Chapter 1: A Little Less Than Sleepwalking
When Clark woke up the next morning he could have kicked himself. He would have kicked himself, except that would probably be a very, very bad idea right now.
Here’s the thing: Clark? Didn’t sleepwalk. Not exactly, anyway. His Mom, who had found him eating some truly bizarre concoctions in the kitchen in the middle of the night, called it doze-walking, but even that wasn’t exactly right. Because Clark wasn’t ever really asleep when it happened, as evidenced by the fact that in the morning he can remember what he had done and why the night before. Well, most of the time, though he still wasn’t sure what had led him to searching for sand dollars on eBay. As far as he can tell what happened was, as he was about to fall asleep but before he actually did, he got really strange ideas. This, Clark had been assured, was perfectly normal, even by human standards. But what he did that none one else did – and he was pretty sure this was just a Clark thing, not a Kryptonian thing, since he had never stumbled across Kara trying to come up with names for the Indie-punk-rock band she was going to start at one in the morning – is actually act on these thoughts he had.
Normally, this wasn’t a problem. Clark never did anything too outlandish during these nighttime wanderings, which only happened about once a month or so anyway. He never went out any further than the barn, and never did anything to reveal his powers to anyone (Clark didn’t count the Jor-El induced sleep-flights, because those were totally different). He had only ever done it at someone else’s place once before, when he had been staying the night at Pete’s. Pete had been a pretty good sport about the whole thing, especially since Clark had woken him up to try to discuss the possibility of Clark becoming a zookeeper. The things he did weren’t even all that embarrassing most of the time, though Lana had given a delighted laugh when she found all those poems he had written –
Clark cut that thought off right there, because he really didn’t need to be thinking about Lana right now. Especially since it was Lana and her stupid face-stealing boyfriend’s fault Clark was even in this mess in the first place. Because if the stupid Phantom hadn’t stolen Clark’s life, then Lana never would have left him. And if Lana hadn’t of left him, then Clark would have spent last night in his own bed curled up with her, not in a spare room in Lex’s mansion feeling incredibly lonely. And if he hadn’t been in Lex’s mansion feeling lonely, then he would have never gotten the sleep-addled idea to get out of his bed and go snuggle up with Lex.
See, here’s the other thing: Clark? Not entirely straight. He wasn’t gay; all those years chasing after Lana should serve as proof of that. Not to mention, his admittedly sporadic acknowledgment Chloe’s attractiveness and how distracting some of those “undercover” outfits that Lois wore were. It’s just, well sometimes Oliver would wander around without a shirt on, and that was pretty distracting too. Not that Clark was interested in Oliver like that, but the man had nice abs. And, though Clark tended to play it a bit closer to the chest when he saw a hot guy because Kansas, Oliver was far from the only person sporting a Y-chromosome that had caught Clark’s eye.
While eye-candy was nice, Clark was a serial monogamist at heart. And, much like Lana was the only girl he had ever been truly in love with, there was only one guy that Clark had, well maybe not been in love with, but close. But in true Clark fashion – not even he could deny that he was something of an oblivious bungler when it came to romantic relationships – he hadn’t realized what it was he had been feeling until way after he had already burned all those bridges. Or at least, so he had thought until last night when in a fit of… of God knows what really, he had gone to the mansion to complain about Lana dumping him and had found Lex to be surprisingly… nice.
Which brought him back to here, waking up in Lex Luthor’s bed. Lex Luthor, who was one the few people who Clark had ever seriously, if subconsciously in this case, allowed to get close to his heart, who didn’t actually hate Clark, and who was apparently a cuddler. Really, it was hard to say which of those was more surprising.
Still, as much as Clark might want to sit here and enjoy the cuddling while Lex was too unconscious to object – and wow, did that sound bad – he needed to go. Clark had way too much to try to figure out about what was going on with him and Lex right now to add this situation on top of it. No, the best option would be to sneak out of bed here and back into the guest room he had been staying in. Then Clark could privately freak out about waking up in bed with Lex, and, once he had gotten past that, he could work out what he had said to Lex last night, how Lex had responded, and what that ultimately meant for Clark’s secret. Though at this point it wasn’t a secret so much as a truckload of them tangled up together in one massive Gordian knot.
Clark started to shift up and away which caused Lex to respond in a completely unexpected way. Lex, still asleep, grabbed Clark and pulled him in closer, actually throwing one of his legs over Clark, as though to make absolutely certain his bed partner wasn’t about to leave. And that position put Clark in contact with a portion of Lex’s anatomy that he hadn’t been previously and, holy crap, Lex really liked cuddling didn’t he?
Clark took a few calming breaths. Really, this was no big deal. Lex was a guy, so his… condition was perfectly normal first thing in the morning. Sure, Lex also had a death grip on Clark that was making it clear that Clark wasn’t going to be able to get out of here without Lex waking up after all, but that probably had a perfectly logical explanation too. Lex was asleep, after all, so for all he knew Clark was one of his wives, like Helen or Lana. Yeah, that was it, Lana. Clark had been lonely and missing Lana as he fell asleep last night and so he came and climbed in bed with Lex, and Lex had also been lonely and missing Lana, so when Clark had joined him, Lex had just unconsciously assumed he was Lana and curled up around “her.” All perfectly normal and no reason for anyone to freak out and get angry and start yelling and being the horrible person that really made Clark miss his best friend again. And that’s just what Clark would tell Lex when he woke up. Because, really, this was no big deal.
Having talked himself down, Clark glanced back at Lex again. But instead of a peacefully sleeping Lex cuddled up against him, Clark was greeted with the sight of two wide-open slate blue eyes and a sardonically raised eyebrow. “Good morning, Clark.”
Clark was so screwed.
Chapter 2: An Excellent Way to Start Your Day
When Lex woke up the first thing he was aware of was a pervading sense of warmth and safety. As his consciousness slowly emerged, he realized that the warmth he was feeling was not, in fact, coming from the climate control, or what passed for climate control in a renovated Scottish castle anyway, or the down blankets piled on his bed, but from the large hard body that Lex had wrapped himself up against at some point during the night.
Funny, while Lex did remember Clark stopping by the mansion the evening before, he didn’t remember persuading the other man to actually sleep in the same bed with him. And that really seemed like the kind of thing Lex would remember, even if this particular brand of sleeping involved a good deal more (read, any at all) clothing than the type of sleeping together Lex usually preferred. Considering the matter, Lex came to the conclusion that no, he had not had anywhere near enough to drink the night before to cause a black-out, or even to get him tipsy, nor had he received a blow to the head, nor did he have any sort of inexplicable gaps in his memory. He very distinctly recollected everything that had happened from the moment Clark had walked in his office the day before, up until Lex had gotten into bed, alone, and gone to sleep.
That could only mean that Clark, and a quick and discreet peek through his lashes confirmed that it was Clark in bed with him and not someone else, had come to join Lex at some point after Lex had fallen asleep. It was possible, probable even, that Clark winding up in Lex’s bed was a product of sleepwalking, or some sort of Smallville based mind control – though the question of why a sleepwalking Clark would choose to crawl in Lex’s bed or who would want to mind control Clark into doing so would still remain. But there was also the possibility that Clark had, of his own free and conscious will, decided to spend the night with Lex. And that was a prospect that Lex was most definitely interested in exploring.
Clark, though, had other ideas, going off the way he was trying to gently pull away from Lex. Well, fuck that. Lex was getting an answer as to why he had spent the previous night wrapped around a tanned and half-naked farm boy even if it did just boil down to “a meteor mutant made me do it.” Still feigning sleep, Lex clutched onto Clark tighter and threw a proprietary leg over the other man, quite clearly communicating that Clark wasn’t going to be leaving until Lex “woke up” and received an explanation.
Of course, now that Lex was half-straddling Clark he became aware that, whether as a product of having slept the whole night in bed with the physical embodiment of six and a half years of obsession, or just a normal morning thing, Lex was rock hard. Something that Clark was aware of now too, since Lex’s groin was plastered up against Clark’s thigh. This could be awkward. Not for Lex, of course, but Clark might be feeling a bit uncomfortable at the moment.
On the other hand, if Clark was a repressed homosexual, then having another man’s erect cock pressed up against him might be enough to get Clark asking some serious questions without, given the whole context of the situation, giving Clark leave to get angry at Lex for trying to pervert him, or whatever it was that repressed corn-fed and country-grown farm boys thought.
Lex gave it another few seconds before slowly opening his eyes, making it appear as though it was the shifting in position that had caused him to drift into consciousness. His little performance was lost on Clark, however, as the other man was staring up at the ceiling and appeared to be panicking. That was fine though; provided Clark didn’t try to slip off again, Lex was more than willing to wait quietly, straddled over Clark in what was a close approximation of some of Lex’s favorite fantasies, while Clark sorted through whatever he need to. A panicked Clark was an irrational and accusatory Clark, none of which were conducive to anything that Lex was trying to accomplish.
After a minute or so Clark appeared to calm down, only to fly into a panic again when he glanced down to see Lex staring up at him. “Good morning, Clark.”
“Good morning,” Clark replied. His voice wasn’t a squeak exactly, but it was a credible impression of one coming from a six foot plus solid wall of muscle. “Uh Lex, you uh… your umm-”
Fuck, Clark stammering was cute. And Lex thought he should probably angry that, after years of Clark being an utter bastard, all it took was one evening of civil conversation and one night of cuddling, which Lex hadn’t even been conscious for, for the most part, and Lex was already starting to turn back into that twenty-one year old who was completely besotted – God, besotted – with his best friend. It was just as well that actual sex wasn’t even a possibility at this point, because while Lex was willing to give some ground in the name of learning what it was Clark knew about the aliens and hopefully forming a new alliance, Lex had valid concerns too, dammit, and he was not going to let his dick and lingering affection have him follow Clark Kent around like a puppy dog craving affection again.
Leisurely, Lex let his eyes trail down to where Clark was very pointedly not looking and, would you look at that, Lex’s hard-on was pressed right up against Clark’s thigh; what a crazy random happenstance. Slowly, and with just a bit more rubbing than entirely necessary – Lex wasn’t going to let himself be the only one off his game – Lex untangled himself from around Clark and pulled a half-roll away, so he was lying on his side and facing Clark. “I just woke up,” he said nonchalantly. “It happens.”
“Yeah, it’s no big deal,” Clark agreed, a little too earnestly. But Lex, as he told himself repeatedly last night, was not going to push. He had learned that lesson two or three times over, at least, and if he was going to fuck this thing he had with Clark up again, a little variety in the method would be nice.
“So,” Lex said instead, “mind explaining to me how you ended up in my room, sleeping in my bed? I’m fairly certain I recall installing you in one of the guest bedrooms last night.”
Clark flushed bright red. “Oh, that. Um… so I don’t sleepwalk, right?”
“Okay,” Lex agreed, tabling for the moment discussions of stumbling across teenaged boys passed out in the middle of the road at the dead of night. No pushing.
“But I do something kind of similar. Like, okay you know how sometimes right before you fall asleep you have really weird thoughts?”
“Right before I fall asleep? No, but I think I understand the concept.” Lex didn’t have an exact count of the number of times he had been out of his right mind, but once he started adding up all those times in his rebellious years when he just went out and got completely shit-faced, all the times he’d been concussed or otherwise punch-drunk, all the times he had be drugged for legitimate and illegitimate reasons, and his few actual psychotic breaks, he ended up with a pretty fucking big number. Oh yes, Lex understood the concept of having really weird thoughts.
“Well, that happens to me a lot and sometimes, while I’m still half asleep, I get up and act on those thoughts. One time my mom found me in the kitchen eating a pickle and ice cream sandwich.”
Huh. That was odd. Not quite alien and meteor mutant and whichever the hell Clark’s secret was odd, but still odd. “And so what was Clark Kent thinking last night as he fell asleep?” Lex asked.
The pink in Clark’s cheeks, which had faded as he was explaining his not-sleepwalking habits, came back with a vengeance. “I was just feeling really lonely. I got used to sleeping with Lana, but then last night she wasn’t there, and it occurred to me that you were in bed all by yourself too, and umm, yeah. It seemed like the thing to do at the time.”
Lex wasn’t particularly sure how he felt about the revelation that he was Clark’s substitute for Lana, especially given his pervading suspicion through-out his relationship with Lana that he was her substitute for Clark. At least with Clark, Lex wouldn’t be able to do something like faking a pregnancy and miscarriage to secure Clark’s focus on Lex. In retrospect, that had been a both crazy and stupid idea. Though if Clark really was an alien, his physiology might-
“Lex?” Clark said, interrupting Lex’s musings on pregnant male aliens. “You aren’t mad, are you?”
“No, I’m not mad,” Lex responded. Jealous, in a weird kind of double-sided way maybe, but not mad.
“Good,” Clark said, relieved, and he smiled. Lex, without any sort of conscious decision to do so, smiled back. He tried to blame the warm feeling in his chest on the fairly intimate position they were in – both lying on their sides facing each other, only a few handbreadths apart – and almost managed to half convince himself of the truth of that.
“Um… so about some of the things I said last night,” Clark began.
“Hold on to that thought for a minute,” Lex interrupted. “Now, I called down to Cook last night and let her know you’d be staying the night, and breakfast should be ready in about,” Lex glanced over his shoulder at the alarm clock, “twenty minutes, so why don’t you head back to your room, shower off, get dressed, and we can resume once we have a chance to get some food in our stomachs. I’m sure you’re hungry.” Part of Lex rebelled against the idea of letting Clark leave so he could go come up with a bunch of horrible excuses for lies to deny anything he had said the night before, while another part of him rebelled against the thought of Clark leaving, period, but Lex viciously squashed them down. If Clark was voluntarily bringing it up, then nothing that happened in the next half hour was going to change his mind about how he was going to approach the situation – once Clark got in idea in his head he rarely ever let it go – and the sentimentalism of lying in bed together was definitely starting to get to Lex; he’d have much better control over the situation once they adjourned to the dining room.
“Oh, yeah, good idea,” Clark agreed, rolling out of bed. Lex sat up as well, ostensibly because he was preparing to get out of bed too, though really he just wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to see Clark walking around clad in only his boxer shorts. Once he reached the door, Clark turned around and, concern and worry etched across his face, asked, “And you’re sure you aren’t upset?”
Lex let his eyes wander up and down Clark’s body, nothing too overt, just enough to get Clark thinking, really. “I’m sure.”
Clark nodded and slipped out of the room. Listening, Lex waited until he heard the guest bedroom door close before letting his light and friendly expression turn into a full-on and very self-satisfied grin.
Chapter 3: Honesty, or a Close Approximation Thereof
Clark made it down for breakfast a full fifteen minutes after the twenty minute mark Lex had given earlier. He felt a little bad about that, especially when he walked in the room to see Lex fiddling with his phone, obviously waiting for Clark before he started eating, but Clark had needed that time to think. He may have been a bit panicked this morning when he had tried to bring up last night. Now though, he had had time to shower and to kind of… speed-think his way through what exactly he had said the night before and how Lex had reacted. Then Clark had put two and two together to come up with, in retrospect a wholly unsurprising, four.
It was just… Clark hadn’t expected it to be so easy. Because even though he had acknowledged the existence of some stuff they weren’t supposed to be mentioning around Lex in the vague hope that if everyone else pretended that they weren’t real then Lex might start to believe it, Clark hadn’t really revealed anything that Lex didn’t already know about. Well, Clark had said something about blue kryptonite he was pretty sure, but only in passing, plus Clark and Dax-Ur had the only two pieces as far as Clark knew, so that probably wasn’t anything to worry about.
And if it was really that easy to get Lex to be nice again, to be Clark’s friend again, (setting aside for a moment Lex’s claims that Clark was still his best friend because, not to put too fine a point on it, Lex didn’t really have any friends, so Clark rather thought he got the title by default anyway) shouldn’t Clark go for it? Not just for sentimental reasons, though those were a good deal of it, but for other reasons too. Because while Clark had, in large part, stopped being friends with Lex because Lex had been doing bad things, after Clark had stopped being friends with him, Lex had started doing really bad things. And maybe they weren’t related, but what if they were? The creepy stalker room thing was still, well creepy, but Clark could totally put up with that and be Lex’s friend in spite of it, if it meant no more hidden facilities full of unanimated super-soldier clone bodies. Really, put that way it almost seemed like it was Clark’s responsibility to reconcile with Lex again, for the good of Lex and others.
It’s possible that Clark was trying to justify doing what he already wanted to anyway.
It’s not like he had to be risky with it. Lex had seemed happy enough last night with Clark just not trying to hide and lie about stuff that Lex already knew about for a fact. Clark could just do that for a while and if Lex started getting better, then Clark could start telling him more and more. This could totally work.
“Good morning… uh, again,” Clark said when Lex didn’t look up right away.
“Morning,” Lex said, glancing at Clark and then giving a noticeable double-take. Granted, it was a Lex-type double-take and therefore only noticeable because Clark was paying attention and knew Lex fairly well, but still.
“What are you wearing?” Lex asked, staring at Clark’s torso in… shock?
The tone of his voice had Clark looking down to see if his clothes had somehow transformed into something ridiculous, like a bunny costume or brightly colored spandex. But no, he was still wearing the same thing he had put on when he had gotten out of the shower. “Jeans and a t-shirt?” he said uncertainly. A more accurate statement might be “slightly dirty jeans” and “a noticeably under-sized t-shirt,” but Clark couldn’t see either of those details being particularly important, or endearing himself to the man who had been known to look unruffled and completely immaculate after near-death experiences.
“Not the same shirt as yesterday, and I would have remembered if you had brought a change of clothes with you,” Lex said.
Trust Lex to notice something like that. “Oh, yeah. Well remember when you were attacked by the guy that could make himself invisible?”
“Jeff Palmer,” Lex agreed.
Clark looked at Lex in surprise. “You remember his name?”
“I know that being attacked by an invisible man in my own home isn’t as unusual of an occurrence for me as I would like, but I would hope I could remember the name of someone whose therapy I paid for for five years. You’ll be glad to hear he and his sister are doing better now, though.” Lex said, adding on the last part as almost an afterthought. Also? The majority of this was directed toward the vicinity of Clark’s abs.
“Oh,” Clark said. “That’s good.” Clark had forgotten Lex used to do things like that. Nice things for people he had no reason to be nice to besides it was the right thing to do and he could. “But like I was saying, when he finally actually attacked you and I, uh, helped take him out,” said Clark, tacitly not mentioning how exactly he helped take out an invisible person with greater than normal human strength, “he got paint all over himself. Which did make it easier to see where he was, but it kind of got all over my clothes too. Plus earlier that week I got soaking wet saving Victoria from being drowned in the tub.” That was one of Clark’s better memories. Not only had he gotten to carry a women who was attractive, wet, and naked, the trifecta for any horny teenage boy, it was also the day that stupid, dumb Victoria left Smallville for good and things went back to being just Clark and Lex, the way they were supposed to be.
How was it that Clark hadn’t realized he had had a crush on Lex until senior year again?
“I just figured that if that kind of thing was going to happen a lot, I should maybe stash a change of clothes here, just in case. And then I forgot all about them until now,” Clark concluded.
“I’m surprised they were still there,” Lex commented, though now he appeared to addressing Clark’s chest more so than Clark himself.
Clark shrugged. “I stuffed them in a dresser drawer in one of the guest bedrooms.” It was in fact the room that Clark had always kind of thought of as his, even if he hadn’t hardly ever been allowed to stay over at the mansion overnight, and he had been strangely gratified to find that no one had apparently stayed there since the last time Clark had.
“I see,” Lex said, now looking at the strip of skin exposed where the too-small shirt didn’t quite reach the top of his pants.
Embarrassed, Clark pulled at his shirt before giving up and sitting down to hide it. “It’s not quite big enough. I’ve grown some since freshman year,” Clark explained. The flannel shirt he had also stuck in the drawer had popped at the seams when Clark had tried to put it on, and he hadn’t even bothered with the jeans. But the socks and the boxer fit and the t-shirt… hadn’t torn, and a little small was probably better than dirty and reeking of “my girlfriend just dumped me for my evil twin.”
“Understandable,” Lex agreed, but he was still intent on Clark’s shirt in a way that was really starting to make Clark feel self-conscious.
Actually, that was a little strange, wasn’t it? Sure, Lex was fashion-conscious, but should he really be that distracted just because Clark’s shirt was a little small? Unless… he really had been checking Clark out this morning. And he really hadn’t gotten Clark confused with Lana while he was asleep. It’s not like the two of them had easily confused body-types.
But that was crazy. This was Lex Luthor, the guy who had been married three times before he was thirty and had slept with a bunch of other women besides. There definitely hadn’t been any diamond cuff links mixed in with those earrings, Clark would have remembered that. No, Clark was just letting the rebound and his excitement about possibly being friends with Lex again get to him, that’s all.
“So Clark,” Lex said, finally turning his attention away from Clark’s upper body and towards the veritable breakfast feast in front of them. “There was something you wanted to say about last night?”
Oops. There had been something that Clark wanted to say about last night earlier, before he had decided that honesty, or a close approximation thereof, was the best policy. Now though, Clark would much rather let the matter drop. The less they talked about alien and meteor mutant stuff when Clark wasn’t prepared, the less likely Lex was to ask questions that Clark wasn’t ready to answer yet. But Clark couldn’t just say nothing, or worse, lie again.
“I thought it over some,” Clark said, which wasn’t a lie so much as an understatement, “and I guess the only thing I really want to say is thanks. You know, for listening. Being a friend.” There, now hopefully Lex would leave it at that.
Lex stared at Clark for a long time, or what felt like it at any rate, inspecting him for something. Clark smiled and hoped that whatever it was, was there. Eventually, Lex nodded and said, “You’re welcome. And I know, after the whole issue of having your replacement going unnoticed, you might need some space to deal with some of your other friends. So if you need to talk some more, you know where I live.”
Perfect. That gave Clark just the excuse he needed to come over and start working Lex over again. Clark grinned. Yup, this could totally work.