"This is it," said Clark. His voice might be shaking. Fair enough, he thinks, because . . . this is it. The biggest secret he has to tell.
Lex feels tiny in his hands, warm and frail. He'd picked up a sparrow once that felt so, trembling with life, its heartbeat a quick murmur against the thick skin of his paws. How old had he been? Five, maybe, and stricken too soon with the stark awareness of mortality. Lex is a grown man, strong-limbed, clean-skinned, and Clark could kill him if he tightens his fingers.
He hadn't killed the sparrow. The dreams of blood and delicate, fractured bones were nothing more than that, dreams.
"Lex," he says, and he might die before Lex ever speaks. He wouldn't have believed that he could love anything so much.
Lex's eyes are burning bright, Blake-bright, Bible-bright, falling angels scorching comet trails across the sky bright. Clark can't read them, but then he never could. Lex is a mystery wrapped in a tailored suit wrapped in an expensive car.
"So," says Lex, voice entirely too even, "you stop speeding Porsches, rescue billionaires and high school kids, and break the laws of physics willy-nilly in your spare time. Any other hobbies you haven't told me about, Clark?"
Clark should relax. He should laugh, apologise, offer to buy Lex a drink, take him the hell down to earth -- anything, as long as it's not being a crazy stalker freak who just can't give it up. Because he can't. Lex is offering him forgiveness, maybe: a fight, forgetting, friendship, but fuck that. Whatever it is, Clark doesn't want it. He wants --
"That wasn't what I wanted to tell you," says Clark, because there had been a point to this, hadn't there? Ordinary night out with Lex; dinner at one of those fancy restaurants Clark is never sure if Lex chooses to show him up for the hopelessly backward farmboy he is, or to give him a model to work towards; Clark and Lex taking a little time out of their busy schedules for each other.
"Tell me," Lex had said, "what's new in the life of Clark Kent?"
In a universe where Clark was, you know, sane, he would have said, "Why, nothing, Lex, you know me; even the college librarian's telling me to join a fraternity." In that universe, Clark and Lex would have had their dinner and gone their separate ways and that was it, everything would have been fine. Everything would have been okay.
Clark is so fucking sick of okay.
So in this universe, this is what Clark Kent does. Clark pushes back his chair. Clark holds out his hand to his gleaming best friend, his worst fear, his every nightmare, his wet dream. Clark says -- because this is the universe where Clark is, you know, a complete lunatic -- he says,
"Let me show you."
What's new is flight. I can fly now, Lex. Isn't that wonderful, isn't that just great, another goddamn brick in the Wall of Weird that is my alien life? Don't you want to be me? Haven't you always wanted to know?
Was that it? Clark thinks now, hovering above the sparkling darkness of Metropolis, his best friend looking at him with the eyes of an enemy. Did he really want Lex to turn him away? That's what he's always feared, what he's always known would happen if Lex ever found out -- what's wrong with him? Is his life so perfect that he has to dismantle it, piece by painstaking piece?
There is a pressure in his chest that feels like crying. And for an encore, Clark Kent will return home to shove Kryptonite fragments under his fingernails. If he survives the night.
He may be a little crazy. What's new?
"Oh, really?" Lex is saying now, his voice a little mad -- good, thinks Clark, now we're coming from the same place. God, if only. "Then what is it you wanted to tell me, Clark? Please, don't hold back. This seems to be a night for revelations."
He isn't going to allow himself to think about this. He hadn't been thinking when he'd put his arms around Lex (that startled look -- he'd read that as hope, but Clark has always been too ready to find hope anywhere). Maybe he'd thought Lex would just know. How many people has Clark shown this to, after all? Cold sky over Metropolis -- he's gained altitude while he wasn't paying attention; they're floating above the clouds now, in an eerie white-black world. Sum total of one, because he's an alien and he's flying and he may be --
"In love with you," says Clark recklessly, "I'm in love with you."
Lex is still. Clark doesn't understand how he can be so vulnerable, one squeeze away from dead in Clark's arms, and still hold so much power.
And now, fantastic, Clark wants to take it back, wants the fight and forgiveness Lex was going to give him, wants safety. Nothing else. Doesn't matter, Lex, tell me this doesn't change anything.
He's about to open his mouth and say this, about to dismiss this grand declaration of love he's been driving himself schizo about all night in a desperate bid for just-like-before, but Lex is gripping Clark's arms so hard even Clark feels it, and he's saying,
"What the fuck, Clark?"
"Why the hell are you telling me this?" says Lex. Clark would shrink before him if that didn't mean dropping Lex a splashy-death-inducing number of feet to the ground. Lex is incandescent in his rage.
"What is wrong with you?" says Lex. "Hasn't it -- haven't I been good enough for you? Have I not been careful enough? I thought we were doing okay, Clark. I thought you wanted to be friends -- "
"I do," Clark chokes out, "I was -- I didn't mean to -- "
"If you'd told me earlier, I would have protected you." Lex's voice is wavery with -- hatred? Fear? Clark honestly can't tell. "If you'd only waited a few more years, I could have killed you. But now -- what the fuck is up with you? What do you want from me?"
"Lex, I don't understand -- "
"Don't play games with me, Clark," Lex is grating out, and Lex may very possibly be a billion times crazier than Clark ever realised. He doesn't know the first thing about Lex. He thinks either Lex is showing those true colours Jonathan was always convinced would come out one day, or else he's coming apart in Clark's hands, and Clark doesn't know what to do. "You have no idea what you're starting. I could tear you apart."
This had been a very bad idea. Lex is making as much sense as a Japanese talk show. Clark says, "I think," to distract him, and then he dives in, sinks in, plows in, says hello I love you what the fuck?
Lex tastes like wine, and Clark remembers abruptly that there's a plate of pheasant somewhere cooling gently in its juices, and an irate maitre d' wondering if he has enough connections to afford pissing off a Luthor by being pissed off at him. Clark's wondering how mad Lex is going to be at him at the end of this. He's thinking this is as sensible as anything that has happened tonight --
And then he's not thinking at all, because Lex reacts.
Clark took Chemistry in high school so that he could have an excuse to drop by the castle and ask Lex questions about homework. It wasn't like there was anyone else in Smallville as qualified to help, after all. There had been some additional perks to taking Chemistry. His teacher had been a little nuttier than most and had finally gone the way of every other Smallville resident who'd thought Kryptonite cocktails were a good idea, but before he'd exploded he'd been pretty interesting, and once he had dropped some caesium into a beaker full of water.
This is a brief description of the shortly ensuing reaction:
This is a description of Lex's reaction:
For several minutes Clark thinks in fat yellow capitals and red-tinted bursts. Lex's mouth is hot and wet and he kisses like he looked the word up in the dictionary and confused its meaning with the definition of devour. Lex kisses like he drives; Lex drives like a maniac. Lex has his fingers dug into the sides of Clark's head and his tongue in Clark's mouth is like dominion, his teeth in Clark's flesh is like battle. He sucks and licks and bites like this is something he's always been waiting for, and Clark melted into a floating alien puddle three signposts back. Inside Clark's head it's a comic book Apocalypse; outside it's a porn flick. God, he's so messed up.
"Lex," he says, when Lex finally lets him up for air. "Lex." Just for the hell of it.
"On your back," says Lex, with terrifying focus. Clark is still blinking and trying to figure out where his brain's gone, but Lex says again,
"On your back," like he doesn't even see Clark, or at least not the Clark outside, wits muddled by lust -- some inner Clark who's just as focused as Lex is and wants what he wants and Clark wants, he wants to be going in the same direction as Lex; God, he's never wanted anything more.
So Clark turns, rights himself, figures out a way that ends with him sprawled on his back under the moon and Lex lying on him, chest to chest. Clark hadn't taken Physics. He'd thought it would complicate things unnecessarily.
Lex is muttering -- has he been talking all this time? Clark hopes he's reciting Latin poetry or something; that would be sexy. But he makes an effort and tunes in to the Lex channel, and Lex is saying, softly enough that you'd have to be an alien to hear,
"Fucking flying, Clark. What are you? If you're fucking with me I'm gonna tear you to pieces -- gonna end your world -- rock your world -- oh, God. Fuck with me and I'll fuck with -- fuck you, fuck you so hard -- I'm going to, did you choose these goddamn pants on purpose?"
Lex is cursing and crawling down Clark's body, and Clark's reaching out before he knows it because that can't be safe and safe is good -- at least one thing in this night should be safe if at all possible -- but then Lex moves his hand and the world turns over and -- is Lex floating?
"No, yes, no," says Clark -- he might have been saying it for some time; whimpering it, actually -- oh, wow. So messed up. They are both so going to therapy forever and ever and Lex has Clark's pants open, ah. Ah.
Clark had taken care not to think about this, but he hadn't not-thought about it this far. That might have been a good idea. Because Lex is between his legs; Lex is propping himself up on his elbows and looking at Clark's cock like he's never seen anything so interesting, like he's going to open his mouth and lick his lips and --
"Wow," Clark finds himself saying, inanely, "you have a great tongue."
Flash of teeth, and Lex smiling in the moonlight is so unexpected, such an unbelievably great thing -- think about this, look at where they are, look at what they're doing, look at that smile -- so not-to-be-hoped-for that Clark is almost distracted enough by it not to scream like a little girl when Lex slides his mouth over his cock and goes down.
Lex's head bobs steadily in the V of Clark's spread legs. Fireworks go off in Clark's head, and in less respectable portions of his anatomy. Blueredyellow stars; so kill Clark if his favourite colours are a little . . . basic. He realises he's got his wrist to his mouth; he's biting at the tender inner skin as if he'd like to rip out his own pulse with his teeth and present it to Lex as a token of his appreciation. Thanks for the blowjob, Lex; here, have my heartbeat.
It's not as if Lex hasn't tried to give him equally valuable (equally weird) gifts before.
Lex's mouth is wet. Maybe Lex has mutant glands in his mouth; maybe he produces an unnatural amount of saliva. Maybe that thought should be much less sexy and much more repulsive than Clark finds it. Lex's tongue drags over the ridge of his cock; Lex's teeth scrape across the springing curve of it. Oh, wow. Lex is making little grunting sounds, uncontrolled, uncontrollable, that make Clark want to drag him up and kiss him, pull all the helpless breathy noises out of the back of Lex's throat and keep it safe in his own.
Clark may be thrusting a little crazily, fucking hard into Lex's mouth. He may be biting hard enough to draw blood from his wrist, scraping a sudden ache into his surprised flesh. He should slow down; he's certain it isn't polite to act like he'd like to shove his way into Lex cock-first, hide himself in the red life of him and never come out again, however true it may be. He tries to recall if there's any blowjob etiquette book that could help him with this. He tries not to make the drowning squeaky noises that keep cheeping out of him: very dignified, Clark, very -- oh -- Lex must like that, because he's speeding up and speeding and --
Swerve of a Porsche and it's bursting over the side of a bridge, bringing the whole world with it into dark waters --
Flash of: a man on his back in a silver-gilded landscape of white cloud and black sky, mouth open and leached of colour, and the bare head between his legs blinding white, moon-white, and the man's eyes swinging shut like a fortress door --
Deep under water, swift rush into the world, air and sunlight and brilliant life knifing into him like a welcome back, and a body sopping wet and still warm in his arms --
Clark opens his hands and lets the stars spill out, flowing away from him, into him, diamonds scattered on liquid velvet. Supernova. Boom.
And the galaxy returns.
Planets all in order, check. Stars in their constellations, check. Lex's weight on his chest and the man himself, smirking like he's won the universe and a new blue Porsche off the back of a cereal box: check.
"Are you still mad at me?" says Clark, even though it's the worst possible question he could choose to ask.
"Yes," says Lex, but not in a bad way. Like it's a dare, like it's something Clark can do, if he's brave enough. Clark feels his blood warm.
He can think of some things he wouldn't mind doing. Someone, too.
"Strange taste," says Lex, licking his lips, just as Clark is saying,
"There's some other things I have to tell you -- "
They both stop, but Clark's the only one blushing, he notices with umbrage. Only a little umbrage, though. Clark is feeling remarkably relaxed.
"Do you," says Lex.
"You probably already know," Clark admits, because it's a night for revelations (such as, for example: Lex gives really good head -- and do not go there until you're sure Lex doesn't blow all of his best friends before cutting them out of his life, Kent).
It's long past time Clark was honest with himself.
"Yeah, but it'll sound better from you," says Lex, and he sounds sure. It will is a good phrase, because Lex should be sure. Clark is. Clark is sure.
"I -- " says Clark, and his voice might be shaking.
Lex wraps his hands around his face, cold hands smelling of night wind, and kisses Clark. He tastes now of something uncomfortably close and familiar. Somewhere inside Clark, something wriggles in disgust, or delight. He looks up into Lex's eyes, no colour in this bleached world above the clouds, and did he ever really think this man was tiny? This Lex. Lex holds the entire world inside of him.
Clark puts his hand to Lex's chest, and feels the hum of the turning world against his palm. He's flying. He's alive.
"This is good, Clark," says Lex, and Clark can feel the buzz of the words, can feel how much Lex likes his name. "This is great. We're great."
"Okay," Clark whispers against Lex's cheek. That's all he was asking for.