Wednesday 100


Amy doesn't know why she does this, gliding through his house like a ghost, touching things he touched.
She can't pretend he loves her. Not when she's seen them, their long legs tangled, pale skin against gold.

Upstairs, the bedroom door is ajar.

"Can't tell me or won't?"

"Can't respect my privacy? Or won't?"

A pause.

"I guess that's it then."

A sigh.

"I guess."

Clark walks past her, unseeing. Lex sits motionless on the bed. And maybe she should feel glad.
But that look on his face, and she wishes his grief could be as invisible as she is.


The Sign

Now entering the city of Metropolis

He never notices it when he's driving. But then that's just normal life, covering a story in the suburbs,
coming back from a weekend visit to Smallville.

But when he's in the air, after a long night that has been anything but routine, he strains to make it out like a beacon.
Anticipates the way Lex will murmur his name when he slips into bed beside him, how it will feel to hold him,
the comfort of skin against skin.

When he finally sees it, he always thinks the same thing.

I'm almost home.

Obsessions, Past and Present

Lex sits on the stairs, unseen, listening through the vent, another trick he's learned from his father. In the study,
the low rumble of Clark's voice, followed by the softer lilt of Victoria's.

Obsessions, past and present, in one room.

Tomorrow, no doubt, Clark will come to tell the story, nervous and halting, of Victoria's betrayal.
And Lex will have the pleasure of thinking how much his taste has improved.

A door slams downstairs. Lex rises, glides back to his bedroom. To undress and wait. For her. Even though.

He suddenly feels as if he is the one prostituting himself.


In his dream, she brings him coffee, and they sit on someone's sunny stoop, talking about the weather.
She calls him Alexander and smiles, as if she has all the time in the world.

Until a shadow approaches on the sidewalk.

"I have to go."

"But Mom--"

She always disappears before he can say goodbye.

When he opens his eyes, Clark is watching him. They share a morning kiss.

"Mom wants us to come visit this weekend. She says she misses her sons."

Lex blinks. And smiles.

Wonders, as he always does, how Clark can know him so well.

Trading Spaces

He shuffles nervously in the doorway. "Uh, Mr. Luthor?"

Green eyes pin him to the spot. "Alex."

Clark Luthor stalks over to him. Rich. Beautiful. And they say he can <I>do</I> things.

"I've been expecting you." Power radiates off him like a force.

"You have?"

The world tilts, off balance.

Clark smiles, and Alex can only stare.

"You want to save your parents' farm, right?"

A hand cups the curve of his naked skull.

"Well, I think we can come to an arrangement."

Clark is hard and everywhere, and Alex can't move. It feels so right

And so very wrong.

Freak Show

Kal-El, the World's Strongest Boy

Bends steel. Liquefies gold. Dutifully amazes the crowd. All but Lex, a freak himself, who understands a freak's pain.

Afterwards, a greasy-haired man and hard-mouthed woman take him to meet the star.

"Your parents?" he asks.

The boy shrugs. "The people who found me."

A fresh bruise mars his cheek.

"I wouldn't have thought you could be hurt."

The boy shows him a bracelet with glowing green stones. "We all have our weaknesses."

Lex calculates how much it will cost to remove that manacle for good.

"Yes." He meets the boy's eyes. "Yes, we do."

The Secret Room

Accusations. Steely glare. Monday mornings with Superman suck.



Whispered safe word. Lex hesitates. Nods. Hits the button on his desk.

When he gets to the secret room, Clark is on the bed, naked, hard, legs spread, hands gripping the headboard.
Superman's true weakness, not Kryptonite, but the past.

Lex's too.

He could do anything right now. Clark would lie there and take it. But the sweet, sharp ache in his gut,
and there's only one thing he wants.

He undresses, crawls onto the bed.

Usually, he needs to win. In this room, he respects the balance of power.

The Professional

He and Yvette wait in one of the guest bedrooms. When Clark arrives, his eyes widen in surprise.

"Your first time, like I promised," Lex says.

Starts to go.

"No." Clark's hand on his arm.

Yvette arches an eyebrow.

Clark blushes. "I've had sex. With Lana. And Jessie." Stumbles over the words. "It wasn't-- I'm pretty sure I'm--"

Professional courtesy, Yvette kisses Lex's cheek before she leaves. He was going to fuck her afterwards,
while she was still filled up with Clark. Now Lex can fill Clark himself. He smiles.

There's nothing more satisfying than cutting out the middleman.


Lex has no idea how Clark got in here. But then, how does he do anything?

Clark wanders through the minefield of Lex's obsession. Stands in front of the accident simulation,
stares at his own larger-than-life image.

When he's done, he drifts back, stops right in front of Lex, who doesn't look away. He's given Clark
more chances than he would anyone else, and he won't apologize.

"This is the kind of thing that can eat you alive, you know."

Lex nods. He knows too well.

Clark's expression is serious, but not final. He holds out his hand. "Come on."

Up in Smoke

The first thing to go is the huge peepshow picture of him. The rest soon follows, lick of orange flame,
burning away the lies. He's tired of being the prey in Lex's cat-and-mouse games.

Lex stares, his expression amazed, not angry.

Sprinklers, and Clark blurs away from the wet, toward the real heat. Buries his face in Lex's neck. Tastes him.
A little fear, but mostly just Lex. Hard too, and Clark wishes he'd done this a long time ago.

He takes Lex's arm, pulls him urgently toward the stairs. "I've always wanted to show you what I can do."




Martha is not the kind of woman to keep scrapbooks. A farm life is above all things practical.

But there is something she holds onto, an old purse she hasn't carried since the day the meteors hit.
Inside, a piece of tissue used to wipe a grubby cheek. A comb passed through tangled dark hair. A roll
of Lifesavers that made a little boy smile like the child he was.

Martha sees it and remembers the look on Jonathan's face: We don't even know what he is.

But Martha knew. A girl in a fair princess costume had promised her.


Lex believes in drawing lines. The locked room is all business. Science. Strategy. Close the door,
and it's out of sight, out of mind.

Personal is a shoebox hidden in the back of his closet. Inside, a hastily scrawled note in a teenager's sloppy
hand. A handmade CD of songs, a birthday present, as carefully preserved as his Warrior Angel comics.
A snapshot of a sunny-faced boy on a picnic with his best friend.

Clark's smiles are always personal. His lies, merely the business of secrecy. As long as there's a distinction,
Lex thinks, there's still a chance for them.



diffident \DIF-uh-dunt; -dent\, adjective:
1. Lacking self-confidence, distrustful of one's own powers; timid; bashful.
2. Characterized by modest reserve; unassertive.

In Lex's fantasy, Clark is diffident, frozen in time, a fifteen-year-old virgin.

In surveillance videos of Clark's college weekends, he is anything but shy. So many clubs, so many guys.
He ruts like a greedy animal, in bathroom stalls and dirty alleyways. The same boy who will kiss Lana,
hold her, the next time he visits.

Lex can't criticize, of course, not when his wife is in the next room. But he questions his own diffidence, why
he hasn't claimed what is rightfully his.

He will, though. Soon. And then all Clark's dirty, sticky duplicity will belong only to him.



effusive \ih-FYOO-siv\, adjective:
Excessively demonstrative, giving or involving extravagant or excessive emotional expression, gushing.

Lex's political speeches are both effusive and sincere-sounding. He's big on feeling the common man's pain,
but quick to admit he's never experienced it himself.

Clark watches and thinks he sees genuine concern. It makes him wonder if he's been wrong all along.
If it has been just accidents and misunderstandings.

He goes to find out. Lex glares as he lands on the penthouse balcony.

"What do you want?"

"To believe in you again," Clark says. "Give me something."

The Kryptonite ring goes skittering across the floor, and Lex offers his hand.

Nobody knows how to campaign like he does.



The Message

Clark truly believes that Lex knows everything. Not just his own secrets, but every detail of life in the city they share.

Certainly, he knows about Tuesday afternoons, room #53, the Starlight Motel.

Helen is beautiful, still. Clark kisses and undresses her. He has no doubt that across the city somewhere Lex
is listening, understanding. Who these kisses are really meant for. How Clark imagines his touch wiping away the years
of estrangement. What it means when Clark comes inside Lex's wife calling Lex's name.

Lex knows. Everything. And Clark can only hope that someday he'll do something about it.

Community Property
(A companion piece to "The Message")

Lex doesn't love her. So Helen settles for having what he has, knowing what he knows.

The first time Lex tried to leave her, she made it clear his methods were hers too. No divorce, no mysterious accidents,
or the world would learn everything about a certain superhero.

Clark, of course, has no idea she engineered the rift. They meet every Tuesday. He touches her like he's touching Lex.
And she loves taking what belongs to her husband, knowing that he's listening.

No doubt, Clark hopes Lex will come back someday. Helen's remaining pleasure is making sure he never does.



The Choice

On the bus to Metropolis, Chloe told herself it wasn't because Clark chose Lana. But now, standing in Lionel's
living room, she's not so sure.

Lionel studies her. "Something's happened to change your mind."

Pain clenches her heart, and she can't hide it.

"I thought so."

Suddenly Lionel is on her, hands under her shirt, opening her bra, pinching her nipples. An image of Clark behind her eyes,
and she can't help moaning. Lionel guides her over to the sofa.

"We can be of great use to each other, Miss Sullivan," he says, as he lowers her onto the cushions.

Seeing Red

The slinking, smiling young man looks like Clark, but the resemblance ends there.

"You seem different."

"You've been away."

"Three weeks," Lex points out.

The time it took him to discover they were shooting Survivor on the other side of his "deserted" island.

Clark shrugs. "Things change."

Suddenly, Lex is pressed against the wall, Clark all over him, kissing, touching. God. Biting.

"Clark," he yelps. "What the hell--"

"Time to stop fucking around." Clark drops to his knees, eyes gleaming. "And start actually fucking."

Lex moans at the touch of Clark's mouth. Finally, things were changing for the better.

Breaking the Cycle

The librarian loves the new computers. The nursing home is thrilled with the plasma screens. Anything Lex
can't donate from the dismantled room goes up in smoke.

Deception belongs to Helen now, and Lex doesn't want anything that's hers.

When Clark finally turns up, Lex tries to smile like old times.

"Are you okay?" Clark asks.

Lex takes a deep breath. "I don't think so."

"Me either," Clark whispers. In his eyes are grief and secrets, undisguised.

And Lex sees that the truth was the right idea after all. He just has to start telling it to the right person.



Clark's Dream

Lex is straightening his tie when Clark appears in his mirror.

"You can't get married," he says, wild-eyed.

"I can, actually. Helen's back."

"No!" Clark spins him around. "She killed you."

Lex goes perfectly still.

"The plane-- in the ocean. She made it happen. And there was other bad stuff. My fault.
But I'm going to fix it."

"Clark, you're hysterical--"

He's cut off by Clark's tongue in his mouth, a deep, probing kiss that leaves him shaking.
More kisses follow, and he sinks into each one.

"You can't fight your destiny, Lex. Nothing good happens when you try."


Helen's first waking thought is that she really shouldn't drink. The next that she needs to pee.
When she can't move, she screams, "Lex!"

"Lost at sea, I'm afraid. If he survives, he'll think you betrayed him. Frankly, my dear, you're better
off if he's dead."

Helen's vision clears. She's tied to a chair in what appears to be their honeymoon bungalow.

"What do you want?"

He laughs. "Not you. Don't flatter yourself." A metal syringe glints in the light, stings her arm.
"It's information I'm after."

Her last unclouded thought is that this man, this monster, is her father-in-law.



Out with the Old, in with the New

"What was wrong with the old one?" Clark asked.

"Sharing it with a would-be murderer made it seem less fresh somehow." Lex stopped in front
of a display. "The Ultracraft 480. The world's most luxurious mattress. With a lifetime guarantee." He
swept out his arm. "Try it out."

Clark plunked down.


"Nice. But what does it matter what I think?"

"I want you to be comfortable."

Clark blinked, then grinned. "Oh, I think I'll be very happy here."

Lex grinned back. If he was as lucky as he hoped, that lifetime guarantee was going to
prove an excellent investment.



Breaking the Clouds

Tornado advisories. Then warnings. Finally evacuation plans.

Lex stayed put. Die as you live, he thought. In the heart of the storm.

He hadn't expected Superman--Clark--to show up, lecturing about sense
and coming in out of the rain.

They took off as the castle fell. For a moment, Lex could imagine everything
different. That he'd realized. That they'd never fought.

Die as you live, he whispered. Alone.

Clark's thumb stroked his cheek. "Oh, please. If that's how it works, then you'll go exasperating me."

When they broke the clouds, the sun was bright, and so was Lex's smile.




Clouds hang over Smallville like a tease. Three months and no rain.

Lex turns up, excited. "I've developed cloudseeding technology. I need your help."

Clark is about to act clueless, but stops. "Let's go."

In the pasture, Lex straps a cylinder to Clark's back. "Head for the center. Go as fast as you can.

Clark does, and at first is afraid it didn't work. But then he feels the moisture on his skin. By the time
he lands, he can hear murmured relief across the county.

It is the naked gratitude on Lex's face, though, that is the real reward.



"S" Stands for Secret

The cutouts of Superman's "S" arrive every Friday, vaguely ominous, until the last
one, as black as a funeral.

Lex grabs his keys and runs.

Clark is shirtless when he gets there, hair tousled, as if about to go to bed.

"Are you okay?" Lex feels suddenly silly.

Clark studies him. And then somehow they are kissing.

"You could have told me you knew."

Lex blinks in surprise. Apparently, his superhero can be devious.

"You could have told me you knew I knew."

Clark looks sheepish. "It was supposed to be a secret."

Lex nods. "Yeah." And kisses him again.



"L" is Licensed by LexCorp

"You can't do this," Superman insisted.

"I have the signed papers."

"But no one can buy a--"

The twisted genius raised a hand to stop him. "You're about to trespass on my copyrighted property."

Superman sighed. "Okay. I give up. What is this about?"

His nemesis shrugged. "It's just mine. And I don't want anyone taking it for granted."

Superman's voice softened. "Your property makes one very important word. Is everyone supposed to stop saying it?"

"It's never done me any good."

"We can change that," he said. And whispered sweet words of copyright infringement in his friend's ear.


Clark hates LexCorp audit time. Lex is all paperwork and no nookie.

"Hey, let's go to the Fortress this weekend," he suggests.

The AI adds a lot of zest to their roleplaying games.

"I'm boycotting."

"The fortress?"

"That insidious country where it's located. No proud American would be caught dead there."

"Lex, it's Canada."

"And thanks to increased Canadian competition, I'll be lucky to keep you in Spandex tights."

Clark sighs. But then, he has an idea. He comes back wrapped in the flag they bought for the Fourth.

"Hey, Lex. Let's play America-invades-Canada." He smiles devilishly. "And you're Canada."


Helen has a taste for slumming, carefully concealed. Kisses that taste like the streets. Touches
like a rough alleyway fuck, even in her soft, soft bed.

Afterwards, she gets up to go. He watches as she dresses, the delicate glide of silk and lace. His brother
wanted to be understood. Lucas wants what he's not supposed to have.

"I'll be here when you get back," Lucas says, smiling smugly.

She shrugs. "Suit yourself."

But inwardly she's smiling. She's had all three Luthor men, and not one of the arrogant fucks has ever had
any clue who he was dealing with.


The New Boy

The new boy is dancing, swaying his hips, advertising his wares. Someone hands him $20, and Lex sneaks off to watch.

Gossip is that the kid has no gag reflex and does things with his tongue that aren't even human. The way his trick
screams his head off lends this some credence.

The man staggers away, weak-kneed.

Lex makes his move. "You can do better than this."

"Yeah?" The boy's voice is weary, but his big green eyes are innocent.

"Yeah." He feels certain this boy has a lot more to offer than his ass.

Although there is that, too.

Arch Enemies, 9 to 5

Superman found Lex Luthor in his lab with another odd-looking device.

"You're too late! With my Weather-nator, I'll control the world's climate." He laughed maniacally and hit a red button.

The machine rattled violently, coughed and sent up a defeated plume of smoke. Lex sighed.

"It was really creative," Superman offered.

"Don't patronize me!"

"No, honestly. I was totally worried." Lex's face brightened. "Hey, you want to get a bite?"

"I could eat. But not that diner again. Gives me heartburn."


"Sounds good."

They turned off the lights and headed out. Tomorrow, they'd pick up where they left off.

After Solitude

Clark sat across from Lex, his heart pounding.

"You wanted to see me?" Eyes cold, voice hard, not what Clark hoped for. "What did you expect?
You disappear and-- Do you know what that did to your parents?"

"I'm sorry." Clark's eyes prickled hotly.

"Where the hell have you been?"

"Learning about my people," Clark said quietly.

Lex blinked, and then his face softened. "Are you all right?"

Clark nodded. "But-- I'd like to tell you."

Lex's eyes were warmer now, gentle. Clark took a deep breath and leaned in. Maybe he could still salvage some part of his life.

Crimes of Omission

They lower Lionel slowly into the ground. You know the truth in Lex's eyes without even looking. Lionel's
heart attack wouldn't have been fatal, they'd said, if he'd gotten to the hospital sooner.

You don't want to be glad. But a vault filled with glowing green death. Lionel knew your weaknesses, and he scared you.

The only thing you truly regret is that Lex did it. You reach for his hand. He starts but doesn't pull away. Cold,
trembling fingers, and you hold on tight.

You want him to understand. Whatever blood is on his hands is on yours, too.

Shopping Spree

"Tell me what we're doing again."

Lex pulled a blue shirt from a stack. "It's your first real job. You can't keep looking like you just came down from the hayloft."

"So you're--"

"Fixing you." Lex sorted through a rack of ties. "Haven't you ever seen Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?"

Clark stared. "But-- You--"

"Oh, please. How many straight men wear purple?"

"Um--" Clark shifted awkwardly. "Do you think it's a problem if this is more like Queer Eye for the Bi Guy?"

Lex's eyes turned a darker shade. "I'd say it adds a dimension."

Lights Go Out, Light Goes On

"You could just get us out of here." Three hours stuck in an elevator, and Lex was cranky.


"Super strength? Heat vision? Ability to fly? Pick one. But doing nothing because you don't want me to find out what I already know is irritating."

Clark's voice got soft, "I'm not sure I could get you out safely, and I don't want to leave you here alone."

Lex was suddenly glad for the pitch darkness. He hated looking sheepish under bright lights.

Clark shifted closer, touched his face. "Besides--" Soft lips found his. "Blackouts don't have to be boring."


She thought she'd be sad to leave the mansion. Then again, she thought she'd protected her children from
the skulking and invisibility of her life, from the secrets that take shape in the dark of the night. When they drive
away, it feels more like liberation than exile.

At their new house, Amy sits and pines. "You could have done something. We could have stayed."

It's truer than Amy knows. There is a call she could have made. But not after the shrine.

"I couldn't have you getting into trouble with your brother."

Amy, of course, thinks she means Jeff.




They meet in the afternoons. There is never any set plan, no agreed upon time. Just inevitably they drift into
one another's orbits, usually at the mansion, sometimes at the Talon or in the Kents' homey kitchen. Clark brings his
schoolbooks, Lex his laptop. There are no difficult questions or even much conversation, just the soft swoosh
of turning pages, the steady click of computer keys, the silent comfort of companionship. Sometimes, when
Clark glances up from his book and smiles, looking almost like the boy he used to be, Lex actually
believes that things will someday be okay again.



The Headmaster's Tale

The headmaster sighed. The first day of school, and Alexander Luthor had already vandalized something.

Once last semester, the headmaster found him blindingly drunk at a local bar. He'd taken pity on the boy, though,
and let him work off his infractions in a nearby alleyway. It became routine discipline after that. Fire in the
chemistry lab, pills hidden under his mattress, whatever he did wrong--Alexander's mouth atoned for it all.

The headmaster would, of course, require him to answer for this latest outrage. Children needed correction,
and Alexander craved it more than most.

Or so he told himself.



The Rescue Mission

His boots squeak on the floor. The servants stare at his flannel. He's never comfortable here,
but there's too much at stake to leave.

The study is shadowed. Lex looks pale and battered, but there's a fierce glow in his face.

"What do you want, Mr. Kent?"

The answer makes his throat hurt. He survives by concentrating on what he can do, the children he can save.

"It's terrible what they did, but it doesn't have to ruin you. Pick your own direction, Lex." He lays a
new compass on the desk and hopes to God he's not too late.



Alien at Home

The day the Earth-man arrives, everyone crowds into the square to see him. He is bare-headed and lovely,
and Kal-El stares longingly. The man extends his hand in greeting, and everyone but Kal-El shrinks back.

Kal-El's first memory is of reaching for his father, having Jor-El pull away. Kryptonians do not touch.He has tried
to respect this. But his skin burns, his fingers curl, desperate for contact.

He steps forward and takes the offered hand. Skin against skin, and his body sings with the profoundness of the
connection. The Earth-man smiles, and for once Kal-El feels like he belongs.



Mutual Amnesia

He woke up dressed in white, on the floor of an empty, locked room, no idea who he was or the dark-haired
man in the leotard sitting next to him.

"Maybe we're friends. Or brothers. Or--" The dark man's gaze traveled over his body.

"What makes you think that?"

The man shrugged. "You seem familiar."

"I suppose we could test your theory." He took the man's chin in his hand and pressed their lips together.

In an instant, they were wrapped around each other, panting, clutching and kissing, achingly hard.

"Lovers," the dark man rasped.

"Must be," he agreed.



Super Hustler

The man slumped against him, panting. "That was great, kid. Just as advertised."

Clark took a deep, shaky breath, a tremor running through him.

"Regrets?" The man laughed unpleasantly, cupping Clark's ass possessively. "Too late. You're already broken in now."

He slid out of bed and dressed, left a stack of cash on the dresser. "You're one sweet piece, kid. That's for damned sure."

When he'd gone, Clark rolled onto his back. And laughed. Pervs fell for the reluctant virgin routine every time. It
was the fourth time this week he'd lost his cherry. Super-strong muscles could be so profitable.


Black Widow

Helen learned about power early on. Her father had it all, her mother none. It's funny how alike she and Lex
really are, both their fathers' children.

Maybe that's why he proved such a challenge.

The first time they made love, she almost lost herself. When he said he loved her. Came to her rescue. Promised her
forever, with a smile she could almost believe.


But a blue room glowed in her imagination. Lex never loved her, any more than her father loved her mother.

He's gone now, the power all hers. Finally, she'll get exactly what she deserves.


Legislating Love

Alonissos is quiet, the perfect island for couples who want to be alone.

Clark stretches lazily on his beach towel, his skin a beautiful brown-gold in the brilliant Mediterranean
sun. "You could still change your mind."

"I don’t want to run for Senate again, Clark."

"But it was your life’s ambition."

"My ambition was to get the Extension of Marriage Rights Act passed. Which I did." He laces their hands together,
admiring the glint of their wedding bands in the light. "Now I want to enjoy my honeymoon."

Clark smiles and kisses him, and Lex has never loved democracy more.


The Addicting Touch

(This is a sequel to the drabble Alien at Home.)

The Council allows the Earth-man to stay, but will not meet with him. They send Kal-El instead, who does not mind
the human's ways, much to Jor-El's chagrin.

Kal-El spends hours answering the Earth-man's questions. The Earth-man touches his arm, brushes his shoulder, puts his
hand on Kal-El's back, making him ache in ways he didn't even realize were possible.

The Earth-man's touch is always light, casual, but his eyes are too quick and piercing for any of this to be an
accident. He knows what Kal-El needs.

And Kal-El knows he's not going to stop craving it anytime soon.

Family Relations

His father always stinks of liquor when he comes to his room at night. He always shuts his eyes, pretends to sleep. His father
touches everywhere, not just the soft bulge between his legs, but the knot of his elbow, curve of his face, all of him,
everything. His father is an instinctive thief. He lives to take what doesn't belong to him, and his son is
just another property line to casually trespass.

When it's over, he plots his mutiny. Someday, he'll show his father, show him good.

It's what Lionel always promises himself just before he falls asleep.


The Naked Truth

(This is a sequel to the drabbles Alien at Home and The Addicting Touch.)

Humans practice something called sex, Kal-El learns from the Earth-man's computer. There are pictures, males and females
and naked touching. Kal-El can only stare.

"What's so fascinating?" The Earth-man looks over his shoulder.

He could try to hide it, but doesn't. "I'm sorry."

"It's natural to be curious. You may find this interesting." He types a command, and the screen fills with images, more naked
touching, only it's males with other males. "We're a very adaptable species."

It sounds like a promise, and Kal-El reaches out his fingers to brush his hand. The truth is he's feeling rather adaptable himself.


A Different World, Altogether

(Note: Clark is older than Lex in this.)

Clark had gone to Suicide Slums looking for a streetwalker to interview. What he'd found was a billionaire's
son, in lipgloss and leather pants, peddling himself for kicks.

It was easy to get the boy into his car. Harder to get him to stay when he realized Clark only wanted to talk.

"I'll pay."

"I'm not purely profit driven." The boy's eyes traveled over him. "But I think we can still do business." He slid his
hand into Clark's pants. "You have until you come to ask me questions."

Clark feared it was going to be an embarrassingly short interview.


Beware What You Wish For

In history class, Chloe sees Clark strapped to a metal table, cut open, alive and screaming.

At the Talon, there is an old woman, bitter and alone, muttering to herself in the corner while Lana serves lattes, smiling.

A ranting madman sits next to Lex as he types at his laptop.

At home, her father is upbeat about his job search, but there is a homeless man pushing a shopping cart down the hall.

Chloe has always pried into people's truths, determined to know everything. But now that she can see everyone's worst
fears, she prays to God for ignorance.


Do You See Me Now?

Lana spent a humiliating morning badgering the school janitor to come get her bad-girl red underwear down from the flagpole.

The Torch computers played a clip of Chloe saying "I'm a snoop!" until she finally pulled the plug.

When the red Kryptonite tumbled from Clark's pocket, he found himself in a barn, on top of a rather mature-looking
farm wife, who was not at all pleased when he left.

Lex narrowed his eyes at the "creamed corn 4eva!" keyed on the Porsche's hood.

At the Talon, they confronted the suspect.

Pete shrugged. "Hey, I just got tired of being invisible."


The Great Detective A. Joseph Luthor...He Doesn't Exist

It seemed like a brilliant idea to borrow the name for his detective agency--until A. Joseph Luthor showed up
one day, not at all dead from his plane crash, talking about lawsuits and acting like he owned the place.

"What do you want?" Clark demanded.

"To be partners, just until we find my wife and my missing money. Then it's all yours again. Deal?"

"Deal." Not that he had any choice.

Luthor's hand settled on his ass. "I know we're going to make a great team, Kent."

Clark blushed fiercely. He knew he was in way over his head.


Forgiveness, the Hard Way

It took months after his father's funeral before Clark could bring himself to go back to the caves.

When he finally did, Jor-El was waiting for him. "Son."

He ignored the pain that word had become. "Look, I came to say that I forgive you. You did what you did. What he
wanted. So I'm not going to blame you. But I'm older now, stronger. And if you ever fuck with anyone I love again, you
won't even be a memory when I'm through with you."

Forgiveness in the form of a threat--he figured Jor-El could relate to that.


The Art of Dissuasion

It was how they handled stalkers.

Clark led Alicia into Lex's room where Lex was naked in bed. She glared. Clark shrugged.

"Lana did it."

That got her between the sheets. Lex's talented tongue helped her relax. After that, she was easy, giving head
like a trooper, making lost kitten noises as they took turns in her pussy. When Lex moved on top of Clark, she didn't look
away, even touched herself, although she didn't look very happy about it.

In the morning, she was gone, as expected. No girl was crazy enough to think she could compete with destiny.


Pet Project

It takes a freak celestial event to accomplish what Lex never could. Maybe this is why he spends all his time
trying to recreate Superman after he's gone.

Trial subject #117's eyes flutter open. The familiar hazel gaze fastens on Lex, bright with newborn curiosity.

Weeks pass, and #117's DNA remains stable, his vitals normal. He learns to walk, then fly. Lex teaches him
to read. Charts his strength.

When he's fully developed, Lex administers the final test.

"I'm planning to rob a bank today."

#117 frowns. "But that's wrong."

Lex smiles. Reproducing his nemesis' conscience is his greatest achievement.


Unknown Variables

(Sequel to A Different World, Altogether.)

"I want to try something new," the john said.

This was fine with Lex. It was all a grand experiment to him anyway, turning tricks, seeing how much he could
get away with.

He didn't mind the spanking, but the dialogue the guy wanted to hear---"Punish me, Daddy, I've been a dirty boy!"--struck
a little too close to home.

He thought a refund and blowjob would mollify him, but apparently not. Beefy hands tightened around his throat, cutting off his breath.

This was the problem with experiments, he realized. You never knew how they were going to end.


Safety Protocols

(Sequel to A Different World, Altogether and Unknown Variables.)

It was just a test, a way to hone his abilities--so Clark told himself--and it worked, too. Now whenever he thought
of Lex, his hearing would home right in on him.

Clark listened to history reports and phone conversations and noises the boy made while getting fucked.

When he heard the gurgling, he was off like a shot.

At the motel, he sent the john flying, gathered Lex's limp body in his arms and wrapped him in his cape.

In the air, the boy regained consciousness. "Where am I?"

Clark tightened his hold on him. "You're somewhere safe."


The Lazy Way to Get What You Want

It was way too quiet out there. Clark swept his x-ray vision over Metropolis and found everyone sacked
out on their sofas, as if some pandemic of sloth had overtaken them.

At home, Lex was suspiciously active, greeting Clark with a hot kiss and an eager fondle.

"What did you do?"

Lex was unrepentant. "It's only temporary. They'll be calling for Superman again soon enough."

Clark sighed. "You could have just told me you were feeling neglected."

"Oh, yeah? What would you have done about it?"

Clark caught him by the wrist and pulled him close. "Let me show you."


Redlight Revelation

Third night of spring break, Clark strikes out on his own. All Male! All Nude! He tells himself it's only curiosity. But as he
watches the hard, writhing bodies, the tightness in his crotch is matched by the clench of terror in his throat,
and he has to get out of there.

At the door, someone catches his arm. "Not so fast, angel."

"What do you want?" he snaps, his heart pounding.

The man pats his shoulder kindly. "Just to tell you that everything's going to be okay."

Clark holds onto that thought all the way back to his friends.



The first sign was the horded plastic bags, tucked away in the mansion's kitchen.

"Waste not, want not," Lex explained.

Then there was catching Lex eating generic brand peanut butter.

"It was on sale."

True fear set in when Clark found the garage empty and a Honda Civic sitting in the driveway.

Inside, Lex was wrapped in a blanket, wearing sweatpants and a shirt from Sears.

"What's going on, Lex?"

"Heat costs money, Clark. And the Civic gets better gas mileage."

Clark patted his shoulder reassuringly. "I don't know what's happened to you, but I promise we'll get some help."

Groundhog Day

Something was different, Clark sensed, and his eyes popped open when he realized that Lex was still there, naked and sleeping next to him and--

"Oh, shit!"

"It's too early," Lex murmured drowsily. "Tell the cows they'll have to wait."

Clark's heart started to pound. He'd expected it to still be today, just as it had been for who knew how long, only it was finally tomorrow. And last night he'd told Lex everything.

"Um, how much do you remember--"

Lex snuggled closer. "Alien…gay…love me. But it's still too early."

Clark was just glad that it wasn't too late.

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