Lex waited until they were inside the unit and the door had closed behind them. "Everybody at your museum thinks we're together," he remarked mildly but with a bit of a bite.
Clark paused in the middle of taking off his coat, his expression worried. "I'm sorry?" he tried.
It amused Lex that this future Clark was so *careful* about Lex's feelings. The old Clark had barely even noticed Lex had any, trampling left and right over them in his urge to protect his secrets and later the world. Okay, perhaps that wasn't quite fair - Clark had been a teenager, and even teenagers who weren't aliens with huge secrets had a tendency to do such things. But at the time, it had hurt.
This Clark, however, was being so careful of Lex, that he would hurt himself first. Chasing a dream.
Lex took off his own coat, stripping off the bubble sphere and putting it in coat's pocket next to the dialer. He glanced at the silver bracelet on his wrist and then took that off as well. There were some things he just didn't want to share with the teenagers. They would have to get used to him going off the grid for a few hours each night. Not that Lex was planning anything for tonight, but better to get them used to it now.
After hovering at Lex's side anxiously and getting no response, Clark had finally wandered off. Worse than a pet dog, he was, with that hang-dog look that reminded Lex so much of the early puppy-dog one. This Clark had him thinking a lot of the early one. Though even the later one, that he had left watching through the glass as Lex was executed, that one still had the kicked-dog look as well. Perhaps it was just inherit in all versions of Clark.
Lex programmed the dispenser for a hot bottle of sake and a plate of edamame and when they were ready, he joined Clark at the table. Clark was on the computer, filling out forms, it looked like, but he turned from the computer when Lex sat down next to him. The hopeful look in Clark's eyes made Lex just a bit ashamed of the way he was playing with Clark. Filling both cups, Lex pushed one over to Clark.
"Thanks," Clark said, taking a sip. "So what did you think of it?"
"It was well done," Lex said, not mincing the praise. It was well earned. Clark's museum was akin to the old Chicago one, but expanded upon, with exhibits and interactive lures for the kids with enough meat for the adults and a real sense of what that history really was. It had come as no surprise to Lex that Clark was more than just the curator, but also the owner for several generations now, passing it down from one fictitious identity to another. This was a museum that not only understood what the history was, but also knew what *people* were, melding the two efficiently.
Clark blushed with the praise, as Lex expounded on his first statement with details.
"Surely you've had good reviews before," Lex smirked as he refilled their glasses and grabbed another soy bean.
"Reviews, yes. But not from somebody who knew me."
Lex snorted. "I don't know you."
Clark smiled, relaxing into more familiar territory as he bantered back, "There was a reason those people thought we were together today."
It was slightly disturbing that Clark already had 'familiar territory' with Lex. Yet Lex couldn't deny that it was indeed comfortable. "Do tell," he invited his doom.
"I almost never bring in strangers, we called each other by expanded names, I left you alone with Kel, and then you had a *shark match* with Kel over me." Clark leaned back, amused. "I think it was that last that really proved it to them."
"They were rather astounded that you brought a shark with you in the first place." Lex put the appropriate air quotes around 'shark' as he said it. Some of these new/old terms really amused him.
Clark blinked, "Why do you do that?"
"That thing with your fingers when you're speaking. You've done it before, but I can't figure out what it is you're trying to emphasize."
And then there were the terms lost to time. Those that reminded him that even with Clark, he was in a different world and 200 years had passed him by. He explained air quotes and then pushed off any credit for cleverness in using them. Lex suspected that with his arrival, some very old mannerisms might start sliding back into use. Already, Elxa was picking up his speech, while he was picking up hers. With a teenager... who knew how long before they made it into popular culture. In another 30 years, this world may not seem so strange.
Clark finished the last of the edamame and gathered the plates up to stick back in the recycler.
Lex followed him, standing close behind him so that when Clark turned, he was almost in Lex's arms.
"You know, Clark, there's another reason they thought we were together besides just familiarity."
Clark's eyes were wide, the pupils dilated. His body trembled as he controlled himself to not grab Lex and have his way with him then and there. But his eyes... oh, his eyes devoured Lex before Clark drew back. "What was that?" It was a good semblance of control.
It was rather fun, having this much control over Clark, watching Clark restrain himself so much. However, Lex wasn't a fragile doll, and Clark wouldn't break him.
Lex leaned in, stopping a bare inch before Clark's lips. "This," he whispered, and then moved that last inch in.