Spoilers: Season 1 -- Season 2.
Disclaimers: I don't own the pretty boys or their friends in the Smallville universe. Warnings: Same Sex (MALE/MALE) relationship. Challenge: CLFF Wave 11 Domesticity Challenge; aspect - Moving. Inspired by Henry Jones Jr's fanart "Our New Home". Summary: Clark and Lex are ready to move into their new home, but it didn't hit Clark until now that it meant leaving something behind. Written for CLFF Wave 11 Domesticity Challenge.
NOTES I: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO READ THE STORY UNSPOILED. Heh. The thing about art that I love? Interpretation. You create a piece of art, whether of the written word, with paint, stone, or other medium, and you usually do so with a vision. Yet, it's up to your audience to take in what you create and interpret it through their own experiences and imagination. Henry Jones Jr. created a fanart titled "Our New Home", which I adored. Yet, instead of imagining Clark and Lex moving IN, I imagined them moving OUT. This artwork really tickled my imagination (as did the other pieces Henry created for the CLFF Wave 11), thus this story sprang forth. Link to Henry's art found at end. April 2005.
Clark looked around forlornly. Green eyes that normally sparkled with humor or bright optimism now took in everything with a troubled unhappiness. The room looked so...bare. Barren, really, and he hadn't expected this. Any of this.
He moved slowly, taping up the last box with reluctance.
"It'll be fine."
Looking up, he struggled to paste on the carefree, excited smile he'd had when all of this had begun. The sharp, focused gaze suddenly directed at him told him he'd failed. He watched as Lex made his way through the room, moving around the piled boxes with a panther-like grace that still made his heart catch in his throat, even after all these years. Like countless times before, Lex was at his side, kneeling next to him, one slim, elegant hand held out to cup the side of his face. What could he do but nuzzle into the familiar gesture?
The ache in his heart eased just a little.
"When one door closes, another one opens."
Clark stared for a moment, before bursting out in unexpected laughter, the last of his sadness fleeing temporarily at his husband's words. The earnest blue eyes just made him crack up all the more. Expecting an ancient parable or a historical analogy, a patented Jonathan Kent truism was the last thing he expected to ever come out of that beautiful, scarred mouth.
"Is that your idea of wisdom?" Clark teased, still chuckling.
Lex leaned in, the earnest wide-eyed look fleeing as his eyes crinkled up in warm humor. "Not exactly, but it fit with the theme of the day."
"And what's that?" He was honestly intrigued. After years of knowing one another, of sharing their lives and their bodies, he still didn't follow along with Lexian logic at times. As Chloe liked to point out, it made their relationship anything but dull.
As easy as that, the sadness was back, lapping at him gently like the tide washing up on a beach. The walls seemed even emptier than they had moments ago, the missing pictures silently accusing him without even having to be there.
"This was our home for eight years," Lex said gently. It would shock most people, knowing how gentle Lex often was with Clark. Clark thought most people were blind fools. "It's natural to miss it."
"I...I didn't think I would," Clark said haltingly. He hadn't thought much beyond the new life they'd been about to embark upon. One more adventure in the life of Lex and Clark Kent-Luthor. He'd forgotten that as a teenager, he'd thought adventure overrated. "It's not that I don't want to move."
No. He just didn't want to leave, either.
Lex picked up Clark's right hand, raising it to press light kisses across the knuckles before holding it firmly in both of his. "You'll love the new house."
House? More like a small manor. Not that Clark was complaining; he'd been the one to pick out the house. He'd scoured neighborhood after neighborhood, street after street, to find the perfect location, the perfect house, the perfect yard, the perfect neighbors. Brushing aside teasing remarks about being obsessed or demanding, he'd had a specific vision in mind and he hadn't accepted anything less.
"It's only ten minutes away from St. Thomas."
Clark nodded. Yes, he knew. They'd pored over dossiers on every school within a hundred mile radius, both public and private, before agreeing St. Thomas Academy was the only choice. From there, it had only been circling outward to find the right neighborhood. They might live in the city, but he'd been obstinate about finding somewhere children still played in the streets, like something out of the fifties. Families who'd have sons and daughters, potential playmates for their precious child. A sense of neighborliness that was missing in most areas of the cities, including the most exclusive suburbs.
"There's the tree house you're already planning to build in the backyard, and the flower garden you fell in love with. Neighborhood barbeques and carpooling with the other parents." Lex leaned in, pressing his forehead onto Clark's. "It'll be strange at first, we'll both feel displaced, but one day we'll look around, and we'll be home again."
Clark felt ridiculous. He knew he was being stupid, yet he couldn't help feeling a little better as Lex spoke. It was something that hadn't changed since he was a teenager, when he'd been madly in love with the son of a billionaire, a guy so far above him Clark had known he'd never have a chance. Even back then, Lex had been able to make him feel more centered, words curling around him and enveloping him with a sense of safety and comfort.
Yet, despite this, he still couldn't think of anything to say. The memories were crowding around him too closely, clamoring for their due. Like so many times before, Lex knew what Clark needed before Clark did himself.
"Everything else is ready to go. I'll go get the little monkey, and you can finish up in here." Bussing Clark's lips lightly, he released Clark's hand and stood up. "Maybe you could take one last look around to make sure we didn't forget anything."
He couldn't quite manage a smile as Lex left the room, understanding the real message. After all, the movers would take care of anything they forgot to box up. Lex didn't hire anyone but the best. Nor was he fooled by Lex's suggestion; he knew darn well a Luthor directive when he heard one. So he'd do just that, a last look to say goodbye.
Standing up, he glanced around their bedroom, the linens from the bed stripped and packed hours earlier. Walking over, he let his hand trail along the bare mattress, touching the frame he'd had specially made after he'd broken their fifth bed. His chuckles filled the otherwise silent room as he remembered Lex's face when he'd sheepishly admitted he couldn't help himself, that Lex made him lose control.
Amazing how a titanium frame bed reinforced personally with Kryptonian crystals made all the difference in the world.
He took it all in, circling out. The bookcase he'd made for Lex one Christmas, his second year in college. The dresser set his parents had bought him as a wedding gift. The display case Lex had kept his most rare Warrior Angel collectibles. All empty, their contents gone, either in the boxes around them or already at the new house.
Next, he made his way into the bathroom. Flashes of the past hit him, of shared baths creating more of a mess than anything else and of long lessons in the joys of shower sex. Watching Lex get ready in the mornings, leaning against the counter with a quiet joy pervading his being. All the times he'd felt long fingers caressing his cheeks, shaving him in a ritual both sensual and soothing. Hands moving through his hair, washing him and massaging his scalp.
Leaving those memories behind, he made his way out in the hall. He paused in the spot where he'd taken Lex against the wall their first night in their new home, their first together that wasn't a Luthor property already, too eager to wait until they made it into the bedroom. A small hole in the carpet reminded him of the time he'd offered to babysit Petey. Lana and Pete still liked to laugh at how much damage the little monster had created in just a few short hours, Uncle Clark too naive to realize what he'd gotten himself into. His gaze lingered in the entertainment room, remembering all the movie nights and hours of Cartoon Network, both requiring much cuddling, often morphing into foreplay. Times spent curled up on the sofa together, and of rainy afternoons whiled away playing video games.
The library was completely empty, the contents the first to have been moved. He closed his eyes, almost feeling Lex's arms around him as he leaned back into his embrace, Lex reading to him in his strong, mesmerizing voice. Standing in front of the fireplace, he could almost smell hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows, their mingled laughter in the air as Clark taught Lex how to make s'mores for the first time.
Lex's office hit him harder, more so than his own. Only the glass desktop remained behind, making his heart ache all the harder. This was the heart of their house, in many ways, echoing with memories of another office in a castle from another time. The sense of * Lex * was here, the contained energy, the cutting brilliance, the patient resolve. He had no idea how many evenings he'd spent in here, watching Lex work, reading on the couch or working on his laptop. Sometimes just napping, only to wake to the feel of lips on skin or fingers threading through his hair.
Room after room, memory after memory, Clark took them all in. The time he'd ambushed Lex in the formal dining room, starting an impromptu water balloon fight. The dent in the wall when they'd decided to rearrange all the furniture in the living room. The Thanksgiving Lex had declared he'd be hosting dinner for their extended families, going so far as to cook it himself, but had nearly been in tears after ruining the turkey.
He was standing in the middle of the exercise room when he heard footsteps and the sounds of soft gurgling. Turning around, he couldn't keep the smile off his face. A pale yellow blankie thrown over one shoulder, Lex was holding their daughter with practiced ease, walking towards him expectantly.
"How's Caitlyn Rose?" Clark asked, voice slipping into the silly tone he'd found himself using with his infant daughter, despite his best intentions and Lex's lectures about IQs, declining potentials, and environmental conditioning from an early onset.
Lex shot him a stern look, but it quickly morphed into a raised eyebrow. "Caitlyn Rose is doing well, Daddy. Though I thought there were dire consequences if we called her Caitlyn?"
Clark threw a cheeky grin right back at him. "There will be, * Alexander *." Reaching over to slip a finger into a tiny fist, he felt his heart melt as five tiny, perfect fingers latched onto him fiercely. "How's my Katie-did? Huh? Is Katie happy to see Daddy?"
"Katie's all changed and ready for her big trip," Lex answered for her, voice particularly prim and proper. Uh, oh. Someone was in trouble. "Come on, Daddy. Time to hit the road."
Clark couldn't help it. He felt his face falling, and even the sight of the two people he loved most in the world didn't stop the sadness washing over him again.
"We'll be fine." Lex patted Katie's back, watching Clark carefully.
"I know." And he did. He'd been thrilled a week ago, and he knew he would be again. Maybe even in a few hours. But for now, he just felt like...like...he was leaving behind something. Something important.
"It's okay to mourn, Clark."
Mourn? It him then, THAT was what he felt. He was mourning. He'd been happy here, and now they were moving on. Even if he'd been the one to push for the change, he was still going to miss this home. The times spent with Lex. This part of his life.
Leaning down to kiss Lex's temple before pressing another to soft baby cheeks, he took a moment to take in the indescribable, yet unique, baby smell he'd grown to cherish in such a short time. Smoothing the spiky tufts of fuzzy black hair, spawning the obvious pet name, he smiled into sleepy blue eyes. Yet, it was Lex he spoke to. "You're pretty smart, you know that?"
A snort was his answer.
This time he stole a kiss from Lex's lips. "Come on, Daddy. Our little monkey wants a ride in her new car seat."
Lex didn't move, eyes locked on Clark.
"Really. Besides," Clark smiled lopsidedly. "Home is where the heart is."
Lex laughed all the way out to the car.
NOTE II: Henry Jones Jr's fantastic fanart that she created for the CLFF Wave 11 can be found at her site: http://www.sabershadowkat.com/smallville/Fanart.html (which includes "Our New Home"), or you can find "Our New Home" at the CLFF Wave 11 Site: http://www.kardasi.com/ClexFest/Eleven/moving.jpg