'SUPERMAN SAVES HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM', the headline of that day's newspaper read, complete with a picture of Clark lifting the schoolbus above his head. Happily, the picture had clearly been taken from a considerable distance; the cape was clearly visible as a speck of red, and there was some blue as well, but nobody should be able to look at that picture and recognize Clark.
Of course, Lex did have a bit of a reputation for doing things he shouldn't be doing, so Clark wasn't completely reassured. And he kept meaning to tell Lex about Superman and the kryptonite and the whole 'causing millions in property damage to Luthor Corp every single year' thing, only the time never seemed quite right.
"You know, Clark," Lex said, in that 'I'll pretend to be casual about this, but really, I'm not' tone of his, "I wouldn't mind if you had tentacles."
"Um," Clark said, rather intelligently, he thought, given the circumstances. "What?"
Lex folded the newspaper and gave Clark his 'earnest and earnestly considering to fire your ass' look. It was kind of intimidating, even though Clark was fairly sure 'boyfriend' was not a position from which you could be fired. "Assuming that you were an alien lifeform from another planet," Lex said, "I would be quite open to the possibility of having sex with you in your natural shape."
"Hypothetically speaking," Clark said, relieved, if also still a bit confused.
Lex picked up his newspaper again. "Of course."
"Um. Thanks." Clark figured this was sort of like the 'I'd still love you if you were ugly/old/failing your classes/a girl/a boy' speech people in love supposedly gave one another on occasion, which was fine and also sort of sweet, really. Not that he felt saying that would go over very well with Lex.
"Don't mention it," Lex said from behind his newspaper.
Lunch was usually a quick sandwich in between classes, prepared by Lex's housekeeper (if Lex was busy or annoyed with Clark) or Lex himself (if he was neither busy nor in a bad mood). It was a bit odd, given that Lex's housekeeper definitely made far better sandiwches than Lex - no matter how often Clark told himself that any sandwich made with love (i.e., by Lex) should automatically taste great.
Thus, the effect of Lex's sandwich policy was that whenever Clark did or said something wrong, he got a delicious lunch, and whenever he did or said something right, he was rewarded by a soggy, edible-only-if-you-were-really-hungry, two-slices-of-bread-wth-things-in-between affair.
If it ever came to a break-up, Clark thought, he'd definitely be blaming it on the sandwiches. Figuring out Lex was hard enough already without these sorts of mixed reward-punishment signals his stomach was picking up.
Dinner varied from an almost formal affair ('because it never hurts to practice', according to Lex, who attended at least one board meeting out of three wearing jeans and a t-shirt 'just to remind people who's boss') to pizza in front of the TV.
Today, it was something in between. Clark had done some quick on-line research about tentacles and octopi, just in case Lex was going to bring up the topic again, so of course what Lex said was:
"I've been thinking about what you'd look like with a different skin color."
He posed it as a question, of course, in accordance with the Rules of Dinner Conversation:
"Have you ever thought about what you'd look like with a different color of skin?"
Clark had pictured what he might look like in five years, or ten years, or working as a reporter, or when people saw him together with Lex, or dead. The likely scenarios, so to speak. "Black?"
"Or blue, or green. Or any other color."
"I don't think I'd look very good in blue. Or green." Clark smiled. Lex frowned. "Is this something you've been working on for one of your projects?"
Lex sighed and sipped his wine. "No. I've just been thinking."
"That I'm too ordinary looking for you?" Clark tried to keep his tone light and joking. He knew quite well he wasn't anything special; he was supposed to be blending in, not sticking out.
Dating Lex hadn't really been part of the plan.
"Well, it's true I don't love your for your brains," Lex said, smiling. "But I like you, Clark. You. I hoped that maybe you'd have figured that much out by now."
Clark wondered if the switching between 'loving' and 'liking' was deliberate. "The feeling's very mutual." Lex gave him a look that implied he was waiting for something a bit more. "And I'm happy to hear you won't mind if I ever get to have tentacles or green skin or something?" Clark tried.
"In bed," Lex corrected him, his expression slightly disappointed, as if Clark hadn't quite given him the answer he'd been hoping for after all. "I won't mind if you'd get those things in bed. In private. When it's just you and me. I mean, obviously, I'd support your decision if you'd choose to appear like that in public, too, but knowing you, I'd imagine you'd rather blend in."
This conversation had definitely crossed into the territory of 'completely weird', Clark decided.
"If you don't mind, I'd rather stay the way I am."
"Well," Lex said, looking him up and down in a way that still made Clark blush, "if this is the way you are, then I guess I'll have to be satisfied with that."
"And if my skin ever does turn green, I promise you you'll be the first to know."
"Thank you, Clark. That's very sweet."