I. (Suspect) Abnormal
Lana could hear Clark outside the bathroom door--big, loud feet. "It's okay, Clark. You can come in," she called. "I'm just grabbing the garbage."
He poked his head in, then sort of snuck in the rest of the way when she smiled at him. Lana set the garbage back down and shifted her weight to her other foot. What did you say to the boy who had just singlehandedly saved his own father from jail? Especially when he had to go through you to do it?
As little as possible. Especially since she and Clark had never been much good at talking anyway.
"This is weird," Clark said, looking around.
"What? Being in a bathroom with a girl?" Lana almost giggled.
"Well--well, yeah." She could see him fighting the urge to shuffle his feet. It was too adorable. "But mostly, I was thinking that the last time I was in here, Whitney was ripping the door off its--"
Silence. Dead silence. Clark stared blankly at his feet. Lana looked everywhere but at him.
"You mean Tina," she said quietly.
"God!" she burst out finally. "Can't we go ten minutes without something from our tragic pasts interrupting us? It's like living in a Dawson's Creek episode without commercial breaks."
She saw his dimples appear, then wink out again as he tried not to smile. She couldn't help it; she started snickering. They laughed until they both had to lean against the wall to support themselves.
"It really is silly, isn't it?" she said when they stopped for breath. "My biological father helping your adopted father free himself on a trumped-up murder charge against the richest man in the free world."
"Who shot L.L.?" Clark squeaked out, and they were off again.
It was almost natural to rest against his shoulder when they were done with another round of laughter; almost easy to fit her hip against his; almost normal to stretch up on tiptoe to kiss him.
But there was nothing almost about that kiss. Unlike Whitney, who kissed as though he was dealing with fragile crystal, Clark smiled when he kissed her, and his hands on her waist were big and heavy and there.
"Um, Lana, are you sure--" he stopped himself to say.
"Clark? Shut up." And she grabbed his hair and pulled his head back down. Fantasies she'd barely admitted to herself started to surface. She could do this. She could.
"Mmph," Clark said as they landed on the floor, Lana's knee firmly planted in his solar plexus.
"Oooh," Lana said as Clark started licking his way across her collarbone.
"Ow!" they both said when their heads rolled into the stall door.
"Lana? Um. Lana?" Clark peered down at her. She noted idly that her shirt was pulled up over one breast and down over the other, making her look as though two different people had been ripping at her clothes, and her bra seemed to have disappeared completely. "Why are you giggling?"
"Besides the obvious?"
"I'm just imagining the future slumber party when everyone asks--" Lana fluttered her lashes-- "Where did you do it for the first time? And I'll say, on the floor of the boy's bathroom." She rolled herself on top of Clark and reached for the buttons of his shirt. "And I loved every second of it."
She could see Clark's eyes getting really big as he realized what she was saying. "But, uh, shouldn't we--" She wiggled on top of him, and his eyes got really really big. "Date?"
"No. Above all things, we should not date."
"We shouldn't." He gulped as she wriggled back on his legs and started on his belt buckle. "Because..."
"Let me think."
In two swift moves, her arms were over her head and her shirt was off.
"Keep thinking," Clark said as he rubbed his hands along her sides.
Lana's brain shut down as he covered her breasts with his hands. And then his thumbs found her nipples--"OhmyGodClark!"
He looked smug. This was not to be tolerated. She bent down to kiss him, noticing that he shivered when her hair hit his skin. Hmm.
"Because," she said, in between tiny little bites on his lips, "dating is normal."
His reply would have been a question, if there had been words involved. It came out more like "mrgggggph?"
"And we don't do normal." She finally got his jeans open (who knew they were this hard to unfasten from this side?) and slid her hand inside. He bucked up, slamming her against the underside of the sink.
"Ow!" She would have rubbed her butt, except her hand was still stuck in his pants.
"My point being, um, that we don't do normal."
"And sex is abnormal?"
"Clark, have you noticed where my hand is?"
"Right. Sorry. Right." He was still hard, she noticed, and applied herself to making him harder. His eyes just about rolled back in his head.
"Lana, that feels--oh. Oh God. Are you--"
"Nowhere near," she said, although she was rocking rhythmically across his legs, and leaning into his hands on her until they clenched painfully on her breasts.
"It's okay, Clark." She could see him biting his lip, fighting it, so she ducked her head again. The second her hair brushed across his stomach, he jerked--fortunately she was braced better this time--and, well. Came.
"Wow," she said once he'd opened his eyes again. "This is nothing like they talked about in health class."
"It's pretty cool," he said. She was busy watching his chest heave. "You should try it."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "Oh, I intend to."
He looked up at her, and that old Clark grin was back on his face, but a little more evil this time. "You do?"
"Oh yeah. And you're not leaving this bathroom until I do, Clark Kent."
"Oh, really. Do you have a plan in mind to accomplish this?"
She leaned back and stretched her shoulders back. Her breasts perked forward, and Clark's eyes went a little dazed.
"I have a few ideas."
II. (Rush) Recovery
"Clark. Stop hovering." Chloe cleared her throat; her voice was too scratchy to properly show her amusement.
"I'm not hovering. Why do people keep saying that?"
"Ah, so you're irritating Pete too."
"I am not--" he started, and she laughed right over him.
"You so are. I'd bet money on it."
He pouted, which made her laugh harder, even though her laugh was more like a wheeze.
"Oh, God, are you okay? Do you need water or...something?"
"No." She coughed a little. "No more water, please. If they force any more decaffeinated fluids down my throat, I may explode." She looked at him consideringly. "I don't suppose I can bat my eyes at you and get you to bring me some coffee?"
"No," he said firmly. "Chloe, don't look at me like that. The doctors would kill me."
"Stupid doctors." She flounced back into her pillow. "Stupid hospital. I ask you, why can't they get me my memory back? Do you know how exceedingly weird it is to not remember what happened? I could have kicked a cat, or run over a little old lady, or anything. This is like the kissy thing."
Clark jolted. "The what?"
"You know. Your friend, the handshake king."
"Ohhhh." He thought about it. "Yeah, I can see that."
"And this time, no one will talk about it. I hate not knowing. Even if I was an ass, I want to know."
"Trust me," Clark said gloomily. "Remembering your ass-ness? Not always a good thing."
"Ass-ness?" Chloe giggled until her stomach hurt and tears came to her eyes. "Oh. Oh, God. Now I do need that water."
Clark helped her sit up and supported the water for her. "Really, I'm fine," she said, even as she leaned on him. "Or I will be. You don't have to hover. You can get back to apologizing to Lana. And, by the way--" It hurt like hell, but better to bring it up herself than hear it from six other people the next day. "Who was that girl you were macking on at the Talon?"
He jerked away from her so fast the water spilled down the front of her hospital gown. "Hey!"
"Sorry." He rooted around for some napkins. Chloe noted that his face was bright red. "Lana told you I was--"
"--kissing some random girl right in front of her. Yeah."
"Clark, you're cute when you stutter."
He glared at her. She chuckled.
He sat back down and stared fixedly at anything that wasn't her. "It's a little weird..."
"Clark, it's Smallville. That was a given."
"You were kissing Pete?"
"Sorry. Sorry. Pete what?"
"I think--you know how one kid gets stoned and all he can think about is giving everybody else pot, too?"
"Well, Pete got the bug thingy." He touched the back of his neck. "And he wanted me to share the love too."
"I don't get it. He didn't give you the bug thingy, or you'd be roommates with him right now."
"No. Um. Okay. I don't want to know where he got it, or what it was precisely."
"You're serious." She gaped at him. "Pete got you high."
He looked really, really uncomfortable. "Something like that."
She couldn't help laughing. "Okay. So Pete slipped you something and you got all weird."
"Weird, yes. I mean, mostly I just--"
"Oh." Her smirk was wobbling a bit. She fought to keep it. "This is like an Afterschool Special quest starring the things from Alien."
"And on that happy note..." She trailed off. "I really need to sleep a little."
"Okay. I'll just be next door, um, irritating Pete, if you need anything."
"Then go away." She waited for him to turn out the light before her expression fell. "Dammit," she said into her pillow. "Even when he's high he doesn't want me."
There was a shadow on the window, and she looked up. "Clark?" But no one was there.
Chloe turned over in bed. "Wha?"
She sat straight up. "The hell?"
Clark was leaning in through her window. Her second story window. A thousand hysterical Buffy references flashed through her mind before he swung a leg over the sill. "So you don't need an invitation."
"Never mind. Get in here. Clark, what are you doing?"
"I climbed up the trellis."
"The last time you did that, your dad threatened to spank you."
Even in the dim light, she could see him blush. "Chloe, I was fourteen. He did not--"
"I heard him."
She grinned. Then she sobered. "What are you doing in my room in the middle of the night?"
"It's not the middle of the night. The sun went down an hour ago."
"And why did you climb up the trellis? That thing's dangerous."
He sat on the edge of the bed, and Chloe tucked her feet under her to give him some room. "I'm fine. I just...I had to talk to you, and I didn't want to do it when anyone was around. Lana's still at the Talon, and I saw your dad's car leave--"
"Yeah, he had a late meeting with Lex, since he took the last couple of days off to stay home with me...wait, you saw him leave? Clark Kent, were you stalking me?"
"You don't have to sound so delighted."
"I feel all special."
"Okay. What was so important you had to risk your incredibly hard head climbing up my trellis?"
He took so long to answer she had to make sure he hadn't fallen asleep. Maybe if she turned on a light--no, that might scare him off. So she just waited.
"Yeah. Um. Chloe? The girl I was kissing in the Talon?"
Her heart sank.
"It was you."
"It was what?"
"Lana didn't want to tell you because she'd thought you'd feel guilty. And I didn't want to tell you because I thought you'd be embarrassed. But then I thought you'd rather I told you the truth, even if, you know, you didn't like it."
"I--" She was probably supposed to say something about truthfulness and friendship and stuff. "Did you like it?" She clapped a hand over her mouth.
"Of course. Wait. What?"
If she hid under the covers, maybe he would go away. "Forget I said anything. Really."
"Chloe. Chloe." He tugged the covers gently out of her hands, and moved his head down until she had to look him in the eye. "Hey. I did, I really did."
"But you weren't really you. You were Weird You."
"And you weren't?"
She bit down hard on her lip. "So you only like Weird Me?"
"Stop playing word games with me, Chloe Sullivan. You were the one who said we should just be friends, remember?"
"Because I knew you wanted me to!" She closed her eyes so he wouldn't see her cry.
He kissed her. One hand went to her head to hold her in place, the other was under her back holding up, and his tongue...yeah, his tongue was definitely in her mouth.
"You don't know anything," he said when he let her up for air.
"I have wanted to do that...since Kyle made you kiss me last year."
"I thought you wanted to do that to Lana."
"Maybe." He nuzzled the edge of her jaw. "But I wasn't the one dating a clone. Or that guy in Metropolis this summer."
"That. Oh. Yeah. Well." There was honesty, and then there was honesty. "You have a point."
Then there was more making out. A lot more. Chloe played with Clark's mouth, and let him play back, trying lips and tongue and teeth in every available combination. After a while, they settled into one of those deep, endless kisses from the movies. She could practically feel it in her toes. Chloe hummed with pleasure.
Clark finally dragged his mouth away and braced himself on his elbows. Chloe frowned as the air around her skin cooled.
"We should--I should go. You're sick."
"Clark, I feel fine, really." She saw him grin. "And if you make a lame joke about that, I will smack you. I will."
"Yes ma'am." He kissed her again. Chloe tugged him down until he lost his balance went from leaning on her to squishing her into the mattress. She loved it, lack of oxygen and all. She tugged on his shirt until she could reach the skin beneath it--
--and stopped short as something sparked in the back of her brain. Not a real memory so much as the ghost of a dream. Warm skin on hers. A wicked laugh. The air rushing by her, and something that might have been lust burning in her blood.
She came back to herself to find Clark staring at her. "Chloe? Chloe, are you okay?" She looked into Clark's eyes, saw the concern there, and wondered which of them would try to blame this on the parasite first the next morning.
"I'm great," she said. "Please, Clark. Don't go." Her hand was still under his shirt, and she could feel his chest expanding and contracting as he struggled to breathe. "Stay with me." She kissed him again.
His fingers clenched on her shoulders, then relaxed again, and she could tell he was giving in.
To his credit, Clark got her out of her pajamas without once smirking over the blue penguins and snowflakes that decorated them. Chloe knew she was supposed to be doing something, but her imagination only extended to yanking Clark's shirt over his head and...good God, how many miles of skin did the boy have? She closed her eyes and absorbed him through her fingers, tracing every muscle, feeling his skin twitch in the sensitive spots.
Clark's hands spread across her back and she shivered. He stopped blowing in her ear, damn him, to say her name again.
"Terribly turned on. That's all. Ignore me. Or, really, don't ignore me, which would be really painful right now. I can just see the headline. 'Torch Editor Dies from Lust.' So just--mmf!" she finished as he kissed her again.
"You're sexy when you babble," he said, which somehow turned her on at least as much as his hands on her butt. Although, hello, when he started to kiss his way down her body again, that was much better than talking. Breasts, sides, stomach, belly button--he was hitting all the high points, she thought. And then his head dropped between her legs, and Chloe's brain whirred once and died.
She stopped shaking a few minutes later and pretended not to notice Clark wiping his mouth on her comforter. "Wow. That was. Wow."
"Have I actually rendered you speechless?"
Smug son-of-a-gun. "Um. Thank you?"
"You're welcome." He wiggled his way back up until he was lying beside her and she kissed him. He still tasted good, but differently good. She licked his lips.
"What was that for?"
"Mmm. I like the way you and I taste together," she said, and had to force herself not to blush.
"Good." His kissing was improving by the second, she thought.
"It's getting late," he said when he was practically wrapped around her again. "I don't want to get you in trouble."
Chloe pushed away all thoughts of her father and Lana and trouble and everything else. "No, that would be bad." Her fingers were tangled in his hair. She ordered them to let go. They ignored her.
"Chloe. Really." He broke away and sucked in a few deep breaths. "Um, will you be at school tomorrow?"
"One more day of bed rest."
"I could, ah, bring you your homework?"
"That would be nice."
"Okay. I'll--" Graceful as ever, he fell trying to climb out of bed. "Stop laughing. It hurts to move like this, you know."
"Like--ohhhhh." Score one point for being a girl, she thought. At least she could walk upright turned on.
He was halfway out the window when she spotted his shirt on the corner of her bed. "Clark!" She picked it up and ran it over to him. "Aren't you cold?"
He grinned at her, and she realized that she hadn't put her clothes back on either. "I may never be cold again."
"Clark" she called again when he was almost to the ground.
"Tomorrow? Bring condoms."
Oops! Even that close to the ground, landing on his back had to hurt. But he just grinned up at her like some half-naked doofus farmboy Romeo. "Okay."
III. (Prodigal) Obstacles
He waited until the roar of Lex's car faded in the distance, then strode out of hiding. Kent was on the basketball court, absently dribbling a ball.
"Get everything sorted out with my brother?"
Kent's head popped up. "Lucas!"
"I just stopped by on my way out of town. Lex seems to think I should apologize for giving your father a concussion."
Kent aimed that narrow, searching look at him. Lucas hadn't liked it the first time they met, and he liked it less now. "Out of town? Where are you going?"
"Brother dearest has some connections up in Gotham. He seems to think that's my kind of town."
"Best of luck, then. I'll tell my father you stopped by."
Lucas just kept looking at him. "You don't like me, do you, Kent?"
"You saved my life anyway."
A flash of something. Discomfort? Impatience? Then the same flat stare. "It seemed the thing to do at the time."
Lucas changed tactics. "I've been getting some family history from Lex. I understand you were mistaken for me once."
Kent actually smiled. "Not exactly, no."
"What, you didn't want to be the Luthor scion?"
"I'm happy being the Kent scion. Thanks for asking."
Lucas grinned. "No brothers to bother you?"
Kent ducked his head to look at the ball, then met Lucas's eyes again. "No brothers. No sisters. That I know of."
"That's right, you were abandoned by your parents, too."
"Lucky us." Kent aimed and released in one smooth movement. The ball breezed cleanly through the net.
"Nice shot. But anyone can make a basket with nothing between them and the net." Lucas moved closer, catching the ball as it bounced behind him. He flicked it to Kent. "It's the obstacles that make the game interesting."
Kent laughed. The bastard actually laughed. "I bet Lex didn't even need a DNA test to be sure you were his brother. He just listened to you talk."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Obstacles. Tactics. Destiny. It's the Luthor vocabulary. I thought you had to grow up listening to Lionel to spout it, but apparently not." Kent bounced the ball back.
Lucas caught it, walked to where Kent had been standing, turned and made the exact same shot. He smiled briefly. "You really don't like me, do you?" A couple of quick dribbles, then an easy lay-up.
When he turned around, Kent was still staring at him, frowning slightly. Then his face cleared into one of those dumbass smiles. "You know, Lucas, I really don't." He looked...he looked...relieved.
God, Lucas hated him.
He waited until Kent was in mid-jump to duplicate the lay-up, then stepped into his path. Kent landed with a grunt, knocking them both to the ground.
Lucas fought to get his breath back. The kid weighed a ton. Meanwhile, Kent sputtered above him. "What the hell did you do that for?" He hastily removed his hand from Lucas's stomach.
"Just making a point."
"What, that you're insane?"
"Obstacles are what make life interesting."
"I already made the basket."
"That's not what I mean."
Kent glared down at him, but Lucas noted he hadn't moved to get off him. His expression wasn't blank or friendly anymore, but actively pissed. Good. "Get to the point."
"You don't like me. I don't like you. You got in my way at the Talon, and I got in yours."
"Yes, and then I saved your life."
Asshole. "Still not the point."
Kent rolled his eyes.
"I'm telling you, Kent, that we already hate each other. So there's no need to be polite and mannerly. Do whatever you want. Say whatever you want. No harm." He grinned. "No foul."
Kent just kept staring at him, and Lucas thought he didn't get it. Was he going to have to draw a map or what? Then Kent moved so that his erection ground into Lucas's, and it was very obvious that he did, indeed, get it.
"Whatever I want, huh?"
"Do your worst."
The light in Kent's eyes was unnerving. Lucas sucked in a quick breath. Apprehension and arousal chased each other down his spine.
Kent eased back until he was between Lucas's legs, and he put one hand on his stomach to hold him in place while the other went to work on his jeans. Lucas drummed his fingers on the concrete and tried to concentrate on the absurdity of the situation instead of the predatory look on Kent's face. "You know, it's always interesting to wonder who you're representing when you're in bed with someone." He looked around at where he lay, hidden in the shadows on the side of the Kent garage, almost--but not completely--out of sight of the house. "Or wherever. Would you like to do your worst to that pretty little girl at the coffee shop, I wonder? Lex's partner?" He felt Kent hesitate for a second. "Or is it big brother you'd like to damage a bit? Get him out of those Armani suits, see him spread--"
"Lucas." The hand on his stomach pressed down harder. "Shut. The fuck. Up."
Then his cock was in Kent's mouth, and Lucas made two important discoveries. One, either someone was offering lessons in giving head at the Smallville Community Center, or there was such a thing as natural talent, and Clark Kent had it in spades. He grunted as Kent's free hand rubbed the sensitive skin between his balls.
Two, he was honestly being held down. No matter how hard he pushed, Kent's hand didn't budge at all. Fear started to win out, then Kent's throat closed tighter around his cock and he slammed back into arousal again.
The world narrowed down to two impulses: trying to get away from the hand above his belt, and trying to get deeper into the mouth below. "Clark!" he gasped--
--and found himself suddenly free. Kent rolled away just as the orgasm hit.
"Damn it," Lucas said, brushing at his jeans. "The rest of my clothes are packed."
Kent just stood there, hands in the pockets of his own jeans, watching. Other than a slight flush on his cheeks, he didn't look affected at all. He still had a hard-on, but he wasn't even breathing fast, the bastard. Lucas fought to get his own breath back and glared at him.
"Clark!" a woman's voice called from the house. "It's getting late, honey!"
A brief hesitation, a guilty glance towards the house, then-- "Coming, Mom," Kent said. He looked back down at Lucas. "Good luck in Gotham." And he was gone.
Lucas laid back for a moment and looked up at the basketball net, swaying slightly above him. "Motherfuck," he said to it. Then he climbed to his feet and set off for the side road he'd parked on, still swiping at his jeans. "Fucking Clark Kent. Good luck in Gotham. Son of a bitch..."
IV. (Fever) Temper
Helen's temper had been a family joke since her first window-rattling tantrums as a toddler. Her father had laughed and encouraged her "attitude problem."
"She'll need it when she's the first female chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Johns Hopkins." Or, "It'll come in handy when she's teaching neurosurgery at Harvard Medical."
Her attitude wasn't quite as acceptable when she used it to become a resident in Smallville instead.
Helen liked Smallville. She liked the diagnostic challenges of...whatever it was that made the people here violate various physical laws on a regular basis. (She had noticed that Lex drank nothing but bottled water, and couldn't decide if it was a rich boy's quirk or a safety precaution.) Despite an occasional longing for bright lights, skyscrapers, and stores open past seven at night, she was happy with her life.
And when the echoes of her last argument with her father still rang in her ears, she told herself that between her temper and her love of science, she'd gotten everything she'd ever wanted.
She reminded herself of that as she stormed back into her office that night. "Son of a bitch!" The key Lex had given her went into the trash can. "Manipulative bastard!" She picked up her *Physician's Desk Reference,* slammed it down again. "Stupid" slam "overbearing" slam "high-handed" slam "FREAK!"
She whirled, book held high. Clark Kent took a step back.
"Oh, it's you." Her walking, talking science project. She tossed the book away and leaned back against her desk. The anger was still there, boiling at the base of her neck, but she was suddenly, disturbingly tired. "What do you want?"
"I just--are you okay?"
"Fine. Or I will be, as soon as I kill your best friend."
He just stared at her.
"I'm kidding. Probably." She bent down to fish the key out of the trash. "Mostly."
"Should I ask what happened?"
"I went home tonight and my key didn't work." Dammit, why wasn't it on top? She dug through papers, papers, and ew, yesterday's lunch. "Lex paid someone to go to my house, pack all my things, move them to his place, and change my damn locks in the three hours between when I said I'd move in with him and when my shift ended."
"You're kidding." She glared at him over the half-overturned garbage can. "No, of course, you're not kidding. Look--" He was down on his knees by her, watching her dig through the trash. "That's just Lex, you know? Full speed ahead. Sometimes warp speed. What are you looking for in there? Can I help?"
"No," she snapped. She upended the can. The key clattered out. She picked it up and slammed it onto the desk so hard her palm stung. "You can't help me, Clark. Not if you're going to play stupid with me. I can go fight with Lex again if I want to be on the losing end of a conversation."
"Let me guess. You're just stopping by to see how I am. You want to thank me for taking care of your mom. Aw, shucks, you're just a simple farm kid, but by the way, I'm not going to tell anyone about your blood, right?"
He was staring at her with a kind of suppressed horror. After Lex's cool, irritating stares, she found it almost comforting. Clark looked at her the way interns and orderlies and candy stripers did. She advanced on him, and all six plus feet of him cringed against a counter.
"If my blood was weird, it was because, um, I was sick. You know that."
"Clark. Clark, Clark, Clark." With every step, he leaned a little farther away. "You know you're a terrible liar, right?" He was braced against a bookshelf, as far back as he could get without toppling over, and she took a perverse delight in invading his personal space.
"I was! I was sick!"
"I know. But there are things in your blood that I have never seen before. Things that can't be explained away with a virus. Why didn't your father want me to take blood from you? And why is he trying so hard to pretend that never happened?"
He opened his mouth, stuttering already, and she slapped her hand over it, harder than necessary.
"You know what? I don't want to hear it."
He was still trying to move back, but she kept her hand on his mouth, and he smacked into the bookcase and stopped. His eyes were wide and dark. She nearly laughed. He could leave any time he wanted. He had a foot and a hundred pounds on her. But if he hadn't figured it out yet, she wasn't going to tell him.
Helen slowly lifted her other hand and brushed it across his chest. He shuddered, and she could see the books behind him move.
She released his mouth, and he sucked in air. "Lex--" he gasped.
She slapped her hand back down and glared at him. "I don't want to hear it," she repeated, and when he still mumbled against her hand, she leaned up to bite him oh-so-lightly on the chin. He probably didn't even notice that his arms were around her now. "I don't want to hear about miracle cures or strange rocks or dictatorial playboys or anything else tonight. I'm sick of it all."
What are you doing? some voice in the back of her head screamed. It sounded remarkably like her father. *He's a patient. He's Lex's best friend. He's a minor. Even if his blood is--*
Shut up, she told the voice firmly, watching him shake. *All I care about his blood right now is how fast I can get it to his groin.*
Temper and science...
She lifted her hand again, and this time he didn't protest, just stared at her with a mix of fear and arousal that made her heart beat faster. He could push her away any time. Or worse. Hadn't she read in the paper about the mysterious fires that had followed him around for a while? And this was Smallville. Who knew how he'd started them.
Well, she'd just have to keep him distracted enough that he wouldn't think about it.
"I don't want to know any of your life-and-death secrets, Clark." She put both hands to work pulling up his shirt. His fingers tightened on her back. "I have better ones to learn. Mm, like why you're hiding a body like this under flannel."
"Uh..." His voice was husky. As she licked her way across his chest, he moaned and pressed her lower body against his. She pushed back against him. "...'m normal. Really."
"I beg to differ." She used her teeth on his nipples, ran her fingernails along his sides. More pressure didn't seem to cause pain, she noted. Just louder whimpers and a tighter grip on her back. The woman in her wished he'd let his hands explore a little bit; dammit, did she have to do all the work here? The scientist noted the lack of redness where her teeth had been.
"Here's a secret you can tell me, Clark. Have you done this before?"
"Done what? Oh!" He pulled his hands away from her back. "Oh, I--"
She slid the zipper down with her teeth. She heard a crack as he grabbed onto the bookcase. She took a second to look up, and saw him gazing firmly at the ceiling, swallowing repeatedly.
"It's okay, Clark." She was laughing softly against his stomach. "Trust me. I'm a doctor."
"Um---I--" She yanked his boxers down. Before they even hit the floor, she had his cock in her mouth, and his protestations were sucked into a wordless yelp.
He was fairly large, although not above average for an adult male. Uncut. She'd bet that was an interesting story. She gave half her attention to giving head--he was a teenager, he wasn't going to notice-- and the rest to cataloguing the way the bookcase creaked under his hands, and the way he tasted slightly different then most men of her experience. It might be the organic living. Then again, it might not.
His breathing sped up, and the little noises he was making got higher and higher pitched. Helen hummed softly against his cock. She timed it almost right; she ducked away just as his orgasm hit, but still ended up with a spray of semen across her hand.
She watched him come back down to earth. He just gaped at her for a moment. She tried to hide the grin, but damn. There was something just so stupid about any man right after he'd had sex.
"I--ah--oh, God," he said, and she really had to smile, until he opened his mouth again. "Don't tell."
"I won't," she started to say, thinkingI don't know enough about your blood to say anything yet. But if you'd just talk to me--
"Don't tell Lex."
She clamped her mouth shut and stared up at him. She was sitting, nearly lying on the floor, watching him while he yanked clothing back into place. She had his body fluids on her. And he was worried about--
"Don't worry," she said, knowing Clark wouldn't notice the look on her face. "As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to tell."
He gave her one last stricken look before heading for the door. A strange gust seemed to follow him as he vanished out of sight down the hall.
Helen looked at the door for a long time. Then she looked down at the sticky mess on her hand. "Better secrets to learn," she muttered and got to her feet. She had spare slides somewhere in this mess.
V. (Rosetta) Faith
Lex stood at the entrance to the cave, trying to get himself under control. It had been a hell of a week. Near-accidents, comatose scientists, and in the middle of it all--of course--Clark.
Clark, lying to him. Clark, all but mocking him in the hospital--junk mail? Junk mail? Clark, just disappearing for two days without a word.
But every time Lex tried to work up a good case of rage, he remembered the fear in Clark's eyes when he'd found him in the road, and dammit, he couldn't afford any weaknesses. He sighed.
"Do you want me to get him out of there, Mr. Luthor?" the guard asked.
Lex took great pleasure in giving the man his best withering stare. "Of course not. I told you he was to be given free reign. Keep an eye on the perimeter and make sure no one comes in." Including you was said with a look.
The guard shrugged. "I'll try, but that kid must have a back way in. I never see him."
"Maybe you should find it," Lex said coolly.
When the guard stalked off, Lex tugged his coat straighter around his shoulders and entered.
Clark was standing in front of the octagonal indentation that had sparked so much discussion, staring unblinkingly at it. His stiff posture reminded Lex uncomfortably of the way Dr. Walden looked in his hospital bed. "Lex gave me permission to be here," he said without looking up.
"Yes, I did." Lex came to a halt next to Clark and followed his line of vision. What did Clark see in that spot? Whatever it was, it didn't seem pleasant. "You've never taken advantage of my permission before. What's wrong?"
Clark tried to laugh. "You think something's wrong because I didn't sneak in?"
"I've learned that when you're straightforward, that's a bad thing," Lex said dryly.
Clark made a choking noise and turned away.
Oh, shit. "I--I'm sorry. Clark?" Lex laid a hand on his friend's shoulder.
Clark jerked away. "Don't!"
A familiar mix of resentment and concern churned in Lex's stomach. "Clark, I--" He took another step forward, trying not to mind when Clark flinched. "I know you're not going to tell me what's wrong, but-- let me help?"
"You may be the only one who can help. Oh, God," Clark said, his voice full of misery and horror. "I've been working myself up to this all day, and I still can't--"
Lex grabbed his shoulder and all but dragged him to a nearby ledge. "Sit down before you fall down."
"Sorry." Clark scrubbed his hands over his face. "I haven't slept since...it's been a while."
Why? Lex wanted to ask, but he held his tongue. One hand was still on Clark's back, moving back and forth absently. Pushing Clark had never worked, but giving him space occasionally produced results.
It was a long wait. Clark was still staring at the same spot on the wall with the expression of a man facing his certain doom. Lex fought to keep silent, and finally Clark stirred. "You're brilliant."
Lex wasn't sure how to respond to that.
"And you're rich."
Lex's hand dropped to his side. "Yes..."
"You could do anything, Lex. That's why my dad's afraid of you." While Lex was still processing that, Clark continued. "You could even stop an alien invasion."
Clark gestured at the walls around them. "Aliens. Don't look at me like that; you've known all along."
"That aliens are coming?" Lex could feel goosebumps on his skin. Was Clark really admitting--
"No." Clark's face was drawn; the cave worklights threw shadows on his face, making him look decades older. He reached up and traced Lex's jaw briefly before clenching his hands together in his lap. "That they are- -I mean--that I'm here."
Never mind that Lex had first admitted the possibility months ago, and had strongly suspected it after his first visit to the caves, Clark's confession still had the impact of a fist to the gut. "Alien," he repeated. Then, as the rest of the conversation caught up with him, "...invasion? Stop--stop what?"
Clark looked away. "It's a long story, and you're not going to like it."
Lex said, "I know you're an alien, and I haven't left yet." That won him a small smile.
"It wasn't meteors that came down that day," Clark began. "Or not just meteors."
Lex forced a calm expression onto his face. "Go on..."
It was indeed a long story, and Lex was sure he'd only gotten a fraction of it. He stiffened once when Clark told him about their collision on the bridge, and again when he described placing the disk--the key, Clark called it--in the cave wall. Otherwise, he stayed completely motionless.
"...and my dad said there was no way I could turn out like that." Clark shrugged. "I'm sure he believes it, too. He doesn't share your views on fathers and destiny."
Lex drew a breath. He could see Clark holding his. "You're going to rule the world? You didn't even want to be class president."
Lex raised an eyebrow. "What were you expecting?"
"Um...when I worked this out in my head, this was always the part where you declared your eternal hatred for me. Vowed to destroy me. That sort of thing."
"Someone's been reading my Warrior Angel comics again," Lex observed mildly. Clark flushed.
"Lex, I'm an alien. I was sent here to take over the world, and I've been lying to you about it the whole time we've known each other."
"Why tell the truth now?" Lex leaned forward, willing Clark's eyes to stay on his. "What exactly do you want me to stop?"
"My parents believe in me. Too much. They couldn't--they would believe I was doing the right thing until it was too late."
"But I'm different?"
"You don't believe in anyone that much. You'd do what you had to, Lex."
"You told me this so I'd be ready to kill you."
"I--I guess. Yeah." Clark stood and searched the cave walls. Lex knew he was looking at the two-headed drawing; he could have reproduced it in his sleep. "You know you're the only one who can."
Lex pushed himself to his feet and closed the distance to Clark. "You overestimate my nobility, Clark. And you--" His throat was dry. He swallowed hard. Kill you was echoing in the back of his head; he wished he'd never said it aloud. "You always underestimated my feelings for you."
"Lex, I'm not doubting you. You've been a good friend--"
Friend? "For Christ's sake," Lex said. He grabbed Clark and kissed him. He kept his eyes open, so he could see the startled look on Clark's face.
It was Lex's turn to be shocked, though, when Clark relaxed a bit and kissed him back.
"What?" Clark asked, pulling back a bit. "You're laughing."
"Nothing. I just wasn't sure you'd--never mind."
"Neither of us got what we expected today." Clark's smile faded.
"I'm not sure that's a bad thing." Lex kissed him again. Clark's arms tightened around him, and Lex had the odd experience of reassuring and being reassured at the same time. He deepened the kiss. When Clark murmured against his mouth, Lex bit him--carefully. He didn't want to talk about alien invasions or aboriginal legends or fathers and destiny. He wasn't sure he could form words anyway.
Clark leaned into him, and Lex lowered them both to the floor, cursing their current location. A cold cave floor was not what he'd had in mind for this. Then again, Clark was throwing himself into everything wholeheartedly, but by his own admission it had been a traumatic week.
He tugged Clark's jacket off and tucked it under his head. "Lay back," he murmured.
Clark looked confused. "I want--"
Lex cut him off with a kiss. "I know." He started on Clark's shirt buttons. "Don't worry, we have all the time in the world."
"Mm." Clark closed his eyes and dropped his head back. "I wish...I wish we did."
"Don't worry," Lex said again. "We'll sort out destiny and killing each other and ruling the world later." Clark's hands came up to stroke Lex's head. Lex bent to kiss the line of his throat. He could feel Clark breathing beneath him.
"I forgot," Clark said with a half-laugh. "Don't want to crimp your plans for world domination."
"We can timeshare." Lex pulled away the flannel shirt. He ran his hands across and down Clark's chest. "You know, you used to hold yourself so stiffly when we first met. I could never understand how you could be so good at saving people and so uncomfortable in your own skin."
"I didn't think you noticed."
"'Noticed' would be an understatement." Lex traced the lines of bone and muscle.
Arousing Clark was a matter of skill and experience; making him shudder and moan Lex's name was a matter of judiciously applied pressure. But when Clark pulled him down for a searing kiss and said, "You--Lex, you too," anatomy and physics were forgotten. Lex moaned and suddenly relaxed, melting into Clark's arms. He forgot his careful exploration of Clark's stomach and sank his fingers into his side, fascinated by the steel under the vulnerable-looking skin.
"Lex," Clark said through gritted teeth. His feet were flat on the ground, knees bent to allow Lex to grind against him more closely. Lex licked at the line of sweat along his hairline. "Lex," he said again, barely audible. He grabbed Lex's hips and forced them even closer.
"I was going to--God, that feels--going to take this slowly."
"You did take this slowly. If I'd known you..." Clark broke off for a long, sloppy, openmouthed kiss. "If I'd known you wanted this, I would have held you down on the riverbank and never let you up."
The image had Lex's heart beating even faster. He slid one hand between them, rubbing harder to apply pressure through the denim. "Come on, Clark. Come on," he whispered, aroused past the point of rational thought by the feel of his own fingers bumping back against him, by the pressure-almost-pain of Clark's fingers on his hips, by the body laid out below his and the look on Clark's face as he came and the sure, triumphant knowledge that he knew the truth after all this time.
"You did--did all that and I'm still wearing my jeans?" Clark asked a short while later.
Lex moved his head off a particularly uncomfortable rock and focused on the wall above him. The two-headed hero was just barely visible from this angle.
"I can't believe you don't hate me," Clark said suddenly.
"I can't believe you expected me to kill you." Lex felt Clark draw in a breath and shook his head. "I told you not to worry, Clark. We'll fix it later."
"Fix it? How do you know it's fixable? And stop saying 'don't worry'."
Lex covered Clark's hand with his. "Well, don't. Have a little faith."
"How? Why?" Clark nearly wailed. But Lex just smiled serenely at the drawing above them.
"Because I do."