Clark wasn't clueless, blind or dumb. He might act like it sometimes but there were usually very good reasons for that, like the fact that he was young, which translated into self-involved, which meant that sometimes he was just thinking about different things than what might be taking place right then and there. And he had more to be self-involved about than the other young and self-obsessed.
Too strong, too fast, too tough.
He was very aware of what was going on because he had to be. When you could crush a couch just by falling into it a bit too hard, when you could knock through a wall just by leaning back a bit too much, when stomping off dirt on the welcome mat meant your feet went through the floor, when all that and more were possible, you had to learn to be very aware. It was even more of a requirement when people were involved because people weren't as easily fixed as broken furniture or walls or floors.
And these weren't things he could moan about to his friends. He had to keep these gifts of his secret because it could land him and his parents in trouble if people found out. People were afraid of what was different. So he learnt to lie and hide, act more normal than normal, fit in, and he did it so well that he virtually disappeared. He had a few close friends but even they didn't really notice him. They saw what he wanted them to see and it worked too well and it left him feeling even more different, an outsider, someone who always stood outside looking in, someone that no one seemed to want to know more about because he was just that boring. Move along, nothing to see here.
And he had made it happen. His parents had helped. The three of them were responsible for making him look like nothing special and it might keep him safe but it wasn't a nice way to live.
Especially not when he wanted Lana to notice him, not when his best friend shook his head and moaned about how clumsy and inept he was, not when his other best friend shook her head and wondered despairingly about his future. His friends weren't malicious, it was a joke, but the jokes were based on the truth as they saw it and it hurt. Lana, she was pretty and smart and popular and practically married to the golden boy of Smallville and Clark wanted her to notice him instead.
She noticed him all right. She noticed him tripping over his feet, babbling, running away.
He'd had dreams about showing off for her, taking her for a run, carrying her and speeding through the country, taking her anywhere she wanted to go. Show her he was special, something worth her attention. And he would show her attention, much more than Whitney did. Clark knew Lana. Whitney didn't have a clue.
Maybe it would have been better if he were clueless, blind and dumb. Ignorance is bliss. And just as he was coming to that thought, he learnt that not only was he different, he was very, very different.
You're an alien, son, and here's your spaceship.
It wasn't funny. Being a teenager was hard enough without bringing more issues into it. Clark was angry with his parents for lying to him for so long, for not lying to him for longer, for being born when he never asked to be except of course he couldn't use that argument but it didn't stop him from thinking it.
Then he wondered if being alien meant Lana and he would not be sexually compatible. He blushed, skittered away from the idea calling himself all kinds of names, then came back to it because it was important. It might be ruled by teen lust but it was still important.
He knew he looked the same on the outside. He'd seen the other kids in the showers and he distinctly remembered seeing his dad when he was much younger and comparing and he was so not going to think about that now.
So he was the same on the outside but the insides were a different matter, which meant they could have sex but babies might be out of the question.
Then a silver car had come hurtling towards him and everything changed again.
Dead. He had a small panic attack and then remembered CPR. A hysterical voice, silent but very loud in his head, laughed and noted that his first kiss was with a dead man. Then the dead man started breathing and he opened his eyes and looked up at Clark and Clark thought of how he had never seen eyes that shade of blue before. It made him think of thunder.
Lex Luthor. Arguably the most notorious son of Metropolis, Lex Luthor, was in Smallville and he had sent Clark a truck. With a big bow on it. People did it on tv but not in real life and not in Smallville. Then he talked about friendship and looked at Clark like he was someone important, someone that he would fight to keep as a friend and Clark really wanted to believe him.
This was Lex Luthor though. Clark had read about him in papers and magazines and seen the pictures. Wild. He had been making headlines before he was Clark's age, had done things that Clark couldn't even see himself doing ever, and Clark couldn't imagine holding his interest for long. So he decided to enjoy the attention while it lasted because it would end.
Except it didn't. Months passed and Lex Luthor became just Lex and it rolled out of his tongue as naturally as if he had been saying it for years. The whole town was talking about Lex and what was happening at the castle and there were lots of important people that were clamouring to get to know him. Lex made the rounds, attended functions, hosted them, but he always invited Clark and it was Clark he looked for in crowded rooms and smiled at.
And it wasn't as if Clark did much to impress Lex. He delivered the produce and went in to see if Lex was busy and if he wasn't, he'd stay and talk. It wasn't hard. Lex could talk about anything and everything. Lex listened to him moan about school, friends, parents, the future, and he'd come out with advice that made sense. Options too. There was never one right way with Lex, there were always options. And there was always one that Clark would make a face at, too morally unacceptable, and Lex would smile like he'd been waiting for that face, and carry on giving alternatives.
Clark liked that smile, liked what it meant. Lex knew him and he liked him even so. Even though he was boring compared to what Lex was used to, he still was someone Lex wanted around him. Lex had even told the staff to let him in whenever he called, send him straight up. When trays of food and drink came, his favourite stuffs were there. The fridge in Lex's office even had cans of his soda. And milk.
Clark noticed and he let himself finally believe that this could last. It wasn't that he didn't see the danger. His friends warned him and most of the town at one time or another made a comment as to how he should be careful, how Lex was not from around here, and did Clark ever wonder why an older man was paying so much attention to him?
And his parents said the same thing, except the emphasis was on his Secret.
But Clark liked it. He liked it that Lex might suspect that there was more to him because it would mean that someone was paying attention and lying to him became almost a game. Clark knew it was dangerous. Lex was the smartest guy he had ever met and so he tried not to play it like a game, but it was too tempting sometimes and he gave in. Said something, did something, implied and joked and watched Lex watch him with that small smile on his lips like he knew what Clark was doing.
He wondered if he was suicidal, whether the pressure had got to him, but he thought about it and realised that it wasn't that at all. Clark was happier than he had been in a long time and Lex had played a big part in that and not just by playing matchmaker for him and Lana. When he had a problem, Lex was there for him no matter right or wrong. Clark didn't think he should feel good about that but he really, really did. Someone to stand by you no matter what. Wasn't that what everyone wanted? Wasn't that what people were looking for when they talked about love?
Clark had read about friendships like that, friendships so strong they had been written about and become part of history. Lex had talked about their friendship being legend and Clark had smiled, just happy with having a friend that thought he was special enough to talk about like that and not too concerned with legend.
But Lex was one of the smartest people on the planet. It had been there in the papers too. Delinquent and wild and bad, but brilliant. People tutted and sighed about wasted talent, what could be achieved if Lex would just find focus.
If Clark could just tell Lex everything, he would have Lex's full support. He knew that, wanted it, especially with the changes his body was still going through. Floating. X-ray. Lex would love it. Especially with his obsession with Warrior Angel and his not-so-hidden geeky scientist persona that came out when Clark asked for his help in doing his science homework.
"How can you not be interested, Clark? Look, cell structure - and the operative word is structure. It's like someone sat down at a drawing board and planned it all. Doesn't that intrigue you in the slightest?"
Lex would not look at him in horror and run away screaming only to come back with a mob. Lex would think he was the greatest thing ever and what were the odds that they would meet? Lex and his talk of destiny.
And just as Clark was teetering on taking a leap of faith, things started going wrong fast and by the time he left Smallville for Met U, he and Lex were barely talking. Resentment and suspicion on both sides, things that were said that should never have been, and a few times Clark had felt something too close to hate to be comfortable. It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Lex had tried to mend things, as he usually did, but Clark was tired. They would go back to something close to the friendship they had once had only for it to turn sour again. Over and over and it was a vicious cycle that Clark wanted a break from. So he stopped returning phone calls, made excuses for not visiting the castle, basically cooled it like his mother had suggested once upon a time.
Clark used the time instead to hang around with his other friends, his less complicated friends. They had their own dramas but it was nothing like with Lex so Clark found it relaxing. Besides, they were all going their separate ways when it came to universities so Clark wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.
Then he went to Met U and he got caught up in the whole newness of it all. Only a few from Smallville had chosen Met U, and Clark barely knew them so he got a chance to start fresh, be someone different. He threw himself into it, made friends, tried things he would never admit to his folks, and even joined some sports that didn't involve as much contact as football. He figured that if he couldn't learn to control himself whilst playing, it didn't say much about how he would cope in real life.
He was tired of being on the fringes. He had started being more involved in Smallville but in Met U, he went in confident from the beginning and stayed that way. Clark liked it, liked being popular and dating. He dated a lot. It had been a shock at first, this girl just coming up to him out of the blue and just asking him out. There had been a moment of insecurity - was this for real? And it had been and it also hadn't been the last time he was asked out. He even did some chasing of his own and now he understood why Pete was so obsessed. This was fun. When there was no one-true-love angst involved, this was fun.
Then it was the last week, first year nearly over. Exams were done and Clark was out at a club with his friends. He was feeling good, great even. He had managed to juggle a social life, study and doing good deeds with only a few missed dates and appointments. And he was going to share a house next year with a few of the friends he had made, who had become close, and it all felt like he was finally finding the balance he had been looking for. There was no law that said he had to hide and have no life if he wanted to use his powers. It needed careful handling, but it was possible.
Everything was going well, so of course, something had to shake it up. Clark had been expecting it, but he had thought it would happen in Smallville. Things he had been diligently not thinking about were in Smallville and as he was heading back home in a few days, those things would have to be faced. So Clark was caught completely by surprise when the shake up happened right there in the club.
Clark was standing by a pillar, an arm around Sara as she slowly swayed to the music. She was a psychology student, Brazilian, with wicked dark eyes and an even more wicked sense of humour. They had been dating for nearly two months; the longest Clark had ever dated anyone. He liked her enough that he'd even gone to dinner with her family, but he was holding off inviting her to Smallville. He wanted to keep Smallville separate from Metropolis as long as he could.
She suddenly stiffened, twisted out of his arms and jumped up and down shouting and waving. Clark was used to this, so he just leaned back against the pillar and watched her hug and kiss another friend. She eventually remembered him and the introductions began. Lauren, law student, and her date, Killian.
Clark didn't catch any more. He was shaking Killian's hand and Killian was smiling up at him, eyes dancing with humour and saying something with a sly glance at the girls. Clark didn't hear any of it. He was too busy being shocked by the fact that he was hard.
He had a feeling this was the night he would add bisexual to his profile.
Somehow they ended up alone on the terrace balcony, the music just a dull thud behind soundproof doors. Killian was leaning back against the railing and dangling a beer bottle from his fingers. He had a tight long-sleeved top and leather pants that showed off a lean body and his eyes were hidden in the shadows, but Clark could still feel them watching him. The tension had been building all night and Clark had known the moment Killian had realised what was going on. Killian had stopped talking mid-sentence, blinked at him a few times, then carried on talking to Sara as if nothing had happened.
But they had ended up standing close, touching accidentally more and more.
Clark watched him take a swallow of beer, long pale neck and a glimmer of eyes. Then he was moving forward and pressing up against him, feeling the legs part immediately and arms come around and hold on as he suckled on the neck and thrust his hips mindlessly. He heard glass shatter in the background as he grasped the soft black hair and kissed lips that had been suckling indecently on bottles for hours. Killian pushed him slightly and he was going to protest until he felt him turn and heard a zipper.
It was unsafe, it was brutal and it was directly in front of doors that weren't locked but he couldn't care less. Neither did Killian by the feel of his bare butt writhing against Clark's cock and the insults whispering out as Clark took too long in his humble opinion.
Clark wrapped an arm tight around his waist and thrust, hoping his fingers had stretched him enough to spare some pain, but the groan told him it hadn't been enough. Killian tightened, knuckles white as his hands clenched the rails, but in the next instant he was pushing back and Clark cried out and it was hard and fast and so perfect.
Clark came to, slumped over Killian's sweaty back, and he slowly pulled away. He was expecting to feel awkward but he didn't. Killian grinned at him as he turned around, looking cheeky and not at all guilty despite the fact they had both cheated on their girlfriends. Clark grinned back, but it disappeared when Killian spoke.
"So who's Lex?"