See What's Become of Me
Lex always woke disoriented, with a jumbled mix of dream fragments mingling with true memory, and only a vague awareness of his own body. He had always been slow to wake, even as a child and on into his teen years when many a headmaster would lecture him for being late. He had always awakened grouchy too.
That was rare anymore, as he now frequently woke to the warmth of arms wrapped around his body, and the breath of a familiar lover against his neck. He'd never been particularly faithful himself, choosing his lovers with care, but never keeping them long. Victoria had been an exception, and Victoria had betrayed him. This affair was also an exception. He sighed, rolling over to look into the still features of the lover he'd maintained for nearly a year now; keeping their true relationship hidden beneath a veil of friendship, skirting the boundaries of the law. Maybe the need for secrecy made everything more desirable, but Lex had his doubts. He'd had the body before him. He knew wherein his desires lay.
His hands moved beneath the sheets, caressing one slim hip, fondling a body much more mature than its chronological age suggested. Broad shoulders shifted as consciousness stirred, and Lex was pulled closer. Lex touched his face, drawing it upward so that he could taste the full lips. They parted slightly, waking breath warm against Lex's mouth as the kiss was engaged.
Dormant bodies grew warmly aroused. Lex opened his eyes and found eyes the color of green jade looking at him. He smiled slightly at the desire in them, wondering if it mirrored his, imagining it did. Lex kissed him again, pressing his mouth tightly against the lips working against his own. He opened his mouth, taking in more of the breath, and more of the life he felt beneath his hands.
They parted, the soft sound of their lips coming apart seeming loud in the silence of Lex's sunlight filled bedroom.
"I have to go." Clark whispered.
"Your father," Clark continued softly, his fingers lightly crossing Lex's brow as if pushing back hair that did not exist. "Will be awake and bellowing for you soon, and my parents are due home today."
Lex continued making a tactile exploration of Clark's body. "We have another hour or two," he said. "Stay." His hands found Clark's shoulders, pulling him down when he made as if to leave.
He couldn't say more because he didn't know how. Luthors' did not express certain emotions, and the verbal aptitude Lex might have shown on any other subject, failed him here. Almost a year, and although he was sure Clark realized it, Lex could not, and had not uttered the words that best described how he felt.
I love you.
That he had illustrated it time and time again with his actions, and with his body, somehow did not make up for the fact he could not actually say it. Clark did not expect Lex to make fawning declarations of love, nor did he do it himself very often; it was Lex for whom it mattered. He felt the need to bind Clark to him with those words. They would underscore the admission that Lex had already made to himself; he could not bear for Clark to leave him.
He had no idea why. Lex had felt this passionate about very few things in his lifetime. He never thought he would bind his love and desire to a sixteen year old farm kid from Kansas, despite the fact said farm kid was the most exquisitely beautiful thing Lex had ever seen. Lex had an eye for beautiful things, yet was never blinded by them. Clark blinded him, from the very moment they'd met.
Clark was safe. His beauty was inside and out, all encompassing, not masking a dangerous core, and Lex's love for him went far beyond any understanding. The words he needed to say were pathetically insufficient. He still felt he needed to say them.
Lex mouthed Clark's shoulder, and a hand found one nipple, working it between thumb and forefinger in a manner he knew Clark liked. "I need you," he said.
Clark chuckled, his sweet tenor dropping low in the silence of the bedroom. They'd developed a very polite way of expressing their sexual needs, based on the first time when it had taken Clark nearly an hour to tell Lex he wanted to have sex with him. Lex thought it was funny, but understood. Clark had not been brought up to say the words "fuck me" any more than Lex had been shown how to say "I love you."
"Stay." Lex repeated.
With a sigh, and a faint smile, Clark rolled over, reaching for the bedside table and the slim tube sitting there. It was nearly empty, Lex noted. He'd have to have someone pick up some more for him, someone discrete, and in someplace far from Smallville. There was an obvious conclusion to uncovering evidence that Lex Luthor was having a homosexual affair. The conclusion would be that the other party involved was Clark Kent. Clark, who visited the mansion with suspicious frequency and publicly referred to Lex Luthor as his friend.
Lex, who had no friends.
The top sheet slithered to the floor. Lex normally slept beneath flannel during the winter months, which his housekeeper found incongruously practical. It was as if he were slumming, shunning the more expensive materials available to someone of his financial means. Flannel reminded Lex of Clark, and he found it only appropriate that Clark preferred the silk. When Lex knew Clark would be spending time in his bed, the sheets were always silk.
"It feels good." Clark had once said, luxuriating in the silk's soft caress and a post coital drowsiness that turned his voice into a sensual purr.
Clark was infinitely sexy after being fucked, as if it burned away his innocence and youth, leaving behind a devilish imp who had much more experience than he'd implied. It left him limp, and languid, and even more beautiful in Lex's eyes.
Lying there, his long, dark lashes half drawn over his eyes, his hair a rumpled mess, Clark had been the ultimate fulfillment of Lex's desires. The long muscular body, tangled in silk sheets the color of the blue Kansas sky, was irresistible. That day, before Lionel had come to live with Lex, and when Clark's parents had gone to Metropolis, they had spent twenty four hours holed up in Lex's bedroom. That had been the day Lex realized he could spend the rest of his life with Clark at his side.
It would never be, Lex feared, and pushed the thoughts aside. One day they might make it work, but not now. Clark was too young, and Lex was just now trying to get himself established as a separate entity from his father. Coming out now would destroy everything, both of them knew it, and both of them avoided discussing any sort of future. They lived the now.
Lex stretched, rolling onto his back and basking in the sunlight streaming through the windows. He closed his eyes and let the warmth seep into his body where it melted already limp muscles, and increased his desire. He felt Clark's hands on his body, hands as soft as the silk sheets despite heavy farm work.
"I wear gloves." Clark had said.
Somehow Lex believed him, finding belief in words he often knew were fiction because he trusted Clark implicitly. There were reasons behind the deception, and one day they would be revealed. Lex trusted Clark. He who trusted no one, trusted Clark.
If he didn't, he realized, as Clark's warmth and his strength molded Lex's body into what it needed to be, he would not be lying here. He would not be opening himself body and soul to another, particularly another man. In previous experiences Lex had always done the fucking, preferring to remain in control, shunning the idea of having another inside of him. He was the invader, the conquering force, running roughshod over those weaker than himself. It was as his father had taught him.
Clark had taught him differently. Innocent as he had been about sex, he'd possessed an innate sensuality, which guided him despite his ignorance and inexperience. Lex had opened Clark's eyes, laid down the ground rules, and Clark learned to play the game with finesse. No other lover had made Lex feel so good. No other lover had been able to take Lex as Clark did and have Lex beg for more.
More, as if there could be more. Lex moaned as he was penetrated, his body protesting the foreign invasion despite Clark's always careful preparation. Clark was much more careful than Lex, who's passions sometimes drove him to acting too soon and too fast. Yet Clark never protested, never cried out, always gave without hesitation, fulfilling every want Lex would express.
Only he had ever made Lex want this: Clark inside him, filling him, hurting him with ecstasy. He closed his eyes again. His body relaxed, and the pain subsided as the pleasure mounted from their point of connection outward. Sure, confident strokes caressed Lex from the inside out, repeatedly teasing the sensitive spot inside him that set fire to every nerve. His hands grasped the sheet below him and his fingers dug into the mattress.
Clark could make him come like this, without outside contact, with only the action of his cock inside Lex's body and the sound of his breathing as he took his pleasure. It had happened before. Lex opened his eyes and looked at Clark above him, sucking the vision in with his eyes as he would suck Clark's cock with his mouth.
Green eyes were glazed with desire and need, barely focused on the world, as if everything had closed to a mere pin-prick of existence and that tiny window allowed only the sensations assaulting his body. His abdominal muscles undulated, driving his hips forward and back, and his arms flexed as he changed the angle of Lex's body beneath him. Sweat ran down his temples as he threw back his head, his eyes closing and his mouth falling slack as his tempo increased.
He was beautiful and frightening. Lex could feel the power of him through the hands gripping his ankles and the pelvis grinding against his own. It was controlled, harnessed, a tenth of what really lay beneath the sweat glistened skin. Lex had learned the truth the first day they'd slept together. Clark's secret had been laid bare without words.
It was this that Lex found the most compelling, the most arousing; Clark on the verge of orgasm, all his masks torn away, all his inhibitions shredded. One hand unlocked its grip upon the sheets, finding his erection, stroking in time to the guttural sounds issuing from his lover's throat. The melodic tenor Lex loved to hear turned deep and sultry during sex, and rose like the low keening moan of a wolf during orgasm. More than the friction of his own hand upon his straining cock, more than the warm spurt of Clark's come inside him, it was Clark's voice that brought Lex to climax.
He arched his back up from the mattress, and fell back shuddering, feeling the sticky warmth of semen on his hand and on his chest. Clark reached down to take his hand, sucking at each finger, lapping at the palm and nipping playfully at the veins in Lex's wrist like a vampiric puppy. Although he'd just come, Lex's cock twitched in anticipation of the forthcoming clean-up.
Clark withdrew from him with a sigh and released Lex's hand. He leaned over, balancing himself on palms and toes, in order to kiss Lex's mouth. They kissed, tongues sparring, rebuilding passions until Clark left abruptly, leaving Lex gasping for more. He gulped air between bruised lips and moaned as Clark moved to lick his chest where come had been spilled. Suction teased a nipple erect. Clark fed there, suckling like a child, before moving down to lap at the sticky pool gathered upon Lex's stomach.
Lex grew hard again, stirred by the brush of lips upon his cock. He thrust inside the welcoming mouth, sinking deep into his lover's throat. Slowly he stroked himself against the hardness of Clark's palate, luxuriating in the feel of Clark's tongue along the length of him, thrusting deeper and harder each time he drove his hips upward. He moaned again, digging his fingers into the rich, silken darkness of Clark's hair, and begged for time to stand still.
They stood inside Lex's office wherein they had detoured on the way to the front doors. The office doors were closed, sealing them off from the rest of the house as they engaged in one last quick kiss before lapsing into the more public relationship.
"We're friends." Clark would say, and his face would reveal no deception.
Lex shrugged off even their friendship, saying only, "He's a good kid."
His finger tips brushed back the ends of Clark's hair that were still damp from the quick shower he'd taken before dressing. Had they more time, Lex might have joined him instead of using another bathroom down the hall. The real world was closing in on them as time ticked past with every swing of the grandfather clock's pendulum. Lex glanced at said clock, and stepped back.
"Dad will be up soon, and the cows don't feed themselves."
Clark smiled wryly, and opened his mouth to make the prerequisite protest and thus finish the joke.
No words came.
Instead Lex heard a soft "thwip," and in retrospect, cursed himself for not recognizing it. It was simply too out of place and unbelievable for his mind to conceive. He heard the sound, but was immediately distracted by Clark, who flinched, and reached out to grasp a handful of Lex's shirt. His brows dipped into a frown.
There was another "thwip" and Clark's flinch was more radical, as if he were trying to move but unable to do so. His eyes opened wide, filled with confusion and fear. Understanding eluded him, but dawned crystal clear for Lex, who grabbed double handfuls of Clark's coat as his knees started to buckle.
The third shot ended it, making Clark grunt as the bullet slammed home. Terror erased anything else as he finally realized what was happening, and his hand closed convulsively around the cloth of Lex's shirt. The cloth tore, giving way as his weight bore both of them to the floor. Lex put a hand around Clark's shoulders, easing him down as they collapsed together. As his knees hit the floor he let go, and was startled to find his hands stained crimson.
Lex stared at them, uncomprehending, until he heard the low moan. His head jerked, his gaze drawn to Clark's face, and he leaned forward, cradling the dark head in his hands. Blood stained the lips Lex had just finished kissing, trickling across one cheek as it spilled from a mouth still open as if to speak. The eyes that had shone with mischief only moments before, found Lex's only briefly before growing dull. Clark's light, and his life, went out of him with one last sigh of breath. His chest did not rise again.
From start to finish it had taken only a few seconds.
Lex sat back on his heels, stunned. His gaze turned towards the shadows behind his desk, where the curtains had been drawn over the big stained glass windows, where a man stood. His expression hardened, and he drew a breath to speak, or to scream, he was not sure which. It was cut short by the voice of another.
He shut his mouth, his teeth clicking together, grinding together. Silence fell between them, even the clock in the corner had inexplicably stopped. There was nothing but Lex's heartbeat pounding in his temples, and the rasp of his breath in his throat. His voice, when he managed to force it past his lips, was rough with emotion.
"Why?" he croaked. "He was just a kid. If you wanted me..."
"He wasn't just a kid, and I have no intention of killing you." There was a short bark of laughter. "That would defeat my purpose."
Lex lurched to his feet, stumbling forward. He held his bloody hands out towards the figure he still could not see clearly. "Your purpose? Was your purpose to take the life of an innocent boy?"
"My purpose was to remove a thorn from my side." The voice was harsh, cold, but softened as he continued. "And to make things less difficult for you."
"Less difficult?" Lex choked back a sob. "God! Who sent you? My father? How did he know? Why would he kill..."
"I sent myself." The man said quietly, and he stepped out of the shadows.
It was shock, Lex thought at first, that made him believe what he was seeing. Belief was replaced immediately by skepticism, denial, but ultimately those doubts faded back to belief. There was no denying what his own eyes told him, and there was no writing off what was happening as a nightmare, not when his shirt was torn and his hands were bloody. His heart thudded hard in his chest as terror gripped him.
The man standing before him was himself. Older, somewhere in his forties, and much harder. His expression was cold, and the lines around his eyes and mouth bespoke a man unused to smiling. There was a certain hint of madness in the blue eyes that Lex knew was not there now, and part of him wondered what had happened.
The words confirmed it.
"He would have betrayed you. You would have never learned the truth until it was too late, and he turned against you for indiscretions brought on by his dishonesty. You become the enemy, and his self-righteousness will destroy everything that you are, until all that is left..." He spread his hands. "Is this shell of a man." The familiar, not-familiar features twisted with pain and bitterness. "This dying man, dying because the only way to protect myself from him was to slowly poison my body with the only thing that could stop him."
Lex stared, seeing the black clad hand and knowing it was unreal, prosthetic. He shuddered, backing away as his future self advanced on him, but unable to escape as that hand grabbed his face and forced his eyes to stare...
Into his own.
"Don't you see what I've given you? Life! Life without death, and bitterness, and fear. You'll remember what he was, not what he will become, and that will make you a better man than I."
"The future has already been altered. When I step back into it I will live, and be that better man, because you will make it so."
Lex shook his head, denying the words. "No. I don't believe this, I don't believe this is happening." He closed his eyes on the nightmarish vision before him. "No."
"It is happening, it has happened, and the change is for the better."
The grip upon his face loosened, and the hand departed. Lex gasped as he stumbled blindly towards the doors, opening his eyes only to find that the nightmare continued. The blood was beginning to seep into the carpet, a growing crimson pool surrounding the crumpled body.
His voice was a broken whisper. "Clark."
He sank to his knees, unable to stand. His eyes met those that no longer saw him, no longer loved him. It was futile to hope for a miracle, even though in Smallville miracles often happened, and where men from the future played assassin.
The loneliness and pain that had been Lex's companions before he'd met Clark, rose up to swallow him. The feelings washed over him in a surge, braided together with a grief so strong it threatened his sanity. Everything he ever loved was always stripped from him, leaving him alone.
"Some people are meant to be alone."
Had he known when he said those words, what the future would bring? Had Clark's ultimate betrayal and abandonment been too much for him to bear? How different from that sense of loneliness was this?
The unsolicited answer came out of the shadows. "You'll go through life loving him, instead of hating him."
"I can't live without him." Lex breathed.
"If he were to live, you wouldn't."
Lex raised his head to find himself alone. For the span of a heartbeat he thought the nightmare had ended, and waking, he would find himself back among the silk sheets in the safety of Clark's arms. He closed his eyes, stifling a sob, because in his heart he knew if he opened them again he would be wrong.
He sat there, eyes closed, for several minutes, although he had no way of marking the time. The clock was still silent.
The nightmare had not ended.
His hand trembled as he reached out to touch the stillness of Clark's face. He traced the fine lines of his jaw, and the graceful arc of one cheek, rubbing a lock of dark hair between his fingers. Eyelashes tickled his fingertips as he closed the unseeing eyes.
Lex rose stiffly to his feet and went to his desk. He would have to call the police, and come up with a tale of an intruder. Clark had tried to stop a burglary, and had been kill...
"Oh, God." He collapsed into the chair, tears he refused to shed held in check by only the barest of margins.
Had it been true? Had he been visited by a future self, or had his shock resulted in some sort of mind altering hallucination? His body was shaking with chills, a definite sign of shock brought on by seeing his lover gunned down in cold blood. Maybe it had been an intruder of a more mundane sort, someone who had a passing resemblance to Lex, and had played that to his advantage when breaking in to the house.
He had almost convinced himself this was so when he found the gun. It was sitting on his desk partially hidden beneath a piece of paper, it's dark metal barrel gleaming dully in the muted light. Without thought he picked it up, holding it in his trembling hands. It was heavier than his own weapon, the one Lex had used to shut Roger Nixon up about their association. The barrel was tipped with a silencer, and the bullets within it....
Lex abruptly flipped on the lamp, holding one of the bullets up to the light, where the tiny crystal embedded in its tip glittered like the eye of a tiger. He reached for the gun again, emptying it of the two bullets remaining, and revealed that they too were tipped with a small shard of meteorite crystal.
The one thing that could stop him.
Poignantly trying to ignore looking at the body lying sprawled before the doors, Lex reloaded the gun, replacing each bullet with a soft "snick" in the silence of the room. What would Clark become? He already suspected Clark of being "one of them." The only explanation of the things Clark could do was that he was one of the kids mutated by meteorite radiation. Yet, unlike all the others, Clark had never shown any violent tendencies, so what then? Lex knew for sure now his theories had been wrong. What was Clark?
He paused before closing the cylinder.
Did it matter anyway?
Clark would punish Lex for his sins apparently, and Lex's sins were many. An older, bitter Lex would naturally pigeonhole Clark as an enemy. Clark, who went out of his way to help strangers when strangers drove their cars into the river. Clark, who gave without the need for reciprocation, and who was always there for him, chasing away the darkness.
Lex trusted Clark, and more so he trusted Clark's goodness. If there was an enemy here it was Lex himself. He believed his visitor as much as he doubted the man's logic. He doubted his own logic. He doubted his own trustworthiness. Whatever Clark was, whatever he would have become, wasn't something to fear.
Something was wrong, the whole scenario was wrong. Clark didn't deserve to die, and Lex was beginning to suspect that he shouldn't die. More importantly, Lex did not want to have a future without Clark. A glance at the body sent pain stabbing into his chest as if he had been struck with a knife.
Would Lex's death stop his future self? Would it bring Clark back by preventing the assassin before he could act? Lex didn't know, and he didn't care, because either way he would not be there to see any of it. Let them be found together, and the authorities called in to see the results of a murder-suicide. It would be the truth, for it had been Lex who had committed the murder, and it would be Lex to bring the murderer to justice.
He raised the gun and cocked it, pressing the cold barrel to the underside of his jaw, angling it upward just right so that he would in no way fail in his task. It would be quick, and painless, but he imagined the feel of the hot bullet streaking through his brain - raped by steel.
In his mind he saw Clark's face, and heard his laughter. He saw the coy smile Clark affected when he wanted something, anything from a cup of coffee to randy sex. Warmth spread throughout his body as he remembered the most recent love-making session, when Clark rose over him as he came, god-like in his beauty, his face a mask of sheer ecstasy.
Lex squeezed the trigger.
The gun's discharge deafened him as the bullet shot by his right ear. It tangled itself in the heavy curtains behind him, hitting the thick glass with a muffled plink before falling to the stone sill. The gun flew from a stinging hand and slid across the floor where it vanished beneath a chair. Lex had no time to react before he was plucked out of his chair and dragged across the desk to stand upon the other side. Like a child caught misbehaving, he was given a slight shake.
"What the hell were you doing?"
The voice was deeper, the low growl Lex recognized from the few times Clark had been turned to anger, but this time tinged with outrage and fear. He opened his eyes onto the familiar face and locked onto a pair of steely grey eyes that he did not recognize at all. The expression in them was fierce, and determined, and the face in which they were set, Lex realized, was not nearly as familiar as he'd at first thought.
This, he realized, was what Clark had become.
His fingers slipped along the satiny texture of spandex, and tangled in the folds of the scarlet cape, touching the bigger, harder body as if he were his father, seeing with his fingertips instead of his eyes. Dark, black waves of hair framed a much older face, and fell around much broader shoulders, but was just as silky as it had ever been between Lex's fingers.
"God, I forgot how young you would be." Hands cupped Lex's face, more gently than the other had done, and brought his gaze upward. "Are you all right? It didn't hit you did it?"
Lex shook his head within the warm hands. "I'm fine." His eyes narrowed, confused. "It is you, isn't it?"
Sorrow crossed his features, and something else. Before Lex's eyes the grey eyes faded to the tawny green-gold Lex knew, and the hair lightened with chestnut highlights that drove Lex to touch it anew. He was filled with relief. Clark had saved him again, somehow crossing the boundaries of time, and death, to come back to him.
"More or less." Clark whispered. His fingers ran across Lex's brow. "You're sure you're okay?"
Nodding, Lex glanced over the red and blue clad shoulder to where his Clark still lay. "How can you be here?" He gathered himself together, confusion warring with logic. "Presuming I'm not dreaming."
"I'm not in the time stream. I got out of the continuum just in time."
Lex inhaled shakily. "I don't believe any of this. I can't believe any of this." He inhaled deeply, trying to calm himself. "What has happened, I..."
"I'm going to make it right." Clark let go of him, and stepped back. "Trust me."
Startled, Lex gave him a hard stare. "I do trust you, Clark. If I didn't trust you I wouldn't have been sitting there with a gun to my head."
The sorrow returned, this time very clearly etched into Clark's features. It was sorrow bordering on agony, and he turned his gaze away from Lex, staring instead at the doors and the body lying before them. He crossed his arms over his chest, and said nothing.
"It's true then, what he told me?" Lex asked finally.
"You shouldn't listen to him, he's not...."
Clark flinched, an eerie flashback to the way he'd flinched when the first bullet had entered his body. Lex realized the pain was probably very similar.
"No." Clark answered, his voice a whisper. "He hasn't been sane for a very long time." He turned back to Lex with a small sigh. "A very long time."
Lex scowled. "I'd like to think I'm stronger than that, Clark. I'd like to think my hold on sanity is not as weak as I'm being led to believe." He paused and took a step forward. "I'd like to think I loved you more than enough to overcome..."
The dark head snapped up, and the expression hardened. "You loved me too much, Lex. You loved me too much to let go, and I - I loved you too much to stay with you. We both made mistakes...." The anger fled, as abruptly as it had appeared, replaced by grief. "And we're both paying for it. He doesn't understand how much it hurts me to see him as he has become." His voice broke, sounding much like the boy he had been. "I miss you."
Lex looked away, and back again. "Don't go back," he said firmly. "If you fail, you'll cease to exist. If you succeed - I will. Don't go, Clark. Don't leave me. We'll think of something to explain it. We'll...."
"Clark, please." Lex moved, tangling his hand in the cape, pressing his body close when the arms opened to him. His fingers slid over the tight cloth that covered Clark's body like a second skin. "Don't go back."
"You don't understand."
"No, I don't understand. If the future only brings both of us pain, why can't we make a new one?"
"Because time has a way of resisting manipulation, Lex. Believe me, I've seen it before. What we may believe will be a better future, may turn out to be worse than the one we sought to eradicate. I can't take that risk."
"Not even to save me?"
A sharp intake of breath, and a hand rose to cup Lex's chin. "No, not even to save you."
"I never told you I loved you."
"You never had to."
"If you go back..."
"I'll enter a safe place, just before the stream diverges. I'll stop him before he can come here."
Lips parted, as Clark's mind weighed options. It was in that moment that Lex could have broken him, could have made him stay. That he wanted to stay was clearly written in his eyes, and in the tension of his body. One hand slowly caressed the small of Lex's back as if reacquainting himself to the feeling. Had Lex dared, he would have dragged this new Clark, this more maturely sensual being, back into his bed and never let him go - if he dared. He could not ignore the dead boy lying nearby. He loved them both too much.
"You'll never know anything happened." Clark said quietly. "I'll go home, you'll go to work..."
"And what then, Clark? How long do we have before it all falls apart?"
Clark smiled slightly, his face angled closer. "Time enough," he whispered.
The kiss was filled with every bit of passion the younger version had possessed, perhaps more so, as it had been so long denied. Lex felt the desire along with the grief and sorrow, and closed his arms tightly around the trembling body. He never wanted the kiss to end, the passion to end, or for the future he'd been shown to become reality.
Their lips parted, and Lex breathed: "Stay."
"Your dad will be up any minute," Clark said gently, almost chidingly. "And you know the cows don't feed themselves."
Lex opened his eyes.
"It's called grass, Clark," he said.
"It's called cow chow, Lex, and has to be poured out of bags." He favored Lex with a quick peck on the cheek and a broad smile. "Gotta go."
Clark turned away, pushing open the big double doors. The squares of colored glass winked in the sunlight streaming in from the hallway, and a flash of crimson stabbed Lex's eyes.
He thought he saw blood, and the swirling folds of a cape, but the vision flitted away before gaining substance.
"Hmm?" Clark stopped, turning, framed in the doorway, all innocence and charm. The sun brought out the chestnut in his dark hair, and the gold in his eyes.
Lex caught his breath at the sight of him. "You know I love you, right?" he whispered.
From the corner the grandfather clock ticked off the time.
Clark's smile reappeared. "For always?" he asked, the mischief playing in his eyes like the sparkle of sunlight on water.
"Always." Lex replied. "I will love you always."