~ The There Series ~

The There series was the first thing I wrote in any fandom, and was definitely a learning experience. I have not re-written this series, but left it as an example of my earliest writing. In this series, there are two versions of each fic - one written in Lex's point of view and one written in Clark's point of view. I hope you enjoy reading them!

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit this site and read my work.



~ Chapter V: There Above Everything ~



Original Pub Date:

Series: There (#5)

Codes: Clark/Lex

Rating: NC-17

Spoilers: Season one

Summary: Clark and Lex at the penthouse, cont'd. <g> Lex's POV / Number 5 in the THERE series / Companion piece to Out There

Author Notes: So many people encouraged this one, and I just want to thank you all for your unwavering support of the There series, and of me. You guys are so patient and forgiving, even after nearly 6 months. Special thanks to Dana, Philtre, Soap and Ilexa, without whom this fic wouldn't have happened. This series is forever and always dedicated to Goss, who introduced me to slash and made me dance.

Archiving: SSA, Symbiosis (courtesy of the lovely Amandajane) & Lexslash

Disclaimer: If they were mine, I wouldn't be writing about this, I'd be doing it. Well... okay, at least I'd be watching it.

Feedback: One thing we should have all learned from Lex Luthor by now: don't hesitate.

Three days.

He'd known for seventy-two hours that the innocent, corn-fed Kansas boy he'd allowed himself to get close to was, in fact, not a boy at all. Not a boy or a man or even fucking human.


The word lodged in the back of his throat and Lex shuffled through his papers, cocking his head to one side to help him swallow the truth for the hundredth time in seventy-two fucking hours.

His ever-confident and capable mind had given out, had just dissolved at the words. My ship...

The wind had whipped them against the wall of the penthouse, beating them permanently into the very mortar. This place was tainted with the confession, and even after Clark's six showers, Lex could feel the stench of the lie clinging to the skin of his... lover.

Across the room, Clark leaned back against the desk, arms crossed in a misleadingly casual pose. The tension between them was thick, a mucous that Lex vowed he would attend to as soon as he could satisfy just one more curiosity.

Clark wasn't human, no, but he was humanoid. He ate, drank, slept. Jesus... fucked ... and breathed. The way Lex dealt with the fact that he wasn't human- well, it was the only way he had ever dealt with anything he didn't fully understand.

His father's harsh lessons, beginning so young that one particularly painful slap marked Lex's earliest memory. Those "lessons" had led to his pre-teen, in-depth studies of psychology, mythology, sociology, even chemistry as he'd comforted himself with the possibility that drugs or alcohol or genetics - something - had twisted his father's understanding of parental obligations.

His mother's illness. Researched and documented and obsessed over so intensely that he'd missed the scant remains of the life that he was so desperately trying to save. She'd given her last breath to the world without him at her side to inhale it, to keep her existing inside him forever. He'd been determined to capture that last breath, to kiss her lips before they'd cooled.

Alone in the mortuary, he'd stolen the icy touch of her lips, and something inside him had died and been blocked up in the granite, alongside her in that white, gleaming casket.

"Lex, can`t we take a break?"

He blinked hard, yanked from the memory but instantly feeling the connection between then and now. Clark was it. The only good thing he'd had in years, the only thing he could feel passionate about - the gentle, easy kind of passion that had just flowed from him as a child, before he'd squirreled it away in self-loathing along with the majority of his emotions. The wonder and excitement of every second spent with Clark was the only thing he could hold onto as those emotions resurfaced, scaring the shit out of him at every turn.

Everything else was volatile, fleeting... unexpected.

Clark was sighing heavily, clearly impatient - and he had every right to resort to whining - but Lex couldn't look up, couldn't show Clark the guilt he knew was shining in his eyes.

He continued to study the papers on the bed as he spoke. "Hmm? You just had one."

"That was hours ago. Come on, can't we just- just forget about this for awhile? Let's go out. You can play scientist later. I'll even show you my third nipple."

Lex looked up at him then, eyes narrowing for just a second to appease Clark's sense of humor, then shook his head. Their relationship was paramount to their mutual happiness, true, but he wasn't even sure how to begin to mend the rift between them.

He stalled like a Luthor, pulling the pen from his mouth just long enough to speak, his attention focused carefully on the words of a note he'd looked at three times without ever actually reading. "Let me finish this thought, Clark. Then I`ll take you out."

Across the room, Clark moaned in frustration and pouted, full lips turned down at the corners. Lex fought the urge to just say 'fuck it' and take that mouth, forget about the fact that Clark was now fascinating on so many new levels and just settle back into the comfortable, simple pleasure of Clark's tongue sliding on his.

"You make it sound like I'm a dog you`re going to walk."

Lex licked his lips, pulling his concentration back on what was now business. He needed to know... everything. He couldn't miss any miniscule fact, not if he was going to be able to protect Clark. The whining grated on his nerves. Didn't Clark realize how important this was?

"Jesus, Clark. I`ve known for three days that you`re not human. What do you expect me to do, take you out for ice cream and a trip to the zoo?"

He glanced up and saw Clark watching him, eyes edged with an exhaustion that Lex regretted seeing there. The eyes fell from his, passively pleading with the floor. "No, but I still-"

Lex cut him off - Clark clearly didn't understand what a huge responsibility this was. A fairytale or fantasy, something full of happy endings and love, not the real threat of experimentation and exploitation, was what filled Clark's mind, when it should be this, their quest for any and all knowledge about his origin, about his abilities.

Lex straightened, eyes intent on a page of notes about Clark's one weakness, and he flipped it up, noticing some notes about potential health risks and theories of an invincible immune system. "I don't think I have to tell you that this is important. Just give me a little while longer and I'll leave you alone while I digest this. I... may have a few more questions though."

He wasn't asking too much. Answers to his questions, time to sort and organize his thoughts, his hypotheses. Surely Clark understood that he had to do this.

Concentrate, damn it.

He scanned the sheet of paper, looking for something, anything other than meteor rocks that might breach the walls of Clark's invulnerability.

"How many more questions?"

Fuck. Lex felt his eyebrows shoot up with his increasingly annoyance. "However many you'll answer." He focused back on the spread of notes covering the bed. He was close to something... really close.

"Three then. Three more."

Lex's head snapped up. "Three?"

"If I'm allowed to choose, then three. Three for now, maybe a few more tonight."

Clark wasn't smiling, but the corners of his mouth turned up just a little. Jesus. He just didn't get it. Lex wasn't playing around, he was working, trying to find all the loopholes before anyone else could. He wouldn't be unprepared when this broke on the world, and it would break... it could break at any moment.

Clark's back stiffened under his glaring gaze, and Lex's chest tightened. He knew, he could feel, that he'd pushed too hard. Distanced himself too far from the very thing he meant to defend with all this research and study. With his life if he had to.

A fierce urge to reestablish Clark's happiness - their happiness - pulsed hot in his brain. But he was millimeters, milliseconds away from a breakthrough that could do just that, and he wanted to finish it before he redirected his attention to a place he knew neither of them would want to come back from for hours.

"Fine, Clark. Three more. Can you get me another drink while I decide which three?" He lifted his glass from the nightstand and held it out to Clark, who eyed the glass, then took it grudgingly, making a face at Lex that he saw out of the corner of his eye as he turned back to the papers littering the bed.

"Don't you think you've had enough?"

Clark was always doing that - playing responsible adult to Lex's deviant teenager.

"No." Lex kicked himself for the childish echo of "you're not my mother" underneath his denial.

"Lex, that's three glasses already and it's only noon. You haven`t even eaten breakfast yet."

Damn it. Noon already - they were supposed to be at the Planet in three hours to see Chloe Sullivan. They'd already had to postpone the visit once, and Chloe wasn't the most patient person in the world. Lex wouldn't be late, wouldn't upset the only potential journalist who hadn't yet formed a concretely negative opinion of him.

And then there was the fact that she was Clark's good friend, which was reason enough to stay in her good graces.

"Clark, get the drink. I promise I won't slur when we go to the paper. God knows what they`d make of that." Lex peeked over the top of a scrawl of notes to see Clark staring at him, his empty glass still waiting to be filled.

Clark shook his head as he moved to pour the drink. "Do you know what this stuff is doing to your liver?"

Decanter in hand, Clark stopped and Lex sighed. Those eyes were devouring him, boring into his chest like Clark was looking through- oh fuck. He was, he was looking through him. Jesus fucking Christ. Lex struggled to remain silent, even as giddy laughter and a forceful protest swelled in his throat, warring with each other.

Clark blinked, averted his eyes for just a moment, apparently refocusing, then looked back at him.

Lex bit his pen again to stifle the harsh words he knew would just make things worse, lips pulled back a little and eyes intent on the paper in his hand.

Clark had been looking at his liver. His skin crawled with the thought, the realization that Clark had examined his organs instinctively, just because he'd asked for a third drink before noon. He couldn't resist the urge to smirk around the pen and it dropped from his teeth to his hand. He beamed up at Clark, feeling totally confident again in the fact that Clark would forgive the unrelenting curiosity he'd been subjected to for the past three days.

With that confidence, he couldn't resist teasing just a little. Clark probably thought he hadn't noticed the quasi-CAT scan. "Clean bill of health, Clark. You know I take my Scotch neat, right?"

"Alcoholic." Clark smiled for the first time in days and the room lit up with the energy that rushed between them.

"Alien." Lex raised eyebrows at him and returned the favor, riding the stream of electricity all the way to Clark's lips. He didn't move, but he could already feel them against his skin. It wouldn't be long... and he could do it, he could pull them together with the most sincere apology he'd ever given.

"You win." Clark turned and picked up the decanter, pouring shakily and Lex laughed and picked up another paper, the one he'd been looking for.

Across the top in red letters, sometime between dusk and dawn the night before, he'd scrawled the words that cinched it.


So simple and completely, totally plausible.

Clark's voice, just a little less tense than before, cut through his epiphany.

"Ask your three and let's get out of here."

"You`re immortal, aren`t you?"

"Le-ex." Green eyes rolled and Lex fought the urge to growl with frustration.

"Just answer."

"No, I`m not immortal. One down, two to go." Clark handed the squat glass to him, and he dropped the paper and gave Clark his best appreciative smile for his trouble, then bent over the paper he'd dropped and started scribbling again. If Clark didn't believe he was immortal, maybe there was an actual reason - beyond the terrifying possibility of eternal life on this planet. As worthless as most of the people he knew were, Lex couldn't imagine outliving them all.

The psychological aspects of Clark's existence hadn't passed by him unnoticed. He'd felt at times over the last few days that maybe no one else would ever have the opportunity to experience such an extraordinarily personal view of a being like Clark.

But as the long string of complex questions had roughened the smooth surface of their relationship, he'd realized that it wasn't Clark that he was studying.

It was himself.


Damn it.

Lex shook his pen, then raked it across the back of the paper in hard strokes, then threw it into the metal trash can beside the desk with a loud clatter. "Can you hand me another pen?"

Clark twisted around and pulled a pen from the holder on the desk behind him. Handing it to him, Clark grinned. "Here. And that's two."

What the fuck? Oh, no fucking way. Lex looked up from his papers and glared. "That doesn't count and you know it."

Clark grinned from ear to ear, then pointed a finger at him. "Fine, but hurry up and ask your other two. I'm hungry and I finished off the pizza at breakfast."

Lex tapped a stack of papers into a neat pile and moved them to the floor, clearing a place on the edge of the bed, then sat, elbows resting on his knees. His back ached with all the bending and pacing the night had been wiled away with. "You don't get sick, you can't have intravenous immunizations like everyone else because your skin is impenetrable."

Clark rolled his eyes again in response. Lex was bordering on complete frustration. He just wanted to pull Clark along on this exploration - he didn't, in fact, think he could do it alone, but the mere demonstration of the extent of Clark's patience was disheartening.

Clark shook his head impatiently and answered. "No shots, no sickness, no splinters, no broken bones. No. Your point?"

It was like Clark wasn't even interested. Like he'd grown tired of the game and he wanted to quit playing, even though the game was his life, the game was his being.

Lex sighed and threw his hands in the air. "My point is, you can't be killed."

"Except with-"

Lex was ready for that - he cut him off. "You don't know that, Clark. You only think meteor rocks could kill you."

Not a verified fact, not that Lex really wanted to verify that particular one.

Clark crossed his arms over his chest and frowned, like he was thinking about it maybe. Considering it for a moment. "I think this could kill me, Lex."

He's a teenager. Be patient. Lex took a deep breath and smiled, hoping to win a few more minutes. "Bear with me."

Clark nodded at him, still frowning. "Uh-huh. Hurry up."

"I can't believe you're so blase about this, Clark." It wasn't something to sneeze at. It was a mind-boggling conclusion, something that should at least provoke a reaction from Clark. Trepidation. Fear. Excitement. Something. Lex narrowed his eyes, hoping Clark would focus on his words. "Listen to what I'm saying. You. Can't. Be. Killed."

The boy - fuck if he was an alien, he was the picture of an attention-deficient teenager at the moment - shrugged. "Whatever you say, Lex. Can we go now?"

No. Fuck no. Not after all that. Not after giving up three days to just understand and wrap his brain around the fact that Clark was going to be here even beyond the existence of here.

It was even more than that - if they stayed together - and they would stay together - Lex would never really die either. Clark would carry his memory into century after century. Their relationship - the things they experienced together could be the most cherished memories of a lifetime that would never end.

And he'd fought against that realization for hours, hell, for days, before he could bring himself to accept it and embrace it as something valuable instead of a daunting pressure that might rip them apart, drive him insane with possibilities and the horror of forever.

Clark wanted to go out, wanted to pretend that none of it was true. He didn't see any of it, he didn't see the importance, the tremendous burden and gift that eternal life meant.

Lex shrank in on himself, wondering how Clark could miss everything, even after all the questions. He'd never even bothered to ask one himself and now, when Lex was throwing the hardest of truths in his face, he didn't even question the logic behind it. "Don't you want to know how I know?"

"Not really. I want ice cream and the zoo, remember? I'm warning you, I can throw a mean hissy fit."

"Christ." Lex tossed down the papers he was holding and sighed, shaking his head. It was too fucking ironic. His head was still swimming with the weight of it, and Clark was behaving like a child. "Fucking teenager."

"Fucking teenager?" Lex's head snapped up at the sound of the bitterness in Clark's voice and guilt stung the back of his tongue as Clark scoffed, "Well, at least you've given up on the age thing. I thought you`d decided I was older than you there for a while."

Clark was scared. Denying it even to himself, desperate for the connection that would reassure him of Lex's continued affection maybe, but the possibility of forever included the loss of him, too.

Lex pushed up off the bed and walked over to him, eyes seeing Clark for the first time in too many hours.

It wasn't a childish wish to put work aside.

It was the plea for validation, for acceptance. For promises of eternity that wouldn't sound ludicrous, not to Clark's anxious, needy ears.

It was a plea for the forgiveness that Lex would never have been able to ask for if their roles had been reversed. The lie had been too big, too all-encompassing to ever hope to be forgiven, and Lex understood that kind of lie all too well.

He reached for Clark, running both hands down his arms and lacing their fingers together, looking down between them. He pushed down a fear-driven hesitation and centered his thoughts on the Clark that hadn't changed at all in seventy-two hours.

"This is not the body of a teenager, Clark." Lex stretched up and kissed his forehead, lips curving into a teasing, gentle smile. "Even if this is the mind of one."

Clark's eyebrows knitted with a plea that said so much more than his words. "Let's go out, Lex. Please?"

Lex touched a finger to the red lips he longed to taste again, tickling along the lower one, then stroked down Clark's jaw with his thumb, work-weary eyes blessedly fixing on Clark's just as they had before any of this started. What he had to say was important, and he wanted to get it out in the open, set it up between them for Clark's subconscious mind to work on as they found their way back to each other.

He paused for a moment, gathering his patience and gentling his tone because Clark didn't even realize he was avoiding the truth that Lex was dishing out. "Let me tell you what I`m getting at first?"

"Okay, go ahead." Impatient and clearly already unreceptive to whatever it was Lex intended to say.

Lex slipped a loose fist down Clark's arm, never breaking the connection of their flesh. Clark could reach out physically if he needed to, could literally steady himself on the crutch of Lex's body if it came to that. But Lex knew it wouldn't. Clark was too far lost from this conversation, too distanced to allow himself to think about the explanation Lex was about to give.

Lex cleared his throat and went for broke. "If you can't be injured and you're immune to all diseases, including fatal ones, it would follow that your planet isn't entirely populated with- people like you. It would be over-run in a matter of generations. Assuming, of course, that it's approximately the size of Earth and you reproduce the same way- we do."

The pronouns stuck in his throat and he swallowed them down, waiting for a reaction.

Clark's face twisted into a Chloe-esque look of skepticism. "So you're saying I was a freak there too. Maybe that's why they sent me-"

Lex covered his mouth with his hand. Clark slumped back against the desk, his crossed his arms over his chest.

Maybe it wasn't the best time to plant this particular seed.

His hand slid from Clark's mouth, a finger catching his lower lip and pulling it down just a little. Lex couldn't help turning on the seduction when his skin was sliding on Clark's. He just wanted to finish this, to wrap it up and leave nothing between them but the thing that made his stomach flutter with anticipation.

He shook his head in a soft denial. "No. You said you didn't have most of your powers then, Clark. Think about it. You said they developed gradually as you got older. They couldn't have known about your abilities when you were - that young, unless everyone on your planet is just like you."

Lex watched Clark doubt his logic, watched him shove it aside, disregarding it as impossible. Before Clark could open his mouth in another useless denial, Lex continued.

"If the entire population is like you, then there has to be a toxin, a threat - a vulnerability. Maybe a substance that doesn't exist here. Some Achilles heel that would regulate the population."

Done and unwilling to listen to the obvious disbelief that Clark frown conveyed, Lex's pressed his lips quickly against Clark's then pulled away, waiting for Clark to catch up to him.

He was right; he knew it, and someday, Clark would be able to accept it too. They could plan forever together, maybe even find a way for Clark to bring him back someday so they could share it.

Lex nudged the thoughts aside, taking in the scent of Clark's breath on his face. Clark's body tilted like he was going to lean down and kiss him, but he didn't. Lex watched with the fascination of a lover who'd been too long separated from his other half as Clark's Adam's apple bobbed in a thick swallow.

He couldn't wait for Clark anymore, couldn't deny himself or Clark the pleasure of touching, God, tasting, and his mouth slid wet on Clark's throat, sucking hard on the lump that betrayed Clark's fear.

The muted salt of skin flashed on his tongue and he sank against Clark's body as Clark sighed into it his touch. Body eager and electricity flowing between them in a current that he could almost see if he squeezed his eyes tight enough, Lex buried the minute hesitation that sat like a brick at the base of his spine. Clark was Clark, innocent enough to blush at this, but brave enough to ask for his mark. Lex admired the man before him in a whole new light, but he knew the boy that flushed pink against his mouth needed as much reassurance as he could give. In this, and all things - even the past that had to be haunting him.

"There was a good reason your parents sent you away, Clark. I just haven't figured out what it is yet." The words vibrated off his lips, Clark's hands venturing out to pull him closer.

Lex moaned into the warm, moist flesh under his mouth, sucking hard on skin that he couldn't ever mark like this, and knowing that, the fact that he had been entrusted with the reason for its resistance was overwhelming. He felt like he was inside Clark, more inside than the deepest fuck he could ever give. Three nights alone in a lifeless bedroom and his cock was weeping that fast.

Clark hugged him closer, hands sliding on his back. "Mmm. Lex-"

He licked his way up Clark's neck, then whispered in a in a voice made rough by his need, "Why aren`t you sleeping in here, Clark?" Soft and unaccusing in Clark's ear, a bite to the flesh just behind it to soothe, even if it hadn't hurt, could never hurt. It didn't matter; it conveyed the same meaning.

Clark's body moved against his, answering the question with a tensing of muscles. That wouldn't do. Lex curled his fingers under the hem of Clark's shirt, lifting it gently but deliberately, pulling it over Clark's head as Clark ducked a little, lifting his arms to help.

Clark was half-naked and not stopping him, not doing anything but somehow managing to look guilty and completely fuckable at the same time.

A slow, deliberate lick down and Lex's mouth paused on Clark's chest, sucking and sucking until he was sure the guilt would be gone when he pulled back to look up into Clark's eyes.

It was still there though, just at the corners, so he moved back down, kneeling on the floor at Clark's feet, a deliberate concession of power that opened Clark's mouth. Lex began licking as Clark's voice cut shakily through the silence.

"That first night - God, Lex, please don't stop - the first night, you knew what I was and that I`d lied to you. I couldn't stand you looking at me like that. Like you were sus-"

Lex bit just above the waistband on Clark's pants, teeth pulling at the flesh there to wipe away the last traces of guilt from Clark's words.

"-oh, God - suspicious. Or curious."

Lex released the bite of skin and looked up at Clark, his sexiest smile spreading on his lips. "Was I?" A low laugh and he returned to that stomach, his tongue licking hard and flat, hot across steely muscles wrapped in soft skin, following the dip in Clark's chest all the way back to his throat as he rose from his knees.

"Uh huh."

Clark's delayed reaction to the question didn't surprise him, but he glanced down to hide his amusement, then bit his lip to keep from moaning at sight of the glistening trail he'd painted on Clark's torso. He wasn't finished, hadn't tasted nearly enough, and he smiled wide against Clark's throat as the young man leaned his head back, offering Lex as much skin as he could.

"What about the second night? After your shower? I waited for you." Lips dragging on skin as he spoke, Lex pressed his body closer.

His own hands felt warm on Clark's skin and he opened them wide, wanting to pull the chill from Clark. His palms flat, trimmed nails digging in, he pulled his chest, stomach, cock, thighs, tight against Clark. Hip bones pushed into his and he ground slowly against them, the hard flesh beneath their clothes rubbing deep, desperate strokes.

Mind swimming hard against the current of pleasure and comprehension that pounded through his veins, Lex could barely concentrate on the seductive vulnerability in Clark's low voice.

"I didn't- ah - didn't think you wanted- . The door was closed."

He'd forgotten that - forgotten that he'd stared at it, willing his own eyes to see through it when he'd heard the doorknob click under Clark's hand. He'd known Clark was there, on the other side of the door, hesitating. And he'd said nothing, done nothing because he was too proud.

But now, it wasn't pride that lifted his fingertips to trace the lines of Clark's face and slide down to cover his jaw, thumb rubbing one cheekbone in a gesture he hoped was reassuring.

It was need.

"Was it?" Lex licked the barest hint of amusement from his own lips as Clark's mouth fell open in the perfect expression of hope.

"Yes." Hissed out and sexier for the mouth that closed hot and wet on his neck, gently pulling the skin, knotting the muscles low in his stomach, making higher brain function something Lex didn't need anymore, didn't even want.

He'd started the game though, so he had to finish it. "What about last night?"

His cock jumped as Clark groaned low and desperate, their bodies rocking together in a slow, steady rhythm that kept them pressing hard into each other, aching with every pull apart.

Clark's voice whispered into the haze that was building around them, pulling Lex up from the downward spiral to listen. He'd never stop listening to Clark. He knew that now, could admit it with his eyes, his undivided attention focused on Clark's lips as he spoke.

"Yesterday you were so... oh, God, yes - you just didn't act like we were... still together. I was ah- please, Lex,. I was afraid. That you'd want to be alone."

Lex groaned against Clark's skin, licking a long, slow line up his neck and tonguing his ear, breath heavy and slow. "I was, Clark. Alone and thinking about you under me. Imagining you there when you didn't show up."

"Oh God, Lex. That's. But you - I didn't think you-"

A soft kiss silenced Clark neatly and Lex felt him melting into it without resistance, arms sliding along Lex's back.

He leaned back a little, breath whispering onto Clark's lips. "Sex-" A wet lick and Clark's mouth slid on his before he could finish, seconds passing like hours in the haze of the kiss. He smiled out of it, his forehead pressing against Clark's. "-is the best way to apologize."

Guilt and shame heated Clark's cheeks and he closed his eyes, lowered his head, effectively hiding his face. They didn't know each other well enough, still, after all this. Clark should never have underestimated him. Not after the things they`d shared.

"I'm sor-"

Lex leaned down, catching that young mouth with his own, tongue wrapping around the word, cutting it off, sucking it from Clark's lips and swallowing it.

Words, thoughts, everything else just completely insignificant. Nothing but Clark's tongue sliding on his, teeth clacking gently as he squeezed Clark's neck roughly, his pants catching on the button of Clark's fly.

Clark's arms wrapped tightly around him as if they could get any closer and Lex smiled inside as Clark's teeth sank into his lip gently. He moaned into Clark's mouth, and Christ, making Clark forget his inhibitions and get aggressive used to be a goal for him and now it was just something he could take for granted, something he knew he could do every time without even trying.

A slow, lingering end to it, small, gentle kisses that just kept coming, like neither of them wanted to feel the void when he leaned back, looking up at Clark.

"You aren`t the one who needed to apologize, Clark."

Seconds before Clark caught up to his words, then seconds more as Lex waited to see if he would say anything. When he shook his head just a little, his mouth open but words failing him, Lex moved in again.

He slid his mouth over Clark's closed eyelids, nose, and mouth again. Another slow kiss, more intimate somehow and Clark pulled back a little to breathe, hands a little unsteady on Lex's forearms. Lex pulled him close again, their foreheads pressed together, mouths sharing breath after breath.

"You do know that none of this changes us, right?" He could give Clark this, could say the words for both of them. Just what he needed, in his terms.

"I'd hoped you would still want to... be with me. I mean, it must be weird knowing that I`m an-" Lex dreaded hearing the word and Clark didn't seem to want to say it. " -- that I'm not like you."

"It took me a little while to wrap my brain around the idea, yes." Another unhurried kiss for emphasis, then he pulled back and looked at Clark. If regret and trust could be found in someone`s eyes, they were there in Clark`s.

"The truth is, I don`t see you any differently. I respect you more - now that you`re not lying. Since you told me I`ve been - well, I'm a little compulsive when it comes to knowledge. I should have realized I was neglecting you - us. Let me apologize?"

He'd thought of it that morning, had been too distracted until then, and now was the perfect time to give Clark his gift.

Clark smiled and Lex stepped away, socked feet flexing under the cuffs of his pants as he crossed the room, heading towards the windows. He glanced back over his shoulder at an unmoving Clark in only jeans. Too much skin just covered, denim taking on a selfishness that could not go unpunished. He'd rip them to shreds and feed the pieces to the hounds at the Planet, if they ever got there.

Lex stopped, a hand on the balcony door, and turned again, smirking. "Aren't you coming?"

Clark's fingers curled on the edge of the desk and Lex frowned. Shit, the balcony. He'd forgotten. Fuck.

"I can't." Clark looked down at the carpet and shook his head, shame heating his cheeks.

Quiet footsteps, socks on carpet, the rustle of fabric filled the room as he walked back to Clark. His fingers brushed under Clark's chin, tilting it up. "You can. I know you can."

Fingers twined through Clark's, Lex tugged him gently towards the door. He flipped the latch and metal scraped metal as the balcony door slid open. He watched, silently willing strength Clark to move, as Clark closed his eyes and breathed deeply, then opened his eyes and braced his hands on the metal frame of the doorway. The balcony stretched before them, stark and beautiful, the perfect venue for this gift, if he could get Clark onto it.

"There's something out there, Clark. Something you need to see."

Lex gave him a nudge- not too hard, and fuck, Clark's muscles were steely, tense and unmoving. He stumbled just a little at Lex's touch, but it wasn't enough to get him moving.

"It's just over there, Clark, to the right." Lex was guiding him, urging him further onto the balcony with one hand on the small of Clark's back and another on his arm.

The empty city air tugged at their clothes, whipping Clark's hair into his eyes. A tear dripped down his cheek and he scrubbed it away. Lex couldn't let himself believe that it was anything but the wind that brought that tear out. He grinned a little, knowing Clark would forget the height when he saw his gift.

"Lex, do we really have to- what-?" Clark reached out and ran his hands reverently over the black and white tube, touching it as if to make sure it was real. "You bought a telescope?"

Lex nodded and smiled. "I bought it at the museum, but I didn't set it up until you were in the shower this morning. I understand why it's so important for you to have one now." Lex squeezed his arm and stepped back, tucking his hands in his pockets, satisfied with the stunned look on Clark's face. "Do you think you can stand to come out here to use it?"

Clark moved fast, stopping just in front of Lex's feet and falling to his knees, boneless and lost. His arms wrapped around Lex's waist in a tight hug and Lex sucked in a breath of strong wind. Clark's hands slid down his thighs, touching the back of his legs all the way down to his ankles. Lex watched in awed silence, knowing he should move, should do something, but not wanting to take the liberty of doing the only thing he could think of - touch.

Leaning back on his heels, Clark looked up him, hooking his fingers into the top of a sock, and wiggling them down until his fingertips connected with Lex's ankle bone, and rubbed there.

Was this collapse and singular, hard focus Clark's reaction to the balcony? To him?

"Do you want to go back inside?" The blowing air muffled his voice and he was grateful for the white noise, covering his uncertainty.

Clark shook his head absently and slid his hands up under Lex`s pant legs, around the backs of his calves. Clark shook the hair out of his eyes as he looked up and Lex saw. It wasn't obligation or guilt making Clark plead for his... affection? Attention? Assurance.

It was Clark's answer to Lex's forgiveness. Gratitude, woven into a solemn promise and sealed by the wetness streaming down Clark's cheeks.

"Clark-" Lex wrapped his hands around Clark's arms and tugged gently, asking him to stand. Clark drew his hands down Lex's legs, out from under the material there, and started to get up, but tumbled forward, catching himself on his knuckles. Before he could foolishly try again, Lex was there, crouching in front of him, brushing his wet face, kissing him softly.

Soothing and protective as he hadn't known he was capable of being.

"Let's go inside." Lex's voice barely audible as the wind stole it away.

Clark's eyes answered him before the word formed on red, red lips. "No."

Lex knelt beside him on the cold cement and wrapped him in his arms. They were 56 stories high and dizzy-drunk on the thin air that would only let either of them get half a breath before whipping away in another direction. Knees flattened by rough concrete, buildings jutting up on the edges of his vision, interrupting the blue expanse of sky around them. Clark's body finally relaxed against his chest, his eyes closing and not opening until Lex pushed him just a little. He needed to touch, to show Clark without having to dig for the words that would just come out all wrong anyway.

His lips spoke, silent but moving - against Clark's. Telling, asking and Clark answered slowly, his tongue slowly licking at Lex's lips, opening them, sliding between and in.

Clark stood up, pulling Lex with him, fingers working the buttons on Lex's shirt. One button undone and apparently too many more to worry about, Clark lifted the shirt up, un-tucking it, and pulled at the fabric on the front. The buttons shot off, rolling away in the wind, the shirt billowing out behind him as Clark slid it down over his shoulders and arms.

Hard, fast kisses reconnected them, closing the space between them as his fingers opened Clark's jeans, peeling them down over his hips, boxers catching on his hard cock and pulling until Lex pulled them out a little, then pushed them down with his jeans. Clark kicked them the rest of the way off and shoved them to the side.

Need-clumsy fingers fumbled on Lex's belt buckle and another button, a zipper opened. Lex groaned in relief as the confinement slid down his legs and he leaned on Clark's shoulders for balance as he stepped out of his own clothes.

Clark seemed unsteady, unfocused, and Lex spread his hands on Clark's shoulders, kneeling awkwardly there for a second to allow Clark to ground himself before Lex slowly pushed him back, the chill slab icy cold under his legs, and it must be cold on even Clark's skin, too. He stretched out over Clark, his hips aligned and moving slowly already, without conscious thought.

Clark's body moved under his and the scrape of the concrete on his shins told him Clark must be feeling the same sensation all over his body. He leaned over, pulling his pants from the pile beside them and noticed Clark holding his breath. He shook his head as he balled up the pants and leaned down to tuck them under Clark's head.

The cool, smooth skin of Clark's chest was his canvas and he licked a line of warmth there, down and down over his stomach, his face nuzzled against the hair on Clark's belly, inhaling, smelling and God, that was sexy. He'd missed that smell, missed the musky, raw scent of Clark's arousal. Mouth pressing hard against Clark's belly, he sank down, taking Clark in his mouth, lips firm but gentle around him, sucking gently. Clark moaned somewhere above him, and Lex lowered his head more, taking him deeper.

Slow and steady pull was so satisfying, such a sure, easy thing to do to tell Clark... so much. He kept the constant, repetitive stroke of his tongue firm on Clark's shaft, his hands holding tight to hips that tensed with the need to move, the same need Lex felt as he swallowed hard.

An instant later, Clark's hands were on his shoulders, pushing him off. He looked up into begging eyes and knew, knew that Clark didn't want to stop him, but that he wanted, needed that connection somewhere else.

Lex moved to straddle Clark's thigh and leaned down to kiss him as Clark's fingertips ghosted over his back. Without thinking, without permission, Lex's hips sank lower rubbing against Clark's thigh like a need that he couldn't help but indulge. Clark bent his knee up higher, his thigh pressing against Lex`s ass and Lex moaned his approval into Clark's mouth.

Clark instantly raised his leg higher and pressed it up harder, making Lex arch back, pulling away from his mouth with a groan. He leaned down and licked Clark's throat, moaning or humming, didn't matter because Clark was lost under him, eyes closed, head slowly moving back and forth against the concrete, thigh flexing with a rhythm they found together.

Hands curved under Lex's arms, solid muscles flexing against them as Clark lifted and pulled Lex up, giving him just a moment to get used to the new position. Clark squeezed his thighs, urging them forward until Lex was straddling his waist and looking down into desire-clouded eyes. Both of them hard against Clark's stomach, thin line of hair there wet, Clark catching his eye as he looked down between them, reaching for Lex's cock.

Lex leaned down as the hand wrapped around him, his mouth already open, his tongue flicking across Clark's lips, wetting them as he moved to kiss him.

The wind yanked Clark's hair, plastering it to Lex's head as a stubbled cheek brushed his. Lex kissed his way to Clark's ear, licking heat there, sucking gently on the lobe, teeth nibbling the edge and a low whisper he hoped Clark would feel everywhere. "I'm sorry."

Clark pulled his hand from between them and wrapped both arms tight around his back, holding Lex almost too tight, but anything less would have been - not enough. Clark's hips bucked up and Lex forgot himself, sinking heavily and passively down on him, letting him do - anything.

Clark cupped a hand over the back of his skull and rolled, easily pushing the makeshift pillow under his bare head and moving fast, before Lex could protest the chill shock of the concrete. Lex laid there, taking what Clark wanted - or needed - to give, tilting his chin up, scalp scraping at the top where the cloth didn't protect it. He arched his back as Clark mouthed nipples, chest, navel, before sucking Lex into his mouth. Stealing words, permission, everything from Lex while he wasn't looking. He didn't care, didn't want it to stop. Clark's lips closed tight around the base, his tongue teasing. At Lex's moan and the unstoppable shift of his hips, Clark started sucking steadily, pulling him down and under the current of pleasure that pulsed through his body.

Clark's mouth a cavern of soft, warm moisture, a place he could lose himself in. The head of his cock bumped the back of Clark's mouth and that was it, he was swallowed on the next nudge in. A strangled cry was all he could manage before he was coming down Clark's open throat. Clark moved off fast, replacing his mouth with a hand and Lex saw him looking from his face to his cock as he rode out the orgasm, fucking Clark's fist with haphazard thrusts, ass raw with the sharp scrape of rough, freezing stone beneath him.

His stomach muscles flexed with his effort to watch himself come and God that was just - Jesus. Perfect. Clark unabashedly dipped his fingers into the slickness on his chest, smearing and spreading, catching some up and moving between Lex's legs. He shook with the smaller tremors of his orgasm and arched up as Clark slipped a wet finger in and twisted slowly.

The clenched skin unfurled under Clark's attention, and before Lex could will his cock to stop aching, Clark slid another finger in beside the first. Long, slow motions in and out, carefully, slowly opening him. Clark's thumb stretched up, teasing his sack as another finger slid in beside the first two. A strangled version of Clark's name died slowly on Lex`s lips as he realized he wasn't even there anymore, wasn't making love to an alien, wasn't fucking some stranger. He was so connected to Clark that he could ride Clark's wave of emotions, he could share the passion and need without complicating anything. His moans came out in long strings like words that wouldn't form but he knew they said enough.

Clark knelt between his legs, and replaced his fingers in one quick move that happened too fast, so fast it took his breath away. A gasp matched his own when Clark tucked himself all the way in. He squeezed his eyes closed against the pain, against the burning stretch that spread, heating his down his thighs and up his spine.

Clark stopped there, so deep inside. He pulled out just a little and slid back in, the sting of movement there somehow a desperate relief like breath after drowning, like thawing out. Clark was rocking and pushing and filling and tugging. Lex's brain flooded with the hold, the security of his cock being sheathed and released, the promise of every pull. He knew Clark that well, knew what he was feeling and thinking and God, that he probably wasn't thinking now.

They settled into a rhythm, a slow and easy fuck, timing perfect, ache just good enough to keep him on the edge but not push him over again. When his throat hurt with the beauty above him, he brushed fingers over Clark's cheek and Clark turned his lips into Lex's palm, licked it, sucked it gently and smiled into it when Lex whimpered. Low, soft moans like hard breath or loud sighs and those were Clark's, not his.

Clark was close, so close with Lex's fingers slipping into his mouth, dry ones finding Clark's nipple and rolling it, pulling it gently away from his chest. Lex curled up, an arm around Clark's back for support, and sucked the nipple into his mouth. He bit lightly, then harder when Clark groaned and pounded into him, rhythm shot to hell and erratic, cock emptying into Lex with every thrust. Perfect.

Wind cooled the sweat on his skin and Clark must've felt that too. They shivered, Clark pulling out of him and the ache returned to his cock as soon as he was empty. Sated and exhausted, Lex pulled Clark down for a fast kiss, too fast to leave him wanting anything but another, but Clark needed something else now. He caught hazel eyes and wouldn't let go until they focused on his own.

"Let it go, Clark. Just let it go."

One undeniable sob, the gulp to swallow it totally unsuccessful, and a choked sound like Clark couldn't breathe, couldn't find air. Lex knew it was there, pent up and probably driving him mad with self- doubt.

He realized the depth of - everything - and knew that Clark probably hadn't, until now. Hate, anger, resentment, pain washed over him as it fell from Clark's body. He rode the track with Clark, a fast-forward through years of lies, countless regrets and three days of uncertainty. He'd been there for it all, through it all, at Clark's side. He could share this, would take some of this burden if he could.

Clark fell heavily on him and Lex watched the strong, invulnerable man shake with an exhausted heart. Lex held him close, not saying a word, until Clark gradually rolled onto his side, gently pulling Lex to face him. Clark avoided his eyes as Lex reached up to wipe the tears away.

Empty air surrounded them, like freedom and promise and potential. The city rose up to meet them, holding them up above everything.

"Chloe Sullivan?" The big-haired blonde receptionist at the Planet was staring from him to Clark and back again, heavily-painted eyes unblinking.

"What? Who?"

"Chloe. Sullivan. She's interning here." He was sure Clark was speaking English... although, that was something he would have to ask Clark about later - how many languages did he know?

"Clark! You came!" Chloe bounded up to them from across the lobby, arms flying around Clark's neck and pulling him down for a tight hug. Lex looked everywhere but at the two of them, winking at a leggy redhead who waved shyly from across the lobby.

Clark didn't seem to notice, not with his hands full of smartass blonde.

"Chloe! There you are! We were just-"

Chloe rolled her eyes at the awestruck receptionist and laughed. "They're here for me, Bren, thanks!" Amazingly, the stunned woman actually blinked - then looked at Chloe like she was a wounded caribou ripe for slaughter. Clark wrapped an arm protectively around Chloe's shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. She beamed up at him then ducked out from under his arm, finally turning her attention to him.

"Lex, thanks for coming - I know this isn't exactly your idea of a good time, but I wanted you guys to see my office."

Lex nodded politely, smile plastered on his face like a Colorforms sticker. If they weren't at the Planet, he would have leaned over and taken Clark's arm, despite the fact that he may as well have been pissing in the corners. This place was crawling with reporters who would sell their souls for a photo op like that.

Lex's smile widened at the thought, and it was just as well, since Chloe smiled a little easier and spun around, waving them on behind her.

Chloe moved into action, waving them along behind her, leading them down one hall, then another. She looked over her shoulder every now and then like she was afraid they were going to disappear. Clark reached for his hand and he glanced down, raising his eyebrows and shaking his head just once. Clark squeezed fast and let go, tossing him a quick hang-dog face that Lex couldn't help but smile at. They both almost walked into Chloe when she stopped walking to push a door open.

"So, this is it guys! This is where I transform from high school newspaper nerd to star reporter." Chloe opened her arms and gestured at the jumble of desks, papers, computers, and speeding people crowding the large room they had just entered.

"Wow. It's-"

"A mess, I know! Isn't it great?" Chloe was effervescent as usual, a very good thing since the last time they'd seen her in Smallville, she'd still been a little pissed at both of them. According to Gabe, her resentment from the Spring Formal had left a bad taste in her mouth for all things male, but she was apparently very much over that.

"No, it's awesome Chlo!" Clark took at tentative step towards the rows of desks. "Which one is yours?"

"Down at the end, second from the right. Come on, I'll show you." They weaved through the maze of desks and printer stations, finally stopping near the windows at what was obviously Chloe's desk. There were post-it notes framing her computer monitor, a picture of her father taped to the wall her desk butted against. He'd mention it to Gabe sometime.

A young man in a short-sleeved dress shirt and Donald Duck tie sidled up beside him, extending a hand and throwing a sideways glance at Chloe and Clark. Lex seethed before the boy could even speak.

"Mr. Luthor? Jonah Fields. How are things out in Smallville?"

Lex narrowed his eyes at the annoyance, then looked down at the young man's hand. He smirked, tucking his hands in his pockets and turning his shoulder in an obvious dismissal. Before he could say a word, Chloe's head snapped around, her eyes glaring at the novice reporter. "Back off Jonah."

The man scoffed at her, smiled at Lex and turned on his heel, looking back over his shoulder at the three of them.

Lex smiled wide at the take-charge attitude then watched in abject horror as Chloe pulled out her chair and climbed up on it. The last thing he wanted right now was an audience. He ducked his head just a little as she stuck two fingers in her mouth and blew a sharp, high-pitched whistle that sliced through the cacophony of paper-shuffling and people talking.

"Listen up! Lex Luthor is here as my guest. NO ONE bothers him. Got it? Good." Chloe smiled down at them, then held out a hand to Clark for support as she climbed off the chair. "That should keep the vultures at bay so we can talk."

Lex had a whole new respect for the girl, wondering why he'd never seen the potential under the teenage fumbling. He leaned close to her, nodding his approval. "Nice, Chloe."

"Let it never be said that I can't handle a crowd."

Chloe's tone was just a little more friendly than usual and they shared a short laugh as she raised her chin and cocked her head to the side, clearly proud of her own boldness. Lex wondered if she'd surprised even herself. She worked in bursts of energy, confidence, sensuality. She was inconsistent as hell, but that would smooth itself out someday.

"So whadja bring me, Clark?" Chloe nodded at the small bag in Clark's hand and he opened it, reaching in and presenting her with the pens. "Just some pens I thought you'd like. Lex took me to the science museum a few days ago and I found them in the gift shop. They have really cool pictures of geological phenomenon on them. Thought you could use them as substitutes for the Wall of Weird while you're here."

Lex stole a glance at Clark as Chloe reacted with too much enthusiasm, and for one torturously short moment their eyes met, locked, spoke. A thousand times said in a thousand different ways and Lex still didn't really believe it. Clark wanted him here, a third wheel to Clark and Chloe's youthful ten-speed. And he wanted to be here, too. Awkwardly tagging along, coming between them just by existing in the space near them. It was fine though, because for the first time, it really didn't matter what he was doing, or who it was with, as long as Clark was within reach.

Lex caught Chloe's eyes on him out of the corner of his eye and turned back to her. She gave him a sideways glance, then all but attacked Clark, hugging him until Lex's arms ached to peel her off of him.

Thank God he hadn't been able to bring the meteor rocks. Lord only knows what she would have done to him if he had.

"So, you guys, sit down. Tell me about the vacation. I know you haven't been spending all your time in museums. What have you been up to?" Chloe motioned to two chairs near her desk, then sat down and started clicking on her computer, launching her web browser.

Lex considered half a dozen topics, but the museum really was the only thing they'd done outside the penthouse. Well, besides tormenting Lionel at his office, and he really didn`t want to bring that up again.

Clark came to his rescue as Chloe grew impatient, twisting around in her seat as if to demand their answer.

"Well, not much really. Lex has every Chaplin movie ever made. I've been working my way through those."

Chloe spun around to look at him, her face animated in a horrified grimace, then turned back to her screen and began clicking again as she spoke. "Lex, he's not serious is he? You actually let him watch those things?" Chloe's head bobbed but she didn't turn from her computer as she talked.

Lex threw Clark a little smile and leaned back in his chair. They really should have rehearsed this, but the improv was kind of fun. "I usually just sleep while he's watching them."

Sleep, blow him, same thing.

"I established a Chaplin ban years ago, didn't I, Clark?" Chloe spun in her chair, hair flaring out a little with the motion. "It was the only way I could step foot into a video store with him and not end up running screaming into the parking lot."

"Don't forget I had to institute a no-Kevin rule. Chloe will watch anything Kevin Costner has ever filmed. Twice. In a row."

Chloe's face flushed and she opened her mouth then snapped it shut again and turned back to her screen.

"Look, Clark. I found a list of all the lesser-known points of interest in Metropolis. There are some really strange things here too- apparently Smallville hasn't cornered the market on weird." Chloe moved to the side as Clark leaned forward to look at the screen.

"Chloe that's great! Look, Lex. Apparently there's a secret tunnel that leads to the Luthor Corp Headquarters sub-basement."

Lex leaned closer to get a better look at the screen. "What?"


Lex shoved him a little and looked at the screen again. "Can you print that out for us, Chloe? We`re running out of places we can both agree on. Clark seems to be interested in the zoo." Lex smiled wide and looked at Clark out of the corner of his eye. Chloe giggled and nodded at him over her shoulder, then turned back to the computer and clicked the print command.

"And Lex thinks we should visit every place the Metropolis school system sends kids on a fieldtrip."

"Except the zoo." Damn, Chloe was quick.

"Yeah, except the zoo. What do you have against zoos anyway, Lex?"

"Caged animals make me nauseous." Lex reached out and took the fresh printout from Chloe, scanning it.

This was the easy banter he'd always seen between Clark and Chloe, but it seemed strange to be on the inside of it instead of skirting the edges. She was easy to like; it was like she'd known him for years too, like she'd forgotten all the suspicions she'd had about him since he'd moved to Smallville.

"Look, Clark, there's a funerary museum. Didn't you say something about caskets the other day? Maybe we should stop by."

Clark's face flushed and he tried to cover as Lex stifled a laugh. "Funerary museum? Ew, Lex. Lemme see." Clark snatched the list from him and started pretending to read.

"So what are you guys doing tonight?"

Lex smiled and tucked the printout into his pocket. "Oh, probably just fucking around."

Clark covered a laugh with a little cough and Lex bit his tongue to stop himself from outing them both.

It was an innocent enough question, she probably just wanted to hang out, but Chloe had a way of saying exactly the right thing at the wrong time. Lex guessed that this was her way of inviting herself into their evening, and if he didn't move quick, they would definitely not be fucking around.

Clark beat him to it though, obviously thinking the same thing.

"No Lex, don't you remember?" He shot Lex a look then smiled wide at Chloe. "I'm helping Lex with some research he's doing. He promised not to do any work while we were here, but, well, you know him."

Chloe looked at him and shook her head too. "Research while on vacation? Lex, you've really gotta learn to loosen up."

Lex shrugged and grinned way too much like a fox. "Something came up. What can I say?"

Chloe rolled her eyes and sighed. "Well call me if you guys finish early, okay? I hate going out alone."

Finish early? No way. He was going to taste Clark from head to toe and back again tonight. This afternoon had been phenomenal, but they still had a lot of making up to do.

"Sure Chlo, but this is a big project - I doubt we'll be done tonight."

And that was all he could take, enough of an opening for him to stake his claim and get them the fuck out of there and alone again. He brushed the shoulder of his coat until Clark finally saw him.

For an instant, Lex wondered if Clark would heed the signal or if it would be Chloe's turn to play third wheel tonight.

"Well, Chloe, I guess we'd better let you get back to work. I`d like to get a head start on that research. The sooner we get it over with, the better." He seemed a little reluctant when he leaned in to hug Chloe good-bye, and held her just a little too long for Lex's comfort.

She took a step back from Clark, turned and almost fell into Lex, arms closing awkwardly around him. Clark looked almost as surprised as Lex felt, but unwelcome or not, Lex wasn't going to be rude about the hug. He slowly closed his arms around Chloe's back and stiffly patted a couple of times, hoping that would be enough.

Chloe let go of him after a moment and smiled from him to Clark. "Thanks for coming by. I'll call you later, guys."

"We'll get together sometime this week, okay Chlo?" Clark winked at her and they turned to leave, Clark following him as he cut a determined path through the office.

In the lobby, the receptionist stood as they breezed past her, fake, blood red nails digging into her thigh. Lex glanced at her to make sure she wasn't some girl from his past come back to haunt him, and Clark waved at her and grinned.

She didn't even see it.

Outside at the curb, they climbed into the limo and sat side by side, legs touching from knee to hip. Clark leaned over to kiss Lex even before the door was shut behind them - fuck getting caught. He deserved to be kissed, and thoroughly. He`d been so good the whole time they were at the paper, despite Lex's little puns. His lips parted under Clark's he laced a hand through raven hair. As they kissed, Lex reached up and knocked twice on the glass, signaling the driver to proceed.

Clark's tongue licked into his mouth, deep and wet and taking. Hard. Lex bit into his lower lip - kissing nicely wasn't enough - wasn't even an option right now. He pulled Clark's hair a little as he moved into the hand that pushed tight on his cock. He rubbed up to meet the desperate touches and released Clark's hair, covering the hand on his zipper and stilling it, holding it there.

He caught urgent, pleading eyes and soothed them with his own, keeping the steady gaze until Clark's breathing slowed just a little and he spoke.

"I changed my mind, Lex. I don't want to go out anywhere - ever again."

Lex nodded, closing his eyes, leaning his head back on the seat and sighing. "I know. A necessary evil though, Clark. We can't have your parents find out about us in the papers."

"God, I hate that, Lex. Sometimes I wish you weren't-"

Lex heard the unspoken words as clearly as if Clark had gone ahead and said them. `A Luthor.'

It didn't sting; he'd wished the same thing often enough.

"-famous. It's not fair that we have to hide."

Lex shrugged, running a hand over his scalp. "One more benefit of having my father's name. At least Chloe had the hounds on a short leash. That was impressive."

It had all happened so quickly - so naturally, that Lex hadn`t given it much thought, but their visit had gone off without a hitch.

"I thought the whole thing went pretty well. Except the whole Chloe flirting with you part."

Lex's eyelids flew open. "What?"

"Yeah, she was totally flirting with you, Lex. You mean you didn't notice?"

It was ridiculous; Chloe had been friendlier to him, that's all. "No, I didn't."

"Well she was."

"You have the most vivid imagination, Clark." Lex leaned back into the seat and closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Headache?" Clark wrapped a hand around the back of his neck, thumb and fingers kneading the muscles just under the line of his skull.

"Mmmm. No, but don't stop. You have incredible hands - have I ever told you that?"

"No, but thank you."

Clark's eyes were on his neck and he didn't see the kiss coming, which just made it that much better. Soft and wet and slow this time, like savoring wine or a sunset. Perfect.

The beeping pulse of the cell phone in his jacket pocket was an annoying distraction and the kiss ended slowly enough that Lex nearly scrambled to flip the phone open before the fifth ring.

"Lex, it's Chloe. Is Clark with you?"

Lex smiled at the fact that she couldn't even make it ten minutes without Clark, then shot Clark a skeptical look, just for good measure. "Well, hello, Ms. Sullivan. Of course, he's right here." He handed the phone to Clark, who looked confused but sounded happy enough.

"Hey Chloe - forget something?"

Clark looked up at Lex with wide eyes. "Know what, Chloe?" Lex's smile faded and he tilted his head, questioning. What did she know? Oh Jesus.

Clark shook his head at Lex and grinned. Maybe she was flirting, maybe she thought Lex liked her.

Clark's breath hitched and he looked at the floor of the limo, carefully avoiding Lex's eyes. That was not a good sign.

"What? I don't know what you're talking about."

And that was it. Chloe knew, and Clark didn't have the sense to just admit it. Or he did, but he was afraid of what Lex's own reaction might be. Jesus, the whole visit had been a mistake, a mistake he'd known they shouldn't have made.

Clark's wavering voice wouldn't have fooled anyone. "Chloe, you're nuts. There's nothing going on-" Clark bit off the lie and turned his head back to him. Lex started to shake his head, then stopped. He couldn't ask Clark to lie to her, not now.

"I-" Clark stammered and Lex could tell he was searching for the right words.

Clark lowered the phone from his ear and held it out to Lex, who took it, closed it and reached down to put it away.

The phone missed his pocket and thudded to the floor of the limo when Clark spoke.

"She knows about us."




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