Rated NC-17 for m/m sex. The characters, of course, don't belong to me. I'm only borrowing them from the WB for this strictly not-for-profit enterprise. This is a sequel to meteOros so you might want to read it first. --Kellie

© 2002 Kellie Matthews

Clark leaned against the wall of the loft staring blankly at nothing, wondering if things could get any worse. It was hard to be alone in the barn now. Too many memories there. Phelan-- that generator hurtling down at him, that first conversation. That would have been bad enough even without the . . . other memories. His gaze went to the blanket over the railing for a moment, until he forced himself to look away, turning toward the telescope with a sigh, focusing it on the sky more by rote than anything else.

Things could definitely be a lot worse. He knew that. His dad could still be in jail. His mom could be in jail. His name could be splashed across headlines all over the country. He could be in some secret government lab somewhere. As far as Phelan went-- what Clark mostly felt was a sort of guilty sense of relief. Yeah, it was bad that he was dead, but… if he’d lived, then there would have been other problems, like Clark’s fingerprints all over the place. With Phelan gone, maybe no one would ever bother checking those out.

Now that it was all over, he did feel guilty for getting mad at Lex. His questions had been perfectly reasonable under the circumstances. It wasn't his fault that Clark couldn't answer them. So now Clark felt like the bad guy. And he couldn't stop thinking about it. Which was stupid, since he was sure Lex wasn't sitting at home brooding about him. Oh no. He had plenty to occupy his mind. And his bed.

And that was it, he knew it, no matter how nice a package he tried to wrap it in. It was all he could think about now that other things were mostly back to normal. And even just thinking about it brought back the burn of humiliation. He'd gone to the reception with Lex, enjoying the rare chance to be around Lex with parental approval. He'd finally gotten that limo ride to Metropolis. So what if Lex had spent most of the trip on the phone fielding last-minute questions about the event? He'd had figured the trip home would be a lot more. . . fun.

But then the whole Lana thing had happened. . . God. Could Lex have made it any plainer without actually saying the dreaded "Let's just be friends?" And as if that wasn't bad enough, there had been . . . her. Victoria. She might as well have been wearing a name-tag that read "Hi, My Name Is Victoria and I'm What Lex Is Used To, So Get Lost, Little Boy." That feeling had been confirmed seconds later by Lex's offhanded 'Catch you later, Clark.' What had ever made Clark think that he was anything but a way for Lex to while away the tedium of his off hours in Smallville? Lex certainly hadn't seemed at all concerned about his feelings, so damn it, he wasn't going to feel guilty about telling Lex to butt out.

The problem was, Lex hadn't acted distant or dismissive the next day. His concern had been real, his offer of help sincere. Clark knew it. He'd just been too stressed out then to deal with anything rationally, especially not Lex, not when he was already swinging between panic and anger. To have to deal with one more stress had tipped the scales. Feeling torn between wanting Lex, and never wanting to see him again, his questions had just been . . . too much.

He sat down cross-legged next to the telescope and put his head in his hands. He wouldn't cry, damn it. He might be a freak but he wasn't going to cry. He was just tired, that's all it was. Tired knowing that normal would never hold any real meaning for him. Tired of being afraid of someone finding out about him. Tired of fearing that graveyard Cassandra had foreseen. Tired. Tired of being such a whining jackass. Why couldn't he just be happy that his folks were okay, and that he'd gotten out of this on his own, relatively well? Chloe would say he needed to look on the bright side. Easier said than done. He closed his eyes to stop them from burning.

* * *

He dreamed Lex was with him, one hand warm on the back of his neck, the other resting on his shoulder.

"Clark, come on, wake up. You're going to get sick if you sleep out here. Or at least end up stiff as a board."

Well, that was annoying. If he was going to dream about Lex, couldn't it at least be a good dream, not some stupid everyday one? Though he supposed he should be glad it wasn't a nightmare.

"Clark?" This time Lex shook him a little.

It occurred to him that it was weird to be dreaming about being annoyed by a dream so he opened his eyes, just to see what would happen. He found himself staring out the loft doors. There was still a warm hand on his neck, another on his shoulder. He sat up straight, fast, and turned to look . . . Not a dream. He felt the hands leave his neck. Lex, crouching beside him, gazed at him solemnly, his hands clasped between his thighs.

"Lex?" Oh, very clever and sophisticated there, Kent. He tried again. "What are you doing here?" There. Better. His voice sounded wintry. Good.

Lex smiled crookedly. "Good question." He reached out to touch Clark's shoulder again.

Knowing the touch didn't mean. . .anything, was too much. Clark jerked away, trapping Lex's hand between his shoulder and the wall. A brief flicker of pain crossed Lex's face and he pulled back. Clark couldn't bring himself to say he was sorry.

"I deserved that," he said evenly, then he looked up. "I won't touch you again."

Clark snorted. "Yeah, I kind of got that already. What do you want?"

"I. . . ah . . ." Lex shook his head, stood up and paced a bit.

"Either say it and get out. . ." Clark snapped.

". . . or just get out?" Lex finished for him.

Clark shrugged. He wasn't about to feel guilty. Lex was the dump-er not the dump-ee. And it wasn’t like he didn’t have consolation waiting in the wings.

Lex stopped pacing and looked at him, rubbing absently at his hand with a slight wince. "Fair enough. If you have a video camera you may want to get it out, because I guarantee you this is an historic occasion and may never happen again in your lifetime. I came to apologize."

"What for?" Clark asked warily.

"For. . . well, for that trick I played on you, at the museum."

Clark frowned. "Trick?"

Lex sighed. "Lana."

"Oh." Clark sat silent for a moment, thinking. Then he looked up again. "Why did you?"
Lex started pacing again, ending up standing beside the loft door, one hand on the wall as he stared out into darkness. "You may not believe this, and it's probably a really stupid idea for me to actually tell you this, but lately I seem to be living down to Dad's belief that stupid is my middle name. You. . . scared me a little. Or, I should say, we did. So I thought I should do something about it, and Lana was the first thing that came to mind."

Clark stared at him blankly. "What do you mean, we scared you?"

A little curl of self-derision lifted a corner of Lex's mouth. "I can't figure you out, can't figure out what you want from me. I mean, aside from me. And that's. . . outside my experience. I'm not used to people who don't want anything from me." He stopped suddenly, and his jaw tightened. "I don't like not knowing," he snapped. "You're a mystery, and I don't like mysteries. I don't like not having all the facts I need to make an informed decision."

His tone was flat, forceful, almost angry as he finished, and even though he'd been expecting it, Clark still felt a shaft of pain lance through him, bright and hot. "You don't like me." He winced at the realization he'd said that out loud.

Lex laughed, a self-mocking sort of sound, and dropped back into a crouch beside him. "Look at me," he said urgently. "I like you very much. Too much, probably, for both your good and my own."

Clark turned his head, feeling Lex's fingers slide away from this skin, not wanting to see the truth in his cloudy blue gaze. "You've got a strange way of showing it."

"What do you want? I'm a Luthor," Lex said dryly.

"What about Victoria?" he asked, hating himself for asking. "Is she a trick too?"

Lex was silent for a moment, then he laughed sardonically. "That's precisely what she is."

"Right," Clark growled. He knew better. "Are you sleeping with her?" His question challenged Lex to lie to him.

Lex's gaze didn't waver. "It's what she wants, and I need her happy, so yes, I'm sleeping with her. It's the price she's asking for her help. So you see, trick is a very appropriate word."

Clark didn't understand, and he didn't want Lex to know he didn't, so he ignored that part. "What do you need her help with?" he asked sullenly, knowing he was acting like a brat and a baby, hating it, but somehow unable to keep himself from doing it.

"Let's just say business considerations."

"Oh, yeah. Sure. Business." Clark scoffed.

Lex refused to be baited. "Victoria is integral to certain plans I have. Call it a marriage of convenience if you like."

Clark suddenly realized where the saying: 'his heart in his throat' came from. It took him several seconds before he could speak again. "You're . . . you're marrying her?" Oh, Jesus, had his voice actually just broken? How humiliating.

Lex reached out for him instantly but stopped short, the movement unusually awkward. "No, Clark, I'm not marrying her."

His voice was steady, reassuring, the expression on his face sympathetic, none of which made Clark feel like less of an idiot.

"That was just a metaphor," Lex continued. "Her father's a prominent industrialist, and I have a vested interest in their corporate plans. I have no intention of marrying her." He laughed dryly. "That would definitely be detrimental to my long-range objectives."

"Which are?"

"You already know that. We talked about that, remember? Alexander the Great?"

"Oh, right, the 'ruling the world before you're thirty' thing."

Lex chuckled. "Yeah. That 'thing.'"

Clark shook his head, trying not to feel too relieved yet, but very happy that Lex was back to bantering with him. "Sometimes you scare me, Lex."

"Good. Shows you're intelligent."

"I don't see how sleeping with her is going to help you rule the world."

"I love the way you say 'her.'"

That stung. "I'm glad you think this is funny," Clark said, his voice cold again.

Lex reached out again, then stopped, again, his hand clenching this time as he let it fall. "Clark." His voice was dark and rough. "I . . ."

"If you say 'I told you' I'll probably hit you," Clark said, just as roughly, shoving his hands into his coat pockets to keep from doing it anyway.

"I wasn't going to. I'm not making excuses, Clark, I just need you to realize that this is who I am. It's what I am." He sighed. "Christ. For what it's worth, I am sorry."

Clark stared out into the darkness, silent as he tried to sort through his conflicting feelings, tried to find anything to say that didn't reek of desperation and immaturity. The quiet was thick and stifling. Finally he turned to look at Lex, hoping that would jar some words loose, and found himself alone. For a moment he thought he really had dreamed it all, but then he heard the squeaky third-step-from-the-bottom groan and realized he hadn't. He dashed to the staircase, saw Lex almost to the door, opening the door . . .

Lex turned, fast, startled, as Clark hit the ground next to him.

"Jesus! What the . . . ?"

"Wait!" Clark gasped. "I . . . I'm sorry, too."

Lex's eyebrows shot up. "For what? You haven't done anything wrong, other than demonstrating a certain lack of discrimination when it comes to bestowing your friendship."

Clark winced. "Well, Chloe can be a little bit sarcastic but . . ."

"I wasn't talking about Chloe," Lex interrupted.

"Oh." He got it. Winced. "Lex, the other day, I . . . I was just upset. I didn't mean what I said."

Lex smiled, but the expression didn't reach his eyes. "Oh, but you did. And you were right." He leaned forward, the blankness leaving his face, his gaze intent and piercing. "Let me help you, Clark. If I knew what Phelan had on you, I could bury it so deep no one would ever find it. You must know that if he found out, someone else will, too, eventually. His kind always do, believe me."

Shit. How had the conversation ended up here? "It was nothing, Lex. Really." He kept his gaze level, his voice steady.

Lex's expression went unreadable, and he rubbed absently at his hand with a slight wince. Clark glanced at his hand, automatically looking through the skin to see burst capillaries and swelling tissues. He realized suddenly that he had done that, when he'd trapped Lex's hand between himself and the wall. "Lex! Jesus! Your hand!"

Lex looked down at his hand, back up at Clark, frowning slightly. "What about it?"

God. He was so bad at hiding. He couldn't keep his mouth shut for ten seconds. He was just lucky that there was so much weird in Smallville that people didn't really notice his weirdness. That, and the whole familiarity breeding contempt thing. Or, if not contempt, at least disinterest. Lex . . . noticed. And he wasn't disinterested. "I. . . you were rubbing it, did I hurt you?"

"I told you, I deserved it," Lex said. "You probably should've done that a long time ago. In fact, you probably should have let me drown," he muttered half under his breath, looking down at the floor for a moment before apparently making a decision and lifting his gaze again. "I told you, I don't like mysteries, and I'm not a nice person. Phelan was nothing, compared to me."

Something inside Clark clicked. He knew, suddenly, what Lex was doing. He started to smile.

Lex frowned. "What are you smiling about?"

"You, doing your big bad Lex thing again," Clark said, letting his smile turn into a grin.

Lex sighed and dropped his head, rubbing his forehead. "God. The one person who should think I'm bad news, won't." He looked up, his gaze intent, his face taut with strain. "Don't you think there's a reason why everyone thinks I'm bad?"

Clark nodded. "Yeah. Preconceptions, jealousy, prejudice.'

Lex grabbed his shoulders and shook him. "No, goddamn it! Because I am not a nice person."

Clark let himself sway with the movement, not wanting Lex to realize how easily he could resist. "You could be nice if you felt like it," he said simply. "You are with me. But I think you like it when people think you're bad."

"I don't like it, Clark, it's just what I am. I use people, don't you get that?"

Clark nodded. "Yeah, actually. I do. You use them, because if you didn't, they'd use you. Or try, anyway. Is that what Victoria is doing?"

Lex let go as if Clark was on fire, taking a step back, staring at him with narrowed eyes. "You want my secrets, but you won't give me yours?" he asked, his voice suddenly bitter.

"No. . . I, Lex, I didn't mean . . ." He sighed. "I don't like her, okay? I hate that you're with her."

"But I'm not with her, am I?" Lex asked.

Clark frowned. "Aren't you?"

Lex looked down, looked around, looked at Clark, pointedly.

"Oh," Clark said. It was funny how Lex could make him feel stupid without making him feel stupid. "And she just let you?"

Lex smiled. "No one just lets me do anything."

"I thought you wanted to keep her happy."

"I am very good at making people happy," Lex said, and then he scowled at Clark. "And I didn't mean that, child, so stop snorting at me."

Clark grinned unrepentantly, ignoring the 'child' dig because he knew Lex was just trying to get to him. "You're good at making me happy."

"When I'm not making you miserable?"

"You don't make me miserable," Clark protested.

"No?" Lex asked, staring at him in a way that made him twitch.

"No," Clark said firmly, crossing his arms over his chest. "You don't. I sometimes make me miserable, but you don't."

"A fine distinction."

"Yeah. So, how'd you make her happy?"

Lex's eyebrows climbed. "You never stop surprising me. You actually want details?"

Heat flashed through Clark as, unbidden, his imagination supplied him with images of Lex and Victoria-- hard, smooth, pale nakedness entwined with soft, feminine curves and long, dark hair. He swallowed hard. "No. I didn't mean . . . " he began, then he trailed off. Maybe he had. He looked up at Lex, found him watching, intently. He swallowed hard. "I never . . . is it good? Is it different?"

Comprehension spread over Lex's face. "Different in some ways, the same in others. As I said to someone recently, if it's done wrong, it pretty much bites, but if it's done right, it can be . . . amazing."

"Is it amazing . . . with her?" He couldn't believe he actually had the nerve to ask.

Lex started to answer, then stopped, frowning a little as if he were having to think about it. After a moment he looked back at Clark and shook his head. "Not any more." He stared at Clark for a moment longer, and suddenly realization seemed to lighten his gaze. He reached out, fingers a fraction of an inch from Clark's face, before he pulled them back with a rueful half-smile. "Sorry. I keep forgetting."

Clark tried not to feel guiltily elated that Lex didn't think it was amazing with Victoria, and that Lex still wanted to touch him, which maybe meant that it was amazing with him? He thought about what Lex had told him, thought about right, and wrong, what he'd been taught they were, anyway. Thought about the black-and-whiteness of that. Lex wasn't black and white. Lex was a thousand shades of gray. He didn't understand everything that made Lex tick, didn't understand how Lex could . . . compartmentalize the way he did, but he had a feeling that the reasons were there, and painful. And he made a decision. "It's all right, I want you to."

Lex scowled. "What?"

Clark moved forward, forcing Lex to move back, backing him up against the wall. Familiar. Wonderfully familiar. So new, but so known. "I don't want you to stop touching me. I like it when you touch me."

Something not far from panic flashed in Lex's eyes. "Have you lost your mind?"

Clark shook his head, and then nodded. "No. Yes. Maybe."

"Are you on something?" Lex asked, staring suspiciously into Clark's eyes.

"No. Just . . . I told you the other day, I know you're not all good. I do understand that. I guess hearing it from Phelan it sounded different, worse, and I was just messed up then anyway. But he was a jerk, and you've been a good friend, and I . . . guess if I have to share, then I have to."

Lex stared at him, lips quirking upward. "Clark, you need a little vocabulary expansion. Phelan wasn't a jerk, he was an unmitigated fuckhead, but whatever he told you about me was probably right on the money."

Clark looked down. "He just said you, um, weren't 'on the side of the angels.'"

Lex snorted. "Depends on whether or not the angel has something I want."

Clark frowned. "Lex."

Lex sighed. "You really need to take off the damned rose-colored glasses. I'm trying to be honest with you here."

"And I'm being honest with you. I can do this."

"I know you can," Lex said with a sigh. "The question is whether you should." He stared at Clark for a moment and then shook his head, a strange, bitter twist to his mouth. "Don't, Clark. Don't compromise your integrity because of me. You're better than that."

He turned then, and walked out the still-open door into the night, leaving Clark to stand there, thinking about what he'd said. Was he compromising his integrity? He didn't think so. The whole incident with Phelan had been a perfect example of compromising integrity to achieve a desired goal. What was happening with Lex was nothing like that at all. He wanted Lex. Lex wanted him. Simple. No compromise needed.

He realized that he hadn't heard a car start, and a quick glance through the barn wall showed him Lex getting into his car, he'd parked it on the shoulder of the main road a hundred yards or so from the main gate. Smart of him-- that way the sound of the car wouldn't disturb Clark's parents. It also showed that Lex knew him well enough to guess that he wouldn't be in the house in bed tonight, since he'd come to the barn instead of throwing rocks at his window or something. That was interesting.

Clark ran a hand through his hair, sighing. It was just so frustrating. He knew Lex had been close to giving in, the conversation turning his way right up until that last moment. Clark looked up again, suddenly resolute, saw the sweep of headlights as Lex headed back toward the mansion. Damn. Waited too long. Or -- maybe not.

If he got there first, he could catch Lex before he went inside, and at least finish the conversation. Yeah, it would suck to have to let him go in to . . . her . . . but he didn't really have a choice. They needed to finish this conversation now, before Lex had a chance to think about it too long. He couldn't give him a chance to settle further into his 'not a good idea' mindset. He took off, easily outpacing Lex's car, vaulted the main gate as usual, took up a position next to the garage, and waited. And waited.

After twenty minutes he knew something was wrong. Lex should have been there by now. Way before now. Worried, he headed back the way he'd come, this time on the road, instead of through the fields. The way Lex drove. . . well, he didn't want to go there. More likely Ethan or Dave had pulled him over for speeding and was even now writing out a ticket while Lex fumed and paced. Or maybe he'd just had engine trouble. Clark smiled a little; he was good with engines, so if Lex needed help . . .

He made it halfway back home before stopping, frustrated. No Lex, no sheriff's car, just empty road. Where was he? He hadn't gone home, that was for sure. It was pretty unlikely that he'd gone into town-- Clark really couldn't see Lex swilling beer at the Dew Drop Inn which was the only place open this time of night, and that not for much longer since it was nearly closing time. Clark had passed him right about here. Which meant he had to have turned off between here, and the mansion. The only problem was that there was pretty much nothing between this spot and the mansion.

Dejected, he started back toward home, until he was brought up short by a memory. There was something. . . yeah. When Lionel Luthor had bought the property there had been one place that he hadn't been allowed to tear down, the Hughes farmhouse, on the far southern edge of the Luthor property. Dad had grumbled for years about Lionel leaving the historic house to rot. But it was there, and Lex owned it, and maybe there was a road that led to it somewhere along here. He started jogging, human-speed, looking for the access road. And found it, only a half-mile from where he'd passed Lex's car before.

The road was neglected, badly rutted, not even a token layer of gravel. The gate swung open easily, though. Clark noticed the gleam of moonlight on bright metal, and looked closer. New hinges on an old, rusty gate? Uh hunh. He stared at the deep grooves in the road, and could hardly imagine taking the truck over it, let alone a Jaguar, but there just wasn't any other rational explanation unless some of his relatives had come by in a flying saucer and picked Lex up for an impromptu physical. Or rather, a flying pinecone, because that's sort of what the ship he'd come in looked like.

He was glad of the moonlight as he negotiated the ruts. About three hundred yards from the gate, the road suddenly curved, and then leveled out, perfectly graded. He could smell the heavy reek of oil that had been sprayed over its surface to help keep the dust down and resist weathering. He frowned, puzzled. Why not grade the road all the way out to the highway? Why leave the final bit all rutted and messed up? For that matter, why put new hinges on an old gate instead of just getting a new gate? It wasn't like Lex couldn't afford one. That was weird. It was all weird. It didn't make sense. Why would anyone do that, unless . . . unless they didn't want anyone to know.

That brought him up short. What was Lex doing out here that he didn't want anyone to know about? He had a sudden, uncomfortable vision of Level Three. Lex kept telling him he wasn't good. What if that hadn't all been all scare tactics? He wondered if he should go back home and go to bed. Probably. But curiosity was, as Grandmother Kent always said, his besetting sin. He kept going, allowing himself to use the gift of speed he'd been given until he reached the house.

It stood cupped in a slight hollow of the property, no doubt built there to keep it a little out of the wailing prairie winds. It wasn't much to look at, just a Victorian farmhouse, like so many in the area. In the moonlight it looked gray and uninteresting. But Lex's Jaguar was there, and there were lights on in the back of the house, gleaming warmly. He walked toward the back door, and then stopped, startled, as it swung open. Lex came out, went to the car, leaned in and got something out of the passenger seat, and then started back toward the house. Gathering his courage, Clark cleared his throat.

"I'm not," he said.

Lex dropped whatever he was carrying and spun to face him, his face taut, clearly startled. For a moment he just stared at him, then he took a deep breath and let it out, shaking his head. "Jesus! Are you trying to give me heart failure? How did you find me? And you're not what?"

Clark ignored the other questions and concentrated on the last one. "Compromising my integrity."

"Really?" Lex asked, disbelieving.

"Yeah. We never said our, um. . ."Clark groped for a word and found one that sort of made him wince, " . . . relationship was exclusive. I never really expected that, and I'm sure you didn't. You're not made that way."

Lex scowled. "Is that so?"

Clark grinned. "You don't really expect me to believe you're monogamous do you?"

Lex snorted, and shook his head. "Not even serially."

Clark looked at him smugly. "I rest my case."

Leaning down, Lex picked up whatever he'd been carrying. Clark squinted, wishing he had night-vision instead of x-ray. It seemed like that would be more useful. Lex straightened and looked at him. "Well, you're here. Come on in. But I still want to know how you found me."

Clark followed him toward the still-open door that spilled a trapezoid of golden light onto the ground. "You didn't go home, I didn't think you went into town, you didn't go back to my place, that didn't leave many other places to look. I was about to give up when I remembered this place and. . . whoa!"

Clark stared around the kitchen. It looked new . . . and old. A potbellied wood-stove stood in one corner. The cupboards and hardwood floor were a warm, mellow maple. An old-fashioned icebox, also in maple, sat close to the door. Or Clark thought it was an icebox until Lex pulled open the door and revealed the interior of a modern refrigerator. He placed his parcel inside, in the light Clark could now see that it was a bag of coffee-beans, and then turned back to face Clark, looking amused.

"Close your mouth, Clark. I think it's too late in the year for flies but you never know."

"I thought this place was abandoned."

"It was, until about six months ago. I brought in a team of restorers. The house has been structurally restored, modernized to better than current code, and furnished, all without sacrificing its historical integrity. My father says it's a damned waste of money. He's probably right, but I enjoy pissing him off so it's worth it."

Clark was sure he'd have heard about Lex restoring the house. His mother was on the local preservation committee, for goodness sake! "How did you do this without anyone knowing? And why?"

Lex smiled what Clark was coming to think of as his Mona Lisa smile. Secretive. Amused. "How? I got my plans approved at the state level, so no one local had to know. It was easy enough to run a temporary road across my own fields and have the supplies brought through the main gate. That way everyone assumed the work was being done on the Castle. As for why? Well, as I said, it's fun to piss off my father. Besides, sometimes the Castle just gets on my nerves. All those people watching me." At Clark's frown he laughed dryly. "I know I sound paranoid as hell, but I'm not. I know my father pays some of them to keep an eye on me and report back anything he might want to know. And the others-- well, it's boring out here, and gossip is always a fun way to pass the time."

Clark looked around the bright, picture-perfect kitchen, then back at Lex. "So. . . your dirty little secret is that deep down you want to be Martha Stewart?"

Lex looked momentarily taken aback, and then he started to laugh, and kept laughing until he had to wipe his eyes, wheezing a little as he gasped for air. "Don't . . . " he coughed, then shook his head and tried again. "Don't tell anybody. My plans for world domination will be toast."

"I think Martha beat you to it," Clark said, trying to keep a straight face.

Lex put a hand to his forehead melodramatically. "Christ, does that mean I have to out-decorate her to get the ruler-of-the-universe gig?"

"Nah, you'll win hands down on the 'cool' front," Clark said with a grin, feeling the tightness in his chest start to ease up. On impulse he reached out, touched one finger to the perpetually upturned corner of Lex's mouth, then traced the faint scar that gave the bow a slight irregularity.

Lex stopped laughing, dragging in a sharp breath, his lips parting slightly under the careful pressure of Clark's fingertip. Clark let his hand fall, and lifted his gaze to Lex's. This time he wanted Lex to make the first move. He waited, tense again, as intense blue eyes held his, and he felt like maybe he wasn't the only one with x-ray vision. Lex moistened his lips.

"Victoria is still here."

Clark didn't look away. "I know that."

"I don't want to hurt you," he said, the words barely a whisper.

Clark nodded. "I know that," he said again.

"I don't want to get hurt." Rougher now. Honest.

"I won't hurt you," Clark promised rashly.

Lex's mouth smiled, but his eyes didn't. They were dark, sad. "You will. Just like I'll hurt you. But that's somewhere down the road. A long way down it, I hope. If I were a better person, I'd make you leave now. I'd make sure we never meet again. But I'm not." He reached up and tangled his fingers in Clark's hair, pulling him down, close but not touching. "I still want to know, Clark," he whispered. "I need to know."

Clark nodded, acknowledging that, but not acquiescing.

"I will know."

It was a statement, not a question. He was probably right. Clark didn't move, didn't speak. Lex sighed, tightened his fingers, and brought Clark's mouth hard against his own. His kiss was harsh, aggressive, and Clark welcomed it, taking Lex's tongue into his mouth, sucking on it, and wanting more. He remembered the feel of Lex's mouth on him, impossibly wonderful. He'd been wanting to try that for a week. He wanted to do that now.

He fumbled with Lex's fly, managing not to tear anything as he got it open, reaching inside, rubbing, feeling thin, silky fabric shift and slide between his palm and Lex's hardening cock. Against the back of his hand Clark could feel the rapid movement of Lex's stomach as he breathed. Against his palm he felt a hint of moisture. Impatiently he pushed Lex back against the counter, breaking their kiss so he could slide down Lex's body, pushing his slacks down as he did. Finally, kneeling at his feet, he looked up, and saw Lex watching him, lower lip caught between his teeth. Clark knew that feeling. Oh, he knew it.

Lex's hand still rested on his hair as Clark leaned forward and licked the small damp spot on Lex's briefs where the head of his cock pressed against them. It was kind of disappointing- mostly he just tasted silk. That wasn't at all what he wanted, so he hooked his thumbs in the waistband and slid the offending garment out of his way. Okay, wow. It was kind of strange to be this close to someone else's cock. Strange, but . . . hot.

He had a moment of panic as he realized that he had no idea what to do next. He'd heard the old joke about 'blow' jobs and blowing so he wasn't stupid enough to try that. God . . . it had to be pretty basic, right? Open your mouth and . . . yeah. Lex's gasp and the tightening of his fingers in Clark's hair told him he must have done something right.

Somehow it felt bigger than it looked. And it didn't look all that small. Smooth, hot, sweet-salty, a little bitter. His mouth watered, and he swallowed, and Lex moaned. Oh. Okay. He could do that again. That was easy. He tried licking. Lex shivered. This was pretty cool. Kind of like getting a grade back every time you answered a question on a test. And so far he was getting all the answers right.         

He remembered that Lex had used a hand, too, so he brought one up, circling the base of his cock. That let him tip Lex's cock outward a little, away from his belly, and made sucking easier. Lex's other hand buried itself in his hair, catching in the tangles left by the wind and running. He tried stroking while he sucked, fumbled a little, then got a rhythm going and suddenly Lex was pulling at his hair, hard, tugging his mouth away. "Clark, stop, now," he said, reaching down with one hand to grab himself, his thumb pressing hard into the underside of his cock.

Clark looked up, worried. "Did I do it wrong?"

Lex shook his head, laughing in-between gulps of air. "God, no. I just wasn't sure how you'd feel about me coming in your mouth."

Oh. He thought about that for about three seconds, thought of all the times he had imagined that very thing, then pushed Lex's hand out of the way and leaned back in, wrapping his hand around the base, stroked a couple of times, then sent his tongue across the slick, velvety tip, before sliding his lips down around the shaft. Lex gasped, shuddered, and then his cock was jerking and pulsing in Clark's mouth, sending a wash of hot, bittersweet fluid across his tongue and palate. He swallowed, learning the strange new taste and texture. Lex gasped again, fingers tangling in his hair again, holding him still.

It was hard not to grin, even with his mouth full of cock. He felt like he'd just aced a final. Even better, really. It was so cool to have just made Lex lose it, like that. The ache in his own groin made him want to grab Lex and wrestle him to the floor and just. . . do something. He wasn't sure what. After a few moments he registered that Lex's knees were starting to give a little, and let go of his cock so he could brace him, hands on both hips, as he slowly drew back, finally letting go of him. Lex was still half-hard, and the damp tip of his cock nudged Clark's cheek a little as he looked up.

"Christ, Clark," he said in awed tones, still looking slightly dazed. "You have one hell of a mouth on you."

He felt himself blush, stupidly, and couldn't help smiling, also stupidly, he suspected. "Really?"

Lex chuckled and held out a hand. "Really. Come on, up off your knees, farm-boy, this place does have more comfortable places to indulge. What is it with you and sex in awkward locations?"

Clark took Lex's hand and let him brace him to his feet. "I'm working on it! I got a couch."

"What?" Lex stared at him, puzzled.

"For the loft," he explained. "I got a couch. The McNabbs just redecorated, they were going to throw their old one out, so I snagged it. They even gave me twenty dollars to haul it away. Mom re-upholstered it for me." He paused for a moment, and then looked at Lex slyly. "It's a fold-out sleeper."

Lex's lips curved upward in a slow smile. "Now that's a really brilliant piece of work. Not just acquiring furniture but getting paid to do it? You may make a businessman yet, Clark. Or should I call you Tom Sawyer?"

Clark laughed. "I didn't have to whitewash a single slat."

"You are entirely too good at those persuasive looks, Mr. Kent," Lex said huskily.

Clark stiffened and looked around, then sighed a little with relief. "Jeez. Don't scare me like that! For half a second there I thought you meant my dad."

Lex shuddered. "That's an extremely off-putting thought."

"Forget I said it," Clark said, pushing him up against the closest wall and diving in for a quick kiss before pulling back. "Forget I even thought it!"

Lex pulled him back in and kissed him again, slower this time, sweeter. He opened to it, moving restlessly, breathlessly, against Lex until the other man turned his head, breaking the kiss. "This is ridiculous. We still haven't made it out of the kitchen. Come on. We'll save breaking in the table for some other time."

Clark was still blushing at that one when Lex finished refastening his pants so he could walk, and then led the way up to a second-floor bedroom. It was simply furnished with an antique wardrobe, a desk, and chair, and a really big cast-iron bed. A small table with a lamp on it sat next to the bed, and the bed itself was covered with a blue and white wedding-ring quilt. Clark figured he probably shouldn't mention the name of the quilt pattern. Lex seemed kind of skittish about things tonight. Clark got it. He really did. It wasn't like they were going steady or anything, he could accept that. He and Lex were just friends. Okay, well, more than just friends. He was just friends with Pete and Chloe. Lex was something entirely different.

God. It was all so confusing. Being around Lex was . . . fun. And difficult at the same time. Lex made him think, made him analyze, made him work for things, but at the same time he was funny, and real and sexy. Plus, it was hard to be around him without being . . . hard. At the same time he still had those vague, non-meteor-induced stirrings around Lana, just like always. Well, okay, a lot less vague now that he'd actually had sex with another person. She was nice, and well, totally hot. But so was Lex.

He was pretty sure that not everyone had this problem. He'd never heard Pete going on about how sexy Whitney was, or Chloe drooling over Lana. He sighed. Why him? Why did he have to be weird, even about this? Maybe it was just because of what he was. Maybe wherever he'd come from, everyone was bi? The idea made him feel a little better, anyway. He didn't really want to know if he would have been just as big a freak in his natural setting. The worst part was, that he never would really know.

Lex looked at him inquisitively. "Why the sigh, Clark?"

Clark blinked, wondering if he was crazy. He was in an honest-to-God bedroom with Lex, and he was thinking instead of doing? "Sorry," he muttered, reaching for Lex, sliding his hands up under his sweater. "Nothing. It's nothing."

"Clark," Lex said, his muscles taut under Clark's hands. "Don't lie to me any more than you have to, okay?"

Clark felt even worse, and he let his hands fall back to his sides. "No. I. . . really, it's just. . . I'm kind of confused here, okay?"

Lex studied him, regarding him steadily. "About us?"

"No," he said, shaking his head. "Just. . . about me."

"In what way?"

"It's just . . . nothing I do is normal, you know? I want to be like everyone else but I'm not, I can't be."

Lex's gaze intensified. "In what way?"

Oh, shit. Open mouth, insert foot. Well, he could at least tell Lex about the most obvious thing. "Well, in the way like . . . how can I want you . . . and still kind of want Lana too?"

Some of the intensity in Lex's eyes faded, and he smiled and turned toward the bed and sat down on its edge, patting the mattress next to him. "Sit down, okay?"

Clark nodded, and sat, staring at his hands. Lex reached over and rubbed his neck. It felt good. Not sexy, just comforting. Nice.

"It's not that weird, you know," he said, conversationally.

Clark looked at him. "It's not?"

Lex shook his head. "No. I mean, I could go into Kinsey scales and statistics and all that, but really, what it boils down to is that a lot of people have the capacity to respond sexually to either gender, they just generally suppress or ignore the desires that aren't considered socially acceptable."

Clark thought about that. In his admittedly limited research, bisexuals appeared to be disdained by both gays and straights. "I don't know," he said. "It seems like from what I've read, if you don't pick one side or the other, then nobody likes you."

Lex smiled. "I like you."

"Yeah, well, you're about as normal as I am," Clark said sourly.

Lex laughed softly, sounding genuinely amused. "Most people aren't brave enough to say that to my face."

Clark snorted. "Or stupid enough. Or honest enough."

"Those too," Lex said agreeably. "Don't be so hard on yourself, Clark. What you want now and what you want ten years from now may be very different things. Right now you're exploring, and that's good. That'll help you figure out exactly who you are and what you do want."

Clark made a face. "God, you sound like my guidance counselor at school."

Lex lifted an eyebrow. "You must have an unusually open-minded guidance counselor."

Clark tried to imagine Mr. Miller earnestly telling him it was all right to want to have sex with a man, and that made him laugh. "Uh, no. Good point. I take it back." He thought about what Lex had said, and even if it did sound a little pat, it made a lot of sense. Lex usually did. He was about the most pragmatic person Clark had ever met. Exploring. Yeah. He looked over at Lex. "So . . . I think maybe I need to . . .explore some more."

One corner of Lex's mouth curved upward. "Is that right?"

Clark nodded. "Yeah."

"You want any help with that?" Lex asked, still not quite smiling.

"Yeah, maybe if you. . . took off your sweater?"

"In the name of research?"

"Exactly," Clark said, trying to keep a straight face.

Lex reached down and caught the hem of his sweater, it was gray, and hugged his torso in a way that made Clark's mouth water. Slowly, definitely teasing, he stripped it off. Beneath it he wore a black athletic tank that clung even more closely than the sweater.

"Do you ever wear jeans?" he heard himself asking.

Lex looked puzzled. "Not recently, why?"

Clark blushed, feeling stupid. "You'd. . . look good in them."

Lex smiled, slowly. "I think I still have a pair or two back in Metropolis. I can always bring them back next time I go."

"Please," Clark said, closing his eyes momentarily, imagining. "Button-fly?" he asked hopefully. "Kind of old?"

"You really have got to stop relying on the Internet for sex education, Clark," Lex said dryly. "But yeah. I'm pretty sure I have at least one pair like that. Now, turnabout is fair play, how about losing some flannel there?"

Nodding, Clark fumbled with a cuff button, his fingers suddenly uncooperative. Lex reached over and put a hand over his.

"Let me help. If we shred any more of your clothes your mother's going to start wondering what's going on," he said, nudging his fingers aside and deftly undoing the recalcitrant button.

"Nah. I do it all the time," Clark said, holding out his other wrist anyway. "She wouldn't bat an eyelash. She gets a lot of stuff at the Salvation Army and some of it's pretty worn out to start with."

Lex's fingers went still on his sleeve, and stayed still for so long that Clark finally looked up. Lex was staring at him with a strange expression on his face.

"What?" he asked.

"Nothing," Lex said, looking back down as he unfastened the second button. "There. Done."

That sucked. The whole lying thing was really a pain. He couldn't exactly call Lex for lying to him when he was doing it too.

"Clark," Lex said. "Shirt? Off?"

Okay. Yeah. This part wasn't a pain. He shrugged out of his shirt, and then took off his sweater and t-shirt, too. Seeing Lex practically lick his lips as he did was definitely a turn-on, reviving his arousal almost instantly. There was just something irresistible about having someone think you were hot . . . especially when he was hot.

"So, what's next on the voyage of discovery?" Lex asked.

"Hunh?" Clark asked, puzzled.

"What do you want to do?"

Oh. Duh. He swallowed hard, mouth suddenly dry. "Everything?"

Lex smiled and pulled off his undershirt, toed off his shoes, then unfastened his slacks, stripping out of them and his underwear at the same time and tossing them across the desk. He glanced at Clark, then at the bed. "I'll be right back," he said with a significant look. The implication was plain. Clark was to get in the bed. Preferably naked.

He watched Lex saunter casually toward the bathroom, wondering if he would ever be able to walk around naked with that kind of poise. It was kind of cool to be able to see him that way, though. Lex wasn't built like the guys on the websites he'd visited... not all steroid-bulked. He was better. Sleek and lean, with surprisingly strong-looking shoulders, and a really nice, curvy ass for someone as lean as he was. Clark had discovered he had a bit of a thing for guys' asses. He was afraid one of these days someone at school was going to catch him checking out some other guy's butt and it would be 'hello scarecrow' all over again.

Once Lex was out of sight, the spell was broken and Clark hastily stripped, then dove for the bed, yanking back the quilt to bare the cool white sheets beneath it. He slid into bed just as Lex came back out.

"Turn on the lamp, will you?" he asked, heading over to the light switch by the door to turn off the overhead light.

Clark reached over and clicked it on. The room seemed smaller in the warmer glow of the lamp. Nicer. Lex came over to the bed then, carrying a couple of towels and a small black bottle. Clark eyed it askance as Lex set it down on the bed-table, thinking about some of the rumors he'd heard, wondering if it was some kind of drug. He wasn't going to get into that.

"What's that?" he asked, nodding at the bottle.

"Hold out your hand."

He only hesitated for a moment as Lex unscrewed the cap, but then he figured it wasn't like having it in his hand was going to hurt anything. He put out his hand, palm up. Lex upended the bottle over his fingers and drizzled a small amount onto Clark's fingertips.

"This, Clark, is better living through chemistry. A new product from our personal-care division. We haven't even named it yet, as far as marketing purposes goes."

Clark looked at the thick, clear stuff spreading across his fingers, unenlightened. "Okay, but what is it?"

Lex put the bottle back down on the bed-table and cupped his hand under Clark's, guiding it downward until Clark touched his own cock, urging his fingers around it. His hand . . . slid.

"Oh. Wow," he said, awed.

Lex grinned. "Light years past Vaseline."

Clark stroked himself experimentally. Lex didn't let go while he did it. "Oh, man," he breathed, less than eloquently.

"Keep the bottle," Lex offered. "Take it home."

"No, I can't, I . . ."

"For Christ's sake, its not like it's a truck," Lex snapped, annoyed.

"I didn't mean that," Clark said hastily. "I just mean. . . what if my folks found it?"

Lex's expression lightened. "Ah, the trials of living at home. Sorry, I thought . . . ."

Clark shook his head. "It's okay. I get it."

"Good. Anyway, don't worry, since the bottle's unmarked you can keep it on your workbench in the loft and if they want to know what it is you can tell them it's a silicone-based lubricant and not even be lying. They don't need to know just what it is you're lubricating with it."

"You're really good at that lying without really lying thing," he said admiringly.

"Years of practice, Clark, years of practice. Now," his hand tightened around Clark's, "back to the matter at hand."

Clark snickered, watching Lex's hand move, watching his own hand move with it. It felt so good. "You make this all seem so . . . easy," he said, trying to express how he felt with Lex. How . . . free he felt. How natural it was. How fun.

Lex leaned close and whispered conspiratorially. "That's because it is easy." He released Clark's hand. "Go on, keep going. I want to watch you."

His tongue slid along the convolutions of Clark's ear, making him shiver. It tickled. . . kind of, in a good way. Then Lex nipped at his earlobe, and started sucking. For a moment Clark just kept stroking himself on autopilot, busy absorbing the weirdly hot sensation of having someone suck on his earlobe, and then what Lex had said hit him. His hand stopped moving, instantly, and his already flushed face went even hotter. Lex wanted to watch him? That was. . . bizarre. But then, thinking back over the pictures he'd seen, he guessed it must not be that strange.

Okay, he could do that, right? It wasn't like he didn't know how. And Lex wanted him to, and he wanted to give Lex what he wanted, so . . . . Deliberately closing his eyes so he couldn't see Lex watching him, he tried, but it just wasn't. . . good. Jerking off was something he could do at home by himself. Here, in Lex's house, in his bed, he wanted more, wanted to touch Lex, not himself. He wanted to know all the forbidden pleasures of Lex's mouth, and body. He could feel himself softening, and he stroked harder, trying to hide it.

Lex's hand covered his, stopping him, and his mouth brushed against his lips. "Stop. It's okay."

He tried to pull away, embarrassed, but Lex wouldn't let him go and he didn't want to struggle because that might get dangerous. "Sorry," he muttered into Lex's collarbone. "I just. . . can't. I want . . . I don't. . ." Jesus. How did people talk about this kind of stuff?

"I know," Lex said gently, even though he couldn't possibly. "My fault. I keep forgetting you're . . . not what I'm used to."

Clark winced and thoughtlessly pushed him away hard enough that Lex nearly slid off the bed. He tried to escape out the other side, but got tangled in the sheets and before he could get untangled, Lex sat up and caught his wrist, the intensity of his gaze compelling Clark to stop trying to run far more effectively than the hand on his wrist did.

"Clark," Lex said quietly. "That's not a bad thing. What I'm used to is people like Vi. . ." he stopped short, baring his teeth in a humorless smile, and then went on. "People who want me because they think I'm stupid enough to let them use me to get to my father, or my money, or who want a job. People who don't even like me, but will have sex with me anyway as long as I can get them into the right clubs. None of those things are you. That's what I'm not used to. Okay?"

Clark stared at him. "Why do you let them, then?"

Lex cocked his head a little, looking puzzled. "Why do I let them what?"

"Have you."

Lex eased back, pushing a pillow against the iron bedstead and leaning back against it. "That's . . . complicated. Sometimes it's a game. Usually it's a game, really. Can I play them before they figure out I'm using them instead of vice versa? Usually I can. A lot of people seem to think that money makes your brain stop working. Maybe for some people it does, but it doesn't me. Sex is . . . or can be . . . power. You learn a lot about someone during sex. It can reveal their weaknesses in ways they wouldn't otherwise let show."

"That's . . . ugly," Clark said, and then wished he hadn't.

Lex didn't seem fazed. He just shrugged. "Yeah. It is. There's a lot of ugliness in the world, and sometimes the only way to get through it is to just dive in and start swimming and hope your shots are up to date."

Clark frowned. "You don't have to. You could just . . . " He managed to stop himself before that trite D.A.R.E. platitude left his lips. "You're better than that," he finished lamely.

Lex sighed. "Don't put me on a pedestal, Clark."

"I'm not!"

"You are. And it's kind of a rush and I like it a lot more than I should but it's not safe for you, or for me."

Clark sighed, staring at the sheets, trying to understand why Lex always did this. Why did he make things so easy on the physical level and so hard on the emotional one? Then he thought back to Lex's comments about what people usually wanted from him and thought maybe he understood, at least a little. Lex reached out suddenly, and touched his face, turning it up. He looked oddly young, his gaze serious, his mouth without its usual good-humored curve.

"I don't want that ugliness to get on you, Clark. Maybe we should stop this, before it does. Because it will, if you're with me."

"Damn it, Lex, would you just stop trying to scare me?" he growled, glaring. "Why do you . . ." he stopped suddenly as realization hit him right between the eyes. "You're afraid of this, aren't you?" he blurted.

Lex sat forward, his eyes narrowed. "Afraid? Of you?"

Clark shook his head. "Not me. Like you could be," he scoffed. "No. You said it yourself. You don't usually like the people you go to bed with. But. . . you like me."

"And if I do?" Lex said, a little too casually. "You think I don't know how to deal with that?"

"Yeah," Clark said simply.

"You're wrong," Lex snapped.

Clark just looked at him. Lex crossed his arms. Clark kept looking. Lex looked away. After a long silence, he finally looked back.

"Shut up."

Clark tried not to smile. "I didn't say anything."

"No, but you're thinking loudly."

"I'll, um, try to think more quietly."

"And stop smirking," Lex added crabbily.

"I'm not smirking."

"Yes, you are."

"Okay, maybe I am," Clark allowed. "Make me stop."

Lex made him stop. Thoroughly. Between the tongue in his mouth and the hand on his cock Clark didn't feel at all inclined to smirk any more, and in fact he wasn't far from screaming in frustration. He'd been hard for what felt like ages, and he wanted Lex to finish him fast, but Lex didn't seem inclined to do that. He kissed slowly, languidly, as if they had forever to lie there and touch. Sometimes he would move his mouth to Clark's ear, or his throat, and once he went for a nipple and that was almost . . . almost enough but then he stopped and Clark couldn't help whimpering, shivering with it, hanging right on the edge.

He tried to hurry things along by humping Lex's hand, but Lex wouldn't let him. He kept his grip loose, his strokes tantalizingly light and erratic, never giving him a cadence to follow, and breaking Clark's rhythm every time he tried to establish one. Suddenly he just couldn't stand it any more. He needed to touch, he needed to hold, to have, to lead. He pushed one hand against the bed and effortlessly flipped them over so he was on top, so he could pin Lex under his heavier weight, and keep him there, strangely safe, and vulnerable at the same time.

Lex looked surprised, but he lay still, waiting, his eyes dark with something deep and nameless as Clark bent to kiss him, but the kiss was anything but passive, a snarl of tongue and breath, and need. Panting, too close, Clark sat back above him, sweeping his body with both hands and gaze. Until now his standard of beauty had always been Lana: amber skin, dark hair, wide hazel eyes, and a soft, sweet mouth. Lex was none of those things. Sleek, pale, a faint tracing of auburn hair on his chest, his belly, leading down into the heavier thatch there. He was curious. . . why was Lex bald, but had eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair? He traced a finger down the trail that lined downward from his navel.

"The doctors think it's because I hadn't hit puberty when it happened," Lex said, correctly identifying his curiosity, "so the follicles weren't active yet. Some of them think it was just that my clothes gave me some protection. That makes sense to me, since I still have eyebrows, and eyelashes. I had my hands over my face."

The reference to the meteor strike immobilized Clark, muting his desire. He looked into Lex's clear blue-gray eyes. "I'm sorry."

Lex's gaze narrowed with curiosity, a faint line appearing between his eyebrows. "Why? It wasn't your fault."

"I . . . I just don't like to think about you being hurt, or scared. You were just a little kid."

Something went blank behind his eyes. "I was never just a little kid," he said, his voice slightly flat. Then he blinked, and the hollowness was gone and his gaze was bright and hot. His tongue slid tantalizingly across his mouth, teasing with a smile that wasn't so much a smile as an invitation. His hand slid down Clark's back to rest on his ass, rubbing lightly, one finger straying between his cheeks, stirring intense memories of Lex's body inside his, fanning the spreading spark of pleasure into a wildfire.

It was impossible to resist that. The raw insistence of need managed to override his concern and guilt. He leaned forward, gasping as his own cock brushed against the heavy length of Lex's. "Wow. . . " he whispered, his hips moving instinctively, as he stretched out over Lex, trying to remember to keep some of his weight on his elbows so he didn't smother him as he rocked against the lean, muscular form beneath him, reveling in the feel of hot, naked skin against his own.

Lex's fingers fisted in his hair, pulled his mouth down, echoing the rhythm of Clark's hips with his tongue in Clark's mouth, and he shifted a little beneath him, spreading his legs so Clark's knees hit the bed between them.

"Oh!" Clark gasped into his mouth, as the sensation changed, intensified, sweaty, rough curls and soft skin against the almost-too-sensitive skin of his cock. He burrowed, searching, and Lex jerked and hissed a little, turning his head.

"Hold on," he said. "Not like this."

"Hold on?" Clark panted incredulously, but trying anyway, stilling his urge to thrust through sheer force of will.

"Let me up."

Lex pushed against his shoulder, and Clark somehow made himself shift off of him, flopping down beside him, burying his face in the mattress with a groan of pure frustration. "Now I know why people say you're mean," he muttered.

Lex laughed. "Tell me that in ten minutes," he said huskily. "Up. This way will work better, at least until you've got a few more miles on you."

Clark lifted his head, his eyes widening as he saw Lex, up on his knees, hands braced against the rails of the iron bedstead. "Oh, fuck," he said earnestly.

Lex grinned over his shoulder at him. "That's the plan."

"I don't. . . I can't. . . " Clark stammered.

Lex held out the black bottle. "Of course you can. It's mostly instinct. And what's not instinct, I can teach you. You know what to do."

Panic flared. "No! What if I . . . I could . . ."

Lex looked at him, his eyes hot, bright, hypnotic. "Make me forget," he whispered. "Make me forget her, me, everything."

Her. Jealousy stirred, dark and coiling. Forget her. Yeah. He wanted that. Wanted it. He closed his eyes, held out his hand, felt the cool slither of liquid on his fingers. Getting to his knees, he slid one arm around Lex's waist and leaned around to kiss as much of his mouth as he could reach as his other hand searched, and . . . found. Two fingers in, gently, as Lex shivered and his head fell back against Clark's shoulder.

"Fuck, yeah," he whispered. "Clark?"

His name sounded like a prayer. Like need. Like heat. He almost came, and he had to let go of Lex to grab the headboard himself, his hand clenched against the urge. He panted for a moment, not yet, not yet, he chanted in his head. The rising urge faded a tiny bit. Enough. He moved his fingers in that close, hot space, and Lex moaned, pushing back against them, the smooth curve of his ass rubbing the tight skin of Clark's erection. Clark whimpered.

"Is. . . can I?" he asked.

"Yeah," Lex breathed. "Come on, come on."

His cock was still slick from their earlier lube experiment, slicker now with his own desire. He nudged against his fingers, slipped them out, and used them to guided himself into place. He held for a moment there, against the entrance, took a deep breath, and finally pushed in. Flesh yielding to his, around him, holding him in heat and smooth and snug and everywhere and . . . Lex. He shuddered to a stop, clasped deep.

"Christ," Lex breathed, reverently, arched, braced. "Oh, Christ. Yeah."

"So. . . hot," Clark breathed, not sure himself in which sense he meant it. Maybe every sense. He put his forehead against Lex's shoulder, and moved, carefully. God. He'd never imagined this. . . not even close. He moved again, shifting his knees further apart for leverage, starting to rock against Lex's strength. The world narrowed to the two of them. To that connection between them, physical, and not-physical. Nothing else mattered. Eyes closed, he saw sparks, flames, yellowblueorangeredblack, searing without pain, burning into him, through him, until he was nothing but fire and pressure, and finally it was too much, and pleasure burst through him like a star exploding.

"Mmm. . . Clark?"

Lex sounded kind of odd, breathless. Clark opened his eyes and tried to focus, but all he could see was a field of pinkish-tan. What the heck was wrong with his vision now? Oh. His face was still against Lex's shoulder, so he was only seeing skin. He lifted his head, tried again, and realized he had Lex pretty well plastered up against the headboard and the wall. He sounded strange because with Clark's full weight pinning him he couldn't get a full breath.

"Shit! Sorry," he gasped, leaning back fast to take his own weight, pulling free of the warm clasp of Lex's body as he did.

Lex flinched a little and swore under his breath. "Ouch, damn it."

Clark panicked a little, frantically skimming his hands over Lex's back, and buttocks, trying to get his x-ray thing to work as he searched for broken bones or torn skin, but in his agitation he couldn't quite remember how to do it. "Did I hurt you? Oh, God, I hurt you, I'm so . . . "

Lex twisted around, caught Clark's hand in one of his and put the other over Clark's mouth. "Relax, I'm fine. That was just a little fast there. Next time, take it slower when you pull out."

Clark stared at him, trying to process that as Lex took his hand away from his mouth. Finally it sank in. "You're okay?"

Lex smiled, a slow, dark smile full of raw sexuality. "Oh yeah."

He couldn't help smiling back. "Okay. Okay, good." He took a deep breath and released it, feeling the relief spread through him. Then the other thing Lex had said hit him. He licked dry lips. "Next time?"

Lex chuckled. "Yeah, next time."

He tried not to grin, he really did, he even bit his lip, but it didn't work. "All right!"

Lex laughed, shaking his head, and grabbed one of the towels off the nightstand. Bending, he used it to clean Clark up. The towel was wet, and if it had once been warm it wasn't any more, and Clark yelped a little and shivered. "Hey!"

Lex grinned. "It won't kill you, and I'm too lazy to get up and get a warm one."

"I suppose back home you'd have a servant do it."

"Damned straight," Lex said, chuckling. "Here, does this make you feel better?" he asked, reaching back to use it on himself with a faint hiss of breath through his teeth before tossing the used towel vaguely in the direction of the bathroom and slouched back down onto the rumpled pillows, rubbing the back of his neck.

Clark's gaze was drawn down the sleek lines of his body, and stopped. He frowned, and looked back up at Lex's face, his good mood broken. "You. . . um . . . didn't . . . ?"

Lex looked puzzled for a minute, then he smiled. "I see you've already been brainwashed into the myth of simultaneous orgasm. Just for the record, it almost never happens."

"It doesn't?"

Lex shook his head. "No. The problem being that if you're feeling good enough to come you're probably not together enough to get your partner off at the same time."

Clark considered that for a moment. "Oh. That actually makes sense."

"I do, on occasion."

Clark felt a little at a loss. "I . . . do you want me to . . . .?"

Lex shrugged, which looked kind of odd since he was lying down. "If you're inclined. If not, I can take care of it." He trailed a hand up his thigh, not touching himself, but close, so close. . .

For all that he'd just been thinking about how weird it would be to do that in front of someone else, Clark felt a sudden, visceral response to the idea of watching Lex masturbate. But just like he hadn't wanted to waste the opportunity to touch Lex then, he didn't want to waste it now either. "No, I want to," he said, easing down beside Lex, reaching out to touch his thigh where he'd just touched it himself, then letting his hand move higher, up to his hip, fingers moving onto his lower abdomen, stroking the amazingly soft skin there.

He wasn't sure what he should do. He could use his mouth again, that had worked really well. Except, they'd had sex four times now, and not once had he gotten to see what Lex looked like when he came. It was driving him crazy, not knowing. He didn't know how to accomplish it, though. Maybe he needed to just ask. "How can I see you? I want to see you."

Lex regarded him quizzically. "Is something wrong with your eyes?"

Clark felt himself turning red. "No, I mean when you . . . I want to see your face. How can we do that?"

"Ah," Lex said, a little smile curving his mouth. "I should have guessed you would. I think we can manage that. Come here." He caught Clark's hand and pulled him over on top of him.

"I'll smush you," Clark protested, letting his legs fall to either side of Lex's, trying to keep his weight on his knees and one hand, the other hand still in Lex's grasp.

Lex snorted. "I seriously doubt that. You're not an elephant, Clark." He grinned, pushing up with his hips. "Though you do seem to have a trunk. God, to be sixteen again."

"Oh yeah, I keep forgetting how old you are," Clark needled, letting Lex take more of his weight, rolling his hips, stroking his hardening cock along Lex's. "Are you sure you're up to this? I mean, I wouldn't want to have to call an ambulance if you had a heart attack. What would people say?"

"They'd say I was one fucking lucky bastard, to go out like that," Lex growled as he threaded his fingers through Clark's hair and pulled him down for a fierce kiss.

Clark started to thrust against him in earnest as his hands skimmed down his back to cup his ass, thumbs resting just. . . there. . . so close, teasing. They were both sweating, and that, combined with the slick film of pre-ejaculate made everything slide together tantalizingly. Clark closed his eyes and lost himself in the instinctive rhythm. So good. So damned good.

To his surprise he could feel his own orgasm building fast. He tried not to think about it, not to lose himself in the sensations, wanting to bring Lex off first. He managed to get back in his head, heard Lex's breath coming harsh and fast, felt him start to lose the rhythm. Recognizing the signs, he remembered to open his eyes just in time to see Lex arch upward with a soft groan, teeth buried in his lower lip, eyes closed, practically glowing with pleasure. The image of Lex like that, the feel of his hands clenching mindlessly at his ass was so powerful that it seemed to rip through him like lightning, hot, and sharp, and as he felt the first pulse of wet heat against his belly, his own body shook, and he spilled as well, toes curling, body shaking.

Panting, he managed to roll them onto their sides and wrapped Lex in his arms, feeling his heart gradually slowing. And it slowly dawned on him that they'd just come at the same time. He couldn't resist. He nudged Lex with an elbow. "Hey."

Lex sighed, and opened his eyes. "Haven't you ever heard of afterglow, Clark?"

"No." Clark said.

"Oh. Well then, you wanted something?"

"That was a simultaneous orgasm," he said smugly.

Lex stared at him for a moment, still looking slightly dazed, then he started to laugh, and hugged him, hard. "Yes. Yes, it was. Brat. You're going to be really insufferable about that, aren't you?"

Clark nodded. Lex shook his head, still chuckling, his fingers carding absently through Clark's hair. "I guess you earned it."

Clark nodded, and then yawned, suddenly lethargic. Lex drew back to look at him. "It's late, won't your parents be worried?"

Clark shook his head. "Nah. I was going to sleep on the new couch tonight. 'S long as I'm home when Dad gets up at five-thirty, they won't worry."

Lex nodded thoughtfully, and then pushed away a little, half sitting up so he could do something with his watch. After a series of complicated-sounding beeps, he looked up again. "There. The alarm is set for four-thirty. Sleep until then, and I'll drive you home."

Clark nodded, and pulled Lex back in against him, closing his eyes. Being with Lex made him feel . . . real. Almost normal. Weird, but still... normal. Right.

* * * FIN * * *

Story Notes:

Many, many thanks to my betae: AuKestrel, Beth H., Betty, and Bone. Maybe I could do it without you, but it wouldn't be nearly as good. :-) --Kellie

Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, is young, highly spirited, and lovely; it is Her nature to awaken desire. Like Aphrodite, Eos brings love to mortals, but is not so easily placated as the Goddess of Love. She brings a renewal of erotic passions, and the morning erection. :-) (description from: http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/JO-DAL.html). Dawn is that time just before the sun rises, when everything seems to be just different shades of the same color, and nothing quite real, and possibilities inherent in everything.

Soundtrack: Jimmie Spheeris, The Dragon is Dancing, particularly the cuts: The Dragon is Dancing, Snake Man, Lost in the Midway, Sunken Skies, and Blown Out. This is an amazing album that is, sadly, out of production. Even more sadly, the artist was killed by a drunk driver some years ago. If you want to learn more, go to http://www.jimmiespheeris.com. And no, I'm not associated with the site at all, just a fan.