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Something Like Love

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Something Like Love

by Hope Roy

There weren't very many things that surprised Lex anymore. What he hadn't experienced by virtue of being raised by Lionel, he'd encountered in other various ways, many of them thanks to the charming backwater town that he'd been banished to. His security was basically non-effective in the face of Smallville's more altered citizens, no matter whom he hired; he'd grown used to seeing unannounced people showing up randomly in his office.

At least, he thought he had.


It was two o'clock in the morning, and maybe he'd had a little too much scotch--or perhaps his latest head injury had been worse than he'd thought--but he could have sworn that the room where he currently was had been empty a moment ago. He didn't think he was that drunk yet. He might be later if things kept going the way they'd gone today, but for the time being, he was fairly sure he was sober.

"I need to talk to you." There was something in Clark's face that was so insecure looking, and it was enough to make Lex close his laptop and set it aside, his own worries forgotten. It was amazing what expressive eyes and a pretty face could make him forget.

"Is something wrong?"

Lex set aside his glass of scotch as he waited for an answer. Clark didn't need to watch him drink, nor did Lex need to hallucinate anything else to add to the already long list of impossibilities that Clark had committed, the latest of which--not counting what he was sure he'd just seen--had apparently been due to adrenaline.

Clark swallowed heavily as he made his way to sit down on the couch next to Lex. His movements were slow and deliberate, giving Lex the impression that he was over thinking every single movement. "Aren't you going to ask?" Clark finally said slowly, his voice just barely more than a whisper.

"Ask what?" There were so many things Lex wanted to ask, but so few he thought Clark would answer, and he really wasn't up for another disappointment tonight. He'd already had enough of that today.

Annoyance crept up into Clark's face, accompanied by just the barest hint of frustration. "I know you saw me, Lex."

Saw him. Of course he'd seen him, but he'd also seen Clark as he went over the top of a Porsche's windshield, and apparently that had never happened--at least if he believed Clark's version of the story. Sometimes it was easier just not to see than it was to hear the lies, to know that he wasn't trusted. "Do you really want to talk about this, Clark?" Sighing, he leaned back into the leather couch cushions behind him. He didn't have the energy to hear another lie out of Clark's pretty mouth. Really, he'd rather just look at it.

Or feel it against his own.

"Damn it, Lex, yes."

There was enough desperation in Clark's voice to seriously get Lex's attention. Whatever was going on, it had Clark upset, and that was enough to make Lex feel a twinge of regret. He didn't need to make things any harder for Clark than they had to be. God knew Clark was just a kid, and Lex couldn't really blame him for lying--he'd done it enough himself as a teenager, back when he hadn't known how else to deal with the things he didn't like about himself.

"All right, I'm listening."

He might have been listening, but Clark wasn't talking. He looked like he wanted to, pretty mouth opening, but no sound came out. The look on his face was just so... lost, and it hurt Lex to see that.

"What's wrong, Clark?"

"I--damn, Lex, I--"

Leaning forward, he let a hand rest gently on Clark's knee. He wasn't sure he if was allowed to do this, even after what they'd done three weeks ago, but Clark seemed like he needed it, and Lex felt like he needed it, too. "It's okay, Clark, just talk."

"I'm... different," he whispered, turning his face to the side. It was just a tiny amount--nothing more than a physical demonstration of uncertainty--but it made the firelight flicker over his cheekbones in a way that made Lex's breath catch. "Always have been."

"I hit you with my car." It wasn't a question, but Lex still wanted an answer--wanted some kind of verification. After all the denials, he wanted to know that he wasn't crazy.

Clark nodded, running a hand through his hair. "Yeah."

"What are you, Clark?" He didn't much care as long as Clark was Clark, but curiosity drove him to ask.

A flash of hurt ran over Clark's face, and Lex thought that maybe he'd pushed too hard. Clark had always tried hard to be normal, and such a blatant denial of that pretense probably wouldn't sit well with him.

"I'm just curious," he added, letting his thumb rub gently over Clark's knee. "You're still you, no matter what else you are."

Clark shrugged a little, still not looking up at Lex. "Yeah. Me." He looked almost sick with the words, as if he didn't like that--didn't want to be himself.

"That's not a bad thing, Clark."

When Clark turned to look at him, Lex almost flinched at the anger and hurt in his eyes. He'd never seen this part of Clark before, but somehow he'd still known it had existed. Anyone with as many secrets as Clark had would be unable to really like themselves, at least on some level. "Fuck that!" he snapped, pushing Lex away. "You don't know, damn it, you have no idea--!"

And Lex didn't. Lex didn't know, because Clark hadn't told him. Clark hadn't been able to open up, and Lex was beginning to suspect that being unable to do so had had a more profound impact on him than Lex had ever known. These weren't the acts of a happy person--of someone who liked himself. The pain he was seeing in Clark's eyes right now was raw, brittle in a way that should never have happened--in a way that Lex wanted to fix as soon as possible.

"Then give me an idea." If nothing else, those words stopped Clark, his eyes going to Lex's face. "Give me an idea of what it's like to be you, and we'll fix whatever it is that's hurting you so badly. Whatever it is, Clark, I'll fix it, because you shouldn't be feeling like this."

All those times Clark had lied, Lex was beginning to understand, hadn't been because he'd wanted to. He'd been trying to cover something up--something that was too big for him to try and hide. It had to have hurt to have never been able to, as clich as it sounded, just be himself with anyone, and maybe that had been why Clark had been so terrible at lying. Maybe, no matter how hidden he kept it, it had always hurt for him to lie, to feel like he wasn't good enough, or normal enough, or whatever enough to share with the world.

"You can't fix it," Clark replied. All venom had drained from his voice, leaving it flat and dead. "You can't."

Apparently, Clark didn't know Lex as well as he'd like to think. Lex had never been told can't and believed it--he had always found a way to get what he wanted, or to get what he wanted for other people.

If Clark didn't know that, it was time he learned.

Giving him a small smile, Lex gently reached out and turned his head so that their eyes met. It hurt to see the pain and hint of fear there, but he forced himself to keep looking. If Clark had to deal with this day in and day out, Lex could deal with it for as long as he needed to in order to make that hurt disappear.

"I'm Lex Luthor, and I can damn well do what I want."

"You can't control nature, Lex," Clark replied wryly, pulling away from Lex's grip.

"Who says?"

Clark should know better than to write something off as a lost cause before trying to save it, and it was beginning to annoy Lex that he was giving up this easily.

Clark paused, and for a few seconds Lex was sure that he wasn't going to answer. When Clark finally, did, Lex found himself wondering if maybe he'd imagined the answer, because it was just so unbelievable.

"Lex, I'm an alien."

Alien. Like ET. Except not little and brown and ugly, but beautiful beyond anything Earth had to offer. Really, Lex should have known. No human being looked this good. No one from Earth could look like Clark. It didn't matter--Lex had never been conventional anyway. If Clark was an alien, then that would suit him just fine, so long as he was still Clark.

He'd accept it, but it was still hard to understand. Of all the things he'd expected, this hadn't been it. Meteor-infected, yes, but alien, no. He hadn't been ready to deal with this, but damn it, he had to, because Clark wouldn't be able to handle him doing anything else right now. Later, he'd deal with all the emotions that were coming to the surface, but right now he didn't have the luxury of doing that--not when Clark was looking at him as though he feared Lex was going to explode at any moment.

"No one on Earth could keep up with me anyway."

Miracle of all miracles, that pulled a tiny smile on Clark's face. It was only there for an instant, but it was long enough to let Lex know that he'd done the right thing.

"You know I'm weird, Lex," he added quietly, clenching his jaw in a display of blatant nerves. "You really did hit me, and when I run as fast as I can, you can't see me, but I can see you all the time, even if you're in a different room, because I can see through the walls, and--"

Lex kissed him. He'd never been great at talking things out, and Clark was just not in the best frame of mind to make that easier. Whatever had prompted this decision, it had quite obviously pushed Clark to his limit, enough to at least drive him here to Lex.

Lex wasn't complaining.

"You're you, and you're amazing," he told Clark when they finally broke the kiss. It was a little hard to get the words out, as his mind seemed focused on the wetness that lingered on Clark's lips. He loved Clark's lips. They were full and beautiful, soft when you kissed them, and something like electric when they touched skin. Clark was just barely past being a virgin, and he had the hottest mouth Lex had ever seen. It didn't make sense, but Lex was miles past that. Nothing made sense. Clark was an alien. Clearly, normalcy had been tossed out the window some time ago, and Lex had to admit that he kind of liked it that way.

Unconventional could be interesting, at least, though not always in a way that made sense. If things were going to make sense, Lex didn't think that compliments should make Clark's expression crumple. "You shouldn't think so--you won't, not when I finish."

"I assure you, Clark, nothing's going to change the way I feel about you." He knew that it would have been more soothing to say more, but he was a Luthor, and Luthors didn't say things about love. And, really, Lex didn't know if he loved Clark or not--he had nothing to go by. He wasn't going to say something that he wasn't sure about just because it would sound right. What they had was good enough for him, and if it wasn't love, then it was at least something like it. That was good enough for Lex.

"Yeah?" Clark asked, his lips twisting into a bitter smile. "Don't be so sure."

It was an effort for Lex not to express how tiring Clark's self-pity was getting. He understood that something was wrong, but Clark was acting like his world was ending, and Lex had never really been one for dramatics--he was too pragmatic. "Clark, just say whatever it is that you need to say."

Clark looked like he wanted to. He really, really did, but somehow the words just weren't coming. "You know how we didn't use a condom three weeks ago?" Clark said finally, sounding strained.

Lex nodded. "Yes."

"You came inside me."

Damn right he had. It had been one of the best climaxes of his life. "That's the general idea, Clark."

"I bet you never thought that we ought to have used one, huh?"

"Clark, where is this going?" Lex could do patient, at least if he had to, but this was getting absurd. He didn't want to play games with Clark--he just wanted to help him make his problems go away, which was hard to do if Clark wouldn't tell him what those problems were.

Not looking at Lex, Clark nervously ran a hand across his own stomach, letting it come to rest on his hip as he exhaled slowly. "I'm--I don't even know how to say this," he murmured, breaking off his words with a sharp, bitter laugh. "It just sounds so absurd."

"Just say it, Clark."

"I'm pregnant."

Well. That was... not what Lex had been expecting. Not at all, really. Not. At. All.

"Clark, you're a male."

"I'm also an alien."

Point to Clark, Lex mentally conceded. Still, this seemed a little too far-fetched to be true. A pregnant male alien? It was a plot even a cross between a daytime soap and a bad sci-fi show would laugh at.

"I can see it inside me," he admitted, his voice dropping to something around a low whine. It was enough to make Lex look over at him again, a decision he regretted when Clark met his gaze. There was so much pain and fear in those beautiful eyes that it made something inside Lex shift uncomfortably. He preferred seeing those eyes filled with happy satisfaction after Clark had found out how much fun sex could be.

The consequences of that sex were a little bit less fun. Why was this even happening? He wasn't supposed to have to worry about pregnancy scares with a male lover.

"Are you absolutely sure?"

Clark nodded and pointed to a place around his abdomen. "Right there. It's made some sort of... I don't know what it is, really. It looks almost like a sac around the--the thing."

Ordinarily, Lex would make sure the baby was his. He'd have ordered a whole battery of paternity tests, refusing to believe in the validity of the claim until he saw proof. After the number of times woman had come to him, claiming they were pregnant with his child, he'd have been foolish to do anything else.

But not this time.

This time--this time was so different. There was no doubt in his mind that Clark had never slept with anyone but him, and that was the way he wanted it. He wasn't complaining about that. Really, it was just the whole pregnancy thing. This shouldn't be happening. Barebacking with a virgin male wasn't supposed to have consequences.

"You're really quiet."

"I'm just--it's a lot to take in, Clark."

"I'm sorry." He looked so, so earnest, and it just made Lex feel like a horrible person. Clark shouldn't be apologizing. He was still in high school, and Lex had been the one who'd broken the law. It should have been hands off until Clark was eighteen, but an endearing personality and a gorgeous body had convinced him otherwise.

"Don't be. I'm supposed to be the responsible adult, I--"

"Wasn't operating with all the facts," Clark cut in, his eyes never leaving Lex's face. "You didn't know what I was, the risk you were taking. It was stupid of me--selfish of me--not to tell you, and--"

"You were only doing what you'd learned your whole life."

Lex didn't know what it was about those words, but Clark's face suddenly crumpled, and he looked away, his gaze fixed on something across the room. "Lex--" he choked out, his voice breaking. "I--"

Lex didn't think--he just pulled Clark against him, holding him as tightly as he could manage. He could feel the shaky breaths as Clark fought for control, could feel the beating of his heart against his chest, just as much as he felt it when Clark finally let go and let himself just hang on to Lex. "Damn, Lex--"

The sobs were slow at first, just hitching breaths, but they quickly escalated until Clark was gasping for air as tears slid down his face, landing hot and warm against Lex's neck. "Lex--"

"It's okay." It wasn't, but he was Lex Luthor, and he could make it okay. Clark was--he didn't even know what Clark was, really. Just that he needed him. He needed Clark... and Clark needed him.

It was a hard revelation, needing someone. Lex didn't like it, but he could no more avoid it than he could avoid waking up the next morning. As long as he was still living, it was going to be there, an addictive thing that could shatter him or make him. Clark didn't know the power he held, and Lex didn't want him to.

"It's okay," he whispered again, breathing the words out over Clark's hair.

It wasn't, but it would be. Lex would make sure.

Lies, Lex thought, were addictive. Once you told one, you realized how easy it was--how easy it would be to paint a picture that was more suited to your wants and needs. The truth so often hurt, and the lies were easier to accept. They created a world that was simpler to live in.

Simpler, but untrue in a way that was tearing Clark apart.

Clark was two months pregnant, and there was no doubt in Lex's mind that there really was a baby. He'd seen enough of what he assumed was morning sickness to know that for sure, and if that hadn't convinced him, the mood swings and the aversion to certain smells and foods certainly would have. Clark was a wreck.

Truthfully, Lex was as well. He just hid it better.

Over the last few weeks, Clark had begun to figure out that things weren't ever going to be the same. School would be out by the time that he reached nine months, not that it would matter--as soon as Clark started really showing, there was no way he could continue to go to classes. Regardless, things were still going to be irrevocably changed. Things already were.

Already, Clark was going out less with friends, instead preferring to spend more time with Lex. Clark's parents had noticed, not that Lex was surprised. Surprised, no, but worried, yes. He really wasn't looking forward to being on the wrong side of Jonathan Kent's shotgun.

Very few people relished the idea of being filled with buckshot, but in a few months that was going to be unavoidable. There was no way the Kents wouldn't notice if their son suddenly started to gain weight. As it was, Clark was having a difficult time hiding his bouts of morning sickness from them.

The absolute worst part was that Lex knew it was hurting Clark to hide this from his parents. He needed their support--craved it, even, and no matter how much Lex tried, he wasn't a substitute. He was something Clark needed, but he wasn't everything, and it was hurting Clark to lie to the other two people who were so important in his life.

As much as Lex feared their reaction, he knew that Clark needed to tell his parents.


Morning was just beginning to creep over the horizon, spreading over the handsome dark blue bedspread of Lex's bed in a splash of golden light. Clark looked beautiful in the light, and Lex wished that he could have stayed all day--that he didn't have to hurry home before his parent's woke up

"We need to talk, Clark," he murmured softly, leaning over to wrap an arm around Clark and nuzzle his way into the dark curls. Just a whiff of shampoo, the cheap department store kind, but like everything else, Clark wore it well.

A tiny breath of air escaped Clark's mouth as he sighed lightly, turning his face over into the pillows. It was endearing how he did that--how he fought waking up every morning. Despite being raised on a farm, he wasn't a morning person.

"Clark," Lex said again, this time a little more firmly as he let his mouth trail down to Clark's, seeking gently. He pressed their lips together, coaxing with his own until Clark opened his mouth. The boy tasted so good, even in the morning.

Lex felt it the instant Clark woke. It was just a tiny start, a tensing of his muscles before he relaxed, letting himself sink into Lex. He kissed back, slowly at first, just feeling Lex out, a gentle, warm exploration.

"Morning," Clark whispered when they broke away. His smile was brighter than the sun coming through the window.

"Morning," Lex replied, smiling back. "We need to talk."

Clark's face instantly hardened. Talk, at least in the world of Luthors, meant a problem, and Lex had to admit that he was a little uncomfortable realizing that Clark had learned that. He didn't want Clark to be like him--didn't want him to have to deal with that kind of baggage.

"About this." Slowly, trying not to startle Clark, he slipped his hand down until it rested on Clark's abdomen. There was just the barest hint of a bump there, and Lex had to work not to smile. That was part of him inside Clark--his baby.

His Clark.

It wasn't that Lex wanted to control Clark, but Clark was his, just as much as he was Clark's. The only difference was that he was well aware of what was his--Clark wasn't. Clark was too young, too naive, too Clark to think like that. Lex wasn't sorry he was that way.

Clark looked away. "Why?"

"Because you can't ignore the situation. You've got to deal with it, instead of pretending it doesn't exist."

The way Clark lightly bit at his lip was far too endearing. "I don't want to have a baby, Lex."

Lex didn't blame him for that, really, but there wasn't really another option. "There's not much we can do about that now, Clark." Truthfully, he wasn't sure he wanted to. The idea of a baby--something that he and Clark had made--was beginning to grow on him. It scared him, true, but it also made something very like hope bubble up inside of him.

Deep down, Lex had always believed Clark would leave him eventually. He was too perfect to want to stay with Lex forever, and at some point he'd realize that... and he'd leave. Lex wasn't going to be ready when the day came, and he feared what he'd do, because at some point he'd started to think of Clark as his. What they had wasn't casual anymore, and he'd be damned if he knew when that had happened. It just had, and he wasn't going to be able to let it go. But maybe now he wouldn't have to. A child would mean permanence. A family. Something Lex had never had.

Something he wanted.

"Your parents have a right to know about this."

Every bit of color in Clark's face drained. Truthfully, he looked as though he were facing a firing squad. "No."

"They're going to notice eventually."

"How can you be so calm about this?"

Lex definitely had Clark's attention now. All traces of sleep had vanished, left somewhere in a happy memory, along with the days when things had been normal. Everything on his face now read of frustration and annoyance, of something that showed Clark had met his breaking point.

"What are you going to do when you start showing, Clark?"

"I don't know."

Lex had to bite back a sigh. Clark, if he had his way, was going to try for avoidance until he absolutely couldn't do that any longer. Typical teenage behavior, but it was something Lex had a difficult time tolerating.

"You can't hide like this, Clark," he cautioned, reaching out and pulling Clark in against him. Even now, after a little over a month of having this regularly, it still amazed Lex how Clark fit against him. It sounded clich, but Clark seemed to be made for this.


"We need to tell your parents."

Lex wasn't surprised at how Clark tensed. It would have been bad enough if Clark had been a girl who'd had to go home and tell his parents he'd gotten knocked up--being a male wouldn't make it any easier. Though, Lex suspected that Jonathan was going to be more receptive to that than the fact that Clark had chosen to sleep with a Luthor.

" Lex, how could I possibly explain something like this?"

"We'll figure something out," he promised, dropping a light kiss in Clark's dark hair. He loved that hair. Loved the boy, actually. "They'll suspect something when you started gaining weight."

Clark blushed, hiding his head in Lex's neck in pure embarrassment. Had the situation been different, Lex might have found the action funny, but in the current situation, he just felt a pang of empathy. This had to be a living hell for Clark.

"They're going to kill me," he muttered. "If I don't just save them the trouble."

"Don't be melodramatic, Clark." Gently, he brushed a soothing a hand down Clark's neck.

Later, they'd go see Clark's parents, Lex decided. They'd talk, try to keep things as civil as possible, and hopefully they'd come to an understanding. If not, Lex would decide about that when and if he had to. Clark was his first priority right now. Everything else--including Clark's parents' peace of mind--would come second. A distant second.

Later, they'd work things out, but for right now, he'd see if he couldn't improve Clark's mood. Judging by the way that Clark smiled when Lex reached out and touched him, Lex was fairly certain that he had a good chance at achieving his goal.

Everything else would wait until later.

"Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?"

Gritting his teeth as they walked up the steps to the Kent house, Lex forced himself not to say anything. Of course he didn't want to do this. No one in their right mind would want to, though Lex was beginning to wonder if he was even in his right mind anymore.

"Clark, you know this has to happen. Don't you think it's better for your parents to find out before the physical evidence makes it impossible to keep lying?"

There were times when Lex really hated being the rational adult. He was only six years older than Clark, barely out of his rebellious teenage stage himself. Responsibility just wasn't what he was used to.

"I--I don't know," Clark muttered, running a hand through his hair as Lex opened the front door.

Sighing, Lex said nothing. He'd never seen Clark try to avoid something as much as he had in the past few weeks. It was almost as if he'd decided that, should he not think about the problem, he wouldn't ever have to deal with it.

The smell of baking bread washed over Lex as he stepped into the kitchen. The aroma was nice, comforting in a way that Lex had never actually experienced but had always craved. If he'd grown up like this--like Clark had--his life could have been very different.

"Mrs. Kent?" Lex called as he made his way into the kitchen.

The click of shoes came from the living room, and a few seconds later Mrs. Kent rounded the corner with a sunny smile on her face. "Hi, Lex," she greeted him, putting the empty mug she'd been carrying in the sink. "How've you been?"

It was a normal greeting, even if she'd seen him only last week when he'd brought Clark home. He wasn't going to miss these genuinely kind greetings, as he suspected they'd become a lot less friendly when she actually knew what he'd been doing with her son.

"Good," he lied with a small smile. "Is Mr. Kent home? Clark and I would like to talk to you both about something."

A small frown creased her brow. She looked worried, and Lex wished to God that after his mother had died, someone would have looked at him like that--like they were interested and cared. Clark was lucky in ways that he didn't even know.

"Is everything all right?"

He nodded. Another lie, not that he wasn't used to telling them by now. It shouldn't have affected him at all by this point, but lying to Mrs. Kent was somehow just hard. It was really no wonder Clark generally did what his parents said.

"Jonathan should be in from the barn any minute--"

The opening of the front door interrupted her, and Lex swallowed as Mr. Kent walked in. He thought he saw Clark shift a little uncomfortably next to him. The poor kid looked as though he wanted to take off running and never come back.

"Lex," Mr. Kent greeted a little stiffly, inclining his head with a small nod as he went to the sink to wash his hands. "Chores are all done," he announced, glancing over at Clark. "Though, if I recall, someone was supposed to help me."

Even blushes were endearing on Clark. Just that little splash of color darkened his cheeks, reminding Lex of how young Clark actually was... which was really something Lex didn't need to be thinking about right then. He didn't consider what he'd done with Clark cradlerobbing, but he suspected that the Kents might not see things the same way.

"Sorry," Clark mumbled, shooting his father a guilty look.

Mr. Kent's frown didn't fade. "That's the third time in two weeks, Clark."

Clark just looked so... sorry, like he'd betrayed his father because he hadn't done the chores. It angered Lex, because he knew that Clark not having done the chores wasn't the issue--the issue was that he'd been out with Lex instead.

Clark opened his mouth, clearly intent on speaking, but Lex cut him off. There was no need to listen to a blundered apology--not when it would take so much more than that to patch up what was about to be said. "It's my fault that Clark hasn't been home," he began slowly, forcing his face to become emotionless. Emotions wouldn't help this conversation at all.

Jonathan looked at him with--not condemnation, exactly--but with something like annoyance. He could almost hear the word "Luthor" flowing from his mouth in a manner akin to a curse, because if Clark had been with him, then, at least by Jonathan Kent's standards, they'd most certainly been doing something they shouldn't have.

It aggravated Lex beyond belief that, in this case, Mr. Kent was right.

"I--we actually need to talk to you about--"

"I'm pregnant."

The words jolted Lex hard, even though he'd known they were coming--he just hadn't known that they were going to come like that. Some tact would have been nice, but as he glanced quickly over at Clark, who was sitting on a stool at the counter, he found it hard to be truly angry. Annoyed, yes, but not angry.

Exhaling slowly, he closed his eyes. Clark should have just been silent--should have let Lex explain, ease them into it. It wouldn't have helped, but at least it would have kept the attention on him. He would have much preferred that Clark's parents associated him with their anger--Clark didn't need that, not now, not ever.

At Clark's words, both Jonathan and Martha stopped. They said nothing, but just looked at their son in astonished disbelief. In any other situation, it might have been comical. It wasn't here. Not at all.

Shock wasn't a good look on Mr. Kent, but it would have been improved, at least in Lex's opinion, if he'd kept his mouth closed. Just like everything in his life lately, he wasn't that lucky.

"That's not possible," Mr. Kent began slowly, his voice low and dangerous. "And it's not funny, either. What's really going on, son?" His eyes darted over to Lex, the flash of worry in them obvious. Lex almost laughed when he saw it. Even at this point, Jonathan was still worried that Lex might get a clue about Clark.

Lex wondered what Mr. Kent was going to do when he found out that he really did know about Clark.

Clark's expression remained downcast. "I'm not kidding."

More silence, even more awkward than the first. Both of Clark's parents looked completely shocked, so out of their element. Despite having raised an alien child, they apparently hadn't been ready for this. Lex didn't blame them. He hadn't been either.

"Clark," Martha finally said slowly, moving forward towards her son. "Are you--Clark, that's not--that can't be possible."

Clark sighed, looking down at his stomach as his mother stopped beside him, letting one hand rest on his shoulder. "I can see the baby inside me."

Mr. Kent shook his head heavily. "No. That's not possible," he denied, sounding remarkably like a man in denial. It dawned on Lex that he might have just found where Clark had gotten that particular tactic. "You're a man, Clark. Men don't get pregnant."

"But aliens do," Clark replied bitterly. "And before you freak, Lex already knows."

Both Mr. and Mrs. Kent looked as though they'd just been given a death sentence. Lex wondered what they thought he'd do, exactly. Hurt Clark? Study him?

Martha recovered first. "Clark, how did this happen?"

"It was simple, actually," Clark began sarcastically, and Lex just wanted to slap him. Yes, the situation wasn't ideal, but Clark was being a brat, and Lex didn't need that at the moment--none of them did. "I had sex, and, well, it happened," he finished, looking down at his stomach resentfully, as though it were responsible for everything.

"Sex," Jonathan repeated, shaking his head. "How could a girl possibly get you pregnant?"

Lex knew he probably shouldn't be, but he had to admit he was thankful the Kents had apparently forgotten that conception only happened if you had two people. Shock could really be a godsend.

The blush that rose up over Clark's cheeks was telling enough, and Lex really, really just wanted to banish him from the room. Some kind of subtlety would have been nice, but this--this wasn't anywhere even close to that. "It wasn't a girl."

Martha was the first to understand. Slowly, her gaze drifted over to Lex, shocked and accusing. It was like a punch to Lex's gut to see that, at least from her.

"Lex," she murmured, her tone so disappointed. "What were you thinking?"

That hurt. It hurt more than every look his father had ever given him. More than anything to do with his father, really, because he respected her. He wanted her approval, and so maybe he shouldn't have slept with her underage son, but it still hurt.

It actually hurt more than the punch that slammed into his jaw a moment later.

"Jonathan!" he heard someone shout, followed by a shocked, "Dad!" Damn, that hurt.

"What in the hell were you thinking!?" Jonathan shouted, grabbing Lex by his lapels and hauling him upright. It would have been ridiculously easy for Lex to counter the attack, but somehow he didn't think that hitting Clark's father would help the situation any.

"Dad, stop!"

"Mr. Kent--" he tried to say, but a rough shove that landed him up against one of the posts of the kitchen stole the words.


Lex had to admit, Clark's strength could come in handy. Watching Jonathan being pulled off of him and held back by his son was almost comical--just not in this situation. Nothing was really very funny right now.

"I thought you had more sense than this," Jonathan spat at his son. "How could you do this? What were you thinking, telling him something like this?"

"That's enough!"

It was a true tribute to the power Martha Kent held in her household that her husband and son froze when she spoke in that tone of voice. This woman would have done well in the business world--just one sharp look from her and half the major executives Lex knew would be running for cover. Hell, he would have liked to run for cover.

"This isn't going to solve anything," she said slowly, clearly trying to choose her words carefully. "Sit down."

They did. There were a few sharp looks exchanged between Clark and Jonathan, and one particularly dirty one sent at Lex, but all three still moved to the kitchen table and sat.

Once they were all settled, Martha was the first to break the silence. Pushing a few locks of her red hair back with a weary sigh, she looked over at Clark. "Clark, explain this to me, because I just don't understand how you could do this--either physically or in good conscience."

Clark blushed heavily. "Another alien thing, I guess." Lex had to admit, he got a bit of sadistic enjoyment out of seeing Jonathan pale at hearing his son say that out loud, especially in front of him, a Luthor. In Jonathan's mind, Lex doubted that he could think of much else that was worse.

"And how could you let him?" That question was directed at him, and Lex was so, so not ready to answer it. He'd asked it to himself almost every day since this had started, and he still didn't have an answer--neither for himself or anyone else.

Sighing, he ran a hand over his head. "It wasn't my best decision, I'll admit, but--"

"Damn right, it wasn't," Jonathan mumbled, shaking his head and shooting Lex a glare. "If Clark wasn't... Clark, I'd have you thrown in jail."

Lex laughed bitterly. "But to do that you'd have to subject Clark to a DNA test, wouldn't you?" If they looked, they'd certainly find his DNA inside of Clark, but Lex knew that the Kents would never let their son go under the microscope like that--not that they'd have to. If Lex thought that was the only other option, he'd head right to the jail himself.

"Both of you, stop it," Martha snapped, her eyes flashing with anger. "Believe it or not, Jonathan, it takes two people to make a decision like this. Your son was a willing party--you can't heap all the blame on Lex."

Lex didn't think he'd ever heard more wonderful words in his life.

Except Martha was still frowning at him in clear disapproval. "That said, you're six years older than Clark. You're the adult in this situation. You should have known better."

There was that disappointment again--the kind that hurt so much. It shouldn't have, but it did, and Lex felt something clench uncomfortably inside of him. "I know." And he did. He knew he should never have touched Clark, but damn it, how could you resist someone who looked like that? "Whatever Clark needs, I'll help with it. I want to--"

"Lex didn't coerce me into anything."

Sighing, Lex closed his eyes again. A little late, he thought bitterly; that declaration would have been good a few moments ago when it would have actually fit with the conversation.

"I never said he did, Clark," Martha replied calmly, overriding Jonathan's unintelligible murmur. Lex doubted it was anything flattering. "But, like it or not, he is the adult in this situation--"

"And I want to take responsibility for what happened," he said again. He did. That wasn't a lie. Clark was... Clark was important, more so than Lex really wanted to think about. He was important enough that he had a bearing on what Lex did, and that implied control, which was something Lex hadn't ever been good at handing over. Most people wouldn't understand the logic, but that he was willing to allow Clark to be important enough to influence his decisions was proof of just how important Clark really was to him.

"And do what, Lex?" Jonathan snapped, leaning back in his chair. "Raise the baby to be like you? No."

"Stop it." Anger on Clark was almost becoming, Lex thought, so long as it wasn't directed at him. "Lex is only trying to help. How do you expect him not to become what you already think he is when you treat him like he's Satan incarnate?"

A tinge of red rose on Jonathan's cheeks, leaving Lex with a small amount of satisfaction. "Clark, I know this is hard to see, Son, but he took advantage of you. He's six years older, and he knew better. He doesn't have your best interests at heart."

Martha thinned her lips. "I think that's a little harsh, Jonathan."

So did Lex. He did have Clark's best interests at heart. No, he wasn't perfect--not even close--but he was trying. Just last month, he'd walked into a plant with only a bullet-proof vest on, all because Clark and some other high school kids were inside, all of them at the whim of a delusional ex-employee. Evil, unredeemable people didn't do that, and Lex was at the point where he wasn't going to believe anything else. He'd proved that he wasn't his father, damn it.

"It doesn't matter," he replied, his voice cold and clipped. "I think we'd all agree that this is going to be hard to hide, and that you're going to need the help I can offer."

Martha nodded, though her face had become paler, even more drawn. She looked tired, Lex thought, though he couldn't really fault her for that. He knew he was tired. "I don't agree with or condone what you did, and if Clark were anyone else, I'd agree with my husband on this--I'd make sure there were repercussions."

Oh. Well, Lex hadn't expected that. He might not have thought she was on his side, but neither had he thought that she'd have liked to take legal action.

Sighing, she ran a hand through her hair, silencing Clark with a look when he tried to say something. "You may think you were an equal party in this, Clark," she told him seriously, her disappointment clear, "but Lex was still the adult. The decision, ultimately, was his to make."

It was. Lex wasn't arguing with that. He just thought that turning him in for statutory rape was a little extreme.

"What did you have in mind, Lex?" she asked finally, turning her tired gaze back on him.

It was clear that Martha hadn't forgiven him. What she was doing was something that Lex knew all too well, something that he practiced often: she was weighing her options. She was considering the facts, realizing that she didn't have the resources to protect her son, and acting accordingly. He was just the lesser of two evils.

Martha obviously didn't like what she'd decided, and it showed in the thin line of her mouth, the crease on her forehead--even in the look of her eyes. She was dealing, yes, but Lex saw how deep her feelings ran. She was a mother, first and foremost, determined to get her son through this, but her own emotions were still there, still clear in her face.

With perfect certainty Lex knew--realized right then--that she'd be the one he'd have to win over. Jonathan was all hot temper, dislike that had very little to do with Lex but all to do with his last name. Martha Kent formed her own opinions, and right now she saw the man who'd taken advantage of her son. He was nothing more, nothing less than what his actions displayed.

Somehow that was even worse than Jonathan's dislike, because this he'd earned.

"He can't stay in school--not here," Lex began. Later, there'd be time to think about how to prove he wasn't what she thought, but right now they had to get this right. They weren't going to get second chances, not now. "Really, he can't stay here at all. People will notice if he stops leaving the farm--if he's absent from school for too long. If anyone comes looking..." There was no need to finish that sentence. Everyone in the room knew what discovery would mean for Clark.

"You're right," Martha said out slowly, taking a deep breath. "He can't."

Clark, as he'd often done during the last few weeks, wore an expression of discontentment. "Don't I get any say in this?"

Surprisingly, Jonathan was the first to answer. "No," he answered sharply. "You lost that when you made your first decision."

Discontentment faded to anger, and Lex just wanted to laugh. Clark didn't know what he was doing--didn't know what he was asking for when he said he wanted control.

"He needs to be out of Smallville," Lex said slowly. "Somewhere where he won't run into anyone he knows."

Martha nodded, and while Jonathan still looked reserved, Lex could see the knowledge of the truth flickering in his eyes. "Metropolis?" Martha suggested.

Lex shook his head. "People there might recognize him."

"Then what are you suggesting?"

Sighing, Lex paused. He just... didn't want to deal with this. The responsibility was too much to even consider, but he had the best chance of keeping Clark safe. He had the resources to handle this, and maybe he wasn't ready to, but he knew he probably should have thought about repercussions before he decided to sleep with Clark.

It was a little late now, and leaving wasn't an option.

"There's this company in DC that my father's just recently bought out. He wants to strip it down, sell the parts. I think that, if I asked, he might let me oversee that."

Clark looked shocked, and Lex was thankful that he'd trusted his instincts and hadn't mentioned this to him before. They'd probably still be avoiding it if he had. "I don't--I can't go that far--"

Martha cut him off. "Washington DC?" she asked, looking taken aback, and Lex doubted that she'd considered the possibility that Clark might be that far away.

Clark didn't look any more understanding than she did. His eyes were wide, confused in a way that made Lex hurt. This shouldn't be happening. That look never should have been there at all, and he cursed himself for everything he'd ever done to make things that way.

The sound of ceramic on wood startled them all. "No," Jonathan began, shaking his head as he moved his hand away from the coffee cup that he'd just slammed down. "Absolutely not--"

"Just until after the baby," Martha said quietly, cutting her husband off as though she hadn't even heard him speak. Her face was set, hardened in decision, and Lex envied the kind of strength that it took to make a decision like the one she'd just made. "Then he comes home."

"Yes." A thousand cover stories were already running through his head, but no matter what he chose, he'd make sure of one thing: Clark would get his life back.

"Martha!" Jonathan tried to protest, looking shocked. "You can't just let him take Clark thousands of miles away. You don't know--things have already happened--"

Sighing, she closed her eyes for a moment. When she spoke, it was so quiet that it was almost inaudible. "We don't have a choice."

It was, Lex thought, exactly that simple.

"I can't believe you made me tell my parents." Clark's voice was soft as it drifted across the room, and had Lex not been listening, he might not have heard it at all.

"It was a matter of inevitability, Clark." They'd been able to put that topic aside for a few months, but it was resurfacing. Lex wasn't surprised. It was expected that Clark was going to be resentful about that, especially considering that his parents--mainly his mother--had been instrumental in making him leave Smallville. It was natural for him to be feeling resentful right now... at least Lex thought it was.

"Like having to leave school?" There was just the barest hint of a challenge in his voice, and that was almost too much for Lex. After a few months of morning sickness, odd food cravings, and sensitivity to certain smells, this was what was finally going to put him over the edge. Just wonderful. Damn it, he had enough to deal with--he didn't need Clark's temper to add to that long, very complicated list.

"Clark, you're five months pregnant. We delayed it as long as we could, but you're starting to show, and--"

"I know," Clark replied sharply, moving across the room to sit down on the bed, his back to Lex. "We've been over this, remember?"

He sounded so bitter. So angry at life in general, maybe even Lex, and that was just badly ironic. Attraction may have gotten them into the situation, but it did absolutely nothing when it came to dealing with the repercussions. Lex just had to hope that maybe genuine affection would.

"Yes, but you don't seem to understand it yet."

Clark laughed quietly, though the sound was tinged with bitterness. "Whatever."

Had it been anyone else, Clark's tone would have only annoyed Lex further, but today he recognized it for what it was: A scared kid, far from home, being sarcastic and snippy because it was easier than letting the pain and fear show through. Lex ought to know that tactic; he'd used it often enough when he'd been younger.

In some ways it was frightening to know that he and Clark had more in common than they'd thought.

Changing his tactics, he moved forward, sliding onto the bed beside Clark. "Hey," he murmured quietly, reaching out to brush away the wrinkles in Clark's button-down. Lex had dressed him today, insisting on nice clothing while they were traveling, because farm boy flannel in an airport caught more attention than a tasteful oxford. "I know this isn't the best situation, Clark, but could you just try?"

*Try. Yes, Clark, try to deal with something that never should have happened--something that will change your life irrevocably. Yes, Clark, just try.* Just the idea alone made Lex sick.

The bone-deep frustration that he saw in Clark was exhausting. The inability to do anything to change the situation was written in every line of his body. "Yeah," Clark said quietly. "I'm sorry."

Sorry. Clark never should have had to even be sorry.

"I think you'll like DC," Lex told him after a few moments' pause. It was a pathetic attempt, but they needed to lighten the subject somehow. "There's lots of things to see, and--"

"And more opportunities for you to lecture me on how history relates to and changes the world we live in today," Clark finished for him, giving him a little smile.

Lex laughed. "Ancient history is actually more my style." Of course, if it would get Clark to smile, he'd recall every ounce of his education on American history. Hell, he'd go out and find everything he could on it.

It just wouldn't be right now. Right now, he thought he needed some rest. It had been a long trip, a long last few months, and Lex was tired.

The bed was soft when he laid back on it, reaching out to pull Clark with him. It wasn't home, expect that it was for the next four months or so, and maybe he hadn't quite wrapped his mind around that yet. He knew Clark hadn't.

"I think you're a geek, Lex," Clark murmured jokingly, the bitter tone having vanished as he allowed himself to be pulled back onto the bed. He fell in a boneless sprawl of limbs, relaxing against Lex's chest. "Not everything has a direct relation to the ancient Greeks."

"Not everything," Lex agreed with a grin. Somewhere along the line his hand had found its way to Clark's hair, beginning to gently card through it. He should have realized that the boy was alien just from his hair alone. No human had hair that soft. "But I can usually find one."

Clark laughed, and something shifted in his eyes. His gaze became more intense as it settled on Lex, and a small smile curled on his lips. They'd been missing this, Lex realized. With all the craziness of the past few months, they'd stopped being just friends. The easy banter that they'd enjoyed--that had made them so close--had been stomped out, because it hadn't been a funny situation. Lex hadn't realized that maybe relaxed conversation had been just what Clark had needed.

Maybe it had been just what Clark had wanted.

Whatever the reason, it had relaxed Clark and the situation. Although, relaxed might have been the wrong word. It had eased the tension, certainly, but Clark didn't look like he wanted to relax, exactly.

Reaching down, Clark began to undo the buttons of his shirt. It appeared to be an innocent act, but one look at Clark's face--at his eyes--and Lex knew better. Clark was being a tease.

And he was doing a wickedly good job of it.

As the first flash of skin became visible under Clark's shirt, Lex felt his breath catch in his chest. They hadn't done anything since their talk with Clark's parents--it had been too awkward for Clark to sneak away after that, when his parents would have known exactly what they were doing.

Most people wouldn't have believed it, but Lex had the very best intentions when it came to Clark. If he'd had his way, those intentions would have remained unsullied. Normally, Lex got his way... just not with Clark. It was a little unnerving, actually, just how good Clark was at getting what he wanted.

"Clark," he murmured warningly, trying his best to look away. He should have more willpower than this.

"C'mon, Lex," Clark murmured, scooting a little closer to him. Lex could smell him, the warm scent of sunshine and hay, and it was almost too much. He was all but defeated before Clark even got started. "Please?"

"Clark, your parents are trusting me--"

"I don't discuss this with my parents," Clark laughed, glancing up at Lex from under his dark bangs. Those eyes were almost hypnotic, and the way they sparkled in good nature had Lex too transfixed to look away. "They won't know."

His pause was apparently permission enough for Clark, and moments later Lex was pinned to the mattress, held there by a distinctly heavy teenager--a heavy teenager who didn't understand--or just ignored--boundaries that were put in place for his own good. "It's the--principle," Lex managed to say. "You find out how deserving of trust you are by what you do when no one's looking."

"I thought that was character," Clark murmured as he leaned in and nuzzled at Lex's neck.

"You can't earn trust without character."

Clark grinned a little more when Lex raised his hand to brush back Clark's hair. "Well, I'm looking. That gets you off the hook, right? If character is only what you do when no one's looking, I mean."

Lex laughed. It didn't, of course, but Clark was hard to resist when he was like this. Hard to resist at any time, really, but Lex liked it when he was happy. In this position, it was easy to forget why touching Clark was wrong. It was easy to push away the image of the disappointed stare on Martha Kent's face, the outright anger on Jonathan's--the looks that would be there if they knew.

They weren't there. They wouldn't know. It didn't matter.

Clark did matter.

Finally giving in, Lex pushed Clark's shirt off his shoulders, running his hand over the golden skin under it. There was a noticeable bulge around Clark's midsection, but Lex even found that attractive. Someone as perfect as Clark shouldn't be allowed to wear clothes. He should stay naked in Lex's bed every day, his own personal wet dream.

"You're too beautiful, Clark," he murmured, rolling them over so that he was on top. Clark smiled up at him, perfectly content with the new position. "It makes it hard for me to do the right thing."

Wickedly pleased with himself was a good look on Clark. "Just with me," Clark replied with a grin that was almost naughty. Keeping that look, he stretched upward until his hands came to rest above his head, where he bent one slightly, making him look like something straight out of a porn magazine. He'd learned how to make himself look good--not that he had to try hard. He knew what Lex liked him to do, and shamelessly showing himself off was high on that list. If Lex wasn't mistaken, Clark even liked doing it, if only for Lex.

"Where'd you learn to do that?" Lex asked, shaking his head, trying to hide his pleasure. It seemed almost shameful that he'd taught a virgin to do all that--not that Clark was a virgin anymore. Not even close.

Clark moved upward to kiss him. "Where do you think?"

"I think I'm doomed for corrupting you like this."

"But you like it."

Lex did like it, more than he cared to admit, even to himself. For someone who never should have touched Clark in the first place, he'd done a good job of teaching him everything he enjoyed in a partner.

"Do you have something?" Lex asked finally. He hadn't brought any lube, because he just hadn't wanted to tempt himself. He really should have known better.


Lex never even saw Clark move. All he saw was that suddenly there was lube on the bed beside Clark, and Clark was back in his original position, looking even more like a fantasy come to life than ever before. "I think I'm beginning to like those abilities of yours," Lex told him as he reached out and squirted some of the lube on his fingers, warming it.

Immediately, Clark's expression darkened. "Yeah, not all of them," he muttered, glancing down at his stomach.

That wasn't exactly true--Lex did want that ability. He did want the baby, and he couldn't help but feel a little guilty about that. Clark was clearly so adverse to it, but Lex was almost anticipatory. He knew he wasn't bad with babies--he'd been good with Julian. It would be another chance for him, and he wouldn't mess this one up. He'd be a better father than Lionel had been, better to Clark than Lionel had been to Lillian.

But even as Lex wanted to think that, there was still that nagging doubt that he couldn't quite get rid of, born from his thoughts about how a baby would make sure that he was always linked to Clark--that Clark would always be his. Clark didn't need that kind of manipulation, and a baby didn't need to be used like that. Those were thoughts from someone he didn't want to be--someone who calculated, who used those close to him.

Lex didn't want to be that person.

"Don't you think that maybe this could work out all right?" he asked a bit tentatively as he leaned down and inhaled the warm scent that lingered around Clark's neck. Before he'd slept with Clark, he'd never known that sunshine had a smell.

Clark's hand slipped up Lex's back, coming to rest gently on his shoulder. "Hmm?"

"The baby," Lex clarified.

Clark didn't seem to want to think about it. It was easier for him to shimmy out of his pants and toss them aside, giving an invitation for something more, than it was for him to talk about this. It didn't make sense, because Lex knew Clark--he'd love the baby once it was here. He was easily drawn in by all things helpless, and baby would be at the top of that list. Really, it was only the idea of having a baby that Clark didn't like. Or, rather, the idea of actually giving birth to it.

"I don't know," Clark finally replied, looking away for a moment. When he looked back, his eyes had become closed off, lacking the warmth that was usually there. "Can we not talk about it right now?" he asked, tipping his head back. He was begging for a touch with his body, and that was just as effective--and distracting--as if he'd done it with words.

"Later, then," Lex agreed. He couldn't talk with all that gorgeous skin spread out in front of him. They'd talk when they were fully clothed. Later. Much later.

Sighing, Lex leaned down and began to trail kisses up Clark's neck. Clark's skin was better, more addictive, than any lover he'd had before. The noises he made, the look in his eyes when Lex touched him--it was almost more than Lex could take. He couldn't lose this, not now, not ever.

They'd talk about the baby later.

"I look horrible!"

Clark did not, nor did Lex think he would ever be capable of looking horrible. If a bad wardrobe filled with flannel hadn't accomplished that, a baby certainly wouldn't.

"You look fine, Clark," he tried to soothe, making his way across the room to lay a hand on Clark's back. "You could never look horrible."

"You're lying to me."

Sighing, he tried to ignore the glare Clark gave him, mentally considering how happy he'd be when these mood swings were over. Seven months he told himself again. Two more to go. Later, they'd look back on this and laugh--at least he hoped so.

"I'm not," he told Clark gently, letting his arms go around him, caressing a hand over the prominent bulge. "You're beautiful, Clark. A baby doesn't change that." Attempting to convey his affection, he continued to let his hand rest on Clark's stomach, trying to feel for the baby's kicking. There wasn't much at the moment; the baby preferred to kick at night, when Clark was trying to sleep. Clark sometimes let him feel, at least when he wasn't cursing their child's sleeping habits.

"My parents are coming today, and I look horrible."

Lex forced himself not to sigh again. "Your parents are going to love you no matter what you look like. They're just happy that they're getting to see you again."

Despite all his complaining, Lex knew Clark was happy, too. He'd missed his parents terribly over the last two months. He hadn't said anything, of course--Clark was seldom that obvious--but Lex knew him well enough to just know.

Clark looked like he was about to say something else, but the buzzing of the intercom interrupted him. "You'd better get that," he said sullenly, turning away from Lex.

It was a force of will not to say something harsh in reply to that tone. Clark could be a real brat when he wanted to be, and Lex had learned over the past few months that trying to match that mood only pushed him further, to the point where Clark would sometimes stay silent for hours, just brooding. It wasn't pleasant, nor was it entertaining, and Lex couldn't wait for him to work his way out of this moody teenage stage--or maybe it was just the pregnancy, because Clark had never been like this before.

"The Kents are here to see you," Lex's security informed him when he answered the intercom. Wonderful. Just wonderful. A moody Clark, plus two parents who weren't overly fond of Lex. These last two months were going to be interesting.

"Show them up," he replied.

Clark was still standing in the center of the room, but the anger on his face had faded to something softer, something more insecure. "They're here already?" he asked tentatively.

Lex nodded. "Clark, is something wrong?"

His only answer was a small shrug and a flash of green eyes as Clark briefly tore his gaze away from the floor to glance at Lex. There was still so much insecurity there.

It seemed a little awkward to cross the room and take Clark by the shoulders, but Lex had learned through his time with Clark that subtle hints didn't work. Clark hadn't been raised in his world, hadn't been raised to understand how words could be twisted, could mean more than what they meant as just the straight dictionary definition. He didn't see how just the right inflection on a word could make it mean something completely different, something so much more insulting, or how something simple and mundane could actually be a declaration of affection. Neither did he understand Lex's way of giving compliments and comfort. He needed something more blatant, something so obvious that its existence couldn't be denied.

"Everything's going to be fine," Lex told him softly. "You're going to be fine. Two more months and you'll feel like you did before this started. We'll create a cover story, and you can go back to school--back to your life."

The words didn't seem to have much effect. If anything, the worry in Clark's face increased. There was so much insecurity there, and while Lex had known it existed, he hadn't seen the extent of it--not until now. "Except I'll have a baby."

"We'll make this work."

Clark laughed bitterly. "How? You'll get tired of dealing with all the craziness that comes along with me. You have your own problems to deal with, and you won't want mine, too. You'll go back to your life, and I don't blame you--"

"No." He didn't want Clark to think that, not ever. "Clark, this was every bit as much my fault as it was yours, and I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here for as long as you need me."

But wasn't that his own fear? Wasn't he scared that someday Clark wasn't going to need him anymore? And when that happened, what would he do? He wasn't ever going to be ready to give Clark up.

Fearing Clark's reply, Lex reached forward and gently pulled Clark in against him. The height difference made it awkward, but they both needed it, and just the effort alone might have been enough.

"I'm sorry for all the crap I've given you over the last few weeks," Clark finally murmured.

Clark hadn't been the easiest person to live with as of late--that much was certainly true. But even with all the difficulties, Lex still wanted him there. It was a scary feeling, that sort of incomprehensible addiction--the need to have someone else near. Was that what normal people considered love?

"It's understandable. You'll feel better once this is all over."

The sound of knocking on the door interrupted them, and Clark's eyes flickered over towards the door with a sort of helpless anticipation. He was pulling away before Lex said anything, and it was impossible not to see the excitement on his face.

Lex might have his issues with Clark's parents, but if it made Clark this happy to see them, he was willing to deal with them.

The second the door opened, Martha pulled Clark into her arms. Though Clark was much taller than her, it was still obvious that she was the one holding him. "Baby, how are you?" she asked when she finally drew back, one hand going to his face.

Jonathan followed closely behind. Lex had never seen him show much affection with people outside his family, but when it came to Clark and Martha, that didn't hold true. It made something inside Lex ache in a way that he didn't understand. Would he have been a different person if he'd had that affection? If he'd been raised like Clark?

"I'm good, Mom," Clark murmured, smiling softly as his father came over and hugged him, holding him tightly for a few seconds before letting him go. Grinning, he glanced over towards Lex. There was a spark in his eyes that Lex hadn't seen for a while now, and that was refreshing in a way that he needed badly. "Lex has been taking good care of me."

There was less hostility in Martha's eyes when she looked at him this time. It wasn't like when he and Clark had told her and Jonathan about... everything. There was wariness, certainly, but not the downright distrust that had been there before.

"You look healthy," she commented approvingly, though a sort of sadness still lingered, probably at the idea that her baby was having a baby. Sighing a little, she let her hand wander down to Clark's stomach. "Just a few more months."

Silently, Lex continued to watch the family reunion, purposely letting himself fade into the background. Clark needed this time with his family--needed to feel like a normal high school teenager again. Lex couldn't give him that. Later, he'd talk with Martha and Jonathan about plans for Clark--give them details about the good, discreet doctor that he'd gotten for Clark; talk to them about how all indications pointed to Clark having the same gestation period as a human--he'd make sure they knew everything... just not right now. Right now, he'd give them time with their son.

"Jonathan and I want to thank you for all that you've done for Clark."

Glancing up from the spreadsheet that he'd been looking over, Lex was a little surprised to find Martha Kent standing in the doorway of his office. "You don't need to," he answered honestly.

"Yes, I do."

Her words were enough to make him toss aside the spreadsheet--he wouldn't be able to pick back up where he'd left off. The comment had unbalanced him too much, because while he didn't want to need anyone's approval, he was beginning to think that he did. It was a hard feeling to understand, but the warmth he felt inside of him--the feeling that someone was pleased with him--was impossible to deny.

Deciding to hear her out, he gestured to the chair in front of his desk.

"Without you, our family would have been in trouble," she continued as she sat down in the chair, her gaze never leaving his face, giving him the impression that she was studying him as intently as he was studying her. "Not only because we didn't have the money to afford the discretion that you've been able to give us, but also because we wouldn't have known how to help Clark."

"Mrs. Kent, I'm sure that you'd have found a way to help your son."

She nodded. "Yes, we would have, but it wouldn't have allowed him the kind of freedoms that you've been able to give him. More than likely, he would have been confined to the farm, unable to see visitors. You've taken him somewhere where he can, if he wants, go out and do things. He can go see a movie, go out to dinner--do something that seems almost normal."

Lex liked to believe he was prepared for most anything, but her words weren't something that he'd expected. She'd made it very clear back in Smallville that she in no way approved of what he'd done--didn't really even approve of him.

"Mrs. Kent, before I left with Clark for DC, both you and your husband didn't... have a very high opinion of me." That was a blatant understatement, but a necessary one, should he want to at least maintain his stroke of odd acceptance with Mrs. Kent.

Her expression didn't change, and for a few moments Lex almost felt like he had when he'd been a little boy and his mother had looked at him like that. "I'm not excusing you for your actions, but neither am I excusing Clark," she replied. "I'm well aware that no one can physically force him to do anything that he doesn't want to do. He was perfectly willing, I'm sure, but the responsibility still ultimately lay with you." Pausing, she shifted a little in her chair, seeming to get more comfortable. By the look on her face, it was clear that she was buying time with which to choose her words. "I think you've proven that you're not going to take the easy way out in this situation," she said finally. "That's something that's worthy of respect, regardless of what you did to get yourself in the situation to begin with."

She wasn't excusing him, but if Lex wasn't much mistaken, she wasn't condemning him, either. Unlike her husband, she didn't hate based on a name or who someone's father was--she formed her own opinions, founded on the actions of the individual she was forming an opinion on. She was telling him that, though she still didn't approve of what had gone on between him and her son, she was willing to commend him on taking responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

As far as he was concerned, that was a compliment.

"I want to be there after the baby's born," he said slowly, searching for the right words. It shouldn't be this hard to talk--he'd faced down some of the world's top corporate minds. To think that Martha Kent should be the one to get to him was almost amusing. Somehow, he thought he was beginning to understand all the negative talk about mother-in-laws.

"I know." Her gaze was steady, unsurprised. She'd expected him to stay, Lex realized. Clark might not have, but she had. "I know you do."


"Is as in love as he'll ever be. Nothing Jonathan and I can say will change that, and trying will only hurt our son."

That was... an enormous statement. Lex might have been a businessman, trained to process information, but he was having a hugely hard time wrapping his mind around that. She'd just given him permission, or at least something like it--something close enough to it so that, as he understood it, she wouldn't try to deter Clark from seeing him.

Martha's eyes almost seemed to bore into him, intense and moving in a way he'd never experienced. Nothing in a boardroom could ever prepare him for this. "My concern is always going to be for my son. I want what's best for him, and while I'm not sure this is it, I'm willing to let him try. I worry, because you can't give him a life of anonymity, and he doesn't understand your world, but love is seldom logical, and I know better than anyone how trying to interfere with that can destroy a family."

She would, Lex supposed. Clark might not know about what had gone on in his family, but Lex had done his homework. Martha Clark had been from a prominent Metropolis family, top of her class, poised and ready to go to any law school she wanted... until she'd given it all up for a country farmer who just barely made a profit each year. The fallout in her family had been spectacular. She didn't talk with them anymore.

He couldn't blame her for not wanting that to happen with Clark.

"I won't ask Clark to choose."

"You wouldn't have to," she replied quietly. "He would anyway."

There was no way for him to reply to that--nothing that would do the situation justice. He didn't understand that kind of devotion from other people--not when it was directed at him. No one ever chose him over everything else. To imagine Clark giving up a loving family, the normal life, just for him, was pushing the boundaries of what Lex could understand.

But he wouldn't ask Clark to choose--he didn't want him to have to, and if he was really honest with himself, he didn't think that Jonathan had wanted Martha to have to choose, either. He didn't ever want Clark to have to make a decision like that, because Lex didn't want to see him torn apart. That wasn't love.

Even if Lex didn't quite understand what love was yet, he knew what it wasn't--and he wasn't going to do something like that to Clark.

"Clark won't have to choose," he told her firmly, meaning every word. "I won't ever make him do that."

Night was, in some ways, Lex's favorite time of day. While his life was busy, consumed with hectic schedules and meetings, night was quiet and serene--no one bothered him.


The click of the door opening startled Lex. He hadn't been asleep, but only lying in bed thinking, turning everything over in his mind until he could force it to make sense--or until he fell asleep trying.


Clark's voice drifted over him, soft, gentle, and something like a gentle caress. The padding of socked feet on the floor was audible as he drew closer to the bed. "I'm awake, Clark," he replied, turning over. Clark wasn't supposed to be in his bedroom--not since the Kents were staying in the same apartment--but Lex didn't have the heart to turn him away when he sounded that vulnerable.

At nine months pregnant, Clark was still as beautiful as ever. Bigger, yes, but still beautiful, maybe even more so, though in a way Lex couldn't describe. All the things about carrying the 'miracle of life' that mothers talked about seemed too clich to describe Clark in this situation, but there was still something about knowing that there was a baby--Lex's baby--inside of him that made him undeniably attractive.

The bed shifted as Clark climbed onto it, curling up next to Lex. "I couldn't sleep."

"Neither could I." He'd had too much on his mind, and as he let Clark settle against him, snuggling into his shoulder, Lex knew that wasn't going to change. "Thinking about someone kept me awake."

Clark snorted softly, seeming amused. "I'm going to be pretty annoyed if that someone's not me, Lex."

Lex couldn't help the grin that spread up and over his face. Clark was just... Clark, and that made him smile. "You're due any day, Clark," he murmured quietly, more to himself than to Clark. They were both nervous--everyone in the house was--and Lex knew he wasn't the only one who lay awake at night worrying for Clark.

"Yeah, says the doctor."

Lex couldn't ignore the bitterness in his voice. Clark hadn't liked seeing a doctor, hadn't liked being examined. Lex couldn't blame him--Clark had been taught to avoid that all his life. "You know you needed to see one, just to be safe."

"Like he's an expert on Kryptonian biology."

"No," Lex agreed, sighing as he dropped his hand into Clark's hair and began to stroke. "But he's an expert on humans, and you're similar." Clark was just scared that someone knew about him, and Lex understood that--shared that with him, even. "He's well-paid for his silence. You don't need to worry."

"Blackmailed, you mean."

Yes, well, that too, but Lex had tried to be more discreet in that respect. Clark didn't need to know for sure about that. "He's not going to say anything to anyone, Clark."

Clark sighed softly as he laid his cheek on Lex's shoulder. "No one would believe him, anyway. He doesn't have any evidence, and who would buy that he treated a male who had a line of slightly raised skin behind his balls, probably for the purpose of having a baby?"

No one, which was exactly how Lex had wanted it. That had been the whole purpose of not letting him have any written notes. Clark was going to remain anonymous, whether or not the doctor cooperated.

"Everything's going to be fine, Clark," he assured him gently. "But you'll feel better if you get some sleep." He'd feel better if he could get to sleep, for that matter, but he didn't see that happening any time soon. Holding Clark while he slept would be the next best thing.

"Yeah," Clark muttered, tossing an arm over Lex. He was always so haphazard about how he arranged his limbs when he slept, and Lex was thankful for the king-sized bed, not only because of Clark's limbs, but also because of his now prominent stomach, which took up more room than Lex would have originally anticipated.

Silence fell between them. Just having Clark asleep against him relaxed Lex. There was something there--something in Clark--that made Lex want to be a better man, and it let him breathe easier. It kept the darkness at bay and assured him that he wasn't becoming his father. He needed that.

A few minutes later, when Lex leaned down to place a kiss in Clark's hair, he found that Clark had drifted off to sleep, still clinging to Lex.

It was honestly one of the most beautiful things Lex had ever seen.

Dreams, Lex knew, were supposed to be an extension of your waking life. They were the emotions that were repressed, the fears, or just the things you concentrated on. He concentrated on Clark, and so he wasn't surprised to hear him, even in his dreams.

It was just surprising to realize that he'd actually woken up and was still hearing him.

"Lex." Clark sounded worried, frightened even. It was enough to fully banish whatever lingering effects of sleep that Lex was still experiencing.

"What's wrong?" he asked immediately, turning over. As soon as he did, he realized that Clark didn't need to answer--Lex knew everything he needed to as soon as he felt that the bed around Clark was wet. "Damn."

"I--what do I do?" Clark asked him as he sat up, sounding breathless and scared. "I don't--"

"It's all right."

Clark looked so pale in the moonlight, his eyes seeming to glow with apprehension. Lex wasn't ready for this. He couldn't ever be ready for this. However this whole situation had happened, it just needed to go away. Now. Right now.

"Lie back." He had to go get the doctor. Clark needed help through this, and Lex had no idea what to do--at least not practically. Sure, he'd read the informational material and had listened to the doctor, but with Clark actually in labor, he was scared to the point where he didn't know what to do for the first time in his life.

Clark obeyed Lex and lay back, looking up with big scared eyes as he reached over and switched on the light beside the bed. "Go get my mother."

Martha. Yes, Clark would need his mother. She could stay with him while Lex went and got the doctor.

"Stay right there," he told Clark as he moved hurriedly towards the door. "I'm going to go get your mom to stay with you while I get the doctor."

Clark nodded, but his eyes were still scared as he watched Lex go. Lex hated to leave him like that--hated to leave him all alone, even if it was only for a few minutes. Clark was clearly frightened, and Lex didn't blame him--he was, too.

They'd make it through, he promised himself as he shut the door behind him. They would.

When Lex had been younger, he'd broken his wrist while fencing. At the time, he'd been sure that nothing could hurt worse than that had. But in this moment, watching Clark, he knew that he'd been wrong. Just watching Clark--being able to do nothing to help him--was more painful than a broken bone could ever be.

"Make it... stop!" Clark gasped out between clenched teeth as he clutched the sheets so hard that they tore, leaving gaping holes. Lex didn't care--he'd buy a whole store full of new sheets if it helped Clark get through the experience of giving birth.

And he would get through it. Lex refused to think of any other option, even as he watched Clark beg for a cessation of the pain that he was in. "You're going to be fine," he murmured as soothingly as he knew how.

Watching Clark go through labor for hours had been worse than anything Lex had ever seen in his life. Watching him suffer was too much--it turned his stomach inside out, and if Clark hadn't needed him, he would have certainly left the room. Pain for himself he could handle, but watching Clark have to endure it was almost beyond what he could endure.

"Fuck you!" Clark snapped, shooting him a lethal look before he squeezed his eyes shut through another contraction. "You don't--don't--I hate you!" he shouted as he gritted his teeth, shooting a glare at the doctor who was standing down near the edge of bed.

He didn't hate Lex, but the words still cut. What if someday Lex heard those words when Clark wasn't in intense pain? What would he do then?

"Come on, baby, push," Martha urged Clark as she stood beside his bed, stroking back his sweaty bangs as he fought for control. Jonathan had long since left the room, because while he might have been experienced at seeing cows give birth, watching his only son do it had been far beyond what he could handle.

"The crown of the head is visible," the doctor announced. His eyes were riveted to Clark, watching for any tiny complication--any sign that something was going wrong. "You need to push."

"I am!" Clark gasped out, clutching the shredded bits of the sheet as he cried out wordlessly.

The next few minutes seemed to blur together for Lex. It was the same thing over and over--Clark's pain, pushing, updates from the doctor. The repetition was the worst kind of torture.

So desperately, Lex wanted to make it end for Clark. If he could have, he'd have found a way, but even he was powerless against the forces of nature. Pregnancy wasn't going to bow down before him, even if his name was Lex Luthor.

The loud squall that cut through the room was more welcome than anything Lex had ever heard in his life. There was blood all over the lower part of the bed, and Clark had collapsed back against the pillows in exhaustion, but he was all right, and the baby was breathing, and--Lex just needed something strong to drink.

"It's a little girl."

A beautiful little girl. A beautiful little girl with wisps of dark hair--Clark's hair--and baby blue eyes--his eyes. She was quite possibly the most perfect thing he'd ever seen.

"Clark," he murmured. His voice sounded terrible, even to him. Luthors weren't supposed to sound so weak, but he'd challenge anyone with a heart to look at the baby and Clark and not feel something.

Clark's green eyes fluttered open to look at him. There was a ghost of a smile on his face in place of where the glare and the pain had been just minutes before. "Hey," he said softly, his eyes flickering over to where the doctor had taken the baby to clean her up.

Lex swallowed hard. "That was... amazing." Clark was amazing. What he'd done here was more amazing than anything Lex had ever seen before. "You're amazing."

Clark's smile became a little brighter, though his eyes were already beginning to drift closed again. "I want to see the baby," he requested, his whole tone anticipatory as he fought sleep.

The moment the words were out of Clark's mouth, Martha was moving to satisfy the request, taking the baby from the doctor and bringing her towards the bed. Clark's eyes, though drooping with exhaustion, were somehow so alive as he waited. It was hard for Lex to imagine how this must be for Clark--how it must be to see without the barrier of skin the baby that he'd carried inside of him for so long.

"Here, baby."

Martha came over to him, the little baby girl in her arms. Slowly, she carefully handed her over to Clark.

Watching as Clark reached out for the baby, Lex couldn't help thinking that Clark had grown up so much through everything that had happened. He'd always been mature for his age, but looking at him now, Lex saw someone who knew a little more about how life worked. He was proud of Clark for that.

"She's beautiful."

For all of Clark's protests that he didn't want a baby, his eyes were completely adoring as he looked down at his little daughter. He might not have wanted to be pregnant, but now that he was holding his child, Lex knew that didn't hold true anymore--and he was thankful; he couldn't begin to conceive of what he'd have done should Clark have not wanted the baby. There were too many scars in his mind--too many memories of seeing his mother refusing to hold or touch Julian--to handle that.

"You look like you're thinking hard."

Even with a newborn baby in his arms, Clark was still noticing things about Lex. "It's nothing," he denied quickly. Clark didn't need this right now. "You should rest."

Clark shot him a tired grin. "Like you would if you were me," he joked, looking back down at the baby. She was so tiny compared to Clark, her little fingers just barely able to wrap around one of his larger ones. "She's--damn, Lex, we made this."

He sounded pretty proud of it, and Lex couldn't help the grin that rose on his face. The next time that someone told him how everything Luthors touched turned out badly, he'd personally make sure that they paid the price for the comment. There was nothing bad about the little girl in Clark's arms.

"We did, didn't we?" he replied, moving a little closer towards the bed.

Lex never actually thought about it when he reached out and let Clark give him the baby. It just seemed so natural. Holding Julian had felt similar, but not in the same way--not to this degree. Julian had been his brother, but this little girl, she was a part of him. She was him and Clark, and even once she became her own person, he'd still see her and know.

He wondered if Lionel had ever felt like this--not that it mattered. Lex was going to be a better father than Lionel had ever been. He was going to be better to Clark that Lionel had been to Lillian, better to his child than Lionel had been to him--just better. He wasn't ever going to be perfect, but he couldn't imagine not loving this baby--not loving Clark.

He did love Clark. Until now, he hadn't been sure. He hadn't been convinced that he'd even known what love was.

He did now.

Leaning down over the bed, he brushed a light kiss over Clark's cheek. "We're going to make this work," he murmured. He'd move everything in his way to make sure he kept that promise, because if he lost what he'd gained over the last few months, he'd have nothing.

Clark smiled up at him, his eyes sparkling in something like contentment. "I know."

Lex smiled back at him. Clark's word was all the assurance that he needed.