~ Alone Together ~

Publication Date: Sept. 22, 2002

Pairing: Clark/Lex
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: None
Summary: Clex for all the wrong reasons, and all the right ones, too.

Author Notes: Profuse thanks to my Beta squad - LaCasta, Kathryn, Philtre, Diana, Rachel/Rhiannon and Dana. Also thanks to Henry Jones, Jr. for the preview! Without you guys this fic would be sitting on my desktop, rotting. Special thanks to Dana and Rhiannon - bless you for rearranging and inspiring!

Archiving: Archived on Lexslash and Smallville Slashdom. Feel free to share and share alike.

Disclaimer: If they were mine, I’d sell my laptop. No, not *that* laptop. The other one! LOL

Feedback: Pretty please with pie and a cherry on top.


**********************************************************


Unfamiliar numbers ticking across the display on his cell but he knew who it was, had been waiting, pacing, anxious for the call. “Clark.”

“Lex, I’m-”

“Where are you?”

Held his breath during the long pause on the other end of the line.

“They’re - Lex, they’re-”

“I know, Clark. Where are you?” Firm and sure because there’s no place for casual now, no room for anything but strength.

“I’m at a hotel. Somewhere- west I think. But, I-” Desperate and unguarded, like everything Clark ever did but this time it wasn’t adorable, not at all.

“Give me a name, Clark.” Something, anything to work with.

“I don’t-”

“Look around. There should be a pamphlet or something.”

A short pause, Clark’s breath fuzzing over the line. “Hotel Rosa. Foundry. But Lex, I don’t want-”

Lex flipped the cell phone closed before Clark could finish. If he didn’t hear Clark say the words, he could ignore them.

Exploding from the house like ghosts were chasing him and maybe they were, but it didn’t matter because he could outrun them today. Retrieved keys from his pocket - had put them there hours ago when he’d first heard. Always prepared, even for this.

He slid behind the wheel of the too-new Porsche and opened the cell back up, started making calls.

Gabe Sullivan at the plant, who had already taken the liberty of clearing Lex’s schedule and didn’t keep him on the phone long. That man knew him too well.

The Rosses, who hung up on him the first time but listened silently when he called back and started the conversation with Clark’s name. A grunt of agreement when Pete heard his request. They would leave matters to him. As strained as his ties with the Ross’ had been, the surety of their friendship with the Kents was something he knew he could count on.

Dialed Nell Potter instead of Lana because he couldn’t face the sobs he knew would sound more selfish than genuine. Another thing she and Clark had in common now, and Lex wouldn’t give her the chance to latch onto him. Too easy to get caught up in soft arms and long hair and bright smiles and false light that would fade far too soon. Teenage comfort - gold at eighteen, tin at twenty-four.

Troops rallied and pacified, calmed by news of Clark’s safety and relatively appreciative of the fact that Lex was on his way to find him and bring him home to them.

Dialed again and an automated voice at directory assistance read the hotel’s number to him twice before offering to dial it. He thumbed the button impatiently, waiting for the connection.

“Hotel Rosa.” Flat, work-bored voice.

“Where are you located?”

Just off the highway, left under the overpass, right at the first light. Tedious details that his mind could only half listen to, collecting them and storing them away without letting them interrupt his thoughts.

Foot heavy on the gas and he was flying, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to get to Clark, just wanted to get him home where he could help him. They could face Clark’s obligations to family and friends together. No one would think twice about him staying by Clark’s side, and he would, every second, if he was welcome.

So difficult to imagine shuffling Clark through the little things, the tedious requirements of life that Lex knew would rip into Clark the hardest. The insignificant things that seemed so natural would all be tainted with memories and regret. To this day he still thought of his mother every time he brushed his teeth. It would be something else - the smell of homemade bread or maybe the scrape of boots on a wooden porch - but it would feel the same for Clark.

Lex shuddered at the thought of Clark sorting through his parents’ things, signing papers, making decisions that he wouldn’t have had to make for years if this were a just world. No teenager should be thankful for the mundane, mindless distraction of homework and chores, but Clark would be now. Just as he had been. At least Clark’s graduation was just around the corner. Lex had waited years to escape the reminders of his mother that had surrounded him everyday. Clark could move to the city, go to college, start over if he wanted to. He could help Clark begin a new life away from Smallville, if that’s what he wanted.

The scenery flew past and he thought of the road trip he and Clark had taken. Clark had been so young then, and he’d cursed the Kents for their traditional values and virtues when he and Clark had come home as friends and nothing more.

He realized now that the things the Kents instilled in Clark were the things that had drawn him to the boy in the first place. He should’ve been thanking them. Should have told them more, talked to them more, found some common ground besides Clark so they could’ve have been more than his best friend’s parents. It was too late though. He had to focus on Clark now, not his own regrets.

Clark had been gone all day and Lex didn’t even know where to begin to look for him. Clark’s usual haunts had been empty, the Kent house a silent tomb and Lex had been relieved to put that search behind him, grateful to lock the front door and put the key back under the mat. Clark would never know he’d been there.

Lex couldn’t remember taking one single breath all day. Wherever Clark was, he was alone. Alone and scared and probably desperate for the pain to end. Lex took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He could do that now that he’d heard Clark’s voice. Clark wasn’t dead, wasn’t physically hurt. Not yet.

Lex clenched his fist around the steering wheel and pressed the pedal to the floor, but the Porsche wouldn’t go any faster.


****************************


Old paint from the metal door dusted his knuckles when he knocked, and he brushed them absently against his thigh, marking his pants. “Clark, it’s me.”

Click of the lock and a minute’s pause before the door opened and he saw Clark’s back, the young man walking away from him to sit on the edge of the bed, offensively-bright comforter wrinkling beneath him.

“I tried to tell you not to come here. I just want to be alone.” Clark’s voice was soft and low, but he heard every word.

The late afternoon sun behind Lex cut through the darkness inside, illuminating the muddle of colors and styles in the room. His head ached with the effort to sort them into something coherent.

Clark didn’t belong here.

He stepped through the doorway and heard a thud as the door shut behind him, cutting off the brightness of day. The sickening colors were a little better now, bathed in a yellow-orange glow that made them all blend together.

Eyes adjusting to the dim light of the single bedside lamp, Lex hesitantly stepped towards Clark, a hand stretched out in an offer he wasn’t really sure how to make. “Come on, Clark, let’s get you home.”

Clark batted his hand away like a child rebelling and swollen, wet eyes glared up at him. “I’m not going back, Lex. Ever.”

“People are counting on you, Clark. You have to go back.” Forceful, maybe too much of a command, but orders seemed like the best thing now. Someone had to set emotions aside and be rational.

Black hair shaking, an ironic smile under the tear-stained cheeks and Lex didn’t like the smirk - didn’t like the way it looked on Clark’s face, the way it mocked him.

“No, I don’t. Haven’t you heard, Lex? My parents are dead. I don’t *have* to do anything, ever again.”

The words stabbed like a knife in Lex’s chest. He remembered the first time he’d said that out loud about his own mother - the way it had tasted in his mouth, like moldering earth. Said it once and a thousand times since and never did get used to it. It still felt like a lie to say she was gone.

Clark’s mouth twisted then pinched closed, eyes a hard, cold mask of anger that didn’t quite succeed in hiding the pain.

A hand on Clark’s knee and he didn’t pull away this time, so Lex crouched down in front of him, looking straight into his eyes. “Clark. Don’t.” Don’t push it down, don’t hide the pain and pull a false life over the one that seemed too painful to live now. The warning he’d never gotten, not even from Pamela. He’d be a different man…

Clark shifted back on the bed, away from him, leg bumping up into Lex’s arm. “You can’t tell me what to do. I’m not going back and if that’s why you’re here, you’re wasting your time.”

“You know why I’m here.”

Clark’s eyes flashed and narrowed. “Yeah, I know. Thought you’d come rescue me, huh? Dust off the old Luthor charm and cart me off to play the broken-hearted son. Fat chance. I don’t want your pity, yours or anyone else’s. Get out.”

Piss everyone off and they’d all just go away. Lex knew the rationale intimately - it seemed easier to be isolated and dead inside than to take a chance on feeling these emotions ever again. The pain and resentment had seeped into every facet of Clark’s life and Lex knew he was scared, terrified to let anyone get close now. It had happened to him too, and just as fast.

Clark’s anger had to go somewhere or the pain would consume him. Lex looked around the room for something that would work - something breakable. The lamp would do, but it seemed - not enough. Clark was trying to push him away, but really, his anger was justified and one thought naturally tripped another. Lex stood up, fists clenching at his sides. “Hit me.”

“What?” A loud sniff and Clark wiped his face with his hand.

“Hit me. Come on. You know you want to.” Puffy eyes looked up at him and blinked., wet eyelashes squeezing, dripping streaks down Clark’s flushed cheeks.

“I’m not going to hit you, Lex.” An unspoken ’you idiot’ underneath it. Punctuated by what sounded like a twisted laugh bubbling up in Clark’s throat. Lex remembered that, too. Insane, clumsy fits of giddy laughter that came at the most inopportune moments for months after the funeral.

“No, Clark. You’re right. I’m here to take you back home. I’ve lied to you and pushed you around and manipulated you for years. I haven’t been a good friend to you. So hit me. I deserve it.” Clark shook his head again, looked down at the floor.

Lex pushed one more time. This had to work. “Come on, Clark. How many times have you thought about it? Hit me. We both know you want to.”

Clark’s body rose in front of him, a solid wall of chest and throat and face way too close for comfort and Lex had to tense his legs to keep from taking a step back.

Stepped back anyway, knocked off balance but not by a punch. He steadied himself and answered the hard pressure of Clark’s lips on his. An angry kiss, like fear and restraint were things Clark had to overcome. Lex held his breath and closed his eyes. Mouth crushing against his, teeth biting into the flesh of his lips, the slick heat of tongue and this wasn’t right. Not how this should happen. Not now.

He started to pull away, hands pushing against Clark’s chest. Warmth and worn-soft material and scattered spots of wetness under his fingers and it was insane that it turned him on, but Clark needing and taking this way wasn’t something his body could resist. Selfish and greedy to want this even now, but the punishment and urgency of Clark’s mouth on his was too good and Lex just melted into the kiss.

Mind chanting warnings and instructions but he ignored them all, wrapping his arms tight around Clark’s back and clawing at the hard flesh through the t-shirt. Wanted it *off* and forgotten like the rest of the things pulling at his mind, telling him what a bad idea this was.

Clark’s wide, open hands on either side of his head, holding him in the kiss when he tried to lean back and breathe. Suffocating, drowning in Clark’s mouth and it was so good. Even like this. Especially like this.

His head released and lips tasted and the air he’d thought he needed was useless now. Clark’s hand slid around his neck and that mouth bit into his throat, sharp, hard nibbles and powerful, bruising sucks like long, slow punches that he could feel knotting low in his stomach. Guilt and shame were things polite people felt but Lex couldn’t summon them, couldn’t even pretend them. An arm circled tight around his waist, pulling him closer and there was no way Clark didn’t feel that against his thigh.

Tongue licking up to his mouth, lips softer on his now, Clark still holding him tight, touching from knees to chests. Lex pulled away, intending to tell Clark that this could wait, then fought the urge to bite the hand that covered his mouth, stopping his words before he could get them started.

Clark’s eyes locked on his. “Don’t. I need this, Lex. Do this for me.”

Lex pried the hand off his mouth and looked into those eyes. Pure need and hunger there, and every argument against this slipped away. He had to give this to Clark, wanted Clark to feel less alone, *less empty.* Anything to make the pain disappear, even for a little while.

Lex slid his jacket off, letting it fall to the floor with a muted thud. As he moved to sit on the edge of the bed, Clark’s hands never left his skin, rubbing along his chest and arms. Lex reached up and tugged at the cotton t-shirt that was slowly driving him insane and Clark lifted it up, moving away just long enough to peel it off over his head and throw it to the side. Lex closed his eyes when Clark moved to stand between his knees. Strong hands moved on his shoulders, then stretched down over his back. He let his face be pulled to Clark’s stomach and reached around to run his fingers along the denim on the backs of Clark’s legs.

Lex kissed the taut muscles under his mouth and slid his hands up and around, unzipped Clark’s jeans and pushed them down just enough, taking cotton boxers with them. Clark’s enthusiasm obvious and crude or sweet and innocent and he didn’t really care which.

Sex and fabric softener wafted to his nose and the scent brought a sharp, vivid memory flickering across his mind. Martha Kent folding clothes in the living room while he and Clark ate slices of apple pie in the kitchen. Mouth low on Clark’s stomach and he paused. Almost stopped there because no justification was strong enough to beat down the reprimands the dead woman screamed in his head. She was right, but there was no way to go back in time and do this differently. No way it could just be about pleasure or sharing or *them.*

Above him, Clark sucked in air and breathed his name out with a hiss. Motivation enough to make this *happen,* make it more than just the surreal motions of quasi-comfort in the stale air of a third-rate hotel room.

Choked down the lump in his throat and kissed the slick head, mouthing it slowly, letting himself forget his reservations and savor the taste. Licked his lips and slid Clark in, tongue working, straining to touch more, taste more.

One hand around the base and Lex closed his eyes, opened his throat just as Clark bucked in with accidental perfect timing. Into his throat and it stretched around Clark like it knew the burn would feel this good. Started a rhythm, and the desperate noises drifting down to him just kept him going, kept him from thinking about anything other than the cock in his mouth and the boy it belonged to. Soft hair of Clark’s thigh under his free hand and his fingers played there, nails scraping lightly.

The cock in his mouth jumped when he moaned around it and he knew Clark was getting close. Strong hands wrapped around his head, painfully holding him still. Clark fucking his mouth, brutal and haphazard and hard enough to hurt. Sharp stabbing thrusts that brought tears to his eyes. Clark *using* him now and fuck - he’d never given this kind of control to anyone. Ever.

*Necessary* though - worth the pain, worth anything when fingernails dug into his scalp and the growl in Clark’s chest grew into a ragged shout that echoed through the room as thick heat shot down his throat.

Clark’s hands slowly relaxed on his head, slid down to his shoulders and squeezed, then rested their weight there. Lex licked his way off of the half-hard cock and covered it with a hand, holding it like something that might fly away if he didn’t.

When their breath slowed, Lex looked up at him. Clark’s expression was relaxed, sated, wiped clean of the pain Lex knew was waiting for him. Clark took a half step back then peeled his jeans and boxers the rest of the way off and threw them aside. Perfect, flawless body that looked so much different now, now that he could just *look* without restraint.

Clark leaned down to kiss him, hands resting hard on his thighs, squeezing and kneading until they slid up his arms and pulled him to his feet. Mouth sucking hard on Lex’s neck, his skin stinging as blood rose to the surface under Clark’s lips and tongue.

A slow, easy kiss and a dozen reasons he shouldn’t be licking along the roof of Clark’s mouth, but Clark was moaning and licking back, sucking his tongue. Tasting himself in Lex’s mouth and Lex jerked away at the realization. All the wrongness of this hitting him like a bucket of cold water. Tried to step back and Clark’s arms tightened around his waist, keeping him rooted to the spot.

“Just relax-” The low whisper against his lips tempted him away from thoughts of struggling, of leaving as fast as he could.

Another bite stung on Lex’s jaw, then a warm, wet lick wiped away the sharp pain the teeth had brought. He leaned back away from the pleasure of it and Clark’s eyes burrowed into his. Face dry now and… serious. “- Let me have this, Lex.”

Familiar need, one he knew like an old friend. Maybe his only old friend. The ache for something, anything to fill the void that couldn’t possibly define him, no matter how much it threatened to. No justice in being the one left behind. The kid who knew death and solitude. The one always judged and labeled without due process. There was no comfort in other people’s pain when everyone just took yours and twisted it, made it their own.

Lex kept his eyes steady, unwavering against Clark’s, and made no attempt to answer. He knew there were no words for this, nothing that wouldn’t sound like rejection or pitying compliance. Clark couldn’t handle either of those right now.

Clark nodded then, like he was answering for Lex, like Lex’s silence had somehow betrayed him and he’d spoken the thoughts out loud. Clark must’ve heard it *somehow,* because the thick fingers slid from around his waist, trailed up his chest and started working the button at his collar.

Three buttons opened and Clark’s hand slid inside and burned on his chest, like he couldn’t wait to touch. Lex breathed deeply, lungs filling and expanding under the warm, flat palm. The resistance, the weight of that hand, quickly became a sharp reminder of less pleasant breaths he’d struggled for on nights when he’d woken with his mother’s name on his lips.

The boy’s breath frantic too, like he could sense Lex’s struggle. Like the air was too thick and they both had to fight for every breath. A little relief when the hand moved from his chest, up and around his neck to the back of his head.

Couldn’t help but flinch at the gentle touch there. He hadn’t mourned his hair in years, but now he craved the feeling of fingers twining in, pulling it. The hand moved and reconnected low on his stomach, tugging his shirt up, un-tucking it. Lex bit his tongue hard to keep a nervous laugh from escaping when his arms were lifted into the air and the shirt caught on his nose a little as it was tugged off over his head. Wrists trapped in still-buttoned cuffs and he reached inside to unbutton them, cock jumping a little at the sound of his own belt buckle being unfastened.

Couldn’t help but comb his fingers through the soft curls when Clark kneeled on the floor at his feet. Loud metallic sound of his zipper opening and a rush of cool air on hot skin as his pants pooled around his ankles. Started to step out of them and realized he was still wearing his shoes. Toed them off and scooted the pile to the side with a socked foot. The head in his hands looked down at the movement, then warm hands ran all the way down his thighs and calves to the socks and pulled them off.

Naked. Completely naked with Clark and being devoured by hazel eyes that should be crying instead of pleading. Hands closing tight around the backs of his thighs and Clark’s mouth slipped, wet on his stomach. Lex arched and moaned and couldn’t stop, couldn’t help but respond to the noise Clark made, to the wet tongue sliding quickly over the head of his cock. He tightened his grip on Clark’s hair and sighed heavily, his own breath ghosting over his stomach and breezing through Clark’s hair.

Shoulder angel or Martha Kent or Lillian’s quiet admonishing voice harsh in his head and he couldn’t do this anymore. Couldn’t watch Clark with the indifference of a trick, no matter how hard he was. Lex opened his fists, releasing the hair and laid them gently against Clark’s shoulders. He pushed hard until Clark finally sank back, ass on heels, looking up at him. Face almost expressionless and fuck, that was worse than tears or sobs or a punch in the gut.

“Let me finish.”

Clark’s chin tilted up at him, eyes begging and fuck, he had to look away or he wouldn’t be able to say this. "Clark, no. I think-"

"Don't think, Lex. Just close your eyes.” Clark nibbled his stomach then drew back, fingers wrapping around his sides and thumbs rubbing his stomach like they couldn’t stop moving.

"Close my eyes?" Maybe it was a good idea, maybe that way he could do this. At least he wouldn’t have to witness his own weakness.

Clark stood up, chest brushing his and voice humming in his ear, "Close them.”

Clark’s fingers ghosted over his eyelids, gently pulling them down like he was the dead one, and Lex couldn’t help but shiver at the thought. Lex licked his lips and tried to tune Clark out, tried to focus on the guilt and regret he *should* be feeling instead of the ache in his chest and cock. The words whispering into his ear making it next to impossible to understand the concept of right vs. wrong.

“We're not here, Lex. The accident never happened. Everyone’s safe and we’re somewhere else. We're in my loft at the barn. Or in your office. Your car. Metropolis. We’re in the city. And tonight I told you how much I want this, how much I need you."

A warm hand circled his cock and Jesus, he had to stop this. Had to keep Clark from doing this because right now, whatever happened should be about *Clark,* not about him. "Clark, I -"

Hard whisper of hot breath against his ear and Clark’s hand started moving, jacking him slowly, carefully. "Shhh. It’s okay, Lex. Just listen to my voice.”

A thumb slid across the head of his cock, spreading the slickness there, Lex’s back arching with the shock of pleasure. His body was betraying him, rebelling and answering Clark’s tongue, hands and voice with obvious eagerness. Pleasure laced with pain and remorse but somehow sharper, clearer than any pleasure before it.

The fingers of the hand not jacking him curled over his side and Lex reached out to rest his hands on Clark’s hips. A sigh on his collar bone and Clark’s breath on his neck came faster now, harder.

“We’re in a hotel in Metropolis, after a benefit for the museum. We’re both in tuxes, and I couldn’t stop looking at you all night. You wear that tux like a second skin - people staring at you, looking at you like you were completely naked and you didn’t even notice.”

The hand on his cock quickened its pace and a moan escaped his throat and hung in the air between them. Every word breathed against Lex’s neck and lips tore through the silence.

“You saw me watching, and you watched me too. Powerful and so fucking hot, ruling the room with your presence. Dominating every conversation, dismissing people like they needed your permission to walk away. So amazing when you’re like that.” Warmth on his shoulder, then Clark’s hand lifting his and kissing it, sucking his fingers and Lex couldn’t pull away, couldn’t resist.

“We knew, Lex. We knew this was going to happen. All night long, we’d catch each other’s eyes across the room and just smile. We’ve waited so long, and it’s finally happening.”

Finally happening and God, it shouldn’t be. Shouldn’t be like this, shouldn’t feel so good and make him want more, want everything.

“When we got to the hotel, the bellhop smiled at us because we only had one bag. We couldn't keep our hands off each other in the elevator. You ordered room service - wine and cheeseburgers - and when you hung up the phone and turned around, I was already here on my knees, begging you to let me do this. I couldn’t wait to taste you, to see you like this.”

Lex moaned Clark’s name, pumping into the tight fist and grasping for the image of Clark on his knees in a hotel, begging him for this. Wanted Clark back on his knees now, want to open his eyes and see it.

“Yes, that’s it. Come for me, Lex."

Chest tight and a mental barrier keeping him right on the edge, even as his body struggled against it. "I can’t-"

"Yes you can. You can, Lex. It’s okay, I promise. I know you want to- you've wanted this for years, haven't you?"

"God, Clark. Yes. Yes, for years. So fucking beautiful."

"Then come for me." Clark’s head ducked down as he knelt again, hair brushing Lex’s stomach, lips burning kisses along his cock, opening and taking him in.

Hand on the back of Clark’s neck, muscles flexing against it and Lex couldn’t help but open his eyes and watch. Clark’s mouth like everything he’d imagined and innocent like nothing he’d ever felt before, wrapping around him and *moving.* Curiously hard suction and he tensed his ass, grasping for the painfully necessary restraint that slipped further away with every stroke of Clark’s tongue.

Mouth too shallow on his cock to be anything but delirious torture and too good for it to change as quickly as it did. A fast movement like Clark wasn’t sure he could do it and then just *did,* and Lex nudged against the back of Clark’s throat harder than he would’ve let himself if he was the one in control, but he wasn’t and Christ that was just… impossibly good.

Throat massaging him in spasms and spread hands squeezing tight on his ass. Rhythm taking over, perfect and even and fast enough, hard enough. Lex squeezed his eyes shut and heard Clark's name being ripped from his throat. Clark's mouth moved faster, then stopped and sucked hard, holding him in deep as he came.

Pulling deep breaths and trying to be quiet because the silence held them there, magnifying everything. It was irrational to regret this being over. Raw-painful to think that maybe Clark had just used him. So Luthor of him to try not to care why it had happened. So like his mother to wish it had happened for the right reasons, at the right time.

His legs shaky and heady swimming, Lex was nothing but grateful when Clark's hands slid around to his hips and pushed him back onto the bed. He managed to sit up when he landed, salvaging that much dignity at least. Clark stood, then laid down beside him with a purely teenage flop of exhaustion, too casual for the situation. The absurdity of the bed bouncing under him cut like a knife. He’d lost control, let himself feel pleasure at Clark’s expense and that was more than he could deal with now.

He had to move, deny their nudity, stoically avoid Clark’s eyes. He pushed himself up off the bed and reached for his shirt, pulling it right-side out. Behind him the bed squeaked and skin rasped against the slick comforter. Clark’s chest pressed against his back and a hand reached around and covered his before he could slide it into the sleeve.

Hot breath and Clark’s low voice on his ear. “Stay with me?”

“Clark, we have to go back. Everyone is-” A rush of air caught him off guard and Clark was standing in front of him, hands strong on his bare arms, fingers squeezing hard.

“Fuck everyone. They were *my* parents.” Clark’s Adam’s apple bobbing and Lex winced when he heard him swallow the pain. Tears filled Clark’s eyes in pools that threatened to overrun their banks any second. “I’m not going back. But I can't be alone. Don’t leave me, Lex.”

Lex closed his eyes against the wet splashes that fell from Clark’s face and hit the floor like a summer storm’s first fat raindrops. He couldn’t leave now, couldn’t bring himself to care if it was wrong or not anymore. A strangely liberating resignation relaxed his muscles and the clothes fell from his hand.

Lex walked back to the bed and laid down, propping up on the flat pillows. Looked up at Clark and opened his arms because he couldn’t find the words and Clark laid down next to him, head on his chest. The flushed face heated all the way through Lex’s skin and muscle, the warmth slowing Lex’s heartbeat, steadying it. Lex pressed his mouth into the soft hair and kissed, kept his lips there, one loose curl moving every time he exhaled.

Clark’s voice vibrated against his chest. Something wrought with pain and the strong chest on his started shaking. Lex had known this was coming and he still wasn’t ready for it. Wasn’t ready for the release or pain or desperation of it. Not knowing what else to do, Lex smoothed his hand over the broad back, sending a reassurance he hoped came through in his touch. All he had to give since words were clearly not enough now.

So much death everywhere in his life and he hated that Clark had been touched by it too. Hated that the stages of grief would sweep Clark away and push him towards a bitter reconciliation that would never leave him, no matter where he went. Lex shook his head absently, Clark’s hair tickling against his lips and chin.

Somewhere in another world, the heater kicked on and sent a hot breeze flowing over them.

A vague thought of moving under the covers skittered across his mind, but he didn’t want to move Clark, not when the sobs were finally slowing, the breath against his chest coming easier now. Clark’s body rose and fell as Lex sighed deeply. He loosened his hold a little, placed gentle kisses on the hair still touching his lips. Clark probably couldn’t even feel it, but he did it anyway, just in case.

Questions stuck in Lex’s throat as vicious realizations struck him. Clark was still several months away from his eighteenth birthday - there was a very real possibility of him being carted off by the legal system. No way they’d let him live alone, try to run the farm by himself, though he had no doubts Clark could do it. Would do it, if given the chance. But he wouldn’t even have a choice.

The collective “They” would have him living in Metropolis in foster care, or loaned out to a distant relative too far away.

Clark would probably keep in touch, but this… this would come between them and stay there like a horrible symbol of the day Clark’s parents died. An absence overwhelmed Lex, his chest constricting, like Clark was already gone, already lost forever because of this cruel twist of fate.

Desperate ideas filled his mind. Lawyers and judges and bribes that might buy Clark the time he needed. Might give him a chance to stay and mourn and accept. Time that could give Clark the freedom to find more than comfort in his arms, if he wanted to.

Lex tightened his hold on Clark’s slack body, wishing he could record the sounds of Clark’s sleep-heavy breathing. He knew this was the only real peace, the only escape Clark would know for a long time.

The first moments of dusk filtered in through curtains too thin for privacy and highlighted dust particles in the air across the room. Lex closed his eyes and breathed the moment in deeply. Tomorrow, the world outside would come to life, a vacant, empty place where neither of them belonged now. They were alone. Together.

~ FINIS ~

 


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