Lex's first impulse was to take a bottle of scotch up to his room, lock himself in, and drink himself into oblivion. Emotionally he swung between fury, and grief, with neither finding prominence. His guts were tied in in knots. Alcohol would serve to slice through the knots and smother the emotions. His father would approve of the latter.
Instead, he drove to the Talon for a cup of coffee and left the scotch at home. It was probably a stupid idea, but he reasoned he'd come up with a lot of stupid ideas lately, so what was one more? If Clark had been there he wasn't sure what he would have done, but Clark wasn't there. Judging from Lana's reaction when Lex made an inquiry, Clark probably wasn't going to show his face in the Talon anytime soon.
Apparently Lex wasn't only one feeling a bit abraded. Further inquiries revealed the source of Lana's ire, and something Lex did not find surprising: Clark had been putting the moves on Chloe Sullivan, right under Lana's nose. Lex mulled over this new information as he moved off into the main room of the Talon with a cup of hot coffee in hand.
The music was blaring overhead. It was Saturday night, and there was a crowd. It was at times like this that Lex actually enjoyed the stigma of being Lionel Luthor's son. The crowd parted, allowing him to pass unmolested. He took a seat at the very back of the room and watched as people casually migrated to the front. It used to hurt when he was treated as if he were some sort of toxin to be avoided, but he'd grown fairly numb over the years. It wasn't until he'd met Clark that he'd found someone who gravitated towards him, instead of away.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, hard. Fuck him anyway. Idiot farm brat without the sense God gave a tree stump.
Clark had hurt him. Not with his words, but the look in his eyes that spoke of betrayal and loss of trust, a look Lex had seen too many times before. In Clark's eyes it had been a thousand times worse.
"Stay away from me," Clark had said.
"You all right?"
Lex raised his head and forced a smile between gritted teeth. "Fine, thank you. Just a little headache."
The waitress nodded. "Lana keeps some aspirin in the office. I can bring you some."
"No, thank you. I took something."
"Sure," she said, and hesitated as if she were going to say something else, but Lex dismissed her by turning his attention elsewhere.
The ploy was successful. She moved away. Blissfully alone again, he sipped at his coffee, and started to bend over to reach for the paper that had fallen from his lap onto the floor. Halfway there he froze.
Peeking out from under the sofa upon which Lex sat, was scrap of checkered cloth. Lex frowned, and pulled it out to reveal a blue flannel shirt; rumpled, wrinkled and buttonless. Surreptitiously raising it to his face, he could make out the faint smell of perfume and the oddly spicy scent of Clark Kent's sweat.
Lex grinned despite himself. So, Chloe and Clark had staged their tryst here, right under Lana's nose. No wonder she was pissed off. He wondered whose idea that had been, and admired them for it. It was something he might have done. He chuckled as he folded the shirt, searching the floor for the errant buttons, which he found lying scattered about the floor at his feet.
Then he found the stone.
He knew immediately what it was, because he had read, repeatedly, Chloe's expose on the imitation gem stones used to bilk the high school and its students out of thousands of dollars. Lex - and just about everyone else - had not known the meteorites came in any color besides luminescent green. It was Chloe who made the discovery. Lex found Chloe to be an priceless resource for information regarding Smallville and its secrets, and he was perhaps one of the few people who didn't think the girl was a kook.
Here, he realized, was another example of Chloe's value. Lex was fairly certain it had been Chloe who masterminded the make-out session at the Talon. She'd thrown acid on Clark's relationship with Lana, and made way for Lex's discovery of yet another clue into the mystery of Clark Kent.
Clark had been acting out of character right around the time of the class ring debacle. Clark had been acting out of character that morning. The conclusion most people would draw from this most recent walk on the wild side would be that Clark had been infected by the same parasite which had affected his friends' behavior. Logic, however, didn't always apply to Clark, and it didn't here. It had been Clark who had delivered Chloe and Pete to the hospital. Nothing had been said about Clark being infected, and indeed he seemed to be back to "normal" with no trace of aberrant behavior.
But Lex had discovered a red stone, like those used in the class rings, in a place where Clark had been been acting in a very un-Clark-like manner. From it he could draw a completely different conclusion.
He closed his fist around the stone, and got up off the couch.
A light was on in the loft; the house was dark. Lex killed the lights on the Jag the minute he noticed the darkened windows. If the Kents were home and sleeping, the last thing Lex wanted to do was wake them. The crunch of tires on gravel, and the purr of the Jag's big engine were the only sounds disturbing the silence as Lex pulled up and parked slightly behind the barn. When he shut off the car the silence became complete, except for the quiet tick of the engine cooling. The sleek, black surface of the car's painted metal hide blended with the darkness, making it difficult to spot from either the house or the driveway.
He wasn't sure why he'd come. Masochism wasn't Lex Luthor's style. Neither was sadism, but he was feeling more than a bit mean. He wanted to retaliate for the hurt Clark had inflicted on him.
I trusted you, Clark. I didn't pry anymore. Whatever I found later just happened to cross my path, and I kept it to myself.
What are you hiding from me, Clark?
What am I hiding from myself?
Lex reached into his coat pocket for the stone. It lay in his palm like a bright, glistening drop of blood. The sight made him shudder. He snapped his fingers shut over it and got out of the car.
Clark knew he was there before Lex finished climbing the stairs. He was already standing, and appeared unsurprised to have a visitor. His expression was that of a child told to "wait until your father gets home" and who was now facing the dreaded confrontation with parental authority. Lex savored it a bit. It was a balm for the bitterness.
"Lana's pretty upset," he said finally.
"Yeah, I know."
Lex put his hands in his pockets. "It's all or nothing with you, Clark, isn't it."
"Lex, I didn't mean what I said."
"No, you didn't mean to say it, but the doubts are there. Tell me I'm wrong."
Clark closed his eyes. Lex knew he was searching for a reply, and if one failed to come to him, he would say nothing. He looked away finally, gazing out the open window into the star filled sky as if something there could give him the answers he needed. The sky gave him only silence, and he gave silence back to Lex.
Lex pressed his lips together tightly, holding back a surge of fury. "This shouldn't be difficult. Do you trust me, Clark? If your life were in jeopardy, would you trust me to save you?"
"But you would wonder what my motive was for doing so, wouldn't you?" Turning away from the window, Clark leveled his gaze at Lex. He did not answer the question but said: "Don't turn into him."
The comment caught Lex off guard.
"Like whom?" he asked, but he already knew the answer to that question.
"Lionel. He's the one nobody trusts, Lex. Not you."
"Don't turn this around on me, Clark." Anger crept into his voice despite his best efforts. "The only reason you don't trust me anymore is because of your own damn paranoia, not because I'm mutating into my father's clone. You should know me well enough to realize that is the last thing I'd ever want to do."
Clark took a step towards him. He was far better at dealing with emotional situations when he himself was not involved in them. He understood Lex's anger toward Lionel more clearly than he understood Lex's anger towards him. Clark's instincts were to help others, putting everything else aside, but sometimes his sacrifices also affected those around him and he seemed unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge it.
"Don't give up that fight."
Lex could play the martyr game too. "Shut up, Clark. Don't patronize me. You're no different from anyone else. It's guilt by association; the Luthor family curse. I'm my father's son, right? You made your feelings very clear this afternoon, so why should I bother to fuck with fate?"
Clark's brow furrowed. "Am I that important to you?"
It was Lex's turn to look away. He wasn't sure he could answer the question without making things more complicated than they already were. He'd reached out to Clark and been burned, and no matter what happened from this point onward the scars Lex bore were permanent. His friendship with Clark had been irrevocably changed. Clark's approval and acceptance had mattered to him very much, and Lex didn't know why.
Or maybe he did, and just couldn't admit it.
Neither of them were innocent when it came to keeping secrets.
"I was fine before I met you." he said.
"You would be dead without me." The tone was very much like the "other" Clark, who said what he thought, did what he wanted, yet it retained a petulant note.
"That's been established. I'm grateful, but that's not why I chose you as a friend, despite what you may think."
Clark's face darkened. "I never thought to question our friendship until you had me investigated," he growled.
"Because you lied to me." Lex snapped. "I offered up my hand in friendship and all you ever gave me in return were lies. You look me in the eye, Clark, and tell me you were telling me the truth about what happened on that bridge?"
Silence fell. Clark looked away again. His anger and self confidence fled in face of his guilt.
Lex took a step forward. "I don't owe you." In a quick, light-fingered gesture, he slipped the stone into the pocket of Clark's shirt. "If anything, you owe me."
He watched with the eye of someone used to dealing with board room politics, where sometimes the only indication of double dealing was the slightest flaw in an opponent's body language. Clark's shoulders drew back, raising his upper body. The nervous tension that always seemed to plague him eased away. His motions became more fluid, more relaxed, and more confident. The change was subtle.
When Clark swung his head around to fix Lex with a cold stare, Lex had to fight to hold his ground. There was something ominous in Clark's eyes.
It isn't Clark.
"Owe you what?"
Lex flinched, and reined in his temper. He had known, theoretically, what was going to happen. It was vital he control the situation. This Clark would tell him what he wanted to know, but this Clark was trickier to handle.
"Were we ever truly friends?" Lex demanded."What did you want from me? I know it wasn't money. Status maybe? Big brotherly advice? Did you think I could help you get girls?"
Clark's smirk was unnerving.
"As if I need your help with anything."
"You needed my help to preserve the caves."
"Were you really helping me, or did you just want to screw Daddy?" Clark mocked. "You'd do anything to get back at Daddy, wouldn't you? Maybe that should have been a warning to me."
"I don't sacrifice my friends."
"Are you saying I do?"
"You have!" Lex raged. "You're constantly pushing people away! It's not just me, but Lana, and Chloe, and Peter. Why? What the fuck are you hiding? What is so important you need to protect it by cutting the throats of people who love you?"
Oh, Jesus God.
Clark stared at him. Lex desperately fought to retain his composure, knowing it was too late to retract the words, and any attempt to redefine their meaning would simply underscore their truth. The slowly spreading smile that played across Clark's face scared him.
"I'm a thorn in your side, aren't I? I can't be bought. You can't figure out what I'm hiding, and it's driving you nuts."
Lex refused to look away.
"I'm not your whore, unlike everyone else who crosses your path." Clark shifted his weight, cocking his head so that he could look into Lex's face. "You're not in control of me." He put a finger against Lex's chest, and Lex felt as if a steel rod were being driven through his breastbone. "I scare you."
"Fuck you, you're nothing!" Lex hissed, and made an attempt to shove Clark's hand away. It would not budge. He wondered if Clark could feel the pounding of his heart through the contact, and he felt the sudden urge to run back to his car when he realized that possibility.
"Oh," Clark replied softly. "You're so wrong, Lex. You are so very wrong. What I am is much bigger than you, your father, or anything you've ever known. You have no clue. You can't comprehend it, and you never will."
Clark laughed. "Try you?" He threw back his head and inhaled deeply before gazing down at Lex like a predator would size up its prey. "If you can't even handle your own truths, what makes you think you can handle mine?"
There was a long pause, in which Clark continued to eye Lex with an analytical expression very unlike his own - and very much like Lex's.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
The finger still jabbing him in the chest moved, and was joined by the others. They toyed with the buttons of Lex's shirt. "I think you do."
Clark's grin became even more feral as he leaned in close. Lex could smell his breath and see his own reflection in the gold-flecked green eyes. The press of Clark's hand against his chest held him firmly pinned between Clark and the loft railing.
"You want me," Clark whispered.
Lex's features hardened. "Back off."
The pressure of Clark's hand increased. The other hand rose, and the back of his fingers brushed gently across Lex's cheek.
"Have I crossed that line yet?"
"Oh, you're way over it."
"You're sweating." Clark observed quietly.
Silence fell again. Lex heard his own breath as it caught in his throat. It was rapid, and tremulous. He'd lost control of the situation somehow, between one blink and the next, and he cursed the arrogance that had made him think he could come out of this experiment unscathed. Clark wasn't giving him anything.
He was taking, and ripping Lex's sense of self to shreds in the process.
"I hear what people say about us when they think I'm not listening," Clark stated. "I see how you look at me. When did you first realize it, Lex? That day by the river, when my...lips...touched...yours?" He hovered close, but didn't touch now. Instead, he blew lightly against Lex's mouth.
Lex managed to find his voice. "You're wrong."
"And you're hard." Clark blew again, and his tongue darted out to flicker along Lex's upper lip. The hand not holding Lex captive slipped teasingly toward Lex's crotch. His fingers traced the firm bulge of Lex's erection and began stroking it through the soft wool trousers. "This doesn't lie," Clark chuckled. "Not like us. We deal in lies and deceptions, Lex, both of us pretending we're something we're not."
"Something, Clark?" Lex breathed. "What are you?"
Clark answered with silence, but he pressed his mouth against Lex's lips with bruising force, and after only a moments hesitation, Lex reciprocated. Both of Clark's hands rose to envelope Lex's face, holding him in the kiss as it grew more desperate and heated. Lex couldn't breathe, and he couldn't stop. He sucked at Clark's mouth as it licked and bit at him. He could taste his own blood when Clark's teeth broke through skin into flesh.
"Nuhno." He threw his head back, breaking away with a sharp gasp. "Son of a bitch! Clark, no!"
"You don't like not being the one in charge, do you?" Clark laughed, and reached for Lex's belt.
"I don't like being molested." Lex growled, and managed, by ducking and twisting, to get away. He retreated to the other side of the loft, breathing heavily.
"Nor being shown the truth about yourself." Clark replied smugly. He leaned against the railing, which creaked slightly under his weight. "I guess it isn't easy being Lionel Luthor's gay son."
You have no idea.
"You have your secrets, I have mine. I think we get along better if we leave them out of the picture." Clark continued. His eyes narrowed. "Stay out of my business Lex, and I'll stay out of yours."
"That's hardly fair, Clark." Lex murmured. "You know more about me than I do you."
"All is fair in love and war."
"Are we at war, Clark?
"Are we in love?"
Lex snorted softly. "I don't believe in love."
"Lust, then?" Clark crossed, very quickly, to where Lex stood by the window. Lex started to move away.
He didn't even see Clark's hand move, it just appeared suddenly, wrapped around his wrist in an iron grip. With one sharp jerk that felt as if it would rip arm from shoulder, Lex was flung down onto the sofa and pinned there looking up at his captor. Big hands pressed his shoulders into the cushions. Lex raised his feet in an attempt to push Clark away, but Clark straddled his thighs, holding him down. He struggled beneath Clark's bigger bulk and could not break his grip.
"Get off of me!"
"Tell me the truth, Lex, and I'll tell you a secret," Clark whispered, leaning in close to Lex's ear. His breath raised goose-pimples along Lex's skin. Teeth grazed Lex's jaw as he withdrew. His smile, which had slipped a little during the brief struggle, returned.
Lex couldn't escape his eyes. Like his personality they had become darker, more hostile. The allusion of a carnivorous plant came to mind; Clark's eyes, and Clark himself, were beautiful but deadly.
"Why should I tell you what you already know?"
"I want to hear you say it." Clark's hips began to undulate in a slow thrusting motion. The rough denim of his jeans rubbed the underside of Lex's cock through the thinner wool.
"Eeernt, wrong answer." Clark smirked. "Tell me you want to fuck me."
Lex glared at him.
One eyebrow arced upward. "You want me to fuck you?"
He would do it too, if Lex were willing or not. Lex suddenly knew it with certainty. Visions of being raped made him respond quickly. "No! I want you."
"You want me," Clark's tone was congenial. "What for?" He chuckled, continuing his bump and grind.
Clark's mood abruptly shifted. He grew still, and his voice rose. "Answer me!" He gave Lex a shake. His fingers dug painfully into his arms.
Lex gave him what he wanted. "I want to fuck you!"
They were both breathing heavily. Lex swallowed.
"Then I'll tell you a secret." Clark said quietly. He leaned in again. His lips found Lex's, lingering in a slow, savoring kiss. His hips ground into Lex again and Lex felt the hard-on that went with the words. "I want you too."
Lex had expected possible revelations, but nothing like this. He licked his lips, tasting Clark's sweetness. There was a decision to be made. Clark made it for him. He did not resist as fingers found and unbuckled his belt, and could not stifle a moan as they found his cock. All the fantasies he'd suppressed to underscore the fact Clark was off limits, came rushing at him like a spray of bullets released from a gun. His cock jerked in Clark's hand.
He could have escaped when Clark moved away from him. He could have stopped everything by retrieving the stone from Clark's pocket. Lex did did not want to go there; didn't want to accept that this was real and not an extension of those long suppressed fantasies. Clark wasn't pulling his pants down around his ankles. Clark Kent wouldn't do such a thing. It was an imposter who looked like Clark, tasted like Clark, and smelled like Clark.
Lex closed his eyes. Clark drew his legs sideways off the sofa. The muscles in his thighs tightened as his pants were removed entirely. Clark pushed his knees apart. Warm wetness and suction moved up one thigh, then the other, making Lex shudder, and teeth sank into soft flesh. Lex hissed when they drew blood. Clark was marking him, laying claim like some sort of animal. Lex licked the swollen place on his lip where Clark's teeth had cut him earlier, and gasped as he was nipped yet again.
He looked down and saw a drop of scarlet running down the pale skin of his thigh. Clark smeared the blood with kisses, staining his lips with it, before biting down hard. Lex arced up from the sofa with a cry. He settled as Clark's tongue soothed the hurt and Clark's hands pushed him down again. His cock ached, craving attention. It was not denied for long.
Clark tongued the underside, rising up from the base in a long, lingering stroke as if he were savoring every inch. His hands moved up Lex's legs, caressing cramped muscles, and cupped the tight swells of Lex's buttocks. Never once did he look away from Lex's eyes during his administrations to Lex's cock, even as he lapped at the weeping slit, and sucked at just the tip.
"Where did you learn that?" Lex was frightened by his own voice. It was weak and wavering, made hoarse by arousal.
"Let's just say," Clark blew cool air across taut, burning skin. "The night I spent with Jesse was quite - educational."
The answering smile was frightening. "Almost."
Clark's mouth was far more talented in reality than in any of Lex's dreams. He drew Lex in deep, easing his lips and tongue down the shaft inch by aching inch before moving back up in a languid withdrawal, hollowing his cheeks as he sucked. His hands guided Lex's hips, lifting them up and down in harmony with his mouth, until Lex was pumping them on his own.
Lex drove his cock deep into Clark's open and accepting throat. His eyes closed. Nothing existed for him but fucking. He was fucking the mouth he'd dreamed about, the mouth that had spouted bruising words at him, the same mouth that had forced air into his lungs on a cold October day. Snarling, he sunk his fingers into Clark's thick, dark hair, forcing his head down with every thrust. Lex threw back his head, arcing his back off the sofa, his thigh muscles straining as he pushed up from the floor. The burn of impending climax churned deep in his bowels.
He let go of Clark's hair and dug his fingers into the worn cushions of the couch as he quivered on the edge of release. Clark eased back, releasing his hold. The cool air on Lex's wet cock was enough to push him over the precipice. He came, and Clark was there, catching the glistening fluid with his tongue as if it were an expensive and exotic perfume. Lex moaned as he was milked of every drop by the mouth he had long adored from afar.
He lay dazed, concentrating only on breathing normally again. He heard Clark move a short distance away, and opening his eyes, Lex saw him sitting on the steamer trunk with an irritatingly smug expression on his face. He idly kicked Lex's pants across the floor. Lex struggled upright with painfully stiff muscles, and dressed himself in silence.
"Do I regain access to the caves?" One corner of Clark's mouth quirked in what was very nearly a snarl, though the effect was lessened by the smear of semen on his upper lip.
Lex froze in the act of tucking in his shirt. "Is that what this was all about?"
Clark laughed. "Not really, I don't need to suck your cock to get into those caves."
Angrily, Lex stuffed his shirt in his pants and tightened his belt. "Don't play with me, Clark. I told you - you have already crossed the line. You're pushing your luck."
"Are you threatening me again, Lex? You realize I could very easily play the victim here. Who do you think people would believe if I ran to the authorities and claimed you did some 'inappropriate touching'? The Luthor brat, or me?" He shrugged. "Or I could just tell my father, and watch him ram a rifle up your ass."
"You wouldn't dare."
"It would ruin everything wouldn't it?" Clark said casually. "You'd never learn the connection between me and those caves."
Lex choked off another exclamation.
So there was a connection.
Clark stood up and caught Lex by the wrist again. The bruises he'd already made there protested. He fixed Lex with a frighteningly intense stare. "Don't push me, Lex." His voice dropped to a whisper. "Or you won't find out what the guy Jesse and I picked up in Metropolis taught me either."
There was a heartbeat of silence in which Lex's stomach did a queasy roll. He felt ill and ashamed. He'd come there with some half baked notion to get Clark to confess his secrets, but the secrets Clark had revealed were not what Lex wanted. He hadn't wanted this. Not like this.
"Is it really you, Clark?" he whispered. "I don't want this..."
"You don't like it, do you? You don't like being manipulated. You don't like the idea of having all your darkest secrets dragged out to where everyone can see them. Your truths can destroy you, Lex. This," he ran his finger over his lip, gathering the come onto it, and then slowly sucked it off in a mockery of what he'd done to Lex's cock. "This is how you will pay me to keep my silence - whore."
His laughter made Lex's spine stiffen, but he said nothing. Clark raised his hand, digging his thumb into Lex's chin as he tilted his head back for a vicious kiss. Lex felt the cut on his lip reopen. Clark slowly licked away away the blood. His tongue rasping over the wound made it sting and Lex's eyes water. Blindly he groped for Clark's chest, finding the pocket, and removing the stone before Clark stepped back.
Lex held the red stone in his outstretched hand.
Clark blinked. His gaze found the stone lying on Lex's palm. The expression of abject horror on his face when he looked up to meet Lex's eyes was cutting. Lex struggled to keep his own expression neutral as he closed his fingers around the rock, and put it into his coat pocket. Clark closed his eyes and groaned.
Without a word, Lex walked past him, down the stairs, and into the darkness of the barn below.
Lex sat in the car listening to the rain pour down on the roof, trying to soothe his jangling nerves with the smooth, rhythmic sound. Mentally he made another mark on the "bad choices" side of his lifelong tally. The score was distressingly uneven. He felt a failure. If he were lucky, Clark would simply never speak to him again, but Lex wasn't any better with luck than he was with decisions. Something always got in the way. Most of the roadblocks were of his own making.
Why had Clark's "secret" been so important to him that Lex felt he had to risk their increasingly fragile friendship to learn it? Had it been worth the utter destruction of their relationship? He'd discovered a reciprocal attraction, and made it worthless.
What little patience Lex possessed had run out. He'd resorted to force and it had been too much. He'd broken them both.
He slammed his hands on the steering wheel in a quick burst of fury quickly subdued beneath a heavy mantle of guilt. He draped his arms over the wheel. Bowing his head, he sat with eyes closed, listening to the drum of the rain on the roof as it streamed down from the darkness.
When he looked up again, Clark was standing in front of the car.
How long he'd been standing there, watching Lex wallow in self pity, Lex didn't know, but it had been long enough to get thoroughly soaked. His face was pale, drawn, and almost haggard. His eyes were haunted.
Lex unlocked the passenger side door, and Clark got in the car, slumping down into the seat like a wilted flower. He sat there looking down at his hands, silent as he picked at his cuticles. With his hands closed tightly around the steering wheel, Lex stared straight out into the rain. Neither of them spoke.
"Do you want to play a game of eight-ball?" Lex asked finally.
"I'm a little wet."
"There's a warm fire in the den." Lex turned his head, seeking Clark's eyes.
Clark looked up at him. His voice was barely audible. "Sure. Okay."
Lex inhaled deeply, letting the breath out again with a sigh. A turn of the key, and the car roared to life. The headlights cut through the darkness.
"Can I have cocoa?" Clark asked.
"Absolutely," Lex replied softly, and put the car into gear.