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Clark was neglecting the hay-baling to idly watch Lana reading on her porch when he heard Lex coming, the smug, satisfied rumble of one of his high-powered engines unmistakeable even from a distance, getting louder and louder as it came and turned into the driveway. Clark grinned and abandoned the telescope to go see the new toy; he could tell it was new even from inside, because Lex only took the driveway carefully for the first week or two of a car's life, and the gravel had barely rattled.

"Wow," Clark said, pausing at the barn doors. "That's—"

"A 1981 Corvette," Lex said, getting out.

"I was going to say purple," Clark said.

"It's eggplant-tinted black," Lex said, in mildly injured tones.

Clark raised his eyebrows. "Uh huh." He came out to the long-snouted car and walked around it, inspecting it critically. "Lex?" he said.

"Yes?"

"It's purple." Clark paused. "Is that glitter?" He leaned forward; the car almost seemed to be glowing.

"Crystals, I think," Lex said. His voice seemed oddly far away. "I took it to Goss Tomlin. He wouldn't tell me what he put in the mix. Apparently it's some kind of trade secret."

"Huh," Clark said, vaguely. He put a hand on the hood of the car. It felt smooth as wet glass, the purple crystalline flecks glowing like fireflies underneath the clear coating as he ran his palm over the car's glossy curves.

Lex leaned back against the hood, glancing up at Clark, eyebrow tilted. "So Corvettes do it for you?" he said. "I was beginning to think you'd missed out on the fast-car gene completely."

His sly tone invited Clark to share the joke, but he didn't get it; the car really was sexy, all muscle and glitter and that deep color like black plums that made you want to lick it to see how it would taste. And Lex—Lex was relaxed back against the car in an easy, careless sprawl, one foot on the bumper, elbows on the hood, with the purple glow tinting his sleek black suit, his pale grey shirt, like a movie star spotlight, and he looked good enough to taste, too—

Lex jerked up off the hood, or tried to; Clark had his shoulders pinned and Lex's mouth was open and wet and sweet, faint undertaste of mocha latte, and Lex's thigh felt so good under his hand, straining against the thin, fine wool. Clark pushed him further up onto the car, spreading Lex out and settling into him, making small encouraging noises as Lex's hands, pushing back against his shoulders, started to yield.

"Clark, you almost done putting up that hay?" Jonathan's voice floated around the corner of the barn, approaching.

Lex made urgent noises underneath him and pushed harder at Clark's shoulders, futilely. Clark grumbled against his mouth and tried to kiss him some more, but Lex wasn't cooperating anymore. Clark got up off the car and backed away, vague ideas of taking Lex somewhere else, maybe the loft—and then suddenly he realized Lex was sprawled out over the hood of his car, staring at him, shocked, and his mouth was red—"Oh, God," Clark said.

Lex came off the car in a barely controlled slide, as taken apart as Clark had ever seen him, his shirt untucked and collar open three buttons down—Clark didn't even remember doing that, but apparently he'd been busier than he'd realized—and Clark turned around just in time to see his dad come around the corner and into the yard, wiping motor oil off his hands with a rag. Jonathan paused, looking at them. Clark stared back at him, paralyzed and waiting, and then Jonathan said, "Is that a T-top?"

"Sorry for interrupting Clark's chores," Lex said, stepping past Clark, one hand outstretched. Somehow he'd done something with his shirt; it was still hanging out, collar open, but it looked like he'd meant to have it that way. "I just got her back from Tomlin's and I had to show her off a little."

"Well, I can't blame you," Jonathan said, giving the car a critical once-over. "How many miles on her?"

"A hundred and five," Lex said. "She's been sitting in a collector's garage since he drove her home from the dealership." He popped the hood, and Jonathan bent over for a look while Clark edged back towards the barn, wondering hopefully if he'd just imagined the whole thing—except he hadn't, because there were dusty fingerprints and a few blades of hay on the back of Lex's shoulder, which he was very casually brushing away as he pointed into the car with his other hand.

Clark managed to sneak away up to the loft while they were looking at the car, and hid there peering down anxiously with x-ray vision and listening in while they talked about the 8-cylinder engine and the quarter-mile speed.

"Well, I've got to get the stock in," Jonathan said, eventually, looking around. "Clark—oh, I guess we scared Clark off."

"I should get back to the mansion," Lex said, and Clark relaxed for all of half a second before he added, "I'll just go up and say goodbye to him."

Clark cringed into the couch as Lex's footsteps came upstairs, wondering desperately how he was going to explain this.

"Hey," Lex said, pausing at the top of the stairs.

"Hey," Clark said faintly. "Listen, Lex, I—I'm not—I don't—"

"Breathe," Lex said, coming over to the couch to sit down. He reached out and cupped Clark's face with his hand, silencing him; Lex wasn't usually all that big on touching, much less—much less whatever it was he was doing right now, his thumb just brushing the corner of Clark's mouth. "Look, this isn't a good time to talk, but I want you to promise me you'll come over tomorrow morning before school."

"I—what?" Clark said, trying not to move his mouth too much; Lex's thumb might end up on his lips again.

"Promise me, Clark," Lex said. "Otherwise I'll come over and make sure you're okay." He sighed. "This is—it's complicated, I don't—I need you to know I'm not rejecting you—"

"Yes, okay!" Clark said desperately, to head off the nightmare of having Lex let him down easy, after which he would never be able to look Lex in the face again.

Lex took his hand away to pull his cell phone out of his pocket; he handed it to Clark. "Call me anytime." Clark tried not to take it, but Lex closed his hand around it firmly. "I know something about being a freak, Clark. I just want you to know you've got a place to go, no matter what."

An odd unexpected tightness in his throat kept Clark from arguing any more. He could almost wish he really was gay, because he could have trusted Lex with that; taken all his help and his advice and the outstretched hand Clark kept having to ignore. Instead it was just another exciting episode in the adventures of Clark Kent, freakish alien, another thing to lie about. "Thanks," he said softly, miserably. "I appreciate it, Lex, but it'll be okay. And I'm sorry I—I jumped you like that."

"Mostly I was just surprised," Lex said, sounding amused. "It didn't occur to me it would take driving up in a purple car for you to figure out I might not be completely straight," and Clark's mouth was opening with surprise when Lex leaned in and kissed him.

He didn't know what to do. He couldn't get mad and just shove Lex away—it wasn't like he hadn't just sent the most un-mixed signals in the world; Lex had every right to think it was okay—more than okay—to be kissing him. Clark made a small helpless noise of protest into Lex's mouth and tried leaning away, but then he slipped flat on the old worn-smooth upholstery, and Lex was going with him, on top of him, braced against the couch and kissing him in this completely bizarre way, teasing his mouth, sucking Clark's lower lip, biting at him a little, tongue dipping in, and—

Clark jerked his hips frantically, oh God, he had to get Lex off, off—His hands came up, but before he could grab hold, Lex made a low, hissing sound into his mouth and got up abruptly, blotting the wet corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. "I wasn't going to do that," Lex said ruefully, while Clark stared up at him wildly, panting. "You're hell on my good intentions." He bent down and kissed Clark once more, just a quick brush of the lips. "Come see me tomorrow."

"I don't think that would be a good idea," Clark said; but he said it to the empty barn, five minutes later, when his voice had started working again.


Clark stopped outside the mansion gates and stared through them morosely at the purple Corvette. Stupid car. He'd cautiously snuck over to Goss Tomlin's yard last night and, surprise surprise, spotted the remains of a couple of red meteor rocks, ground up into powder and stained purple with some kind of chemicals, ready to go into the paint mixer. Since when had Goss developed any artistic impulses to indulge, Clark wanted to know, bitterly. Now he had to figure out how to explain to Lex that okay, yes, he had been gay for a little while yesterday, but he'd gotten better, really, and any more kissing was strictly off the agenda.

He went around by the back entrance and found Lex in the office, talking on the phone; he beckoned Clark in, still talking, and came around the desk, touching Clark's shoulder and then his face, lightly, his eyes intent, even while he kept having the conversation at the same time. "All right," Lex said, and "Yes," and "No, that's not good enough, I want it by next week," and "I'll call you later," all in the same tone, and he was still touching Clark at the same time, so it took Clark by surprise when Lex closed the phone.

He tilted his head, thoughtfully. "You look all right," he said.

"I'm fine, Lex, really, but—but—" and Clark funked it and just blurted, "but my chores took kind of longer this morning, and I've got to get to school now—"

"Come on," Lex said, leaning over to the desk for his keys. "I'll drive you, we can talk on the way."

No way was Clark going anywhere near that thing. "No, I—" Clark began, but then Lex's hand was on his arm, purple flash of the keychain glimmering, and Clark couldn't remember what he'd been about to say. Anyway it couldn't be all that important compared to following Lex out the door and into the Corvette, dashboard glowing purple inside as he got in. Lex slid in on the driver's side and Clark leaned over and kissed him again, hungrily.

"Wait, Clark—hang on—this really isn't a good idea," Lex said, which was stupid, this was a great idea, a point which Clark demonstrated by kissing him a lot more. Soon Lex was shuddering and panting under him, and Clark reached over and poked randomly at the controls until Lex's seat slid all the way back and tilted mostly flat, and he could climb over and straddle him, Lex's hands sliding into the back pockets of his jeans, gripping tight. "Jesus, Clark," Lex said, even while kissing him ferociously, "have you even done this before—"

"No," Clark said, urgently, grinding down to indicate just how badly that needed to change, now, now, now

"Fuck," Lex said, succinctly, and groped for the seat lever. "Clark, your first time is not going to be in the front seat of my Corvette."

"Why not?" Clark said, holding the seat down even though Lex was yanking on the lever as hard as he could. "This car is great, I love this car—" He tugged on Lex's pants, pulling them open.

"No—no," Lex said, but he didn't sound all that serious about it to Clark, and anyway, God, that was bare skin under Clark's hand, and Lex was arching up against him. "You're going to be late for high school," Lex said, mostly a moan.

"Don't care," Clark said, and tried to slide down enough to get Lex's dick in his mouth, except his back was jamming up against the steering wheel, and he didn't want to break the car, so all he could do was mostly breathe on it, lick at it with just the tip of his tongue.

"Okay, that's it," Lex said. "I'm only human. Get out of the car, we're going upstairs," and oh, that sounded great, so Clark opened the door and got out and ran up to the door, waiting impatiently for about thirty seconds before the haze wore off again and he had just been groping Lex in his car and now Lex was climbing out to take him upstairs, where things would happen that Clark had only vague ideas about from locker room whispers, and he had no idea how he was going to get out of this without literally running away.

Except hey, nothing wrong with that option, but Lex was already out of the car and taking the stairs up two at a time, kissing him, pushing him back towards the house. Clark went with it, stumbling back from the kisses, figuring that he'd have a chance to escape inside the mansion—he just needed Lex to look the other way for a second, just long enough for him to get around a corner and speed away with plausible deniability. Or he could say he had to go to the bathroom—

Lex was laughing softly as he backed Clark up the hall. "You know, this town is enough to drive you insane," he said, working his tie loose. "After a while, so many weird things happen, conspiracy theories start being more believable than the simple explanations—"

His tie landed on the marble bust of Plato, his jacket on the suit of armor, Clark's work shirt on the stair railing, his tee hung up on the big wall relief, and Lex still hadn't looked away, even for a second—

"The plant blows up, it's an exploding mutant, not just an employee with a grudge; the cows get sick, it's a meteor radiation plague, not something in the water. Your best friend is hiding something—" Lex's mouth quirked wryly, and Clark, staring at him in a widening and different kind of panic, didn't notice they had just backed into the bedroom. "—it's got to be superpowers, not being gay."

Clark said, "What?" and toppled backwards onto the bed—onto Lex's bed, and, and, and Lex was cupping him, fingers rubbing over his briefs as they worked open the button-fly on his jeans.

Clark jerked up frantically, babbling, "I can't—Lex, wait, I—"

"Shh." Lex kissed him, and his thumb stroked a neat small circle right over the head of Clark's dick. "It's all right, Clark," he said gently, as the involuntary full-body shudder rocked Clark flat onto his back again. "I'm going to take care of you."

So much possessiveness in that, even though Lex had just convinced himself that Clark was an ordinary guy, even though it had nothing at all to do with his powers or secrets, and the feeling of Lex's hand moving steadily on his dick was almost exactly like being on the purple kryptonite, the conviction that if he just went with this, many amazing and wonderful things would happen, and then Lex slid down the bed and put his mouth on Clark's dick and proved that it was absolutely true.

Tongue wet and slick on his skin, and he'd secretly imagined what this would feel like, a few times, pretending late at night with his hand greased up, and he hadn't even gotten close, because none of those fantasies had included Lex, warm and lean and stretched out between his legs, murmuring something soft and in a foreign language over Clark's skin as he licked and teased the head. His fingers were moving obscenely between Clark's legs, pressing at him in an experimental kind of way, finding places that made him grab desperately for the bedframe and try not to jerk up too hard, and then Lex pushed his thumb just a little way inside and took Clark all the way down into his throat, all at once, and Clark felt his whole body go very still and stiff and light, taut like the arch of a bow, and afterwards Lex eased him down and stretched out next to him, laughing softly without any irony at all.


Clark crept into school and hunkered into English class just as the bell rang for third period, with a two-beat mental soundtrack on infinite loop: he'd just had sex, with Lex. He was vibrating between scared, involuntary triumph, and panicky rat-in-a-cage desperation, because he didn't know how he'd gotten in this deep—stupid, stupid car—and he really didn't know how he was going to get out before the world noticed he was gay. Or Lex noticed he wasn't, and drew himself a new set of conclusions about what Clark really was hiding.

Mrs. Solow was opening up her folder and running her finger down the attendance sheet. In five minutes he was going to get sent to the principal's office for missing homeroom, where they'd give him a tardy note he'd have to ask his mom to sign, and she'd ask him what had happened, and he couldn't start lying to his parents too, his life couldn't stretch to hold another set of lies and complications, so he'd just stand there and stare at her and she'd say—

"All right, let's get back to Much Ado About Nothing," Mrs. Solow said, standing up and going to the board.

He ran the gauntlet two more times without getting caught, and by lunchtime he was cautiously breathing again, eating his soggy tuna sandwich and fruit cup with Chloe and Pete at their usual table in the cafeteria, like any other day. Maybe he could get away with something for once in his life. He'd just—avoid Lex for a while, then eventually go and see him and apologize and try to write it off as experimentation that hadn't worked out. Or maybe just never see him or his car ever again.

That plan worked well for him until the end of classes the next day; then he came out and the purple Corvette was sitting smugly in the parking lot right at the end of the walkway. Lex was leaning against the hood in sunglasses and a black leather jacket, the streaming crowd of students parting around him like an obedient sea, carrying Clark towards him despite his few attempts to squirm away to either side. Lex took off his sunglasses as Clark washed up in front of him. "Let's go for a ride."

"I have a lot of homework," Clark said hurriedly. Lex tossed the keys at him; Clark put up a hand and caught them automatically. "But it can wait," he added, stepping closer, and the only reason he didn't kiss Lex right there was that Lex stepped around to the other side of the car before he had a chance.

"So where do the kids go for fun these days?" Lex said, sprawling deep in the passenger seat, one knee propped up against the dashboard so his legs were spread apart, inviting, and Clark leaned over and rubbed the palm of his hand right there, while Lex grabbed for his head and a long, panting kiss. Lex fell back and shoved him away, half grinning. "Somewhere no one's going to stick their face up against the windows to look inside, Kent."

Clark grinned back at him and started up the car, the engine thrumming through his body. "I know just the place."

He took them to one of the little clearings around Crater Lake, the ones where everyone went to park; and then he was over the stick shift with the seat tilted back again, no protests from Lex this time, rubbing their hips together with Lex's hands cupping his head, sucking slow and sweet on his mouth, moving just right. They fumbled at their pants at the same time, getting tangled up, and started laughing so they couldn't keep their mouths together, kisses landing on noses and chins and necks, Clark licking at the salt hollow of Lex's throat, Lex gripping them both and oh, yeah.

Afterwards, Lex closed their pants up, silk pocket handkerchief sacrificed to cleanup, and nudged Clark out of the car. Clark rolled away across the grass and landed flat, a few yards away from the car, arms splayed out. "Oh, God," he said, staring up at the sky. He was sticky and breathless, his body still disturbingly blissed out and throwing confetti, and he had to get out of here now.

He sat up just as Lex dropped his backpack and a cooler on the grass next to him. "Let's see that homework," Lex said, stretching out on the grass. Clark stared at him; Lex raised an eyebrow. "I've conceded ground on corrupting a minor, Clark, but I'm not going to let you tank your GPA." He rummaged in the cooler and tossed Clark a sandwich and a Coke.

Clark looked down at the sandwich, ham and cheddar on soft, thick wheat bread, full of crisp tomatoes, one of his favorites. Lex had already uncorked a half-bottle of wine and was taking the calculus textbook out of Clark's backpack, humming to himself.

They spent the long autumn afternoon sprawled out, working through assignments; every so often Lex would randomly interrupt to take his mouth for a few sweet slow hot kisses. Then Clark shifted his weight from one elbow to the other and found himself close. He thought Lex was about to kiss him, but Lex just tilted his mouth up for it and didn't move, and Clark ended up closing the gap himself, because he couldn't figure out what else to do. Then he couldn't figure out how long to keep doing it, or when it was okay to stop, and eventually Lex caught his hip and pulled him down, and they got messy and sticky again, and Clark had no idea what he was going to tell his mom about the grass stains all over his ass.

Lex dropped him off at the farm after, with some issues getting Clark out of the car. "We're outside your house!" he said, trying to disengage. "I'm seriously going to hell."

"Can I come?" Clark said, giving a last lingering nuzzle to the bruises he'd left on Lex's collarbone, possessively.

"I think that's pretty much a given at this point," Lex said, as dryly as he could manage when he sounded like he'd taken his last breath ten minutes ago. "Go do your chores."

"Pick me up again tomorrow?" Clark said.

"I've got some late meetings at the plant I can't get out of," Lex said, "but I'll see you at lunch instead," and then Clark was standing in the driveway watching the purple car driving away, taking the happy uncomplicated haze of lust with it and leaving behind the realization that he was two hours late coming home and he looked exactly like someone who'd been rolling around in the grass having sex for hours. He went into the house wavering between horror and a kind of gratitude. His parents were going to just look at him and know, and they'd do something about it—ground him forever, tell Lex not to keep coming around, send him to school in another state—

"Hi, sweetheart," his mom said, coming out of the kitchen with a basket of laundry; she gave him an absent kiss on the cheek as she put it into his arms. "Did you have study group after school? Do me a favor and start this load."

"Hey, son," his dad said, clapping him on the shoulder as he came in from the barn, and headed straight on to the work room.

Clark stuffed his stained jeans and t-shirt and boxers into the washing machine with the rest of the load. They came out without a mark. His mom smiled and handed him the mashed potatoes as he came to the dinner table.


At lunchtime the next day, the school counselor called him out of the cafeteria. He went, trembling, but she just handed him a permission slip with his dad's signature, perfectly forged, allowing him to go off school grounds. He stared at it helplessly; he didn't have an excuse to give her for not using it, and Lex was waiting out there, and Clark had actually kind of asked him to, even if that had been under the influence—

He went outside, twisting the scrap of paper in his hands, thinking he'd tell Lex he couldn't go out, he had to get some work done in study hall; then he'd go grab a sandwich at the Talon and waste the rest of the lunch period until he could go back to school without explanations. The purple car was all the way at the back of the school lot, under some trees, and Lex was on the phone purring threats at people. Clark stopped well back, watching, keeping his hands in his pockets this time so Lex couldn't toss the keys at him again.

And then Lex turned the phone off, turned the car on, and backed right up to Clark's side in one smooth, show-off curve. The purple glow washed dizzyingly across Clark's skin as Lex leaned over and unlocked the door. He had Lex's pants open before they were out of the parking lot.

"Oh, fuck," Lex said, when Clark nuzzled between his legs, and clenched his hand in Clark's hair. Clark buried his nose against the soft skin, just rubbing his mouth over Lex's dick as well as he could, licking, taking in the head as much as he could; the smell, the taste of him, the soft lapped edge of his wool pants and the zipper pressing into Clark's cheek, loose boxers easily pushed out of the way, and the Corvette roared approvingly as Lex put the pedal to the floor.

They had twenty-two minutes behind the tinted windows in a deserted parking lot behind the old strip mall. Clark spent most of the time with Lex's cock in his mouth, his own kept blissfully happy by the combination of his own hand buried in his jeans and the sounds Lex started making after about the first five minutes. He felt drunk on sex and on control, his hand cupped around Lex's flank, holding him down while he kept trying, increasingly frantic, to speed things up.

Finally, Clark sat back panting, licking his lips clean. Lex lay for a little bit with his eyes closed, his abs rising and falling in slow shuddering breaths, and then abruptly he leaned over in one quick sharp motion and took Clark's dick in hand, jerking fast and sloppy and hard, and he put his head down just in time to swallow so Clark's clothes weren't wrecked.

Clark walked into social studies two minutes after the bell and slid into his desk loose-limbed and disjointed, his mouth menthol-cold from the mints in the glovebox, wet from kissing Lex goodbye, and he stared blankly up at Ms. Klein for ten seconds solid after she asked him a question. She frowned, and for a moment he thought she knew, she could tell—

"All right, that's three of you that haven't done the reading," she said, looking severely over the class. "Guess what, kids, that means tomorrow is quiz day." Everyone groaned.


Lex came by the farm Friday evening. Clark was still out helping his dad in the fields, and by the time he got back, his mom had invited Lex to dinner and okayed their going out to the drive-in afterwards. Clark ate twice as much as usual trying not to look at Lex's mouth; Lex talked confidently to his dad about local politics and the new organic-farming zoning restrictions that were up before the town council. Afterwards, Clark hurried grimly into the car, because as bad and wrong as this was going to be, going into happy slut mode in front of his parents would be even worse.

At the drive-in, Lex gave him popcorn and Twizzlers and a strawberry-flavored blowjob, parked in the back row with the old scratched-up reel of Pirates of the Caribbean playing. "Makes mouths happy," Lex whispered in Clark's ear before he bent down, and Clark laughed breathlessly and grabbed the back of his seat and arched into it, watching through the one-way tinted glass. People he knew, kids from school, were walking around the lot, waving to each other from the parked cars. He could hear conversations through the closed windows, the movie soundtrack playing on the radio, while Lex's tongue curled wetly around the head of his dick and his warm breath teased Clark's thighs, and he was having sex right here in front of everyone, and wow, was this fantastic.

Wow, was he a pervert, Clark thought vaguely, staggering back up to the loft after Lex dropped him off; he collapsed onto the couch and lay there staring up at the rafters, and after a while he pulled the old ratty blanket over himself and just went to sleep with all the sticky-sweet fingerprints still on his thighs.


The weekend was weirdly normal. Lex called him on the way to the airport. "I'll tell you the details when I get back," he said, over the sound of the Corvette's rumbling engine, something like suppressed excitement deep in his voice. "You can reach me on the cell if you need me, otherwise I'll call you tomorrow."

It was a relief. Clark did chores and homework and talked to Chloe and Pete on the phone, watched some TV, surfed the Internet, played some Oblivion, poked at his telescope. By Sunday evening, he'd gotten all his work done, so he went into town and hung out at the Talon; at the counter, he ordered coffee and a raspberry scone, which turned into hot chocolate and a currant scone by the time they got to his table, thanks to the Talon's usual alchemy.

He made a pile of the tiny hard currants, and Lana stopped by his table to talk for a while. He tried to get excited, tried to find that jittery butterfly feeling when she smiled at him, except instead he found he was just talking to her, about the English paper they had due, the contentious debate at school over what the theme for the fall dance was going to be, a little gentle recruiting from her to join the decorating committee. It was uncomplicated and unthreatening and he didn't grope to think of something to say to keep her when she smiled and stood up and said, "I'd better get back to work."

Cars went by outside and it started to rain a little as it got dark; he tucked himself a little further back into his corner and watched people come and go until he jerked, startled, at the purr of the cell phone he'd forgotten was buried in his jacket pocket.

"Christ, I hate Tokyo in September," Lex's voice said in his ear.

"You're in Tokyo?" Clark said, before he remembered he hadn't been planning to talk to Lex.

"Yeah," Lex said. "At least the view is good." The phone chimed in Clark's ear and showed him a tiny but crisp photo of a window full of city towers, glittering with morning sunlight.

"Wow, cool," Clark said, putting it back to his ear. "What are you doing out there?"

"Meetings," Lex said. In the background, Clark heard a couple of soft thumps and rustling. "A breakfast meeting, a coffee meeting, a lunch meeting—"

Clark grinned and stretched his legs out, leaning back in the chair. "Sounds like fun, Lex," he said, insincerely. "Wish I was there."

"I wish you were here too," Lex said, sly and intimate, and Clark immediately thought of about ten things that would be happening right now if he was there, in Lex's hotel room—probably there was a big king-size bed overlooking that view, probably Lex would push him back onto it and—Clark blushed and glanced around quick to make sure no one was sitting nearby.

Lex said, "Think your parents would let me bring you next time? It gets nice here a few more weeks into the fall."

"To Tokyo?" Clark said; he could imagine his dad's reaction to that idea even if Jonathan didn't know exactly what Lex wanted him along for.

"Mm," Lex said. "We'll have to work on them." He sighed; Clark could hear his neck muscles softly cracking. "I've gotten kind of jaded. My dad used to drag me to all these cities when I was a kid, so I'd be used to traveling. That's all it is when it's Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, in a week—you get so sick of moving you don't even want to leave the hotel. It would be nice to take a little extra time and show you around, see it fresh."

"How old were you?" Clark said, his free hand clenching, like he could reach back in time and protect that small boy from Lionel.

"Started when I was ten or so," Lex said. "He got more aggressive about showing me off after I lost my hair. Wanted to make a point, probably." He paused, and added, "It worked out okay, Clark. Now I can do a fifteen hour flight to Tokyo and go straight to a meeting off the plane."

"Yeah, priceless," Clark said.

"Twelve thousand dollars, actually," Lex said. "First-class roundtrip ticket to Tokyo."

"Are you kidding me?" Clark said. "You spent twelve thousand dollars on a plane ticket?"

"I'm having a frugal period," Lex said. "LexCorp is still too small to really justify a private jet."

Clark just let his head flop back so he could roll his eyes at the ceiling.

"Don't think I can't see you making fun of the poor little rich boy from over here," Lex said. "What about Metropolis? That's a little closer to home."

"You mean—stay overnight in the city?" Clark said.

"We could do something educational," Lex said. "The symphony's always good. And then after dinner, we could do something even more educational."

"Lex!" Clark said, blushing again.

Lex laughed. "Where are you?"

"I'm at the Talon," Clark said. The crowd had thinned out, only a handful of people left, all of them occupied with their own company; Lana was busy cleaning up behind the counter.

"Sitting alone?" Lex said. "The usual table?"

"Yeah," Clark said. Then it occurred to him he didn't want Lex to know he was just sitting around not doing anything. "It's nice to just relax for a while," he added defensively. "It's been a busy weekend. We had to put in a bunch more apple trees—" Actually, his dad had been planning to put them in over the next week, but Clark hadn't had anything else to do, so he'd taken care of them after church, killing a couple of hours; he couldn't actually move the trees in at super-speed without hurting them, but digging the holes was the toughest part of the job, anyway—

"I'd like to have you for the whole night," Lex interrupted him, softly and full of intent, and Clark froze, his mouth half open. "Take our time for once."

"Um. Lex," Clark said, a little faintly. "Are you—You aren't—" He stopped without finishing the question; no way Lex was actually trying to—

"I have to go play golf in an hour," Lex said. "Indulge me."

"What? No!" Clark hissed frantically into the phone. He looked around wildly, sure everyone would be staring at him. Nobody was paying any attention at all; one of the other last few tables had just emptied out.

"Come on, Clark, tell me you haven't thought about it," Lex said, his voice amused and molasses-dark, melting from the other side of the world. "Tell me you haven't wondered how it would be to take it slow." Clark gripped the edge of the table.

"I haven't," Clark whispered, although he was thinking about it right now, what it would be like, what Lex would do to stretch it out—

"I want to give you everything," Lex said softly. "Everything you want, Clark, even the things you don't know you want yet, the things you don't know how to ask for, my mouth on the inside of your thigh, you spread out on my bed, holding on to the headboard to keep from shaking, because you need something and you don't know what it is, what to say to make me give it to you."

Clark was panting in short, scared breaths; his cock was hard against the fly of his jeans and he'd spread his legs under the table even though he hadn't meant to, and he had to hang up, he had to just lower his hand, bring the phone down and turn it off and take out the battery and break it into pieces and crush them into powder.

He had to, but he didn't, and Lex was saying, "But all you need to say, Clark, all you ever need to say is please, all you need to do is ask me, and if I don't know what you need, I'll keep you there until we find out together, until we get there, until you're just gone, your head's thrown back, your mouth is open because you can't get enough air to breathe, there's not enough air in the world, you're so hot your skin is wet and you're coming—" and his voice was wavering like he was the one asking, and he didn't sound smug, he didn't sound smooth anymore at all.

"Please," Clark said, barely out loud, and he really didn't know what he was asking for; his hand was clenched on his thigh, the fabric of his jeans straining, and if he was at home, if he was in the loft or his bedroom, he'd have unbuttoned his pants by now, he'd have his hand on his cock and he'd be jerking himself, and he wanted to get up and go outside and run and run and run.


He was coming back in with his dad from the orchard Monday night after watering the trees and the cows, sweating and dirty and glad; with his x-ray vision he'd been able to see the roots of the apple trees uncurling, poking out hopefully.

"Clark, it's Lex," his mom called, from the porch; he zipped over automatically to take the phone from her and said, "Hey, are you home yet?"

"I'm on the road from Metropolis Airport," Lex shouted into the phone, over the whipping wind; from the way it was howling, he had to have all the windows open and be going at least a hundred miles an hour. "Think your parents would get mad if I kidnapped you for a week if it was for a worthy cause?"

"That's probably not the best idea," Clark said hurriedly; he hoped Lex was joking, but if Lex showed up with the damn car, Clark would probably go right along with being kidnapped to Tokyo or wherever, so he wasn't taking chances on that. "What's the worthy cause?"

"Helping me celebrate my first billion fucking dollars!" Lex yelled. "You are talking to the head of a goddamned multinational corporation."

"I thought you already were a billionaire," Clark said, grinning involuntarily; Lex sounded almost giddy.

"A trust fund from my dad isn't the same thing as making my own," Lex said, which Clark could understand. "Here, put your mom back on."

"What?" Clark said.

"Put your mom back on," Lex said. "I'm feeling invincible."

"Uh, Lex—"

"Relax, not that invincible," Lex said, and Clark gulped and handed the phone to Martha and stood nervously by, ready to snatch the phone out of her hand if Lex seemed about to say anything disastrous like "Having deflowered your son"—Lex would use the word deflowered, Clark was pretty sure—or "As Clark's education in blowjobs isn't quite complete—"

"Oh," his mom said, listening. "Well, I'm not sure that—oh. Oh? Hmm. Well—" She looked at Clark, then she turned to Jonathan. "Can you spare Clark overnight tomorrow?"

"What?" Jonathan said.

"What?" Clark said.

"Lex has a spare ticket to the Sharks," Martha said. "If Clark's caught up on his chores, I don't see a reason he shouldn't go."

"On a school night?" Jonathan said, and Clark relaxed for a second before his mom gave his dad a look, indecipherable, and Jonathan cleared his throat and said, "Well, you did get all those trees in early."

Clark stared; his mom was already turning back to the phone, saying, "As long as he's at school on time the next day—" and his doom was sealed.

The Corvette was parked in the back of the lot when school let out, and Lex was lying in the driver's seat with his eyes closed and the seat tilted back, faint bluish tinge of jetlag under his eyes. Clark stopped just short, staring at the evil car in a fatalistic mood. He could feel the pull of it from here, or maybe it was the pull of Lex's parted mouth, the hollow of his throat, his hand in the driving glove resting on the lower curve of the steering wheel.

He came closer slowly, the desire welling up gradually, like a light on a fade switch, so he couldn't tell exactly when he tipped over the edge, but he was there by the time he knocked on the window and Lex opened his eyes and let him in. The trip to Metropolis was two hours and change the way Lex drove, his eyes bright and fixed on the road and his hands flexing in the black leather gloves every now and again as the needle hovered around the ninety-miles-per-hour mark. Clark watched him the whole way, a low thrumming constant bass note of want pounding in the back of his head, and by the time they arrived at the stadium, it didn't go away when he stumbled out of the car, as if he'd been overexposed, saturated down to the bone.

He stared at Lex, hoping Lex would do something, anything, but Lex just grinned at him and jerked his head. "Come on," he said, and led the way through security and to his VIP skybox at the twenty-yard line, and then he sat down in the leather seat and kicked up his legs and settled in to watch, as if he had no idea that Clark was dying. Clark sat down blindly with his legs spread and pointed his head vaguely in the direction of the field, gripping the armrests, though he didn't know what was going on because he couldn't focus on anything but Lex sprawled out there next to him. After a little while, Lex reached out and tucked his arm around Clark's, interlacing their fingers, rubbing gently along the line of Clark's palm.

Lex took him to the penthouse after. Clark followed him out of the elevator that opened into the living room, windows everywhere and the city glittering. Lex walked towards the kitchen, saying, "What do you want to order for dinner?"

Standing in the living room, Clark couldn't answer him; his throat felt thick and closed-off, and all he wanted—all he wanted was for the waiting to be over, because it was going to happen, whatever it was, and he needed it to happen now. When Clark didn't say anything, Lex turned around, and abruptly he tossed his keys on the counter with a clatter and crossed back to him, and his hands were on Clark's face and he was kissing Clark's mouth, over and over.

Clark was fumbling blindly at his own shirt, stripping it back off his shoulders and letting it fall, peeling his t-shirt up over his head, Lex grazing teeth over his collarbone as it came bare. "We have all night," Lex murmured against his neck, smoothing his hands over Clark's back in long strokes, trying to gentle him, slow him down, but Clark just shook harder and grabbed for Lex's shirt and pulled it out of his pants, pearl-smooth buttons slipping easily through his fingers, he had to—he had to—

—get them here, to the bed, and the urgency somehow faded once he was naked and stretched out and Lex had a hand working between his legs, slick and wet. It was too far along to stop now; he couldn't say no anymore, all he could do was lie there and let Lex do things to him—except then Lex was on top of him and sliding in, and suddenly Clark had to move, had to rock up into every thrust, had to stretch up so he could kiss Lex, put his hands on Lex's skin, anywhere, everywhere, on his face, so he could feel Lex's breath coming quick and hot and panting on his fingers.

"Please," Clark said, "please, Lex," and Lex said, "God, Clark," and dropped his head and just held there, gasping, and then he started moving again, faster, harder, perfect, perfect, perfect.

They showered and put their boxers back on and scrounged a grab-bag dinner out of the cupboards and fridge: apples and grapes, five kinds of cheese and a tin of foie gras, imported ham and olives and artichoke hearts, which Clark had never had before and ate three jars of with his fingers, dripping oil onto the counter until Lex caught his hand and licked his fingers clean, and then they had Lucky Charms for dessert and went back to bed and Lex pushed Clark flat on his back, straddled his hips, and slid down onto him.

That lasted about fifteen seconds, but they were fifteen really good seconds, and Lex just laughed at Clark's incoherent fumbled apologies and reached for Clark's hand and put it on his dick. Still dazed, Clark got the idea after Lex guided him through a couple of strokes; Lex's eyes closed and his mouth parted and he rolled his head back against his shoulders, breathing so hard Clark could feel the rhythm of it. Lex was so tight and hot around him, his hips rocking back and forth just a little, and Clark was getting hard again, swelling without ever having slipped loose, and Lex's dick was so hard and slick in his hand.

"Yeah," Lex said, hoarsely, "yeah, come on, Clark, that's it—" and Clark was pumping his hips up and oh, oh, god, oh.


Things settled—like a half-collapsed building after an earthquake—into the new pattern. Most days Lex would pick him up in the Corvette after school and they'd steal a couple of hours parked somewhere, making out in the car, lying on the warm grass after, catching their breath, lazily talking and sometimes just drowsing together. If Lex had work or Clark had the Torch or the decorating committee—he'd let Lana pull him into it, feeling obscurely guilty—they talked on the phone at night instead, Lex's voice low and caressing in his ear, warm breeze blowing through the loft, and sometimes Clark's hand strayed inside his jeans while Lex talked. He was developing a really inappropriate response to stories about the governing system of the Roman Republic and Clausewitz's tactics.

He got used to no one noticing. After about a week of the new status quo, Pete made a snide comment in the Torch office about Clark liking to ride in Lex's car; Chloe rolled her eyes and punched him in the arm, so Clark didn't have to, and that was as far as it went. Nobody else said anything at all; it wasn't like a lot of people really paid attention to Clark Kent, class dork, and they didn't pay attention to Lex, either, because he was too far in the other direction, in another plane entirely.

Clark went home after they finished the next day's issue and headed for the fridge, calling, "Hey, mom, when's dinner?"

Martha took the milk carton out of his hand before he could drink, and poured him a glass instead. "It's going to be a little late," she said. "Your dad had to go into town and pick up some spare parts for the feeder." She cut him a couple of slices of pound cake and put them on the table; Clark dived on them and took an apple to go along. She sat down and watched him eating, and then she said gently, "Sweetheart, I need to talk to you about Lex."

Clark froze, his mouth full of pound cake and terror, and she reached out and put her hand on his. "Don't be upset," she said. "We're just—he's so much older than you are. We're concerned that your friendship might be a little more complicated than you're ready for," and they were going to ground him for life or send him to school in another state—

"It's not—" Clark said, meaning to say, it's not friendship, but he couldn't make it come out. "It's not—"

She squeezed his hand. "We just think you should spend more time with people your own age," she said. "We've tried to teach you to be cautious, but we're afraid maybe we've gone too far—we don't want you to be isolated."

"I'm not isolated—I'm not just friends with Lex because I can't find anyone better," Clark said, tightly.

"No," Martha said, "but you don't have a lot of other friends you can spend time with, and Lex—" she hesitated, and then changed her mind about whatever she'd been going to say. "What I wanted to tell you is that your dad and I have discussed it, and we think that if you're confident you can control your powers, maybe you could try out for the football team, after all."

And—well. That was everything he wanted right there, wasn't it; an excuse and a reward and a get out of jail free card, the solution to all his problems. He didn't say much at dinner, just ate silently, ignoring the looks his parents were trading, and afterwards he went out to the loft with his hand clenched around the cell phone, lay down on his couch and waited.

The weather was finally starting to turn, cool air coming in at the window; he curled up on his side, watching the stars, until he realized that the moon had almost set, the house was quiet, and the phone hadn't rung. He checked it for messages, for missed calls; there weren't any, but Lex's number was in the call history. He called it three times and only got voicemail, and then he shoved it into his pocket and went.

He took the main road, but close to the turn-off for the mansion he started smelling smoke, hot and acrid and chemical, and he turned into the fields and ran, blurring faster and faster, until he broke out of the tall grass onto the back dirt road through the Luthor estate. The Corvette was in front of him, crumpled up against a tree and still burning, satellite fires in the grass and the tree branches. "Lex," he said; or his mouth formed the word, inaudibly.

He couldn't move for a moment. If he was too late—then the wind blew some of the smoke away and he saw Lex standing on the other side of the car, a few yards away.

Clark ran around the car and stopped. The driver's side door was standing open, the airbag hanging deflated from the steering wheel, the dashboard cracked and running tears of black plastic. Lex was wavering where he stood, black smudges on his cheek and the curve of his skull. He was still gripping his cellphone, the casing and the screen broken, thin trickles of blood running over his knuckles.

"Lex," Clark said, tentatively; Lex's face looked unreasonably calm. "Are you—What happened?"

"I crashed the car," Lex said, as matter-of-fact as if he had just walked down the block. Then he added, "The deal's off."

"What?" Clark said.

"My dad persuaded the Takagi Corporation to do business with LuthorCorp instead," Lex said. "He called personally to give me the good news. It was a little distracting."

Lex glanced down at the cellphone in his hand as if he'd just remembered it was there. He walked over to the car and tossed the phone into the wreck, then stood looking it over, his hands shoved carelessly into his pockets, no sign of pain showing on his face. The Corvette was brutally twisted, the hood accordioned up to the windshield, small fires still flickering in the engine like pilot lights. The paint was charred black and flaking where the steel wasn't already exposed.

Clark slowly joined him. There was no wave of lust, no comfortable blurring of the world; the car was just a lump of metal now, and it wasn't going to make him do anything he didn't want to.

"I should get a tow truck out here," Lex said. "I don't think my dad bothered calling the police." He was still impassive, but something in his eyes looked lost.

Clark looked around and stamped out the couple of small fires still lingering in the grass, and brought a couple of handfuls of dirt to smother the fires inside the engine. Then he went and slipped an arm around Lex's waist. "It can wait till tomorrow," he said. "Come on."

Lex didn't say anything for a moment, then he nodded once and came away. He let Clark clean up his torn hand, back in the house, sitting on the edge of the bed while Clark wound the bandage around his palm.

"Sorry about the Corvette," Lex said quietly, when Clark was finished; his eyes were soft. "I know you liked that car."

"I loved that car," Clark said, his voice cracking, and he reached out and cupped Lex's face in his hands and kissed him.