offered him a beer after work, and when Clark reminded her that beer didn't affect him, she'd suggested some horse tranquilizers. Apparently his constant twitching was getting to her. Rather than annoy her further, Clark opted to leave her apartment, but not before he'd tripped over his bag, her bag and her favorite orchid, and knocked over a photo of the two of them together two months ago at a picnic in Smallville. When Lois threatened to call the police and report his trashing of her home, he picked up his bag, put on his glasses and hobbled out of there.

And now he was here, standing over the toilet in his bathroom with the off-white linoleum tiling, squirting his hand with KY and thinking there had to be a better alternative. He didn't want to admit who it was.


Four days later, Lex was back in Metropolis, and he hadn't spoken to Clark once since they'd sighed and moaned and shouted their names and desires to each other that night in London.

Lex wouldn't say that he missed Clark simply because he wouldn't say it. He just wanted to move on. Mostly. Well, kind of. Yes, he did. He stomped his foot with determination, then glanced around his office hoping security hadn't caught that. Lex sat down at his desk and opened up his email and a report.

There was an email from ckent@dailyplanet.com time stamped 5:58AM. The report lost its allure. Lex opened the email.

Lex
I'm not ready.
-Clark

Lex shut down his computer, leaned back in his chair with his arms behind his head and closed his eyes.