Summary: Clark can't eat saffron, but Lex forgives him. Fantasia on the alien aphrodisiac theme.
Warnings: Rated NC-17. m/m, non-con
Notes: A big thank you to my wonderful beta readers, Michelle and moss!
Clark watches as row after row of corn whizzes by, more gray than green in the peculiar, last light of the day. And he can't get over the notion that this should be perfect. A trip to Metropolis. Research for his science project. On a Sunday even, although his parents officially count that as a school night. With Lex, who claimed to have business, and then blew off the whole day to spend with him at the natural history museum. Followed by dinner. And now, headed home, the top down, the road ahead of them like endless freedom, the Ferrari purring like every kind of luxury.
Only something is wrong, although Clark has no idea exactly what. He knows he doesn't have a fever. He doesn't get fevers. At least, he hasn't had one since the third grade. But he's hot. God. Too hot.
Beside him, Lex seems not to notice anything amiss. He is watching the road and tapping his fingers in time to the CD playing on the car stereo, more relaxed than Clark has seen him in weeks. Apparently, Indonesian food agrees with him, in ways it does not with Clark.
The restaurant had been Lex's idea, obviously--the latest effort in his ongoing campaign to broaden Clark's cultural horizons. From the outside, it looked ordinary, but inside, it was still and airy and filled with delicately painted furniture so unlike anything Clark had ever seen that it made him feel they had traveled much farther than Metropolis. A tiny, exquisite hostess showed them to a table. And Lex seemed-- almost serene, which Clark realized made the experience worth it, even if he didn't end up liking the food.
Lex did the ordering, and Clark got a mini-lecture on how the spice trade helped develop the world's economy and spread civilization and made many other significant contributions to human progress. When the food came, it smelled like flowers, and the only thing he recognized was the rice, although it was bright yellow, which was not something you saw a lot of in Smallville.
"Saffron," Lex said. "The stamen of a rare variety of crocus. The world's most expensive spice. They only use the best here. Not that disgusting stuff they have the audacity to pass off at the grocery store. Go on. Give it a shot."
And he did. It wasn't hot exactly. It just made his mouth kind of-- buzz. And then he started to feel tingly all over. And it was-- well, jarring. When he asked about it, though, Lex just seemed confused.
"Sometimes people find it bitter. You also hear it described as tasting like the sea. It's one of those things that's hard to put into words." Lex frowned. "But if you don't like it, we can--"
"No, no. I just-- It's interesting."
"And that's-- a good thing?" Lex's smile was bemused.
So of course, Clark ate everything on his plate, just to prove he wasn't some hopeless hick who couldn't try something new.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now the tingling has turned to throbbing. He hears his blood pounding in his ears, as if his heart has become a run-away machine that is just going to pump and pump, madly, until it explodes. The thought makes him light-headed with terror. Because that would be his freakish alien luck, to walk away without a scratch from Lex's speeding Porsche only to be done in by ethnic cuisine.
And he's burning up. Sweat starting to run down his back. While only inches away, Lex looks so cool--like air conditioning and iced tea and the breeze you pray for on a relentless summer afternoon.
"Clark." Lex is paying attention now, frowning. "Are you okay?"
Clark can only blink.
"God, you're glassy-eyed. Do you want me to--"
Lex is so cool, and Clark is hot. Suddenly, it makes all the sense in the world--primal states and opposites-- and God, yes, attraction.
"Stop," he says.
And grabs the steering wheel.
Lex's shout explodes in his ear. The Ferrari skids and shudders and starts spinning, without dignity, for several long seconds before finally lurching to a stop on the soft shoulder of the road.
"Shit!" Lex curses, his face several shades paler than usual. "Are you all right, Clark? What the hell was it? Something in the road?"
But everything is just too-- too much. Bright and loud. And golden. It seems to be everywhere. Inside the impossible inferno that Clark's body has become. Floating in the air. Coming off Lex in waves.
Clark grabs him by the arm and drags him from the car.
"Clark! What the fuck is it? What's wrong?"
He doesn't answer. Because he doesn't know. It just seems imperative somehow that he pull Lex into the cornfield.
"What's out here?" Lex demands. "Shouldn't we at least get the flashlight if we're going to investigate some new mutant phenomenon that proves Smallville is not America's heartland?"
But Clark barely even understands what he's saying anymore. The deep richness of the soil and the sharp, chemical assault of fertilizer are making his head spin. The rustle of corn stalks, the soft hum of insects, every bit of sensory stimulation, no matter how slight, feels like a touch, like fire against his skin. And it makes him want to-- to do something.
Pushing Lex to the ground seems like a place to start.
"Clark?" Lex stares up at him, surprise and the beginning of alarm showing in his face.
But Clark doesn't--can't-- care. Golden heat everywhere, and Lex is so cool, his pale skin practically glowing in the dim light. Clark takes a step toward him. Too hot, and he starts to pull off clothes, carelessly, ripping them, anything to get them off his heated skin.
"No, Clark. We need to talk." Lex scrabbles backwards in the dirt. "There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea. We have to--"
Clark unzips his fly to free his painfully hard cock
Before Lex can scramble to his feet, Clark is on him. Lex's clothes tear like paper in his grip, and then there is nothing but skin beneath his hands.
"Clark. Clark, you have to stop this."
But he can't. He won't. He has always wanted to touch Lex, and now he puts his hands all over him. He's boiling inside, and the dizzying contact of skin against skin transmutes the heat into an unimaginable shock of pleasure.
"Whatever's going on-- I can help. Let me help you, Clark."
But he doesn't want help. All he wants is Lex. To feel him, have him. To make Lex feel it, too. Only Lex won't cooperate. He hunches over, hunkers down, presses himself into the ground, stubbornly. Clark wants to touch him so badly, keeps reaching for his cock, but Lex refuses to be turned over, fighting off his hands whenever he tries to get them beneath his body.
Still, there are other ways, and Lex's back is all his for the taking, sleek and elegantly curved and more beautiful than anything has a right to be. Clark swipes his tongue across one shoulder blade. It startles him to realize that the animal howl splitting the bucolic quiet is his own. Touching Lex is so, so good, but tasting him-- God, is even better. He settles in like an addict, kissing and licking and mouthing his way down Lex's spine.
Lex continues to struggle, but Clark can feel how his legs tremble, how his back hitches, how his breath catches in his throat. He understands what Lex doesn't want him to know. And that makes him so much more determined. He concentrates on the sweet dip at the small of Lex's back. He loves the way it flows so gracefully into the gentle swell of his ass, and he follows it, as if nothing could be more natural, soft skin, firm muscle, beneath his fingers, on his tongue.
Lex gasps. His body jerks. And then he starts to fight in earnest, as if his life depends on it.
"Clark--fuck you! Stop it."
But it's so easy just to hold him down and trace that dark-sweet cleft with his tongue.
It's a half-hearted protest, even Clark's disordered brain can figure that out. And he wants more. And there's nothing to stop him.
"Oh, God. God."
Lex is moaning, as if it is being torn out of him, as if the very sound betrays him. But he can't keep himself from pushing his hips into the ground and back for more. And Clark gives it to him, everything, not just his tongue, but fingers. Lex moans louder. He's boneless and trembling and so wonderfully open. Clark did that. And it makes him want more. So much, much more.
He pulls back, and Lex makes a desperate sound. Clark kneels behind him. When his hot, aching cock brushes smooth Lex's smooth cheek, he feels the jolt all through his body. Lex clenches, but Clark pays no attention. He holds Lex's hips firmly in his hands and nudges his erection into his crack.
"Clark, stop. Stop! Please."
It is the please that gets his attention. Not because Lex never says it. He does. To the servants and when he orders coffee at the Talon and even to Clark's Mom when he asks for white tulips or artichokes for one of his parties. But he never says it the way other people do, as if it's a magic word, as if he might not get what he wants if he doesn't use it.
Only now that's exactly how he sounds. And that's-- that's just profoundly wrong. Because Clark understands what it means. Lex is scared. And that's colder than anything else ever could be.
Clark lets go of him. When his eyes focus again, the first thing he sees are bruises. And he thinks he's going to be sick, should be, so sick, except his body just doesn't work that way.
Lex half turns, but doesn't let down his guard. His lip is bloody where he's bitten it. His belly is smeared with pre-cum and soil. And all Clark can think is that he made Lex dirty. It horrifies him, in some very fundamental way.
Lex watches him closely, torn between wariness and concern. "Clark?"
But the heat is not gone, just at bay, and Clark doesn't trust himself. He doesn't even bother to adjust his clothes. He jumps to his feet and runs, not as fast as he can, not at first, because he's already been enough of a freak show for one day.
For a painfully long time, he can still hear Lex calling him. "Clark!"
It's a profound relief when he can finally turn on the super speed and put some real distance between himself and that voice that sounds too much like betrayal.
At home, Clark is able to slip silently into the house. His parents are expecting him to be late and have not bothered to wait up. He is profoundly grateful to whatever higher power has spared him the parental gauntlet of well-meaning questions and worried looks. In his room, he slumps onto the bed, not even bothering with his disheveled clothes. He tosses restlessly on top of the covers, feverish, the spice and a profound sense of shame burning their way through his bloodstream.
In the morning, he feels sluggish and achy, his first hangover, alien in every sense. His mother watches him with concern from the other side of the breakfast table.
"Didn't you have fun with Lex?" she asks, frowning ever so slightly.
"Sure. Great," he says, listlessly.
He pokes his spoon into his cereal, watching Fruit Loops ride milky ripples like tiny, brightly colored life preservers.
"Are you feeling okay?" she asks.
"Fine." He sighs. "I'd better go. I'm going to be late."
He leaves his bowl in the sink. His mother tracks him, like a maternal hawk, all the way to the door.
School improves nothing. He cannot concentrate, and even just having to sit still while he tunes out the educational blah-blah-blah feels like a form of torture. Everything is so muffled, so far away, the exact opposite of the way it was with Lex, when every sensation was too bright, too unbearably intense. He trudges from class to class and feels like he's wearing a neon sign on his skin that flashes betrayer in endless, painful repetition.
Days go by. It doesn't seem to matter that steering clear of the Talon and what passes for the major thoroughfare in Smallville allows him to avoid Lex completely. His memory is not something he can outfox, and it blisters him with shame and other, more disturbing fallout from that night in the corn.
It does not seem remotely right that he should get hard thinking about what happened. But his body is just this hot bog that he has no control over anymore. In bed late at night, it all comes rushing back, how Lex looked, debauched and beautiful, how he felt, like something so finely made that Clark's farm hands had no business touching him. He even goes over in his mind the-- whatever you call it-- what he did to Lex, something he could never have imagined wanting, but that was so intimate, so-- well, hot.
He is hardly proud of himself, but he can't seem to help it. He thinks and remembers and touches himself. It is only when he is about to come that some straggling fragment of conscience throws up a deal breaker, the memory of Lex struggling beneath him, his strangled moans, that startling please!. Despite the guilt, he still manages to climax, every time--he is a sixteen-year-old boy, after all--but it's always accompanied by the rather violent urge to vomit.
Eventually, despite all Clark's cloak-and-dagger machinations, he does run into Lex. Smallville is nothing if not-- well, small. Clark blames his mother, however undeservedly, for insisting that he stop at the bakery and pick up cinnamon rolls on his way home from school. He tries to make it snappy, but as he's about to dart out the door with the bakery box clutched under his arm, Lex comes in.
"You've been avoiding me."
He stutters, red-faced, while Lex just stands there watching him, his expression more unreadable than ever. Clark is at least thankful that the store is practically empty and no one is paying any attention. He cannot imagine that this is not going to be a scene.
"I thought you might do that," Lex says. "Or else you'd turn up at the castle one day messy with apologies. I wasn't sure which."
"I-- I am sorry."
There is painful silence. Clark starts to sweat.
"You should report me," he blurts out.
This is not something he has thought through, but suddenly, it seems like the only possible answer. His alien biology is unpredictable. Uncontrollable. People aren't safe. Not even Lex. He tries to tamp down the horrific, HBO-inspired pictures of prison life that immediately spring to mind. He tries not to imagine how his parents will look when brown-uniformed deputies show up at the door to lead him away.
Lex arches an eyebrow. "That's what you think I should do then? Turn you over to the authorities?"
He stares at the floor and nods. Terror clamps around his ribs like a vise.
"Well, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, Clark. You didn't commit a crime, no matter what you might think. And the last thing I'd ever want is to have you locked away in some hellhole."
Lex, as usual, is saying too many things. Clark's heart stutters in what can only be described as panic. He really should be better prepared for these twisting conversations by now, with their quicksand centers. But somehow, he never can seem to think fast enough to avoid getting sucked in.
At least this time Lex doesn't seem to expect him to answer. He simply studies Clark, with cool curiosity, as if he has all the time in the world.
"Still, the other night--" He stares Clark dead in the eye, daring him to look away. "Was not particularly the sort of thing I've come to expect from you. Care to enlighten me what that was all about?"
"I-- I don't know. God. I'm just really, really sorry."
"Not enough to tell me the truth, clearly."
"I can't," he says, quietly desperate. "Explain it--"
"All the other odd lies-- I could kind of let go-- But a couple of 360s in the Ferrari and a misadventure in a cornfield later, don't you think I deserve something more than 'I don't know'?"
Clark recognizes the rather pressing need to say something here. But he's become transfixed by the bruise that's just barely visible along the edge of Lex's cuff, a nasty purple that clashes with the refined plum of his shirt.
"Come on, Clark. And not some bald-faced lie, either. Like I just imagined it or some load of crap like that. Because I do have the evidence to prove otherwise."
Clark pales. The bruise. And-- other things. Images of Lex's ruined clothes, his muddy belly, flash briefly across his mind. Lex is still talking, but Clark can't concentrate. He wants more than anything to push the shirt sleeve away and see what he's done. But that would involve touching Lex. And touching Lex just doesn't seem the thing to do under the circumstances.
"Clark, are you even listening to me?"
He swallows hard, but somehow can't look away from his ugly handiwork. Lex follows his gaze, and his eyes narrow.
"Go ahead." His voice is low, controlled, and it practically makes Clark leap out of his skin. "Look. If that's what you want."
Want, Clarks thinks, is hardly the way to put it. Obsessively compelled comes much closer. He reaches, careful to touch shirt, not skin. Lex's muscles shift beneath his fingers, not quite a flinch, but a reaction nonetheless. Still, he does not pull his hand away, and this strikes Clark, with a sharp sting, as an act of generosity.
Clark has never felt any fabric as exquisitely textured as Lex's shirt. He gingerly pushes it back and finds just what he expected, his own fingers in blue and purple and black. And it hurts him in ways he could never have guessed--Lex's beautiful shirt and his perfect skin, that Clark has marred with his ham-fisted alien touch.
"I didn't mean to."
"I know. But that's not good enough. If it was anyone but you, I wouldn't even--" His jaw tightens. "This is your one chance to be straight with me."
"Tell me, Clark. I don't give a shit what it is. Just tell me. Give me a reason to forgive you."
Lex is leaning in to him. His eyes are brightly fierce and earnest. And the moment has exactly the same quality as Clark's dreams, the bad ones, in which he knows something horrible is about to happen, and he just can't stop it.
When he does not answer, Lex's expression closes up, in a scary way, blank and-- somehow desolate. Clark doesn't want to see that on Lex's face. Not now, not ever.
"Fine." And it's glacial.
"Come on, Lex!"
"Just remember that this was your choice."
Clark watches him go. He tries to tell himself that Lex can't really mean it. It's a testament to how totally screwed up he is that self-delusion has just become his new best friend.
Now that it is Lex's turn to put distance between them, Clark sees, by contrast, just how amateurish his own efforts were. Lex doesn't avoid him so much as fall off the face of the earth. This is a particular accomplishment considering that he is one of the town's major business owners and possibly its most colorful citizen.
Clark starts shadowing the Talon before school, thinking maybe he'll see Lex stopping for his morning coffee. But he never does, not even a glimpse of Lex's car driving off in the distance. He knows it has to be his own imagination, but no one even seems to mention Lex's name around him anymore. One evening, he speeds out to the fertilizer plant, in a fit of voodoo thinking, just to make sure it's still there.
A week passes, and Clark is slowly boiling in his own juices. There finally comes a point when he just can't take it anymore. Inconveniently, it arrives at three o'clock in the morning. He scrubs his hands over his face, kicks off the blankets and sighs. There is nothing to do but give in to the urgency. He blurs into his clothes and out of the house. If he ever seriously takes up defying his parents, there will be nothing like a level playing field between them. Right now, though, he has no desire to be anything but good. Upstanding. Blameless.
Breaking into Lex's house does nothing to advance this agenda of virtue, but it is necessary. He uses his x-ray vision to pick his way through the minefield of antiques and object d'art with a precision that borders on criminal. He moves silently. But when he gets upstairs, he finds that Lex is awake, sitting up in bed, as if fully expecting Clark to turn up uninvited and unannounced at this ungodly hour
"What are you doing here, Clark?" Lex sounds like steel in the semi-dark, cool and hard, the stuff weapons are made of. "Come to explain at last?"
Clark can only stand there, mute. He has, stupidly, not thought this far ahead. He wants to make some peace offering. But the only thing Lex wants is the one thing he can never give him. And he has absolutely no idea how to solve this problem.
"I should have known that wasn't it," Lex says. "Maybe you just wanted to finish what you started the other night?"
The shock of it makes Clark gasp. It doesn't help to realize that Lex is being deliberately provocative. It certainly does not help that Lex is most certainly naked beneath the blankets that pool around his waist. Lust and shame are a one-two punch to the gut, and he wonders how the hell he ever thought coming here was a good idea.
"God." It just escapes, half strangled.
"Is that a no?" Lex's voice is ironic and amused, and Clark recognizes it for the lie it is. "Well, what then?"
Clark takes a step forward, without thinking. But then realizes and stops. Maybe this isn't something he should be doing, approaching Lex's bed in the middle of the night, like there's nothing fraught or dangerous between them.
"I just--" He feels his face going hot and is grateful that Lex can't see him clearly.
"I want to make it better."
"Hmm." Even in the dark, he can feel Lex watching him in that distant, appraising way of his. "And how do you propose to do that when you won't tell me anything?"
"I-- God. I don't know."
The ensuing silence is not completely unexpected, but that doesn't make it any easier to bear. Clark licks his lips. His mouth is dry, and his throat hurts.
"Can't you give me some other way?"
His plea hangs there in the air for a long, excruciating moment as Lex thinks it over. Clark knows him well enough to realize that this is on purpose.
But finally, "I suppose I could do that."
Clark's heart leaps in his chest like it wants out. "Anything," he says, fervently. "Just tell me."
"Take off your clothes."
It is harsh, Luthorian, an order. Clark's cock jerks. His hands shake. And yet, it is also, strangely, a relief. Lex sounding like he's in charge. Lex sounding like Lex. Nothing at all like those helpless little noises he made that night, that still twist in Clark's memory.
He undresses clumsily as if he has lost all fine motor skills. He has to take a deep breath before he can bring himself to pull down his boxers. He's never been completely naked with anyone, not in a non-locker-room situation, not even with Lex that night in the field. He must be hesitating longer than he realizes because Lex starts to shift impatiently. Clark quickly finishes stripping before either of them can change his mind and kicks his underwear away with his foot.
Lex studies him from the bed. Clark doesn't know how much he can see in the dim light. He himself can only make out basic shapes. All the fine details, including Lex's expression, are lost in the shadows. There is no non-human advantage to take here; his x-ray vision cannot help. It is actually possible that Lex's eyesight is more acute in these conditions than his own. He can almost imagine Lex training himself to see in the dark the same way he works at his fencing. Clark fights the urge to wrap his arms around himself for protection. His skin feels so hot he's half afraid he will burn Lex if he touches him.
It is also a command, and Clark obeys. At the edge of the bed, though, he hesitates, not sure if he is allowed. But then Lex flips back the covers with an impatient snap of the wrist. Clark slides in next to him, careful not to touch. He lies on his back and stares at the ceiling and tries to remember how to breathe. He wonders if this is what adulthood is going to be like, impossible confusion and unnerving embarrassment and no idea how to make it stop.
Beside him, Lex is still, thinking.
"You know, Clark," he muses, sounding disconcertingly casual, as if he's about to remark on the weather. "It's not as if I have an aversion to your fucking me. Quite the contrary. But I do like to be asked first. Especially when the sex in question could have me registering with law enforcement for the rest of my life."
Clark sucks in his breath. "God."
"But, maybe not asking was the thrill of it?"
"No! God. I wasn't myself. I didn't know--"
Lex is on him in an instant, pressing him into the mattress, holding his wrists above his head. "Are you sure?"
"Yes! Lex. Jesus. I'm not-- I wouldn't--"
He wants to sit up, but Lex holds him down, uses his legs to trap him beneath his body. Lex is strong, well trained, but no match for Clark, who could hurl him across the room with the swing of an arm. Whenever he thinks about the cornfield, this is always the worst part. His parents have preached to him as long as he can remember that he needs to be careful, that he could hurt people. He has understood it intellectually. But as demented as he was that night, it was the first time he actually felt it, truly grasped the poignant, terrifying fragility of human beings.
And it was Lex who taught him that. Lex, who has no place being fragile. Lex who is the strongest person Clark has ever met. In a right world, Clark would not be able to hurt him.
Lex shifts his body, rocks his hips hard into Clark's, the hot spark of cock against cock, and Clark is crying out. He vaguely understands that this is meant to punish, or perhaps to test. He would like to contain his response, but his body is just one ongoing betrayal. The sensation of Lex's skin, soft and dizzyingly naked and touching him everywhere, blots out all reason. Arousal thrums through him in sizzling waves. The feeling of Lex's erection pressed insistently against his own only ramps up his desire that much more.
Lex bites a string of kisses across his mouth, viciously, and keeps shoving his body into Clark's so hard that he must be bruising himself. Briefly, this makes Clark consider putting a stop to it, but then-- he doesn't. He just lies there, unresisting, and accepts whatever Lex needs to do.
His passivity earns him sharp teeth against his throat.
"What's wrong, Clark? Don't you like it this way?"
"No." His voice sounds feeble in the large, echoing room.
And it's the truth. This is not how he wants Lex. Only his body doesn't seem to get it. His nipples strain for attention. His cock is so hard it hurts. He's breathing in fits and starts, and it's making him light-headed.
"Liar." Lex bites his nipple so ruthlessly it almost stings. "You know what I'm starting to think, Clark? Maybe there isn't any real mystery here. Maybe you've just been playing me. Hmm? Is that it?"
"No! I wouldn't--"
"Wouldn't you? People do seem to enjoy playing mind games with Luthors. Something about the challenge. And your family certainly doesn't have any use for us."
"That's my father. Not me!"
"I mean, we're all liars anyway. Right? So why not beat us at our own game once in a while?"
"No! Lex. Come on. You know that's not--"
"I give you credit for pushing all the right buttons, Clark. Truly. That virgin-hero thing-- That got me so hard." Lex thrusts against him for emphasis. "And the way you'd look at me, all wide-eyed and curious and maybe not quite so innocent. God. But those heart-felt pledges of enduring friendship. 'I make my own decisions about people, Lex.' That-- That was just goddamned brilliant."
"Just fucking shut up already!" And for the first time, for just the tiniest fraction of a second, Clark wants to hurt him for real.
"I mean, who the fuck is that-- that good, anyway?" Lex laughs, and it's an ugly sound. "Is that what you wanted to teach me? That I can't ever have anything like that? That it doesn't even exist? Just to fuck with my head? Is that it, Clark? Is that what you wanted?"
He shakes his head frantically on the pillow, and the anger is gone as suddenly as it came. Only a dull ache is left in his chest. "No! Lex. God, no."
"That's what people always want."
"Not me!" he denies hotly.
"Could have fooled me. That night in the corn, isn't that what you were trying to show me with your hot little tongue up my ass? That I don't know anything? That you're just like everyone else?"
"God, Lex. No. It's not like that. I'm not-- I shouldn't have lost control, and I'm sorry. But I don't know what the hell I'm doing. And I'm not like anyone else. I can't eat saffron. Only I didn't know. And I want you so bad. And I have from like the first moment I ever saw you. And then the saffron-- And I went kind of crazy. But I couldn't help it. And I'm sorry."
Clark sounds young and stupid, even to himself. And he's breathing in that harsh way that makes it obvious he's trying too hard not to sob. He just keeps thinking, a little hysterically, that he wouldn't even be here if it weren't for his stupid alien freakishness. Because no matter how much he likes Lex--and he really, really does--this is just way over his head.
Lex is very still, and for a frightening moment, Clark isn't even sure he's breathing.
"Shit," he finally mutters against Clark's cheek.
He lets go of Clark's wrists, pulls back a little, and looks at him, intently, almost surprised, as if it is only now that he can really see him. His hands shake as he touches Clark's face carefully, tenderly.
"Oh, Clark. Oh, God."
And then there are kisses where Lex's fingers have just been.
"Really, really sorry," Clark says in a shaky voice.
"I know. It's okay. I'm sorry, too."
Clark can feel the warmth of breath against his lips. And then Lex's tongue is in his mouth, doing wonderful, unexpected things, tracing his teeth, stroking the roof of his mouth. Their first kiss, nothing at all like the previous skirmishes, and it makes him tremble. Lex holds him closer, caresses him. Clark clenches his fingers in the bedclothes, still a little afraid, still not completely certain if he is allowed.
Lex breaks the kiss and murmurs "mmm, Clark" against his mouth. And it sounds just like permission. Clark is still tentative though, confining himself to skating little touches along Lex's shoulders, down his back. Lex is smooth, everywhere, warm and perfect. Their bodies start to move again, naturally this time, with each other, not against, the way Clark has always wanted.
It feels so good, and it makes Clark bolder. He lets one hand stray down to Lex's ass, cupping his cheek, pulling Lex into him with each stroke. The other hand explores the brilliant, vulnerable bones of his skull, notes how the curve of his head fits his palm, beautifully.
Lex's tongue is on his collarbone, circling and circling, and it's sending great, wracking shudders down Clark's spine. Until it occurs to him that this is one of the places that Lex bit him, and it ought to hurt. But, of course, it doesn't. There should be a mark on his skin, a hint, something, but of course, there isn't. And Lex knows it. He knows everything.
"I can't do anything to you, can I?" Lex whispers against his throat.
And he sounds almost-- scared.
"You can do everything. And I can't even-- touch you-- God. Not even when I hit you with my fucking car."
"No. Lex--" Clark touches his face as gently as he's ever touched anyone or anything.
Lex smiles at him, in a particularly heartbreaking way. "It's okay, Clark. I'll just have to-- It's okay."
He starts to move again. Kiss again. Clark rubs his hands up and down his arms, trying to communicate all the important things. Precious and safe and always.
The pressure is building at the base of Clark's cock, and his stomach hurts. The shocking intensity of sex isn't anything like he imagined, and he understands now that you really can be too young for it. Too young to bear so much feeling at once. He's all tangled up inside, like he doesn't ever want it to end, but also, like he might die if it isn't over soon. He can't imagine that this is normal.
But maybe it is, because Lex seems to understand. "It's okay, Clark. I've got you."
He reaches between their bodies and takes their erections in his hand. Clark sucks his breath in through his teeth and bucks up and yells loudly enough to wake the servants.
"That's right. Come on. Come for me. Do it."
And he does, another Lexian command obeyed. Blinding stars explode behind his tightly closed eyes. Hot pleasure spurts all over his belly--his own, Lex's, mingling, indistinguishably.
He blacks out for a moment, and when he comes to, Lex is wiping them both clean with the corner of the sheet. Clark settles tiredly into his arms, his head resting on Lex's belly. He can smell the aftermath of sex on Lex's skin, and he is hit with the certainty that no matter how confusing this is he will want to do it again. Soon. Often. Lex curves an arm around him and idly strokes his hair. Clark feels warm and cared for and anything but invulnerable.
"It's not true what you said. That you can't do anything to me," Clark says in a small, scared voice against Lex's ribs. "You could hate me."
He feels the muscles in Lex's belly tighten beneath his cheek. The hand in his hair stills.
"No, Clark, I couldn't." The fingers resume their stroking.
"Even if I'm not like other people?"
"Because, Clark. Because you're not like anyone else."
"But--" It suddenly seems so pointless not to say it, when Lex knows anyway, when silence is no longer protection, just an old habit. "I just--"
Lex holds him tighter, and it's almost like dread. "It's okay. You don't have to. I don't need--"
"But I do. To tell you." He closes his eyes. "The thing is-- I'm-- I'm not really-- from around here."
Lex's chest dips as he inhales sharply, then his other arm closes around Clark's shoulders, pulling him closer, holding him tight. "Oh, God. Clark."
A lot has happened to Clark in the past days, in the last hour, and suddenly he is shaking uncontrollably. Tears, hot and silent and humiliating, sting his cheeks, so unexpectedly. Who cries? That's all he can think.
Lex hugs him hard, presses determined kisses to the top of his head. "It's okay. You're all right."
"I can't eat saffron, Lex," he finds himself saying, inexplicably. Again.
"No, no, of course you can't."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I would never hurt you."
"Sssh, Clark. I know that. Just sssh."
He pets Clark reassuringly.
"Everything's going to be fine. You'll see. I just have to be more careful what I feed you. We don't need anyone else getting the idea that you're not from around here."
Clark's throat is raw from too much feeling, and finally, sound
just fails. So he settles for pressing a grateful kiss to Lex's
side. And Lex seems to understand, because he tightens his hold.
In the fierceness of his grip, Clark can feel all the important
things that Lex wants him to know--mine and safe
and thank you.