Something was different about Lex.
Clark had looked at him from almost every angle possible. Had paid close attention to his skin, his (lack of) hair, even his bones - and seen nothing amiss. He still walked the same, talked the same, and didn't react differently to anything at all.
But still, there was something...different.
Sitting across from Lex in the penthouse, Clark took yet another opportunity to study his friend, trying to figure out what it was. They were in the middle of watching a DVD together, so it was an excellent time for some Lex watching.
By now they spent most of their free time together. Lex had been worried when they'd both come to live in Metropolis, telling Clark that he was probably missing out on some vital college experiences. Clark had quickly convinced him otherwise. As far as he was concerned he spent just the right amount of time with his college friends. Some of them he was really glad to know, but Lex still remained - and hopefully always would be - Clark's best friend. Given the choice, he knew who he'd rather be hanging out with every time.
"Still trying to figure it out?" Lex's voice asked, yanking Clark's mind back to the present. As far as Clark could tell Lex hadn't so much as glanced away from the television, but now he was smiling softly to himself as he brought his mug up to his mouth and took a healthy gup of his drink.
"No," Clark disagreed, knowing Lex knew he was lying, "just wondering whose head looks more like an egg." He gestured towards the TV, and the movie playing there. "Yours or Patrick Stewart's."
Lex still wasn't looking at him. "Clark?"
His lips twitched. "You are such a dork."
That was entirely Clark's fault. Lex had never said words like 'dork' or 'dude' (although 'dude' had only happened the one time, and Lex had immediately cursed Clark, his entire alien family, and the ship he rode to Earth in) before Clark had started college.
Clark felt absurdly proud. "I know."
Lex just took another swig of his drink.
Lunch with Lex on the weekend usually meant some expensive European specially ordered menu being delivered to the penthouse. Some days, however, Lex caved and - apparently craving real food - let Clark order a pizza. Today was one of those days.
Most of the time when they hung out together it was at Lex's place, and Clark really didn't mind. It was way better than the college dorms, not to mention gargantuan in comparison. The extra space really was a big thing for him and that's where he was now, spread out on the floor of the penthouse, eating a slice of pizza he was holding in one hand and flicking through a book he was supposed to be reading with the other.
"Clark," Lex groaned and Clark instantly grinned. He knew exactly what Lex was complaining about.
"Already belongs to me," Clark replied in a sing-song voice, then smeared his hand over one entire side of the book as he turned another page.
Here it came. "You are ruining a perfectly good book!"
Content, Clark picked up another slice. "It's my property, Lex. I can do anything I want with it." Deliberately glancing to where Lex was sitting on the sofa, he let the end of his pizza touch the next page.
Lex moved so fast that even Clark almost didn't see him. By the time Lex had stopped moving he was sitting back on the sofa, holding the book protectively in his lap. "You don't get to touch this again until you wash your hands," he sniffed.
Putting his pizza back on his plate, Clark rolled until he was on his back and propped himself up on his elbows. "Okay, but if I fail the course I'm blaming you."
Lex seemed totally okay with that. "That's fine," he said, reaching for the pizza resting on the table in front of him. The first time they'd ordered in Clark had half-expected Lex to only eat pizza with a knife and fork, so he'd been pleased - and maybe a little aroused - when Lex had gobbled down the first slice with his bare hands. There was something so...natural, about seeing Lex like that.
Unable to not antagonise him, Clark stretched out a foot and prodded Lex's shin with his sock-covered toe.
Lex ignored him.
Clark prodded again.
Lex still ignored him.
Determined not to be ignored, Clark shifted closer and this time his foot went up past Lex's knee and headed straight for-
Lex was suddenly up off the sofa, the book clutched to his chest with his left hand, a slice of soggy pizza in his right. That was such a cute image. "Clark!"
"Gimme the rest of your pizza?" Clark asked innocently. "Please?"
"You already have your own," Lex pointed out, not unreasonably.
"Yeah, but you know you never finish yours. And I'm a growing boy." He produced a huge, beaming grin, the one he knew Lex had never been able to say no to.
Grumping purely for effect, Lex fell back on to the sofa and carefully placed the slice he'd been holding back on his plate. "Fine. I'll finish eating this slice and the rest is yours."
It was ridiculous how happy the thought of more junk food made him. But then it was always had. "I love you!" Clark grinned. Lex always went kinda still when he said that, and Clark was still waiting hopefully for the day when Lex would throw the pizza aside and not care when it splattered against the wall because he was too busy showing Clark the kind of love they should have.
If Lex were gay. Or interested in him. At all.
Eventually, Lex smiled fondly and lifted up his mug for a drink. "You dork."
That pretty much summed him up.
Some nights he stayed over at Lex's. It wasn't that often - there were rumours about them already in some places - but even with the superspeed there were just some nights when he couldn't be bothered to head back to the dorm. Lex's sofa was more than comfortable enough for him - Clark was pretty sure it'd be comfortable enough for the President, which was probably appropriate - and whenever he sprawled out on it he was almost always asleep in seconds.
Not tonight though. The sofa was just the same, just as comfortable as always, but Clark just couldn't sleep. There was still something different about Lex, and Clark still couldn't figure it out.
Giving up on the very concept of sleep, Clark stumbled up off the sofa. After making use of the toilet he paused by Lex's room, and decided he'd just take a quick peek. X-ray vision always felt like he was missing out on something rather than looking at Lex directly, so Clark quietly opened the bedroom door and peered inside.
As expected Lex was asleep in bed, chest rising and falling smoothly, looking exactly the same as he always did when he slept.
Not that Clark watched him a lot.
Shrugging, Clark was just mentally telling himself that he had to get over this curiousity when-
"That's creepy, Clark."
He swore, Clark absolutely swore that Lex had to have some superpowers of his own. "Oh...sorry. Couldn't sleep."
"Why not?" Lex snuggled further into the covers. Clark suddenly hated them with a fiery passion.
"Don't know. Mind's just busy, I guess."
"Well," Lex yawned. "Mom always knew just what to do to get me back to sleep when I was little."
Intrigued, Clark took a step forward. "Oh yeah? What's that?"
Lex moved, and suddenly the covers were pulled aside. In clear invitation.
Lex wanted him to...? Lex really wanted him to...?
Clark wasn't stupid. Well, not much. He immediately headed for the bed, climbing in besides Lex and thinking that this seemed really really gay.
"'Night, Clark," Lex mumbled, turning until his back was towards Clark.
"'Night," Clark responded, lying flat on his back and frowning as he stared up at the ceiling. He was really confused. The whole 'inviting Clark into his bed' thing hadn't seemed particularly straight; Clark had never known any other guy who'd done that. Pete had certainly never-
"Clark," another yawn, "go to sleep." Lex exhaled heavily, then all but whispered. "You big dork."
Smiling, Clark closed his eyes and did just that.
When Clark woke up, the first thing he saw was Lex's sleeping face. Thinking that he really wouldn't mind getting used to that, he stretched as his gaze moved around the room...then froze.
Pausing, he stared at the mug on Lex's bedside table. He knew Lex had had it for a while, but he'd been so caught up in trying to see what was wrong with Lex that he'd in no way paid attention to what what actually printed on the side of the mug.
Now, however, he couldn't tear his eyes away as he read over the slogan again and again.
I HEART DORKS
Was it just a coincidence? Could it be just a coincidence? This was Lex, there was almost nothing in his life that wasn't pre-planned in some way, but somehow this didn't quite fit in with business dealings or mergers and he really thought-
It was said so softly, and as Clark's gaze moved back to Lex's face he saw the smile there. Lex knew. Lex knew he'd seen the mug, and now he was saying that deliberately and it was very possible Clark was about to float off the bed.
Clark grinned, thinking of pizza-stained books and criminal masterminds who didn't wear masks. "Your dork," he said, knowing it was completely dorkish and therefore completely perfect. "Just yours."
Chuckling, Lex rolled on top of him, his mouth lowering towards Clarks. "Glad to hear it."
Lex kissed him, and then Clark did the dorkiest thing of all.
He really did float.
The mug in question exists. I've seen pictures ;)