Summary: Clark struggles with two very different kinds of love,
and it's all quite confusing.
Warnings: Rated NC-17. m/m, m/f
Notes: Big thanks to my beta reader Antonia who helped me pare
this down to one story instead of the two (or more) that I was
originally trying to tell. And
who pointed out, very wisely, that one kind of love is not more valuable than another, no matter what a horny teenager may think. I appreciate all her help!
Clark's mother once told him about a boy who had a crush on her in high school. It wasn't a life lesson the way his father's stories usually were, just one of the stray reminiscences she would toss out sometimes when she was feeling a little nostalgic. The boy's name was Billy Swanson, and his mother hadn't liked him very much at first. He had funny teeth, she said, and smelled oddly of glue. Plus, he was always watching her, and she didn't find gawking quite the same compliment other girls seemed to.
But Billy was persistent and had an offbeat courtesy that struck her as quaint and kind of charming. When it rained, he would materialize with an umbrella, nervously hand it to her and run off, not caring if he got wet. He left poems he'd written in her locker and wild flowers he'd picked on her doorstep. It was flattering, his mother said, and eventually she stopped noticing his teeth and started smiling when she caught his eye.
It wasn't long afterwards that he stopped paying attention to her at all and started trailing after some other girl--Janice Ferguson, one of the cheerleaders--who didn't even know he was alive.
"Sometimes, it's just about the challenge," his mother said. "Take that away, and there goes all the appeal. Who knew boys could be so fickle? I thought it was only girls." She shook her head ruefully. "But then your father came along, luckily, and he knew exactly what he wanted. And wasn't afraid to get it. I guess you could say he restored my faith."
A smile lit up her face and lingered there like the best kind of secret, and Clark could have watched her like that all day. But his mother never stayed in these sentimental moods for long. She went back to mixing muffin batter, her expression even and motherly once more. Clark wished, not for the first time, that she had a real friend, someone she could talk to. That this stupid town didn't persist in seeing her as the city girl who stole Jonathan Kent away from that nice Nell Lang, even though his mother had been donating cupcakes for bake sales and visiting old people and contributing to the community in so many ways for more than twenty years.
Sometimes, Clark wished he had someone to talk to. Because he thought about Billy Swanson way too much when he was with Lana, and it really disturbed him.
He and Lana had been going out since the summer, and they'd fallen into a familiar pattern of Saturday night movie dates and conversations in front of their lockers every morning and sex in the afternoons after school when she could get away from the Talon. There was a shallow little cave out in Henderson's woods that Clark had first come across as a boy, and they would go there with a blanket. Take off their clothes, lie down together, and he would lazily explore her body, as much as her self-consciousness would allow. He'd discovered the crease of her thigh and a ticklish spot behind her ear. His fingers knew the precise angle of that sweet curve at the small of her back, the weight of each breast in the palm of his hand.
It still amazed him sometimes that he could do this. Have this. That he could touch her, and she would say his name, her beautiful dark hair fanned out around her. In those moments, he wanted only one thing, to give her a reason to believe, just like his father had done for his mother.
Clark was always careful when he slid inside her, always gentle, his face pressed against her neck, breathing her in. She smelled like sunshine and apples, felt so soft and smooth. She would lie quiet and still and accepting beneath him. He would start to move and feel this surge of affection, warm and tender, and he just knew it would be different this time. Finally.
Afterwards, when it had not been different at all, he would tell himself that it didn't matter. That he liked it this way. The kind of sex that made your eyes roll back in your head was just something you saw in movies. In real life, making love was sweet and protective and just like this. It had to be.
Because he was no Billy Swanson. He had liked Lana for a long time, and now that he was with her, he was going to appreciate his good luck. He wasn't going to think about the pictures that popped into his head at night when he was alone in bed, furtively as he touched himself, more vividly in his dreams, as if he could actually feel that warm body, smooth like Lana, but not nearly so soft.
It had to be a stage. Or a fluke. Or something. That's what he told himself. Because no one person could have two huge take-to-your-grave secrets. It just wasn't possible.
But then, the world so often wasn't. He tried not to think about that, either. Tried just to be thankful for what he had. To appreciate how hard Lana worked to make him happy.
Once, back when she was still going out with Whitney, Clark had overheard him in the locker room complaining that Lana wouldn't go down on him no matter how much he begged her.
"She says it's gross," he'd told his buddies, rolling his eyes.
Clark had never asked her to suck him for just that reason. So the first time she'd offered, he had gawked at her in surprise, continued to gape as she lowered his zipper, pulled out his cock, bent her head to take him in her mouth. It was a little fumbling, clearly her first time, but the sight of her down on her knees, doing that, looking up at him with those big eyes of hers-- Well, it moved him. It really did. That she would want to give him that.
And it wasn't as if it didn't feel good. It did, every time she sucked him. He always came calling her name. It was just that he'd expected something-- different. Something so earth-shattering that just the memory of it would keep him up at night, make him so desperate for more that he'd lose track of time, forget to eat. He never would have imagined it was something you could describe as "nice," not in a million years.
Maybe there was just something wrong with him. Maybe this was one more way he was alien--the inability to fully enjoy a blowjob right up there with freakish strength and super speed.
At times, he wanted to ask Lana how it was for her, if she had expected something else, something more. Because she seemed to approach it kind of dutifully, like their relationship was a barter system and having sex with him was her part of the bargain. He would have liked to ask if there were things he could do to make it better for her. But when he did try to suggest things, she would blush and look away, and they just ended up sticking with what they knew. Clark was afraid to push it much farther. He didn't want to spook her, and he worried that maybe he just wasn't very good at any of this. Call him a coward, but he wasn't prepared to hear about his inadequacies. Sixteen was way too young to be sexually washed up.
He spent a lot of time telling himself it didn't matter. And there were times when it did truly recede. Quiet moments. Watching her clear tables and figure out the work schedule at the Talon, purposeful and professional like the business owner she was. Knowing when the phone rang after dinner that it was her, the long, rambling conversations in which they said nothing, just stayed on the line to feel the connection, hours at a time, because neither of them wanted to be the one to end it, to say goodnight.
And especially when they walked down the hall at school, his arm around her, the soft warmth of her body pressed against his side. There were envious glances from the other guys, sure, but what mattered to Clark was the sense of closeness. The way she would look up at him and smile, like he was the only thing she could see. It felt good then. Right. And he resolved all over again to make it work.
Because he didn't have funny teeth. Or smell like glue, he was pretty sure. And he wasn't going to be another Billy Swanson.
Tuesday afternoon at the Talon, and Clark lounged in the comfortable chair by the window, waiting for Lana to take care of some purchase orders before they could head off to the cave. He idly flipped through the book he was supposed to be reading for his history paper, "The Longest Day," an account of the invasion of Normandy during World War II. For the life of him, he couldn't concentrate.
There was a lush feeling in the air that came only in the early autumn, the sun falling heavy and gold on the land, the ripeness of harvest everywhere. It was not a day to think about battle strategies or body counts, and besides, Clark was a sixteen-year-old boy. A restless, unfocused energy zinged through him, making it hard for him to sit still, impossible to focus.
"I see you're thoroughly absorbed by your school work."
The deep voice rattled down his spine one vertebra at a time. Clark looked up and blinked. He hadn't heard Lex come in.
Lex's smile was deeply satisfied, as if nothing was quite so delightful as taking Clark by surprise. He threw himself onto the neighboring chair and picked up Clark's book.
"Ah. A classic analysis of D-Day. Did you know that Cornelius Ryan spent three years interviewing survivors of the battle? That's why it has such a sense of authenticity, as if you're actually there. You should really pay more attention."
Clark sighed. "Of course you would think it's fascinating. Is there any book on history you haven't read?"
Lex grinned. "One or two. Maybe. And it is fascinating. You just have no respect for the past."
"That's not true. Exactly," he said, defensively. "I'm just more concerned about the now."
"But, Clark, how can we ever understand the present if we don't have a clear grasp of our own history? Where we came from? How we got here?"
A flash of tidy white teeth, and they clearly weren't talking about Clark's homework anymore. Tricky the way he was always shifting the ground beneath Clark's feet, a Lex Luthor specialty, and Clark probably should have felt unsettled by it. Instead, a frisson of something as sharp and electric as life itself shot through him, making the hair on his arms stand on end. This was what he always wanted to feel with Lana and never did, like he was freefalling and didn't know if he had a parachute. Or even care.
"But don't you think some things are just meant to be mysteries? And it's the wondering, the searching that makes it compelling? If you figured it out, you'd ruin it."
Like us, he thought. They'd been locked in this same dance since the very beginning, and Clark had long since learned to regard Lex's curiosity as a boon to their friendship. It was like a wire that ran between them, pulled taut, connecting them, crackling with energy.
Lex leaned in. "You have no appreciation for puzzles either, Clark. Or you'd know there's no such thing as being happy you can't solve one."
Clark had a quick flash of Lex in a researcher's white coat, hunkered down over a microscope. There was a gleam in his eyes sometimes when he looked at Clark, meticulous and a little obsessed, as if Clark was something he'd like to take apart at the seams, explore, learn completely, section by little section. Clark should have been terrified of that, would have been if it were anyone else. But with Lex-- It seemed less like science and more like--
Clark blinked. Sex. The word buzzed up his neck, made his scalp prickle. Had he realized that before? That this was-- Without hands or mouths or bad porno dialogue. Without touching at all. But still. Sex. And it always had been.
His dreams, it seemed, were no fluke.
Clark stared at Lex and then down at the table. Billy Swanson, Billy Swanson, he reminded himself.
"Lex. There you are."
It was Helen's voice, and that was like cold water in the face. Clark fidgeted in his chair. Lex seemed to close up like a fan. His expression of intense curiosity transformed into a polite smile. The crackling connection between them went suddenly dead. And Clark couldn't decide if he was irritated or relieved.
"This is a pleasant surprise." Lex stood up, gave Helen a quick kiss on the cheek. "What brings you by the Talon? I thought you were on duty until seven."
"Change of plans. And I couldn't get you on your cell. I'm sorry this is so last minute, but Dr. Rogers had a family thing come up and can't make it to the immunology conference in D.C. So they need me to go. I'm just on my way to the airport now."
"I'll drive you."
She smiled. "That's sweet. But when I couldn't find you, I ordered the limo."
"Let me walk you out then."
"No. You stay and hang out with Clark." Helen smiled in his direction. It seemed forced as it always did. "I've really got to run. I just wanted to say goodbye. I won't be back until a week from Sunday."
"I'll miss you." Lex kissed her discreetly, an appropriate public display.
Helen smiled. "Me too."
"I'll pick you up when you get back," Lex said.
"See you then." A quick smile, another peck on the lips and she headed out.
Lex sat back down and watched out the window as she got into the limo and took off for the airport.
Clark cleared his throat. "That, uh-- Seems to be going well."
"Asking Helen to move in with me was the smartest thing I've done in a long time," he said, as if it were a business deal he was especially proud of.
"That's, um-- That's really great, Lex."
"Then why do you sound so unenthused?"
"It's not that. It's just--" He shrugged. "I guess I'm a little surprised, that's all. Remember what you said after Desiree? About not letting passion get the better of you?"
Lex's jaw tightened. "And I haven't."
"I can see that."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that maybe passion isn't something you should give up on."
"You know, Clark, there is more than one way to love. I like to think this time, with Helen, it's not unwisely."
"I know you're trying to be careful. But maybe a safe love isn't worth having. Did you ever consider that?"
Lex's eyes turned hard. "Did you?" He glanced up and smiled. "Hey, Lana."
She breezed up to their table. "Hey, Lex," she said. "You ready to go, Clark? I'm all done here."
Clark took her hand, determined not to let Lex see he'd hit a nerve. "Yeah. Let's take off."
"You kids have fun," Lex's smile was a challenge.
Clark's was an answer. "Oh, don't worry. We will."
He made a show of putting his arm around Lana as he walked her out of the Talon.
It was a short drive to the cave, and yet by the time they got there, Clark felt dismantled in some way, not angry exactly, just raw. Lex's voice was still in his ears, the scent of his cologne lingered in his memory, and Clark surprised even himself by setting on Lana before she could get inside the cave, kissing, devouring.
"Clark," she gasped in surprise.
He steered Lana inside, pulled off her clothes and his own, frantically, as if the haziness that usually hung over him during sex had all been a bad dream. His skin felt molten, his cock thrummed insistently, every molecule of his body vibrating with need, so alive.
There were images behind his eyes goading him--Lex and Helen and their passionless kisses, the way Lana went skittish at anything new, anything outside her limited experience, his own reticence and confusion. Clark didn't want any of that anymore, needed to drive it away with his body. He followed Lana down onto the blanket and moved between her legs.
"Wait, Clark. Wait," she said, a little panicked.
"Sorry," he whispered.
He gently brushed his fingers against her. She wasn't wet. He sighed softly. But then, there was something he'd always been curious to try, and this seemed like just the right moment. He knelt between her thighs and bent his head.
At the first touch of his tongue, Lana squealed, "Clark. No."
But her hips bucked up for more, and Clark continued to tease her with little licks.
"Oh, God," she moaned.
Her thighs trembled, and she spread them wider for him. He used his fingers and his tongue. She moved with him, curled her hands into fists, made a sharp keening noise when she came.
Now she was wet, and he moved on top of her, slid inside.
"Clark," she gasped.
He'd never eaten her before. Never made her come more than once. Lana always seemed more comfortable when the sex was about him, not her. But today he was determined, to have everything. He squeezed his eyes shut and moved, like he was underwater or in space, effortlessly, as if gravity had lost the last of its tenuous hold on him.
"Clark. Clark." She wrapped her arms around his neck with surprising strength, her legs around his waist, pushing back into every stroke.
It was all so vivid--the echo of their voices bouncing off the walls, the scent of sweat and dried leaves in the air, the taste of his own need in his mouth. Nothing at all like the other times when he had felt as if he were touching her through gauze. It surprised him when Lana bucked up and cried out and bit down on her lip, coming in long, gasping shudders. She sounded so out of control, and that made Clark even hotter. He was so hard and wanting, and all he could think was more.
He pulled out of her, got up on his knees and lifted her onto his lap. Her hair was in her face, messy and wild, and when he shifted her onto his cock, she sobbed, "Oh, my God."
So good, and he started to move inside her again. Pressed his face into her neck--smooth, the way all the best things were. He ran his hand down her back, cupped her ass, let his fingers wander between her cheeks just as he might touch--
She tensed, but didn't tell him to stop.
Tight and hot around his finger, around his cock, skin sliding like satin against his. If he closed his eyes, it felt just like one of his renegade dreams, and he was lost, at last, going under, drowning in sensation. Lana went perfectly still and then jerked wildly, coming again, hard.
And he still wasn't finished. He moved Lana onto her hands and knees.
She shook her head, desperately. "I don't think I can--"
"Please. Just let me."
Lex's voice, Lex's smile, playing in a loop in Clark's head, and he pumped frantically into the boneless body beneath him, his fingers stroking her clitoris, pressure building at the base of his cock, stars exploding behind his tightly shut eyes.
"Clark!" Lana screamed, as she climaxed for the final time.
And then Clark was coming too, flying apart, blinding lights in his head, body shaking uncontrollably, the way he had always imagined it. He had just enough presence of mind to collapse to the side, sparing Lana his weight, and then he was gone, for what felt like a very, very long time.
When he finally came to again, Lana was lying on her back beside him, very quietly, staring at the low ceiling of the cave. Clark stretched one leg, flexing his calf, testing, to make sure his body still worked.
There were things he could ask. Was she all right and did she like it. But the words all died somewhere between his brain and his mouth, an image of Lex standing in the way.
Lana sat up and started to shimmy back into her clothes, and the window seemed to close when it was still possible to talk about it. Clark got dressed too, picked up the blanket and followed her out to the truck. She didn't reach for his hand the way she usually did, and he didn't know what it meant. If she was just startled. Or if he'd hurt her.
Of if she knew.
The next day at school, Lana wasn't waiting for him in the parking lot. Clark looked around and lingered, thinking maybe she would show up eventually. Finally the bell rang, and he had to hustle inside or risk getting on Principal Reynolds' bad side yet again.
Lana managed to avoid him until lunch, but there was no place to hide in the cafeteria. She was even sitting at their usual table. Some rituals, he supposed, were too meaningful to break. Clark took his tray and settled onto the chair beside her. Her eyes shifted to the side, but she wouldn't come right out and look at him.
He cleared his throat nervously. "I missed you this morning."
She bent her head. "Sorry about that."
"Are you mad at me?"
"Not mad. I just-- That was really different."
"I thought you liked it."
"I did." Her voice went soft. "It's just not what I'm used to."
She lowered her head, letting her hair fall in her face, giving her somewhere to hide.
"Can we still see each other after school today?" Clark asked, a little desperately. "We don't have to-- We can just talk. Or study. Or whatever you want to do."
She sat very still.
Finally, she said, "It's okay." She took a deep breath. "We can still-- Let's go to the cave."
He stared at her in surprise. "Are you sure?"
She put on what he thought of as her brave face. "I'm sure."
"Thanks," he said, softly.
But coming to an agreement did nothing to dispel the awkwardness, unfortunately. Lana kept her eyes on her plate, but only picked at her food. Clark had an alien metabolism to feed and forced himself to choke down his burger and fries, although he couldn't actually taste anything. It was the longest lunch period of his life.
In the past, Clark had regretted that they didn't have any classes together, but now it seemed like a blessing. When the bell finally rang, they went their separate ways with a mumbled "see you later."
Clark's classes droned on, but distantly, like a television show somebody was watching in another room. He stared out the window and fiddled with his pencil and wished very desperately for the day just to be over. Even now, with Lana all the way on the other side of the school, he could feel the air slowing leaking out of everything they had tried to be to one another. He hoped to God that if they went back to the cave, to the source of the fracture, if he touched her like he used to, if he pushed away all those troubling thoughts of Lex, maybe he could still fix it.
In the truck after school, Lana sat pressed against the passenger side door, as if she wanted to be as far away from him as she could possibly get. Whatever feeble optimism Clark had felt started to fade. When they got out, she did let him take her hand like old times. But they were quiet as they walked the short distance to the mouth of the cave, not laughing together the way they usually did.
Inside, Clark spread the blanket and sat down. Lana hesitated a moment by the entrance but then joined him. He brushed her hair back over her shoulder and kissed her softly on the lips. She leaned against him, kissed him back, her breath in his mouth, and it was almost, just for a second, like nothing had changed.
But when he put his hand under her shirt, stroking the soft skin at the small of her back, she tensed.
He pulled back from the kiss. "Are you all right?"
She took a breath and let it out, as if trying to relax. "Yeah. I'm fine. Let's, um, keep going."
It was hardly the rousing enthusiasm he would have hoped for, but he had to take what he could get. He gently lowered her onto the blanket, careful to keep his weight off her, his touch light. His kisses were soft and sweet, the way they always had been in the past, as if he was trying to offer Lana an antidote to those provocative caresses that had taken her too far outside herself, made her want things she was ashamed to acknowledge.
But it didn't work. He could feel Lana breathing hard, not in the good way, almost as if she were hyperventilating. Finally, she pushed him away and sat up.
"Did I do something wrong?" he asked.
She shook her head. "It's me. Not you, Clark. I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong. It just doesn't feel like it used to."
It took him a moment to realize that she was crying, and then something in his chest twisted into a painful knot.
"I'm sorry I'm acting like this," she said. "You must think I'm such a baby. I don't understand it, either."
"It's okay, it's okay," he murmured.
This was a lie, of course. It wasn't okay. She was everything he'd wanted since he was five years old, and it wasn't supposed to end like this. It wasn't supposed to end at all. But here they were anyway, and the worst part was that he could even understand it. The other day in the cave, he'd wanted to find out what was possible, and now they both knew. It wasn't what Lana had signed on for, but there was no going back. There were some things you just couldn't pretend you hadn't discovered. No matter what Lex might think, you couldn't renounce passion, couldn't settle for "nice" or "wise" when you'd felt the lightning.
"Maybe we should just go, huh?" he suggested softly.
She didn't answer, wouldn't look at him, just got to her feet. He followed her out to the truck, and they were just as silent on the way home as they had been on the trip to the cave. Outside the Sullivan house, he parked, and they sat awkwardly for what felt like an eternity. It was nothing at all like those other times when they hadn't known how to say goodbye.
Finally, she cleared her throat. "I'd better go. I said I'd cook dinner tonight."
"I guess I'll--" She looked at him uncertainly.
"See you tomorrow," he said gently, letting her off the hook.
There would be plenty of time for her to dump him later. Lana's expression was so grateful it caused him real pain.
"See you, Clark."
She slid out of the truck and walked up the path to the door. A moment when he could just watch her, and it was like the first time all over again, that afternoon in kindergarten, a sun-drenched playground, her hair glowing in the light like something too beautiful to be of this world. The memory wrapped itself around his heart and squeezed. Old dreams died the hardest.
Lana went up the steps to the porch and slipped into the house. She didn't glance back. Clark wasn't surprised, but it hurt anyway. Somehow that made it feel like it was really over.
Their relationship did officially stagger on another couple of days. They went through the motions of meeting up in the parking lot before school and eating lunch together and hanging out at the Talon in the afternoons. Neither of them mentioned the cave, and their touches had become fleeting and tentative, as if they had never been lovers at all.
It was Clark who eventually broke under the pressure.
"I don't think I can stand waiting anymore, Lana," he finally said, one evening as he was helping her lock up. "You should go ahead and break up with me. So we can both move on."
She looked startled. "I'm not going to--"
He held her eye.
She bowed her head. "I'm sorry. God. I am, Clark. I wish I could explain. I don't know what's wrong with me."
He put his hand on her shoulder. "There's nothing wrong with you, Lana," he said, gently. "It just didn't work out."
And it was never going to, he could see that now. As much as Lana had worried he was putting her on a pedestal, she had put him on one, too. She needed him to be her safety, and he'd wanted so much to give her that. But it meant keeping too much of himself under lock and key, and finally, he wanted something that she could never give him. He wanted to be himself.
There were tears in Lana's eyes. "I wish we could still be friends."
"I'd like that."
She hugged him hard. "You'll always be special to me."
He stroked her hair. "You, too."
She seemed hesitant to let him go, but finally did. "Goodbye, Clark."
It took several days before his mother cornered him. He had been dreading this conversation. But, of course, she would notice that the phone calls had stopped, that he was suddenly spending all his free time at home. Of course she would ask. She was his mother.
"Did something happen between you and Lana?" She stood at the top of the stairs to the loft.
He looked up from his book that he was dutifully trying to plow through.
"Um--" He shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. "We broke up."
His mother's expression twisted with concern. "I'm sorry." She sat down beside him.
He shrugged. "Sometimes things just don't work out."
"Was breaking up her idea or yours?"
"Hers," he mumbled.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
What could he possibly say? That he was, by turns, heartbroken and relieved? That during the most intense lovemaking they'd ever shared he'd-- been somewhere else entirely? That their relationship was too much about what they were afraid of, all the things they were trying to hide, and not nearly enough about who they actually were?
His mother frowned. "You don't seem as upset as I would have expected."
He lowered his eyes. "I'm upset."
She put her hand on his shoulder. "You know, Clark, it's okay if she wasn't the one. You're very young. You have all the time in the world."
He bit his lip. "It's just-- I always liked her. Wanted to be with her. But then-- I don't want to turn out to be like Billy Swanson." His voice trailed off uncertainly. He stared down at the rough floorboards beneath his feet.
His mother's arm went around him, pulling him close. He shut his eyes and rested his head against her shoulder, the way he used to do when he was little. It was surprising how comforting it still felt. But then, your mother never stopped being your mother.
"Oh, honey. If I'd known you were going to take that story to heart, I wouldn't have told you." She hugged him tighter. "Or at least I would have told it better. Because Billy Swanson wasn't really fickle. That was just my hurt pride talking. The truth is that Billy was scared to death. And that's the important point, Clark. That you shouldn't let your fear rule you and make you run away from the things you want." She brushed the hair back from his face. "And that's not something you have to worry about. You're plenty brave."
He swallowed hard. "Mom, I--"
He wanted to tell her. He really did. But he wasn't even sure what it was or how to explain.
"Everybody has to find their own way, Clark. Figure out who they are. And you know I'll always be proud of you."
She kissed him on the forehead, got up and went back down the stairs. Clark sat there with a tight feeling in his throat. He appreciated his mother's faith in him. He really did. But right now he didn't feel very brave.
After the way he'd left things with Lex that afternoon at the Talon, Clark wasn't sure they were exactly on speaking terms. This sucked even more than it would have under ordinary circumstances, since Lex was the only person who could help him make any kind of sense out of any of this. He kept hoping he'd run into him somewhere. But since he was steering clear of the Talon out of respect for Lana's feelings and there weren't too many other places in town that attracted both billionaires and high school boys, he never did. The days until Helen's return slowly counted down, and Clark felt progressively more frantic, as if his last chance were running out.
Finally on Sunday morning, he got up, got dressed and headed off to the castle. It was time to be the brave person his mother seemed to have so much confidence in.
At the mansion, Clark let himself in, and the servants paid no attention as usual. In the study, Lex was already at work, bent over a stack of papers. Clark knocked on the doorjamb to get his attention. Lex looked startled to see him.
Clark shifted his weight awkwardly. "Is this a bad time?"
Lex shook his head. "I just wasn't expecting--" He smiled. "Sit down?"
"Thanks." Clark settled into the chair.
"So what brings you by?"
"I just-- I didn't like how we left things the other day."
Lex studied him a moment. "Friends are allowed to disagree, you know, Clark."
He seemed to be choosing his words even more carefully than usual, and that made Clark nervous.
"I know," he said, fidgeting. "It's just-- Lana and I broke up."
Lex looked surprised. "I'm sorry."
Clark leaned forward. "Are you?"
"Of course. I know how much you cared for her."
"Not enough. Or-- Not the right way. Not--" One of these days, he was going to develop a conversational style that didn't involve clumsy blurting, but it wasn't going to be today. "Not the way I feel about you."
Lex didn't move, didn't react at all for what felt like a century, and Clark felt kind of sick.
Finally, Lex shook his head. "Don't."
"But--" Clark was starting to panic. "It's true. You know it's true."
Lex's eyes were bright, and if Clark was any judge, angry. He got up, went to the bar, turning his back.
"You're on the rebound, and I'm not doing this," he said. "Maybe you should leave."
"No." He went over to Lex, stood in his space. He was starting to feel rather angry himself. "It wasn't right with Lana. It's not right with Helen. Why can't you just admit that?"
Lex glared at him. "You know, Clark, just because things didn't work out with your girlfriend--"
"You think that's what this is?"
Lex's expression said that he did.
"You're wrong then. If anything, it didn't work out with Lana because of this."
Lex's eyes flashed. "Don't put that on me."
"I'm not!" Clark said, impatiently. "What I'm trying to say is that you can't just decide to give up on passion. Nobody can. It doesn't work that way."
"Maybe not for you, Clark. Not now. But when you're older, you'll see that it's a lot more complicated--"
He grabbed Lex by the collar and kissed him. Lex didn't kiss back, but Clark was close enough to feel that he was hard. And that was all the permission he needed.
"She doesn't need you like this," he said between kisses. "I know she doesn't."
"Shut up," Lex hissed.
"You can't tell me you don't want me, Lex. I can feel it."
"Just stop it!" Lex tried to pull away, but Clark wouldn't let him.
"Or is the great Lex Luthor just a coward?" Clark asked. "Because you've been coming on to me since I've known you. 'Stuff of legends'. Remember that? Hell, you've fucked me with your eyes, your gifts, your words, everything but your body, since that first day on the riverbank. And now you want to pretend like it never happened? Like it was nothing?"
Lex bit Clark's lip, hard, and then kissed him even harder. Clark moaned, pressed against him.
"You can call me a coward all you want, Clark, but I'm not ready to give up everything I have with Helen just so you have someone to work out your identity issues with. I don't care how much I want you."
"This is not about experimenting or identity issues. And you know that perfectly well. But I'm willing to take what I can get. For the time being, at least."
Lex regarded him warily. "I wouldn't be making any promises."
"I'm not asking for any."
"You're always asking for something, Clark, whether you realize it or not." He sighed. "Come on." He held out his hand.
Upstairs, Lex hesitated at the door to his bedroom, no doubt contemplating whether to spare the soon-to-be connubial sheets. Clark pushed him inside. Maybe Lex was right. Maybe he was always asking for something. But he damned well wasn't going to settle for a cheap lay in one of the guest rooms. He wanted Lex in Lex's bed.
Lex looked like he might start talking again, and Clark kissed him to shut him up. He pulled at Lex's shirt. He couldn't make himself be careful. He'd already been too careful for too long, and he was desperate now to get at Lex's skin. Buttons scattered. Fabric ripped.
"I don't care how expensive it was," Clark muttered.
"God," Lex moaned.
A quick, almost vicious kiss, and Clark pushed Lex onto the edge of the bed. Fell to his knees. He was no more suave at opening Lex's pants than he had been getting his shirt off and far more eager. He buried his face in the soft cotton of Lex's underwear, breathing in the sharp, musky scent.
"Shit! You're going to kill me." Lex ran shaky hands through Clark's hair.
Clark eased his briefs down and tongued his erection.
He teased the head with his tongue, rolled Lex's balls in his hand. He hadn't done this before, but he knew what he liked. And his enthusiasm gave him an odd, no doubt unearned, confidence.
"Nobody will ever want to suck you as much as I do," he murmured, between mouthfuls of Lex's cock.
Lex's fingers tightened in his hair, a warning. But Clark didn't care. It was true. And he was going to prove it. He took a deep breath and let Lex's cock slide into his throat, for once grateful to be an alien. Not having a gag reflex was a big advantage here.
"Fuck!" Lex started to thrust into his mouth.
Clark stroked his hips and sucked him harder. Lex cried out and came. Clark swallowed and swallowed, triumphantly, as if he had won something, the most important prize of all.
When Lex was finished, Clark sat back on his heels, wiped his mouth and grinned victoriously.
Lex panted harshly, "Get your clothes off."
Clark was already hard, had been even on the way over, just thinking about what might happen. But this was a hot shot straight to his dick, and he groaned out loud.
"Now!" Lex ordered.
Clark stood up and shucked his clothes, with no more care than he'd shown Lex's. Lex took Clark's hips in his hands and licked at his cock, just enough to tease, not to satisfy.
"Come on," Clark said, impatiently.
But Lex wouldn't be hurried. He treated Clark to neat little swipes of his tongue along his cock, soft nibbles to his balls. Clark resented every etiquette lesson anyone had ever given Lex. He didn't want good table manners. He wanted to be swallowed whole.
He could feel Lex smiling around his cock, and he tightened his grip on Lex's shoulders.
"Fuck. Okay. You win," Clark conceded.
Lex went down on him in earnest then, and Clark's eyes rolled
back in his head, at long last. Mark one item off the long list
of alien differences. Because, clearly, Clark had no problem fully
enjoying a blowjob, at least when it was delivered by the right
"Yeah. Suck me, Lex," Clark said, thickly. "Suck me."
God, it felt so good. Clark stroked the soft skin of Lex's scalp, rocked his hips, made a noise in the back of his throat that didn't sound entirely human. It would be so easy. He was so close, and all he'd have to do was shut his eyes and let himself go. He'd lost track of how many times he'd dreamed of coming in Lex's mouth, only to wake up to find he'd actually come in his pajamas. Now, it was all his for the taking, but...
He put his hand on Lex's face and stopped him.
Lex looked up, confused. "What?"
He stroked Lex's cheek. "I want to fuck you."
Lex's eyes darkened. He shimmied out of the rest of his clothes and scooted back onto the bed. "There's stuff in the drawer." He nodded toward the bedside table.
Clark's hands shook as he pulled out lube and condoms. It was all so real bone-jarringly real, and his heart sounded like a runaway machine, like something that might explode. He crawled onto the bed beside Lex.
He must have looked a little helpless, because Lex said, "Your fingers first and then your cock. Use lots of lube, on both of us."
It wasn't as weird as it sounded once he got started. Lex stretched out on his side, and Clark curved along his pale, beautiful back. He pressed kisses to Lex's shoulders and neck while he touched him intimately.
"Does she do this?" he whispered huskily into Lex's ear. "I bet she doesn't."
Lex whimpered and pushed back onto Clark's fingers, and Clark didn't need any other answer. When Lex pulled away, though, Clark thought he might have misunderstood. But Lex wasn't trying to get away. Just the opposite. He pushed Clark into a sitting position, straddled his lap and sank onto his cock.
"Fuck!" Clark screamed.
Lex's eyes were shining as he started to move up and down. "Does it feel like this with her? Hmm? Does it, Clark?"
Clark pressed his face against Lex's throat. "Nobody could ever feel like you," he whispered.
Lex's fingers tightened in his hair, and he kissed Clark as if he was trying to scorch him. And that was the spark Clark had been waiting for, seemingly his whole life. He lowered Lex onto the bed, moved on top and pounded into him. Clark wasn't holding anything back now, and the best part was that Lex wasn't either. Fingernails raked his back. Teeth grazed his throat. Lex's legs clenched so tightly around his waist that he wouldn't have been able to breathe if he were anybody else. This was the Lex he knew, fiery and not always ruled by reason, even a little vicious. This was the Lex who belonged to him. The man he loved.
It was probably a rule written down somewhere that the more perfect something was the sooner it ended. Because this was over all too fast. Lex came first, and it was even more than Clark had imagined, the sweet, sweet clench of Lex's body around his cock, pulling the orgasm right out of him.
Afterwards, they lay in each other's arms for a long while, not talking.
Finally, Lex said, "I have to go. I need to pick up Helen." He leaned over and kissed Clark. "I'll see you later."
He got up and padded off to the bathroom. Clark lay studying the ceiling as if he could find some kind of wisdom up there. Finally, he sighed heavily and heaved himself out of bed. He put on his clothes, but didn't leave.
Lex came back dressed. He looked startled. "You're still here."
He frowned. "No promises, remember?"
Clark crossed the room to him. "I remember."
He took Lex's face in his hands and kissed him, deeply, affectionately. Lex stayed stiff in his arms at first, but then leaned in, kissed back, stroked his hair. When Lex finally pulled away, there were high, bright spots of color in his cheeks.
"Your problem is that you think one kind of love trumps another," Lex said, his voice rough from their kisses. "And it doesn't."
Clark shook his head. "What I think is that some love is stronger than others. And it is."
"I'm not going to leave Helen," Lex said, "I'm serious about that, Clark," But his tone wasn't nearly as severe as he obviously meant it to be.
Clark smiled. "I know. You said."
He pressed tender kisses to Lex's cheeks, his forehead, the tip of his nose.
"What am I going to do with you?" Lex asked, softly.
Clark touched his face, held his gaze very earnestly. "I'm not going to tell Helen or anybody else about us. I promise. But I'm not going to give up, either. Because I'm no Billy Swanson. And neither are you."
Lex's rubbed his hands up and down Clark's arms. "Am I supposed to understand what that means?" The corner of his mouth quirked up.
"It means I know what I want. And so do you. If you're honest with yourself."
He took Lex's face in his hands. "And I'm willing to wait."
Lex didn't look away, and this was a kind of victory, Clark felt certain.
"I have to go," Lex said, quietly.
"I'll walk you out."
Lex nodded. Kissed him one last time before they left the refuge of the bedroom.
Clark slung an arm around his shoulders. Lex didn't seem the type for wildflowers and of course he had no locker to leave poems in, but Clark would figure out some way to woo him. He didn't ultimately think it was going to prove that difficult. Lex was built for lightning, and he'd never be one to settle.
And like he'd once said, his truest passion was for his friends.