Clark peered out the barn door into the rain. It was a light drizzle, barely enough to be called rain, and it had been falling steadily all morning. Where it gathered upon the verdant sweep of green that was the Kents' hayfield, it tipped each blade of grass with silver as if they had been dipped in liquid mercury. It was still chilly too, and as the cattle wandered in from the fields to the run-in shed to escape the drizzle, their breath hung about the air in foggy swirls. Their tawny hides were mud spattered.
Yawning, Clark turned back to his work. Jonathan Kent had gone to the co-op. Sometimes on rainy days he could find work there and Sam Regan paid him under the table for his efforts. Clark stayed at home and took care of both of their chores on those days, something which sometimes chafed. That he occasionally felt very used was something Clark kept to himself, because he felt it was a mean spirited way of thinking. Alien or not, he was part of the family, and if his abilities helped his family to survive, how could he complain if he were actually asked to use them?
Although sometimes Jonathan didn't ask, he simply made assignments and expected Clark to follow through by any means possible.
He sighed and twisted at one of the spark plugs in Martha's car. He didn't need a wrench, but he had to be careful or he'd break the plug instead of simply unscrewing it from its housing. He'd finished everything Jonathan had assigned him except the maintenance on Martha's car. After he changed the spark plugs, wires, air filter, and oil in the Buick, he was free to do as he wished. What he wished to do was hole up in the loft with a book, a favorite rainy day activity. He also knew Martha was in the house baking, one of her favorite rainy day activities, and the idea of a glass of milk, a plate of warm cookies and a book was immensely appealing.
Ninety percent of the time Clark was content to engage in such quiet pastimes, but there was a part of him, perhaps the same part chafing under Jonathan Kent's discipline, that longed to get away. Clark didn't feel the same ties to home his friends might. Home was a safe haven, to be sure, but the world beyond Smallville held little fear for Clark Kent. He wanted to explore it, meet new people and experience new things. He was secure in the knowledge he could take care of himself and felt he could now understand and control his abilities enough so they would not be a danger to either himself or others. Clark wanted to fly from the nest, his parents said no, and Clark respected them too much to simply leave on his own. The Kents had sacrificed a lot for him, much more than they would have had he been a normal child of their own blood. He couldn't ignore it.
So Clark remained on the farm, squirming under his parental restraints, and staged a very quiet rebellion instead, one of which his parents were blissfully ignorant. Had they even suspected Clark was developing something much more than friendship with Lex Luthor, he figured they'd lock him up and never let him leave the house. It wasn't that they were particularly homophobic, although they would be rather disappointed, but that Clark's attraction was to Lex. If it had been Pete or Whitney the fact Clark was bisexual probably would be accepted more readily. Because it was Lex, Jonathan Kent would go ballistic. No matter what role he played in Clark's life, Lex Luthor was considered dangerous, conniving, and completely untrustworthy.
At first Clark had thought his attraction to Lex was because of his parents' opinion. He thought perhaps he was simply being drawn towards Lex's companionship to be contrary and rebellious, and had to admit to himself that was part of it. The other part was a definite appeal Lex possessed. He represented everything Clark desired; freedom, knowledge, experience. Lex also exuded a sex appeal neither Lana nor Chloe ever had. Clark was attracted to the girls, but he'd never really wanted the girls, not like he wanted Lex.
It had been late one night, not long after he'd first met Lex, that Clark learned the truth. He woken from a rapidly fading dream to find himself sweating and aroused. Clark rarely sweated, and truth be told, rarely became so aroused. His control over his abilities translated into control over the rest of his physical body as well. Years of holding back his strength had honed his ability to consciously control everything from the beating of his heart to the state of his hormonal reactions. If Clark didn't want to get a hard on, he wouldn't.
When he did, he was inclined to finish what his body started, just like any other boy his age. He'd rolled over onto his back and slipped his hand inside the waistband of his pajamas. Thoughts of Lana immediately came to him but this time they had drifted away just like the memory of his dream. Instead he thought of Lex, recalling the way his body moved as he'd engaged his fencing instructor in mock battle. Clark pictured the way Lex's shirt had clung to his broad chest the first time Clark saw him without a jacket. The castle was always cold, and through the clinging shirt Lex's nipples had been visible. When he'd turned away, and bent to stir the fire, the thin cloth of his slacks revealed the hard curve of his flanks and little or no underwear.
Those memories shoved Lana aside and made Clark come almost immediately. He remembered laying in his bed staring up at the ceiling afterward, trying to understand just what his mind had been trying to tell him. It should have been obvious. He lived in denial for months, until he'd figured out Lex harbored similar feelings towards him and everything got turned on its ear.
They said opposites attract. In Clark, Lex found a domesticity he lacked in his own life and, Clark understood, suspicions regarding Clark's secrets. There was also a genuine affection he tried not to reveal as if it were a weakness on his part. Sex he understood, but in regards to the more delicate, subtle nuances of a relationship he was as inexperienced as Clark. Together they'd managed to blunder along in some sort of tangled up confusion thus far. They'd just skirted along the edges of actual commitment partially because of their inherent fears. Lex was afraid of making emotional ties. Clark was afraid to reveal his secrets, and he was afraid of getting too physical.
Masturbation was one thing, sex was another. He was terrified of losing control and hurting his partner, a fear he'd never been able to express to anyone, including his parents. Explaining this to Lex was completely out of the question. Lex would want to know why Clark was so afraid, and would invariably lose his temper when Clark hedged on the answer, like he always did. Heavy petting, hastily ended when things became too heated, was as far as they'd ever gone. If it hadn't been for his unusual abilities...
Clark had to admit he probably would have propositioned Lex a long time ago.
The rain continued to fall, so light it hardly made any sound on the roof of the barn. Outside a few birds sang from beneath the shelter of their treetop roosts but otherwise it was unusually quiet. Jonathan Kent might have whistled as he worked. Clark enjoyed the silence. During a prerequisite hearing test in the first grade Clark had learned his hearing was something else he possessed well above human norm. The small buzz they wanted him to detect had sounded like a tornado siren going off in his ear. It had made his eyes water and his head ache so badly he'd gone home crying, inciting panic in his parents. He had been praised for not giving away just how well he did hear during the nightmarish torture and sent to bed with a cool rag for his head.
It had taken Clark a long time to be able to tone out all the noise to hear only what he needed to hear, although sometimes he became distracted if there was a lot going on around him. He earned the reputation of being a daydreamer when in actuality he was simply overwhelmed with noise. Over the years it had become easier for him to turn his hearing "on" or "off" depending on the situation, allowing him to participate in such raucous activities such as parties, football games, and crowded nights at the Talon. Sometimes he turned his music up loud to drown out everything else. Sometimes he just reveled in the quiet of the countryside, like today, when he could relax and open up to it.
He listened to the rain, and the birds, the quiet shuffling of the cattle as they huddled in the shed, and after a moment, the rumble of a car up Hickory Lane. Closing his eyes, he listened more carefully to the throaty growl, detected the faintest "ping" of a high performance engine running on low performance gasoline, and knew it was Lex. Lex often fueled his cars at the station just outside of town on the way to Metropolis. The owner of said station, Benny, was known for buying from the cheapest suppliers.
Clark cocked his head. It was the Mercedes. Lex tended to drive the bigger car in rainy conditions, as it was wider, heavier and kept the slick road better than the lighter sports cars. Those cars also sounded different, more shrill. The Mercedes and the Jaguar had lower voices, like the purring of a big cat, with the Mercedes being the slower, richer of the two. Very few people in Smallville drove such cars, and fewer still would be driving them up the muddy stretch of road toward the Kent Farm. The visitor had to be Lex.
It was Lex. The 'cedes came around the corner and pulled up into the barnyard, edging as close to the open door of the barn as it could get before stopping. The windshield wipers flipped once, then twice, then settled down to a complete stop as the engine shut down. Clark leaned against the Buick's fender, watching the rain bead up on the Mercedes' windshield and run down the car's dark, black skin to wash away the mud splatters. Lex got out of the car and scuttled through the drizzle into the shelter of the barn, the tails of his long black coat floating out behind him. It reminded Clark rather uncomfortably of a cockroach surprised by the sudden brilliance of a kitchen light flipped on in the middle of the night. The thought made him frown.
"It's cold, and wet, and dismal." Lex snarled.
"April showers..." Clark said softly.
"If I want flowers, I'll build a greenhouse."
"So you can control the weather?"
"Precisely." Lex ran a hand over his face and his scalp, flicking away what water had made it onto his person. It was misting more than properly raining.
Clark shook his head and turned around to put a new spark plug into its proper socket. "Lex Luthor, God of Pansies."
Lex snorted."You aren't funny, Clark." But his face twitched as if he were holding back a chuckle.
Smiling, Clark reached for a wrench. Lex's presence decreed the use of tools instead of unusually strong fingers. "I thought you had meetings all week?"
He'd not seen much of Lex for more than a week actually, and sensed Lex was avoiding him, which wasn't unusual. There were still sometimes brief moments of insecurity about their relationship on Lex's part, and Clark suspected their last time alone together had left behind a sour taste. They'd gotten as close as they'd ever been to taking things one step beyond petting, but Clark had panicked at the last minute.
"I claimed illness and went home. They do well enough without me. I just doodle on a piece of paper while they talk, and sign what they put in front of me. Since every step anyone takes is pre-approved by my father, my attendance is just a formality anyway." He paused, his voice growing softer. "Sometimes I think my very existence is only a formality."
Clark looked up from the engine of his mother's car. "Don't say that."
"Why not? It's true isn't it? I'm the prerequisite heir to the throne, Clark. I'm only around to insure what my father has worked so hard for remains as his legacy after he's gone." Lex growled. "But believe me, he's bastard enough to hang on as long as he can before handing me the reins. I'll be his pawn, his emotional plaything, until I'm old and decrepit. I'll never be Lex Luthor. I'll always be Lionel Luthor's son."
The note of grief in his tone would have been clear even to someone without "super" hearing.
"I don't know who I am, Clark. I'm not sure I ever did." Raising his head, Lex stared out into the rain. "I've always been defined by my father, or by this..." He ran his hand over his bare scalp once again. "Nobody cares what's inside it."
Clark straightened. He put down his tools and wiped his fingers on the shop rag lying across the Buick's fender, before coming around to stand in front of his visitor. Lex's blue eyes were a reflection of the blue-gray sky outside. Clark had long ago discovered how to read Lex's moods from his eyes; when they seemed their brightest was when he was at his best. The fading of the light in them indicated sorrow.
Lex's eyes lowered, the pale red-gold of his lashes brushed his pale cheeks. When he looked up again he wore his crooked smile. "I know you do. Why do you suppose I'm here?"
It was Clark's turn to play coy, which he did much better, and more often than Lex. He blushed a little, but forced himself not to look away. "What's put you in such a blue mood?" he asked.
With a shrug, Lex put his hands in his pockets. "Spent too much time with my father this week. He has a tendency to suck the life out of me. I'm convinced if we were forced to co-habitate I'd be dead within a month."
Clark laughed, and leaned against the Buick's grill. The car shifted minutely under his weight. Idly he wondered how hard he'd have to push to send it skyrocketing out the back door of the barn and into the south pasture. He could probably do it with one finger.
Lex sighed. "When I'm here, I want to be in Metropolis. When I'm in Metropolis, I want to be here."
"But only in fair weather?"
"Yeah," Lex chuckled. "Only in fair weather."
There was a heartbeat of time before Clark looked down at his feet and scuffed the dirt a little with one toe. He could sense Lex waiting for him to speak. Lex could read him nearly as well as he could read Lex.
"I'm sorry I freaked out on you," he said finally.
Lex's voice was very soft. "It's a big step, Clark. I just wish I had been so careful when I was where you are now."
Clark's eyes found his. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I don't remember my first time with much fondness. If I could go back and change some things, some of the decisions I made, I would." Lex shook his head. "I don't want to rush you."
"You won't. You haven't. You've shown remarkable restraint."
This time Lex really laughed, his melodic voice carrying out into the barnyard. "That's a rather vain sentiment, Clark. Do you think you're irresistible?"
"No - I - that's not what I meant!" He floundered, brows dipping low as he tried to figure out what exactly he had meant. "I meant...."
Lex cut him off, his voice softening again. "I know what you meant. I was teasing." He moved around until he was facing Clark. "You're easy to tease."
"Yeah." Lex slipped his hands beneath the hem of Clark's shirt, to rest them on Clark's hips. Instinctively Clark parted his knees, allowing Lex to come in closer. "I missed you."
"Despite the bounty of beautiful people to be had in the city?" Clark breathed, as Lex brushed his lips in a barely-there kiss.
It was fleeting and feather-light that kiss, and was followed by another. "Nobody there is anything like you."
The light shown in Lex's eyes, chasing away the gray clouds. "You are just this side of resistable," he said, and leaned in for a more substantial kiss. His mouth was warm and flavored with mint. Like a shot of pure mountain moonshine, the sensation of Lex's lips against his own went straight to the pit of Clark's stomach and burned there.
"If...." Clark panted as they parted to catch their breath. "My Mother...uhmmmm." Lex wasn't letting him go.
Clark raised his hands to Lex's hips, and Lex moved his to other parts of Clark's body. One rubbed his chest beneath his shirt, moving the soft cotton of his T-shirt against nipples growing hard from the teasing touch. The other caressed one lean thigh, before slipping between his legs to lightly squeeze. Clark squirmed, but didn't try to escape. He knew how far either of them could go before the breaking point, and his reaction to Lex's tongue darting between his teeth was to slide his hands down to the curve of Lex's buttocks.
He drew Lex in even closer, feeling the hard shaft of Lex's erection against his thigh, shifting until it brushed against his own, and moaning at the sudden surge of heat there. Lex moved his kisses to Clark's throat, tongue following the arch down to the juncture of neck and shoulder. Somehow Clark's shirt had gotten unbuttoned half way down. Tugging at the neck of Clark's T-shirt, Lex exposed more shoulder, bit down, and Clark's hips jerked.
The Buick lurched backwards when Clark's butt rebounded into the grill. He yelped as his base of support, the car, moved away, and he clutched Lex to him in an instinctive "save" as the two of them crashed to the barn floor. The back of Clark's head barely missed the Buick's front bumper. He wouldn't have been hurt, but the dent in the bumper would have to have had an explanation. Clark was entirely too turned on and befuddled for any sort of logical explanation. He gave thanks to whatever gods protected automobile bumpers.
Lex had his hands braced on the floor to either side of Clark's head, hovering over him, still hard against him. "What happened?" he laughed, as soon as he'd recovered from the shock of finding himself lying on top of Clark and both of them on the floor.
"I must not have set the parking brake."
"Are you okay?" Lex lowered himself to his elbows, freeing his hands. His fingers slipped through Clark's hair.
They froze, staring at each other, neither moving.
"I like you here." Clark said, and immediately cursed himself for saying something stupid. He could feel the heat rising in his face, and fading from his groin. "I mean...."
"I know what you mean." Lex whispered. "I always know what you mean." He moved his fingers from Clark's hair to his face, brushing the backs of them across Clark's cheeks. The touch was cool.
Clark's fingers shook as he traced the curve of Lex's jaw. He kept his other hand resting lightly in the small of Lex's back. "Why, " he asked softly. "Did we both assume my first time would be with you?"
Nodding, Clark returned both hands to Lex's hips. "I did. I want it to be." "I'm flattered. I hope," Lex said, easing down to kiss him again. "I can meet your expectations." He uttered a breathy moan as Clark raised his legs around him. When he spoke again his voice was hoarse. "But unless you want to lose your virginity right here, right now, we'd better get up." "I'd rather it be upstairs." Clark murmured. He could feel his heart racing and since their chests were pressed together, he figured Lex could feel it too. "The barn floor might be good enough for the chickens, but not for me."
Lex licked his ear, making Clark shudder. "No," he said. "My bedroom. I want to see you there, wrapped in white silk, smelling like vanilla."
Clark burst out laughing. "Vanilla?"
"Hmm, from a bath, because right now, Clark, you smell like manure and motor oil." He nuzzled Clark's neck, then nipped playfully at his throat. "White silk and vanilla. Virginal. You'd look beautiful in white silk."
"Lex Luthor, hopeless romantic."
"I never claimed I wasn't." Lex purred. His voice was low and gravelly, and uncomfortably like Lionel's. It was also very sexy.
Clark lay there admiring him, and they lay very still together. Lex smiled. Neither of them smiled enough, Clark thought. He certainly didn't, not with all the crap going on in his head at any given moment. When Lex smiled, it was like finding gold.
It was a parting gift. Lex backed off of him and stood up, offering a hand down to Clark. Clark took it. He rose to his feet, catching Lex in a casual embrace, and with interlocked fingers they came together again. The kiss was swift and comfortable, their hands parted slowly as Lex moved away towards the doorway.
"I have to go."
Clark nodded, body aching from unfulfilled needs, he would have to tend to later, perhaps when he went in to shower. As he watched Lex moved back out into the drizzling rain, though, he longed to follow him back to the mansion. He would leave the tedious farm work behind, and lose his troubles in Lex's company.
White silk and vanilla.
Lex paused as he opened the Mercedes' door. His smile went wry as if he too were thinking of silk sheets and the scent of vanilla. Clark gave a little wave as the car backed into the yard. He watched as it turned, and made it's way down the toward Hickory Lane, and when it was out of sight he closed his eyes and listened.
He heard the flip of the car's windshield wipers as they flicked away the raindrops, and the squeak of the rubber blades across damp glass. The engine was purring loudly, not quite warmed up again to optimum performance. The tires "slushed" through the mud of the driveway. With a little extra effort Clark could hear Lex's breathing, and his words:
"God, help me. I never meant to fall in love like this."