Snowlight That Falls
A noise trickled into Lex's mind, stirring him toward consciousness. Strange sound that he couldn't quite place. It reminded him of balling up waxed paper inside a fist, but sharper. More like the time he'd been awakened in his dorm room by the scratching of mouse claws on the inside of the wall. That still lacked the correct resonance to be right, and he knew he wasn't in his dorm room. Too long ago, and while the school had been old and drafty, it was never this cold inside it. Becoming more aware by the second, Lex supposed that opening his eyes would help resolve the source of the mystery noise.
Bright white brought on a stabbing pain, lancing through his eyes and cleaving consciousness away. His eyelids slammed shut, and the world faded to black again.
Lex came out of it a little clearer the second time around. The sound that had roused him the first time had risen in volume, though that didn't make placing the cause any easier. Accompaniment for the scraping had arrived -- an indistinct... voice? Hard to tell, but it reminded him of a scream that whispered through water, muffled into unintelligible echoes by the flowing current.
Strange... he hadn't been anywhere near a bridge this time. He remembered that much, though he did recall guardrail pieces flying past his windshield before everything went white, then black.
White. That memory brought on a flash of phantom pain that cautioned him. Placing a hand over his eyes, Lex opened them slowly this time.
The light didn't stab, just created a dull ache. After a few moments with the shielding of cold, black leather over his face, Lex decided he'd adjusted enough to look around. A sea of white covered the cracked windshield, and he could see only the smallest portion of the BMW's black hood. The car must have stalled on impact, because the shell around him lacked the hum of fine European engineering. Just the whistle of frigid air flowing through a crack in the shattered passenger side window and the scratch-thud-murmur combo coming from his left.
Taking a look out the driver's side window, the noises gained focus. Blue gloves dug through the avalanche burying him, almost had it cleared to the base of the glass. Worried, green eyes turned his way, and Lex realized that there would soon be another rescue under Clark's belt. Assuming Lex's blood remained unfrozen for a few more minutes, which was far from a certainty.
"Lex!..." Muffled by the glass, the rest of what Clark said didn't register. Trying the switch was an exercise in futility, as the window remained obstinately closed. But Lex had learned more than one lesson from the bridge, and he reached down for the emergency hand-crank he'd ordered installed in the door.
A little snow spilled into the car without the glass barrier in the way, along with a lot of cold air. Lex shuddered, closing his eyes as he reached over to release his seatbelt. "Clark... what are you doing here?"
More scratching sounds, along with a laugh that sounded far from cheerful. Clark's tension radiated into the car, and Lex saw the worry swimming across his features. "You need to work on the gratitude thing, Lex. We've dropped a long way from offers of trucks."
Okay... play this light. Might help keep Clark calm. "What I meant..." he paused to submerge a shiver "...was that you're out in the middle of a snow storm. Any reason for that? Did you... get bored with cocoa by the family hearth and... decide to go in search of motorists in distress?"
Clark dug furiously at the snow, not looking at Lex while he tried to unearth the door handle. "Not exactly. I was out making deliveries when it hit. I ended up as a 'motorist in distress' myself." He shot Lex a quick look along with a weak imitation of a smile. "The truck is stuck in a ditch back at Harper's corner."
"By the Barlow's place?" Clark nodded. "That still doesn't explain why you're out here and not sipping cocoa in front of their fire."
"Mrs. Barlow's phone was out. Since her place is less than a quarter mile away from yours, I figured I'd come over and see if I could use your cell phone to call my folks." Clark shifted back slightly, grabbing the door handle with one hand and clasping the other over the frame. "When I was walking, I saw the tire tracks and the broken guardrail. Can you push from the inside while I pull?"
Although he doubted he'd be much help, Lex nodded, scootching down in his seat and bracing his shoulder against the door. "On three..."
Several attempts to pull the door open failed miserably, the last of which landed Clark on his backside in the snow drift. Lex watched Clark brush himself off, studying the door with obvious frustration. Lex could almost hear the gears grinding in Clark's head -- he had that look of someone trying to make a difficult decision. Shit... Lex supposed this rescue would have gone a lot quicker if he'd remained unconscious a little longer. Clark came forward again, determined look on his face mixed with a large dose of trepidation. "Okay... I'm... I'm going to-"
"Forget it, Clark." A part of Lex's mind screamed that he was being an idiot. Mostly, Lex laid the interruption down to wanting the confession to happen the right way, not by force. "The door is jammed. I'll just climb out through the window."
Clark settled back on his haunches. The relief on his face silenced any doubts in Lex's mind. "You sure?"
"Yeah. Just help me balance while I get my feet under me." It took some maneuvering, but Lex got his legs outside the car. Settling his rear on the window frame, he pushed out, utilizing his college-honed limbo abilities to straighten up with Clark's hands providing counterbalance. He thought he was home free when his foot slipped on the unevenly packed snow. Instinctively clutching at Clark as he fell, Lex took them both down into the drift, Clark managing somehow to not fall on top of him with a midair twist.
Snow crept under the back of Lex's coat, melting against his skin with icy fingers that scratched. Underneath the waistband of his slacks, too, and how silly he'd been to think he couldn't get any colder. Clark leaned over him, brow furrowed with concern. "Lex? You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just fell on my dignity and need a second to recover." A bruised ego heals slowly, but he could deal with it.
Clark didn't look any more relieved, though. He stripped off one blue glove, and warm fingers lightly traced Lex's forehead. "No, I meant your head. I couldn't see it before, but you've got a nasty bruise here."
Lex remained silent for a moment, just watching Clark examine the bump with his eyes and fingers. There was a need for comfort, wrapped up in the gentle touch, that Lex couldn't stop himself from craving. "My guess is that my head had a confrontation with the steering column." On the scale of Smallville head injuries, he'd give this one a seven. It ranked above the pistol-whipping, definitely. Less painful than cracking his head on the floor while tied to a chair, though. That incident got bonus points for containing a woman with a literal axe to grind.
Clark put his glove back on and stood up, clasping Lex's hand in his. "Come on. We need to get you home. You're freezing cold."
Lex wasn't sure he wanted to get up, but the heat that had spread into him from Clark's fingers made him aware of just how cold he really was. Gaining his feet, Lex took a look at the wrecked car. Shaking his head, he turned and followed Clark over to the embankment.
Clark had never been so happy to see Lex's front door in his life. Their trip through the cutting wind and snow over the tenth of a mile between the shallow ravine and the Luthor estate had been brutal. Clark only felt it a little, but Lex had already been stuck in the cold for who knows how long. Every shiver and chatter of teeth that came out of Lex had worried him more, and Clark had done what he could to shield his friend from the storm while they walked. The temptation to just pick Lex up and speed to the shelter of the house had eaten at him steadily. But every time he considered it, Clark heard his dad's voice in the back of his head, or saw Pete's expression when he'd first heard the truth.
Lex seemed to be running on sheer determination, one foot in front of the other like it was a test his father had set up to see if Lex would break. Now that the door was finally shut behind them, blocking out the howling wind, Clark could sense Lex's energy draining away. If it hadn't been obvious before, it became so when Clark stripped off Lex's coat and led him into the library with a guiding arm around his shoulders. Lex remained silent and obedient, two words Clark had never thought he'd associate with Lex, ever.
Clark sat Lex down on the sofa in front of the fireplace, going over to flick the wall switch that ignited the gas flames. Lex hadn't said a word since they'd come in the door, and Clark started to panic a little, hoping that a slip into shock wasn't imminent. "Lex, I'm going to get you some dry clothes. I'll be right back." He waited until Lex responded, and though it was only a nod, it eased Clark's tension a bit. He zipped up the stairs, forgetting caution in his rush to find what he needed. A thick wool sweater, some sweats, and two pairs of athletic socks clutched in his hands, he returned to the study. Handing Lex the clothes and the blanket he'd grabbed, Clark crouched down in front of the couch. "Is the cook here? Or is it safe to invade your kitchen?"
Lex laughed weakly. "It's all clear. My father 'borrowed' her and the rest of the staff for that charity dinner your mother talked him into setting up. My guess is that they're all stuck at the venue, waiting for the storm to pass or at least slow down."
Clark nodded, feeling the relief growing as he took in Lex's appearance. The bruise on his forehead appeared less ghastly now that the rest of his skin was warming and no longer appeared snow-light pale. "I'm going to make some coffee. Get out of those wet clothes, okay?" Lex quirked a brow, and yes, he had to be feeling better if he was up to non-verbal teasing. Clark walked away without clarifying, hoping that Lex hadn't seen the flush that had suffused his cheeks.
He was at the door when heard Lex moving. Turning his head, Clark saw Lex standing near the wet bar. "No brandy. It may make you feel warmer, but alcohol isn't-"
"That's not what I'm getting, Clark." His hands reflexively caught the object Lex tossed to him. "What you came for, remember?" Lex grinned as he moved back to the pile of clothes on the sofa. "Call your parents."
Clark dialed the number as he walked down the hall to the kitchen. There was no guarantee that any of the landlines were still working, but it was worth a shot. After seven rings, he gave up and dialed the number of the cell phone his mom had started carrying when she went to work for Lionel. Clark had already retrieved the coffee from the pantry when the line connected. "Hello, Martha Kent speaking."
"Hey, Mom. Are you at home?"
"Hi, honey. I managed to get back just as the worst of it hit. Clark, where are you?"
With the phone propped between his shoulder and cheek, Clark measured grounds into the filter basket of the machine. "I'm at Lex's. The truck got stuck in a ditch down the road, so I came here."
Clark heard his mother conveying the message to his father, then muffled sounds as the phone changed hands. "Clark, are you all right?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Couldn't get the truck out of the ditch. I thought about... you know, lifting it, but it was right in front of Mrs. Barlow's place, and she came out to see what happened. We'll need a tow truck if this snow doesn't melt soon."
Clark poured bottled water into the reservoir of the coffee maker and turned it on. "Once the storm passes, we'll go out together and take a look. Depending on how the truck's sitting, we may be able to leverage some boards under the wheels to give it traction." Even though his dad stopped speaking, Clark could sense that he wasn't done, just building up to something. Not hard to figure out what it was, either. "So... you're at the Luthor place?"
Didn't even need two guesses. "Yeah. I'll be fine here until the weather breaks."
"You going to tell me why you went there instead of coming home or staying at the Barlow's?"
Clark rolled his eyes. That question again, though he didn't think his dad would appreciate the irony of hearing that Lex had asked a nearly identical question. He had more than one honest response, but Clark used the one least likely to send his father into an apoplexy. "I couldn't come home, Dad. Mrs. Barlow saw me go off the road. When her phone wasn't working, I decided to walk over here to call home so that you and Mom wouldn't worry. It would have looked weird if I headed in the wrong direction after I told Mrs. Barlow where I was going. It'll look even weirder if I walk out of Lex's into a blizzard now."
Clark hadn't bothered to keep the annoyance out of his voice, and he heard the resigned sigh come through the receiver. Bringing up appearances had sealed the deal, just like Clark knew it would. He'd probably feel worse about being manipulative if he weren't so irritated with his dad's persistent suspicion over his friendship with Lex. "You're right, son. Just stay put. Once they get the roads cleared up a little, I'll come over and get you."
"Okay... and I'm sorry I snapped at you."
The coffee had finished perking, and Clark grabbed two mugs out of the cupboard. "I'd better hang up so the cell phone battery doesn't run down. Hug Mom for me, and enjoy the quiet while I'm gone."
His dad's chuckle had an answering smile spreading across Clark's face. "We'll do that. Bye, Clark."
Clark hung up the phone and slid it into his pocket so he had both hands free to pour and carry the coffee. A little nervous twinge spun in his stomach as he thought about Lex waiting in the other room. Hopefully, he'd warmed up some with the change of clothes and the fire. Clark figured the coffee would be the finishing touch on getting Lex feeling like himself again.
Walking back toward the study, he remembered the sensation of overwhelming panic when he'd looked down from the broken guardrail and seen the exposed license plate on Lex's car. Most of the car had been buried in the snowdrift -- only the trunk and back wheels showing above a mountain of white. Clark hadn't wanted to chance super-heating the metal of the car frame, in case Lex was touching it somewhere and got burned. Instead, he'd melted the surrounding snow with his vision, then dug the rest out by hand. If Clark hadn't seen the car when he had, who knows how long Lex would have been trapped, or even if the vehicle would have remained visible with the continual piling up of the snow. Clark shook off the thought. He didn't want to even imagine that possibility. Lex was safe, and soon, he'd be warm.
Lex smelled the coffee before he saw Clark. He'd been staring into the fire, lost in thought, when the mug appeared in front of his face. "Not exactly a mocha latte from the Talon, but it's the best I could do with what's here."
Lex accepted the mug and took a sip. "Not bad at all. How'd you make it?"
Clark settled himself cross-legged on the floor in front of the couch, his back to the fire. "Coffee, some half-and-half from the fridge, and a few spoons of chocolate syrup."
Lex grinned. "A few spoons?"
Clark looked at him over the top of the mug as he took a sip. "Two in yours... four in mine."
Lex took another sip from his own drink before wrapping his still-cold hands around the warm porcelain. "Somehow, that doesn't surprise me." His thoughts drifted like the snow, temporarily settling on the wreckage that had once been his M3 convertible. "Unparalleled traction control, my frostbitten ass."
Clark choked on his coffee, and Lex smothered a laugh. He hadn't meant for Clark to hear the comment that he'd muttered under his breath, but that reaction almost made up for crashing yet another car. Almost. Clark put the mug down and wiped coffee spatters off his mouth. "At least you were close to home when it happened."
"That's true. And a one-man rescue team on hand to get me out afterwards. All in all, it could have been much worse. Lucky for me, Clark Kent's ability to be in the right place at the right time continues to hold fast."
Lex watched Clark react to the comment. He moved without shifting an inch, squirming under the skin. "Did you know that the majority of car accidents happen within ten miles of home?"
Either Clark had developed a sudden interest in actuarial science, or he was clumsily trying to change the subject. "I didn't know that, but it makes sense, statistically speaking. That would be the vicinity driven in most often, therefore increasing the probability of an accident occurring."
Clark nodded, taking a sip of his coffee and allowing silence to descend on them. It wasn't uncomfortable, so Lex didn't attempt to break it. Leaning back a bit, Lex glanced out the window at the falling snowflakes. The wind whipped them around viciously, creating whirling dervishes of white that eventually settled on top of the blanket coating the lawn. "Doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon." Lex couldn't prevent the shiver that ran through him -- the physical chill still clinging to his flesh responsible for only part of the reaction.
He wasn't prepared for Clark's reaction, either. Without much in the way of warning, Lex found himself settled on the floor between Clark's legs, facing the fire with a strong chest warming the flesh of his back much better than the sweater had managed. Clark seemed intent on forming himself into a human blanket, wrapping around Lex as closely as he could manage. The blessed heat seeping into Lex's body shunned away any thoughts of protesting. "Jesus, Lex... why didn't you tell me you were still so cold?"
Clark grabbed the blanket from the couch, throwing the thermal material over both of them and tucking it in close to trap the heat. "Comparatively speaking, I felt much warmer."
Clark's warm breath rustled past his ear. "You should wear thicker clothes when the weather is like this. And a hat, for that matter. Do you know how much body heat you lose out of the top of your head?"
Lex could care less about hats at the moment. He was feeling warm. Blessedly, wonderfully warm. Clark had started rubbing his hands along Lex's arms, stimulating the circulation and creating pleasant friction between the sweater and his skin. "Lecture me from the farmer's almanac all you want. Just keep rubbing while you do it."
Clark's hands froze in place for a second. The laugh rumbling through Clark's chest must have jarred them loose, because they moved again. Large hands enclosed one of Lex's, infusing his skin with warmth delivered by gentle fingers. "No more lectures... unless I think of another one. What do you want to talk about in the mean time?"
"Don't care..." He really didn't. Clark's heat brought on lassitude, allowing the tension to drain from him more with every second. "Politics, current events, cartoons... something important like that."
Lex drifted off in the middle debating whether the Power Puff Girls could defeat Pinky and the Brain.
There were few things that felt worse than knowing you have to wake up someone who's totally relaxed. Especially someone like Lex, who had never appeared this calm in Clark's recollection. Tranquility had settled into Lex fully, leaving his body loose in Clark's lap. The sight of Lex without all the tension and ever-present energy stirred something in Clark. He'd like to see Lex look this way more often and wondered if there was a way to accomplish that.
He had no idea how long they'd been napping, since he'd fallen asleep shortly after Lex had. All Clark knew was that the sun had set, the snow continued to fall outside the window, and that you weren't supposed to let people with a possible concussion sleep for too long. Taking one last moment to enjoy Lex's peaceful expression, Clark put a hand on his shoulder and shook him lightly. "Lex?"
Lex murmured something but didn't open his eyes. He turned a bit, sliding a hand along Clark's chest and burrowing his cheek into Clark's sweater like it was a pillow. Clark tried again, nudging Lex a bit harder and raising his voice to a louder whisper. "Lex, you need to wake up."
Fingers pressed against Clark's lips, and a faint shushing sound followed. This would be funny, if Clark weren't feeling suddenly aware of Lex in a way that shocked him. Something about Lex's fingers on his mouth snapped acknowledgement into Clark's consciousness. The long, muscular body settled between Clark's legs felt... good. Better than good. Strong and heavy in a way that made his own body react instinctually.
Great. He wondered where getting turned on by your unconscious best friend fell on the creep scale -- above spying on the girl next door with his telescope or below? In either case, he had to get Lex awake and off of him before the situation got too... intense to ignore. "Lex, I need-"
It wasn't fingers that stopped him this time. It was lips pressing against his, sliding up to bite the words from his mouth and swallowing them whole. This took things to an entirely new level, and... he really should stop Lex. Lex didn't know what he was doing, couldn't be aware that he was tracing the seam of Clark's lips with his tongue and slipping inside when Clark moaned. Lex had to still be asleep and thinking he was dreaming, or he'd never have slid a hand under the back of Clark's sweater like that. Lex wouldn't be stroking Clark's tongue with his and pressing greedily into him that way if he were awake.
So why was Clark thinking he needed to wake Lex up?
He could have this, just for a second. He could trace down Lex's back with gentle strokes, could kiss Lex back a little, letting his lips relax and mould naturally to the ones claiming his. Clark let it happen, let go for a little bit -- let nothing matter but right now and the feeling of discovery and the want stirring to life in his blood. Lex had somehow turned fully into him, and they were settled chest to chest on the study floor, kissing while Lex slept.
Wrong... it was wrong to take advantage, no matter how much he was enjoying his. Clark pulled back, slowly disengaging and opening his eyes...
...to find Lex looking at him. Completely awake and obviously aware of everything they'd been doing.
Lex couldn't think of a better way to wake up than with his lips on Clark. Then again, the expression on Clark's face -- shocked taking a quick turn for mortified -- didn't really allow him to enjoy the moment. "Clark-"
"I should apologize."
Well, that was a surprising response. "I was about to say the same thing. What do you have to apologize for?"
Clark shifted under him, as though he were wondering if there was a way he could slide under the sofa and avoid having this conversation. "You were asleep, and I went ahead and... I shouldn't have-"
"Hey, you don't hear me complaining, do you?" So, the part where he'd felt Clark kissing him back hadn't been wishful thinking or part of the dream. Good to know. "What about you, Clark? Are you okay with this?"
Clark looked a little calmer, though there was still some confusion lingering in his eyes. "Yeah... I just... It was... unexpected."
Rather vague adjective. Not terribly encouraging. "Unexpected."
Clark's eyes dropped, and he played with a loose string on the blanket. "'I didn't... I mean, I guess a part of me knew, but I didn't realize before... and you were just laying in my lap, all relaxed and... everything changed." Clark looked up, earnest green eyes meeting Lex's head on. "I didn't think I wanted it, but I did. I... do."
Lex took a deep breath, exhaling slowly as he gathered himself. He thought he was getting this right, but he had to be certain. "What do you want, Clark?"
Clark fidgeted a little, his hands finally leaving the blanket and coming up to rest on Lex's shoulders, one sliding from there to catch his neck. "I don't know anything for sure... except that I want you to kiss me again."
That was good enough. Lex shifted closer, meeting the bend of Clark's head and merging their mouths together. He teased lightly at Clark's lips, playing them open by degrees, allowing them both enjoy the slow, sweet descent. The hand on Lex's neck slid up, cupping the back of his head as Clark moaned into his mouth.
Suddenly, Clark became the aggressor. He opened his mouth over Lex's, an insistent tongue sliding inside. Hot, wet, coffee-chocolate tongue that stroked his palate, traced his teeth and seemed to be trying to mark him. Lex felt the burn of being possessed but not owned, and he couldn't keep his hands still any longer. He worked them under the hem of Clark's sweater, tracing his fingertips over skin, feeling the muscles underneath. Lex moved from chest to back, a tactile exploration that he'd been denied in the ephemeral dream world. All he could think was more and now as Clark's mouth took his with unrelenting eagerness. Lex grabbed the hem of the sweater, pulling it up to expose Clark's chest to him.
Clark released Lex's mouth and yanked the sweater over his head, gasping a little when Lex laved a taut nipple. His fingers found the other, twisting lightly, and Clark bucked up against him. The needy sounds rumbling through the flesh under Lex's mouth were nothing but encouragement, and he licked across and down, tongue trailing a path of intent towards the waistband of Clark's jeans. "Oh God... Lex..."
While his hands worked at the fastening of the denim, Lex delved his tongue into Clark's navel, then circled around it with teasing strokes. His fingers breached the elastic of Clark's boxers, moving slowly, when a hand clenched on his shoulder. "Lex... wait."
Lex pulled his hand free, using it to prop himself up. Clark was breathing heavily, pupils distended and eyes bright with need. But... "Clark?"
Clark's head dropped back on the couch cushion. "I want... I want so much..." After a few moments, he brought his head back up, meeting Lex's eyes. "But I'm... it's..."
"Too much change for one day?"
Clark licked his lips and nodded. "Yeah. Just a little."
Lex understood the hesitancy better than Clark probably thought he did. He also knew that waiting could make all the difference. "Okay." Lex shifted to the side, rolling over to sit next to Clark, both of them with their backs propped against the bottom of the sofa. Clark's expression, full of relief and not a small amount of lingering passion, made the discomfort all worth it. "You hungry? We could make dinner. There has to be something quick and easy in that kitchen."
Clark grabbed his sweater off the floor and smiled wickedly at him. "There will definitely be something 'quick and easy' in the kitchen, once you walk in the room."
Lex gave him a teasing snarl. "Very funny. Remind me -- who is the seducer of sleeping people, here?"
"Touch." Clark settled the hem of the sweater at his waist and sprang to his feet, offering Lex a hand up. As they walked toward the kitchen, he asked, "How's your head?"
Lex shrugged. "Still aches a little, but it's easy to ignore when I'm distracted."
"Then I'll have to make sure you're too entertained to think about it. We could watch a movie after we eat."
"Sounds like a plan." Lex could think of other distractions he'd prefer to indulge, but a movie would do.
"And since you liked the rubbing so much earlier, I'll do that while we watch."
Lex stopped in the hallway, watching Clark's back move into the kitchen and out of sight. Rubbing... good God. This was going to be torture.
"Lex? You coming?"
Lex moaned quietly, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Not yet," he mumbled under his breath. Unmitigated torture was definitely in store.
"I'll be there in a sec. Just had to grab something." The fragments of his self control, which he was definitely going to need. Settling himself, Lex walked into the kitchen and found Clark licking chocolate frosting off his finger.
Lex decided then and there to embrace his inner masochist in order to survive. But he'd be damned if he'd allow Clark to hog all the frosting.
-- The End --
End note: Written while listening to "Cold" by Annie Lennox, the lyrics of which provided the title. Also, thanks to Jessica for her comment in chat about Clark. The waiting was inspired by your words hugs