Games II:
Freeze Tag

Orithain and Rina

August 2002

Beta by Mre, ambiguous719, and Angel in Red. Many thanks!

This will make more sense if you read Games I: Marco Polo first, but it can be read as a standalone.

Disclaimer: Would that they belonged to us so that we could watch instead of just writing about it, but they don't.

Trying to concentrate on the reports he had to review, Lex found himself distracted by the beams of light shining through the green banker's shade on his lamp. The color was the exact shade of Clark's eyes when he was about to come....

"Damnit!" Lex shut down his laptop and headed for the garage and his Porsche, knowing that there was no way he was going to get any work done. Not once he'd started thinking about Clark: Clark, whom he hadn't seen in three days thanks to meetings and work on the farm; Clark, who at that very moment was at the Talon with the friends he'd been neglecting lately.

A cappuccino was just what Lex needed.

"God, I have so many ideas for the Torch!" Chloe Sullivan exclaimed. She was stirring her drink with one hand and flipping through the notes she'd taken during her internship at the Daily Planet with the other. It had ended the Friday before, and between traveling back to Smallville and unpacking her things, this was the first she'd seen of Clark or Pete.

"Mr. White, the editor, was a total pain in the ass the way he rode us, but he's really good at what he does, and he gave me some tips on ways to punch up my writing."

She took a drink of her iced latte and grinned, looking at her two companions. "So, we've heard about Pete's trip to California and my summer in Metropolis; what about you, Clark?"

He shrugged, twirling the thin wooden stir-stick between his fingers before dropping it back into his empty glass. "What do you think?" Clark rolled his eyes heavenward but grinned. "I helped Dad around the farm, delivered stuff, but hey, don't feel bad; I'm sure I was having more fun than either of you did."

"Poor baby," Pete laughed, shaking his head. "You're telling me you didn't do one thing that was fun all summer?"

"Went to the movies, went swimming, hung out at..." The door of the Talon swung open, and Clark turned to look toward it, breaking into a huge smile when he saw who came in. "...Lex's," he finished.

Lex spotted Clark the moment he stepped through the door, and he forced himself not to pounce on him. God, he looked good. He slid into the booth beside Clark, ending up pressed against him--because of the tight space, of course. Under cover of the table, his hand gripped Clark's thigh, but he restrained himself from anything further.

"What can I get you, Lex?" Lana appeared beside them almost instantly, and Lex ordered his usual cappuccino, wishing that Clark were on the menu.

"Did you enjoy your sojourn in Metropolis, Chloe?" he asked, feigning an interest since she was Clark's friend.

Clark froze, his smile plastered on his face, and Chloe looked at him strangely before answering Lex. "Yes, I learned a lot and got to see places I hadn't been to in years. You must miss it; it's a big change from there to here."

"Oh, Smallville has its benefits," Lex replied, a seraphic smile on his lips as his fingers crept a little higher on Clark's leg before he gave his lover a quick squeeze and brought his hand up to rest on the table.

Lana brought Lex's coffee. "I don't see how you can say that. There's nothing to do here, especially with Whitney gone, and so much in Metropolis. I'd love to be able to go dancing at a club whenever I wanted." She sighed at that before moving off to another table to check on some customers.

Lex looked toward the ceiling, exasperated by the fact that Lana seemed to think that if her boyfriend wasn't in town, her life was over, oblivious to how it might make Clark feel... or might have made him feel before he'd realized that Lex was the one he wanted. Lex wondered how long the relationship would have lasted if Clark had actually ever gotten Lana, but he doubted it would have been long.

"I don't know..." Clark was horrified that his voice came out a lot higher than normal, and he swallowed, silently vowing to get revenge on his sadistic boyfriend when they were alone. Clearing his throat, he tried again. "I don't think I'd want to live somewhere that people would just as soon mug you as look at you. What's the point of being able to go out if you're too scared to do it?"

Pete scoffed, shaking his head. "Man, Clark, you really need to get off the farm more."

"The only problem with clubs for us," Chloe chimed in, "is that we're too young to get into them. Believe me, I've tried."

While spending an evening with a group of teenagers wasn't Lex's preferred activity, if it got him time with Clark, he'd take it. "Well, if you really want..."

"Oh, Lex, would you?" Chloe immediately jumped on the offer before he had a chance to think better of it. "It would be so much fun."

"Sure," he shrugged. "But since I don't want to be arrested for kidnapping, I'm going to insist you get your parents' permission to go to Metropolis for the night and stay over at my apartment... though I wouldn't really suggest telling them where we plan to go once there."

While the others were all thanking Lex and plotting ways to get their folks' permission, Clark looked over at him, eyebrows raised. A night away from home. With Lex. Well, with his friends too if you were technical about it, but they had to sleep sometime, right?

"When are you talking about going?" he asked, trying to be the calm voice of reason, though it wasn't working well because his brain was singing 'A night with Lex, a night with Lex.'

"School starts in two weeks, so it has to be before then," Chloe piped up.

"And football practice starts before that," Pete added.

"Well, it's Wednesday now, so how about this Friday? That gives you time to okay it with your families, and then we can enjoy a Friday night Metropolis-style," Lex suggested. And Clark in his bed for the whole night. He could hardly wait.

"You can all stay at my place," Lex said easily. "I have several guestrooms, so you can each have your own room." No way did he want Clark caught in a late night chat session with Pete.

"Thanks, Lex. I'll get to work on my folks when I get home!" Chloe eyed Clark, who was still looking at Lex. "Think your parents will let you go?"

"Won't know till I ask," he replied, giving a shrug and trying not to squirm because Lex had rested his hand under the table again--supposedly in his own lap but in reality on Clark's thigh again. "I know we talked about going to a movie, guys, but I'd better start asking now if I want to wear my dad down; mind if I pass?"

"No problem, man." Pete smiled, but it grew thinner when he looked at Lex. He hated what the man's father had done to his family, which meant he usually didn't have anything good to say about Lex, but a guy couldn't look a gift trip in the mouth.

Lex returned Pete's stare blandly, willing to make allowances for Clark's sake. Besides, Clark would be leaving with him, and he was sure they would manage some time for themselves before he had to be home. At least the length of a movie, to be precise. Finishing his coffee, he nodded to Pete and Chloe as he stood up.

"Want a lift?" he offered Clark, standing where he would block the other two's view of Clark's lap as he stood up.

"Sure, if it's not a problem." Clark practically leapt to his feet, avoiding falling over them only by slamming his hand down on the tabletop so hard the cups rattled.

Chloe looked over at Pete, confused. Clark had been really up for seeing MIB II a little while ago, and now he was ready to run home. "Okay, I'll give you a call in the morning, and we can see if it's a go."

"Will do. See ya!" Keeping himself half-behind Lex, Clark waved to both of them and Lana before hurrying out the door.

Frowning, Chloe took a sip of her drink. "Did Clark seem a little weird to you, Pete?" she asked.

"No more than usual," he answered, draining his glass. "If we want to get to the mega-plex, we'd better get out of here."

"Yeah," she answered, seeming distracted as they gathered their things to leave.

"So should I drive you straight home to talk to your parents?" Lex teased as he slid into his car and waited for Clark to get settled beside him. "Since you were in such a hurry and all." He made haste to pull away from the curb and head out of town where he would be able to touch Clark without worrying that the whole town was watching.

"Asshole," Clark growled, though the sound wasn't nearly as fierce as when Lex did it. "Gee, nothing like groping me in front of my friends!" He shook his head and started laughing as he slid his hand into Lex's lap. "Be careful you don't strip your gears..."

"I'm more concerned with you stripping me," Lex chuckled, hips rising slightly off the seat to press into Clark's palm. "So will your parents be expecting you two hours from now, or do we have some time?" He was hoping for the latter as it seemed forever since they'd had any time to play.

As soon as they were out of sight of town, he pulled off the road, turned to face Clark, and pulled him into a ravenous kiss.

Lips and teeth and tongue and, god, Lex tasted good! Clark was tempted to rip out the console between them so that he could get closer to Lex, but he controlled himself, doubting Lex would appreciate him doing that.

"They don't expect me home until eleven or so." He ducked his head and grinned before swooping in to suck on Lex's lower lip. "I told them I might go by your place afterward."

That had Lex pulling him closer to kiss him very thoroughly. "Super smart too," he praised. "So we have all afternoon and evening to play. This is the best return I've ever had on a cup of coffee." With a final kiss, Lex straightened up again and put the car back into gear. "This would be better continued back at my place."

Adjusting his jeans so that he could be at least somewhat comfortable for the ride to the castle, Clark looked at Lex expectantly. "Well? Drive already!"

"I really can't believe you asked everyone to your place." Clark snickered and ran his fingers over the back of Lex's neck as they turned onto the driveway from the road. "And that you're taking us all clubbing!"

"I'd do a lot more to get you spending a whole night with me," Lex admitted easily. "But I'm counting on your help keeping the lot of them out of too much trouble and me out of jail." He shook his head self-mockingly. "Still, the clubs are crowded enough that we'll be able to dance together without worrying about them seeing us. It seemed like a good idea to me." He leaned back into Clark's caress, a shiver running down his spine.

"Me too." Seeing Lex's response, Clark trailed his fingers higher up the back of his head, feather-light touches over his scalp. "I just hope they stay in their rooms and don't come investigating strange noises." The thought of that happening, while not quite as bad as his parents walking in on them, made Clark cringe.

"Fortunately the walls are very thick. We wouldn't want either host or guest to be disturbed by the other's nocturnal activities, after all." He pulled into the garage with a sigh of relief, parked, turned the car off, unfastened his seatbelt, and lunged over the gearbox to ravage Clark's mouth in a single motion that took the merest fraction of a second.

"God, I missed you," Clark mumbled into Lex's mouth as he pulled the other man bodily into his lap, his hands roaming over and under his shirt, touching everywhere he could. "I hate being good."

"That's why I don't usually do it," Lex agreed. His own hands were busy yanking the t-shirt from Clark's body, and he moaned his frustration when their lips had to part to pull it over his head. "God, I've wanted you so much."

Clark's response was a wordless mumble as he dove for Lex's neck, scattering buttons over the floor as he pulled Lex's shirt open to get at more of that wonderful, fair-skinned body. His mouth closed on the side of Lex's throat, and he licked and sucked at the warm, spicy flesh, all the while pulling the older man close and arching up against him, too frantic to try anything else.

Lex rode Clark's thrusts, gasping and moaning as their cocks rubbed together, his fingers combed deep into Clark's hair, holding him close. "Oh yes, there, so good, Clark," he babbled, not conscious of speaking at all.

"Yeah... Lex..." Clark moaned. His hips rose off the seat while his fingers dug into Lex's back, and he whimpered, dragged to the edge by the weight pressing against him and Lex's teasing earlier. "Gonna - ah!" His whole body tensed, and warm semen pulsed inside his boxers to cover his cock, and all the while he kept moving, wanting to hear Lex come as well.

Lex was fighting to hold on to his control, some small part of his mind thinking that he was too old to be doing this in his pants, in the car, but the combination of the delicious friction, the sight and sound of Clark coming, and the simple knowledge that Clark was really here with him rather than a fantasy as he jacked off made him come, arching hard against his lover.

He slumped forward, head resting on Clark's shoulder as he panted for breath. "My drycleaner must hate you, but I love what you do to me."

"Don't they make more if they get the stains out?" Clark murmured dreamily as he stroked Lex's sweaty back and over his head, almost purring in contentment, especially when he flicked out his tongue to lick the side of Lex's neck.

"Actually, they get the same regardless, so they'd probably rather not have to work harder. But I certainly enjoy creating the stains, so they're just going to have to deal with it."

Shifting a bit uncomfortably as the clammy silk clung to him, he smirked at Clark. "So would you like to actually go inside, or shall we just stay out here for a couple hours?"

Lifting his head from Lex's shoulder with a sigh, Clark shrugged. "Inside, I guess, or I'll hear about you getting a cramp in your legs soon." He grinned at the last. "Besides, I need to wash out my clothes. You aren't the only one messy, you know!"

"Oh, I know." Lex eyed him hungrily. "I'm looking forward to helping you clean up." He fumbled at the door from his rather awkward position, managing to open it and stumble out, catching at the roof when his legs refused to support him. "Coming?"

"Already did, thanks." Clark snickered and swung easily out of the car, catching Lex around the waist and holding him upright until he got the feeling back in his legs. Seeing the exasperated look on the older man's face, he laughed aloud. "You deserved that, admit it!"

Sighing and shaking his head, Lex simply led the way into the house, more interested in getting Clark into his bedroom or wherever they ended up than in bandying words. "Sometimes you remind me that you really are a teenager," he said, trying to sound superior from his half dozen years' seniority. "And you always make me feel better." He slung an arm around Clark's waist as they walked, enjoying just being able to touch him without worrying about who might see.

"Thanks..." Clark quirked his eyebrows up while looking at Lex sidelong through his lashes. "I think." He leaned in to nuzzle the side of Lex's neck. "I love you."

"So... what did you have in mind for today since we actually have enough time to relax and enjoy ourselves? I wouldn't want you to think I only want you for your body." Lex grinned over his shoulder as they entered his bedroom, and he immediately started stripping, wrinkling his nose as he peeled off his clammy boxers.

"I know," Clark said airily. "It's my urbane wit, my social skills, my..." He almost fell on his ass while pulling off his jeans. "...graceful manner."

Laughing at himself, Clark sat on the floor and looked up at Lex, feeling his heart slam in his chest at the sight of his lover's bare body. "Feel up to learning another game? You did really well at Marco Polo."

Lex felt his body stir at the memory. "It'll be hard to top that one. I really enjoyed the prize." He offered a hand to help Clark back to his feet even as his eyes drank in the other man's nudity. "I have very fond memories of that game... and will be publicly embarrassed if anyone ever mentions it around me," he added with a grin. "I seem to have a Pavlovian response."

Standing easily, Clark rested his hands on Lex's shoulders, fingertips just barely moving over his shoulder blades. "I don't know; it could be fun to play at the lake come Labor Day..." The look Lex gave him could have dissolved steel. "Okay, okay, no!"

"I was thinking more along the lines of freeze tag. Ever heard of that one?"

Lex's blank expression made his 'no' redundant. "But the tag part sounds intriguing," he murmured huskily. He forced himself to step away and go into the bathroom, where he automatically turned on the shower to the temperature Clark preferred. "So how does one play this game?"

"I'm hoping you understand tag at least?" he asked, waiting until Lex nodded and kissed him to continue. "Freeze tag is just about the same, only you have to hold still until someone tags you again. Can't really play the running type with just the two of us, but we could - uh - improvise."

"Why, Mr. Kent, I do believe you have a kinky streak hidden beneath that wholesome exterior... and I heartily approve." Lex grinned as he stepped under the cool spray, sighing his satisfaction as it cleaned and cooled him. "So exactly what kind of improvisations did you have in mind?"

Feeling the familiar heat of a blush stain his cheeks, Clark turned Lex around so that he could soap his back. Leaning in, he brushed his lips against the curve of Lex's bare head and gave a small sigh before trying to answer the question. "I was thinking that, ummm, we could play using touches. Maybe one hand freezes and the other unfreezes the person who isn't it?" He was really red now and really glad that Lex wasn't looking at him, and, oh shit, he was.

"Let me be sure I have this straight. So if I, say, touch you like this with my right hand," curling it around Clark's renewed erection and pumping it slowly, "you would have to stay completely still until I touched you with my left hand?" He held it up as if in question, watching Clark's expression as he teased him.

"Yes." Clark's voice was almost a squeak, and his eyes widened as he thought of just what he was getting himself into. "But then I'd get to be 'it,' and you'd have to freeze."

"Mmm, just as soon as I couldn't bear not to be touching you with my other hand." Lex watched him hungrily as he pumped his cock a few more times, then reached down and cupped his balls in the palm of his left hand. "Oops," he said, mock-regretfully, "I guess you're it."

Though all the blood in his body seemed to be pooling in his groin, Clark managed a shaky laugh. "Why do I get the feeling that being 'it' is going to be the goal here?"

As he spoke, he slid his right arm around Lex's waist, stroking his back and ass, feathering his fingers along the crease between his cheeks, something he knew Lex liked.

Lex shivered but somehow managed to remain still as Clark touched him, although he did sway slightly. "Is talking allowed, or is that considered moving?" he gasped, biting his lip as the feather-light touches aroused him. Hungry silver-blue eyes fixed on Clark like a starving wolf on a tender lamb, and he quivered with arousal.

Taking a moment to think about that, Clark scraped his blunt nails across Lex's back. "You can talk; you just can't do anything else," he answered because he couldn't help himself. Hearing Lex talk was almost as much a turn on as seeing him move--or even breathe.

"So it's okay for me to tell you how good that feels, how much I love having your hands on me, how feeling you touch me like that makes me want so much more, want to feel you deep inside me, touching me everywhere..."

The squeak was back, and Clark almost lost his balance as lust smashed through him. He wavered on his feet, and when he did, his left hand brushed Lex's hip. "You're it now," he croaked, ducking under the spray to try and clear his mind before Lex drove him out of it.

"Mmmm." Lex made a sound reminiscent of a sleepy lion surveying his domain, sensual and redolent of satisfaction. His right hand lightly skimmed over Clark's torso, starting just above his navel and following the sparse sprinkling of hair upward. He lightly touched a fingertip to the very tip of one nipple, then continued upward until his fingers were brushing Clark's lips.

Trying to move closer, he slipped slightly and caught hold of Clark's hip with his other hand. "You're it again," he whispered.

"M-maybe we should get out of the shower before one of us falls," Clark gasped, taking a step back from Lex so he could think coherently enough to form the words.

"Good point." Lex reached out with a slightly shaky hand to turn the water off, then stepped out and swiped at his body with the towel waiting for him. He absently noted the presence of a second towel, something that had appeared since Clark became his lover, but he was more interested in watching Clark dry off while he waited.

"Since you're it, where and how do you want me before I'm back to not being allowed to move?"

Moving in a blur to get himself dry, Clark neatly hung the towel up and stood watching Lex finish blotting his own skin. "On the bed, on your stomach," he whispered, the thought of having this much control over Lex making his hands twitch and his cock slap against his stomach.

The darkly commanding tone sent another shiver of arousal down Lex's spine, and he moved slowly toward the bed, ass swaying. With a heated glance over his shoulder, he arranged himself in the center, arms above his head and wrists crossed as he waited for whatever Clark chose to do.

Gnawing on his lower lip and fisting his left hand behind his back so that he could be 'it' for as long as possible, Clark crawled up onto the bed, straddling Lex's thighs and running his right hand down the center of the older man's back, the bumps of his spine small ridges beneath his thin skin.

"I love touching you," he sighed, trailing his fingers upward until they brushed the hollow at the base of Lex's skull. "So soft and so hard at the same time. I love that after we're together, I can smell you on me for hours and remember..."

Lex shivered, hands clenching into fists above his head as he fought not to arch up into Clark's light touch. Children could remain still; so could he. Of course, said children didn't have Clark teasing them into near insanity.

"I think I envy you your sense of smell," he managed to say. "I can only smell you for a short time... Of course, that just means that we need to renew it more often." He bit his lower lip, trying to distract himself from the light touches that only made him want more.

"If it makes you happy," Clark murmured, continuing his light caresses, enjoying having Lex at his mercy like this because, honestly, whenever they were together and Lex touched him, he lost all control.

Having stroked his way up the back of Lex's head, Clark reversed his path, running one finger down his spine in a series of curves before circling it over the small indentation at the top of his ass. "Or you can see if you can come up with a soap that smells like me... but that would mean you wouldn't smell like you, and that would suck, big time."

Lex was fairly sure, somewhere in the back of his mind where there was still a working brain cell or two, that this conversation made absolutely no sense, but just then, he didn't particularly care. Moaning, he tensed to try and force himself to remain still when all he wanted to do was writhe beneath Clark's touch and beg him for more.

Clark continued to stroke his finger over the divot at the top of the cleft in Lex's ass, almost mesmerized by that tiny patch of skin. He could feel Lex's muscles quiver beneath him as the older man attempted to hold still; to say Lex was competitive was to speak the obvious.

"I wonder if this counts as right or left..." Clark mused, leaning in and running his tongue up Lex's spine before answering himself. "My game, my rules. Right."

"Bastard!" Lex gasped, his back arching involuntarily, legs spreading as his body clenched hungrily. "Fine, you win, just fuck me!" No longer caring about the game or anything but the man teasing him, he tried to flip over, but Clark held him in place easily.

Blinking in shock because of Lex's outburst, Clark sat up, grinning widely. "Oh my god." He'd done it. Maybe he was getting better at this seduction thing (not that two months of romping as often as they could didn't hurt) because he'd never made Lex act like this before.

Reaching for the lube, he squirted some into his palm before pausing, unable to resist one more goad. "Ask nicely..."

"Fuck me now, or so help me, I'll create a set of manacles with a core of meteor dust enough to weaken you and not let you out of this bed for a week!"

That threat gave Clark a moment's pause, but then he grinned even as he moved to kneel between Lex's thighs. "No, you wouldn't; you love me, and that would really piss my parents off." Saying that, he slid one finger into the older man's tight body, crooking it and searching for the gland inside him.

"Clark!" What started as a wail of frustration turned into a wail of shocked pleasure when Clark's finger hit his prostate. Lex felt like he was turning inside out, and his fists clenched in the sheets. "God, if you don't get inside me, I'm going to come before you ever do!"

"Oh no, you aren't!" Quickly stretching Lex's ass by adding another finger, Clark slicked up his cock and thrust inside, the spastically clenching depths surrounding him making him groan deep in his throat.

Lex hastily bit down on the wadded sheets beneath him to muffle his scream when Clark finally entered him. He drove upward, taking Clark as deep as he could go, and it still wasn't enough. The blase man who could calmly get up from a lover's bed and walk away without a second thought was nowhere to be seen where Clark was concerned. "God, yes!"

"Lex..." Clark's voice was a ragged whine as he thrust into his lover, each stroke sending electric jolts up his cock to his toes then up to his brain. "Need to be deeper..." He wrapped his arms around Lex's chest and pulled, rising up to his knees with Lex straddling his lap.

This time there was nothing to silence Lex's scream when Clark went deeper than he ever had before. His head fell back against Clark's shoulder, and he writhed frantically, begging for more. Love, lust, alien pheromones, whatever it was, sex with Clark was like nothing he'd ever experienced before. His hand curled around his leaking erection, and he shook, poised on the brink of an explosive climax.

Clark could feel it, the tension, the need radiating through Lex, and his own condition mirrored them exactly. Sliding a hand lower, he circled Lex's cock and began to stroke, his palm wet with precome and lube.

"God, yes, do it, Lex," he moaned, arching up and lifting them both from the mattress as the first throes of his own climax hit him.

When Clark's hand touched him, it was the final impetus needed to tip Lex over the edge, and he arched hard enough to make his spine crack as he came. He could feel Clark coming at the same time, jerking inside him, and that just made another tremor of pleasure shake Lex. His seed spurted over his belly and their hands, and when the last paroxysm passed, he slumped back against the support of his lover's chest, chest heaving as he gasped for air.

Head bowed forward so that his face was buried in the crook of Lex's neck, Clark shuddered, slowly kissing the beads of sweat away until he'd recovered, though he continued to support Lex and would until the older man recovered. "That was... wow."

"Yeah." Lex laughed breathlessly. "Any time you want to introduce me to another kids' game, love, go right ahead. You're batting a thousand so far." He rubbed the back of his head against Clark's shoulder, still not certain that he could move. "Now I know what they mean by 'rode hard and put away wet'," he murmured, a smug smile on his face.

"You saying you need another shower?" Clark asked, chuckling quietly before bringing his damp hand to his lips and licking Lex's semen from his palm, sighing at the flavor. "And I know more kids' games we can play; it'll just have to wait for another day." He kissed the side of Lex's neck, then lowered them both to the bed, curling up around and on the smaller man.

"Sounds good to me. We do fine with adult games too." Lex flashed a quick smile, arms going around his lover. "I missed you," he suddenly said. "Three days and it felt like forever." He shook his head. "If my father ever finds out about this, we're going to be so screwed. But I like you a lot more than I like him."

"That's..." Clark started to say wrong, then sighed. He didn't understand Lex's relationship--what there was of it--with his father, and he wasn't sure he wanted to, "...sad. I missed you too. You don't know how many times I wanted to run over during the night... but I didn't." Keeping his parents' trust was a hard thing, but Clark was trying, just like they were trying to accept his relationship with Lex.

"Here's where I wish I didn't actually like your parents and want what's right for you." Lex sighed, eyes closing briefly. "A year ago I wouldn't have hesitated to coax you into coming over here every night, and I wouldn't have given a damn about anything else. A conscience is a bitch." He nuzzled into Clark's throat.

"But it's also a good thing to have and to use." Clark smiled and rolled to his back, cradling Lex against him, enjoying holding him this way, supporting him as no one else could or was allowed to. "Otherwise, this... we..." He shook his head, falling silent.

Easily following that train of thought and not liking the destination, Lex shuddered. "That's what keeps me good, Clark. Not the people I'm helping or what they think of me, though that's nice enough, but what you think of me. I won't lose you, Clark, and if that means facing down my father, which it will eventually, well, that's exactly what'll happen."

"You. Are. Good. Lex." Clark stated emphatically, kissing the other man's lips to emphasize his point. "You were good before me, you just..." he smiled and brushed his lips against Lex's bald dome, "needed a little direction, just like I did."

Smile fading, he twisted his head to look into Lex's eyes. "I love you. I don't care if I'm fifteen, fifty or five hundred; it isn't going to change."

"That's one hell of a promise, Clark," Lex breathed, staring at him. And if Clark had been anyone else, he'd have smiled and enjoyed whatever time they had before teenage fancy turned to something else, but what did he know about Clark's race? For all he knew, they were mature at ten. Screw it, for this once, he was going to take something on faith.

Lex smiled and pressed a kiss to Clark's lips.

"It's just the truth." Clark kissed Lex back then ducked his head and blushed when his stomach growled. "Think we can get a snack?"

Chuckling, Lex disentangled himself from the younger man and got to his feet with only a slight wobble. "I'm sure a meal is ready for us, but I really need another shower first. Give me a minute, and we can go down and eat, then decide what we want to do for the rest of the evening."

Clark pouted. "I thought you liked to smell like me."

"I do. Unfortunately, however, you came in me. I came on me, so I'm just sticky without the benefits."

The expression didn't change. "I can clean you off."

Lex definitely wasn't going to remind him that he'd said he was hungry. In the blink of an eye, momentarily rivaling Clark's speed, Lex was back down on the bed, reclining on his back, arms spread wide. "Please help yourself."

Clark snickered before grinning. "Glad to be of service, and it'll tide me over until we get that food." Rolling to his belly, he pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, at first just rubbing his face over Lex's chest and stomach like some great cat, then licking at the smears of semen that dappled his skin, working his way lower until he was cleaning Lex's now soft cock from root to tip.

Lex watched avidly from where he'd had the foresight to prop up his shoulders on the pillows. Seeing Clark do this, knowing that Clark wanted to do this, was the most incredible turn on for him. Recently sated by an explosive climax, his body wasn't capable of rousing yet, but he could feel love and lust burn deep inside him, and he lowered one hand to rest it on the tousled dark curls.

Giving Lex's cock a final lick, Clark raised his head into the pressure of Lex's hand, looking up at his lover, his eyes half-lidded with pleasure and contentment. "Love the way you taste, especially knowing it was me that caused it."

Lex half sat up, sliding beneath Clark until he could reach the teenager's mouth. His mouth eagerly fastened onto Clark's, tongue delving inside to taste himself overlaying the addictive flavor that was his lover. "Likewise," he whispered before sucking Clark's tongue into his mouth, wanting to taste more of him.

Happy to follow Lex's lead once again, Clark ran his tongue over the roof of the older man's mouth, then over his teeth and tongue. The feel of Lex sucking on his tongue made him purr again, and he ran his hands over the field of warm, bare skin before him. "We may never get food at this rate."

About to agree, Lex was forestalled by another rumble from Clark's stomach. Laughing, he sat up. "I think we'd better feed that other appetite first. Sounds like you're in dire straits." Slipping away before Clark could distract him again, he padded over to his closet--although it seemed that something the size of the Kents' living room deserved a more elaborate name--and pulled out a pair of worn jeans.

He stepped into the faded denims, the soft fabric molding itself to him as only well-worn jeans can. Not bothering with a shirt, he turned back to Clark. "Coming?"

"Uh, Lex... I don't have..." Clark began to say as he sat up on the bed, looking toward where his soiled clothes had been earlier. They weren't there, which he had half expected, but neither were they back, washed and folded, yet. Of course, then he saw what Lex was wearing, and his jaw dropped. "You're wearing jeans."

Lex's eyebrows rose. "Yes, I do that sometimes." Taking pity on his lover's stunned expression, he relented and explained, "My father doesn't consider jeans appropriate to the Luthor image, so I usually only wear them at home when I know no one's going to be around." He shrugged. "They're comfortable."

Having also noticed that Clark's clothes hadn't reappeared, he delved into his closet again and came up with a pair of drawstring pants. "They'll be small on you, but you should be able to get them on till your clothes are ready."

Standing to accept the offered clothing, Clark couldn't resist running his hand over the soft denim clinging to Lex's thigh. "They look good, and they feel better." He let his fingers fall away from the well-washed fabric. "And I'm glad I got to see them."

Eyeing the pants Lex had handed him, Clark shook his head then went into extreme contortions to get them on - most of which weren't necessary. "All I can say is do not touch me while I'm wearing these, got it?"

"Oh but why?" Lex eyed him appreciatively, thinking that no one would ever look at Michelangelo's David again if they were to see Clark in the tight sweats. The soft cotton clung to him, lovingly delineating his cock and balls, and Lex had to fight the urge to drop to his knees and mouth him through the fabric.

"Why?" Clark's voice cracked as it rose, and he buried his head in his hands so that he couldn't see the way Lex was looking at him, a way that was sure to rip the seams out of the only thing between him and nudity.

"Food." Lex knew they had to get out of the bedroom or it would be hours before they made it downstairs. Not bothering to check whether Clark was following, he practically ran for the door, intent on getting downstairs to his study and getting them something to eat. And after that... well, he'd been having fantasies of Clark on his desk. He smiled.

Or just talking was good too. He slowed down and glanced back, extending a hand.

Closing his palm around Lex's, Clark lengthened his stride until he was at the older man's side and shortened it again so they could move at the same pace. "How many forks are coming with this meal?" he teased.

"Considering that my staff has noticed your fondness for burgers, probably none," Lex admitted. Clark had charmed more than just him, something that he would have sworn to be an impossibility a few months before. Not even his staff was proof against that open, honest smile, however.

"Real food! All right!" The expression on Lex's face made Clark chuckle. It was the 'you're how old again?' look that made him want to burst into giggles every time he saw it. "How about next time we get together, you pick the food?" He swallowed. "Whatever you and your wonderful cooks desire."

"Sounds fair to me." Lex promised himself that he'd find something that Clark would like, maybe even invite his parents over for dinner one night so they could see that the castle wasn't really a den of iniquity. "Mmm, that does smell good," he admitted. "They're getting very good at anticipating us."

"Do they start dishing stuff up when the bed stops banging on the floor?" Clark asked, cringing inwardly at the thought of the staff standing under the master bedroom, listening to them.

Lex shrugged. "I have no idea how they do it, but they always do. I rather doubt that they're standing around listening to us though. They probably have sentry posts or something to tell them when we start downstairs... or maybe they just heard the shower switch off." Like generations of nobility, Lex simply took things for granted and didn't try to figure out how his servants accomplished them.

"Oh god." Clark groaned and hid his head against Lex's shoulder. "That's better than the other, but still..." He lifted his head and halted them in the middle of the stairs, glancing around to make sure none of the staff was near before speaking. "Do any of them-- Will they tell your dad?"

"Not if they want to remain working for me." The cold expression in Lex's eyes boded ill for anyone who chose Lionel over him. He demanded loyalty in the people he employed, and if they thought his father more powerful, they'd find themselves asking Lionel for a job.

"He'll find out eventually, there's no avoiding that, but I'd prefer to postpone the inevitable as long as possible. It won't be pretty. You're young, male, and actually have a conscience, which makes you the exact opposite of what dear old Dad wants for his heir." Lex shrugged. "However, it's what I want that counts, and I want you."

Wondering which of the three things Lex had said that he was would bother Lionel the most, Clark almost asked the question then shook his head, deciding that they'd discussed the elder Luthor enough already. It always made Lex tense to talk about his father, and Clark wanted him relaxed - well, except for certain parts of him, later.

"That works amazingly well, because I want you too," he smiled, taking advantage of their pause to press Lex up against the wall and kiss him, making sure to keep them both from tumbling down the stairs as he did. "So," he smiled, backing off and starting them down the steps again, "feed me and then you can tell me what we're doing next. I chose the game; you choose the entertainment."

Despite Lex's initial instinct, he knew that not even two men in their prime could do nothing but have sex for several hours, so he thought about it as he followed Clark downstairs. "Well, we could play pool, take a swim, go for a walk on the grounds... Do you play chess? That's always an option. Or strip poker." He snickered. "Of course, we'd have to get dressed first for that."

He glanced down the table as they entered the dining room, hiding a smile when he noticed that in addition to the perfectly broiled burgers, covered to keep them warm, there were dishes of Clark's favorite toppings. It seemed he wasn't the only one determined to keep the teenager fed.

"Mmm, this looks great!" Clark enthused, settling into the chair next to Lex's and uncovering his burger. Although the large dining room still awed him, he'd gotten used to eating in here when he came over. He still liked snacks in Lex's study too, though.

Secretly agreeing, although he wasn't about to admit that to Clark, Lex started putting his burger together, the smell letting him know just how hungry he was. Spending time with Clark always increased his appetite, but he worked it all off in his favorite way, so he wasn't worried. He took a huge bite of the rare cheeseburger, nearly sighing with bliss as he tasted it.

Digging into his own meal, Clark wolfed down several bites, swallowing them almost whole. Stopping to take a drink of his soda, he looked over at Lex and burst into laughter at the fact that the ever poised and neat Lex Luthor--well, poised and neat when he wasn't alone with Clark--had ketchup on his chin.

"What?" Lex looked at him suspiciously, then wiped at the corners of his mouth. "Would you stop laughing and tell me?" Despite his attempt at an irate tone, he was enjoying himself too much to really be upset... and watching Clark laugh was always a pleasure.

"Your..." Unable to continue, Clark pointed at his own chin because the red blob had somehow eluded Lex's napkin.

Following the gesture, Lex wiped away the ketchup, then made a face when he glanced at the napkin. "So much for elegance. But I didn't realize how hungry I was till I started eating. All that exercise, I guess," he teased.

Clark swallowed his next bite of food, licking his lips before he spoke. "See, you need to do chores, instead of all that deskwork; it gets you in shape fast."

Eyebrows rising, Lex stared at him challengingly. "Are you implying there's something wrong with my shape? I don't remember hearing any complaints earlier." He put down the remainder of his burger and turned in his chair to face Clark directly, leaning close to lick away a bit of ketchup from the corner of his mouth. "You had some on your face too."

"No complaints at all," Clark started before the feel of Lex's tongue on his face had him squirming in his seat and wishing he'd removed the ketchup from Lex's chin the same way. "About anything about you."

"Glad to hear it," Lex murmured huskily, moving off his chair and onto Clark's lap, straddling him. "Much better." He squirmed a bit, getting settled comfortably, grinning into his lover's startled expression.

Better maybe, but not for thoughts of playing chess, or pool, or going for a walk after the meal. Having Lex in his lap had Clark's thoughts moving in one direction, and that was of pursuits of the private variety. "Should I feed you?" he asked. His eyes were sparkling with humor, but the question was mostly serious. He just still wasn't sure what to do at times when it came to this.

Lex's eyes grew heavy lidded as he imagined nibbling from Clark's hand, licking and sucking his fingers clean while the younger man grew harder beneath him. "Sounds good to me. I haven't finished my dinner after all." He smiled slightly, his tongue gliding languorously over his lips to moisten them.

Reaching around behind Lex, Clark broke off a piece of his burger and held it in front of the other man's mouth. "But will we if we do this? I really want to learn to play chess, you know."

"Then that's what we'll do." Lex took the morsel neatly, drawing Clark's fingers into his mouth for a moment, then chewing and swallowing the meat. That done, he pressed a quick kiss to the teen's lips and moved back to his own chair. "As soon as we finish dinner, that is."

Clark scowled. "I thought you were supposed to be corrupting me," he grumped, downing the rest of his drink and not even jumping when the maid appeared to refill it.

Lex gaped at him for a moment, then started to laugh. "Sorry, I thought I was supposed to be the responsible adult. Guess I got my roles confused. So, should I just throw you over the table and lead you into sin?"

"Maybe after we're done eating," Clark teased. "After all, you need to keep your energy up."

"That's not all that you keep up," Lex replied wryly. Smiling at the blush that rose in Clark's cheeks, he picked up his burger and finished it in quick, neat bites, never looking away from Clark.

His own burger demolished much less precisely than Lex's, Clark wiped his mouth and hands before taking a drink. The sweatpants that Lex had loaned him felt a bit tighter, and he wondered if a guy could die from too much sex because that was all he seemed to think about when he was around Lex - the man exuded it!

"Is there a way to corrupt someone while teaching them chess?" he asked, leaning his elbows on the table before quickly pulling them back, obviously the conditioning of many lectures at home.

"Well, depends how we mean it when I take your knight," Lex chuckled, leaning back and crossing his ankles. "I'm sure we could get creative... hmmm, strip chess?" He snickered. "It would certainly be unique.

"Then again, just touching your hand as I show you the moves, our knees pressing together under the table..."

Clark whimpered. "Why do I think you could make a game of tic-tac-toe sexy?" he asked, getting out of his chair on unsteady feet and reaching out for Lex's hand when he stood as well.

Lex gave it willingly, allowing Clark to draw him to his feet. "I'd certainly give it my best shot," he admitted, stepping closer. "But I have the perfect muse to inspire me." The last was murmured against Clark's throat, his lips brushing the skin with every word. "So... chess, or something more... physical?"

Clark made a sound that was somewhere between a whimper and a sob. "Chess?" he whispered, knowing that if they went back to bed now, they wouldn't leave before it was time to go home, and he really wanted to be able to tell his folks some of what he did while here.

"This way then." Lex turned away, brushing against him as he did, and walked over to the antique ebony and ivory chess set, sitting down behind the white pieces. "Okay, this is a pawn..." He explained each piece and how it could move, then started the game with a basic opening. That done, he stood up and walked over to get a glass of brandy. "Want anything?"

You. The word almost slipped out before Clark swallowed it down. He'd asked for this, he wasn't going to be the cause of them ending up rolling around together on the leather couch or the rug, or... Stop it, Clark!

"Just some water is fine." Lex took a bottle of Ty Nant water from the small fridge and opened it, reaching for a glass to pour it into. "The bottle's good."

"Clark, if I have to watch you drinking out of that bottle, sucking on it, I'll jump you right now."

This wasn't going to work; it just wasn't going to work. There was no way they could be alone in a room together and not be all over each other, and Clark still didn't know if this was a good thing or a bad thing. "Glass then," he said, attempting to sit cross-legged by the chessboard but giving it up when the sweats dug into him.

Watching him, Lex swallowed hard, easily able to see Clark's arousal through the thin pants. "I may never wash those again," he murmured half under his breath. "Uh, chess, right, you need to move." Clark was already leaning forward toward Lex when he realized that he'd meant for him to move a chess piece. Turning crimson, he looked at the board and chewed on his lower lip before nudging one of his pawns forward.

Lex moved another piece almost aimlessly, most of his attention on the teenager chewing his lower lip on the other side of the board. "Why are we doing this again?" he asked in a near moan. "God, this is crazy. I never wanted anyone this much when I was fifteen."

"Really?" Now Clark was worried. "God, I'm some crazed sex alien!" he moaned, coming close to banging his head on the chessboard. "Maybe it's a good thing we can't see each other alone that often. I'd probably drain you dry!" He was about to say more when Lex's private line rang - the one Clark knew meant something important was up.

Interrupted before he could reassure Clark how much he enjoyed their obsession with each other, Lex contented himself with squeezing Clark's hand as he answered the phone. His posture changed instantly as he heard the angry greeting. "Dad, how utterly delightful to hear from you... Yes, I know you said-- ... No, I'm not going to come back to Metropolis... How did-- Never mind, it doesn't matter. Go anywhere near the Kents or do anything to bother them and you'll find out just what I am capable of." He disconnected the line abruptly, ignoring it when it began to ring again immediately.

Every bit of Clark's arousal and happiness drained away. A call from Lionel Luthor never failed to put Lex in a bad mood, and what hurt Lex, hurt Clark.

Not sure of how to help other than throwing the phone out the window, he stood and walked around the table, standing behind Lex's chair and enfolding his lover in a bear hug. Pressing his cheek against the back of Lex's head, he kissed him and moved his lips nearer his ear. "I love you."

The tension rushed out of Lex, and he slumped back against his lover, letting Clark support him for a moment. "Sorry, love, I shouldn't let him bother me and interfere with our time, but..." He sighed and turned in Clark's arms, pressing his face into the teenager's throat, then kissing him and straightening up.

"I don't think I can really concentrate on chess right now. Are you up for a walk?"

"I'd love to." Wondering if Lex should put on some shoes and if he should see if his clothes were clean yet, Clark took one look in Lex's haunted blue eyes and decided that none of it mattered, only making Lex feel better.

"And it's not interfering with our time. I'm with you; that's all I care about. What we're doing doesn't matter." He wanted to ask just what Lionel had said that upset Lex so much, but he wasn't going to raise that topic.

"I guess all those old in-law jokes have some basis in fact, huh?" Lex tried to joke, but seeing the worried expression on Clark's face, he gave it up. "I really don't know why you put up with the fucked-up Luther clan, but I'm glad you do." He stretched, unkinking the muscles that had knotted in his back. "I just need to get some shoes upstairs, and your clothes are probably done too if you want to change... although I'm definitely admiring the view." He smiled at Clark, trying to shake the dark mood Lionel's call had engendered.

"I just don't understand..." 'how he can treat you that way' was what Clark was going to say, but he cut himself off with a shake of his head. "Shoes and clothes sound good. I'm not sure how much I could walk without doing bad things to these," he smiled, moving behind Lex as they walked out of the study, massaging his back and shoulders as they went.

"You and I have very different definitions of bad," Lex teased, slowly putting his father's call behind him although he made a mental note to see to putting protections in place for the Kents in case his father tried to make good on his threats. "I'd rather like seeing you rip them apart."

"Outside?" Clark's voice rose in shock. "But then anyone could see... You'd better be kidding!"

Laughing, Lex pointed out, "I own all this land, Clark. No one would be around to see you. In fact, one of these days I want us to make love outside, to enjoy each other in the sunlight..." He trailed off with an interesting smile on his lips as he imagined that.

"Maybe not outside, but what about coming back inside?" Clark asked, his face turning a bright shade of crimson. "And what are you smiling about?"

Smirking, Lex leaned closer and whispered exactly what he was smiling about into Clark's ear, watching his color deepen with tender amusement. "Like I said, Clark, I have lots of favorite things... and a picnic followed by my favorite dessert is high on the list."

They reached the bedroom, and Clark was relieved to see that his pants and boxers were lying folded neatly on the bed. He had to chuckle when he realized that not long ago the idea that Lex's staff had taken his decidedly messy clothes and washed them would have mortified him, but now he was just glad for it. "I guess you can get used to anything," he murmured, shimmying out of the clinging sweats and pulling on his own clothes. Giving a confused glance around, he searched for his shirt before remembering that it had never made it out of Lex's car.

Lex stood watching Clark change, admiring him, until he realized that Clark was ready--or as ready as he could be without his shirt--and was waiting on him now. He hastily grabbed a pair of socks and sneakers and laced them up, then turned back to Clark. "Do you want to get your shirt before we go?"

Clark shrugged. "Yeah, that way I won't forget it later and have to think of something to tell Mom when she asks about it." Imagining that conversation made him wince. "Or we can go out topless together," he added, eyeing Lex's bare torso.

"I'm trying to lead you into temptation," Lex joked, although the memory of his father's call made him wonder if there wasn't rather too much truth in that comment for comfort. Frowning faintly, he pulled out a knit shirt and shrugged into it.

Oh boy, hit a nerve there. "Like I mind following where you lead," Clark smiled, pulling Lex in for a kiss designed to blot all bad thoughts from his mind. "So, where are we walking?"

"Nowhere. Just... walking." Lex tried to remember if he'd ever taken the time to just stroll outside because he felt like it and couldn't call a single occasion to mind. "You're good for me," he said suddenly.

"I am?" Clark looked perplexed, then grinned. "I'm glad, besides I like helping you, as much as you let me anyway." He took hold of Lex's hand as they walked toward the bedroom door. "So, car first, then a walk to wherever."

Lex glanced down at their interlinked hands and smiled. "Your parents would be so happy to know we were partaking of such an innocent activity." Unlike his own father, thoughts of Clark's parents didn't provoke bitterness in him, but rather a sort of comfortable envy. "Of course, who knows what later will bring?"

Clark chuckled and kissed the side of Lex's head. "I told you I needed to be able to tell them some of what we did tonight; eating and going for a walk fall under those categories. Oh, speaking of eating, Mom wants to know when you can come over for dinner again." He grinned at the last, anticipating Lex's answer.

Lex winced. "Uh... sometime in 2010?" he suggested hopefully, then sighed at Clark's expression. "Didn't think so. Well, since we'll be away on Friday, how about Sunday night? Is that enough warning for her?" Slowly but surely Martha Kent was drawing him into the family, despite both his and Jonathan's misgivings, and Lex found that in an odd sort of way he was enjoying it.

"I'm sure that'll be fine." Clark turned his head to look at Lex, smiling almost shyly. "Thank you for trying with them. I know it's hard for you, but it's wonderful too."

"Clark... Don't make me out to be some unselfish hero. You've met my father. Do you really think that spending time with your parents, with a normal family, isn't preferable? I never knew there really were people like you Kents; I thought the whole Leave It to Beaver thing was made up in Hollywood."

"More like My Favorite Martian," Clark muttered. "And you are a hero. My hero and if you deny it, I - I'll punch a hole in your favorite car." His chin jutted defiantly on the last. "Okay, my family may be normal, but that doesn't make it any easier on you trying to fit in with them. I know how my dad feels; he doesn't make it easy."

"But he feels that way because he loves you and wants to protect you. Since I feel the same, how could I have any issue with that?" Lex asked logically. "You're worth it... and I happen to like them," he admitted, almost embarrassed.

"I'm glad." Clark tightened his fingers around Lex's and held the door to the garage open for him before letting go to bend over the car they'd arrived in, searching for his shirt. "And they want to protect you too. They're worried about you. Mom asks about you all the time, and Dad - well, he's defended you to some people."

Lex actually had to sit down on the hood of one of his cars when he heard that statement. "Are you sure he knew who they were talking about?" he asked in some bemusement.

"Le-ex..." Clark looked toward the hood of the car, studying his lover through the pristine windshield. "Considering they mentioned your name several times, yes, he did. And he mentioned it too when he told them that you were doing a good job with the plant and that you really seemed to have Smallville's interests at heart."

Left momentarily speechless by the whole idea, Lex could only blink at Clark a few times before he found his voice. "Well. I'm glad to hear that his opinion of me is improving... but I also have a sudden urge to check your fields for meteor rocks!"

"You think I wouldn't know if there were any there?" Clark laughed at Lex's expression before spying his shirt wedged underneath the driver's seat - how the hell did it get there? Pulling it out, he straightened up and shrugged into it, pushing a hand through his hair afterward to try and get it into a semblance of order. "Ready when you are," he smiled, walking over to Lex and offering him his hand.

Lex took it, absurdly pleased that Clark always seemed to want to touch him in some way. It was only fair, after all, since Lex felt the same way. "Much too ready whenever you're around." A wicked grin. "But we'll go enjoy that walk and give you something to tell your parents about. I think we have a formal English garden complete with maze somewhere out there. Maybe we'll find it."

"A maze? Cool!" Amazed that he'd been able to keep from blushing at Lex's comment, Clark quickly continued. "What's it made of, hedges? I've been in a corn maze before; one of the farms plants one field in a design in the spring, then charges people to go through it. It's really cool, the designer uses satellites and GPS coordinates to create it, then the farmer just follows the plot to make it."

"A corn maze? Interesting idea. And yes, mine's probably grown from yew hedges or some such thing," Lex replied vaguely. "Hmmm, the center of the maze is both outdoors and private, fulfilling both of our requirements. I think I have incentive to find it." He led Clark around the back of the castle and struck off in the direction he thought he'd seen it from the helicopter.

Oh god, he was going to die, but, considering the places they'd managed to do it, was the center of a maze that much different? "You mean you've never been in it before?" Clark was shocked. If he had something like that, he'd have been mapping out its secrets first thing!

"Clark, before I met you the only thing I wanted to know about this place was how to get out of it and back to Metropolis, and after I met you, well, I had other things on my mind than the garden."

"Oh." Clark's pleased smile was accompanied by a slight ducking of his head, before he straightened up. "If this hadn't happened, us I mean, would you still be trying to go back there?"

"Yes." Definite, emphatic, no hesitation. "Which is not to say that I would now, but... If I hadn't met you, Clark, I'd have been planning ways to undercut my father and take control of Luthorcorp, and I couldn't do that from Smallville. If I'd met you even a couple of years later, it would have been too late; I'd have been so far down that road that nothing could have stopped it. Your father was right to dislike me... at first. I was my father's son. But now... now, I just want you... and more money and power than anyone else," he added with a faint laugh. "The difference is that to have you I have to care how I get the rest, and I do."

"Money and power can't get you everything," Clark said quietly. He was shaken by what Lex had said, the utter confidence he had in the way things would have happened, and he breathed a prayer of thanks that the hard, driven Lex he briefly imagined would never come to be. "I love you, Lex, and that's one thing that's not going to change no matter how much or how little of them you have."

"You're the first person who's ever said that to me, never mind meant it," Lex said softly, shakily. "I love you." He turned into Clark's arms, pressing close for a long moment.

Saddened by the people Lex had spent his life around and how they must have thought if their main concern was what they could get from someone, Clark hugged the older man tightly. "So no going to Metropolis for a while - well, except for this weekend," he teased, trying to make Lex smile again.

"Only with you whenever possible," Lex agreed, hugging him back before facing forward and starting to walk again, this time with one arm slung around Clark's waist. "Hopefully I won't have to go in too often for meetings."

"Or if you do, your dad won't be there."

"That would be nice." He thought of something and decided to run it by Clark. "Do you think your parents would let you come to Metropolis--or anywhere else that appeals to you--for a week? Some time together, just the two of us, would be wonderful."

"I - I don't know," Clark admitted honestly. "I wish I could say 'yes', but I just don't know. Maybe if they let me go this weekend and everything's okay..." He gave a hopeful smile. "I mean, it's not like anything thing can hurt me wherever we go."

"No, not really. In fact, since all those damned meteor fragments are here in Smallville, you're probably safer anywhere else. But we can always ask... after this weekend. You're right, one thing at a time. I think they'll be okay with this overnight trip though," Lex said thoughtfully. "They seem to be trying to let us have some time together, and this certainly qualifies. Complete with chaperones," he added wryly.

"I don't know if we can count Chloe and Pete as chaperones." Funny, at one time he'd have been eager to explore Metropolis with them; now he just hoped they kept each other busy.

"Frankly, I'm hoping not. Which is why I made a point of saying that each of you will have your own room," Lex admitted. "Once they're safely locked inside the penthouse so that I won't have to worry about being charged with negligence if something happens to one of them, I intend to forget all about them and concentrate on you."

"You could always have Enrique join us and keep watch outside their doors," Clark suggested, trying not to grin. "I don't think they'd risk trying to get past him to get out."

"Excellent plan. Brilliant as well as useful and decorative. No wonder I keep you."

Clark's eyebrows rose, and he looked pleased. "Hey, I earned another adjective, I'm impressed. And 'keep me'? Excuse me, I'm not a kept man!"

Chuckling, Lex glanced over at him. "Well, I wouldn't mind keeping you that way too, but I doubt either you or your parents would allow it." He looked forward again, not wanting to trip over anything. "Look, there it is." He pointed ahead to where the outer hedge of the maze was visible.

"Who'd want to be kept? Talk about boring, I'd feel like a pet or something." Shaking his head in total mystification, Clark eyed the tall bushes before glancing at Lex. "So where's the entrance? Do you know or do we have to look for that too?"

"I'm almost certain it's in the outer ring of the hedge," Lex said totally straight-faced--and he maintained his gravity for nearly a full minute in the face of Clark's incredulous expression before bursting into laughter.

"And no, I have no idea; we'll just have to circle the outside till we find it." He snickered suddenly. "For the record, I think you'd make a wonderful pet. I certainly enjoy stroking and exercising you."

"Lex..." Clark sighed, not sure if he was answering the first comment or the second, then deciding it was the second. "If I was your pet, you'd be bored to tears - and so would I!"

Still shaking his head at Lex's idea of what would be fun--though he knew he'd enjoyed quite a few of them immensely--Clark nudged the older man to the right so they could start scouting the perimeter of the maze.

"I never said you'd be an easy or obedient pet," Lex pointed out, still grinning. "And then there's the whole matter of your father gelding me." He looked faintly worried as he thought about that, then shrugged it off as he followed Clark's lead. "I suppose it would be cheating for you to use your vision to find the entrance? I'd hate to find out it was just behind us and we circled the whole thing."

"Gelding?" Clark's eyes widened, then he snickered at Lex's expression. "Yes, it would be cheating. If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right; no special vision or maps." He paused, frowning. "I'm hoping that someone, somewhere has a map for this thing. I can get us out if we get lost, but I don't think the trees will like it."

"Well, considering that the idea is to get to the center, if we just keep turning left on the way in and right on the way out, we should be fine. And if not, we can always call the helicopter to airlift us out."

"If we ever get in!" Clark laughed. They rounded a corner, and he saw a darker patch in the hedge to their left. "And I do believe we've found it. So, left on the way in, eh?"

"Well, it makes sense," Lex shrugged. "Just don't blame me if we do get lost in there. Although I'm sure we'd be able to amuse ourselves somehow." He headed for the entrance, stepping into the shadowy pathway between the tall hedges.

Clark couldn't help but chuckle. "Really? Are you sure?" Still grinning, he tightened his hand around Lex's as they started down the path, following their plan and making a left at the first intersection.

"Yup. Of course, that would put us right back to not being able to tell your parents anything we did." He moved a little closer to Clark, enjoying his warmth, which he could feel radiating from the teenager.

"Well, we did try to get through the maze..." Clark began, ducking his head to peer at Lex out of the corner of his eyes. "I mean, we are trying to get through the maze."

"You mean we are going to get through the maze," Lex corrected. "If only so I can spread you out on the grass at the center and enjoy every whimper and squirm."

Attempting to start early, Clark whimpered and squirmed. "Think we can walk a little faster?"

"Not unless you want to drag me behind you like a wind sock," Lex replied dryly, pointing out that Clark already was going faster than was comfortable for him.

"Sorry." Clark ducked his head and slowed his pace down to something approaching normal. "I didn't realize I was going that fast."

Lex stopped, drawing Clark to a halt as well, and pulled him around to face him. "Don't ever apologize for wanting me, Clark. You can't imagine how good that makes me feel."

"Yeah, well, I just should be more careful." The last was admitted in a small whisper. "Not of wanting you, but about other people seeing." Clark had gotten used to enjoying more freedom around Lex, but the truth remained that his staff didn't need to know anything more than they did.

"I told you once before, Clark, I would do anything to protect my friends. And my lover even more so." A dangerous light glittered in Lex's eyes as he contemplated anyone doing anything to harm Clark.

"I don't want you to hurt anyone because of me," Clark stated seriously. "Even if - if they found out, it's not worth you doing that to them, or yourself."

"I won't let anyone hurt you, Clark... but I promise not to do anything you wouldn't approve of." Lex could find a lot of leeway in that--and would if anyone did anything to his lover.

Clark studied Lex closely before nodding. He still wasn't comfortable with this, but he had to give Lex this much; it was really no more then his parents did. "Okay, but you have to tell me who, what and why."

Lex sighed. "You're not going to let me get away with anything, are you?" He kissed him lightly. "This much moral upright-ness can't be good for me."

"Yes, it is." Clark pulled Lex against him and nibbled the side of his neck. "And the fringe benefits are excellent."

"Mmmm, can we negotiate how often I can enjoy those fringe benefits?" Lex's head fell back, making his neck and throat more accessible, and his fingers kneaded Clark's arms as he held on.

"More often then you do now? I don't think you'll be able to see straight." Clark grinned before going back to what he'd been doing, namely, leaving a necklace of red love-bites around Lex's neck.

"Why would I need to see straight? I just need to be able to spot you, and I'll die a happily dehydrated man." Lex nearly purred with pleasure as Clark marked him, wishing he could similarly mark his lover but willing to settle for this.

"To find the middle of the maze?" Clark asked before sucking a bright bruise into existence just under Lex's earlobe where not even a dress shirt would hide it. "Mmm, now everyone will know someone loves you enough to mark you, even if they aren't sure who."

"I wish I could tell everyone," Lex murmured wistfully, his grip tightening. "But for now it's enough that we know... and we'd better get moving to find the center or we're going to end up on the ground right here." He forced himself to let go and step back.

"And we really need to beat this thing." Clark's brain might have been in agreement, but his body definitely wasn't. "Left, left, left..." He was walking fast again, but he managed to keep it within tolerable limits - or so he thought.

Feeling a little like a new recruit being drilled, Lex just hastened his pace rather than saying anything. If he were being honest with himself, he was just as eager as Clark to get there so they could indulge themselves for a while. He only hoped they didn't run into a dead end, or they could pretty much give up on solving the maze that day.

"Lex?" Clark asked when a turn ended in a three way split of the pathway. "Is it really cheating if I peek?"

"Peek!" To give him added incentive, Lex pressed up against his back, erection fitting between his cheeks.

Concentrating with that distraction wasn't easy, but Clark switched his vision over, scanning the images of the slender trunks until he was fairly sure he knew the way to the center. "Middle one, then left, then right, that should do it."

"So what are we waiting for?" Lex stepped around him, intent on reaching the center quickly, so hard he ached.

Deciding that answering was just wasting time, as was simply walking, Clark hauled Lex up in his arms and zipped through the last turns, depositing him on the grassy circle that was surrounded on all sides by the hedges.

"Remind me to buy stock in Chapstick," Lex murmured an instant before his mouth closed over Clark's, exploring him hungrily. He tore at Clark's clothes, wishing he could just rip them off, but no way was he going to explain that to the Kents!

"Buy stock in Chapstick," Clark mumbled before his mouth was full of Lex's tongue again. Pulling his shirt off again made them break apart and had him wondering just why he'd wanted it on again. Fortunately he was able to get Lex's off at the same time, so it wasn't a total loss. Sneakers were kicked away, and Clark yanked at the button and zipper of Lex's jeans, barely stopping himself when he felt the fabric begin to give.

With both of them so eager, it was only moments before they were naked on the ground, hands exploring one another, gasps of growing arousal escaping them. "I just want to say that if something gets stuck in my butt, other than you of course, I will find a way to get you back!" Lex chuckled even as he squirmed beneath Clark so he could capture a rigid nipple between his teeth.

Clark burst into laughter, and rolled to his back so that Lex was away from the nasty, horrible ground and lying on top of him. "Is that better?" he asked, arching his back when Lex bit at his other nipple, the move grinding their erections together.

"Much," Lex purred, sitting up, his ass just brushing the tip of Clark's hard-on, fingers busily finding every sensitive spot he'd grown familiar with on Clark's body. "God, you're beautiful," he whispered.

It was impossible to duck his head while lying on the ground, but Clark tried, even if it didn't work very well. "Look who's talking," he murmured, twisting in the grass. Somewhere in the back of his mind, his mother's voice was warning about grass stains, but that was one thing he didn't want to hear right now, and he tuned it out.

"You make me crazy, make me only want to be with you, to say forget about everyone else." He was whispering the words as he ran his hands down Lex's chest, taking in the sleek perfection above him.

Lex shivered at the sensation of Clark's hands on him, his body reflexively arching into the touch. "And I'm selfish enough to want that, to want you all to myself," he whispered harshly. "I love you, Clark, want you." He shifted back to sit atop Clark's thighs, their erections now pressed together between his legs. "You feel so good, better than anything, anyone, all I want..."

"Yes..." Clark's answer was a plea, and he shifted restlessly, needing to feel Lex inside him again. "All I need, ever. Never going to let you go, never going to lose you..." He was babbling again, a common occurrence when Lex was driving him wild, but Clark didn't care. It was true, all of it, and he didn't care who knew.

Looking around almost wildly, Lex grabbed for his pants and pulled out the small packet of lube that he'd put into his pocket. He kept the stuff in the strangest places lately, and apparently the maze was going to need a stash as well. Dismissing it from his mind, he stared down into Clark's green gaze. "Me in you or you in me?"

"You in me." Clark's eyes were steady though his voice was firm. His hands stroked down Lex's arms, and he took the packet from his hands. "Let me?" he asked, before tearing it open, squirting some of the gel into his palm, and rubbing it on Lex's erection.

Lex nodded, lower lip caught between his teeth. You will not come the moment he touches you, he chanted mentally, eyes closing though that only made the touch more electrifying. A whimper escaped him and his eyes flew open as he grasped for the package of gel, hastily coating his fingers so he could get Clark ready for him. Although he knew he couldn't actually hurt the other man, he still wanted to make it as good for him as he could--and he loved driving Clark crazy with his fingers.

"Lex... Oh god..." Clark moaned, lifting them both off the ground as he arched his back to take more of Lex's long fingers into him. His hand closed down on the older man's cock, but luckily he caught himself before he did Lex permanent injury. That he might not forgive so easily, and Clark would never forgive himself for doing it. Lex felt the increased pressure, but it was released so quickly that it simply added an extra edge to the pleasure. As hungry as Clark, he couldn't tease him for long and soon shifted to kneel between the teenager's outstretched legs, his cock rubbing lightly at his opening. "Look at me," he rasped, waiting until the dazed green eyes opened and met his own to slowly push inside.

The world wavered when Clark felt himself stretched and possessed, and he clutched at the ground, tearing up large divots of the sod beneath him. "Yes, more," he gasped, wrapping his legs around Lex's waist and bucking upward, desperate for him to move.

"Everything you want." Lex drove into him hard, loving that he could take Clark as hard as he wanted and never have to worry about hurting him. He braced himself with one hand, the other one moving between them to curl around Clark's cock, jerking him in the same rhythm as his thrusts into him. "Want to see you come for me, feel you come apart around me, come deep inside you and know you're mine." He arched over Clark, biting down on his throat hard enough to mark had he been human.

Dropping the dirt and grass in his hands, Clark clutched Lex to him, not caring that he was smearing dark lines over Lex's fair skin as they rocked together. "Yours," he keened, feeling as if his brain was shooting from his body as Lex drove him toward orgasm. The ground felt suddenly softer, but he really didn't notice, his whole being focused on Lex's weight on him, his cock in him, the slight burn at his neck and the wonderful pressure around his cock.

"Lex!" he howled, his whole body clamping down on his lover, thick jets of semen splattering his stomach and rubbing into Lex's when Clark pulled him down for a hungry kiss.

Lex returned the kiss with equal fervor, body quaking as his hips snapped back and forth, driving into Clark several more times before the delicious friction and rippling tremors drove him into climax as well. He finally tore his mouth free to gasp in some much-needed air, aftershocks of pleasure still passing through him. After a moment, he opened his eyes, which suddenly widened, and clutched at Clark.

"Uh, Clark?" He was rather proud of his calm tone. "We're floating." No wonder his knees weren't complaining yet. They had to be at least three feet up, nothing whatsoever beneath them.

"Yeah, I feel good too," Clark sighed, giving Lex a dreamy smile before he realized what was--or wasn't--below them, namely, the ground. "Oh, uh... shit."

Twisting his neck, he looked down, then back up at his lover. "It'll stop soon. You can climb down if you want." The fact that Lex wasn't freaked out about this was helping Clark deal with it, and he found he actually liked the sensation of riding the air like a mattress.

Lex darted another glance at the ground, decided that even if he fell, the worst that would happen was some bruises, and shook his head. "Heck, how many guys can say that they have their own personal version of Aladdin's flying carpet?" He simply pulled himself a bit more solidly on top of Clark and nestled against him. "Good thing you're the bigger one of the two of us though. You trying to lie on me would look ridiculous."

Trying not to move too much for fear of sending them both crashing to the ground or tipping Lex off him, Clark chuckled. "I don't know; I like lying on top of you. I think you're very comfortable."

"Well, that works better when there's an actual surface under us to help support you, love," Lex pointed out wryly. "It wouldn't work too well without additional help.

"Uh... just how long are we likely to be up here?" He was actually enjoying it now that he'd gotten over the initial shock, but they were going to get some very odd looks if anyone saw them.

Clark shrugged, though he had been wondering the same thing. "I'm not sure. It usually happens when I'm asleep, and I drop right after I wake up." He tried to bounce them down a little but only succeeded in making them bob in the air. "Soon, I hope."

Lex snickered. "I suppose I could always have food sent up to you on a ladder." He laughed harder at the look Clark gave him. "Oh, I think we're sinking a little," he added, peering over Clark's shoulder at the ground. "This certainly gives a whole new meaning to climax."

"Lex..." Clark groaned before looking back over his shoulder. Yes, the ground did seem a little closer. "At least you didn't suggest tying a string to me and pulling me around like a balloon."

"Why would I need a string when you have such a convenient handle?" Imagining that brought a wide grin to Lex's face, then he kissed Clark to wipe away the look he was getting. "This is probably a good time to remind you that I love you."

"A very good time or I'd be tempted to roll over and let your ass hit the ground." Grinning, Clark wrapped his arms tightly around Lex's waist and did just that, sending them both flipping around in a circle, one that also moved him a bit lower.

Letting out a yelp of surprise, Lex clutched at Clark, arms and legs tightening convulsively as his stomach lurched. "God, give a guy some warning. That must be what a roller coaster feels like."

"Brilliant, useful, decorative and more fun than an amusement park ride," Clark laughed.

"I'll have to get you a bumper sticker for that truck your father won't let me give you yet." Lex propped his elbows on Clark's collarbones and braced his chin on his hands, grinning down at him. "You know, this imperviousness to pain makes you very comfortable to lie on. I could definitely get used to this."

Feeling himself settle lower until his back finally touched the ground again, Clark sighed in relief. "You still have it?" he asked, looking up at Lex incredulously. "Or was that in a metaphorical sense?"

"Of course I still have it. It's yours, no matter what your father says. And sooner or later he'll let you accept it... or you'll turn eighteen and take it regardless." Lex looked a little embarrassed by the sentimentality of his actions, but he was determined.

Wondering just how he'd missed it if it was in Lex's garage, then deciding it really didn't matter how that happened or when he got it, if ever, Clark brushed a kiss across Lex's mouth. "Thank you. You know, if it wasn't for the reason you gave me that truck in the first place, we might never have met."

Lex had to laugh. "This is probably the first time ever that someone thanked someone else for hitting them with a car. I'm just glad you're who and what you are, Clark. If I'd hurt you..." He shuddered slightly. "And I would never even have known what I'd lost. Then again, I'd have been dead too." He frowned and shook his head slightly as if to clear it.

"Our conversations certainly do have a tendency to take off in some odd directions. And by the way, don't think I'm planning to get off just because we hit the ground. I like it here."

"Maybe we both just give each other a lot to think about." Clark ran his hand down Lex's back, sighing happily. "Does it look like I mind? Of course, it's your ass the mosquitoes are going to be biting once the sun goes down, which looks like it should be in half an hour or so."

Grumbling, Lex slowly stood up, then stretched unselfconsciously, his spine cracking as he arched back, arms extended behind him. "In that case, I think we need to move this back indoors. With my luck, I'd get bitten by one affected by the meteor rocks and turn into some bizarre mutant now that my life is finally going right."

"Don't even joke about that!" Clark exclaimed, scanning the area around them for possible mutant bloodsuckers. Climbing to his feet, he grabbed Lex's clothes and handed them over, feeling a bit self-conscious now about being nude outdoors.

"Clark! I..." Lex had been about to say that it had only been a joke, but considering the everyday weirdness of Smallville, on second thought it was perfectly possible. "We're not going to hide indoors all the time," he stated emphatically even as he pulled on his jeans and gave up the shirt as a lost cause. "We really have to stop destroying my clothes."

"Sorry." Clark caught the warning light in Lex's eyes and managed not to blush. "Okay, maybe I'm not. Besides, it's your fault you make me that crazy to see you naked, so it's your fault!"

"Yes, Clark. Whatever you say, Clark," Lex replied, clearly pacifying him. "You know, the more I know you, the more I think that either you were older than you looked when you arrived here or your species matures a lot faster than humans. The additional powers aside, you're not exactly a typical teenager. And before you start worrying about that, I meant it in a good way. I like you the way you are."

Clark sighed as he cleaned himself off as well as possible and got dressed. Just another way he wasn't normal, though the fact that Lex liked it helped some. "I just wish I knew what was normal for me," he murmured, looking toward the evening sky where the first stars were beginning to show.

"You are what's normal for you," Lex said softly, coming up behind him and wrapping his arms around him. "We can't ever know more than that unless another ship arrives, and I'm pretty sure that if one was going to, it would have happened by now.

"Now come on, let's get back to the castle, get some dinner, and just spend some time together before I have to give you back."

"With my luck, if one did show up, it would be like 'Dragonball Z' and they'd be out to conquer the world and expect me to help," Clark muttered, shaking his head and then snickering. "Guess that makes you Krillin to my Goku."

Lex stared at him blankly and then decided that he really didn't want to know. He was pretty sure that Clark would be willing and able to give him a half-hour-long dissertation on whatever he was talking about, and Lex really didn't want to know--not to mention that he'd rather spend his time with Clark in other ways.

"As long as I'm your friend and lover, you can call me whatever you want." Too late, Lex realized what he'd said and practically cringed waiting to hear what odd nickname Clark would come up with next.

"Really?" Clark's eyes gleamed with merriment, and he rubbed his hands together in mock-avarice. "I'll have to think on that then."

Seeing that they were both dressed, he looked toward the break in the hedges surrounding the center of the maze, and then at the lengthening shadows. "Ready when you are."

It was just before eleven when Clark emerged from the cornfields and trotted toward the front door. There was a light on inside the house, but he hoped it was because his mom had left it on and not because one of his parents was waiting up. Leaving Lex hadn't been easy, and the discussion about whether he should run home or have Lex drive him had been moot when they realized that there wasn't time for Lex to drive - even at his pedal to the metal speeds.

Giving himself a small shake to get rid of any extraneous corn silk or dust that might have clung to him on the run, Clark walked quietly up the stairs and opened the door to see his dad sitting in one of the kitchen chairs. Shit.

"It's before curfew," he said defensively, wincing at his tone the second he heard it. There was a piece of paper tacked up on the fridge, and Clark winced again when he read what was written on it. 'Chloe called'. Double shit.

Jonathan laid down the book he'd been reading and fixed a gimlet gaze on his son. "When you left this afternoon, Clark, you said that you were going to a movie with Chloe and Pete. Strange then that Chloe called looking for you." He stared at Clark, disappointment clear in the blue eyes. "You lied to us, Clark." He'd never been happy about this relationship with Lex Luthor, but if Clark was going to start lying to them, it was going to end. Now. He wasn't going to see Clark turned into another Luthor.

"Yessir." Clark remained standing, his eyes downcast. "I didn't mean to. I planned on going with them, but Lex showed up and..." He stopped talking, aware that this was not the time to bring up the trip to Metropolis, not with his dad in that mood.

"So in addition to everything else, now you're cutting yourself off from all your other friends in order to spend time with Lex." Jonathan was appalled. It seemed as if Lex was trying to take over Clark's life, and Clark was letting him. Hell, he was eagerly encouraging it.

"No!" Clark exclaimed, lifting his head to stare at his father, his eyes wide with shock. He didn't mean to be doing that, though maybe he was, a little. "I was going to go with them, but something came up..." He winced; that was a really bad way to put it. "Something I needed to ask you and mom about, but..." But there was no point in it. No way they were saying 'yes' now.

"But? And if you had something to ask us, it seems to me that you could have done that a lot more easily by coming home, where we were, than by sneaking around with Lex Luthor!" Jonathan was starting to lose his temper as he so often did where Luthors were involved.

"I told you I was going over there after the movie!" Now Clark was getting mad at what he saw as his father's unreasonable dislike of his boyfriend. "I was going to ask you in the morning. Even if I had gone to the movie, I would have asked you in the morning, and I bet you would have said 'no' then too, so it doesn't matter!"

About to snap back a reply, Jonathan realized that they were falling into the usual cycle and stopped himself, taking a deep breath. "Look, Clark, your mother and I were worried about you. You weren't where you said you'd be, and you hadn't told us about any change in plans. No matter what you may think, you're still our child."

Clark took a deep breath and tried to relax his clenched muscles, but it wasn't coming easily. "I should have called," he allowed. "But you should trust me too." The last was said with a hint of challenge.

"We do trust you, Clark, it's just--" Jonathan bit that off, not about to start down that road again. "You said you wanted to ask us something?" Hopefully it would be something he could approve.

"Do you really want to know?" Clark asked, not moving from his place near the door.

"Clark," Jonathan sighed. It was times like this that he was reminded how young Clark was and what a trial teenagers were to their parents. "Yes, I want to know. Now are you planning to ask, or would you rather just sulk?"

Clark was tempted to answer that he just wanted to sulk, but he bit his tongue before letting the words slip out. "Chloe was talking about Metropolis and Lex invited us--all of us, including Pete--" he added pointedly, "to stay at his place Friday night so we could see things there." There was a split-second hesitation before the last three words, and Clark braced himself for himself for the instant 'no'.

If they hadn't just had the conversation they'd had about trust, Jonathan would have refused instantly, but it had made him think. It was true that while he did have serious reservations about his underage son in a sexual relationship with an older man, he probably wouldn't have been nearly so negative about anyone else. And that wasn't fair, not to Clark, not to Lex, and not to himself.

"If the others also get their parents' approval, and if your mother agrees, then yes, you can go." And Jonathan very carefully did not think about what the sleeping arrangements were likely to be.

"Really?" Clark's expression was shell-shocked, and he'd been so ready with a comeback for the refusal that he was actually at a loss for words.

Jonathan bit back a grin at the look on Clark's face. "Yes, really. You wanted me to trust you, and you've certainly earned that trust--aside from a certain party--so I'm going to. And no, I'm not going to insist on separate bedrooms," he added awkwardly.

Clark blushed a brilliant red, but he managed a game smile when he met his father's eyes. "Well, everyone stuffed in one bedroom might be a little crowded, even at Lex's place."

Slightly flushed himself, Jonathan managed a grunt that could be taken however Clark wanted. "I really didn't need that mental image, Clark," he teased, half-laughing.

"Sorry." Clark ducked his head, and although he was still blushing when he raised it, he looked more relaxed. "I promise I'll call next time my plans change. I know I should have tonight."

"But you didn't want to argue with me," Jonathan sighed, knowing it was as much his fault as Clark's. "I'll try to be more receptive to him, son. That's all I can promise."

Knowing that he couldn't ask any more from his father and that, in all reality, Jonathan had been very lenient considering everything, Clark nodded. "Thanks, Dad. I'm going to bed now; I'll talk to Mom in the morning." He turned, heading for the stairs, hoping his nerves would let him sleep.

"Good night, son," Jonathan called softly, sitting back down. He knew it would be some time before he could sleep. It was time to take a long, hard look at himself and his reactions to Lex... before he lost his son over it.

"Clark!" Chloe spotted him the moment he entered the Talon, and she practically jumped up, waving to get his attention. "Well?" she demanded the moment he drew near the table. "What did your parents say?"

"What'd yours say?" he countered, trying to hide his grin and knowing he was failing miserably as he slid into the seat across from her.

"Yes," she practically squealed, all but bouncing in her seat. "Man, it was a lucky day when Lex went off that bridge!"

"You'll forgive me if I'm not so thrilled by that part of it," Lex himself put in dryly, making Chloe turn scarlet and sputter. "Never mind, I know what you meant, and I happen to agree that the results were worth it." Of course, he had slightly different results in mind than Chloe did, he thought with a small smile.

"Were you hiding in here?" Clark asked, his smile growing impossibly wide as he looked at Lex. "I didn't see your car outside..."

Unable to keep his news to himself any longer, he leaned across the table. "My folks said I could go if everyone else's agree to it, so we just have to hear from Pete and we're set! We're going to have a blast!"

"Just not too much of a blast, okay?" he added almost plaintively. "If my folks get a call from the cops..." he trailed off, shuddering, and not at the thought of a night in the Metropolis juvenile hall. God, his dad would never let him see Lex again if that happened, and his mom would probably string him up by parts he'd rather not think about.

Remembering how Clark had been grounded for the party when his parents had gone to Metropolis for their anniversary and imagining not being able to see his lover for weeks had Lex shuddering as well and agreeing. "Yes, I'd really rather not end up in jail for contributing to the delinquency of minors if you don't mind."

Clark's sputtered out laughter had Chloe looking at him strangely, but it was that or blurt out something to the effect that Lex could contribute to his delinquency any time. "Has - has anyone heard from Pete?" he was finally able to get out in between his laughter.

Not about to be sidetracked, Chloe leaned forward, blue eyes fixed on Clark. "Okay, Kent, give. What was so funny about that?" She looked from him to a blandly smiling Lex, her gaze narrowing speculatively.

Lex thanked his years of experience hiding things from his father. Lionel Luthor had nothing on this teenaged girl for ferreting out secrets.

Face going pale, Clark sat up, forcing himself not to look over at Lex. "I - just the thought of Lex... in jail... because of us..." he said lamely, wondering if using super speed to get out of there would somehow erase this conversation.

Chloe frowned again, eyes darting from one to the other, totally ignoring Pete, who'd just arrived. "Right. You know," she said slowly, "I can't remember the last time I saw you that Lex didn't show up as well."

Lex winced. Unless something sidetracked her, Chloe was very likely to figure out exactly what was going on. Deciding that Pete's dislike of him was better than Chloe's attention, he desperately tried to divert her. "Well, Mr. Ross, you have the deciding vote, it seems. Is the trip to Metropolis on or not?"

"The ladies of Metropolis had better beware, because Pete is there!" he reached over to slap hands with Clark, frowning when he returned the gesture less than enthusiastically.

"Gee, Chloe, you've seen me twice since you got back this summer, and that's 'every time'. What's with the interrogation?"

"Just... noticing stuff," Chloe replied. Like the fact that you and Lex practically sit in each other laps, she thought but didn't say. She was glad that Pete chose that moment to interrupt since she wanted more time to observe them before she said anything else.

"We can go then! What time will we leave on Friday?" he asked.

"I thought around three," Lex replied. "That'll give us plenty of time to get there, have dinner, and go back to my apartment to change before going out."

"I need the address and phone number; my folks were adamant about that," Pete added.

Clark nodded, grateful for anything that would hopefully keep Chloe's mind off of what it had been on. "Yeah, mine too, unless you're going to have the cell with you all the time."

Lex just looked at him. "Of course I'll have my cell." He couldn't imagine not having it with him. He gave everyone the number and made a note to himself to have the number changed the following week... or maybe give it to Clark since his friends would have the number and just get himself a new one.

"That's right, I remember it going off..." Clark sputtered to a stop when Lex's foot slammed down on his. It didn't hurt in the least but surprised him into re-thinking what he'd been about to say. "During that movie we watched the other night."

Folding the paper he'd written the numbers on into his pocket, Pete waved. "I need to get going; Coach decided some of us needed to start practice early, and guess who got picked. See you Friday!"

Chloe was now left alone with Lex and Clark. "Okay, guys, what gives?"

Lex gave her another bland look. "I have no idea what you mean."

"About going to Metropolis?" Clark asked, knowing that wasn't what she meant, but having no clue how to answer her real question.

"About what's going on with the two of you. You're practically joined at the hip, and I've never seen you pay so much attention to anyone except La--" Chloe stopped abruptly, her eyes widening, and Lex winced again.

Determined not to look away or let her stare him down, Clark raised his chin, meeting Chloe's shocked stare with a steely gaze. "And what about it?"

"You... he... you both... Oh. My. God." Chloe, for perhaps the first time in her life, was speechless.

"I have no idea what you think you know, Miss Sullivan," Lex said coldly, every protective instinct he had rising in Clark's defense, "but whatever it is, you're mistaken."

Chloe looked from Clark to Lex and tilted her head to the side. "I don't think so." She was hurt, partly because Clark was hiding this--whatever 'this' was--from her and partly because it meant that once again she'd been passed over, but damned if she'd show either of them that.

"Chloe..." Clark began, "maybe we can go somewhere else to talk about this?"

Frowning, Lex looked from Clark to Chloe, not really eager to discuss his love life with a high schooler, even if his lover also happened to be one, but he had noticed, and if he were being honest, often encouraged, Clark's tendency to blow off his other friends for Lex. He didn't want Clark to end up resenting him for it though. Sighing, he stood up.

"Perhaps the castle would be a more appropriate venue for this conversation?" he suggested.

"The castle?" Chloe stirred uncomfortably, thinking of the last time she'd been there and the fact that she'd ended up in the hospital because of it. Of course the fact that Lex was agreeing with the fact that this needed privacy pretty much told her that her suspicions were true.

"Or we can go by the school," Clark suggested. "Nobody should be around the baseball field right now even if Pete's stuck running laps around the football field."

Lex wondered why he seemed to spend more time at the high school now than he had when he'd been attending one, but one look into the pleading green eyes reminded him of the reason. "Anywhere but here," he agreed, eyeing the other patrons and Lana, who was likely to join them if she got a moment free.

"The school is fine," Chloe said quickly, feeling more like that was her turf. In fact... "If you really want privacy, we can go to the Torch office." She'd feel much more in charge there.

Lex smiled sardonically, well aware of why she'd chosen that location, but he wasn't really going to be intimidated by a sixteen-year-old girl, regardless of where they were, so he shrugged and nodded. "Clark?"

"Is the school unlocked?" Really, something as little as a lock couldn't keep Clark out, but no way was he clueing Chloe into that. They had enough to talk about as it was.

"I have a key... for when I have to work on the paper. So let's go, boys." She gave them both an unfriendly look, arms crossed defensively over her chest.

Wondering when his life had turned into a cross between the Twilight Zone and Candid Camera, Lex headed for the back door and his car, knowing that Clark would follow.

Thinking that this was the biggest mistake of his life--well, after insisting that he and Lex tell his parents about this--Clark followed, looking back over his shoulder to see if Chloe was coming along.

"Is there room for me?" she asked rather pointedly.

Lex stopped walking to turn and face her, the look on his face temporarily cowing even Chloe. Had she but known it, she was in good company. Lex had successfully negotiated deals with the Yakuza for his father, wearing that same expression. "You wanted to talk, Miss Sullivan. I suggest you refrain from any further snide remarks until we reach our destination." He stared down his nose at her a moment longer until certain that she wasn't going to say anything else, then pivoted and started forward again.

"I - " Chloe started to say she was talking about Lex's car but wisely shut her mouth, not wanting to be on the return end of that glare again.

Clark remained silent, opening the passenger side door after Lex unlocked the car and folding back the seat so that Chloe could get into the back.

Lex stood beside the driver's side door, his gaze daring Chloe to say a word about being relegated to the back seat. Wisely, he thought, she remained silent, and shortly they were on their way to the high school. Lex darted a glance at his lover, worried about his reaction to them being outed.

The silence in the car was making Clark fidget, and for once he wished that Lex's techno music was playing, just to fill the empty gaps where there should be conversation. Once they got to the school, he climbed out, once again holding the seat for Chloe, trying not to look over at Lex because he knew his eyes would be pleading, and he wasn't sure what the older man would do about it.

Lex silently followed the two teens inside the school, determined to let Clark decide how he wanted to handle this and follow his lead. Clark, after all, was the one who was going to have to deal with the fallout, and he only hoped that Chloe was as open-minded and good a friend as Lex thought she was. It would devastate Clark if he lost her friendship over this--and Lex knew himself well enough to know that he would make sure she paid if that happened.

Waiting until Chloe unlocked the office and flipped on the light inside, Clark sat down, his gaze darting between one of his best friends and his lover. "You want to start, or should I?"

Meeting Lex's cold, warning gaze, Chloe squared her shoulders but didn't back down. "Why don't you start, Clark? Maybe explain why you've been lying to me about being in love with Lana and how you're really sleeping with Lex?"

Oh god, this was bad, really bad. Clark swallowed nervously before glancing over at Lex, who was remaining quiet, almost dangerously so.

"I haven't - wasn't - didn't..." He sighed and started over. "Maybe I was in love with Lana, but that was over... a while ago. I - ummm - Lex and I..." God, this was embarrassing, worse than his parents because she obviously wanted details. "Yes, we're together, and if you have a problem with it, it's your problem because I don't care, I love him," he blurted out, his chin going up stubbornly, ready to protect his boyfriend.

Lex smiled finally and reached over to take Clark's hand, a tender expression in his eyes, the feelings he usually had to hide visible. He was surprised by how good it felt to hear Clark say that to one of his friends, and he realized how much it had bothered him to have to hide away like they were ashamed of each other.

Chloe watched them both, and although she was still hurt that Clark hadn't trusted her enough to confide in her, she could see how much they cared about each other. "Good. But for the record, Lex, if you hurt him, you'll have to deal with me."

Lex smiled again, this time meeting her eyes, his own gaze warmer than anyone but Clark had ever seen it. "Not going to happen."

Shoulders slumping as relief coursed through him, Clark smiled at Chloe as he tightened his fingers around Lex's. "So you - you're okay with this? Other than the secret thing which I'm sorry about, but it's not like I could have called you up to tell you when you were in Metropolis!"

"I suppose," Chloe admitted reluctantly, "but I'm here now, so details!"

Lex's eyes widened, and he swore silently as he could actually feel himself blushing.

"De..." Clark's voice trailed off, and the fact that Lex was turning red made him blush even harder. "What kind of details?"

Seeing both men blushing made Chloe realize what they thought, and that brought a rush of heat to her cheeks as well. "That's not what I meant!" she managed to say in a strangled yelp. "How long, when you got together, how... oh God!" She pressed her hands to her burning cheeks, glaring at them. "I'm so going to get you for this."

The absurdity of it all hit Lex, and he started laughing.

"What did we do?" Clark asked, eyes going wide when Lex started laughing. Of course, it wasn't long before he started snickering too, and when he looked at Chloe, she was in the same condition. It looked like things were going to be okay here.

"You want to field that question, or should I tell her about Marco Polo?" Clark asked, giving Lex a wicked grin.

"Don't you dare!" Lex growled instantly, then realized that he'd left himself in the unenviable position of having to explain to Chloe. Seeing twin laughing gazes fixed on him, he figuratively threw his hands up in the air and conceded. "Fine... Clark got a clue, and I got Clark."

"While reading about Marco Polo?" Chloe's brow furrowed as she frowned. "Forget it, I don't think I want to know. How about when this happened - if you can answer it without the innuendo?"

"Around the end of June," Clark answered quickly.

"It's been a wonderful summer," Lex said, a reminiscent smile curving his lips. He slid an arm around Clark's waist, drawing him closer, and then leaned into his lover's strength, glancing up at him. It was a shame Chloe was there or they could have acted out a scene from a porn movie, he mused, suddenly grinning.

Seeing the besotted smile Clark gave Lex, Chloe shook her head. Whatever it was the two of them had going, they both definitely believed it was real. God, could there be a person more visible for Clark to be involved with in Smallville - or most of the world? He sucked at keeping secrets; how long was it going to be before the school, and then the town found out, and then what would happen?

"Hey, if you two are going to start making out, no offence, but I'm out of here," she cautioned.

Tearing his gaze away from Lex's face, Clark offered a boyish smile. "Sorry, Chloe. It's just..." he sighed, knowing they had to do better.

"I understand." Her voice was wistful.

Lex caught the undertone, and it confirmed what he'd suspected, that Chloe was in love with Clark herself. He felt for her, but he still drew Clark closer, a possessive, faintly warning gaze turned in her direction.

Chloe caught the expression and let her eyes drop, embarrassed by how obvious she'd been. Fortunately, though, Clark remained as oblivious as ever.

"So, you're really okay with this?" Clark was smiling, and a pleading, hopeful tone filled his voice.

"Better Lex than Lana," Chloe muttered, then realized that Lex had heard her. God, she'd blushed more in the last few minutes than in the last year.

"Yeah, as long as you're happy, Clark, I'm okay with it. But I don't really think that much of the town is going to be as understanding. Mutants are one thing, but being gay is quite another in small town Kansas," she warned.

Some of Clark's happiness faded. "Yeah, I know. Why do you think we hadn't been telling anyone yet?" Though that was his decision more than Lex's. "My folks know and Lex's staff and you, but that's it."

"Oh." Suddenly Chloe felt better about the whole thing, knowing that she was one of the first to be in on the secret.

"And we want to keep it that way until we decide otherwise," Lex said, a clear warning in his tone as he glanced at some of the clippings of Chloe's articles.

Chloe nodded. "No problem, it's just..."

"Just what?" Clark asked, frowning.

"You two really need to get a better grip on the lovesick looks then."

"I've never looked lovesick in my life!" Lex was affronted and unconsciously straightened away from Clark, glaring at the annoying blonde.

Chloe smiled sweetly. "Too bad I didn't have my camera out or I could have showed you. Maybe next time."

"Chloe..." Clark said warningly. When she looked at him, he grinned. "Can I have a copy if you get the shot?"

Lex opened his mouth to argue, then sighed and gave up. He couldn't even fool a teenage girl; his father would be appalled. Somehow, that just made Lex feel better. "I have a feeling that we'd have better luck avoiding each other in public," he admitted, again linking his fingers through Clark's.

"Avoid each other in public? God, that... that's probably what we'll need to do." Clark sighed and brought Lex's hand to his lips without giving it a second thought, though he realized what he'd done when Chloe arched an eyebrow.

"Just until you're ready, love," Lex murmured, forgetting Chloe's presence entirely. "Whatever you want, however much you can handle." He turned to face Clark fully and pressed a light kiss onto his lips, wishing he could tell the whole world that they were together. Still, at least this way he could protect Clark from his father a little longer.

Clark tilted his head to look up at Lex, his entire face aglow with happiness. The outside world faded, only to be reintroduced when he heard a low clicking and glanced over to see Chloe holding up her camera.

"Got it," she said, patting the case. "And you two can have the copies; I'll blank the file after we print it out."

Lex's head shot around so fast he almost gave himself whiplash, and then he groaned. "How did I ever get into this?" He glanced up at Clark. "Good thing you're worth it."

Chloe looked at them expectantly. "If you want to share how you got into it, go ahead!"

"Useful, decorative and brilliant, remember?" Clark asked.

"Coffee," Lex said emphatically. "Better yet, brandy. At least a hundred years old. My nerves can't take this." He buried his face in Clark's throat, deciding to just stay like that until Chloe went away.

"Lex, it's still morning," Clark reminded him gently, trying not to snicker as he and Chloe shared a grin over the older man's back.

"And your point would be?" Lex muttered into his throat. "This is Smallville. Trauma comes at all hours."

Slipping the memory card from her camera, Chloe handed it over to Clark. "You know what, guys? I think I'll walk home. You two take all the time you want to recover, just... remember you owe me big, okay?"

This was getting more embarrassing by the moment. Now a teenager was trying to be discreet and give him privacy. Then again, that meant he would be all alone with Clark in a locked building, so it wasn't all bad. "Bye, Chloe," he said, now nibbling on Clark's throat.

"Lex - uh - Chloe..." Clark stammered, not wanting to be rude but unable to move. "I'll call you later!" he shouted just before the office door slammed and they were alone. "Lex..." he groaned, trying but failing to keep his hands off the older man. "What happened to behaving?"

"That's for in public. Chloe already knew about us," Lex pointed out logically, more interested in tasting him than in talking. "Besides, is it my fault that you taste so good?"

"And you call me obsessed." Clark shuddered and let his head fall back, baring his throat to Lex's mouth. "You're just as bad."

"I never claimed otherwise... or we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place." Lex bit down on the younger man's throat, wishing he could mark him but glad that he couldn't. This way he could do whatever he wanted without worrying about hurting him or giving them away.

One hand rose to stroke over Lex's bare scalp, and Clark whined, lust shooting through his body. "But... in school? God, I'll never be able to come in here again."

"It builds character," Lex chuckled, rubbing against Clark's thigh, his own arousal, never slow to build around the teenager, spiking. "God, I want you."

"Is that what they call it now?" Giving in, Clark tilted Lex's head up and kissed him hungrily, his hands sliding beneath Lex's coat and up under his shirt to the bare flesh beneath it.

Now that Clark was clearly following the same program, Lex started pulling at his clothes, wanting to feel the heat of his skin beneath his palms. "This is going to give me much fonder memories of high school," he half-laughed, nuzzling against the newly bared flesh.

"And it's going to make it hard for me to walk down the hall." Clark maneuvered them back until he hit one of the layout desks and half sat on it, pulling Lex between his thighs. Quickly divesting themselves of their shirts and Lex's coat, soon their whole bodies were rubbing together.

"Well, we haven't tried the hall yet, maybe later. Don't want to move just yet." He pressed closer, writhing against Clark, lining their erections up as he rubbed against him like a cat in heat.

"Noooo," Clark moaned, though even he didn't know if he was talking about the hall or moving at all. His hands slid down to cup Lex's ass, kneading the firm flesh through his trousers and pulling them closer together.

"God, yes," Lex groaned, his mouth blindly seeking and finding Clark's, breathing less important than kissing him, tasting him, surrounding himself in Clark.

As they shifted, Clark opened his eyes and happened to see the large clock on the wall behind them. "Shit!" he cursed, straightening up even though his body and Lex both complained mightily about his action.

"Oh god, I'm sorry. I told Dad I'd be home by 12:30 and it's almost twelve now..." His face was a portrait of misery, and his throbbing hard-on kept telling him to forget the deadline and enjoy.

Lex let out a heartfelt groan followed by an even more heartfelt curse. "God! Are you sure... Never mind," he sighed, painfully peeling himself away from Clark, his erection throbbing. "The last thing we need is to piss your dad off and have him change his mind about the trip."

He stood up and had to look away from Clark, sprawled like a despoiled angel. "Do you have the truck back at the Talon, or can I at least drive you home?"

"I..." Hearing how unsteady his voice was, Clark sat up, running a hand through his hair and thoroughly messing it up. "I walked in, so, yeah, a ride would be good." He only hoped his parents didn't get that look when they saw Lex drop him off.

Lex nodded, clumsily shrugging back into his shirt and buttoning it up after a few false starts. "Friday night can't come soon enough for me," he said with feeling. "Do you have work to do this afternoon, or could I stay and visit for a while?" He'd even brave Jonathan Kent's basilisk stare to spend more time with Clark.

Sighing when Lex buttoned up his shirt, Clark grabbed his and pulled it on as well, moving carefully as he did so. "I know. And I've got to check the fences and patch them if they need it. You can come along if you want, but... don't you have any work to do?" Not that he minded Lex's company at all, he just didn't want him neglecting his own job and hearing about it from Lionel Luthor.

"I got everything I needed to do done last night," Lex said, hoping Clark would let it go at that. It would be ridiculous to admit that he'd been up because he didn't sleep well without Clark beside him. "I can take a few hours off to enjoy myself... and watching you get sweaty in the hot sun sounds like fun to me."

"Okay..." Clark didn't sound totally convinced but was willing to let it lie. "And was that an offer of assistance I heard? Gee, thanks, Lex, but it's okay. I can handle it myself." He was grinning at the last, because the thought of Lex doing physical labor was just silly.

"Luthors manage," Lex said with dignity, then ruined it by chuckling. "Besides, considering that you can bench press a semi, offering to help you is pretty absurd, don't you think? I'll just admire the scenery."

"Just don't grope the scenery, or I might end up breaking the fence, not fixing it." Feeling something in his pocket, Clark pulled out the memory card from Chloe's camera. "Want this? I don't think I have the software at home to download the picture off of it, and I know you do."

"Definitely!" Lex all but snatched it from Clark's hand. He knew the picture would be sappy and something that he would have to hide from Lionel, but he wanted it, wanted it badly. It was proof, tangible proof, that Clark really did love him, that he wasn't a miniature version of Lionel, alone and unlovable.

God, that was one hell of a burden to put on a fifteen-year-old's shoulders, even if they were superhuman. Suddenly sober, he gazed at Clark. "I love you."

Eyebrows furrowing at Lex's sudden change of mood, Clark smiled, hoping to cheer him, and kissed his forehead. "I love you too. I really wish I could show you how much, but we have to get going if I'm going to avoid having to run. Maybe after I'm done with the fence, we can go up to the loft and relax."

Shaking off his mood, Lex smiled. "With that as an incentive, you couldn't keep me away." He caught his jacket up in his hand and slung an arm around Clark's waist, wanting to stay close until they got outside and had to be respectable again.

"You will give me a copy of that, right?" Clark asked, indicating the disk. "It'll be nice to have when I can't see you or be with you."

"Of course, one for each of us." Lex lightly stroked a finger over it before putting it in his pocket. "Let's just hope it's as good as Miss Sullivan would have us believe." Lex frowned suddenly. "Will she really be able to keep this a secret? She is a budding reporter, after all."

Clark reached out, resting his hand over Lex's pocket as if to protect the digital image. "She won't tell; that would hurt us, and while she wants to find out the real story, she won't spread it around."

"So trusting," Lex sighed, but Clark's trust seemed to inspire people to want to live up to it. Just look at him. Seeing that they were nearly at the door, he reluctantly dropped his arm from around Clark's waist and stepped to the side, allowing a socially acceptable distance between them. Already he wanted to touch Clark again.

"Come on, you can show me how to build a fence or whatever it is you're going to do, and I'll try to charm your parents once again."

"Clark?"

He looked up from his packing to see his mother at the door to his room and raised his eyebrows inquisitively. "Yeah, Mom?"

Martha took a step into the room. "I know you can take care of yourself, and that you know right from wrong, but be careful this weekend, please? Metropolis is different, and I don't want anything happening to you."

"Mom, we'll stay together, I promise. Nothing's going to happen to anyone. I'll call when we get there and before we leave in the morning - unless you want hourly reports?" He looked over his mother's shoulder to see his father join them. Lex was due here soon, and he was about ready to jump out of his skin in anticipation but was trying not to show it too much.

"No, that's not necessary, son," Jonathan said, a comforting hand on his wife's shoulder. Though he'd never be crazy--suicidal--enough to say it to her, Martha definitely had the single chick syndrome. She hated to let Clark out of her sight... and this was the boy who could withstand bullets at point blank range and who had apparently charmed something even deadlier than a cobra, a Luthor.

"Have fun, stay out of trouble... and don't shock your friends."

"Da-ad!" Clark blushed and stuffed the rest of his clothes in the small bag then zipping it up. He heard the sound a car approaching, and glanced out the window. "He's here. Man, Lex brought the limo!"

Lex glanced out the smoked, one-way glass of the rear door as his limo pulled up at the Kent's farm. He'd made sure that Clark would be the first one he picked up, so they would be able to get in at least a couple of kisses before they reached Chloe's... even if they had to circle Smallville to do it!

He stepped out, glancing up at Clark's window, and headed for the porch. Hopefully Clark was nearly ready.

Before Lex could knock, Clark was down the stairs and out the door, his parents following at a more sedate pace. Aware of their scrutiny and the presence of the driver, he stopped just short of kissing Lex but reached out and squeezed his hand, all the while drinking him in with his eyes. "Packed and ready to go."

"Do you want some snacks for the drive, Lex?" Martha asked.

"I wouldn't want to put you out, Mrs. Kent." Lex wasn't going to refuse since she was a wonderful cook, but he didn't want to give Jonathan another reason to glare at him. Although, come to think of it, the senior Kent was giving him a surprisingly benign look, especially considering that he was still holding Clark's hand.

"You should take some, Lex," Jonathan advised, making the effort he'd promised Clark when they'd talked. "Martha made some lemon bars today that could incite an angel to envy." He smiled at his wife, raising a hand to tuck a long strand of red hair behind her ear.

"How could I turn that down?" Lex chuckled. "Yes, thank you, Mrs. Kent."

"Good thing you agreed," Clark added. "She wouldn't let me touch them!"

"That's because if you had, there wouldn't have been any left," Martha laughed, smiling at her husband, then at her son and the man beside him.

Clark shrugged. "They're good." He scooted back into the kitchen to grab the plastic container. "And I won't eat them all between here and Chloe's, I promise."

Thanking Martha again for the snack, Lex waved good-bye to the Kents and stepped back inside the limousine, letting the soft leather enfold him while he waited for Clark to join them. A quick glance at his watch had a smile curving his lips.

Once Clark was inside and after their first almost desperate kiss, he smirked. "Chloe's not expecting us for another half hour. We can drive half way there... and park."

Clark groaned. "God, if we do, then she'll look at us all knowing, and Pete will sniff and wonder if they cleaned the limo after your last session of partying." He kissed Lex back, pressing close to let his tongue slide against the older man's. "If you can handle it, I can."

"I'd much rather handle you," Lex said, letting his hands slide up under Clark's shirt to do just that. "And for the record, nothing on earth could stop me from kissing you for the few minutes of privacy we have."

"It's not the privacy, it's the lack of it we'll have for the rest of the ride that worries me," Clark murmured, arching into the touch and moaning quietly as his own hands slid up under Lex's tight purple shirt.

"Just keep remembering that we'll have all night together in my nice, big bed. That makes all this worthwhile. And we should be able to steal a grope in the dressing room when I take all of you to get some clothes for the clubs." Lex pressed up against Clark's fingers, panting as his lover teased him.

"What's wrong with the clothes I brought?" As Clark asked the question, he gave in and twisted them around so that he was lying across the wide seat on top of Lex.

The sensation of Clark's body atop his immediately drove the question and all sense from Lex's brain. His arms and legs wrapped around the younger man, and his mouth latched onto Clark's hungrily, small sounds of lust escaping each of them.

Only the realization that the limo was moving again drew Lex back to himself, and he released Clark's mouth with a tiny whimper of protest and a last tugging nip at the full lower lip. "Clark, we're moving; we'll be at Chloe's in a few minutes."

"Fuck." That he'd uttered the word shocked Clark himself. It was something he just never said. "Do we really have to wait until tonight?"

Surprised, Lex blinked but didn't comment. "Unfortunately yes, unless you really want Pete and Chloe watching us."

That did it, and Clark whipped to an upright position in a blur of movement. "No, not really. Chloe might take pictures, and that's too much for me to think about."

Shuddering at the very idea, Lex adjusted his clothes. "I'm going to have to start having my pants tailored with more give at the crotch," he grumbled as he sat up, reaching for a drink. "And there's the beauteous Miss Sullivan," he added, glancing out the window.

"Yeah."

Waiting until the limo rolled to a stop, he opened the door and carefully climbed out, wondering if Lex's tailors could do anything for his jeans. "Hey, Chloe."

"Hi, Clark. Oh, Clark, you're not wearing that to go clubbing?" Chloe's tone expressed sincere dismay.

Lex's eyes narrowed. If she didn't watch it, she was going to find out that she'd bitten off a lot more than she could chew. "Don't worry, Chloe. We'll be stopping to buy clothes for everyone, my treat." And maybe we can lose you in a revolving door, he thought unfairly.

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Clark asked plaintively. Okay, he knew that jeans and a button-down shirt wasn't high fashion, but geez, between the two of them, you'd think he'd just crawled out of a haystack.

"There's nothing wrong with it," Lex reassured him, placing a hand on his knee. "It's just that people tend to dress a certain way at the clubs in Metropolis, and it's not your usual style. Any of you," he added with slight emphasis, glancing quickly at Chloe, who was wearing her usual "small town funky" style. "Which is why we'll be stopping to buy you all new outfits, my treat," he tacked on for her benefit. "Consider it part of the trip."

Chloe looked a little put out by Lex's insinuation that she wasn't dressed properly either, still... free clothes. She smiled sweetly. "Thank you, Lex."

Shopping. Lovely. Clark sat back in the seat and sighed; hours of shopping was not how he'd envisioned spending the evening, but then, with the others there, he couldn't spend it how he'd imagined it anyway.

"Any more of the lemon bars left?" Clark asked, peering around the floor of the limo in the hopes that there were.

"The way you inhaled 'em? Yeah, right," Pete scoffed, picking up the empty plastic container and waving it in Clark's direction. They were almost in Metropolis, and, despite the roominess of the limo, all of the teenagers were getting antsy, ready for their adventure.

Chloe looked at the half of the bar she'd been nibbling on and, sighing, handed it over to Clark. "Here, don't say I never gave you anything."

"Thanks, Chloe!" he exclaimed, snapping up the treat and then licking his fingers, not noticing how both Lex and Chloe watched him do so.

Lex swallowed hard and had to lace his hands together to keep himself from grabbing Clark's hand and drawing those fingers into his own mouth. If it weren't so obviously innocent, he'd swear that Clark was deliberately teasing him. He took a quick swallow of his bottle of water, head tipping back to get the last of it. He never noticed Clark's attention fix on him, but Chloe did.

She was enjoying herself in a masochistic kind of way, watching the two men try not to be obvious about their total fixation on each other. Unfortunately for them, they were doing a horrible job of it. She was pretty sure that even Pete had picked up on the tension between them, although he probably hadn't figured out the cause. Yet. When one of them jumped the other, as seemed likely to happen at any moment, it ought to become clear to the other passenger in the car. Hopefully they'd reach their first stop before that happened.

The intercom buzzed, bringing Clark back to reality from his fantasyland that consisted of thoughts of nibbling on Lex's neck as he swallowed.

"Mr. Luthor, have you decided if you would rather go to your apartment first or shopping?" the driver asked, causing all of the teenagers to look over at Lex expectantly.

"Shopping," Lex decided. That way he could grope Clark in the dressing room. It also made more sense to take care of what might take a while before heading back to the apartment. That way they would know how much time they had and be able to relax for a while before going out. He already had reservations for dinner at what had been one of his favorite before-clubbing restaurants when he was a teenager, so they wouldn't have to go back to change after dinner either.

"Whatever you want tonight is on me," he reminded the teenagers, knowing it was likely to prove expensive, but he could certainly afford it, and he would give a lot more to have some time with Clark.

Pete put up a token protest, still not comfortable with accepting anything from a Luthor, but in the end he was won over as Chloe discussed possible outfits and color combinations.

Clark had to bite back a grin at the animation in her voice. He could have sworn that Chloe really didn't care about any of that, but when he added what Ryan had told him with this... he supposed she did.

"So where exactly are we going?" he asked with visions of high fashion, anorexic salespeople descending on them the moment they walked through the door of some ritzy boutique.

Even Chloe stopped talking long enough to wait for Lex's answer, and when he named an upscale chain that catered to the young and well to do, everyone appeared pleased. He'd purposely chosen one that would let them be extravagant without intimidating Clark or putting Pete's back up. And he already knew what he wanted to buy for Clark, though whether he could get the teen to wear it that night with his friends present was still questionable.

Feeling a definite tremor of fear, Clark stepped out of the limo, lagging back behind the others who were already headed inside the store, intent on finding the perfect outfit for the evening. When Lex looked back at him, he gave a sickly smile and followed along, feeling so out of his depth that it wasn't funny.

Chloe was already deep in the women's side, and from time to time he'd hear a squeal as she found something she particularly liked. Pete seemed torn between the clothes and the nubile young saleswoman who was offering him help. There was leather and vinyl and mesh all around, the like of which had never been seen in Smallville and probably never would. God, this was insane.

Clark's discomfort was obvious, but before Lex could say anything, an overdressed, snooty salesman had approached Clark and was looking down his nose at the fidgeting teen.

"Perhaps you might like to try Wal-Mart?" he suggested, eyeing Clark like something he'd found on his shoe.

Lex's eyes narrowed and his expression froze as he moved to stand at Clark's side, meeting the clerk's supercilious gaze with icy hauteur. The store manager, who had spotted and recognized Lex the instant he walked in, nearly killed himself getting over to them and did actually bump another salesgirl, sending her stumbling back into a rack of clothing.

"Mr. Luthor! Please, forgive Jason, we would never dream of insulting you or your friends!" He shot a furious look at the now worried-looking clerk. Lex appeared less certain of that and still liable to turn on his heel and leave, which spurred the manager to new measures.

"Allow me to serve you personally," he suggested, knowing that if Lex Luthor put the word out to avoid his store, he could start collecting unemployment then and there.

After a searching glance at Clark, Lex nodded sparely, waiting until Jason had discreetly and rapidly faded away to speak. "We're not sure what we want yet, so please give us a moment. I'll let you know when we need your assistance." Dismissing the man, he turned to face Clark.

"I'm sorry about that, love," he said quietly, one hand rising to grip Clark's upper arm. "If you want to leave, we can go to another store." He winced slightly as another squeal rose from the women's side, but he'd rather deal with a sulky Chloe than have Clark upset. And it wasn't as if they wouldn't be able to find anything at another store.

"If you do want to stay, you don't have to get anything that you're not comfortable with. You'll look fantastic regardless."

Clark shrugged and ran a hand through his hair, trying to push it back off his forehead. "What he said is probably the truth. I mean, look at me, Lex." Giving another shrug, he barely stopped himself from running his fingers down Lex's shirt.

"I'm not letting him run me out of here though." He smiled, hoping to get a similar response from Lex. "Besides, the manager will have a coronary if you leave now and you don't want to be responsible for that, do you?"

Eyebrows rising, Lex forbore to say that he really didn't give a damn whether the manager dropped dead on the spot. It was the man's own fault for hiring incompetents. But he knew that would bother Clark even more than what had already happened, so he simply shrugged.

"I happen to think that you look great... of course, I think that no matter what you're wearing--or not wearing." Lex leered at him, lightening the mood. "So... what are my chances of getting you into leather and mesh?"

Normally Clark wouldn't have been caught dead in either of them, but for Lex he'd give it a go. He might die of embarrassment, but at least he'd look good when it happened--according to Lex anyway.

"I'm going to try on some things!" Chloe called out, and Clark heard Pete give a vague answer from behind the pile of clothes the saleswoman was heaping in his arms.

"How about I just close my eyes and let you pick out what I'm going to wear?" he suggested. "As long as it doesn't have holes or pieces cut out of it in bad areas."

"As if I'd share those sights with anyone else," Lex scoffed. He motioned the manager over, had a low-voiced conversation with him, and then led Clark toward the fitting rooms. "Come on, he'll bring what I want you to try. Then if you don't like that, we'll try something different."

He opened the door to the room at the far end, knowing from experience that it was the largest, and seated himself on one of the chairs inside. "Don't worry, it's nothing too radical."

He'd barely finished speaking when the manager arrived and hung a pair of black leather pants and a black fine mesh shirt on the wall. "If you need anything else, sir, please let me know." He smiled at Clark as he left, not making the mistake of discounting the young man Lex Luthor was so protective of.

Clark eyed the clothes before turning his gaze to Lex. "What about you? Let me guess, you have closets of these at your place, right?" As he spoke, he was stripping out of his shirt and kicking off his sneakers.

"Well, yeah, but I can get something new to go with the general trend. I suppose the same outfit in white would be a bit obvious?"

"Yeah..." Clark heard Chloe giggling from another dressing room and lowered his voice. "Plus I like you in black. Very sexy."

"Hold that thought," Lex practically purred. He stepped out of the dressing room and gave instructions to the manager, then ducked back inside to wait for his own garments... and enjoy the sight of Clark changing. "And to think that some people pay money to watch a striptease... this is much better."

Having stopped with the shirt halfway over his head, Clark viewed the room and Lex as if through a fine black curtain. "Yeah, well don't get any ideas about groping the changer; these walls are thin!"

Pulling the shirt all the way down, he undid his jeans, shoving them down and off, then grabbing the pants, wanting something on before the way Lex was looking at him made him forget the walls, his friends, and everything else.

Watching the tight leather enfold the lower half of Clark's body, Lex thought he might have found religion. "You are so fucking sexy," he rasped, eyes bright with arousal, and only the knock on the door prevented him from grabbing Clark.

Instead he grabbed the pile of clothes that was handed to him, and never taking his eyes off Clark, stripped down, then put on the black leather pants and black silk shirt, followed by a collar.

Clark blinked, and stopped in the midst of tucking his shirt into his pants. "Lex, you're wearing a dog collar."

"You don't like it?" Lex turned to peer at himself in the mirror. "I always thought I looked good in a collar." He shrugged and reached up to unfasten it.

"No!" Clark reached out and caught Lex's wrist in his hand, stopping him from removing the strip of leather. "I mean I like it." One finger traced over the smooth hide, then over the even smoother skin of Lex's throat. "It looks good."

A tiny moan escaped Lex, and he tilted his back to let Clark have better access to his throat. "Glad you approve." He swallowed hard, feeling the leather as he did, then ran his eyes appreciatively over his lover. He straightened away from Clark, turning him to face the mirror at his side. "So, what do you think? Is this something you'll be comfortable wearing tonight?"

Though he was almost afraid to look at his own reflection, Clark raised his eyes to the mirror, and froze, startled at his appearance. Between the form-fitting leather and the clinging mesh shirt, he looked... adult.

"I--" he shifted his gaze to meet Lex's eyes in the mirror and had to lick his lips because of the hunger he saw there. "Yeah, they feel all right."

"I'm glad... even if I am going to have to keep chasing people away from you tonight." Lex moved around to face him again, then, keeping his eyes trained on Clark's, lowered his head to lick a nipple through the mesh of the shirt.

Clark's quiet laugh turned into a groan, and he fisted his hands at his side to keep from grabbing Lex and grinding against him. "If you keep that up, we may never get out of here," he whispered.

"Hey, Kent! You find anything yet?" Pete called from somewhere outside.

Snickering, Lex straightened up. "Yeah, Clark, did you find anything?" He lightly circled Clark's waist with his arms, an expression of pure happiness on his face.

"Asshole," Clark muttered, trying to glare at Lex but managing to look silly because he was grinning. "I think so, what about you?"

"I'm good. We just need to get the tags removed, and we're ready." Lex kissed him quickly before sticking his head out of the fitting room to get the manager to take care of that. Pete must have gotten tired of waiting for Clark's reply since he was nowhere to be seen.

After the manager left, Lex caught hold of Clark's hand, holding it as they stepped out of the changing room, only to stop dead when Pete came out of one of the others at that moment.

"Hey, Clark, I thought you got lost in there..." His jocular tone dying off as his eyes dropped to Clark and Lex's hands, then back to his friend's face, Pete stared.

Wanting nothing more than to vanish at that moment, Clark closed his eyes, wincing. Chloe finding out had been almost natural in a way, but Pete? He hated the Luthors, and this was only going to make things worse.

Lex opened his mouth but closed it again without saying anything. Not even he could think of a way to spin two guys coming out of a fitting room together, holding hands, to be anything other than what it was. His fingers tightened reflexively on Clark's, wanting to offer him support, and over Pete's shoulder he saw Chloe appear.

Chloe realized immediately what must have happened, and she shot a sympathetic glance at the guys that somehow also said, 'I told you so!'

"No way. No way, man." Pete was shaking his head, his gaze moving back and forth from Clark to Lex. "Clark, I thought we were friends! And you... with him?"

"Pete..." Clark said helplessly, misery filling his eyes when the other teen turned and pushed past Chloe, heading back into the store and away from him.

Chloe bolted away from the couple, chasing after Pete to talk some sense into him. No way was she going to watch her two best friends stop being friends because Pete didn't like Clark's boyfriend. Okay, that was just a weird thought. Catching up with him, she cornered him and proceeded to remind Pete of just what a good friend Clark was.

Meanwhile, Lex, knowing there was nothing he could do about it, had decided to ignore Pete's hopefully temporary departure in favor of comforting Clark. He wrapped his arms around his lover, hugging him tightly.

Feeling a hand on his arm, Pete whirled around, ready to fight. "What, Chloe? Did you know?" He saw the change in her expression and snarled. "You did! Jesus! Clark's-- and with Lex? Fuck!"

Nearby patrons moved away, and the store manager stepped closer, ready to prevent any other outbursts.

"That's just - sick, man! And with Lex! How long have you known?"

Chloe shrugged. "Just since yesterday and it wasn't like they meant to tell me. They've actually been trying to keep it quiet so Clark wouldn't have to deal with people talking about him and ostracizing him," she said pointedly.

"Oh, so now I'm the bad guy because I have a problem with finding out that my best friend is fucking the freaky bald guy who's probably trying to destroy Smallville? Gee, why should I have a problem with that?"

"You seem to be forgetting the best friend part!" Chloe snapped. "It's not like Lex Luthor is my favorite person either, Pete, but... well, just watch them together. I would kill to have someone look at me like that."

"Like Clark." From Pete's tone, he was well acquainted with the concept of unrequited love.

"Like anyone," Chloe sighed. "I know you don't like Lex, Pete, and I really hope that's all it is, but give it a chance. Come with us tonight, and you'll see. God, I was in the same room with them, and it was like I wasn't even there. They're... intense."

"And we're ignored, like we have been ever since he showed up." Pete was losing his anger now, but it was being replaced by a bone-deep sadness.

"I never meant to do that." Pete looked up to see Clark, all big eyes and desperate sadness, standing near them with Lex nowhere in sight.

Chloe looked from one to the other, then suddenly hugged them both at once. "Guys, we're friends. That's not going to change no matter who we're... dating, not unless we let it.

"Come on, Pete, admit it. If you suddenly started dating someone, you'd pay more attention to her than to us, especially at first."

Pete bit his lip and stared at the floor, not wanting to admit that but knowing it was true. "But this is Lex Luthor!" he burst out.

"Why does everyone have to judge him because of what his father's done?" Clark shot back, fed up with hearing about the horrible Luthors from both his father and his friend.

Taken aback by the rare flash of Clark's temper, Pete actually stopped and thought about what he'd said. And he didn't like what he discovered. All his life he'd had to deal with discrimination because of the color of his skin, and now he realized that he was discriminating against Lex because of his name. "I... I'll try," he finally said. But it wasn't just what Lex's father had done to his dad; Pete didn't think that Lex was quite the nice guy he'd have them, Clark especially, believe.

Lex was watching this little drama unfold from the cash register, the manager by his side since he'd prevented him from interfering. Hands clenched tightly into fists at his sides, he prayed that this wouldn't be what drove Clark away from him.

The anger drained out of Clark, to be replaced by a fragile hope. "I can't ask for you to do anything else, but try to get to know him and you'll change your mind." I hope, he added silently.

He slung one arm around Chloe, grateful for her presence, and held the other one out to Pete. "Still friends?"

Pete nodded and clasped his arm until Chloe reached out and yanked him into another group hug.

"Hey, where's Lex?" Chloe suddenly wondered.

Oh god... Snapping his head around, Clark spotted his abandoned boyfriend by the sales desk.

"Looks like you're not the only one who needs a hug," Pete muttered, appalled that he was viewing Lex as human but trying for the sake of his friendship with Clark.

Giving the pair a tremulous smile, Clark hugged them tightly before letting go. "Thanks for... everything," he whispered before turning and covering the distance to Lex in three long strides.

"It's okay, he's okay," he murmured, beyond caring who was watching as he gathered Lex into his arms. "What about you?"

Arms going around Clark and relaxing as he felt his lover against him again, Lex smiled faintly. "I'm okay... as long as we are," he said, a hint of a question in his voice. God, it was so unlike him to be this needy, but that was exactly how he felt about Clark. Unable to resist, although moving slowly enough for Clark to stop him if he wanted to, he tilted his head up to kiss him.

Their lips brushed together tenderly before drawing apart, and Clark smiled. "Never better."

"You know, I've heard of coming out of the closet, but coming out of a dressing room?" Pete hissed to Chloe before yelping as she elbowed him in the ribs.

Lex heard that too, and he snickered at the comment, then met Clark's disbelieving gaze. "Well, it was funny." Seeing that Clark didn't appear convinced, he glanced at the other two teens. "Find everything you want or do you need more time?"

"Well, I'm not sure if I like this one or that other dress I tried on better," Chloe started.

"So get both," Lex interrupted, not about to watch a fashion show.

"Oh, are you sure?" She really hadn't been angling for that, being thrilled enough with one outfit from this store that she could never afford herself.

"Sure," Lex shrugged. "All of you, get whatever you want."

They could practically see the dollar signs in the store manager's eyes as he tried not to gloat visibly.

"I've got that already," Clark said, looking around wide-eyed and blushing when the others directed their gazes his way. "Well, I do."

"I don't know about the rest, but the clothes look good on you." Chloe braved Lex's possessiveness to examine Clark's shirt more closely. "How are you going to explain leather and mesh to your mom?"

"The same way I am," Pete said. His smile was somewhat strained, but it was real. "By not doing it!"

"Probably wisest," Lex agreed. "It's enough your parents agreed to us going away, no need to rub their faces in it." Then he realized what he'd just admitted and wondered what the hell had happened to his usual ability to keep secrets.

"Let's go change, and we can get out of here." Clark for one was going to be very glad to have this part of the trip done with. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starving!"

Lex stared. "Why would you want to change? We can have our other clothes sent back to the penthouse... Oh." He finally noticed the time and realized how early it was. "Yes, I guess it is a bit early for these clothes. So we change and go back so you can figure out who's sleeping where and unpack." At least he and Clark wouldn't have to sneak around to end up in the same bedroom now.

The teenagers gave a chorus of agreement and headed into the changing area. Clark lagged back, and, when Lex caught up to him, he looked over his shoulder, blushing but also wearing a truly wicked grin. "Lex? Do me a favor and leave the collar on, will you?"

A shiver ran down Lex's spine. "All you had to do was ask." He raised a finger to stroke the collar, knowing Clark's eyes would follow helplessly. He followed Clark back into the dressing room, watching him as he stripped off his clothes, including his boxers, so he stood naked except for the collar. He let Clark look his fill before reaching for his street clothes.

Clark could have stood there all night and not cared one bit, but apparently his friends had other ideas. "Get a move on it, Kent! Some of us came here to have fun not to... have fun," Chloe yelled.

Chloe snickered at the last, and Clark managed to start changing his own clothes without tearing them to pieces though his gaze never left Lex the whole time.

Smiling, Lex got dressed again, bundling up his new clothes and Clark's, then stuffing his boxer briefs into a pocket. He made a face at the bulge, but he'd put them in a bag as soon as he had one. "Ready?" he asked, hand already reaching for the door handle since he knew that if he stayed in there another moment with Clark, the others would be waiting for a while and getting quite an education while they did.

"You're trying to kill me, aren't you?" Clark muttered, plastering on a smile as they headed back out into the store where the others were waiting.

"So, where are we going later?" Chloe asked, trying to move the conversation to something safer.

"Transience," Lex replied, naming what was currently the hottest club in Metropolis. "The owner's an acquaintance, so there won't be any trouble getting in. Just kindly refrain from getting drunk as I'm the one who'd end up in jail because of it." He handed over one of his credit cards, platinum of course, and waited while the various purchases were rung up, not even paying attention to the cost.

Three pairs of eyes bugged out at the total, but none of the teens said a word, mostly from sheer shock.

"I've heard about it," Chloe finally said. "All the A-list people go there. This is going to be great!"

"Great, yeah," Clark echoed faintly, feeling almost ill as he realized something. All those A-list people, they probably knew Lionel Luthor, and what was to stop them from telling him about what Lex was doing tonight?

Scrawling his signature on the slip, Lex saw Clark's expression change, and he immediately turned to him, relieved that they didn't have to pretend. "What's wrong?" He caught hold of one of Clark's arms as he moved subtly closer.

"See what I mean?" Chloe hissed at Pete, indicating the look on Lex's face as he stared at Clark.

Pete gave a non-committal grunt in response though he was watching the pair closely.

This wasn't the place to talk about this. Giving his gamest smile, Clark shook his head. "Nothing that won't wait a little bit."

Not fooled in the least, Lex still did what was becoming the norm for him and followed Clark's lead, letting it slide for the moment. "We'll talk later though." He absently pulled the underwear from his pocket and dropped them into the bag that the store manager handed him, not noticing everyone else notice that, so intent was he on Clark.

"That's what I meant."

"Oh, man, I so did not need to see that," Pete groaned theatrically, hiding his head against Chloe's shoulder. "Just like I'm not seeing that collar Lex is wearing."

Chloe laughed and smacked his arm while she peered at Clark and Lex curiously. Sure, it was a little more information than she'd really expected, but now that she'd gotten used to the idea, they were kind of hot together.

Lex glanced over at the minor scuffle, but it didn't seem to require his attention, so once the other teenagers had their bags as well, he led them all out to the limousine, intent on getting to his apartment as quickly as possible so he could find out what was suddenly bothering Clark.

Clark managed to keep up his part of the conversation during the ride to the high-rise, but once they'd traveled up the private elevator and the others were exploring their rooms, he slumped down onto the floor beside the bed in the master suite, looking up at Lex through troubled eyes. "How are we going to keep anything we do here quiet?"

Lex frowned, for once not following him. "You think your friends are going to tell all of Smallville? It doesn't seem in character for them. And your parents already know, so I'm not sure what the problem is?" This time he wasn't going to jump to the conclusion that Clark was ashamed of their relationship, not with all the proof he'd had to the contrary.

A quick shake of his head and Clark was looking at Lex. "I'm not worried about them or Smallville, Lex. I'm worried about here. This is Metropolis. God, your father owns half the city! What if someone sees us tonight? What if someone saw us today? He could use this to hurt you, and - and I won't let him." Something dangerous glinted in the back of Clark's eyes, something that might have reminded Jonathan Kent of Lex if he had seen the expression.

"Oh." Lex crouched down in front of Clark. "Sooner or later, my father is going to find out. For your sake, I'd prefer that it be later, but I've taken steps to ensure that he won't be able to hurt you or your family, Clark. And since we can't avoid him forever, I refuse to let him ruin anything for us or influence what we do."

"I'm not worried about me; I'm worried about you! He's a rich old guy with too much hair; what do I care about him?"

Laughing, Lex collapsed into a graceful sprawl across Clark's lap. "He can't do anything to us, Clark. I won't let him. Now kiss me before we have to go back out there and play nice with the other kiddies."

Clark leaned in to do just that, eyeing Lex as he straightened up again. "Just so long as you don't play too nice with them."

A sudden flash of sex with Chloe, or God forbid, Pete hit Lex, and he gagged. "Oh, how could you!" He batted at the air as if physically trying to push the idea away. "That's just..." He shuddered.

"What's wrong with my friends?" Enjoying Lex's reaction, Clark was now determined to bait him to get both of their minds off his father.

"Nothing, I supposed," Lex allowed, "in a nonsexual way! God, only you, Clark, could have made me think of that." He gave his smirking lover a dirty look. "I suppose you would find the idea of yourself and Pete in a sexual situation all right?"

"Pete?" Clark scrambled to his feet, letting Lex thump to the floor as he lost his cushion. "No way!" He grimaced, and then prodded Lex with his sock-clad foot. "You're evil, you know that?"

Rubbing the back of his head, which had hit the floor rather harder than he'd anticipated, Lex smiled up at him. "One good turn deserves another, love." He pushed himself to his feet, pausing to shed his shoes and socks, and he let out a happy sigh as he curled his bare toes into the thick pile of the carpet.

"Is that another saying from The Art of War?" Clark asked curiously, looking back over his shoulder as he walked to the door. He could hear loud music playing from somewhere else in the penthouse and could guess what Chloe and Pete were up to.

"I actually don't remember what it's from," Lex admitted, arching into a back cracking stretch before following Clark. "They aren't going to destroy the place, are they?" he asked, stalling, not yet ready to rejoin the others. He liked being alone with Clark, here in his apartment, and he wanted to keep their solitude for a few more moments.

Torn between wanting to stay with Lex and not wanting to neglect his friends, Clark paused, his hand on the doorknob. "I don't know, but I remember what my house looked like after that party..."

Lex's eyes widened, and he looked momentarily horrified. "Well, at least they're not likely to set off fireworks in the living room," he teased, getting a look from Clark for that. "Then again, if they do trash the place, you'll have to work off the debt. I think I like the idea of you as my indentured slave for a while," he purred, coming up behind Clark and pressing close.

"Me?" Clark looked incredulous. "You're the one who invited everyone here; why is it my fault if they wreck the place - and how could you tell, anyway?" Not that Lex's place wasn't immaculate, it was just filled with weird post-modern art and furniture pieces, and Clark had a hard time telling which was which.

"Because they're your friends and they're only here because it was the only way I could get you here. Or are you saying that you don't like the idea of having to do whatever I tell you?" he murmured huskily, catching an earlobe between his teeth and biting down.

"I--" Clark's voice broke, and he tried again though thinking was rapidly becoming an impossibility as it usually was when Lex was in full-on sexy mode. "That could be... fun..." He shivered and leaned against the door, feeling Lex's full weight press against him from behind. The idea of Lex being able to tell him what to do and him having to do it was an incredible turn on, and Clark knew there was no way he was going to be able to walk out of this room any time in the near future without turning bright red.

The rasp in Clark's voice had Lex hardening even more, and he gripped his lover's hips, pulling them back tightly against himself. "Good thing we don't have to change yet or I'd never be able to get those pants done up... and I just realized that we forgot to get shoes, so we're going to have to go back out after all." Left unsaid was that he'd forgotten about that because he'd been so concerned by Clark's distress at the time.

Shoes? Who the hell cared about shoes, especially when Lex was grinding against him like that? Who the hell cared about anything but-- Shit. Big crash out in the living room. "What was that?"

Lex froze, body pressed to Clark's and eyes fixed upon the door. "Maybe we should just barricade the door and hide in here until they're gone? Suddenly I understand how Pharaoh must have felt when the Biblical plagues were being visited upon him." Another minor crash, following by muffled yells and scuffling made him wince.

"Maybe we should go out and see what happened?" Clark suggested before being interrupted by a timid knock at the door.

Lex groaned, burying his face in Clark's neck. "If we ignore them, will they go away?" He sighed and stepped back, giving Clark enough room to open the door, and they both looked out at Pete, who looked like he wished he were a million miles away.

"Uh... we had a little accident out here..." Pete mumbled, glancing back over his shoulder at the mess in the living room that, once upon a time, had been a glass-topped coffee table.

"Do I even want to know what happened?" Lex asked dryly.

"It was my fault," Chloe and Pete said at the same time before looking at each other, then at Clark and Lex.

"I sort of dropped our suitcases on it..." Pete sighed. "I didn't realize it was glass."

Eyebrows rising, Lex wondered what exactly he'd thought a clear table was made of, but not wanting to start an argument, he let it go. "Don't worry about it. Just leave it, I'll have someone come in to clean that up and replace it." He shrugged, glad it wasn't worse. At least he didn't have anything irreplaceable here that could be destroyed... thanks to the message he'd sent his housekeeper the day before.

"Look, Lex, we can find a way to pay for it..." Seeing the expression in the older man's eyes, Clark stopped talking. "Okay, it would probably take us the rest of our lives, right?"

"Well, not quite, but you know what I said about being indentured?" Lex trailed off suggestively, not quite grinning at him. "Look, don't worry about it. You wouldn't want to know how much I destroyed during my rebellious phase. It's not like it was a priceless heirloom or anything.

"But we should probably get out there before anything else happens." He stepped around Clark finally and out of the bedroom to go see the damage.

Clark stayed in the bedroom a moment longer, trying to both will his erection down and to cool the heat of his blush. He heard the other two explaining to Lex what had happened and trying to clean it up, but all he could think about was Lex's indentured servant comment.

"Shoes?" Chloe was saying as he came out. "Oh my God, I forgot about them entirely!" The expression on her face was horrified, and Pete simply shook his head, giving him a look of commiseration.

"Don't worry, I know just the place. We can go on our way to dinner; we'll just leave a bit early." Lex appeared oblivious to the shattered glass that used to be his coffee table as he calmed the girl. The moment Clark joined them, however, he proved he was aware of his surroundings by moving closer and leaning against him.

Pete looked torn between remorse at breaking the obviously expensive piece of furniture and his usual contempt for Lex, but he had to admit that the older man was being very understanding.

"Maybe we should leave now before anything else happens..." Clark looked around the huge, open-design penthouse as he spoke, cringing inwardly at the thought of anything else breaking while they were here. The sounds of crashing, cracking and shattering were ones he'd been very familiar with during his growth spurts.

"We should probably change first so we don't have to come back after we stop at the shoe store; if Chloe's like every other woman I've met, shopping for shoes could take hours. Then we can go straight to dinner, then on to the clubs." Lex was indifferent to the potential for breakage, but if he wasn't going to be able to have any privacy with Clark anyway, they might as well leave.

Chloe frowned at the idea of wearing her gorgeous new outfit with the shoes she'd brought, even though they'd been her favorites until that very day, but it would only be for a little while till they could get something else. "Sure, I can be ready in about half an hour or so."

Pete's head whipped around to stare at her when she said that, but Lex only smiled. By the time Chloe got dressed and did her hair and makeup, he figured it would be closer to an hour... and he and Clark would be in their bedroom for that time.

"Meet us back out here in the living room when you're ready." He caught Clark's hand to draw him back to the bedroom.

Seeing the lost look on Pete's face and the tightening of his jaw that told of his approaching anger, Clark gave up thoughts of privacy in hopes of keeping his friend happy - and hopefully not pissing off his boyfriend at the same time.

"I think I saw a PS2 under that big TV, have any games to go with it?" he asked, looking back at Lex, pleading silently for him to understand.

Disappointment visibly crossed Lex's face, but he swallowed it down and nodded. "Sure, they're in the cabinet on the left." He tightened his grip on Clark's hand for a moment and then released it. "I'll leave you to it and get some work done in the meantime. You should have at least half an hour before you need to get changed yourselves... and will still probably have time to get back to the game afterward before Chloe is ready."

Wistfully putting aside his plans for Clark in the shower, he headed for his office, leaving Clark with his friend.

Pete watched him go, a slight frown furrowing his brow. He'd seen Lex's disappointment, yet the other man had still changed his rather obvious plans and left Clark and him alone. Maybe, just maybe, he wasn't a total shit.

Clark sighed. God, he hadn't meant to drive Lex away but for all three of them to do something together. He'd definitely have to make it up to Lex later - and show his gratitude for being so understanding.

"So," he said, turning to Pete and putting on a grin of challenge, "think you can take me at Grand Theft Auto 3, wuss?"

Nearly forty-five minutes later, Lex reappeared in the living room, smiling at the laughter and taunts being thrown back and forth. "Sorry to interrupt, guys, but Chloe can't take much longer than this to get ready. We should probably get dressed ourselves. Just leave the game; you might have time to get back to it before she shows up."

Clark glanced at the Lucite and marble clock over the chrome fireplace and did a classic double take. He'd had no idea they had been playing that long; maybe he had been neglecting his friends...

"C'mon, Clark, I still owe you for that last game," Pete laughed, hitting the pause button and standing, giving Lex a grudging smile as he walked toward his assigned room to change.

"And you'll owe me for this one too!" Clark called out, setting his controller aside and standing, then crossing to Lex and taking his hand. "Didn't mean to kick you out of your own living room..."

"Hey, I've been taking up a lot of your time lately; it's only fair to give your friends some time too." Lex gave him a quick kiss before they went into their bedroom and shut the door so they could change.

It only took a moment for him to shed the pants and long-sleeved T-shirt that were all he wore. Lex pulled a silk thong out of his drawer and settled himself into it before reaching for his new purchases where they lay on the bed. He shrugged into the black silk shirt, leaving it unbuttoned, then shimmied into the skintight leather pants, giving Clark a good show as he did. He tucked the tails of the shirt in, fastened the button fly, and turned to face his mesmerized boyfriend.

"Nipple or navel ring?" he asked blandly.

"Excuse me?" Lex couldn't have just asked what Clark thought he had, could he?

"I said, nipple or navel ring?" Lex repeated, straight-faced. "I make sure not to let the holes close up--any of them," he added with a wicked grin, "so I can always add jewelry if I feel like it. A memento of my misspent youth." He grinned at Clark's expression. "You mean to say that you never noticed the piercings? Damn, I'm even better than I thought if I distracted you that much.

Clark frowned, staring at Lex's bare chest as if his x-ray vision would reveal to him what his sense of touch hadn't. "I... I guess I didn't stop to think what they were."

A-any of them? That led to wondering if there were any more Lex hadn't mentioned, and that led to thoughts of how much fun it would be to search for them, and, god, if he didn't stop thinking about this, he'd never get into those pants Lex had bought him!

Nipple, navel, nipple, navel. The choice was too complex, and Clark gave a helpless shrug as he stared at Lex, his new shirt crushed into a tiny ball in his fists. "Both?"

"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, huh?" Lex looked amused as he rooted around in a box on top of his dresser, his back to Clark. When he finally turned around again, there was a curved barbell with onyx tips in his navel and two platinum hoops with a fine chain strung between them in his nipples.

"You like?" he purred, padding toward Clark, still barefoot.

Taking a step back, the side of the bed stopped Clark, and he sank down onto it, transfixed by the glinting bits of jewelry adorning Lex's fair skin. Someone had made those holes in him. Someone had poked some big old needles through Lex's nipples and his belly button, and Lex had let them, had maybe even enjoyed it. Without realizing it, Clark licked his dry lips.

"Well, that's quite the reaction. I don't think I've ever seen you speechless before." Lex stood straddling Clark's legs, smirking down at him, then sat down on his lap, arms looping around the teenager's neck. "Should I assume that means you like 'em?"

"They're..." Reaching up, Clark traced a fingertip over the thin chain connected to the two hoops, wanting very much to repeat the maneuver with his tongue but not quite daring to. "Yeah, I like them. A lot."

Lex shivered as the touch caught at the chain, tugging on the rings and sending a familiar shot of lust straight to his groin. He practically shot off Clark's lap, backing away rapidly. "Okay, no more of that or we'll never get out of here," he said huskily. "Your turn to get dressed."

That suggestion resulted in a pained laugh. "Maybe I should go stand under some cold water first," Clark suggested as he stood and began to carefully remove his clothing, having found that too hurried movement in his condition only resulted in aches that even his super-healing couldn't fix.

That much temptation was more than Lex could take, and before even Clark could blink, he was on his knees in front of the younger man, Clark's cock down his throat, sucking hungrily.

"Jesus, Lex!" Taken unaware, Clark struggled for balance, almost collapsing back onto the bed before resting his hands on Lex's shoulders.

God, oh god, supposed to be getting changed, everyone outside, might hear, but mouth, and teeth, and tongue, and Lex... Giving a strangled cry, Clark came, his whole body jerking with the force of his orgasm.

Lex suckled hungrily until the last spasm had passed, then licked him clean before standing up and kissing him, letting him taste himself in his mouth. "Sorry, love, but... well, no, I'm not."

His expression still dazed, it took a moment for Clark to respond, but when he did, it was with a smile. "Somehow I thought that might be the case." He reached out, cupping Lex's cock through the supple leather. "Can I return the favor?"

Groaning and arching into Clark's hand, Lex bit his lip before he could speak without whining. "That wasn't what I had in mind, but... oh god! Help yourself."

Super speed had its advantages, and Clark put them to good use, backing Lex against a wall, undoing and lowering his pants, slowing just enough not to cause a friction burn, and taking his cock into his mouth all in under a second. He might have just come, but the need was still there, the need to touch and taste and just lose himself in Lex - something he knew they didn't have time for right now, but he'd make do.

The sudden hot, wet, grasping heat around his cock made Lex cry out, only the fist he'd stuffed against his mouth saving them from embarrassment. He thought he might have slammed his head against the wall, but the only thing he was really sure of was that Clark was apparently trying to suck his brains out through his dick and doing a damn fine job of it! After all the teasing of the day, it didn't take long before he was uttering garbled cries of ecstasy and coming hard into his lover's mouth.

Panting, waiting until Lex relaxed, slumping back against the wall, Clark rocked back onto his knees, his hands still stroking Lex's haunches and down over his thighs to his pants. "Maybe we'll survive the evening, now," he murmured, trying to keep his voice steady but not quite achieving that effect.

"Hurry up, you two!" Chloe called from out in the hall. "I'm ready, and Pete's pouting because he doesn't get to whip Clark's butt in some stupid game."

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"So much for the afterglow," Lex muttered, but he was smiling. "Come on, Kent, get dressed. Don't you know you should never keep a lady waiting?"

"Quit groping each other and get out here!" Chloe yelled. "Five minutes, guys, or I swear I'm coming in after you!"

"She would too, wouldn't she?" Lex laughed. "Just leave the camera behind!" he yelled back, causing dead silence for a moment.

Clark could hear his friends laughing in the living room, and he had to join in, imagining any of their faces if they had walked in just a few moments before. "She would," he agreed, getting to his feet and tilting Lex's mouth up for a kiss that tasted like both of them.

"Now tuck yourself in so that I can get dressed, and maybe we'll make it out of here before they do decide to break down the door."

Lex pulled him back for a more thorough kiss, then stepped away to let him dress while making himself decent once more, then digging out a pair of shoes from his closet.

"Ready?" he asked as he turned to face Clark, then stilled. "God, you look amazing," he whispered, eyes running over him hungrily. "Every person there is going to hate me for having you."

"Somehow I think it'll be the other way around." A quick dip of his eyes encompassed the collar, nipple and navel rings. All in all, Lex epitomized the word sexy. "Either way, their tough luck since they aren't getting either of us."

"Shoes, shoes, shoes!" Chloe had started a chant to which Pete added the counter-part, "Food, food, food!"

"We'd better go." Clark kissed Lex again. "Save me a dance?"

"More than one," Lex promised then opened the door to brave the teenagers.

"It's about time!" Chloe said, expressing what Pete wasn't brazen enough to say. "What could..." Her voice died away and her jaw dropped as she got a good look at first Lex, then Clark. "So not fair!"

"Geez, I didn't get a reaction like that," Pete grumped, though he was surprised at how good Clark looked, Lex too.

"I dunno, maybe because she was saving the praise until we all got here? I think you look pretty good - for you," Clark grinned.

"Gee, thanks," Pete shot back, sticking his tongue out.

"Behave, guys," Chloe warned. "You all look great. Thanks, Lex." She suddenly kissed his cheek and then pretended nothing had happened, blushing. "Now can we go do the last of our shopping please? These shoes so don't go with this outfit."

Startled, Lex stared at her, but the small sign of acceptance--for Clark's sake, of course--secretly pleased him. "I'm ready whenever you are."

"You look terrific," Clark added, realizing that no one had complimented Chloe, who really did look great. Somehow he thought they might spend more of their evening protecting her from would-be suitors than anything else.

"Can we go eat now? Please?" Clark and Pete asked the question in unison from where they were slumped in the trendy but uncomfortable chairs, watching Chloe try on her tenth pair of shoes. They'd picked theirs out already, but Lex was really getting into it as well and was encouraging her!

"Oh, be quiet!" Chloe growled, glaring at them. "What do you think, Lex? These are comfortable, but I'm not quite sure they're the right look for this dress." She stood up and twirled around, frowning at her reflection.

Ignoring Clark for once, Lex eyed the shoes as well. "Noooo," he said slowly. "You're right. They just don't fit... try the silver ones again," he suggested, pointing to a pair of shoes that were nothing but heels and straps. "Or are those the ones that hurt?"

"No, the platform heel is comfortable." Chloe slipped the shoes in question back on and checked them in the mirror. "Hmmm, I think maybe."

Lex nodded. "Take the flat ones too. We can leave them in the limo, and you can change to them if your feet get too sore. You never know with new shoes."

"You never know with new shoes," Clark repeated seriously to Pete, causing them both to crack up again and earning them glares from the other two.

"You try wearing heels for a few hours and see if you're still laughing," Chloe growled, glaring daggers at the two fools.

Lex simply turned his back on them and let the weary salesgirl know that they'd made their decisions, the platinum card appearing once more to pay for the shoes and the matching evening bag for Chloe that he spotted.

"Oh, Lex... thank you!" Chloe couldn't believe this. She remembered how amazed Clark had been that she'd bought a dress for prom, and here was Lex who was actually treating her like a girl; it was a nice change.

"It was my pleasure." And to Lex's own surprise, it really was. He found that he liked Chloe for herself... if only she wasn't so damn inquisitive, making her a danger to Clark's secret.

"Does that mean we can leave now, Imelda and Imelda Jr.?" Pete asked, though his eyes were on Chloe's legs and how long the heels made them look. If only they didn't make her taller then he was too...

Ignoring Pete entirely, Lex offered Chloe his arm and led her out of the store to the waiting limo, though he did check to make sure that Clark was following. "Perfect timing. I made the reservations at the restaurant for nine, and we'll get there just a little before that."

"So we won't have long to wait, great." Chloe hated waiting in crowded restaurant lobbies, which all seemed to have been designed to make people as uncomfortable as possible.

"Wait?" Lex stared at her. "Right, not long at all." He wondered what it was like to have to wait for a table. When he got to a restaurant, no matter what time he'd reserved for, if he'd reserved at all, there was always a table ready for him.

Still snickering with Pete about the shoe expedition, Clark slid down onto the seat next to Lex, reaching out to take his hand once the driver closed the door behind them. "So, where are we going to eat?"

"Lemarvin Bistro," Lex replied, enjoying the expressions on their faces. It was the in restaurant for upper class youth, had been for years. "It was one of my favorites a few years back, and I still enjoy going when I can. Besides, it's not far from Transience. Most of the people there will be heading over to the club afterward. It's just part of the experience."

"Wow, I thought you had to reserve way ahead to get in there," Chloe said, impressed. "I guess being a Luthor has its perks, huh." She ignored Pete's sour expression.

"Actually, it has more to do with the owner being a friend." Lex shrugged. "That and the fact that I go probably a couple times a month."

"Business or pleasure?" Clark asked before he had time to think.

"Ooo, the little green-eyed monster rears his head..." Chloe whispered to Pete.

"For the food, although we fucked a few times years ago. We made better friends than lovers though, and he's been with the same guy for almost two years now." Lex turned to face Clark, blue eyes searching green. "I'm only interested in one person for pleasure, Clark."

That really wasn't the answer Clark had wanted to hear, and though he supposed he should be glad that Lex was being honest with him, he wasn't. "Sorry, shouldn't have asked," he muttered, trying to shake off the mood and mostly succeeding.

"I won't lie to you, Clark," Lex warned softly, the other two in the car momentarily forgotten. "You know I have a history, and I was wild in my teens. I fucked most of the people I knew and a lot that I didn't," he said crudely, wanting to make his point. "But I never loved any of them. The closest I came was Victoria, and that was more being in love with the idea of being in love. Until you. You're the only person I've ever made love with."

"Oh." Feeling suddenly very ashamed, Clark ducked his head even as he drew Lex closer to him, curling himself around the older man as much as possible. "I'm sorry, it was a stupid thing to say, but thank you for telling the truth; I'd rather find things out from you than from someone else."

Pete was looking uncomfortable again and was watching the scenery out the window with almost obsessive interest while Chloe smiled tenderly.

Lex nodded and kissed him lightly, trying not to make the other teenagers uncomfortable. Since he was already halfway there, he shifted until he was comfortably sprawled across Clark's lap, his arms resting atop his lover's. "Much better," he said happily. "Pity we're almost at the restaurant."

Chloe snapped a picture of them, using the digital camera she'd brought into the limo. Seeing their expressions, she laughed. "Don't worry, guys, I'm not planning to bring it into the club. I just had a feeling that there might be a few more photo ops along the way."

"Why do I have the feeling that we're going to be buying you a lot of new memory cards for that thing?" Clark asked, his relief making him grin.

"Because you don't want to be the headline story for the Torch?" Pete asked, innocently.

Suddenly picturing the Torch with a rainbow banner and pink triangles above a photograph of him and Clark, Lex snorted out a laugh. "As long as we don't end up on the Wall of Weird."

"Nah, you're not nearly weird enough for that," Chloe laughed. "Although I'm thinking of starting another wall for pin up boys." She smiled toothily, making Lex laugh again.

"If you leave me off of it, my feelings are going to be seriously hurt," Pete stated before laughing when Chloe took a shot of him.

"Just so long as there are no weird altars to any of us, pin us up," Clark added, shaking his head at the memory of Amy's crush on Lex and what her brother had done to try and make it real.

Lex shuddered at the reminder. "Only in Smallville," he muttered, slouching a little more so he could rest his head against Clark's shoulder. "But you'll have to get a good shot of Clark in this outfit if you're doing that. It actually does him justice." He unconsciously petted Clark, a hand gliding over the smooth mesh of his shirt.

"Here we go, dissing my clothes again." Clark's tone may have been aggrieved, but his grin gave him away.

"Well, there's so much about them to dis--" Pete began, ducking when Clark aimed a half-hearted smack in his direction.

"Boys! Behave!" Chloe laughed, smacking them both but stopping short of including Lex in that. "I think we're here."

"Yes, the car stopping is a pretty good clue," Lex replied dryly, his usual sarcasm rising to the fore, but he smiled at her as he said it. Reluctantly, he slid off Clark's lap and got out of the limo, then waited as the others joined him. "Okay, folks, here we go!"

For that, Chloe did smack Lex, and Clark didn't raise a hand in his defense.

"God, I want dessert, but I'm stuffed." Staring at the plate in front of him, his mother's admonishments to finish his meals ringing in his ears, Clark gave up. He'd never seen so much food in one place before, not that the servings were large, but the sheer variety of it all. Thank god he'd gotten a taste of this kind of food at Lex's, or he'd really have felt stupid.

Chloe was watching him with awe. "I really can't believe you actually ate all that. Maybe you should be on the Wall of Weird after all! Geez, all the stories about teenage boys are true after all."

"They have good appetites," Lex said blandly, his expression innocent.

Pete just about choked on his soda at hearing that. "TMI, man," he muttered, shaking his head.

"It would have been rude not to," Clark shrugged, wondering how much give there was in his pants and hoping the leather stretched a little or he was going to be having a serious problem when it came time to move.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it. That was the whole idea. And now we can just have some coffee--cappuccino when I actually ask for cappuccino!--and relax for a bit before we go. It's still too early to hit the club." Without even realizing he was doing it, he covered one of Clark's hands with his own, linking their fingers.

"Coffee does sound good," Chloe agreed even though she'd eaten the least of any of them. "And once again, thank you, Lex."

"You're welcome... and let's just take the thanks as given, okay? You really don't need to thank me for every single thing."

Early? Clark glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost eleven. This was early in Metropolis? Guess it went with sleeping with - no, fucking whomever you pleased and getting needles poked into parts of your body that he didn't want to think of, well, unless it was Lex looking like he did now.

"So we should send you a note when we get home?" Pete asked, trying to maintain a serious expression.

Lex laughed. "Only if you're trying to impress your parents. It's not like this is torture for me, you know. And I'm definitely getting something out of it too."

"We noticed," Chloe, replied blandly before giggling when Clark turned bright red.

Taking pity on Clark's embarrassment, Lex turned the conversation to more general topics, and they chatted until they were done with their coffee.

"All right, everybody ready to go?" Lex rose to his feet, feeling himself start to turn on as he got into the clubbing mindset. "It's party time."

Chloe got up eagerly, looking forward to this. She could hardly wait to tell everyone at school about this... and her old friends in Metropolis were going to turn green when she wrote them about it. "Yes!"

"Far be it from me to stand in the way of a woman and a club," Clark laughed.

"Or shoes!" That earned Pete another smack, and he winced theatrically. "Such abuse!"

"Watch it or I swear I'll stuff you in the trunk," Chloe warned darkly. "What do you say, Lex, wanna run away with me?" Lex chuckled. "Someone might have something to say about that."

"Someone might catch you before you go two feet," Clark responded blithely.

"You stuff me in the trunk, I'll tell Lex how you stuffed your bra in seventh grade!" Pete added.

"Pete!" Chloe turned redder than even Clark had ever managed, squawked, and smacked her former friend.

"Don't worry about it," Lex advised, an arm around Clark's waist. "Considering how you look now, no one would care." He shook his head at Pete pityingly, already knowing Chloe well enough to know that when the young man least expected it, he would pay for that comment.

"And as for you," he glanced at Clark out the corner of his eye, "sounds like you want a leash to go with the collar."

"It depends on how you behave." Clark's eyes sparkled, and he ran a hand up the back of Lex's shirt to tug on his collar.

Pete was pleading with Chloe to forgive him, probably out of a sense of self-preservation, but it didn't seem to be working too well.

Giving the other teenager a look that promised retribution, Chloe moved up to Lex's side and took hold of his free arm. "Behave for a few minutes, guys, at least long enough to get inside."

Lex shot her a grin, and then looked back at Clark. "Getting dommy on me, Kent? It's kind of hot," he teased, licking Clark's chin. "But you heard the lady; it's time to go inside. Come on, Pete," he called, looking back. "This is no time to get lost."

Neither Clark nor Pete noticed much about the trip into the club, other than there was a long line that they didn't have to stand in, bouncers who didn't card them, and a lot of people scowling at them. Clark was concentrating too hard on not thinking about what Lex had just said, and Pete was too concerned about when and how Chloe was going to get him back.

A table opened up as if by magic once they reached the upper level, and Clark sank gratefully to the horseshoe-shaped bench seat, looking up when a waitress appeared, also as if by magic. Maybe it was magic - Luthor magic.

"Any chance of getting a beer?" Pete asked, glancing at Lex, then at his friends.

"One beer," Lex said emphatically. He wasn't hypocritical enough to forbid underage drinking, but he wasn't going to let them get drunk when they were technically in his care. "Two hours between drinks," he instructed the waitress, knowing his orders would be passed on. "I'll have scotch, my usual. Clark, Chloe?"

Deciding to live dangerously, Chloe ordered a pink lady. She had no idea what was in it, but she liked the name.

"Just a Coke, thanks." Clark really didn't know what would happen if he got drunk, didn't even know if he could get drunk considering the time that he and Pete had swiped a container of hard cider from the cellar and drank it down. Pete had ended up puking his guts out, but Clark had merely felt a little disconnected.

Nearly at a loss as to which beer to order and doubting the club had the swill they drank when they were out at the lake, Pete froze.

"And a Guinness for Mr. Ross," Lex said smoothly.

The waitress nodded and vanished.

"It's one of the better dark ales, but speak up if you don't like it. We can try other types till we find one you like."

Lex was pressed against Clark from shoulder to knee and loving every second of it, but he was trying to restrain himself so as not to embarrass Clark's friends... although he was starting to think that Chloe might be more turned on than embarrassed.

Chloe managed to stay patient until the waitress brought their drinks, but after everyone had taken their first sip, Pete apparently deciding that the ale was to his liking, she grinned at the three men.

"So? Who's going to ask me to dance first?"

"I rather think that qualifies as you asking, but sure," Lex chuckled, standing up. She wasn't his first choice of dance partners, but maybe if they danced with her now, someone else would notice and keep her busy for the rest of the night so he and Clark could concentrate on each other.

"I'm next," Clark called out, though he didn't specify which of them he was talking about."

Lex heard Clark's call and smiled, then had to wonder if he'd meant him or Chloe.

"Don't frown, I'm pretty sure he was talking to you," Chloe said, moving in front of Lex as they found a clear spot on the dance floor. For some reason how good a dancer he was surprised her, but she was enjoying herself with him. "Pity Clark got you first."

Lex appeared momentarily startled and then an open smile curved his lips. "I'd never keep up with you, Chloe... but if not for Clark, I might be tempted to try."

Pete watched Lex lead Chloe down the stairs and out onto the dance floor and took a drink. "Don't you even think about asking me, got it?" he asked, giving Clark a look that hinted at sudden death if that happened.

"I know how you dance; you think I want broken feet?"

Pete scowled at Clark, but his expression turned uncomfortable. "You're really going to dance with him? Clark, that's so... so--"

"Gay?" Clark asked, his smile vanishing as he studied Pete seriously. "Well, that's what I am, I guess, or bi anyway."

"God, Clark, he's a Luthor! How could you..." He glared from his friend to the man dancing with Chloe. "Look what his father did to my family, to Smallville.

"Besides, do you really want everyone at school thinking of you as queer? Geez, Clark, I'm on the team!"

"Excuse me for fucking with your rep!" Clark drained his Coke, glaring at Pete. "So you're worried that if it gets out about me and Lex, that the guys will think you're a fag too?"

"Jesus, that's it, isn't it? It's not about me or the fact that Lex is a god-forsaken Luthor; it's about what problems this might cause you!"

Pete looked more and more horrified as Clark grew angrier, and the worst part was that he couldn't entirely deny it.

"Clark... I... Fuck!" Pete took a huge gulp of his beer. "Look, yeah, I don't want everyone to cut me dead when I'm finally getting to be one of the popular guys, but what about you?

"You're going to let Luthor fuck you for a while, you'll be totally out in school, and then what're you going to do when the billionaire goes back to Metropolis? He's different, Clark."

Clark's gaze grew troubled at that, but only for a second. "First of all, I don't let him fuck me; I want him to just like he wants me to fuck him, and want to know why? Because we love each other. If that makes me totally out, well, maybe it'll also show me who my real friends are.

"As for Lex, when he goes back to Metropolis, we'll work it out."

Pete opened his mouth to say something else, but when he met the resolute expression in the green eyes, he knew that if he pushed this any further, he'd be less a friend. "I hope so, Clark, for your sake." And remembering some of the looks between the two, he realized that maybe it was true.

"I can take care of myself, Pete," Clark said quietly, hoping that indeed was true.

He raised his head and looked out toward the dance floor. Watching Lex and Chloe dancing, Clark tried not to be jealous. It was stupid; Chloe was one of his best friends and Lex was his boyfriend, but he couldn't help himself, especially when the crowd out there pushed them together, and many of the other dancers seemed to be eyeing Lex hungrily.

The waitress returned, and deciding to test whether he really could get drunk or not, Clark ordered a rum and Coke, downing the rest of Lex's scotch while he waited for his own drink.

"Hey, you sure you should be doing that?" Pete asked, frowning a little.

"Don't worry, if anything happens, Lex will take care of it."

"Yeah, but he's being pretty cool about buying us drinks at all. Getting drunk and getting him in trouble would be shitty." Pete might not like the guy, but he had to be fair. "Besides, I thought you had... plans, and that won't work if you're too drunk." He couldn't believe he was saying this, but Clark was pretty strong. He'd be hard to keep out of trouble if he got drunk.

The waitress returned with his drink, and Clark tossed it back, grimacing a little at the taste. "Gee, Pete, I thought you didn't like Lex. What's next? You wanting to dance with him too?"

"As if!" Pete punched him in the shoulder, making a disgusted face. Then he spotted a woman sitting at a table on the other side of the dance floor, and his whole face lit up. "See ya, Clark!" And he was gone, beer in hand.

Lex noticed Pete as he passed not too far away, and he glanced back to check on Clark. He was surprised to find a frowning gaze fixed on him and Chloe and wondered what had caused it.

"Clark's on his own back there. Mind if we cut this dance short?"

Chloe started to agree when another guy cut between her and Lex, smiling down at her. "Actually, Lex, I'll catch you later."

Laughing, Lex headed back for the table and Clark, sliding in beside him. "Looks like it's just you and me now... finally."

"Have fun out there?" Clark was pissed, and he really couldn't say why. It wasn't rational, but what about this whole thing was rational? He was a fifteen- (soon to be sixteen, thank god) year-old super-powered alien from some unknown world sent to Earth for some unknown purpose, raised by a couple of farmers in Kansas and who now was sleeping with the heir to one of the largest fortunes in the world.

That pretty much defined irrational, so maybe it was okay to act like this. To act pissed because he'd seen the way the club kids watched Lex as he'd walked with Chloe out onto the dance floor. The knowing 'had him, enjoyed him, ready to do it again' looks that had him on the edge of his seat and ready to commit mayhem in a public place. Okay, maybe he could get drunk, because he definitely wasn't feeling normal, and that was the only thing he could pin it on: Lex's scotch and his damn rum and Coke.

The tone of Clark's question had Lex's eyebrows rising, and he turned to face Clark, even more surprised when he smelled the alcohol on his breath. Reaching for his own drink, he frowned when he found the glass empty. Searching silvery-blue eyes rose to meet Clark's gaze. "Okay, love, what's wrong? I left you laughing less than ten minutes ago, and now you've apparently had two drinks and are angry about something. What gives?"

"They were..." Clark clenched his jaw, almost unable to say the words. "Watching you, like they knew you." He turned his dark gaze toward the dance floor, staring hard at one couple in particular because they had both looked at Lex a little too intimately.

Lex really didn't know what to say; it still surprised him when Clark evidenced jealousy since no one had ever felt like that about him before. "I... They probably did. But I'm here with you, and I love you. I wish I could wipe out the past for you, Clark, but I can't." Not caring who was watching, he turned, half kneeling on the seat with a hand on Clark's shoulder for balance, and kissed him.

Desperate hands grabbed at Lex, circling his back and pulling him closer while Clark assaulted the older man's mouth, proving to himself that all he could taste there was Lex and himself and the scotch, and... Better, this was better. They could look, but they'd better not touch, or they might find themselves pulling back a bloody stump because this was Metropolis; this kind of thing probably happened every day.

Still breathing heavily, Clark opened his eyes, chagrin mixing with the lingering anger, slowly winning out in the battle of emotions. "I don't want you to wipe out the past," he finally whispered. "It's what makes you you. I just... Dance with me?" Normally this would have been the last thing Clark would have suggested; he just needed the other people to know that they'd better stay away from Lex tonight.

"You're the only one I do want to dance with." Lex slid back off the seat, keeping hold of Clark's hand as he did, then led him out onto the dance floor. Unlike when he'd danced with Chloe, with Clark he pressed close, arms around his lover, bodies molded together from chest to knees.

As they started to move to the music, Lex gasped as the chain suspended from his nipple rings caught in the mesh of Clark's shirt with every movement, tugging at his sensitive flesh. If he wasn't careful, he might just come right there on the dance floor before the night was done!

Relaxing into and against Lex, Clark let himself move to the music, his limbs acquiring a fluidity that he'd never experienced at any of the high school dances he'd gone to, simply because all he was concentrating on was Lex.

His arms were around Lex's shoulders, one hand stroking the back of his head and the other the smooth leather of his collar, and Lex was his, damnit! Who cared about what had happened before; now was all that mattered. "I'm sorry," he sighed, leaning in to rub his face against Lex's. "Don't know what happened, I was just so... mad..."

Lex's hands cupped Clark's ass as they moved to the music. "Well, honestly, Clark, it turns me on to know you're possessive of me," he admitted, grinding his erection into Clark's groin. "Just so long as you don't start thinking I'm going to leave you or something."

"I wasn't worried about you, just them..." It didn't make any sense, even to himself, so Clark gave up trying to explain it and concentrated on the way Lex was moving against him. God, how did people keep from getting arrested dancing like this? "And... it does?" The answer was pretty obvious as it was poking him in the hip, and he grinned.

"Smartass." Lex shook his head sadly. "What is today's youth coming to?" He could feel Clark's hardness against him, and he was seriously considering dragging him off to the men's room. He didn't know if it was the collar or Clark's jealousy or what, but tonight he wanted to give up all control and give himself to Clark. Moaning softly, he pressed closer, one hand rising to press Clark's into the collar.

"I don't know, but I like whatever it is," Clark rasped. His fingers skittered from the black leather to Lex's throat and back, scratching lightly at the two different textures. His head dipped lower, and then he was mouthing the flesh just above the collar, nipping and sucking at it until the reddish bruise stood out in contrast to the dark hide and fair skin.

Shivering, Lex's head fell back, giving Clark full access to his throat, and he clung to his lover for support. Somehow they were still dancing--or at least shuffling in place to the music--but Lex was barely aware of it. All that he was conscious of was Clark and the lust surging through his veins.

"Mine, mine, mine, mine," Clark chanted, dragging his lips along the heated flesh and beginning to go to work on the other side of Lex's neck. He worked one hand between them, catching and experimentally tugging at the chain between Lex's nipple piercings, and - oh my god - if he thought Lex had been hot before, he was an inferno now.

Lex let out a cry that was thankfully drowned out by the music, and his entire body shook when Clark pulled at the chain. It was as if it was connected straight to his groin--and maybe when they got back to the apartment Lex would do just that, showing Clark some of his other piercings.

"Oh god," he rasped, blind silver eyes staring up at the ceiling as Clark drove him out of his mind. One leather-clad leg rose to curl around Clark's hip, pulling him even closer, and he gave up all pretense of dancing.

Definite buzz now, enough that Clark didn't care that they were out in public, didn't care that his friends were somewhere nearby, only cared about hearing Lex make that needy sound again and feeling his response.

"Like that?" he whispered into Lex's ear before licking the small lobe and sucking it into his mouth. "Want me to do it again?"

"Yes!" Lex raised his head to stare avidly at Clark, lips parted as he panted, the tip of his tongue moistening them while he rubbed against Clark.

Several people watched with interest, amazed to see Lex Luthor practically begging for it in the middle of the dance floor. He hadn't allowed anyone to dominate him in years, and yet right now it looked like he would let the stranger fuck him right there.

Grinning like he'd just been given the best present ever, Clark hooked a finger around the thin chain and tugged on it, pulling it tight every time Lex ground against him until he wasn't sure who was leading and who was following in that particular dance; all he knew was that it felt damn good and he was dying to be in Lex.

Wondering what was going on on the other part of the dance floor because it seemed to be drawing a lot of interest, Chloe let her partner pull her closer to the action.

"Mmm, wonder where Luthor found that one and if there are any more there," she heard one woman murmur to another and groaned. Clark and Lex, it had to be. She stood on tiptoe, looking for Pete to try and help her get their friends out of the spotlight, but what she saw instead of him sent her heart plummeting.

A camera. One of the people in the inner circle had a camera, and it was trained on Clark and Lex.

Lex was vaguely aware of their audience, but he really didn't care. All he wanted was for Clark to keep touching him, keep teasing him. He let his leg slide back down so they could 'dance' a bit more, then worked the other one up around Clark's hip, whimpering almost soundlessly as their cocks aligned.

His head had fallen back again as Clark tugged on the platinum chain, making his back arch, when a sudden flash of light brought his head up sharply to look to one side.

"Fuck!"

"Wha?" Clark lifted his head from the older man's throat in confusion. Did Lex really want to do that out here? He may have been buzzed, but that was a little much...

There was a flash, that made him blink, and suddenly Chloe and Pete were there, acting as a human barricade.

"I think you guys are attracting a bit too much attention," Chloe hissed while glaring over her shoulder at the crowd.

"I think the term is 'get a room if you don't want to be in the paper'!" Pete added.

Before Lex could do anything, and he definitely would have taken care of it to protect Clark, the guy had disappeared into the crowd and made his escape. "Damnit! He got away. Fuck! We'd better hope that he figures he can get more for it as blackmail material than from one of the gossip rags." Lex glared after the vanished man, everyone in the path of his gaze melting away, suddenly finding a need to be elsewhere, then sighed and turned back to Clark.

"No reason to let it spoil our night though since there's nothing we can do about it. Though maybe we should turn the heat down a little."

"Blackmail? Oh, god, Lex, I'm sorry." Clark's expression crumpled in misery before he forced himself to recover. Letting the jerk get to him would ruin everyone's night, but, man, if he ever got his hands on that guy or his camera...

"I see a lot of groups dancing; how about we all stick together?" Chloe asked, insinuating herself between Clark and Lex to try and act as insulation between them.

Lex gave her a dirty look, but he had to admit, if only to himself, that she had the right idea. He and Clark were still too new to be trusted in public since they couldn't seem to keep their hands off each other. At least he could be amused by Pete's transparent attempts to keep both Clark and Chloe between himself and Lex.

"Hold that thought, love. We'll continue it later." He leaned around Chloe to kiss Clark lightly.

"Later, yeah." The crowd around them slowly dispersed, and while Clark tried to enjoy dancing with his friends, it wasn't quite the same as it had been before they were interrupted. Pete and Chloe kept up a running line of chatter, yelling to be heard over the music, and both were hoarse by the time they decided to call it quits for the evening.

Lex had never been so grateful to leave a club in his life. He didn't care how rude it was; he pushed Clark into the limo first and followed after him, leaving Pete and Chloe to follow. By the time they made inside, he was already sitting in Clark's lap, kissing him as hungrily as if they'd been apart for a decade.

"Is there any way I can sit up front?" Pete moaned from where he was poised, half in and half out of the limo.

"And leave me alone with them back here? Not a chance!" Chloe grabbed him by the arm and yanked him inside.

"Lex..." Clark really wasn't up to protesting, though he tried to contain his boyfriend's actions by wrapping his arms around Lex and holding him still. "Pictures, remember?" The limo door was still open, and all they needed was some other jerk taking photos of them, though if anyone did, their camera was going to be history.

The driver shut the door behind Pete, and Lex shrugged. "One way glass. Besides, he already got a picture, so one more or less isn't really going to matter. If my choices are kissing you and having my picture taken or not kissing you and no picture, guess which I choose?"

Clark opened his mouth to respond, but Chloe and Pete beat him to it. "Kissing him," they chorused, so Clark shrugged and did as they suggested, brushing his lips against Lex's while Chloe watched and Pete pointedly looked the other way.

"Don't worry, I'm not planning to jump you right here in front of your friends," Lex murmured, nibbling and sucking on Clark's adam's apple. "I'll just... make myself comfortable till we get back to the penthouse."

"And have me jumping you if you keep that up," Clark muttered. He let his head rest on the leather seat and, though tempted to shut his eyes, kept them open, giving his friends a 'what can I do?' expression as they snickered.

"You make a cute couple," Chloe said, snickering. "If you do get that picture, I'd love to get a copy."

Lex twisted around to glare at her but, meeting her unrepentant gaze, had to grin. "I'll have it framed for you."

"What?" The idea that Chloe might have a picture of him and Lex looking like--god, like something out of a porn video--was distressing to say the least. "You're kidding, right?"

"Why? We looked damn good tonight, Clark. And I certainly wouldn't mind a reminder; I enjoyed it. I just don't want you embarrassed."

"Yeah, you guys were sizzling," Chloe chimed in. "That's definitely one for the pin up wall."

"That's it!" Pete started banging on the divider between the passenger area and the driver. "Let me up there, or I'm going to walk the rest of the way!"

"Oh, stop it!" Chloe smacked Pete's arm, giving him a dirty look. "You don't start grabbing for exits when Lana and Whitney coo at each other... although that I would understand! So stop trying to make Lex and Clark feel guilty for wanting to be together."

Lex wondered if Chloe would prefer a red or black Porsche.

Looking out the window to avoid blushing at the look Pete was giving him, Clark spotted the familiar sign of the golden arches. "Hey, Mickey D's! Can we go through the drive-through?"

"Fries?" Pete asked, suddenly looking a bit more interested in being there.

"Mmmm, sounds good. What's a night out if you don't end it with greasy fast food?" Lex pressed the intercom to let the driver know their plans, and the limo turned toward the drive-through. "And a vanilla shake."

"Chocolate here!" Chloe added, while Clark and Pete added their orders for food and drinks, orders that ended up being a lot more substantial than fries.

By the time they pulled out of the drive-through, laden down with paper bags and drink trays, Clark was holding a fry in front of Lex's mouth, teasing him with it.

Lex stared from the offered fry to Clark's lips, and his eyes grew heavy-lidded as he leaned forward and delicately nibbled at it. He worked his way up it until he could draw the fingers into his mouth, sucking every bit of grease and salt off them.

"I'm never going to be able to look at fries the same way again," Pete muttered in Chloe's ear, though he was growing morbidly fascinated by the display going on in front of them. Who would have thought Clark had it in him! Of course, that led to a visual that he just really didn't want to consider, and he winced.

Clark sat there, eyes half closed, breath hitching in his chest, while Lex fellated his fingers, feeling the warmth of his earlier buzz coming back even though he hadn't had anything to drink for hours. Reaching up with his free hand, he caught the chain strung across Lex's chest and pulled it taut, feeling the shudder that ran through the older man's body as he did so.

"God!" Lex's back arched, and his fingers clenched in Clark's shirt, their erections pressed together between them. "Clark, please!" he moaned, eyes focused feverishly on his lover's.

Chloe didn't know whether to be happy or annoyed that the limo arrived at the apartment building at that moment. Happy was probably the safer choice considering she had to look at Clark in the morning and face his parents, and there was no way she could do that after seeing... whatever they were going to do.

"Okay, boys, can you hold out for five minutes until we get upstairs?" A quick glance at Pete told her he was praying they could. "Come on, let go of each other long enough to get upstairs, then you can lock your door, and we'll put earplugs in."

Dragging his eyes away from Clark, Lex looked over at the other two. "Soundproof." He peeled himself away from Clark with as much enthusiasm as he would if he'd been peeling his own skin from his body. "Come on," he growled. "This time you're going to finish what you started!"

Lex, Chloe and Pete were all out of the limo before Clark could get his brain to function again, and he tumbled out after them, feeling more like a lagging puppy than the... whatever he had been who had made Lex Luthor act like that.

Luckily there was an elevator open in the lobby, and Clark spent the ride up to the penthouse trying to keep his hands off Lex because, as tolerant as Chloe and, to some extent, Pete, had been, stripping him down and licking him all over in front of them might be crossing the line.

Or Chloe might want to take pictures.

Clark wasn't sure which disturbed him more.

The moment they got inside the apartment, Lex yelled goodnight over his shoulder to Pete and Chloe, grabbed Clark by the wrist, and dragged him into the bedroom. He slammed the door shut behind him and turned to face Clark, breathing heavily and his tight leather pants showing beyond a doubt that his arousal had not abated at all. "You'd better be ready to finish what you started this time."

Shivering, both turned on and frightened by how much Lex wanted and by how much he needed to be the one to give Lex this, Clark nodded before placing one hand on Lex's waist and pulling him to him by the chain across his chest.

The high-pitched whine that drew from Lex was clearly audible this time without music to mask it, and Lex bit his lip, almost uneasy at how much he needed Clark. This really wasn't his usual thing... but then what was usual about his relationship with Clark? His hands curled around Clark's arms, waiting to see what he would do.

"Take your shirt off," Clark whispered, all the while chanting to himself, You can do this, you can do this. It wasn't that he didn't want Lex. God, that was the problem itself: he just wanted to wind himself around and under and on top of the other man, but tonight... tonight that wasn't what was needed.

His eyes a lambent silver, Lex stared at Clark, chin rising defiantly as he challenged him. "Make me." He hooked his thumbs into his waistband, one hip outthrust, looking like an enticement to sin.

Make me? Green eyes widened for a fraction of a second before Clark got himself under control again, trying to out-think the most brilliant mind he knew of. Maybe... Shrugging, he let the chain fall from his fingertips and stepped back away from Lex, acting as if it was the easiest thing in the world to do while in fact his body was cursing him fluently.

He learned fast. Lex smiled faintly and straightened up as he shrugged his shirt off, then stood in front of Clark, waiting again. No matter how much he wanted this, it wasn't in him to simply offer up his soft underside.

God, Clark thought, this would be so much easier if he didn't have to think, but maybe... There was a decanter of liquor on the dresser, probably brought in this morning by whoever cleaned the place up for Lex and his guests. Leaving the older man standing where he was, Clark walked over to it, pulled out the crystal stopper, and took a gulp, though the effect was somewhat squandered when he almost choked on the burn.

Lex moved closer to kiss him, savoring the mingled flavors of Clark and fine brandy. "Mmmm, I may never enjoy my brandy straight again." He rubbed against Clark, gasping when the chain again caught in the mesh of the shirt, tugging at his tender nipples.

"That's what it was?" The question drew a smile from Lex, one Clark returned before setting the bottle back down and raising both hands to his chest. His thumbs circled over Lex's nipples, following the curve of the rings threaded through them, then down along the fine links of the chain.

Shivering with each minute shift of the deceptively delicate platinum, Lex again allowed his head to fall back and let himself fall into the heat growing inside him. Wanting to forget the interruptions, he raised a leg around Clark's waist, recreating their position of earlier that night, their erections rubbing together while he squirmed against his lover.

Unable to keep both hands between them and help support Lex, Clark slid one out and wrapped his arm around Lex's back, skin to skin, and pulled Lex even tighter against his chest. Maybe, maybe he could think of this as a giant game of freeze tag, but instead of touches, he'd use words; it had worked before, man, had it worked, and suddenly Clark wanted to see Lex like that again.

Raising his head from where he'd been mauling Lex's throat above the collar, Clark gave the chain a sharp tug to get his attention. He knew he was blushing, but he managed to keep his voice steady - something that surprised him. "Take off your pants now, Lex. I want to see all of you."

Reluctant only because it meant having to move away from Clark long enough to finish undressing, Lex latched onto his mouth for another mind-drugging kiss before stepping back. Lower lip caught between his teeth, chest heaving, eyes never leaving Clark's face, he carefully unfastened the buttons of his pants, moaning as his fingers brushed his aching erection.

Turning slightly to the side to give Clark a good view of him, he bent over to peel the leather pants down and kicked them off. Done, he stood up, again facing Clark directly, wearing only the overflowing black silk thong in addition to the collar and jewelry.

Crossing his arms over his chest to keep from grabbing Lex and dragging him closer, Clark backed up until he was leaning against the opposite wall. "All of it, Lex."

Staring at Clark, sure he could see the hard little nipples through the mesh of his shirt, it took Lex a moment to register Clark's words. He moistened his lips again, a shiver running through him as Clark's eyes fixed on his tongue, then hooked his thumbs under the thong and drew it down, leaving himself naked. He raised a hand to the collar, a questioning look in his eyes.

"Not that!" Clark's tone was so sharp it shocked even him, but the sight of Lex standing there, pale flesh, dark leather and bright jewelry... it made his gut twist.

"I want..." he paused, swallowing harshly, trying to keep his voice level, "to see you touch yourself."

"God, Clark..." Lex's voice caught, and he shuddered visibly, his cock jumping and more precome dripping down the length. He wrapped a hand around himself, shivering again, and slowly dragged it up and down a few times. "I'm not..." gasp, "going to be able t-to hold on very long." He had to lean against the dresser behind him, his legs barely able to hold him up.

Resisting the urge to crawl over to Lex and lick the length of his erection, Clark shrugged. "Then I'll just have to get you hard again before I... fuck you." The last part didn't come out as naturally as the first, but Clark was proud of himself for simply saying it.

Lex's eyes widened, the blunt phrase ripping through him, and his erection twitched again. Unable to hold back any longer, he fisted his cock, hand jerking up and down rapidly, and he wailed Clark's name as he came, his semen splashing his belly and running down in milky rivulets, only the dresser behind him holding him up.

Oh god. Clark's own cock was aching, and he rubbed a hand over the soft leather of his pants, moaning quietly while he watched Lex collapse against the dresser, all sweat and semen and post-orgasm lethargy. Okay, there were some things a guy just couldn't resist.

Zipping forward, he was on his knees and licking Lex's come off his body in the blink of an eye, pausing only to run his tongue over and around the curved barbell piercing his lover's belly-button.

Whimpering at the stimulation, Lex slumped forward, his hands braced against Clark's shoulders, his cock still half-hard thanks to the sexy teenager currently driving him out of his mind. "Bed, please," he panted, knowing that his knees were going to refuse to support him much longer.

"What if I want you to collapse here?" Clark asked, looking up at Lex from his kneeling position, his eyes dancing with lust and merriment. Lex whimpered, and Clark loved that sound, but he capitulated, giving one long lick up the length of Lex's cock before standing and lifting the older man into his arms.

"I like you like this," he murmured, walking them both over to the bed and laying Lex down on the gray and black patterned spread. "All boneless and relaxed, like the only thing you have to care about in the world is me."

"You are the only thing I care about," Lex replied, heavy-lidded eyes opening partially as he smiled up at the still fully dressed teenager who was staring at him so possessively. Arching his back slightly to entice Clark to join him, he licked his licks suggestively.

Clark's tongue traced over his own lips in an unconscious mimicry of Lex's, and he crawled up onto the bed until he was straddling the older man on his hands and knees, still staring at his mouth. Dark bedspread, dark leather and mesh and pale, pale Lex skin, shining like a beacon under him.

"You glow," he murmured, dipping his head to lap at a taut nipple. "You light up the night for me."

As if from a distance, Lex heard a whimper, and he suddenly realized it was coming from him... and didn't care at all. He arched his back more, pushing his chest more firmly against Clark's lips, his fingers finding their way beneath the mesh top to clutch at his lover's hips. He moved beneath Clark, arousal once again thrumming through him despite his recent climax, still eager to feel Clark against him.

"Taste so good. I could lick you all night..." Switching his attention to the other nipple by way of following the sinuous curve of the chain against Lex's chest, Clark purred. He could feel Lex's hands on his lower back, and arched up into the pressure before sitting up and feeling them fall away.

"Now my shirt."

Dear god, Clark wanted him to move? To actually make his pleasure-softened muscles move in a coordinated manner? Lex shot him a glance of disbelief, but Clark simply waited. Slowly, every movement requiring concentrated thought, Lex sat up, his legs still outstretched between Clark's thighs, and moved clumsy fingers to grasp the hem of the shirt. He drew it upward, his eyes focusing on the tanned flesh being bared, and he had to lick at one pebbled nipple as it became exposed. Suddenly eager, he yanked the shirt the rest of the way off, Clark helping by bending forward, arms outstretched, until he had tossed the offending garment behind him.

Clark swayed, ready to lean in and rub himself all over Lex, but there were still the damn pants to deal with. Straightening up, he caught Lex's hand and drew it to the waistband of his skin-tight trousers. "Now these."

Oh yes, the pants, nice as they were, had to go NOW so that Lex could get to the naked flesh hidden beneath them. Unconsciously licking his lips again, he managed to get the leather buttons undone with admirable speed considering his lack of higher brain functions, and he pulled the pants down as far as they would go in Clark's current position, immediately sliding down the bed to take Clark's erection into his mouth. As good as that felt, Clark knew he wasn't going to last at all if Lex began working on him, so he forced himself to stand, wincing when he lost the heat of Lex's mouth. "All the way off," he rasped, kicking out of the supple black loafers they'd picked out earlier in the evening and balancing on the bed, looking down at Lex, who was prone again.

Who'd have thought that Lex Luthor would be so turned on by lying naked on his own bed while a half-dressed teenager stood over him? But he was, and the renewed erection made it impossible to hide even had he wanted to. He pushed up to kneel in front of Clark, pulling the pants the rest of the way down and then off first one foot then the other as Clark lifted them for him.

"You're incredible," he murmured, hands gliding up the muscular thighs to curve over the mounds of his buttocks, and he leaned in, nuzzling into the patch of hair at the base of the hard shaft.

If I stopped to think about this, I'd probably die of embarrassment, Clark told himself before the sight of the hunger in Lex's blue eyes drove the thought from his mind.

"Lie back down," he murmured, waiting until Lex did just that before kneeling over him again, bowing his back to lick from just above the head of Lex's erection to the collar circling his throat. "And stay still."

"Are you kidding?" Lex demanded incredulously, back arching as he tried to get closer to Clark. He clenched his fists in the dark cover, the only way he could prevent himself from reaching for Clark. "Please, Clark," he purred, trying to make his lover do what he wanted.

"Please what?" Clark asked as he mouthed the lines of Lex's collar bone, then bit at his shoulder, leaving a pair of red half-moons and shallow indentations on the fair skin.

"P-please touch me!" Lex thrust upward, his erection grinding against Clark. "Let me touch you." He was not going to whimper, he was not... He whimpered.

Settling back on his haunches again, Clark ran his hands down Lex's chest. Calluses caught on the silvery chain, and Lex writhed under him, drawing a groan from his throat. "Yes to the first," he whispered. "No to the second." If Lex touched him now, he'd go off like a shot, and that was not how he wanted to end the night!

"God, you're trying to kill me!" Lex stared up at him, loving every moment of this even as it drove him out of his mind. He'd never trusted anyone enough to give up control like this, and it felt amazingly freeing. His fists clenched more tightly in the silky bed cover, and he squirmed, unable to remain still.

"No, just trying to make you feel good..." Shifting so that he was between Lex's legs, Clark slid his hands under Lex's hips, lifting them so that he could bite at his flat stomach and tease the warm metal and stone of his piercing. "You said... others?" Clark rasped, glancing up and sucking in a breath at the blatant need on Lex's face.

It took Lex a moment to understand Clark's words, his mind having temporarily relocated farther south. "Yeah, I have a Prince Albert and a p-pair," he stumbled over the words when Clark mouthed his navel piercing again, "of scrotum piercings."

"What's a... scrotum piercings?" Clark actually stopped what he was doing and stared at Lex, shock evident in his wide eyes and gaping mouth.

Lex had to laugh even as his body was screaming a protest at Clark no longer touching him. "A Prince Albert is through the head of my dick, and yes, scrotum piercings. When they're all linked by chains..." He shivered.

Clark had to stop himself from pressing his thighs together and letting go of Lex to cover his groin with his hands. "Chains?" God, no way. Even if he could get pierced, which he highly doubted was possible anyway, through his... there? OW!

His body still thrumming with arousal and nearly doubled over with laughter: it was one of the odder things Lex had ever felt. He let go of the covers as he sat up to press a kiss on Clark's mouth. "Told you I was wild in my teens." He shrugged. "I got them to piss off my father, but I discovered I really liked them. I'll show you how much some time... and I can promise that you'll love the Prince Albert."

Clark chuckled a bit warily at that though he was still cringing at the thought of needles and other sharp things near his crotch. Kissing Lex back, he leaned forward, pressing the older man back against the bed. "I guess you'll just have to show me it sometime then, won't you. But for now..."

Determinedly not thinking about just who had put the fresh bottle of lube in the bedside table, Clark pulled it out and squirted some of it into his palm before rubbing it over Lex's balls and back between his asscheeks.

Moaning his pleasure, Lex sank back into the haze of lust and love, letting Clark do what he wanted with him. He struggled to part his legs more, finally lifting them to twine around Clark's waist, and his hands rose to his own chest, tweaking the nipples and tugging at the chain connecting them.

"Can't wait any more..." The sight of Lex playing with himself like that proved to be too much for Clark, and he whimpered. Pressing his fingers farther back, he pushed one inside Lex's body, shuddering as the tight heat surrounded him. He added another once he felt the muscle relax some, then, as soon as Lex was moving with him, replaced them with his erection, groaning loudly as he slid in.

"Aaahhhh!" A hoarse cry of satisfaction was torn from Lex's throat as Clark finally filled him, giving him what he'd been wanting for hours. He let go of the chain to grab his knees, pulling them back to open himself still more, wanting Clark even deeper.

"God, Lex. So damn hot... make me crazy..." Clark's words were interspersed with groans and gasps as he thrust into Lex, each stroke harder and deeper then the last until he couldn't get closer.

Sounds were coming from Lex, whimpers, whines, pleas, but he didn't hear them, nor would he have cared if he had. His universe had narrowed to one fifteen-year-old alien who possessed him utterly, and he never wanted this moment to end. His eyes had fallen shut, and he forced them open again so he could watch Clark, see the pleasure contorting his features. "Love you," he rasped, his body stiffening as the sensations racing along his nerves drew to a crescendo.

"Say it again." Clark was caught up in the demands of his own body, but hearing Lex say he loved him was something he never tired of. Clinging flesh tightened around his erection as he drew back and almost out of Lex's body, then thrust forward again, feeling his balls draw up closer to his body as he fought to stave his orgasm off a little longer. One hand went to Lex's cock and the other to the chain across his chest, and Clark tugged them both at the same time to feel Lex go wild under him.

Lex screamed wordlessly, his entire body shaking with the force of the orgasm that ripped through him, and he bucked up against Clark, taking him as deep as he could go.

When he finally stopped shaking from his own climax, Clark lifted his bowed head, a somewhat smug grin pulling at the corners of his mouth. Lex still seemed very out of it, and Clark's smile grew wider. Moving carefully, he rolled to his back, bringing Lex with him, happily surprised when he didn't make a sound, just cuddled as close as he could, burrowing his head under Clark's chin.

Snuggle-bunny Lex was something Clark could really get to like.

"Mmmmmm, I think you killed me," Lex said contentedly, sweaty, sticky, and happier than he could begin to describe. "I'd love you even without the amazing sex, but it's definitely a bonus."

Clark chuckled and craned his neck to kiss the top of Lex's head, smiling when he realized that even his scalp was sweaty. "Glad to hear that - not the killed part, but the other. I may have to do this again some time; I like the cuddly side of you."

"Cuddly?!?" Lex sounded mortally offended, and his head shot up to glare at the smirking teen. "Watch it, Kent, or I'll get really creative about what you're going to have to do to work off your indenture to me." He gave him the trademark toothy grin.

"I'm terrified," Clark replied blandly. "And yes, cuddly. I was actually thinking you were quite the snuggle-bunny and that I really like it."

"Snuggle-bunny?" Lex sputtered, gaping at his clearly deranged lover. "Oh, you are gonnnnna paaaaay for that!" Lex bared his teeth in what might be a smile--on a great white--and began plotting his revenge. But he never moved from his comfortable position atop Clark, and he laid his head back down on the teen's shoulder.

"Why?" Clark was trying his hardest not to laugh. "I happen to like bunnies and snuggling with them - did I ever tell you about my pet rabbit?"

Lex groaned then kissed him, deciding it was the only way to shut him up. The only problem was that he needed to breathe a lot more than Clark did. Hmmmm. "Do you actually need to breathe?" he asked, the scientist in him popping up at unexpected moments.

"I guess." A frown wrinkled Clark's brow as he thought about it, never having seriously considered the subject before, just having taken his lungs for granted. "Want me to hold my breath and you can time me?"

"No," Lex laughed. "I just wondered. But I'd rather you kissed me than running scientific experiments."

"Now there's a first!" Clark tipped his head down and Lex's up to do as requested though this time he was distracted by the fact that Lex did have to came back up for air long before he even thought about it. "You know... this could be fun in the pool."

"Great, another advantage for the alien," Lex teased, not looking overly concerned. "Just try to keep in mind that I do have to breathe, okay. Unfortunately." Since Clark seemed a bit distracted, he started licking his shoulder, then over to his throat.

Sighing, Clark relaxed back to the bed, his head tilted to the side to allow Lex more access. "I never forget anything about you," he murmured, stroking a hand over the other man's back.

That got Lex's attention, and he stopped what he was doing to look at Clark, head cocked slightly. "You mean that literally, don't you? Hmmm, at least I won't have to worry about you forgetting an anniversary," he teased lightly, feeling remarkably giddy now.

"Yeah, I do." Clark ducked his head, feeling the familiar flush stain his cheeks and neck. "And if you want to be precise, today is our one month, two week, and six day anniversary. Whoops, it's Saturday now, make that one month, three week anniversary."

"Damn, and me without a gift for you. I'll to make up for that with something extra-special for our two-month anniversary." Lex propped his head on his folded arms, just watching Clark, something that was rapidly becoming his second-favorite activity.

Clark shrugged. "No, you don't. Besides, I got snuggle-bunny Lex for a gift tonight, and that's even better than Tickle Me Elmo in my book. Oh, and by the way, if we're talking time since we met, it's nine months, three weeks and four days." He grinned at that.

"Damn, we wasted eight months," Lex mourned, then gave Clark a dirty look. "And if you compare me to a Sesame Street character again, I swear I'll lock you in a room with them and make you read Muppet slash!"

"Muppet slash? You'd actually make me read stories about someone hacking apart Muppets for fun?" Clark look horrified. "Lex, that's wrong on so many levels."

Lex burst into laughter. "Sorry, no, Clark. Guess you haven't bothered getting around the parental controls on the net at home, huh? Slash is stories written about fictional characters having sex with each other. Same-sex sex. And it can be pretty graphic. Hell, I've learned a thing or two from it. Though not about the Muppets," he added hastily.

"Oh." Not that Clark hadn't done a little unauthorized surfing on the computer, he'd just never thought to look for this - or that it even existed. "That's... cool. But I think you're lying to me about the Muppets," he added with a grin.

"I wish I were." Lex shuddered. "Someone dared me to read it, back in my young and stupid days, so I read a whole story. I seriously considered therapy afterward. It was just wrong."

"God, yes!" The thought of Kermit and Fozzie or Big Bird and Mr. Snufalupagus... Argh! Clark moaned and turned to his side, hiding his face in his hands. "I'll never be able to turn on PBS again."

"Ah, something good has finally come of it!" Lex said gleefully. "If you want to learn about any mating habits, I'll be happy to demonstrate for you myself."

Clark shook his head violently. "I do not want to know how a frog and a bear get it on, understand?"

"Not quite the interspecies mating I was thinking of, but if that's what does it for you..." Lex teased, rolling off of him, trying to get out of reach before Clark beaned him with a pillow or something.

"You're sick!" Clark laughed, snagging Lex's ankle and hauling him bodily back onto the bed with one hand while smacking at his head and shoulders with the feather pillow he'd grabbed with the other.

"Hey, pick on someone your own size, you bully!" Lex grabbed another pillow and started whacking away at him as well, laughing so hard he could barely see.

"Baby." Clark stuck his tongue out at Lex but kept hitting at him while trying to deflect the other man's blows. "Though you are sort of puny... maybe I should do what you said..."

Instantly frowning, Lex dropped the pillow to grab at Clark. "Just forget about anything I said. You're mine now, and I'm not giving you up."

Feeling himself pulled across the bed and into Lex's arms, Clark went willingly, ending up curled around the other man, much as Lex had been around him not long before. "Silly. Like I'd ever leave you. I love you, remember?" Honestly, any concern Clark had was that the opposite would happen, that Lex would grow tired or bored and decide that he'd had enough of small town life and the small town boy who lived there.

Clark's statement hit close to the heart of Lex's worries about a teenager and first love and moving on, but he wasn't going to hasten the day that he lost Clark by saying anything or start an argument about it. "I love you too." He wrapped his arms tightly around Clark, loving the sensation of his weight pressing him into the mattress.

"But I'm incredibly sticky, and we could both use a shower."

"Do I get to carry you?" Clark asked, lifting his head and grinning down at Lex.

"I think you may have to," Lex admitted a bit sheepishly. "I'm not sure that my legs are fully functional yet."

"Really?" Clark's eyes widened, and the smug expression reappeared. Rolling off of Lex, he climbed out of the bed, then scooped the other man into his arms like a groom carrying his bride over the threshold, and wouldn't Lex love that description if he heard it.

Humming the wedding march under his breath and hoping Lex was still too out of it to recognize it, Clark carried him into the bathroom, just getting the door shut behind them before Lex let out a growl that promised severe retribution.

"Think we should go wake them up?" Chloe glanced at her watch and frowned. They had to be back in Smallville by five, and it was nearing ten, which didn't leave much time to do anything that would be considered parentally acceptable.

"You do that; I'm not going near that bedroom!" Pete answered, looking horrified. Thank God his room had been far away from the master suite. He just didn't want to think about what had been going on in there last night. As it was, he swore he'd heard a loud bang from in there just before he'd fallen asleep.

Fortunately for all of them, no one had to brave the terrors of the master bedroom since the door opened, and Clark and Lex appeared, fully dressed but somewhat flushed.

"Good morning," Lex greeted on his way toward the kitchen and some coffee. "Sorry, I don't keep much in here, so we'll have to go out to get something to eat, and we'll still have some time to see some sights if you like." "Sights like last night?" Chloe asked before giggling at Clark's blush.

"Uh, no, I think Lex meant the art museum or something, right?" Sobriety had a way of making what had happened last night seem like some wild dream, but the marks on Lex's body as well as the collar he was still wearing and Chloe's and Pete's expressions told him it had all really happened.

It was cool in a sort of embarrassing way.

"Something that you could tell your parents about without them coming after me with a twelve-gauge," Lex agreed. "Just let me get a cup of coffee, then we can head out... if you two are ready?" He realized he'd just been assuming they wanted to leave.

"We're ready!" Pete answered quickly. A quick glance at Lex revealed quite a few red marks on his neck, making him wonder just who had taken who last night and bad place, Pete. Very bad place, don't go there, okay?

"I think there's some left. Tastes better than it does at the Talon too."

Clark was already getting mugs out of the cabinet, having located them the easy way. "Maybe it's the company?"

"Or lack of it," Chloe muttered, still not Lana's number one fan even though the other girl was no longer her competition for Clark.

Lex didn't mention that it probably had something to do with the ridiculously expensive Kenyan Blue that he kept for himself versus what the Talon stocked. He knew the teenagers would have fits if they knew how much the coffee cost, so he simply wasn't going to mention it. "God, that's good," he sighed happily at his first sip.

"Mmm, yeah, it is." Clark had managed to find milk in the fridge--probably also supplied by whoever put the lube by the bed--and sugar in a bowl and had doctored his mug liberally with both. Lex was leaning against the counter, taking slow sips of his drink as if he was in heaven, and Clark moved next to him, resting his free hand on the counter behind Lex's back, tracing a finger over the waistband of his linen pants.

Not even realizing he was doing it, Lex shifted a little closer so he could lean against Clark's side, shivering slightly at the hidden caress.

"Gee, guys, you're cute together," Chloe teased, raising the ever-present camera once again.

"Oh, bite me," Lex retorted, a lot more comfortable with her now than he had been twenty-four hours earlier.

"Looks like Clark already did that," Pete snorted before taking a drink from his glass of milk.

"Bite me, Pete," Clark responded, laughing as he purposefully repeated Lex's words.

"Uh uh," Lex immediately jumped in. "No one's biting you but me." He smirked at Pete's groan. "You started it... and I always finish it." He finished his coffee, put the cup down, and glanced up at Clark. "Done?"

Before Clark could reply, the phone rang, and Lex glanced at it in surprise. When he saw the display, he groaned and thought seriously about not answering it.

"It could be one of our parents..." Clark started, praying that nothing bad had happened while they were away.

"Not quite," Lex sighed before picking it up. "Hello, Dad." He immediately winced and held the phone away from his ear.

"Shit." Clark winced as well and hugged Lex before motioning to his friends. "Maybe we should move this out into the living room."

"What's up, man?" Pete asked, glancing curiously between Clark and Lex, who looked as if he was facing a firing squad.

"Dad... DAD!" Yelling finally made Lionel stop talking long enough for Lex to get a word in edgewise. "Yes, I am in Metropolis, hence my ability to answer this phone. Yes, I went out last night with some friends. No, I did not get drunk, do drugs, or have sex with random strangers. Yes, I will be going back to Smallville later today. No, I do not wish to continue this conversation." He slammed the phone down and stalked out to the living room.

"We'd better leave now or he's likely to show up here. Hopefully he wasn't calling from the elevator."

Clark turned pale at the thought of that. "Should we grab our stuff too?"

"Just in case he decides to let himself in?" Chloe added.

Jesus, Pete thought, getting a look at Lex's expression. He knew Lionel Luthor was scum, but the fact that the man even - scared? - his son was mind-boggling. "Chloe and I are all packed, so whatever you want," he offered.

"We'll just pack up our stuff, and then we can go. No need to come back here before we head back to Smallville later." He caught Clark's hand to draw him into the bedroom, closing the door behind them as he immediately moved into Clark's arms.

"Damn, why does he have to ruin everything?" Then he straightened his shoulders. "How fast can you pack our stuff up?" He really wanted to get out of there quickly, having a feeling that Lionel was already on his way over.

"He can only ruin it if we let him." Clark held Lex still long enough to kiss him and look into his eyes. "And step back, don't want to stuff you in a bag by mistake." This drew a small smile from Lex, and Clark returned it before darting into action, collecting their clothes from around the room and his toothbrush from the bathroom.

"Thanks, love," Lex kissed him quickly then opened the door before they grew distracted enough to forget why they needed to leave. "Okay, all set." He herded the teenagers out of the apartment and onto the elevator, anxious to get them out of there.

He didn't relax until they were in the limo, turning the corner as they drove to a restaurant that he thought the other three might enjoy and not one where his father might look for him. He glanced back and slumped into the seat with a sigh of relief when he saw his father's limo turning into the entrance of the building they'd just left.

After the event-filled evening and morning, a quiet breakfast and walk around one of Metropolis' many museums was exactly what they all needed. The long drive back to Smallville resulted in all four of them taking a nap though Clark and Lex woke from time to time to share sleepy kisses before dozing again.

After dropping Pete and Chloe off at their parents' houses, the driver headed for the Kent farm, and Clark sighed. "Feel like coming in?"

No more eager than Clark for their day to end, Lex nodded. Even Jonathan didn't seem that bad after their near miss with his father that morning. "Love to. Word of advice though, you probably don't want to show your parents last night's outfit. I don't think they're really ready for their baby to grow up that much."

Clark chuckled. "I wasn't planning on it. And I hate to say it but..." He traced a finger over the collar Lex was still wearing. "If they see that, they'll never let me go anywhere with you again."

"Oh!" Looking faintly embarrassed, Lex unfastened it, then stared down at it. He wrapped it around his wrist, then held it out toward Clark. "Help me get it done up?"

"If I had my wish, you'd wear it all the time." Clark fastened the chrome snap and ran his finger over the smooth leather again, then over the thin skin of the inside of Lex's wrist.

Lex shivered at the touch, then looked up at Clark again. "We'll have to go shopping for something that's not so obvious so that I can wear it all the time... and maybe something for you too?"

"I wish..." There was no point in wishing for things that would never happen, and, parental permission aside, any attempt to pierce anything or get a tattoo would only result in shattered needles. "I'd love it."

"I love you." Lex kissed him hard, then pulled back, knowing that if they sat in the limo much longer, Clark's dad would be pulling them out. "Come on, let's go reassure your parents that I've returned you unscathed."

"Yessir." Clark laughed, wanting to get another kiss in but deciding not to tempt fate as he reached for the door handle. Once they were both out of the car and walking toward the house, he tilted his head so that his mouth was next to Lex's ear. "So, when do we get to do that again?"

"Just as soon as your parents agree to it," Lex promised. He offered a smile to the Kents, who were standing out on the porch waiting for them.

"Well, he looks fine," Jonathan muttered to Martha, not commenting on the marks visible on Lex's throat.

"What did you think he'd look like when they came back? Pierced and tattooed?" Martha asked before biting back a smile at the horrified look on Jonathan's face. "How was the trip? Did everyone survive?"

"It was great, Mom." Clark bounded up the steps, pulling Lex after him. "And yes, Chloe and Pete are fine, though I think we're all worn out!"

Lex choked faintly at Clark's choice of words, not daring to look at Jonathan.

For his part, Jonathan's eyebrows shot up, but really not wanting the details, he chose to let it go. "So you had fun?"

"Yeah! We went to this really cool restaurant last night - though the food still wasn't as good as Mom's." Clark grinned at his very blatant but truthful attempt to suck-up. "And Lex and Chloe went gaga in a shoe store, and we went to the art museum today..."

Martha noticed the careful omission of what else they had done last night but didn't comment on it.

"Sounds like you had a good trip. Dinner's almost ready, come on inside and wash up." Jonathan glanced at Lex as he said it, making it clear that he was included. "I suppose it can't hurt for you to take the occasional weekend trip," he said carefully.

Lex's eyes widened, and he turned to stare at Jonathan in disbelief. Had he just said what he thought he said? "You mean just Clark and me?" he asked cautiously.

Sighing, Jonathan nodded. "It's not like we need to worry about unplanned pregnancies, after all." He ignored Clark's blush and strangled "Da-ad!" "I'm not saying every weekend, but... well, you seem to be acting responsibly, and if Clark was dating anyone else, he'd have time to be with her. Him."

Clark felt as if he was walking on air, and he had to glance down to make sure that he hadn't started floating inadvertently again. Relieved to find his sneakers firmly on the porch, he gave first his mom, then his dad a hug, grinning foolishly the whole time. "Thanks. Wow, this is going to be so cool!"

Not wanting to temper her son's excitement, Martha did realize she had to let him know there were conditions. "It all depends on school and your chores and of course Lex's schedule, understand?"

"Definitely," Lex was quick to second. "But I have a feeling things may get done a lot faster than they have in the past," he dared to tease.

"I'd bet money on it," Jonathan replied dryly, a faint smile surfacing. "Just don't ignore your other friends, Clark; they won't understand."

Remembering the previous night, Lex snickered. But that reminded him... "I should warn you, we went out last night, and someone took a picture of us. We were just dancing, but still, it's likely to show up on some rag's cover."

Wishing for the first time that Lex hadn't been honest, Clark met his parents' eyes and gave a wincing nod. "Chloe and Pete were there too. They know... about Lex and me, not the other."

"Oh?" Martha blinked and resisted the urge to rub her forehead to keep the incipient headache away. Just when they thought life couldn't get more complicated... "And what do they think?"

"Chloe's okay. She knew a few days ago. Pete..." Clark bit his lip. "I think he was a little freaked at the beginning, but he'll be all right."

"You should talk to him, Mr. Kent; I think he dislikes me even more than you do," Lex put in dryly.

Jonathan winced. "Lex, I... I'm sorry. I know you're not your father, and I'm working on it."

"I know, Dad, and thanks." Clark reached out and gripped his father's hand tightly for a moment before they all walked inside. This had been hard, but it was getting easier; he just wondered what Lionel Luthor would do when he found out.

END

  since 02-03-07

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