Changing Your Mind 5
Changing Your Mind
Summary: Clark and Lex have a talk about secrets.
Disclaimer: Certainly not mine.
Lex was pacing in his office impatiently, and by the time Clark actually arrived, he was more than ready for a stiff drink. He was still a bit high from his management of the Fox Mulder situation, and was anxious to try finally getting the truth from Clark. Spike's leaving had left Lex a little down, but given the vampire's newly-acquired penchant for going off the deep end at a moment's notice, Lex thought the Slayer could deal with it now, and more power to her. Lex made mental note to call out there in a few weeks to see if Spike had made it home, and how things were going.
In the meantime, Lex was tired of all the hedging, and needed to know Clark felt he could trust him.
Clark breezed into the room, smiling widely as soon as he saw Lex, holding up a dvd triumphantly. "I brought the movie this time," he informed Lex, holding the disc out so Lex could read the name on the cover.
"Dracula," Lex said dryly. "Let me guess, in honor of my recent houseguest. I probably have that one in my collection, Clark. It's a classic, you know."
Clark rolled his eyes. "Yea, Lex, I know. I wanted to bring something for a change. But you've got all the snacks right?"
Lex smiled indulgently, a real smile, the kind only Clark was allowed to see.
"I have lots of snacks, everything a growing boy shouldn't be eating. You want to watch in the den or would you rather go to the media room?"
"Den," Clark replied quickly. "It's cos- more comfortable."
Lex turned and hid a smile. He would have bet money Clark was going to say it was cosier. "Let's raid the kitchen then and see what we can find." He offered, leading the way.
They were settled on opposite sides of the sofa a few minutes later, impressive array of snacks and drinks on a big tray between them, and after the movie started, neither one of them spoke for a while. Then Lex's patience gave way.
"Vampires are supposed to be very strong," he commented. "I know Spike was."
"I don't remember that he was all that strong, but that was a year ago," Clark shrugged. "He didn't look like a weakling, from what I saw."
"Definitely not," Lex agreed. "Believe me, he really was strong."
More silence for a few minutes, and Lex let that hang in the air a bit, let Clark forget about it.
"So, how did you throw him down the alley, Clark?"
Clark almost choked on a piece of chip, startled by the sudden leading question.
He looked at Lex briefly, then turned his gaze back down to the snack tray, avoiding Lex's eyes.
He shrugged again. "Adrenaline, I guess. You know how it is."
"No, Clark, I actually don't. I know how adrenaline works, of course, but I find it hard to believe that adrenaline could throw someone like Spike down an alley and across a street to crash through a thick plate glass window into a store."
"I don't know what else to tell you, Lex." Clark said quietly. "I don't think I threw him as far as he thought I did. He's gone now, though, so I guess it doesn't matter."
"The F.B.I. really had you spooked though, didn't they? They were just looking for those scientists, and they aren't around here anyway. You didn't have anything to be worried about. Did you?"
"Naw," Clark smiled. "No tax evasion at the Kent farm." He laughed.
Lex leaned over to pick up the remote, stopping the movie and turning off the set. He removed the tray from between them and set it on the floor, turning to face Clark squarely, making the boy decidedly uncomfortable.
"Just evasion in the general sense, then?" Lex asked.
"Lex, I'm not sure what you're getting at. I just came over to watch a movie. What's with the third degree?"
"I told you once before, a long time ago, I'd do anything to protect my friends. This still holds true, Clark, but I can't protect you if I don't know what to protect you from."
"I don't need you to protect me," Clark objected.
"Everyone needs protection Clark, even if it's only from themselves. Spike knew things, sensed things. He told me, something, and I really wish you would feel enough trust in me to let me in. Mostly everyone here has been affected by the meteors in some way, Clark. If you were, then that doesn't make you a monster or anything. I mean, look at me! I was 'that bald-headed freak' for years until I managed to convince everyone that they'd be better off not mentioning it. On the plus side, I never get sick, healthy as a horse all the time. Unless, of course, you count the time I was dead."
Lex was happy to see that elicited a small, rueful smile from Clark, who still refused to meet his gaze, eyes downcast, wonderful hair falling on his forehead. Lex resisted a powerful urge to reach over and brush it away, make Clark raise his head and look at him.
"What kinds of things?" Clark asked, and Lex was puzzled for a moment, until he backtracked through the conversation in his mind.
"What kinds of things did Spike know? Mostly intuitive things, but there was other stuff. Like he told me, he could tell the difference between a human and a non-human, a demon, for example, simply by touch. Like, maybe, shaking hands."
Clark nodded slowly. "He did sense things, but I thought his sense was a bit off. Till I thought about it a while longer. He shook my hand."
Lex could feel the resignation building up in Clark, and his breath quickened suddenly. Clark wanted to tell him, wanted to tell Lex everything.
Lex moved, shortening the distance between them. "What happened when you shook Spike's hand, Clark?"
Clark blinked, glancing over to Lex, seeing he had come closer, feeling it in the heat from Lex's body, the sound of his breathing and the faster beat of his heart. Clark knew the rhythm of Lex's heart well, listened to it whenever there was silence between them, listened to be sure it was strong and steady.
"Nothing. I thought his hand was pretty cold, but now I realize why. Creepy, thinking I shook hands with a dead man. But then he attacked me in the alley. I was so surprised, I just....."
Lex didn't resist the urge this time, reached out to put two fingers on Clark's jaw and turn his head so Lex could look into his eyes.
"Just picked him up and heaved him two or three hundred feet to get him away from you," Lex finished for him.
Clark was silent, refusing to either admit or deny.
"Clark, I'm trying to be honest with you, and I want you to trust me. I would never betray you."
"It's too hard, Lex," Clark replied, slow shake of his head dislodging Lex's fingers from his jaw, and Lex missed the touch immediately. "As for being honest, Spike knew a lot about you, too."
Lex raised an eyebrow, hoping Spike hadn't been so open with Clark as to mention the two encounters he'd had with Lex.
"I'm sure Spike did," Lex tried to dismiss the thought. "Spike told me you've been keeping secrets."
Clark looked at him oddly, studied Lex's face more seriously than Lex could ever remember, and then he suddenly reached up and touched Lex's face, briefly, unexpectedly, dropping the hand quickly back to rest on his own leg. He rose abruptly.
"I can't," he said, clearly agitated. "I have to go."
"Clark, don't," Lex stood himself, tried to stop him, but Clark was out of the room already. "Damn it!" Lex muttered, heading over to the small table in the corner, pouring a large helping of scotch. He flopped back down onto the couch, totally frustrated and aching to tear into something. Where the hell was Lionel when you needed him?
Clark made it as far as the driveway, fingers on the handle of the truck door, before he stopped himself. He didn't want to run away from Lex. He didn't want to lie to him either, but the admonitions of his parents were so ingrained it was hard to go against the limits they had set for him all this time. No one should know. It could be dangerous for them, and would probably be dangerous for Clark. Clark laid his forehead on the cool glass of the truck window, closed his eyes, and all he could see was Lex. All he could hear was Lex. Hinting that he knew things. Telling him he'd taken away the threat of the F.B.I. Trying to help a vampire, and if Clark was his father, he'd wonder what Lex could possibly have gotten out of that deal.
Clark knew if he left right now, things would go right back to the way they were with Lex, pre-Spike. Clark didn't know if Lex would be able to forget the suspicions Spike had obviously planted in his mind. More than that, Clark didn't know if he'd be able to forget what Spike had told him about Lex, without trying to find out the truth. More than anything, Clark never wanted to drive Lex away, couldn't begin to imagine life in Smallville without Lex.
Well, then, truth for truth.
Lex was on his second drink when Clark's form appeared in the doorway, and Lex was afraid to say anything, afraid to make him turn and run again.
Clark stepped over the forgotten snack tray and settled back on the couch, not facing Lex, looking down at his hands, silent for too many long seconds. Lex waited, forcing patience.
"Spike told you I've been keeping secrets. According to him, you've been keeping them, too. Spike said....." Clark hesitated, struggling to say something he was having trouble putting into words. Lex was expecting Clark's next sentence to be about what Lex and Spike had done together. Braced himself to try to explain it.
"What did Spike say?" Lex asked softly.
"Spike said I had other options," Clark blurted out. "Other options than Lana. He was talking about you. Me and you."
Lex smiled grimly. "Spike is very astute. Did you try to pitch him down another alley?"
Clark turned his entire body to face Lex now, confusion coming off him in waves.
"Just tell me, Lex. Just tell me if it's true. I need to know."
"I need to know things, too, Clark. And for the record, it's very true."
Clark's eyes were searching his face again, and Lex had to admit he was scared. At least he hadn't bolted out the door again and run back to the farm. Clark was trying to decide something, and Lex pushed growing impatience aside and waited, meeting Clark's gaze steadily.
Clark looked down at Lex's hands then, reaching over tentatively to brush his fingers slowly down the back of one hand, stopping Lex's breath. Lex froze, afraid to move and break the moment.
"Lex," Clark started, and paused uncertainly.
"Clark," Lex said, surprised at the effort it took to get the word out. "Just because Spike said it, just because I feel this way, it doesn't mean we have to.....we can just..."
Clark looked up sharply. "Just forget it? That it, Lex? I don't want to forget it. I don't want to keep things from you anymore. It's too hard. It's too painful."
Lex moved then, reaching out to pull Clark into him, lean against him restfully, not wanting to push him away, just wanting to have what he could have tonight. "It's okay, Clark. Let's just sit a while, and then you can go home if you want. Or you can stay. You can talk, or not. I'll wait," Lex promised, tightening his arm around Clark.
Clark took one of Lex's hands in his and grasped it firmly. He started softly, eyes closed, breathing in Lex, listening to the heartbeat he knew so well.
"I came with the meteors, and they think I was about three years old then......."