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by Jack

Heartfelt thanks to Bex and Erica for their beta aid, to Lina for her invaluable dialogue assist, and to Te for helping get that one stubborn clause to finally work. Other author's notes can be found at my.LiveJournal ( and leaving feedback there won't set off my email allergy.


Part of him, he supposes, squinting against the afternoon glare, has been expecting this for weeks. So much of life on the island is bizarre, surreal -- even when he's not hallucinating from sunstroke or malaria or the dubious food -- that at first he wonders whether he's just seeing what he wants to. His hand comes out of his pocket, hurting. He looks down at it. It's clenched around his compass; he forces his fingers to relax and looks back up.

Clark is still there.

He doesn't seem to have seen Lex, yet. He's walking slowly through the camp, glancing around at the stacked firewood and Lex's attempt at building a raft. He looks as much the hayseed as ever, all flannel and denim and windblown hair. Lex has never seen anyone so beautiful. His vision blurs a little. He's just about to climb up out of the shadowed underbrush when Louis comes running into camp, leaping and skidding to a stop right in front of Clark.

Clark startles and then stands stock-still, unknowingly mirroring Lex's own reaction. "Hello?" he says, sounding even younger than usual, and terribly unsure of himself.

Louis is grinning broadly, like a five-year-old who's being royally spoiled for his birthday. "I know who you are," Louis says, rocking on the balls of his feet; then he leans in. "Lex talks about you."

Clark takes a half-step backwards, but Louis has already moved on, starting to circle, sharklike. Clark turns to stay facing him. That's it, Clark, Lex thinks. Watch your back around that bastard.

"Is Lex here?"

"Is he?" Louis asks, eyebrows rising, posture mocking. "You didn't really come here looking for him, did you?" Louis keeps circling, and Clark keeps turning. In a moment Lex will be able to see Clark's face again. "He wouldn't have been here this long if anybody really wanted to find him."

In profile, Clark looks... not quite confused, but. It's a look Lex has seen on Clark many times, usually right before he offers an explanation much less credible than what Lex could deduce on his own.

"Why did you bother coming at all? You didn't even go to his wedding." Louis's back is to Lex now, and he thinks belatedly of a weapon. The machete is nowhere in sight. "To that bitch."

Suddenly Clark tackles Louis, sending them both to the ground with a grunt and a spray of sand. "Don't call her that!" It's an impressive extension of loyalty, Lex muses... unless... no. Helen's not Desiree. He knows he can trust Clark. Loyal, trustworthy, dependable Clark. He can see Clark's face all too well now, flushed red and glaring at Louis with murderous rage, hands at his throat. Louis just laughs. "I am dead serious," Clark growls through clenched teeth.

Lex has seen Clark act angry, and he's seen him actually angry, but never this angry. Louis is still laughing, almost cackling, as he wraps his legs around Clark's waist. Clark rears back, shifting his hands to Louis's shoulders to hold him down. Louis isn't fighting him, though, not really. He runs his hands up Clark's arms, feeling the muscles through jersey and flannel.

"Wow, Clark," Louis says, "You're so strong." Through the rage, that same odd look comes over Clark's face. Then Louis's legs tighten across his back, sand-caked bare toes pointing, and Clark's expression shifts again, showing surprise and something else, something almost familiar. Louis wriggles against him, and when Clark's hands relax and his hips roll into Louis's, Lex knows what the something else is.

Louis doesn't waste any time pressing his advantage, rolling Clark under him, but Clark's not fighting anymore, just watching Louis as he pushes up, hands wandering from Clark's shoulders down over his pecs and abs. "You know, Clark, you're just what we need on this island," Louis drawls. He leans closer again, flooding Clark's personal space steadily as a rising tide, closer, close enough to kiss, then turns his face and licks from Clark's jaw up his cheek. Clark flinches, but he's still not trying to get away. Catching his eyes, Louis continues, "Fresh meat."

Now Clark's making at least a show of struggling -- though he can't really be fighting, Lex knows first-hand how strong he is, stronger by far even than Louis's shipwreck-survivour physique can muster. Louis is cackling again, biting at Clark's shoulder. Lex can't tell whether the biting is in earnest, and it doesn't look like Clark can either. His hands flail at Louis, but as if he has no idea how to either fight him off or encourage him. It's nothing that even hinders Louis as he pushes the flannel shirt off Clark's shoulders and the tee up from his waist to his neck.

Clark's arms are somewhat restrained now, if only by his not wanting to pop the seams of his shirt, and Lex suspects that Martha Kent's training is a factor in Clark's increasing passivity. Twisting downward, Louis bends his head to Clark's chest, teasing nipples and muscles with tongue and teeth. Clark gasps and bucks up under him, making Lex start to doubt that Martha has anything to do with her son's response. He hears Louis laughing again against Clark's golden-tan skin. Lex swallows harshly.

Louis is slurping, grunting as if with gustatory satiation, obscene sounds that make Lex's stomach twist and whine with hunger. He's licking frenetically, pausing only to gnaw at the edges of Clark's ribcage and hipbones. One hand slithers between them and opens the fly of Clark's jeans, pushes them open. The matted head rises long enough for Clark, and Lex, to see Louis lick his lips ominously before sucking Clark into his mouth. He's jerking his head like a dog with a rabbit's neck in its jaws, Clark's hands clenching rhythmically on his shoulders, Louis's own hands working the jeans further down.

"Please, please," Clark whimpers, and Lex's jaw is clenching so hard he almost doesn't hear the "please, no" and "stop, please" and "please, help me, somebody" over the sound of his teeth grinding together.

It's all Lex needs to finally propel him to action, roaring up out of the jungle's verge like a pouncing jaguar. He tackles Louis off Clark and they roll together, over and over across the sand, blinding sun and Louis's occluding silhouette flickering cyclically until all he can see is red, all he can hear is his own growl grating his throat raw, all he can feel is the textured heat of Louis against him and the undifferentiated heat of everything else, all he can do is clench his hands tighter around Louis's throat.

"Lex! Lex!"

Abruptly he was on his back, and Louis was holding his shoulder down with one hand, clawing at Lex's double-handed hold on his throat with the other. The grip completely missed larynx, carotid and jugular, which made no sense at all; he'd been trained too well to get a basic choke hold so wrong. "Lex?" Confused, Lex relaxed his hands, and Louis yanked them free, sitting back on his haunches to rub at his neck. "Jesus, Lex," he said, shaking his head.

"I-- What--" Lex began. His mouth was so dry, he could barely move his tongue.

Louis grinned at him. "Fever dreams again. That must've been some hallucination you were having!" The man was entirely too amused.

Overhead, the sun beat down mercilessly.