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by silvina

Standard Disclaimer. How much money would borrowing them take? Please send comments, questions, compliments, and otters to

It was legally Lex's apartment. One of four in Metropolis alone. It was the smallest, the cheapest, the messiest, the most inconspicuous. And it was home. At least it had been until he entered to find that all of Clark's things were gone.

Originally he'd talked Clark into moving in for a few days after some freshman set off the sprinkler system in Clark's dorm. The guilty party had confessed immediately and apologized, but the need for repairs was extensive. Clark's damages had been fairly minor, but his computer had not survived. It was with this in mind that Lex had offered the apartment, given that Clark could use one of his computers there as needed without fear that someone might steal the top-of-the-line laptop. Of course, it had been brought surreptitiously for Clark anyway, in case there was ever an opportunity in which Clark might actually accept the gift.

A week became a month, and more and more of Clark's things had left their cardboard boxes and the bedroom Clark was using. After the second month Lex accepted a rent check from Clark, knowing the he wouldn't stay otherwise. He donated the money to worthwhile charities in Clark's name.

After spring break there wasn't even a discussion about Clark returning to his dorm. He'd been using summer sessions to take some of his core classes during the summer, and had pleased Lex immensely by signing up for an advanced physics class to finish off his science electives.

"This will, of course, require active tutoring on your part, Lex."

Lex grinned happily. "I think I have some vague memory of the material."

"Sure, it's easy for you. you actually use the stuff."

"Ernest Rutherford said that all science is either physics or stamp collecting, Clark."

"Sure, Lex. Whatever you say."

And that tutoring had changed things between them.

"But it isn't real. I mean listen to this problem. A hundred kilogram woman falls fifty meters from a building to the ground. Without injury. I'm supposed to find the force of the impact, but I'm betting she had to have at least broken a nail or something. People just can't go stepping off of buildings like that-"

"Woah. It's not your job to save even fictional heroines, Clark. Her injuries, hypothetical as they are, aren't the point."

"Then what is the point? I mean we're supposed to ignore things like friction and air resistance and do you know what a difference it makes if she's wearing a skirt or pants?"

"Think about it this way, Clark. To learn the concept of figuring out surface area, what's easier, starting out with something regular like a sphere, or something irregular, like, I don't know, a cow?"

"You want me to figure out the surface area of Bessy?"

"Smartass. My point is that at this level of physics every cow has become a sphere. Nice and simple, which is why it's not very realistic. By theoretical physics, even the spheres have become cows, and the cows may or may not even exist."

"Cow, sphere; sphere, cow. Ok. I can work with that."

They'd been moving closer and closer to what Lex thought they both wanted, a relationship that was more than just friendship. And this morning, they'd kissed, finally, over a last minute of torque and much complaining about formulas where T could be torque, temperature, time, or more. He'd kind of assumed that they might review some attractive forces later that night, not to come home and realize that Clark had left without so much as a note.

He was tired of this game. He was tired of following the Kent rules and still never winning. he was tired of loving Clark.

If Clark had left, then fine. Lex Luthor was not going to swallow his pride this time. This wasn't his fault, and he was tired of feeling inadequate.

He would not be consumed again.