Clark stood at the side of the pool, watching as Lex finished his laps. He'd come in during mid session, but when Lex had offered to cut it short, Clark said that he could wait. It's not like he had anywhere else to be. More accurately, he had nowhere else he wanted to be.
Saying things had been strained since he'd come back to Smallville would be putting it mildly. Every time he left the house, his parents looked at him as though they were wondering whether he'd be back within a month. Lana tried not to look at him at all, and when she did, the mask of anger would occasionally slip to reveal the deep lingering hurt she clutched like a lifeline. Clark had gotten past the point of feeling guilty about that, though the process hadn't been quick or easy. They both knew he deserved the silent treatment and worse, so he took care to avoid anywhere he thought she'd be. Better for both of them that way.
Pete just looked disappointed and wary -- Clark had let him down and Pete wasn't letting himself trust that it wouldn't happen again. Clark tried to make it up to him, and things were mending, but he knew it wouldn't be the same. There were days when he wondered if Pete had taken to carrying around some green Kryptonite with him, just in case Clark lost his mind enough to go on a red bender again. And Chloe... things with her were actually both better and worse. The argument they'd had before he left town seemed like it had drained something out of her. The anger had fled, but so had some of her vivacity. When she asked questions now, they came with dull nonchalance, not the fire of curiosity to know anything and everything that Clark had come to expect. And sometimes, he could feel her staring at him when he wasn't looking at her. That was different, too. She didn't seek with her eyes anymore. She observed.
Frankly, it creeped Clark the hell out.
But Lex... Lex had been through his own trauma that he clearly wanted to forget. They didn't speak about death traps disguised as honeymoons or Clark's brief stint as a star player in Metropolis's undesirable element. Their conversations stayed firmly in the present or on innocuous topics. Clark felt more comfortable at the mansion than he did anywhere else these days.
Lex reached the end of the pool, bracing his hands on the ledge and pushing out. Water streamed down his body onto the concrete and puddled at his feet. Clark grabbed a towel from the lounge and tossed it to him.
"Thanks." Lex patted his face dry first, then started briskly rubbing the moisture from his torso as he walked around the corner of the pool. "So, what's on the agenda for the day?"
They'd made plans to do something this afternoon, but Lex had left the specifics in Clark's hands. "Since I know you don't own any movies that aren't on DVD, I brought the Star Wars trilogy over. I figured we could have a marathon."
Lex nodded and tossed the towel onto a deck chair. "An afternoon of adventure sounds good. I do wish George Lucas would get over himself and put those out on DVD."
"At least Indiana Jones is finally coming out."
Lex paused, giving Clark a slightly curious look that bloomed and faded quickly. "True. But until the paean to space incest subtext is released, there will be a tragic hole in my film collection."
Clark blinked. He replayed the comment in his head, then blinked again. "Space incest?"
"You had to have noticed, Clark. Luke and Leia making eyes at each other all through the first movie, only to know by the third that they were brother and sister. It wasn't exactly subtle."
"Lex... space incest? You're out of your mind. The Star Wars movies are family entertainment-"
"In more than one sense."
Clark ignored the leering interruption. "And that's just... wrong." Weak argument, to say the least, but he was sticking by it. "Where would you come up with something like that?"
Lex grinned, folding his arms across his chest. He looked far too smug. "From the man himself, actually."
Clark blinked again. "You know George Lucas?"
"My father threw a gala event for the AFI a few years back. It was mostly an excuse to rub elbows with the rich and famous, rather than the merely rich. George Lucas was there. We had a conversation." Lex shrugged with casual nonchalance.
Clark had gone past the astonishment that Lex knew George Lucas and was back to his original shock. "George Lucas talked to you about space incest?"
"Not at first. He loosened up after a few brandies, though, so I asked. The only thing George loved more than my father's 1894 reserve was talking about himself and his vision." Lex rolled his eyes, but his smile softened the sarcastic gesture. "He also had an odd predilection for giggling while watching soft core porn on the internet."
Clark paused, studying Lex closely. With narrowed eyes, he accused, "You're yanking my chain, aren't you?"
Lex clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Sorry, Clark, but I'm not playing Leia to your Luke. I'm nowhere near your 'chain'."
Clark chucked him on the shoulder. "You know what I meant, and stop it with the images. You're tainting my childhood in scary colors."
Lex tilted his head to the side, smirking. "I can't help it if Leia's hand was mere centimeters from Luke's crotch in the movie poster. It makes me think..." Lex chuckled and threw up his hands when Clark advanced a step with a hand fisted. "Alright. Yes, I knew what you meant, but getting drunk with George Lucas, the internet porn, it's all true... except the space incest conversation."
Clark's eyes flared. "I knew it! You just like messing with me." He paused, letting a dangerous smile take hold of his lips. He took a step forward. "Maybe I should mess with you a little."
The plan was to tickle Lex, though Clark had no idea if he was ticklish or not. It seemed like fair retribution, and Clark wiggled his fingers as he advanced. Lex even retreated a few steps before stopping defiantly. When Clark lunged, Lex anticipated him and moved to the side shockingly fast.
It's amazing the damage wet tiles and being thrown off balance can do to the best laid plans of mice and men.
Clark barely got a breath before his head submerged along with the rest of him. Chlorinated water went up his nose, stinging his sinuses. Clark pushed off the bottom and surfaced. Drenched hair obscuring his vision, he snapped his head back and sputtered out a mouthful of water. The unpleasant sense of deja vu disappeared when he looked toward the deck and saw Lex.
Lex laughing his ass off, from all appearances. His eyes crinkled up and loud, unmistakable sounds of mirth flying from his mouth. It gave Clark pause to see it. Lex smirked like it was a sport and he was aiming for a gold medal. He chuckled sometimes, and Clark had even witnessed a fit of giggles one night when he'd shown up unexpected and found Lex sprawled on the couch, watching Monty Python and waxing rhapsodic about illegal pharmaceuticals. But an all out laugh like this, pure and abandoned, Clark had never seen Lex like this. It made a dunking completely worth it, though he wasn't about to let Lex know that. He rolled his lips into his mouth to fight back a grin.
Lex finally got himself under control. "Christ, Clark... the look on your face... totally priceless."
Clark did his best imitation of pissed. "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" He pushed off and swam to the side of the pool.
"Not in the slightest." Clark found the proclamation hard to believe, given that Lex was doing a fabulous impression of the Cheshire Cat while he said it. "Just a happy accident."
Clark rested his arms on the ledge, sarcasm dripping as heavily as his hair. "Right. You seem so sincere, who am I to question?"
Lex crouched in front of him, still grinning. "Even if I did plot your dunking, it's not my fault that your presence drops the emotional age of the room by ten years."
It was clearly a tease, and Clark couldn't take offense with Lex smiling like that, broad and unrestrained. Still, he hadn't had his revenge yet...
One arm behind Lex's legs, the other on his shoulder. A quick push off the wall was all it took.
Clark backed away from the splash, making good his escape while Lex remained under the water. He swam quickly out of arms' reach, having a good laugh when Lex's head emerged. "Who's laughing now, Lex?"
Lex swiped water from his face. "I am, since you just proved my point. Unless you're going to tell me that was an accident."
"Nope. That was revenge."
Lex smirked. "Rather poor revenge, considering I dunked you fully clothed and I was already dressed for the occasion."
Clark mulled that over for a second, grudgingly admitting to himself that Lex had a point. He'd almost forgotten that he was swimming in his jeans and flannel. At least his socks and boots were on the deck and had remained dry. Which reminded him... a quick peripheral glance confirmed it, and Clark kept his own wicked grin strictly internal. Outwardly, he sighed and started drifting casually toward the shallow end of the pool. "You're right, Lex. I'm woefully outmatched in the revenge department."
Lex narrowed his eyes. "What are you up to, Clark?"
Subtle, Kent. Don't give it away. The wide, innocent eyes should do the trick. "Not up to anything. I know when I'm beat."
His feet touched bottom. So close to his goal, it was hard not to grin. "Bullshit. You pulled out the Bambi look, so I know you're up to something."
To hell with subtlety. It wasn't working anyway. Clark gave a quick push and reached the wall in two strokes, heaving himself out of the pool and snatching up the pile of clothes that lay neatly folded on a chair. "I think we should both have soaked clothes, don't you, Lex? Equality is important."
He'd heard Lex swimming after him, but the swish of water had quieted. When Clark turned around, Lex was standing in the shallow end of the pool with a hand extended. "Clark... be reasonable. You don't want to do this."
Clark tilted his head as though considering that. "I don't? Hmm..." He took a step closer to the pool. "Maybe you can convince me. Tell me why I don't want to do this." He toyed with the hem of the soft gray sweater and picked a piece of imaginary lint off the black slacks.
Lex stared at him with an expression bordering on a cartoon-level of panic. Clark struggled against a fit of hysterics. "My phone is in those pants. You want to prove how much more mature you are than I am. You're my friend, and friends don't kill friends' phones. Most importantly," Lex pointed at the sweater "you don't want to do this because that is Armani."
Clark fished in the pocket of the slacks to see if the phone was simply a ploy, but it was there. He studied it with artificial interest, then set it on the chair and turned his eyes back to Lex. "When you put it that way..." Clark bolted down the pool deck, making it to the middle of the pool before executing a perfect cannonball, Lex's clothes clutched in his hands.
He'd just surfaced when Lex loomed in front of him. Lex's thunderous expression was given away by the twinkling amusement in his eyes. "You're a dead man, Kent. Those are dry clean only."
Lex lunged after the pants, but Clark held them up above his head, reveling in the immaturity of it all. "You're going to have to climb up me to reach them," Clark taunted in a singsong voice.
"Don't tempt me," Lex growled under his breath, making another lunge. Turned out it was merely a diversionary tactic, as Lex reached blind with the other hand and snagged the sodden sweater away from Clark. "You are so dead."
Lex looped the sweater around Clark's neck and pulled on the sleeves. Clark backed away from the mock strangling, laughing and tossing the pants onto the deck to free his hand. Lex kept advancing until they reached the wall, pressing forward and pulling the material taut. Clark raised his voice an octave and yelped, "Help me! I'm being murdered by an insane fashionista!"
Lex momentarily released one hand from the sweater to smack an armful of water into Clark's face. Clark laughed and tried to push Lex away with his legs, and it worked for a moment. Then Lex rebounded, wrapping his legs around Clark's waist and locking them.
Clark stopped struggling, and his sudden shortness of breath had nothing to do with a simulated strangling. Body memory pulsed through him: The back room of a Metropolis nightclub, spiky blond hair and leather pants and eyes lined in black. He's never been pressed up against a man before, never had an erection pushing against his thigh, but it feels incredible. He's all hard planes, this nameless man, not soft like Lana and Chloe had been. It's easy to slide, to let it happen, to feel it wash over him. Tainted and shallow, but too good to back away. Everything changes in the time it takes the zipper on his jeans to slide down...
Clark came back to himself with the twist of wet material in Lex's hands. "You ready to beg for mercy?"
He was ready to beg, but mercy wasn't what he wanted. And Lex... had no clue. He continued grinning behind the fierce mask, no idea that Clark was a breath away from being so hard that Lex couldn't possibly remain unaware of it.
The material loosened. "Clark?" Lex's hands dropped to Clark's shoulders, probably with the intent of shaking some sense into him.
Clark felt that touch everywhere, particularly in an area that needed no further encouragement. Lex close, too close, touching Clark with a disappointing lack of intent. Confusion dimmed Lex's smile, and that was enough to incite Clark into clutching the remnants of his self-control.
Clark ducked under the circle of Lex's arms and legs, pushing himself down into the water until he could push off and swim away. He surfaced at the opposite side, painting a cheeky grin on his face. "Psych."
Lex shook his head and smirked, tossing the sweater to the deck and levering himself out of the pool. Clark did the same on his side, grabbing a towel and using the end to wipe water off his face. He felt a little shaky when he heard Lex approaching, so he didn't turn around. Looking at Lex nearly naked, every line of his body highlighted by rivulets of water, sounded like a very bad idea. Clark's wet jeans squeezed uncomfortably tight around his crotch already without further assistance.
Too bad Lex walked around him in order to retrieve a towel. Sort of defeated the purpose of keeping his eyes averted, and Clark couldn't not look when Lex had already entered his line of vision. Clark moved the towel to his hair and rubbed vigorously, seeking any type of distraction he could get. It didn't help. He could still see everything in his mind's eye; still felt the phantom sensation of Lex's legs wrapped around his waist.
"Clark?" When he lowered the towel, Lex's expression was far too serious for comfort. "I want to thank you for..." Lex paused, rolling his lip into his mouth. "I needed this. Thanks."
Clark really had no idea how to respond. The moment shimmered, waiting for Clark to do something, to decide.
There wasn't really a choice. "Does that mean I'm forgiven for the sweater?"
Lex laughed, quieter than before, but still honest and bright. "Yes. But only because it's from last season's collection."
Lex had probably worn it all of twice. Clark smirked. "Ready for the rag bag. Guess I got lucky."
"You did," Lex replied, wrapping the towel around his waist. He headed for the door and waved at Clark to follow him. "Come on. Let's get showered and find you something to wear."
Clark stood frozen for a second. Images of cascading water and soapy, exploring hands ran through his head with no regards for his sanity or reality. "' Kay." Clark pushed himself into movement, removing his flannel and t-shirt to limit his dripping all over the hardwood floor. He didn't dare remove the jeans, so he rubbed briskly at them to soak up some of the moisture before following Lex into the house.
Clark had been in this bathroom before. The broken mirror had been replaced, the tub still sat on its dais, but the bizarre intimacy of stripping down in Lex's house had never hit him like this.
Shaking his head, Clark set the borrowed robe on the vanity bench. He turned on the water, letting it run while he stripped off his wet jeans and boxers. Not wanting to get water spots on the furniture, he left them on the floor when he stepped into the tub.
Clark leaned his head back into the water. The massage of wetness into his still damp scalp tingled his nerve endings. He checked the bottle of shampoo on the ledge with a quick sniff to make sure he wouldn't end up smelling like mangos and squeezed some into his palm.
He intended to make the shower quick, but he kept getting distracted by the idea of Lex showering down the hall. Clark closed his eyes and started mirroring the slow stroke of Lex's hands in the image his mind painted. He spread lather over his arms, slowing when he reached his chest. Clark's fingers lingered in the dip over his rib cage, tracing a line across his abdomen and down to his navel, swirling around it before moving on. Furtive fingers slid past his hipbone and down into the crease between thigh and groin. Clark rubbed a hand slick with soap between his legs, perversely ignoring his erection and moving further back, teasing himself a little. The Lex in Clark's head pushed a hand between his ass cheeks, and Clark did too. He couldn't take any more teasing and gripped his cock in one hand, using the other to brace himself against the wall of the shower. It only took three strokes before Clark came against the tile, harsh breathing punctuating the patter of water on porcelain.
Clark delved his hand into the large bowl of buttered popcorn that sat on the couch next to his hip, a little surprised to find it almost empty. They'd popped two bags of plain popcorn and doused it with butter sticks melted on the stovetop, since neither of them liked the fake flavor of prepackaged microwave butter. Lex sat on the other side of the bowl, munching quietly while they watched the adventures of a galaxy far, far away.
Clark's attention strayed from the movie, interested in exploring something a lot closer to hand than deep space. While his shower had taken the edge off, Clark's skin vibrated with the awareness of Lex nearby on the couch. Close enough to touch if Clark had the guts to try, which he didn't, so the whole situation was extremely frustrating.
He heard a muffled snort and turned his head. Lex had a brow raised, looking at the screen, so Clark checked it himself. Space incest subtext. A smile rose unbidden, but he bit it back. "Not. One. Word."
Lex mimed a zipper closing across his smirking lips. The too short, too tight sweatpants that Clark wore suddenly felt even more uncomfortable, and he shifted on the sofa. He wondered if there was any possibility that his clothes were dry yet. He pushed off the sofa. "I'm gonna go check the dryer."
Lex waved him back down, eyes still on the screen. "It's only been twenty minutes."
Clark flopped back down with a sigh, nearly upsetting the bowl of popcorn. He caught it as it teetered on the edge of the sofa, shoving his hand back into it. He came up with nothing except some unpopped kernels, until his fingers ran into Lex's.
Slippery with butter, they collided in the bottom of the empty bowl. Clark's insides roiled at the contact, wanting to do more, and how had he gone this long without realizing it? He supposed that Metropolis had stripped away some of his denial, but not all of it. Horseplay in a swimming pool seemed like the world's least likely trigger, but he couldn't go back to being unaware, no matter how much he might want to.
And Lex's hand hadn't moved. Neither had Clark's, but that was beside the point. Their fingers remained twined in the small pool of butter at the bottom of the bowl, and maybe he was crazy, but Clark wanted that to mean something. He raised his eyes from the bowl, finding Lex looking back at him with unreadable eyes the color of a summer thunderstorm. He wanted to say something, but words didn't come. Maybe he was afraid of snapping whatever it was that had Lex staring at him like Clark was something beyond wanted. Craved was closer, but still not right.
Words were dangerous, but he could move, could ask in a different lexicon. He locked his fingers with Lex's, and when Lex didn't pull away, he lifted both their hands to his mouth. Darted his tongue out to lick a stripe of butter from the pad of Lex's thumb. The low sound Lex made didn't approach discouraging, so Clark untwined their fingers, closing his around Lex's wrist and sucking on a buttery index finger. Their eyes locked, and Clark moved to the next finger, stripping away the butter and salt until the skin rested clean on his tongue. He released it with a wet sound.
"God, Clark... what are you doing?"
If Lex had to ask, he was definitely doing this wrong. A cowardly impulse sprouted in his mind, prodding Clark to joke about a deficiency of saturated fat in his diet, but the expression on Lex's face stayed him.
Clark's nerve endings sparked with need, overcoming any ability to think clearly. "I'm making a choice." He caught Lex's face with his hands and kissed him. Mouth open and seeking entrance, Clark plied Lex's lips with his, nibbling lightly and sucking on the full bottom one until they parted.
He didn't need further invitation. Clark drove his tongue into Lex's mouth, tracing the surfaces with abandon. Want was such a simple emotion. All about taking and to hell with any consequences that might follow. Clark let it control him, didn't care about anything but this. Lex under his mouth and hands, and the moan that vibrated through Clark might have come from either of them or both, he didn't know. He shoved the bowl to the floor and closed the short distance between them. His hands traveled down, neck to shoulders to back, clutching Lex against him and lowering him onto the cushions. Lex opened for him everywhere, and Clark settled into the cradle of his thighs, pressing his hard cock against Lex's.
Lex drew back from the kiss, gasping for breath and his eyes lit with need. His hands closed around Clark's ass and pulled him down hard while thrusting up against him. Clark's breath caught, and he bit into his lip to stop from shouting Lex's name. Lex started a slow grind against him, making promises with his hips as his pupils dilated, grew dark with intent. "Do you have any idea what I want to do to you?"
Clark couldn't make sense of the question, not while Lex looked like sex in a back room. He buried his head against Lex's neck, breathing in the clean heat of his skin. He licked a trail to the dip in Lex's collarbone and bit the skin lightly, just enough to draw a flush under the surface. Couldn't help another thrust. Clark needed the friction, needed to burn. Lex's question. Right. "Tell me."
Lex tugged on Clark's head, pulling him up to look in his eyes. No hiding allowed here, and Clark stared back as Lex moved them together, in control even from underneath. "I want to suck you off in your bedroom with your parents sleeping down the hall so you have to bite into something to keep quiet." He punctuated it with a thrust, then bit a line across Clark's jaw. "I want to bend you over my desk and fuck you senseless." A lick to his ear, and Clark's blood pounded so hard that he could barely hear. "I want you to blow me in every single car I own." Lex leaned back, staring into Clark's eyes with a dark smile. "I want to map every inch of you with my tongue and have the taste linger in my mouth for the rest of the day." A hard, hungry kiss, and then Lex stilled, not moving, just staring into his eyes with terrifying intensity. "Scared yet?"
And if that was the idea, Lex was way off base. Clark took over the rhythm, increasing the pace because he couldn't hold back any longer. "Not. Even. Close." His mouth closed over Lex's as power surged along his spine. Over the edge in a blink, he stiffened and came with a shudder, Lex's name muffled by their joined lips when he cried it out.
Clark raised his head and breathed deeply. His body blazing with aftershocks, he looked down at Lex, searching for a sign. Lex cupped his head and lowered it, and the kiss started out softer this time. Less driven and more exploring. Lex twined his tongue around Clark's, his hands dropping to Clark's back and clutching at the muscles there. Gentling him down off the ledge, and Lex hadn't come yet. Clark could feel him, still hard against Clark's abdomen.
Clark pulled back from the kiss and raised himself a little, reaching for the hem of Lex's shirt. He worked it upwards and kissed his way down Lex's chest while he undid the fastening of his slacks. Reaching in, pulling it out, and he closed his mouth around Lex's cock.
He replied "Later" though it sounded like muffled nonsense. Clark stroked the base with his hand as he moved his tongue around the head. Smoothing the skin with laving strokes, Clark concentrated on the flavor. The familiar bite of salt with just a hint of something sharp underneath. He breathed out of his nose and sucked, feeling his cheeks hollow as Lex moaned something unintelligible and gave an aborted thrust, his cock bouncing against Clark's palate. Familiar and new all at once, Clark shifted so he could see Lex's face as he released his grip, lowered his head, and swallowed.
Lex bucked like something wild trapped behind bars, and Clark would have grinned if it were possible. Instead, He worked his throat and tongue, remembering everything and relearning it on a couch between the sprawled legs of his best friend. It felt so different, more real, than when he'd been in the city. He was home, the face was familiar, and it increased the sensations to the point where Clark thought he might lose his mind if he couldn't have this every day.
The unbelievable noises Lex was making, the occasional shouted obscenity, just made Clark hotter. He made Lex sound like that, and the sensation of power that brought on made Clark's cock twitch. He clasped his hands around Lex's jerking hips and held them against the sofa. Opening wider and moving his head slightly faster than a normal person could, Clark brought Lex to the edge. To Clark's surprise, Lex came silently. Heat poured down Clark's throat and he pulled back in time to catch some of it on his tongue. When Lex stilled, he pulled off with a popping sound, wiping a bit of stray saliva from his chin.
He returned Lex's trousers to rights before rising above him and stealing a quick kiss. Lex's breathing slowly returned to normal, and he looked up at Clark intently. "This isn't the first time you've done that."
It wasn't a question. "Metropolis."
Lex nodded, carding his fingers through Clark's hair in an oddly affectionate way. "You'll have to tell me about it one of these days."
It was so like Lex to warn him that there would have to be a conversation while clearly indicating his acceptance of whatever Clark said. Proactive faith seemed to come part and parcel between them. "I will."
"Just remember to vague up the details. I still haven't decided if I want to thank whoever taught you that or if I'll simply eviscerate him."
Clark laughed, thrilled that whatever this was going on between them hadn't messed up their friendship. "I'll remember that." A loud blast from the THX sound system drew his attention to the battle raging on the projection screen. He reached for the remote and clicked the TV into black silence, turning his attention back to Lex's neck.
"Who said you could turn that off? I want to know how it ends."
Clark heard the smile in Lex's voice, and he leaned back. "Summary -- the good guys save the universe."
Lex grinned, pulling Clark's head back down and speaking into his mouth. "Who cares about that? I want to know about the space incest."