“I’ll love you forever, Clark, I swear, I’ll have your children when you meet the boy of your dreams, just don’t make me go back out there.” Lois groaned and sprawled back onto the bed, arms and legs akimbo, sweat gleaming on every inch of visible skin.
Clark laughed, leaning over to brush a damp lock of chestnut hair out of his partner’s eyes. “I told you not to have that last drink, Lois. That guy was hot, I grant you, but that stuff smelt like rocket fuel.”
Lois groaned again. “I think it was rocket fuel. Please, Clark. I can handle the mother of all hangovers, and I can handle heatstroke, but I can’t handle both at the same time. It’s 38 degrees today, I have no idea what that is in real temperatures, but it’s killing me.”
Clark sighed, and dragged the electric fan closer to the bed. “I’ll call you when I’m done.” Lois waved a finger, eyes already closing. It had been her idea to tag along with the sports writers covering the Athens games for the Planet, ostensibly in support of Metropolis’ own hosting bid for 2012, but it wasn’t turning out exactly the way she’d imagined.
Clark, on the other hand, was having the time of his life. It’d been a big enough culture shock for the farm boy from Smallville, Kansas moving to Metropolis for the first time, but Athens was something else again. The ugly concrete buildings and haphazard streets of the modern town would have been out of place in Metropolis’ worst slums, but the ancient city was breath taking, and there was something special about the Greek sunshine, light bouncing off every surface, heat soaking into his bones, warming and energising him, body humming with barely controlled power.
It was with some equanimity, then, that he received the news that the meeting scheduled for this morning had been pushed back till late afternoon. Greeks, he’d discovered, had a disregard for time that bordered on religious observance. It’d annoyed him at first, but a week had been long enough to get used to it, and besides, with a judicious application of speed – it was no use trying to get across town by conventional methods – it meant he’d catch the last of the swimming heats.
His press pass and winning smile got him a seat on the finish line, and he settled in to enjoy the spectacle. He’d swum, himself, at high school, the only sport he’d ever participated in, and he still loved it. The light shining off the water was almost blinding, and the tension in the air as the swimmers strode out of the changing rooms was palpable.
Clark recognised a few of them – the tall, sun bleached Australians, blond hair wild till they pulled on their ugly green caps, and the Americans, of course, several of whom he’d met at the reception before the opening ceremony. The others he could mostly pick by the colour of their swimsuits, but there was one he couldn’t place, one who constantly drew his eye as he walked, no, sauntered – there was no other word for it – around the pool.
He had the body of a swimmer, all right, wide shoulders, long lean torso, abs to die for, and sculpted thighs and calves. He was almost too thin though, hipbones sharp above his low cut purple suit, and his skin was fair, shockingly so compared to his competitors’. Clark found himself squirming in his seat, hoping the man had adequate sun protection on; it really was hot today, and the pool, as the world knew, had no roof.
And then the man looked up, catching his eye, and Clark was just plain squirming, blood racing in his veins, breath dying in his throat. He was gorgeous. Fine eyebrows, sinfully long eyelashes, and eyes the precise colour of the water in the pool, no, Clark corrected himself, the colour of the light reflecting off the water in the pool.
Clark tore his own eyes away, turning to his neighbour. “Who is that?” he managed to ask, hoping he didn’t sound quite as breathless as he felt. The man shrugged, and looked at his programme. “Lex Luthor. American born, swims for the UK. Dual citizenship, he’s lived there since he was a kid.”
He turned back to the pool side, where the man – Lex – was climbing onto the starting blocks. Clark felt vaguely disloyal, but his senses knew no national borders. His body, for that matter, seemed to be losing all claim to acquaintanceship with decorum. He shifted uncomfortably, leaning well forward in his seat. The better to see the race, his conscious mind insisted.
The starter’s pistol fired, making him jump, and for four minutes and odd seconds time seemed to stop. Clark couldn’t hear a sound beyond the thump of his own heart, couldn’t see a thing outside the third lane of the massive pool. Lex’s butterfly was good, but when he turned after the second length, writhing sinuously onto his back, Clark had to stifle a moan, biting almost through his lip in the process. He’d always found the dolphin kick awkward, but Lex cut through the water like he was made for it, long legs flicking six, eight, ten times before his head broke the surface and he switched to the more traditional backstroke.
If Clark focused he could see Lex’s face, eyes open under blue tinted goggles, jaw clenched in concentration, a faint flush staining his cheekbones. It almost came as a relief when he reached the far end again, flipping underwater for the breaststroke. Until Clark realised what the bobbing of his head reminded him of, and dear god, was he sure Lois’ admirer’s raki hadn’t had more of an effect on him than he’d realised?
This had to be a delayed reaction, there was no other explanation for it. He was twenty six years old, for god’s sake, not sixteen, and if it had been embarrassing – mortifying, humiliating – to be caught sporting wood in the corridor at school the first time he accidentally x-rayed the girls’ locker room, surely that was as nothing compared to the death that must follow his outing as a sex-crazed maniac on a live broadcast being beamed into three billion homes around the world. Including a yellow farmhouse in Smallville, Kansas.
The thought of his parents curled up together on the battered couch, and his father’s weak heart, calmed him enough that he could watch the rest of the race with something akin to dispassion. Lex’s freestyle looked like... well... swimming, as opposed to something else – SEX! Clark’s mind screamed helpfully – strong, but clearly not his best stroke. His hand hit the wall and he stood up, water running down his chest in tiny rivers, and Clark tore his gaze away before his mind could process the desire to lick every one of them off, turning instead to look up at the massive scoreboard.
Lex had finished second, between the Aussie favourite and one of the Americans. Mere moments separated them, and with three of the fastest times posted, all three would go on to the final. Clark breathed out happily, and decided he’d be watching it on television rather than in person. In the privacy of his own hotel room. With the door locked. Still, all told, the situation wasn’t unsalvageable, and if he left quickly he could get back to town in time, and in a fit state, for the rescheduled meeting. His fatal mistake, like that of Orpheus, lay in looking back.
Lex was hauling himself out of the pool, muscles rippling, chest still heaving slightly with exertion, when he stopped, one knee on the pool’s edge, the other leg trailing in the water. His upper body turned back toward the stand in a movement which should have looked awkward, but didn’t, and his gaze locked on Clark’s. Clark froze. Lex smiled. It wasn’t the joyful smile of an athlete whose years of training had just paid off, or that of a friendly stranger, or even that of a young man glad to be alive on such a beautiful day. It was a knowing smile, the smile of a man who plucked secrets from the air. The smile of a man who could focus just as hard as Clark, if he chose to, and was choosing to do so right now. Clark shivered in the sunshine, and fled.
Bracing himself for the maelstrom that must inevitably be conjured by admitting that yes, he had gone to the afternoon’s planning session, but no, he had neither notes nor clear recall to show for it, Clark was pleasantly surprised by Lois’ trademark combined shrug and snort. He was less pleasantly surprised when she told him to hurry up and get changed because Dionisi, he of the lethal last round, was taking them out to a club. Resistance proved futile, however, and he sulkily allowed her to assemble an outfit for him out of the limited supply of clothes in his suitcase.
An hour and a half and a couple of retsinas later, and his mood began to pick up. The idea of cheese pie still struck him as slightly blasphemous, but he’d bowed to the local expert’s decree, and while he wouldn’t be asking his mother to add it to her repertoire any time soon, he had to admit it was interesting. Salty, rich, and good. Damn it. The veal in red wine which followed was even better. Another glass of the surprisingly drinkable - and potent - wine and okay, he was officially having a good time.
Glancing at his watch surreptitiously, he was surprised to see it was almost ten o’clock. The previously quiet restaurant was beginning to fill up, locals, born night owls, only now venturing out for dinner. Catching the movement, Dionisi tore his mouth away from Lois’ ear long enough to murmur apologetically, “We’ll leave soon, the club doesn’t open till eleven.” Clark smiled back, deciding the guy really wasn’t all bad, rocket fuel notwithstanding, and headed for the bathroom.
Pleasantly surprised by the modern amenities – he’d heard some true horror stories, but managed to avoid the worst of Athens’ plumbing nightmares – he splashed some water on his face. It was icy, and felt like heaven on his flushed skin. Stepping back to look at his reflection, he decided he liked what he saw. Lois had paired a shirt that the helpful old ladies at the laundry down the road from the hotel had managed to shrink by a size and a half with his best slacks, and despite his earlier doubts he had to concede it worked.
He was young, people – objective strangers even! – assured him that he was good looking, and he was in a foreign city. So what if he’d been reduced to a poolside puddle of lust by a total stranger mere hours ago. This was Athens. That sort of thing probably happened all the time. Shoulders set, back straight, he walked back out to the table. Lois was unlikely to be returning to the suite with him, but that didn’t mean he had to go alone.
The reality of the club was intimidating enough to knock some of Clark’s newfound confidence right back out of him. He’d never been into the club scene, and this place made what he’d seen of Metropolis –admittedly not its hottest venues – look like coffee at the Beanery back home. The cover charge at the door was enough to make him look twice, but Dionisi paid it without thought, and evidently it included the first round because before he knew it Clark had a tall, brightly coloured drink in his hand. Rapidly followed by two more as Lois hauled Dionisi off onto the dance floor. Shocked at her callous betrayal, and revising his revision of Dionisi’s character, he glared after them, then retreated to the massive black marble bar.
A lone island of calm in a sea of frenzied movement, Clark proceeded to drink all three of the cocktails. He wasn’t sure whether alcohol in Greece really was more potent than at home, or whether the unchanging heat was slowing his metabolism, but he liked the results. Revenge would still be his, and Lois would suffer for her perfidy, but in the meantime there was a whole menu of exotic drinks with unpronounceable names to try.
“Can I buy you one of those, or are you happy just reading the list?” Lilting drawl with a trace of the mid-Atlantic in it. Deciding to live a little, Clark pulled out his best smile and looked up. His planned “Whatever you’re having” died in his throat at the sight in front of him. Lex looked almost better with his clothes on than he did with them off. Almost. Sapphire blue, skin tight, sleeveless top in some shimmery material Clark couldn’t name but itched to touch, riding well above straight black pants.
Clark counted it a minor victory that he managed to close his mouth instead of sitting there gaping. Lex just smiled, leaning over him to tell the bartender, “Thio bires, parakalo, Kosta.” Clark remembered to breathe, taking in a combination of expensive cologne, sun screen, and a faint trace of chlorine. Head swimming, he practically snatched the frosty bottle out of Kosta’s hand. The bartender smiled knowingly, and Lex laughed, taking Clark’s arm in his free hand. “Let’s go and sit down, before you fall down.” Clark tried to muster indignation, but it wilted in the face of Lex’s arrogance. And sheer attractiveness. Besides, he was a little unsteady on his feet.
The crowd opened for Lex like the Red Sea for Moses, and he gently steered Clark up a spiral staircase to the balcony, hand light on the small of his back. It was cooler away from the bright lights of the dance floor, and a couple of sips of the ice cold beer and the ability to hear himself think gave Clark back a little of his self possession. It also gave him a chance to wonder why he was falling all over himself in helpless desire, in a way he hadn’t since freshman year and Lana’s meteorite necklace. Crushing that thought mercilessly, and the flood of unpleasant memories it threatened to evoke, he decided to prove he too could be suave. Or at least master the English language.
“That was a great race this morning. Congratulations. Oh, and I’m Clark by the way.”
“Thanks. I could have done better, I think, but I was a little distracted. Something caught my eye. And I know who you are.”
“Distracted? By what? By...” Light dawned and Clark choked. “Really? Wait, what do you mean you know who I am?”
Lex laughed again, and it was a sound Clark was rapidly falling in love with. “I am from Metropolis originally, Clark, I still get the Daily Planet delivered. You’re better looking in person than in your by-line shot.”
Genuine interest trumped flattered embarrassment. “You’re from Metropolis? How did you wind up in England?”
For the first time Lex looked self conscious, running a hand over his shaved head. “My father was killed in an accident when I was nine. My mother died when I was twelve. Her only family was there.”
“I’m so sorry.”
Lex shrugged. “I hate to think where I would have wound up if I’d stayed in Metropolis. There’s a lot of temptation in the big city, and the guardians my Dad had picked out were more interested in the company than me.”
“The company?” Clark felt as though he’d missed something important.
Lex shook his head in wonder. “You really have no idea who I am, do you?”
“The guy who’s going to win the medley final tomorrow night?” Clark asked hopefully.
Lex smirked. “The guy who’s going home with you tonight.”
Clark made it out of the night club, down the street, and through the hotel foyer without tripping, for which he thanked whatever Olympian god protected star struck lovers. The elevator doors had barely closed before Lex made his move. Clark had about a second to consider the unfairness of some people having all the grace in the world – on land as well as in the water – before his back hit the wall and warm lips pressed against his.
Lex had to reach up to do it, weight shifting to the balls of his feet, and Clark instinctively wrapped an arm around his waist to compensate for the movement of the ancient elevator. His fingers grazed the strip of bare skin – *bless* the Athens heat and the absence of jackets, even at two in the morning – and that was all kinds of good, electricity jolting up his arm, even as he pulled Lex closer and opened his mouth to the onslaught.
The doors creaked open, and they staggered out into the hallway, still locked together. If kissing ever became an Olympic sport – and really, synchronised swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, handball, why the hell not? – Clark figured he’d found the first gold medallist. Pressure, 10. Heat, 10. Agility, maybe a 9.5 from the surly Russian judge. Wait a second there... Tongue thrusting into his mouth, flicking over his teeth, duelling with Clark’s own, teeth nipping at Clark’s lower lip, mouth travelling to Clark’s jaw, his neck, sucking, biting, licking... Recount!
Clark moaned and the crowd went wild. Or Lex, at any rate, breathed hot and low into his ear, body pressing harder up against him, all slippery silk, impossible to get a good hold on. Clark gave up trying, grabbing instead the back of his belt and pulling him up off his feet, and that could have been uncomfortable, but Lex just went with it, light spring off the ground, muscled thighs locking around Clark’s hips, arms wrapping tightly around his shoulders as he leaned in to bury his face in Clark’s neck.
Clark seized his moment, propelling them down the hall slightly faster than was technically possible for an ordinary man, especially one hauling six odd feet of writhing swimmer, propping Lex against the door as he fumbled one handed for his keys, and dear god, that brought parts of their anatomies into contact that had previously been just out of reach, prompting a groan from Lex that made his blood race, and if he couldn’t get the damn key into the lock he was going to have to break it, that was all there was to it. Lex pried the key out of his numb fingers and found the lock by touch, eyes never leaving Clark’s face, and the door sprung open, practically catapulting them into the room. The favour of the gods was evidently still with them, however, because Clark managed to stay on his feet long enough to ensure Lex landed on the bed instead of the floor.
With superhuman strength he tore himself away, just long enough to kick the door shut and lock it behind him, then stumbled into the bathroom looking for something, anything that would do the trick, and hang on... Condoms and lube, right there on the counter, and one of Lois’ business cards, her spiky scrawl on the back of it, Don’t be too mad, you know I wouldn’t ditch you like that. There was really no punishment sufficient for this sort of treachery, and as for Lex, that manipulative little... Wow. A peek through the wall showed Lex sitting up, pulling the blue shirt over his head, and what the hell. Condoms. Lube. Lex. Retribution could wait.
Stalking back into the bedroom with a feline grace all his own, Clark popped the buttons on his shirt, flinging it into a corner with more force than was strictly necessary. Lex’s hands froze, and it was his turn to look like a deer in headlights. Clark unbuckled his belt, kicking off his shoes as he strode toward the bed. “You spoke to Lois?” It was barely a question.
Lex shrugged defiantly. “I called the Planet. They gave me this number. Is that a problem?”
Clark let his pants drop to pool at his feet. “The only problem is how much you’re still wearing.”
Lex lay back down without speaking, hands moving leisurely to his own pants, shoulders taking the weight as he arched up off the bed, shucking pants and briefs in one go, falling back to sprawl naked, legs wantonly open. “Problem solved,” he whispered.
Clark dropped to his knees at the edge of the bed, grasping Lex’s calves and pulling him towards him. The sheets rucked up, bunching under him, and Clark leaned in to kiss one smooth pale thigh. Lex didn’t shave, Clark realised suddenly, skin soft and supple, and completely hairless. Nose pressed to the curve where leg met body, he breathed deep, that mixture of chlorine and something else, maybe moisturiser, and a stronger trace of Lex himself. Licking one broad line from knee to hip, Clark felt rather than heard Lex’s smothered gasp, pulling back to watch the full body shudder. And then Lex’s strong fingers were digging into his biceps, pulling him up to cover his own body, and Clark had no problem with that, no problem at all.
Pressed together the full length of their bodies, Clark leaned in to kiss Lex again, hot and wet and oh so good, as Lex’s feet slid up the sides of his calves, stroking once, twice, then settling on his hips, toes hooking in the waistband of his boxers and pushing them down. Clark raised himself to help, groaning as he settled back into the cradle of Lex’s pelvis, cocks touching at last. Lex’s skin was burning, about as hot as Clark felt himself, and he was so hard, they both were, trapped between the planes of their stomachs. Clark took them both in one big hand, stroking firmly from base to tip, stifling Lex’s moan with his mouth.
Lex’s hands clenched on his shoulders, then one slid up and round to bury itself in Clark’s hair, fingers kneading at the tendons in his neck, easing the tension Clark hadn’t known was there, the other skimming lightly down Clark’s back to rest on the swell of his ass, thumb stroking suggestively at the cleft. Clark thrust against him helplessly, grinding into Lex’s body as he groped blindly for the lube with his free hand. Lex pushed him back, sitting up suddenly, twisting over the edge of the bed to grab the bottle from the floor where Clark had dropped it. Observant, the last of Clark’s higher brain function noted in warning, then shut down once and for all as Lex popped the top, squeezing a liberal amount into his palm, then reaching out to grasp Clark tightly.
Clark gasped, biting down on his own lip to keep from coming at the feel of Lex’s fingers, long and smooth, hold just as hard as he wanted, needed, lube cold against his fevered skin. Flick of Lex’s wrist to circle the head, short nails scraping lightly, and Clark had to catch that wrist with his own hand, fingers shockingly dark against Lex’s fair skin, and squeeze a warning of his own. Lex’s eyes, darkening, deepening now with lust, no longer the colour of light, locked with his, even as he lay back down, other hand moving to upend the bottle onto his stomach.
Clark watched a moment in mesmerised fascination as the glossy liquid pooled and spread, running in streams over Lex’s muscled abdomen. Lex’s pink lips, bruised and swollen now from kissing, quirked into that smile that drove Clark wild, had done since the pool, was it only a day ago? Clark seized his free wrist before he could wreak more mischief with it, transferring it to his other hand, pulling both up above Lex’s head, his slightly longer reach stretching Lex’s arms visibly, muscles rippling beneath the skin. Lex breathed deep, struggled to sit up, but Clark’s broad palm on his stomach held him down, fingers sliding in the lube, stroking, soothing, and then Lex sighed, in victory and surrender both, feet dragging up the bed again to rest flat on either side of Clark’s hips.
Clark sucked in a final breath and leaned down, kissing that intoxicating mouth once more, slick, wet, hot, then worked his hand down, avoiding Lex’s cock, fingers skimming behind his balls, stroking the fragile skin there, slipping further back and carefully, gently, pushing inside. Lex breathed out sharply, hands clenching and flexing in Clark’s grasp, and moved into it, relaxing, opening around Clark’s questing fingers. Slow, careful stretch, flesh slick and hot, and just when Clark thought he couldn’t wait any longer Lex moaned and rasped, “Come on, what are you waiting for?”
Fingers pulled out, and Lex’s moan that time sounded a little pained, okay, right, too fast, and Clark kissed him quickly in apology, even as he tore open a foil packet one handed. Unrolled, on, last look at Lex’s face as he lined himself up, then nothing but heat and slick, and God, so tight, as he slid home, breath coming in short gasps as Lex’s eyes flew closed and long lean thighs clamped around his waist, feet locking behind his back and pulling him in way faster than his remorseful conscience had planned.
“Ohhh. Yeah.” Slightly shocky laughter, and Clark forced himself to wait as Lex shifted beneath him, body adjusting, relaxing at last. Lex smiled again, nodded, and Clark pulled out slowly, thrusting back in gently, then Lex moved, shimmied almost, ridiculous word but nothing else for it, obviously in control of muscles no one else had access to, and Clark thrust again, a little faster, a lot harder. Felt Lex shudder and squirm, and thrust back to meet him. “God, Clark, God, that’s so good...” and Clark was seeing colours, flashes of purple and sapphire blue, Lex colours, as he worked a hand in between them to grasp Lex’s cock.
Lex’s head rocked back, and Clark just had to bite the offered throat, sucking hard, and licking to soothe the hurt. “Claaark,” Lex groaned, “I have to take my clothes off in front of the world tomorrow,” and right, sorry, but if Lex could still string a sentence – albeit a breathy one – together then Clark was doing something wrong. Letting go of Lex’s hands, Clark grabbed him by the hip, pulling him up harder, thrusting deeper, other hand on his cock not missing a beat, and Lex screamed and came, pulsing in Clark’s hand, whole body stiffening, back arching as he clenched around Clark’s cock.
Clark rode out the tremors, pressing a kiss to each of Lex’s eyelids, managed another three, four thrusts, shorter, choppy now, rhythm faltering, and then he was coming, harder than he could remember ever coming before, colours fading to black as he collapsed onto Lex’s sweat and come smeared chest, barely remembering to take some of the weight off before his own eyes closed.
“Christ,” Lex murmured at some point during the night, after Clark had disengaged and disposed of the condom. “I can’t move. I don’t know how I’m going to swim tonight.”
“You’ll be fine,” Clark whispered back, face buried in Lex’s neck, fingers stroking the impossibly smooth skin of his shoulder and upper arm. “I think you have hidden reserves.”
“Maybe.” Lex yawned, and writhed bonelessly beneath him. “I guess we’ll see.”
Clark rolled over, stretching, some hours later, light streaming through the open windows to warm and caress his bare skin. Smiling softly he reached out, but the other side of the bed was empty, sheets cool in the comparative shade. Sighing, he lay back down, surprisingly hurt. In the harsh light of day he had to admit they’d barely talked, but the connection he’d felt had been real, he was sure of it.
Eventually, he heard the door of the room next door open, and Lois moving around, humming gently to herself. The thought of facing her, and the questions sure to follow, was excruciating. Hauling himself out of bed, he walked slowly into the bathroom, muscles protesting, turning on the shower and brushing his teeth while he waited for the sun warmed water to run cold. Unable to put it off any longer he looked up, catching a brief glimpse of reddened eyes and tousled hair in the mirror, before something else caught his eye.
Tucked into the corner of the frame was a brightly coloured strip of cardboard with the emblem of the Athens Aquatic Centre at one end. Pulling it down, Clark laughed quietly to himself as he leaned against the countertop. Taking a leaf out of Lois’ book, but infinitely more legible, Lex had written on the back. Get there early, sit down, and try not to distract me this time! We’ll celebrate afterwards, if you’re up for it. I will be. L.