Games III:
Hide and Seek

Orithain and Rina

August 2002

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

Ignoring his mother's indulgent smile, Clark paced around the kitchen, holding the portable phone up to his ear and impatiently listening to it ring, praying that he didn't get Lex's voice mail or his secretary.

He'd just gotten home from the first day of school and was dying to talk to Lex, to fill him in on his day and hear about his in return.

Busy with work and unaware of the time, Lex had merely glanced indifferently at the call display when the phone rang, but the sight of the number had him grabbing for it eagerly. "Clark!"

"Lex!" Clark responded, laughing aloud. "So... how's it going?"

"Better now that I'm talking to you. I've been going over the latest reports, and I'm beginning to think that you're going to end up keeping me."

"Things not going well there?" A frown creased Clark's forehead, and he sank into one of the chairs, not noticing his mother's departure.

Lex sighed. "I have a lot of money of my own, but buying the plant from my father has put a bit of a strain on my resources. I wasn't really planning to launch Lexcorp for another few years. But it's not as bad as I made it sound. I'm just tired and indulging myself in a bit of whining. I'm still a multi-millionaire, and by the end of next quarter, we'll be where I want to see the company for now."

"Oh. Well, if you end up homeless, you can always come live in the loft. I bet Mom and Dad won't even charge you rent," Clark teased, relieved that it wasn't anything horrible.

"Sounds good. Think I could lie and say that I was bankrupt so they'd take me in? I have this fantasy about you and that loft," Lex purred into the phone, wishing Clark was right there with him.

Shifting in the chair and wishing he were out there right now, Clark sighed. "I think Dad might ask to see your financial records first, but I'd love to have you up there. Maybe Friday - if you want to come over for dinner."

"Four more days," Lex groaned. "Thank god I at least get to see you when you do the deliveries. I miss seeing you already, and it's only the first damn day of school!" He sighed, slumping in his seat. "Listen to me, I sound like a whiny kid who's had his favorite toy taken away."

"I miss you too." Clark smiled and leaned back in the chair. He was tempted to put his feet up on the table, but that would get him in more trouble than sneaking out of the house at night. "Isn't it against the law for teachers to give homework on the first day of school? I mean, if it is, someone needs to arrest Ms. Greenley. We've got four pages of trig!"

Lex had to laugh. "And we both know that you could do it a minute flat." Clark's amazing aptitude for mathematics had been another thing they'd stumbled over that summer. "Too bad you aren't as good at lit," he teased.

"Don't remind me... and that isn't the point. My brain's had the summer off; shouldn't I be allowed to ease back into this? It's just not fair," he pouted. "My brain gets thrown into overdrive, and the rest of me has to turn off."

"Anticipation is the spice of life," Lex intoned, wishing he believed it himself. "And quit complaining, this is me, not Pete or one of your teachers. I happen to know that you like trig."

"No sympathy! See if I'm nice to you the next time you want some from me!"

"Clark, I hate to tell you this, but you're easy. All I have to do is lick your throat and you're mine."

After a furtive glance around the corner to see if his mom was nearby, Clark whimpered. "Fine, but you don't have to rub it in!"

"I thought you liked it when I rubbed it in," Lex purred. "You always make such interesting sounds."

"Le-ex..." Clark groaned, feeling his face heat up and trying not to squirm out of his seat. "I'm in the kitchen, and my mom is in the other room!"

"So go up to your room," Lex suggested before relenting with a laugh. "Okay, okay, I'll be good... and store it all up for Friday." He shifted, trying to get comfortable. "How was your day really?"

"It was good. Pete's older brother had Mr. Reeves for chemistry, and he hasn't changed his tests since like forever, so we're set there. Trig will be easy, massive amounts of homework aside, lit... ugh. Chloe's already promised to help there in return for me lending a hand at the Torch. I think she wants me as her indentured servant as much as you do.

"She also said to thank you for the shopping trip and that her outfit was the bomb. Why didn't I get a first day of school outfit too?"

"Because I don't mind the other guys leering at Chloe, but I'd have a real problem with them lusting after you. And tell Chloe to get her own love slave; you're all mine."

"Oh yeah, like anybody at school is lusting after me," Clark scoffed before taking a bite of the cookie. "An' Chloe jus' wants me for my brain," he added, trying not to spray the phone with crumbs.

"Well, I guess we can share then since I just want you for your body," Lex chuckled, knowing that Clark knew better. "Do you think your parents would get suspicious if I suddenly ordered a load of produce that I absolutely have to have delivered tonight?"

"Probably, but it's worth a shot, isn't it?" He held the phone away from his face. "Mom! Lex needs a bushel of ummm... carrots for something his cook's trying. Mind if I run them over?"

Martha Kent peered into the kitchen, her eyebrows raised in amusement. "Clark, if you want to see Lex tonight, just ask. If you're home by 9:30, you can go."

"But... I thought curfew was at ten?"

"It is when you don't try to pull one over on me."

Lex could hear the conversation over the phone and was laughing. "Say thank you to your mother and get over here. That gives us six hours!"

"Thanks, Mom! I'll be over in a few, Lex!" Clark crowed, his excitement not diminished at all when his mother reminded him about his homework and the fact that he had to finish his chores.

"Okay, I'll be there in half an hour then," he laughed. "Love you!"

"Love you too."

By the time Clark arrived, Lex was pacing impatiently in his study, eyes continually darting to the clock. He had to laugh at himself, but it didn't diminish his eagerness to see Clark one iota.

When the door opened, he smiled widely, moving toward Clark to hug him.

After closing his arms around Lex and kissing him until his flavor was all he could taste, Clark sighed. "First day and I'm hating school already."

"You'd hate being an illiterate homeless person living on the streets of Metropolis even more," Lex pointed out a little breathlessly as he pressed close to Clark, a contented sigh escaping him as their bodies aligned perfectly.

"Are you telling me you wouldn't keep me off the streets?" Clark pouted outrageously.

"Are you telling me that you want to be a kept man?" Lex shot back an instant before his teeth closed on that temptingly outthrust lip.

Clark shuddered and rubbed his body against Lex's. "I'm beginning to see the good points in that situation," he murmured once he could speak again. "But the bad point of Dad's shotgun still outweighs them unfortunately."

"Clark!" Lex glared at him. "Please don't talk about your father when we're making out!" He shuddered, which had the fortunate side effect of rubbing their erections together and making him forget all about Jonathan Kent or anything outside of his lover.

"Sorry," Clark muttered, offering a lick up Lex's neck by way of apology. "No more mentioning dads, I swear."

"What?" Lex wasn't really paying attention to the conversation, being more concerned with fumbling with the fastenings on Clark's jeans. "Bedroom," he gasped, not really caring but knowing that it would be more comfortable.

"Too far," Clark answered. He'd been busy all weekend with last minute back-to-school things and going out with Chloe and Pete, and before that, Lex had been caught up in meetings, so it had been too long since they'd been together. "Plenty of room here."

"Okay." Lex was nothing if not flexible. And anything that got him inside Clark soon was fine by him. There was a reason why he'd started keeping lube in every room that he used frequently. He managed to unfasten Clark's jeans and pull his t-shirt off over his head, then had to lick Clark's chest.

Reaching behind him for support, Clark was relieved when his hands contacted the edge of the desk. "Uhh, Lex?" he groaned, trying to retain coherent in the face of his boyfriend's very persuasive seduction. "Door?"

Lex stared at him blankly. Why the hell was he talking about architectural features, especially right now? "What about it?" While waiting for an explanation, he yanked Clark's jeans and underwear down, then cursed when he realized he still had to get the shoes off.

"It's - uhh - open?" It was getting close to the point where that really didn't matter, but if anyone walked in here right now, Clark knew he'd never be able to walk into the castle again.

"Like anyone would come anywhere near when you're here," Lex scoffed. "They want to see even less than you want to be seen." Unsaid was the fact that Lex was incredibly possessive and protective of Clark and would fire anyone who made that mistake. Nonetheless, knowing that Clark was uncomfortable, Lex pushed up to his feet and strode across the room to shut and lock the door.

"Now can I please fuck you?"

Clark had already been reaching down to pull off his shoes, and he looked up eagerly at Lex's question while quickly kicking his pants and boxers off. "Yes! Where?"

"I've had this fantasy about having you over my desk since about five minutes after I met you, but we've never gotten around to it. Till now." Lex moved the files and laptop off the desk, grabbed the lube out of the drawer, and crooked a finger at Clark.

Over the desk? His eyes growing dark with increasing desire, Clark kicked his clothes out of the way and walked around to where Lex stood, his arousal plainly visible. "You're wearing too much," he murmured, fingering the silk tie hanging down Lex's chest beneath his suit jacket.

"So do something about it," Lex challenged while petting Clark. He loved the feel of him under his hands and touched him whenever he could. That alone should have given the good people of Smallville a clue since Lex never touched anyone if he could help it, no one except Clark, that was.

"Makes it hard when you keep touching me." Clark carefully worked the tie loose, leaving it draped around Lex's neck while he started on the buttons of his shirt. He was determined not to destroy this outfit as he'd done with others in the past, so he moved slowly, even when the tiny buttons seemed to be conspiring against him by holding onto the Egyptian cotton.

"Multi-task, Clark," Lex purred, hands gliding down to curve possessively over Clark's ass while he leaned forward to nibble on his jaw line. "I'd hate to think you didn't really want me..."

"God, Lex!" Forget it, it wasn't as if Lex couldn't buy another shirt, or a dozen of them. Giving a sharp yank, Clark tore the shirt and jacket from his lover's body, somehow leaving the tie hanging around his neck.

Going to work on Lex's pants next, though he did take the time to grope and rub the heavy erection beneath them as he did so, he finally got them undone and shoved down along with his silk boxers.

Lex kicked free of his shoes and the bunched up clothing and immediately pressed their naked bodies together as he kissed Clark hungrily. "You taste so damn good," he rasped, rubbing against his lover. "Now turn over and spread 'em." He picked up the container he'd removed from the drawer and squeezed some of the thick gel onto his fingers, rubbing them together to warm it.

"You trying to play cops and robbers with me?" Clark laughed, licking up Lex's neck again before doing as he was told, splaying himself out across the desk and looking back over his shoulder at Lex flirtatiously.

"We can try that some other time," Lex promised, intrigued by the idea. "Right now, this is more than enough." He leaned forward to kiss Clark over his shoulder, then straightened up to watch a slick finger slowly press inside Clark. "God, you're always so tight," he breathed, biting his lip.

"You think you can take me, copper?" Clark laughed breathlessly before groaning and shuddering, bracing himself better with his hands because his legs wanted to give out on him. "And I hope that's a good thing?"

"Very, very good," Lex rasped, shuddering as the tight heat closed around the second finger. "God, can't wait any more." He slicked himself and pressed inside of his lover, groaning as Clark sheathed him in his body.

Clark's back curved in a convex arc, then reversed itself as he tried to push back to get more of Lex into him. "Good, yeah, always good, always the best," he sighed, dropping to his elbows to let Lex lean in over him more.

Lex grabbed Clark's shoulders, pulling him back to meet every thrust, and he was glad again of his lover's invulnerability, not needing to worry about hurting him or bruising him on the hard surface of the desk. "Love you, want you, so good, so fucking good," he murmured, not conscious of speaking at all.

The pressure put on his erection by the position should have been uncomfortable, but Clark found he was actually enjoying it, and he ground back against Lex, clenching his ass around his lover's cock and trying to look back over his shoulder again, needing to see Lex.

Lex could go much deeper in this position, but like Clark, he found it wasn't enough. He pulled out, nearly crying out as the cool air hit his erection. "Turn over; I need to see you," he growled, wanting back in now.

The sudden loss was catastrophic, and Clark whimpered, his eyes going wide and desperate before he was able to process what Lex was saying. Flipping over, and hearing a crash as one of his hands hit a lamp--Worry about it later, Clark; Lex in you is more important--he reached for Lex, pulling the older man in for a hungry kiss as his legs wound around Lex's hips, and Clark felt him slide inside once again. "So good. So... home," he breathed, eyes going half-lidded as they rocked together.

"Yes," Lex gasped, taking Clark's mouth as hungrily as he took his body. He missed this every day he couldn't see Clark, and he desperately tried to make up for the time apart now, pounding into Clark so fiercely that he was bruising himself against the other man's invulnerable flesh and neither knowing nor caring.

"Lex - oh - fuck..." Needing to feel blessed friction on his erection, Clark flailed a hand in between them and grasped his erection, fisting it quickly, the way that he liked. "Gonna - ahhh!" With a shout, he threw his head back and came, bucking up under Lex's weight as he spurted between their bodies, and ripples of contractions massaged the other man's erection.

Lex could only manage a few more strokes as Clark's body clamped down around him, milking his climax out of him while he shook, then collapsed atop his lover. "Just keeps getting better," he panted, stroking Clark's chest and never wanting to move again.

"A case of absence makes the heart grow fonder?" Clark murmured, wiggling his hand out from between them and licking it clean before circling Lex in his arms and holding him close. "'Cause if it is, I'd hate to see us if you had to go on a trip overseas."

"I'd kidnap you and take you with me," Lex growled. "Either that or I'd rack up the frequent flyer miles coming back to visit you. Fortunately, I don't often need to go away. I can run the business from anywhere, and most people come to me. I never want to leave you again."

Clark sighed happily. "That works for me. Mom and Dad may have okayed the occasional weekend trip, but vanishing to the Orient or somewhere probably wouldn't go over so well." He grinned and nibbled at Lex's mouth. "Plus I don't even have a passport."

"We should probably do something about that. Sooner or later, I am going to have to travel, not to mention that I'd like to show you some of my favorite places. Even if we have to wait till after you graduate. Hmm, that might work, a combined eighteenth birthday and graduation present." He stood up, pulling out of Clark, then held out a hand. "Time to move this upstairs, I think."

Giving a theatrical groan, Clark straightened up and stood, grinning down at Lex. "Hey, I heard that they have these really cool clubs in Holland..." he began while searching for his clothes and draping Lex's tie around his neck once again. "And Mom sent over some cookies. I think she thinks we have other things on our mind than eating when I come over."

"I think she doesn't want to think about what we do think about eating when you're here." Having almost confused himself with that comment, Lex pulled his pants back on and shook his head over the remnants of yet another shirt. "I should start getting tearaways like strippers wear."

"No!" Clark's voice was firm, and his stare was hard. "Then someone else could try to get them off of you and it would be too easy to do it."

Lex's jaw actually dropped, then he smiled almost shyly. He always felt absurdly pleased when Clark displayed jealousy over him. "No one else is going to get the chance. You're the only one I want. And you're more than worth a few shirts."

Clark grinned. That little smile of Lex's always made him feel absurdly proud and like he could do anything, even fly. "I know, you'll just make me work it out in trade, right?"

"Of course, I plan to keep you indentured forever. Can't have you getting away from me." Lex drew him out of the study, amused to realize that no one was around. Clark's visits always seemed to turn the castle into a ghost town, which was probably best for everyone's nerves.

"You'll just have to share my brain with Chloe, remember?" Don't think that you're walking down the hall of Lex's castle pretty much naked; don't think that anyone could come walking out of a doorway; and things will be okay. Clark kept repeating that mantra to himself until they were safe in Lex's bedroom

"I - uh - I think I broke your lamp back in there."

"Is that what the crash was?" Lex didn't sound particularly interested at first, then he frowned. "Damn, that's the one that has the shade the same color as your eyes. I'll have to get it replaced."

Shade the color of his eyes... Okay, that was esoteric, even for Lex, and Clark decided not to pursue the line of conversation. "You going to feed me tonight after we get cleaned up, or do I have to make do with Mom's cookies?"

"Oh, I'll feed you. Need to keep your strength up after all. I wouldn't want you to faint away from malnourishment in the middle of something." Lex smirked at him as he shed his clothes on the way to the shower. "It would be a devastating blow to my ego."

"Why do I think you'd soldier on and revive me in the process?" As he passed Lex, Clark flicked his hand out, smacking the older man on the butt and pausing to admire the red print that quickly rose on his fair skin before ducking into the large shower enclosure and turning on the water.

"Hey!" Lex jumped and turned an obviously fake scowl on the teen. "Watch it, I bruise easily. And if you really want to mark me, I suggest a tattoo. They last longer." He followed Clark into the shower, tilting his head back to enjoy the pounding water.

Clark frowned, considering what Lex had suggested, then shook his head. "I don't think so. You have enough holes in you already and well..." His last experience with tattoos and their effects hadn't been too good, especially for Whitney.

Lex turned to face him fully, eyebrows rising. "I thought you liked the piercings?" He was prepared to let them close up if Clark didn't, but he was surprised that he had so misread his lover.

"No!" Clark shook his head, wide-eyed. "I love them, it's just... that whole meteor rock-laced ink sort of turned me off tattoos." He paused and reached for the liquid soap, spilling some out into his hand and beginning to wash Lex's chest. "I wonder where that stuff went. The police never found it."

"Uh, well, actually, I have it," Lex confessed uneasily. "I wanted to know what made it work... and now, I want anything to do with the meteors safely under my control and in a lead-lined vault far away from you."

"Oh." Clark continued washing Lex's chest before leaning in and kissing his temple. "Thank you. For doing that for me, I mean. For keeping me safe."

Lex wrapped his arms tightly around Clark, eyes closing in relief. "I didn't know how to tell you. I was so afraid that you'd think I was doing it to hurt you in some way."

Clark stared, jaw hanging, until the fact that his mouth was filling up with water made him sputter. "Hurt me? You'd never hurt me, Lex. You love me. The same goes for me."

"Do you know that you're the only person in the world who could say that and mean it? To most people, I'm a Luthor and nothing more, automatically to be distrusted and despised." He sighed. "I've never known anyone like you, Clark."

Large hands cradled Lex's face before Clark kissed him tenderly. "To me, you're Lex, that's all. Your last name could be Smith or Jones or Wayne, and it wouldn't matter one bit to the fact that I love you. I'll just have to teach other people to think the same way is all."

"Amazing," Lex sighed, leaning into him. "As long as you love me, that's all I need." Lex usually tried to avoid such declarations, not wanting the memory of them to bother Clark if and when the teenager outgrew him, but sometimes he just had to tell him. Then, trying to lighten the mood, he added, "But it would be nice if your father would decide I'm not Lucifer incarnate."

"He doesn't think you're that bad..." Unable to lie to Lex, especially not now, Clark grimaced. "That's your dad. You were the son of Satan - until he got to know you better!" It was true; while Jonathan hadn't been graceful about any of this, he was growing to accept Lex, even if it was against his will.

Lex chuckled wryly. "At this rate, he ought to actually consider me worthy of his son some time around the year three thousand." He straightened up, reaching for the bath foam. "Good thing that it's really your opinion that matters to me."

"Mom and I are both working on him, and remember, he did agree that we could have a weekend together every so often, right?" Kissing Lex again, Clark turned and leaned against he shower wall. "Get my back?"

"Are you going to drop the soap and bend over to look for it?" Lex chuckled, running sudsy hands over Clark. "And yeah, he is coming around. I'm just frustrated because I know we'd be able to have more time together if I was anyone else. But you're right; he's trying to see me for myself, and it is getting better."

"Drop the pump bottle you mean?" Clark laughed, catching Lex's arms and pulling him flush against his back. "And I don't know about that; he's not making work for me; it's just regular stuff."

"I know, but if you were dating someone he approved of, he'd probably let you out of some chores occasionally instead of telling us that whatever plans we make have to be around your chores." Lex sighed. "Sorry, didn't mean to start complaining about your dad. I don't want to put in the middle, love."

"It's okay. Sometimes I want to complain about him too, but I keep reminding myself he loves me." Clark turned around in Lex's arms and looked down at him. "And if I was dating anyone else, I'd probably be trying to figure out how to make out in the truck and never getting past second base and frustrated and morose as hell!"

"Well, we can't have that!" Lex laughed as well, the somber mood broken and replaced by the playfulness that often flared up between them. "Hmm, what can we do to keep you from getting morose... know any more kids' games that are more fun for adults?"

Green eyes sparkled as Clark grinned and ducked under the shower to rinse them both off. "I think I know one - and you might even be familiar with it. But how about we get dressed and eat something first, or I'll go home starving, and I'll get 'the look'."

"Heaven forbid!" Lex cried, slapping a hand to his chest theatrically. "I can't have people think I'm starving you into submission. Just think of my image."

"Lex Luthor: spawn of Satan and the guy who has to weaken young boys to have his way with them?" Clark snickered, turning off the water and reaching for a towel to dry Lex off. "Heaven forbid!"

"No respect," Lex said mournfully, nearly purring as Clark pampered him. "Are you sure we need to get dressed?" Lying down with Clark would be nice. Waking up with him would be even nicer, but that wasn't going to happen anytime soon.

"Do you want to risk me wasting away to nothing?" Clark rubbed the towel over Lex's head before moving back to dry his own hair. "And you said you wanted to play a game. Growling stomachs would ruin the one I had in mind."

Now curious, Lex stopped arguing and padded naked out to the bedroom to pull on the jeans that Clark liked so much and a long-sleeved t-shirt. "Okay, but I'm warning you; you've raised my expectations."

Clark glanced downward, arching an eyebrow. "Among other things, I see." Snickering, he pulled on his own clothes and leaned against the wall by the door, waiting for Lex to finish.

"It's your own fault. What can a guy do with his own personal oversexed teenager?" Lex smirked at him as he tucked his shirt in and walked over, still barefoot. "So, shall we go see what's for dinner?"

"All my fault, yup. I'm just a bad influence, I know," Clark sighed, sliding a hand into the back pocket of Lex's jeans as they walked out of the bedroom together.

Feeling pleasantly stuffed, Clark leaned back in his chair, eyeing the last piece of steak on his plate and wondering if he could manage to eat it. "I'm in love with your cook," he announced. "She needs to give lessons on how to cook a rare steak."

"Go near my cook and I'll chain you in the dungeon," Lex threatened. "One more overcooked steak and I was going to start shooting people. Thank god I found her. And she certainly seems to appreciate your appetite. I get much better food when you're here." Not to mention more homey, American-style meals since everyone, his cook included, knew what Clark preferred.

"Your dungeon? You really have one?" Clark's interest was perked more than probably was healthy, but it did sound cool.

"This is an actual transplanted Scottish castle. Of course I have a dungeon. Secret passages in the walls too." Lex was amused by Clark's interest, the same interest he'd felt the first time he'd visited the castle.

"Cool! Sometime you have to show me them, or I can find them for myself." Clark looked around, now scanning the walls with x-ray vision, looking for undiscovered passages.

"Clark!" Lex protested laughing. "Maybe we should keep that for a weekend that you stay over... when we have more time?" he added pointedly.

"Oh, okay." Clark looked momentarily disheartened before he shrugged it off. "That works, besides, we can play the other game without exploring lost passageways."

"Hey, I didn't mean to cut you off. If you want to explore the passages, that's what we'll do. But we'll have to keep careful track of time and where we are because you only have a couple more hours, and you could wander around in there for days." He caught Clark's hand in his.

"No, it's okay, really." Clark smiled to reassure Lex and raised his hand to his lips. "Besides, using them to play hide and go seek would be unfair since you know them and I don't."

"No x-ray vision," Lex instantly demanded. "Not that I think you would cheat, but just so the rules are clear. And what's the prize? Do I get to keep you if I find you?" He leaned in to kiss him lightly.

"Until 9:15 anyway," Clark smiled though he'd looked faintly shocked that Lex would think he'd use his vision that way. "And what if I find you, or are you claiming seeking rights first?"

"Name your prize," Lex purred, liking the idea of Clark stalking him as much as he had the thought of hunting his lover. "And either way works for me. I have a feeling that we're both going to win, regardless."

"How about we flip a coin?"

"Sure." Lex really didn't mind either way, so he pulled a quarter out of his pocket, tossed it, and caught against his arm. "Call it." He pulled his hand away, showing the coin. "Sorry, you lose. So go hide your sexy self, and I'll come find you." He pulled Clark in for a quick kiss. "There, that should tide us over."

"Only if you find me quick... but I won't make it easy!" Giving Lex's butt a smack, Clark darted out of the dining room, plotting what he knew of the castle and trying to decide if trying out new territory or being confusing by heading to old haunts would be better.

He cast around in some of the unused rooms before shaking his head. It would be too easy for Lex to tell if something here had been moved. Maybe... Spinning on his heel, he reversed direction and headed for the study. It was silly, but there was plenty of room under Lex's desk and various escape routes to get back to home base. Shit! What was home base anyway?

Lex set his watch alarm for 100 seconds, then leaned comfortably against a wall, grinning now that there was no one to see. Who would have believed that he would spend so much of his time playing children's games? Somehow, though, they always seemed to take on adult flavors when played with Clark.

The alarm on his watch rang, and he set off, being systematic in glancing into each room he passed. Clark couldn't have gone too far in that length of time, not without using his speed, which Lex knew he wouldn't.

Making sure that he didn't disturb anything, not even the shattered lamp, in the study, Clark maneuvered his way toward the desk, and squirmed around the chair to fit in the knee-space beneath it. One of his knees knocked against the underside of the drawer on top of him, and Clark yelped when it fell out of its slot and onto him.

Way to go, Kent! Destroy Lex's desk while you're at it. Groaning, he tried to get the wooden panel back into place, but only succeeded in spilling the contents out into his lap. Oh God.

Suddenly wondering if Clark might not try to psych him out, Lex decided to check their usual haunts before ranging farther afield. He checked the game room, which stood empty, then made his way to his office. He glanced in and was about to leave again when he spotted a knee around the corner of the desk.

"Aha! I foun--" His voice trailed off when he circled the desk and saw what Clark was looking at.

Clark looked up at Lex, his eyes haunted. "Where did these come from?" he asked, gesturing at the glossy prints spread out over his lap.

They were the shots from the club, a whole array of pictures of him and Lex grinding up against each other on the dance floor, looking as if they were about to drop and go for it right there. Maybe seeing them under different circumstances would have been arousing, but this? "I thought the guy got away. You said they never showed up in the papers there."

"He did and they didn't. I got a note offering to sell them to me a couple days later, and I bought them. Not exactly the correct moral lesson for him, I'm sure, but I wanted them." Lex traced a finger over the top image, one of him wrapped around Clark, looking totally entranced by his lover.

"You - you paid him... he blackmailed you for these?" Clark's voice rose an octave. "But, that's - he should be arrested!"

Lex shrugged. "I don't really consider it blackmail. Oh, he thought that was what he was doing, but there's nothing in these pictures that I would be embarrassed by. I paid for them because I wanted them, wanted the physical memory of a fantastic night between us."

"We have Chloe's pictures..." Clark started but was distracted by the sweep of Lex's finger across the image captured on the paper, the image of the two of them looking so... complete. "It's still not right that he made money off of them."

"No, but..." Lex shrugged. "I wanted them. I didn't want anyone else seeing you like this. This night was mine, ours."

What a Luthor wants a Luthor gets. Clark remembered hearing someone saying that sometime in the past, probably his father. "Were you going to tell me about them?" he asked, looking from the pictures to Lex's face, for once unable to judge his expression.

"Eventually, yes. I wasn't trying to keep them a secret from you; I just couldn't figure out how to tell you without upsetting you." Lex shrugged almost helplessly. "This was definitely not on my list of possible scenarios.

"If they bother you, we can get rid of them. But try to just look at them, forget who took them... we look good together, Clark."

Nodding, Clark tried to do just that. He spread the photos out across his lap and looked at them, putting aside the scumbag who had invaded their privacy to take them and just seeing himself and Lex.

They were... beautiful, hot, electric, and Clark could see why Lex had kept them. If he closed his eyes, he could hear the music, felt the way Lex writhed against him as they danced, see that thin chain stretched across his chest... Clark took a deep breath and raised his eyes to meet Lex's. "We should keep them to help remember that night."

Lex smiled. "I'm glad. It was an amazing night." He lightly ran a fingertip over one of the pictures, then Clark's hand. "I like looking at them on the nights when I can't look at you."

"Do you mind...?" Clark wet his lips and tried to keep from crushing the pictures. "Can I take one back with me? Chloe's picture is nice, but these..."

"Of course I don't mind," Lex reassured him. "They're as much yours as they are mine. And I like the idea of you lusting over me," he admitted with a small smile.

Clark had to smile back at that. "Geez, like I don't do that all the time anyway. I'll have to find somewhere safe to put it; as understanding as Mom is, finding this might be past her limits."

The idea of either of Clark's parents seeing any of these pictures made Lex shudder. Then again, not even Jonathan Kent, looking at them, could deny that Lex truly cared about Clark. His own father would be appalled by the blatant display of what he would consider a weakness, but all Lex saw when he looked was a fantastic night with his lover.

"No, let's just keep these between us," he agreed fervently an instant before he kissed Clark. "We'll have to go back some time."

Clark crawled out from under the desk, leaning against it and pulling Lex into his arms, one of his favorite positions for them to sit in. "That sounds fun, just so long as you wear that collar again and nobody touches you."

It was crazy, his intense jealousy when he saw someone else eyeing Lex, but then, this whole thing was sort of crazy if you looked at it closely enough, so who was he to nit-pick?

Lex leaned into him, letting Clark support him as he relaxed. He pulled up his sleeve slightly and raised his wrist, letting Clark see the collar still wound around his wrist. "You know I keep it on. Do you think your parents would let you come up to Metropolis with me this weekend? I'd like to go see about getting something that we can both wear without being obvious." Despite their agreement that they both wanted to do that, they hadn't had a chance to go back to Metropolis since the weekend they went clubbing, and they certainly weren't about to shop for collars in Smallville.

"I'll ask but I don't know..." Clark sighed and rubbed his thumb over the black leather wrapped around Lex's wrist. "I don't want to push too much and get Dad pissed off or anything." He kissed the side of Lex's head and rested their cheeks together. "Maybe if it's just for the day..."

It was Lex's turn to sigh. "Damn, I really want to be able to wake up with you once in a while. Do you think they'd let you spend the night here if we came back from Metropolis the same day?" He knew Clark was right, that they needed to keep his parents on their side as much as possible, but this was driving him crazy.

"I can ask." Clark wanted to agree, and if it were up to him, he would without hesitation; he just didn't want to get their hopes up and then have his folks say no. "In the winter it might get easier, not so much to do around the farm then, so Dad doesn't need me there as much."

"I know, I shouldn't complain. It's a miracle that they're accepting this at all, but..." He bit off the rest of what he was going to say, knowing that Clark felt the same and saying it would only frustrate them more. He turned slightly so that he could see Clark as he leaned against him.

"Does it strike you as a little weird for the two of us to be sitting on the floor at my desk? And I just realized that I'm going to have to buy a second desk now. I'm never going to be able to concentrate on work at this one now; every time I see it, I'll remember you on top of it."

Though Clark had been about to ask 'but what?' Lex's comment derailed that train of thought completely. "Sorry?" he said, not sounding too particularly repentant about that fact. "You can order another lamp when you do that, I guess.

"And it doesn't seem weird. If we had a couple of sheets, we could make a fort." Seeing Lex's blank look, Clark shook his head. "You never made a blanket fort when you were a kid?"

"No. But I did have strategy games that included forts that I had to take or hold. Does that count?" Judging by Clark's expression, no. "I guess you kind of had to have other kids around to play the kind of games you did. I had tutors who played games that would improve my mind." Lex shrugged. He hadn't missed what he hadn't known.

"And damn right I'm getting another lamp. I liked the color of that one."

Biting down on his lower lip to keep from apologizing about the lack of blanket forts in Lex's life, Clark kissed the older man's ear and slid out from behind him.

"Wait here; I'll be right back and then I can show you all about blanket forts." This was going to be fun and they still had... Clark glanced at the mantle clock, an hour and a half left before he had to get home. Sheets, flashlights, cookies and sodas if he could find them or charm them out of the cook... This was going to be a blast.

"Clear my schedule for this weekend."

One long finger still tapping against the glossy photos spread out before him, Lionel Luthor spoke in a tone that brooked no discussion and that sent his secretary scurrying to obey. Lex was the future of both LuthorCorp and the Luthor name, and there was no way Lionel was going to allow his son to bring an end to either or both by his actions.

His son had never been discreet with his partners, either male or female, and the fact that this was the first he'd seen or heard of this one worried Lionel immensely, as did the reports of Lex's behavior. It was time to give him a reminder of just what his mind should be on and what was at stake here.

Lex impatiently sat through a call from a supplier, his tone growing progressively icier as the conversation dragged on. "The bottom line, Mr. Blount, is that you committed to delivery by Friday, and if you don't deliver by the agreed upon date, I will sue you for everything you've got." He disconnected without another word, instantly forgetting about the man.

It was after three, and Clark should be home. He called and after exchanging pleasantries with Mrs. Kent was speaking to Clark. "Well? What did they say?" He chose to ignore that he sounded like an eager teenager himself.

"Yes to Metropolis, no to spending the night." It wasn't the greatest compromise in the world, but it was better then nothing, or so Clark tried to tell himself.

"I don't have to be back until one though if we go on Saturday; we just can't leave until I help set up at the market, but I should be done there by eight or so. You probably won't even be up yet," Clark grinned as he added the last comment.

"I should hope I wouldn't be up at that ungodly hour." Lex was appalled at the thought, although if Clark had been in his bed with him... Well. "Okay, so come over when you're done, and we'll head to Metropolis for a few hours. If we have to get you home that night, we might as well come back right after dinner so we can relax at the castle for a while before I have to give you back."

"If you aren't up when I get there, can I dump ice water on you?" Clark snickered at the thought of freezing, wet Lex - and then getting to warm him up.

"No!" Lex was horrified by the very idea. "There will be no ice water in my bed!" He shuddered. Mornings were bad enough, but that! "I was hoping for a nice wake up call, but I think I'll make sure to be up before you get there if that's your idea of how to wake me up."

"If I gave you a 'nice' wake up call, we'd never get out of there!" Clark glanced over his shoulder when someone cleared their throat, and he immediately turned red, seeing his father standing behind him.

"Just talking to Lex, Dad," he mumbled.

"So I gathered," Jonathan answered wryly, smiling almost against his will. It really didn't matter who they loved; teenage boys were teenage boys. Hrmmm, he hadn't even winced when he had thought that; maybe he was learning to accept this. "I need your help in the south field when you get off the phone, son."

Clark nodded. "Yes, sir. I'll keep it short."

"Gotta go, huh?" Lex sighed. "Call me whenever you have time. And if I don't see you before then, I'll really be looking forward to seeing you on Saturday."

"Me too. And I promise, if I do wake you up when I get there, it'll be a lot better than with ice water. Love you!"

It was Saturday morning, and although barely eight o'clock, Lex had already woken, simply dozing in his bed till Clark got there. Hearing the door open, he smiled into the pillows, waiting to see how Clark would choose to 'wake' him. It wasn't as if they didn't have some time to indulge themselves before leaving if they wanted.

"I thought the whole point of my sending you here was to teach you some responsibility, son," Lionel commented, a satisfied expression spreading over his face when Lex flinched. "So far all it seems you've learned is to be slothful."

Lex rolled over and sat up, tugging the sheets up to his waist to cover his nakedness. "Dad. I wasn't expecting you. What brings you to Smallville?" He bared his teeth in a cold smile, not bothering with more than the barest civility.

Lionel's eyebrows arched upwards, and he ruffled a stack of papers in his hands. "I need a reason to come and see my child? The child who, it seems, has quite the appreciation for pederasty?"

He tossed the pictures on the bed next to Lex, studying his son for signs of a reaction as they spread out, revealing shots of him in various clinches with a boy who, according to the reports he'd received from the club and the boutique Lex had visited that same day, was under-age.

Lex shook his head, sighing. "You really can't buy a good blackmailer nowadays. One would think that a hundred thousand would have bought more than a month. Oh well, these things happen. Although it does beg the question of how many copies of these he has, seeing as I got the negatives."

He picked them up and inspected one closely. "He's really not a bad photographer, wouldn't you say? Clark and I have both kept some of the first set of prints."

Feeling almost high from the enjoyment of running and the fact that he got to spend the day with Lex, Clark slowed down just inside the edge of the cornfield near the Luthor property, checking to make sure his backpack survived the trip intact and hadn't left his clothes strewn all over the field--now wouldn't that be fun to explain!

Vaulting easily over the fence, he trotted up the driveway, grinning at the sight of a limo in the driveway. Anything that meant that he and Lex could pay attention to only each other for the length of the drive to and from Metropolis was A-OK in his book!

Not bothering to knock, Clark slipped through the door and headed upstairs, hoping that Lex was still in bed so he could give him a proper good morning kiss, but slowed when he heard voices coming out of his bedroom.

"Clark? Ahh, the Kent boy. You do have good taste if I must say so, Lex. Something you inherited from me, I suspect." Lionel picked up a random photo and examined it. "Though it would seem from these shots that you were being quite the submissive that evening. You're a Luthor, Lex. We don't bow our necks to anyone, especially not little boys, no matter how pretty they are."

"I realize that this is going to be hard for you to grasp, Dad, well impossible actually, but try. Clark and I love each other. Love. You might have heard of it? And despite your rather bizarre ideas, it's not a weakness; it makes me stronger than I've ever been because he actually believes in me. And yes, sometimes he takes control and lets me lean on him, not having to be Lex Luthor, tycoon, but just Lex, his lover.

"If you can't understand that, I feel sorry for you."

Lionel shook his head, seeming almost amused. "Everyone wants something from you, and if they see you weak, they just want more.

"Love's a myth. If you want sex, enjoy it and him; just don't confuse it with something it's not. I know you, Lex; you're hungry. You want control of LuthorCorp, but you aren't strong enough to take it. You wanted this boy, and you did take him. Good for you, but don't let him distract you. If you want immortality, there's only one way to get it, and it can't be found with another man."

Lionel glanced over his shoulder. "And speaking of your pretty boy, he's standing out in the hall."

Lex was amused by his father's willful disregard of his independence and the existence of Lexcorp now, but he had more important things on his mind. "Clark!" Resigned to the fact that Lionel wasn't going anywhere, he stood up, ignoring his nudity, and smiled at his lover. "Sorry for the interruption, love, but it's not going to change our plans." He smiled wryly. "We have a second set of pictures though."

Eyeing Lionel as one might a rabid attack dog, Clark edged around him to Lex's side, unconsciously putting himself between Lex and his father. "That's good, I guess," he said hesitantly.

"I do have another set." Lionel smiled, looking for all the world like a beneficent ruler. "I was thinking perhaps of gifting the Kents with them."

"See why I told your parents about the pictures?" Lex said dryly, catching hold of Clark's wrist and pulling him along behind as he headed for the shower. He knew it would give his father more ammunition, but no way in hell was he leaving Clark alone with Lionel. Either Lionel would savage Clark verbally, or he would attack Lex, and Clark's possessive, protective streak would lead to pieces of Lionel scattered all over the castle. Not that Lex would mourn his father, but Clark was rather young for murder.

"Sorry I can't stop to chat, Dad, but I have plans for the day. Maybe next time you should call first. Do let yourself out," Lex called cheerfully over his shoulder as he shut and locked the bathroom door between them and the older man.

"Lex..." Lionel found himself staring at a locked door, and a calculating gleam entered his eyes. Know weaknesses and exploit them. Well, his son had just shown him a major one; he'd just have to think about how and when to use it.

"Oh, my God. What is with your dad?" Clark asked, leaning back against the door as if trying to blockade it. "He just - like he didn't care!"

"About me? He doesn't. Never has." Lex shrugged, apparently indifferent, but a faint gleam of pain was visible deep in his eyes. "He cares about the Luthor image, making money, and screwing people over."

Pain darkened Clark's eyes, not for himself, but for Lex and how his life must have been. "I care about you," he whispered. "I love you, and nothing he ever says or does will change that."

Lex moved into Clark's arms, his head fitting under Clark's chin as he pressed close, absorbing his strength. "Thank you," he whispered. Shaking off the mood, determined to have the day they'd planned, he stepped back, intent on getting a shower. "Wanna help wash my back?" He offered a sexy grin over his shoulder.

"Yes, but if I do, we're never going to get out of here," Clark laughed, giving Lex a small push toward the shower. "I want to have some time when we get back, too."

"I hate it when you make sense," Lex pouted, then chuckled. "Just give me a minute, then we can go see if the big, bad wolf has given up and left yet."

He washed quickly, and it was only a few minutes later that he unlocked the bathroom door, pausing to wrap a towel around his waist in case his father was still there.

"Let me." Clark tilted his head against the door and listened intently for a moment. "If he's in there, he's not breathing, so either way I guess you're safe."

"Gee, now I hope he is still there." A wry smile twisted Lex's lips as he stepped through the door, seeing that Lionel was indeed gone rather than lying dead on the floor. After a quick glance at Clark, he dressed quickly in a cotton shirt and the old jeans that he usually only wore around the house, then found his favorite pair of Italian leather loafers.

"Okay, all set if you are?"

Watching Lex dress had stripped the vaguely disapproving look from Clark's face, and he nodded. "Oh yeah!" Moving behind Lex, he hugged him and kissed the side of his neck. "Which car are we taking?"

"Why don't you pick... since you're driving." Lex grinned, knowing that Clark lusted after his cars.

"Me?" Clark's grin could have lit up a black hole. "Mind if we take the truck then?" He glanced away as he said it before turning back to look at Lex.

"The... Oh, the truck. Sure, it's still yours, after all. I'm just storing it for you... but we don't need to tell your father that just yet," he added hastily, not wanting to undo the progress he'd made with Jonathan.

"I wasn't planning on it; besides, it gives me two things to look at when I come over here." Clark nuzzled the back of Lex's head and nudged him out the door. "Since you got up so early for me, you can stretch out and relax on the drive there."

Lex didn't bother replying, simply going out to the truck and sliding into the cab. He only waited until Clark got behind the wheel to move across the seat and lean against him. "Mmm, yeah, relaxing is good."

Wrapping an arm around Lex's shoulders while he started the truck and carefully backed out of the garage, Clark shook his head. "Watch it; I've got you in a truck and you're wearing jeans. Flannel's only a short step away."

"Not in this lifetime!" The reply was instantaneous, no thought required. "Although I have to admit to developing an appreciation for flannel on you," he mumbled, already dozing off with his head pillowed on Clark's shoulder.

"I'll get it on you eventually," Clark murmured, tilting his head just enough to look at Lex before hugging him closer and turning his gaze back to the road.

"Nope." Not for anything would Lex admit that he'd actually pulled one of Clark's shirts on for a while when the teen had left one behind. It had still smelled of him, and Lex hadn't wanted to give it up. He was still thinking about it when his doze turned to true sleep.

"So you say now." The only sounds in the truck's cab were the purr of the engine, the hum of the wheels and Lex's steady breathing, and Clark found that was all the music he needed. The miles spooled away as he drove, and still Lex slept, the shadowed circles under the other man's eyes hinting at the fact that, however much he denied it, his father's visit had wounded him.

The buildings of Metropolis filled the windshield when Clark gently nudged Lex, trying to wake him. "We're here. I'd let you sleep longer, but I'm not sure where we're supposed to be going."

Blinking dazedly for a moment as he surfaced from a deep sleep, something that he only allowed himself with Clark, Lex pushed himself upright and looked around to get his bearings. He scrubbed a hand over his eyes and up over his scalp, then started to focus. "We should have brought coffee," he mumbled. "Good thing there's a Starbuck's near where we're going." He gave Clark directions, again leaning against his shoulder, but this time awake.

Clark grinned and risked damaging the truck by looking away from the road long enough to kiss Lex's head. "If we had brought coffee, it would be cold by now and you wouldn't drink it anyway." Following Lex's instructions, he pulled off the highway and down a series of side streets to park in a lot near a fashionable shopping district.

"Can you walk, or should I run and get you an IV drip?"

"Ha ha." Lex stuck his tongue out at the comedian then slid back across the seat to get out. He stuck his head back in to say, "You know, there's this wonderful invention called a thermos. It keeps hots hot and colds cold." More interested in coffee than Clark, something which would not last long but which was dangerous to interfere with, he strode toward the coffee shop.

"Get me an orange juice, please!" Clark shouted after him before climbing out of the truck and leaning against the side with his hands in his jean pockets, watching the door to the coffee shop and waiting for Lex's return.

Lex reappeared a few minutes later, drinking from a covered cup and carrying a clear plastic one filled with the juice Clark had requested. Handing it over, he took another few swallows of coffee, finally noticing that he was burning himself, and set it inside the truck in one of the cup holders. That necessity taken care of, he turned to Clark for the other one, arms sliding around his waist as he raised his head to kiss him.

"That's a much better good morning," Clark sighed once their lips parted. "Feeling better now?"

"Much." Lex grabbed his coffee and shut the door, then urged Clark on with an arm around his waist. "Come on, I want you to see this store. I'm sure we'll be able to find something we like."

"Let me lock up the truck!" Sounding deathly afraid that someone would try to steal his baby, Clark rechecked the doors and turned on the alarm, pushing the keys into his front pocket while guzzling down his juice. "And what kind of store is it?"

"Kind of a fetish shop. Sells jewelry, bondage stuff, leather goods... we should be able to find something that doesn't look like exactly what it is. I was thinking maybe those leather thong necklaces? They don't look like collars, but..."

Clark could feel his face heating, but he nodded, determined not to chicken out. "We'd know what they meant," he supplied.

Eyeing the blush, Lex frowned slightly. "Or what it means," he amended. If Clark didn't want this, Clark wasn't doing it. End of story. Lex would protect him from everything, including himself.

"It? I want one too!" Clark stopped walking, pulling Lex to a halt as well. "We are not going in there and picking you out a necklace without getting me one too, got it?"

Lex faced him, searching the depths of the green eyes. "Are you sure, Clark? You didn't seem very comfortable with the idea a minute ago. There's nothing wrong with not wanting one or wanting to wait, you know."

"That's..." Clark looked toward the sky and raked a hand through his hair. "It was the idea of going in a..." He couldn't say the words in a normal tone. "Sex shop. It just embarrassed me, that's all, but I'll be okay. I want to do this, Lex."

He paused and grinned. "Don't make me carry you in there."

Startled into laughter, Lex started walking again. "Well, it would certainly get us attention and fast service. But with our luck, someone would snap a picture again, and my father would descend on us." He made a face. "Ick, not who I wanted to be thinking about as I go into a sex store."

"Picture his face on that blow up doll over there." Clark pointed to one wearing a variety of leather straps with a gag over its mouth hole. "At least he couldn't lecture you then." He was turning purple he was blushing so hard, but damned if he was going to miss out on this.

Lex's jaw dropped, and he gaped at Clark for a moment before chuckling and kissing him hard. "Okay, that was just too bizarre. Let's go do this before you scare me with some other mental image I don't need." He strode purposefully through the door, one hand holding Clark's.

Despite his mortification, Clark was snickering when they entered the shop, and he raised his eyebrows when the clerk greeted Lex like a long-lost friend. "Is there a single store you aren't a favored patron of in Metropolis?" he muttered.

"Yeah, I'm a virtual unknown in ladies' clothing boutiques," Lex shot back, smirking.

"Uh huh. That's not what I heard when Victoria was living with you," Clark replied sweetly, managing to disguise the deep dislike he'd felt for the buxom young woman.

"You're cute when you're jealous," Lex teased. "But you know you have no reason to be." Ignoring the curiously watching salesclerk, he turned around, wrapped his arms around Clark, and kissed him so thoroughly they could probably have been arrested for it.

Clark's eyes were unfocused, and his lips were swollen when they parted, but he looked utterly happy. "I know," he murmured, "I just didn't like her is all. Her or what she tried to do to you."

"Forget about her; I have," Lex said with callous indifference. Victoria had tried to use him, but he'd been better than she was. Let her live with her failure. He bit at Clark's throat, a faint hum of pleasure escaping him as he tasted his lover. "Something that fits right here."

"Umm hmm." Clark was getting close to dragging Lex back to the truck or anywhere they could have some privacy, but luckily the clerk intervened.

"What will it be today, Mr. Luthor? Toys? Leather? Jewelry?"

Lex promised himself that someday soon he'd get some toys just to see Clark's face as he explained each one, but today was not that day. "Leather jewelry. A collar that doesn't look like a collar. A matched pair," he added hastily, seeing Clark's expression.

While the clerk went to check what he had in stock, Clark carefully checked out the display cases, his eyes growing wide at some of the exotic things he found there. "Is this where you got your..." He gestured vaguely at Lex's chest.

"Yeah. There's a tattoo and piercing place upstairs. It's clean, and they do good work. I've liked this place since I first found it. I think I was fourteen... no, thirteen."

"But isn't that..." 'Illegal' Clark had meant to say, but he left the sentence hang unfinished. To Lex, saying something couldn't be done meant he had to do it. "You know," he teased, "you never did show me all your piercings."

"You seemed kind of freaked out by them," Lex reminded him with a faint laugh. "I thought it best to wait for the rest. But don't worry, love, I'll show them all to you... the next time we can have a whole night together." He looked up when the salesclerk returned, then they followed him over to another case.

"Well, yeah..."Clark cringed a bit before his attention was drawn to the leather necklaces the clerk was laying out on the countertop. "That one's nice," he said, pointing to a simple black loop that hooked together at the end with what looked like brushed silver clasps.

Lex hid a smile. Clark had picked out the most expensive--and best quality--of the pieces being shown to them. "Do you have two?" When the clerk nodded, pulling out an identical necklace, Lex reached for one and raised it to fasten it around Clark's throat. "How does that feel?"

Reaching up to run his fingers over the supple leather that curved just below his collarbone, Clark smiled. "Almost as good as you touching me." Taking the second necklace, he fastened it around Lex's throat, unable to keep from licking his lower lip at the sight of it against his skin and the memories that stirred. "How about yours?"

"Not nearly as good as you touching me," he replied, "but as good as anything else is going to get." He stroked a finger over it, pleased with the texture and fit. "Do you want to look around and see if there's anything you like better?" He really hadn't expected to find something this quickly.

Clark shrugged. "If you do, but I really like these." He paused, wondering just how much the necklaces cost, and reached up, trying to turn the clasp around to see the tag hanging from it.

Lex slapped his hand away. "Then we'll take them." He handed his card over and reached up to remove the tags from Clark's collar and his own. Unable to resist, he ran a possessive fingertip along the supple leather. "God, I love seeing that on you, knowing that you're mine."

Darting a glance at the clerk who was busy ringing up the purchases, Clark lifted his chin and met Lex's clear blue gaze. "You're mine too, remember."

"Yes," Lex replied simply. He wanted that more than anything, for them to belong to each other.

The clerk handed over Lex's credit card and the receipt, and Clark waited until he'd tucked them away to take the older man's hand. "Any other plans while we're here?"

"Nothing in particular. I just wanted to have some time alone together." Lex shrugged. "Is there anything you want to do? Or would you like to just play tourist and wander around, stopping whenever something appeals to us? Or alternatively, we can head back to the penthouse or the castle and do illegal things to each other."

"Decisions, decisions," Clark laughed. "If we go up to the penthouse, you could go to bed and I could show you how I would have liked to wake you up this morning."

Lex's eyes lit up and he was instantly heading for the door, Clark's wrist firmly in hand. "I do like the way you think." He could hear the chuckles from the store behind them, but he really didn't care so long as Clark didn't.

Lengthening his stride so that Lex didn't pull his arm out of the socket, Clark caught up with his lover. "You want to drive? Less chance of getting lost that way and we'll get there faster." He should have been nervous at the thought of letting Lex drive his 'baby'--after all, Lex routinely drove cars into the ground... or off bridges--but he wasn't.

"Good idea," Lex agreed, holding out his hand for the keys. Anything that got them somewhere private quickly got his whole-hearted approval. Although it had been eclipsed by everything else, he'd been disappointed that morning not to be able to pull Clark into bed with him. "I promise I won't keep you prisoner in the tower all day though. We'll go out for dinner... and we should probably stop and get something for lunch on the way. I'm surprised you're not complaining about being hungry yet."

"Well, now that you mention it..." Clark grinned, ducking his head when Lex laughed in response. "Breakfast was a long time ago, and you didn't even eat anything. I'm surprised you aren't complaining about being hungry!"

"Unlike you, I don't need to eat every five minutes," Lex teased. "I had coffee, what more did I need? But I wouldn't mind some lunch now. What are you in the mood for? Food-wise that is," he added hastily.

"I don't need to eat every five minutes," Clark groused, making a face. "Maybe every ten, but not every five." Giving Lex a sidelong look at his last comment, Clark shrugged. "You know any good Mexican places? I don't get it often, but I like it." Lex simply nodded, putting the truck in gear and pulling out of the parking lot to go get the food. "Do you want to eat there or take it back to the apartment with us? They'll box it up for us if you'd prefer." The restaurant was the farthest thing from a take out imaginable, but when Lex Luthor wanted his food to go, he got it to go. "And for the record, I have no objection to you eating... I like helping you work it off." He placed a hand on Clark's knee.

Now it was Clark's turn to scoot closer, sliding across the seat to sit next to Lex. "To go is fine. If we can get the number, we can call ahead and order it. I like nachos with hot salsa and burritos with beans, cheese and guacamole - though that's not my favorite thing to eat." He gave a sly grin and rested his own hand on the inside of Lex's thigh as he spoke.

Lex glanced down, smirked, and spread his legs a bit wider. "You're not going to find your favorite thing on any menu, and it's definitely not for sale. But I'm willing to discuss trade agreements.

"And if you get my cell phone out of my pocket, call information and get the number for Rosita's. It'll take us about fifteen minutes to get there with this traffic, so they can at least get started. I'll have the same; it sounds good."

Forty-five minutes later, they were pulling up to the high-rise that housed Lex's penthouse, the bag full of food sitting on the floorboards filling the truck's cab with mouth-watering aromas.

"God, I'm starving!" Clark moaned, climbing out carrying the bag of food. "I can't believe you wouldn't let me even open the chips. You are a cruel man, Lex Luthor!"

"If you thought I was going to sit there while you ate, you're nuts! Come on, you'll be able to eat as soon as we get upstairs. I wouldn't want you to fade away to nothing."

"I would have shared," Clark grumbled.

Lex used his pass card once the elevator arrived to key in the penthouse floor, then leaned back against the wall to smile at Clark. "Looks good," he said softly, eyes fixed on the black leather around Clark's throat.

Clark could feel his cheeks flush at Lex's compliment. "It already feels like a part of me - and a part of you that I can have with me all the time."

"Mmmm, I like the sound of that. It almost makes up for the times when we can't be together." Reaching out, he caught hold of the waistband of Clark's jeans and reeled him in. "Don't squash lunch," he murmured before kissing him.

Opening his mouth to allow Lex's tongue unrestricted access, Clark sighed happily. Mexican food and time alone with Lex; could things get any better?

The quiet 'ding' of the elevator when it got to the top floor pulled them apart, and Clark held up the bag proudly. "See? Nothing squashed or otherwise mutilated. Now can we get inside and eat?"

Laughing, Lex led him inside the apartment itself, heading for the kitchen, where he noted with approval that his instructions had been followed out and Clark's favorite soda was stocked in the fridge along with his TyNant. "Let me just get some plates, and we can eat before you faint away on me, poor starving thing that you are."

"Mmmhmm." Clark was busy digging containers out of the bag, moaning happily when he got to the plastic one containing extra guacamole. Giving in, he popped open the Styrofoam box containing the chips and dipped one into the guac, then into the salsa he'd just found.

"Oh God, this is good," he sighed, loading up another chip and proving that he did love his boyfriend by offering it to Lex.

Lex opened his mouth to accept the nacho, crunching happily as he laid out the plates and a roll of paper towel. Seeing Clark's expression, he said, "Hey, I went to college. I know paper towel's better than linen napkins with Mexican! Damn, we should have gotten some Corona. Oh well, better not to bring you back to your parents smelling of beer if I want to stay alive." He sat down finally, picked up his burrito and took a big bite, a blissful expression on his face.

"I could have brushed my teeth..." Clark started before the look on Lex's face became too much, and he dove into his own meal, slathering the burrito with salsa and more guacamole before beginning to eat.

"I'll have to tell Mom about this place. She loves Mexican food." He looked over at Lex and leaned in to lick a splotch of beans off his chin. "See? I can be taught."

"Mmmm, thank god. If I had to suffer through whipped cream on some sweet coffee thing, the least I should get for it is you licking me clean," Lex teased. "Hell, I'll even order that on purpose if you promise to lick it off me." He took another big bite, savoring the Mexican food that he just couldn't get in Smallville. Of course, the town had other attractions.

"In the middle of the Talon?" Clark laughed, taking another bite. "It might be worth it just to see you choke down another of whatever those were."

"Cafe mocha with whipped cream. Fake whipped cream." Lex shuddered. "And all I wanted was a cappuccino. Promise me you'll protect me from Lana's coffee for the rest of my life."

"Only if I get to lick food off you for the rest of your life." Clark set aside his mostly eaten meal and leaned closer to Lex. "And I think you have some right here..." He ran his tongue over Lex's lower lip before closing their lips together and exploring his lover's mouth with a delicate tenacity.

Arms rising to hold Clark close, Lex opened eagerly to him, tasting the spice of the food and, underneath it, Clark himself. "I'm going to insist on it," he murmured when their lips finally parted so he could breathe.

"I could start now..." Clark reached for the leftover guacamole, then paused. "Or I can wake you up the right way."

"Don't I have to be asleep, or at least in bed, first?" Lex eyed the guacamole, then Clark. "And the two aren't mutually exclusive, you know." He smirked.

"Well, no, but you do have to be in bed and wearing less then you are now, so hop to it!"

"What, you're not going to sweep me off my feet and carry me over the threshold? Some date you are." Still teasing, Lex stood up, intending to drape himself over the bed and entice Clark to join him.

"I'm supposed to be waking you up, Lex, not starting our honeymoon!" Clark laughed. "Go on and lie down, and I'll be in there soon - after I finish eating." Grinning broadly, he sat back down at the table and took a bite of his burrito.

"After you..." Lex snapped his mouth closed, turned on his heel and headed for the bedroom, muttering all the way. "Smartass, knowitall, teasing bastard. Show him..." He stripped off and threw his clothes onto a chair in one corner, sprawled on top of the bed, and started jerking off.

"And if you jack off, I won't be in there at all!" Clark shouted before breaking into helpless giggles at Lex's snarled out answer. "Sleep or at least pretend to sleep!"

After casting a sulfurous look at the door that should have dissolved it utterly, Lex lay flat on his back, crossed his arms over his chest, and closed his eyes, somehow managing to give the impression of glaring through his eyelids. He also looked more like an attack dog coiled and about to spring than a dozing innocent, but this was as close as he was going to come at the moment.

"Poor baby," Clark murmured as he cleaned up their leftover food, covering the chips and closing Lex's bottle of water before returning it to the refrigerator. Stripping off his shirt and unbuttoning his jeans, he walked down the hall to the master bedroom, only to burst into laughter when he saw Lex on the bed.

"You know, if I didn't know you better, I'd think I should run out of here screaming for help."

"I can't talk to you, I'm sleeping," Lex growled. He remained motionless... except for the stirring at his groin.

"It's a wonder you can move at all when you're awake then if you're that tense when you sleep." Clark snickered and moved forward, pushing his jeans down over his hips and grinning when he saw Lex twitch at the sound.

"Mmmm, what do we have here? Lex Luthor asleep and defenseless? Maybe I should take advantage of him..." he crawled up onto the bed, nipping at the pale jut of Lex's hipbone before closing his lips around the older man's lengthening erection and bathing it with his tongue.

Biting his lip against a moan, Lex tried to remain still, not wanting to give in so quickly, but the sensation of being inside Clark's mouth was more than he could withstand. "Oh god," he groaned, eyes opening to look down at his lover, meeting the intent green gaze while Clark continued to lick and suck him. His fingers combed through the thick waves, holding Clark close, and he rocked upward, going a little deeper.

Holding Lex's gaze, Clark pulled back until his lips were wrapped only around the head of his cock, his tongue lashing the fleshy head. How he loved this taste; so earthy and primal and simply Lex, he couldn't get enough.

Balancing on one elbow, Clark reached between his lover's splayed legs to cup and fondle his balls, tracing his fingertips over the silky, hairless skin and then back farther, brushing over the thin skin behind them.

Lex shivered, lust rushing through him. His back arched, and he clung to Clark, grateful that he could let himself go, pull, scratch, yank, and not have to worry about hurting his lover. "So good," he panted. "Never want to wake up any other way." He reached down, wanting to touch Clark as well, but he couldn't reach in the position they were in.

Pulling up and off Lex's cock, Clark expression turned sorrowful. "I wish you didn't have to," he whispered before leaning in again, this time swallowing Lex's cock down to the base, tasting the small spurts of precome that flowed across his tongue.

Cursing himself for spoiling the moment with reminders of what they couldn't have yet, Lex curled his fingers into Clark's hair again and tugged sharply until he looked up. "I love you. Alien, teenager, small town boy, whatever you are and whatever comes with it." He released his grip with one hand and trailed his fingers over the thin strand of black leather encircling Clark's throat.

Clark shuddered and let his head fall back so that Lex could more easily reach his collar. "I love you," he breathed, wanting to say more but unable to find the words. Crawling up the length of Lex's body, Clark kissed him delicately, then more forcefully as his own fingers stroked over Lex's collar. "Love you more than anything."

"Yours," Lex vowed, enjoying the weight pressing him into the mattress, the taste of Clark, the knowledge that they belonged to each other. He shifted a leg between Clark's, raising it to rub against his erection. At the same time he started to nibble on an earlobe, blowing lightly on the moist flesh every few seconds.

"Thought..." Clark lost the power to form coherent words for a moment as Lex teased and aroused him. "Thought I was supposed to be waking you up here."

"Oh, you have. You very definitely have. Feel how awake I am." He arched upward again, painting Clark's belly with precome. "Do I get a reward for waking up?"

"Oh yeah." Clark ground his hips downward, rubbing his erection against Lex's thigh and feeling Lex's cock grind against his stomach, making each move a delight. "I think we both do." Kissing Lex a final time, he flipped around, wanting to taste all of his lover--that and being selfless enough not to deny Lex the same treat.

Lex opened his mouth and hungrily swallowed Clark's length, taking him to the balls. He swallowed, massaging the head, then pulled back enough that he could suckle on the hard shaft, teeth scraping lightly, then harder when Clark only shivered and moaned. That sensation made Lex moan as well, his own cock being devoured by his lover, making him gasp.

Shivers ran up Clark's spine as the sounds Lex made vibrated along his shaft, and he moaned himself. All he wanted to do was to get lost in the amazing feeling of his lover going down on him, but there was also the extreme pleasure of Lex's cock in his mouth to think about and enjoy - and enjoy it Clark was going to.

Bobbing his head over Lex's groin at a pace that matched the older man's movements, Clark slid one finger back farther, tickling the cleft of Lex's ass, teasing his tight entrance.

Lex jumped when he felt the light touch, then pushed back, practically begging for more. He moaned again, then lowered his head until he once again had the head of Clark's cock in his throat, massaging it with every swallow. He copied Clark's actions as well, a finger just nudging his opening, wanting to drive him wild. He knew that Clark would never lose the last fraction of his control, would never forget his own strength and hurt him, but driving him as far as he could was one of Lex's favorite hobbies.

Lifting his head from Lex's groin for a brief moment, Clark sucked his finger into his mouth, wetting it, and taking the invitation of Lex's widely spread legs, worked the tip into his lover's body, shuddering when Lex did the same thing to him. Pleasure coursed through him at the dual sensations of teeth raking over his cock as Lex's finger teased his prostate, and Clark whimpered, sucking harder on the shaft that filled his own mouth, wanting to add the flavor of Lex's come to the ones lingering in his mouth.

Lex was working on pure instinct now, thought far beyond him. He rocked back and forth between the hot, sucking mouth and the impaling finger, pleasure rocketing through him. He kept sucking and thrusting his finger, wanting to share the sensations with Clark, body tensing as the pleasure grew ever more intense, and then he cried out around the thick shaft filling his mouth as he came, spasming in Clark's grip.

For once Clark held out longer than Lex as he was so focused on the thick jets of semen cascading down his throat and trying to pull back enough to taste them that he forgot his own impending climax until Lex's had finished. Once he'd lost the distraction, however, a firm stroke over his prostate at the same time Lex swallowed sent him reeling, and Clark came as well, shouting his pleasure against Lex's damp flesh.

When his brain recovered enough to tell his body to move, Clark squirmed around so that he and Lex were face to face. Leaning in to lick his way around Lex's mouth, Clark gave a purr of pleasure. "That's how I would have woken you up."

"Mmmm, you'd put the alarm clock companies out of business," Lex chuckled, moving in a little more so that they were pressed together. "I wouldn't mind waking up that way every morning." He kissed Clark lazily, tasting himself, and he managed to press even closer, one leg curling over Clark's hip.

"Only problem with that is that you tend to wake up when I'm in the middle of second period." The big bed was amazingly comfortable, and Clark relaxed back into it, winding both arms around Lex's body to hold him close. "Wanna write me a note so I can get out of class? It's only P.E.; it's not like I need the exercise."

"Oh yeah, your father would really love that!" Lex snorted. He wondered if Clark really thought that running his own company meant that he got to sleep in late every day, and if so, just how he thought Lex managed to stay out of the poorhouse. Dismissing the thought as unimportant, he shifted so that he was fully on top of Clark in what was fast becoming his favorite position. "I just love a firm mattress," he murmured, smiling slightly and pressing a kiss to the tanned flesh beneath his cheek.

"Which is why I said I didn't need P.E.," Clark chuckled, pulling one of the pillows under his head so that he could look at Lex more easily. Threading his fingers together over the small of the other man's back, Clark let his eyes half close, totally content lying here with Lex in his arms. "And I know you don't sleep in every day. You're usually up when I..." he paused, biting his lower lip and flushing.

"When you?" Lex prompted, raising his head to look at him. "Are you telling me that you've been spying on me, Mr. Kent?" He managed to keep a stern expression as he stared at the teenager, but he was actually rather pleased by it. The idea that Clark wanted to check on him every morning... He liked it.

Cringing in embarrassment but relieved that Lex didn't think that his doing that was too weird, Clark nodded. "I'm not spying on you. I just... I just want to see you. Nobody ever notices; it's still dark when I run over."

That did surprise Lex. "You actually come over? I thought you meant you could see me from your place, since you said you could see through things. I just assumed you could do it from a distance too. Clark, you have to be careful. If anyone saw you," he was aware that he sounded disturbingly like Clark's father, but this had him worried. "If my father ever found out..." He clutched convulsively at his lover.

"I'm careful, I promise," he vowed. "Even though I can see through things, it doesn't mean I can see all the way from my parents' place to yours." Lex's reaction to his own comment about his father disturbed Clark, and he stroked a hand along his lover's back. "If your father found out, what?"

Lex's hold tightened even more. "I don't know, but it would be bad, Clark." He stared at the younger man, willing him to believe him. "He would want to use you, Clark, and he'd find a way to do it; he wouldn't stop trying till he did or one of you was dead. And he may be a bastard, but he's still my father. I'd really rather not have to kill him."

"It won't happen." Clark shuddered. He'd made jokes about alien dissections in the past, but the way Lex was talking, it really sounded as if he believed his father would do something like that.

"I told you once I'd do anything to protect my friends," Lex reminded him. "That goes double for my lover." He saw Clark's unease and cursed himself for bringing this up now. "But as long as we're careful, there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Like I said, we're going to be the stuff of legends."

Clark shrugged a bit, making himself relax again before he set Lex off. "I don't care about being legendary; I just care about being with you."

"You are. See, I'm right here." Lex bit him to prove it, being careful not to break a tooth. "So, the question now is nap or shower first?"

"I'm not sticky, are you?" Clark caught Lex's hand and twisted his head to look at his lover's watch. "And we've got time; I say nap now, get messy again later."

"Have I mentioned lately how much I like the way you think?" Lex laid his head back on Clark's shoulder, closed his eyes, and never knew when he fell asleep.

The afternoon sunlight streaming through the open blinds woke Lex some time later, and he cracked open one eye to glare at it balefully, then looked up at Clark. He was startled to find the green gaze looking back at him alertly, and both eyes popped open.

"I don't think the sun is impressed with your glare," Clark chuckled, catching Lex's chin and turning his face in for a kiss. "But it had me quaking in my boots."

"You're not wearing any boots," Lex pointed out after returning the kiss with interest. "How long have you been awake, anyway? You should have woken me up. It can't have been very interesting to lie there watching me sleep."

"A while." Clark shrugged a shoulder. "I like watching you sleep. I don't get to do it much, and you look so cute all curled up next to me like you were. It made me want to hug you."

"Cute?" Lex's nose wrinkled, and he looked disgusted. "Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am not cute."

"Have you ever seen yourself asleep?"

"No, I usually have my eyes closed when I'm asleep," Lex said dryly, eying him as if he were deranged.

Clark's expression was triumphant. "Then how do you know what you look like?"

Closing his eyes, Lex shook his head violently. "Whatever you say, Clark." He started to peel himself away from the teenager, reluctant but knowing that they should get moving if they wanted to have any time to relax back at the castle before they had to get Clark home.

"Fine, don't believe me." Clark rolled to his side and off the bed, muttering about boyfriends who won't believe things unless they see them and wondering if he could borrow Chloe's camera and take a picture to prove it.

Chuckling, Lex slid his arms around his waist from behind, hugging him before stepping away. "Careful or I'll start telling you how pretty you are."

"Pretty?" Clark winced. "That makes it sound like I'm a girl. Lana is pretty. Chloe is pretty, not me."

"Trust me on this one, Clark. The girls would be lucky to look as good as you." He had to smile at Clark's expression, then stepped around him toward the bathroom, intent on a shower.

Clark's lips were curled as if he'd tasted something bad. "Just don't start saying you want to see me in make up," he commented, finally following Lex into the bathroom and turning on the water over the other man's shoulder.

"No, that's never been one of my kinks," Lex reassured him, glancing back at him. "I like you just the way you are." Not bothering to check, knowing that Clark would have set the shower to the compromise temperature they used when sharing, he stepped in, sighing blissfully as usual the moment the water touched him.

Following on Lex's heels, Clark poured some soap into his palm and began washing the older man, trying to decide if he should ask what some of Lex's kinks were then.

Lex braced his hands on the shower wall, heading hanging down as he relaxed under Clark's hands. "God, you could make your fortune as a masseur," he groaned happily.

"Being able to see inside you is good for that kind of thing," Clark answered wryly as he ran his hands down the long line of Lex's spine. "Also good for finding lost cufflinks as you pointed out a while ago."

"I knew you were useful... and you definitely are decorative," Lex answered, hiding his smile. "I'm going to have to keep you around." Clark grinned and leaned in to kiss Lex's shoulder, making a face when he got soap in his mouth. "Don't forget brilliant and more fun then an amusement park ride."

"How could I forget when I have my own personal season pass for that ride?" Lex turned around in time to see Clark's expression and chuckled. "Don't tell me you got your mouth washed out with soap?"

"Lifetime pass," Clark corrected, before giving a bit of a nod. "Yeah, and as good as it smells, it tastes like shit."

"It's not meant to be ingested." Lex reached for the soap himself, rubbing the thick liquid into a lather between his palms, then running them over Clark, cleaning and stroking every inch of tanned flesh.

"Really? Thanks for telling me." Now it was Clark's turn to sigh as Lex washed him, and he stepped backwards until he was leaning against the wall, his hands lightly stroking over Lex's shoulders, neck, and head as he did so. "Feel so good wet. Feel so good dry. Feel so good all the time."

"I must be doing something right. You're sounding like Caveman Clark," Lex chuckled. "Does this mean that if I feed you, I get to keep you?" Carefully avoiding those parts that would keep them in the shower until long after they should have left, Lex stepped back slightly, smiling. "Come on, get that cute ass in gear." He stepped out of the shower, toweling off quickly. "Do you want to eat somewhere in Metropolis, stop along the way, or wait till we get back to the castle?"

"Caveman Clark?" Clark snorted out a laugh. "Ugh, me want food. Me can wait for drive back if me get to drive. Ugh, okay by you?" He capered about, grabbing at the towel Lex was drying himself with and flicking the older man on the ass with it when he finally got it away.

Groaning, Lex finally gave up his attempt to retain a mature demeanor and started hitting Clark with a hand towel. "Nut!" Laughing, he backed away, intent on escaping into the bedroom where he thought he'd left his clothes, although he wasn't sure. "And yes, you can drive... if Neanderthals have driver's licenses?"

"Hey!" Clark laughed, coming out of the bathroom and picking up his clothes from the floor, "I told you I thought I was like Goku, and he was sort of a Neanderthal - or at least a wild boy since he grew up on his own. What more do you want from me, Krillin?"

"Krillin?" Lex groaned quietly. "Just promise me never to call me that around business acquaintances. It'll be very hard to intimidating if they're picturing me as a baby Michelin man!"

Clark beamed. "You do know who he is!"

Torture wouldn't have forced Lex to admit that after the first time Clark had mentioned the cartoon characters, he'd researched them on the internet. He wasn't thrilled by the reference, but... "At least he's usually right beside, often touching, Goku," he sighed. He tried to imagine his reaction a year ago if someone had described this conversation to him, and he thought he'd probably have had them committed. Instantly. While maintaining a safe distance.

"That's so cool." The fact that he'd turned Lex on to Dragonball Z made Clark extremely proud, and as he pulled on his clothes, he thought of something. "I wonder if there are any of those slash stories on the internet about the two of them... best friends who become something more... Sounds sort of familiar, eh?"

"Eww, that's sick, Clark! They're a kids' cartoon!" Lex was no stranger to slash--he'd been rich, horny, and the possessor of unlimited internet access when he'd been a teenager--but he drew the line at kids' shows. Although... no! He gave Clark a dirty look.

"This from the man who told me about Muppet slash." Clark snickered and sat on the bed to put on his socks and sneakers. "Or are you conveniently forgetting that, Mr. Luthor?"

"As a bad thing, Clark, not as something to do. Next thing you know, I'm going to find you writing the stuff, and I'll be ignored in favor the computer." Lex tried to look forlorn, but considering that he wasn't particularly worried about that ever happening, it didn't work too well.

Already dressed, he took a moment to enjoy the sight of Clark Kent sitting in his bedroom, getting dressed, and a smile curved his lips. "You look right here."

"Huh?" Clark glanced up at Lex, seeing the smile he loved and giving one in return. "Here as in your bedroom or here as in Metropolis?"

"My bedroom actually, though you do fine in Metropolis too. I was just thinking that you looked like you belonged here, and I like that." Lex looked almost shy for a moment.

Standing and crossing over to where Lex stood, Clark encircled the shorter man in his arms and kissed him. "I do belong here, with you. Doesn't matter where we are, as long as we're together. Maybe some day, after I graduate..." Clark sighed; that was a long time from now.

Three years, Lex thought, it wasn't that long. Not that he wouldn't like to have Clark with him sooner, but he had to admit that it was probably better for Clark to have his own space at his age. It would be too easy for Lex to take over too much of his life. Still, that didn't mean that he wasn't going to try to get every bit of his time that he could. "I can be your date to the prom," Lex said dryly, avoiding the whole issue.

"Can we get matching tuxes?" Shaking off his melancholy, Clark snickered. "Powder blue ones with ruffled shirts. Dad wore one like that to his prom - talk about fugly!"

Initially looking horrified, though he'd tried to hide it, Lex let out a sigh of relief at that last comment. "Don't do that to me, Clark! For a moment there I thought you were serious." He shuddered theatrically. "Can you imagine me in powder blue and ruffles? It's not really my style."

"Black with purple accents then?" Clark asked in between his laughter. God, the look on Lex's face! "And by some European designer the world has never heard of yet?"

"Much better," Lex approved, ignoring Clark's laughter with dignity. "Although maybe green accents," he mused. "I'm developing a fondness for that color." He led the way out to the elevator, pausing only long enough to make sure they had the keys to the truck.

"Because of your lamp?" Clark asked, hitting the 'close door' button once Lex had pushed the one for the main floor. It probably didn't hurry anything up, but it made him feel less impatient.

"Clark..." Lex eyed him oddly. "I like the lamp and the color because your eyes are green. I don't have any kinks relating to lampshades, although I'm sure I could develop one if you wore one."

"On my head? I thought that's what drunks did in old movies like the ones on AMC." Clark eyed Lex speculatively. "Are you telling me you're a closet classic movie buff?"

"Hey, the old black and whites are great! I love the old MGM musicals." He looked embarrassed to admit it, and he'd never told anyone else, but he could easily imagine sitting around on a lazy afternoon, eating popcorn and watching his favorite movies with Clark.

"Uh huh..." Clark tried not to look amused at Lex's confession but gave up and hugged him before the elevator doors opened and they walked out into the lobby. "Some of them are cool. When I was little, Mom, Dad and I would sit around and watch them in the winter if we were snowed in. I like 'It Happened One Night' and the Hope/Crosby road movies."

"Those are good too. I like Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire... and of course the swashbucklers. Gotta love a man with a sword."

Eyes darkening in memory of the times he'd watched Lex fence, Clark nodded. "There's something very sexy about that, especially when they're thrown at you."

"You're never going to let me live that down, are you? Thank god I didn't hurt you... couldn't have hurt you," he suddenly realized. "We'll have to fence together some time." He could picture it, the two of them dueling, prolonged foreplay at its best, then finally going for it right there in the salle... "Mmmm, yes, I definitely need to teach you to fence."

The building's valet had pulled the truck up out front (another of those things Clark was in awe of but Lex just took for granted), and Clark waited until they were inside with the doors closed before he answered. "It would have been really hard to explain then why your foil poking me in the eye didn't hurt me though. I mean, God, that was the second time we'd met..."

Smiling at the memory, Clark continued. "And if we start fencing together, just how much of it will be done with the metal swords?"

"About half," Lex said with a faint smirk, darting a look sideways at him. "You'd look good in that tight outfit, brandishing your sword at me." He slid across the seat again, settling against Clark's side. He figured Clark could do more to save him than a seatbelt if they had an accident, and besides, he liked leaning on him.

"You'd have to let me practice on a dummy first until I got the hang of it," Clark cautioned, shuddering at the idea of shattering his sword on Lex's and hurting his lover. Automatically, he slid his arm around Lex's shoulders as he navigated the turns back to the interstate.

"If it would make you feel better, but you're not some brute, Clark." Lex silently cursed Jonathan Kent for making Clark so self-conscious about his strength and afraid of himself. He understood the reasons and agreed with them, but he thought that the Kents had gone too far. "I trust you to know what you're doing and remain in control."

"Thanks, Lex." Clark's voice was a bit subdued, "But I'd really rather make sure I know what I'm doing before I take a swing at you."

Lex tilted his head up to press a kiss to the underside of Clark's jaw. "Whatever you're comfortable with, love. Would you perhaps like to practice on my father?" he asked with a wry chuckle.

Clark tried to disguise his amused snort by coughing. "Don't tempt me, especially if he shows up unannounced to bug you again. I'd like to poke him right in his..." He trailed off at that, feeling uncomfortable, because even though Lex seemed to have a dislike for Lionel, the man was still his father.

"Don't worry; it's not something I haven't thought a thousand times," Lex said in response to the broken off words. "He's not a very likeable person. I'm glad that you've made me different from him." He smiled slightly at himself. Clark seemed to bring out the sentimentality in him, but he found that he didn't mind.

"Why..." Unsure of how to phrase what he wanted to ask, Clark tightened his arm around Lex and tilted his head to kiss the older man's temple. "You, on the other hand are very likable and very lovable to me and also very edible, and... Should I continue?"

"Please do," Lex encouraged. "I find that I can listen to praise of myself for hours." He mocked himself slightly. "But first, why what? You know you can ask me anything, Clark."

"And you call me a brat," Clark muttered before shifting enough to run his hand over Lex's neck, his fingers trailing over the collar. "And... I guess I was wondering if your dad was always like that."

Lex leaned slightly into Clark's touch. "Yeah, as long as I can remember. I suppose he was a bit better before Mom died, but he was never approachable, and people have always been afraid of him or disliked him or both. I'd say he doesn't know how to deal with people, but I think it's more that he doesn't give a damn. All he cares about is money and getting his own way. I think it's a game for him: how many rules can he break and how badly."

Clark sighed, his heart contracting in sympathy for the boy Lex had been and the man he seemed certain he would have become without intervention. "What about your mom? I know you told me some about her, but what's your favorite memory of her?"

"I remember after... How when I couldn't sleep, she would come into my room late at night and lie down in my bed with me and hold me. She'd lie there, smelling of Tatiana and wearing this incredibly soft dark purple robe, and she'd tell me about how much she loved me and all the wonderful things we would do together until I fell asleep. It felt... warm."

Wondering if this was one of the subconscious reasons that Lex was always wishing they could go to sleep together, Clark nodded. "I wish I could have met her. She must have been a wonderful lady, because I can see her imprint in you even after all this time. She taught you to love, Lex, and I wish I could thank her for that."

Lex couldn't reply to that, but he turned his head and kissed Clark's throat, pressing close. "She'd have liked you," he said finally.

Unsure of how to answer, Clark leaned his head to the side to rest his cheek against the top of Lex's head, the skin of the older man's scalp warm and comforting against his jaw. "I'm glad my parents did that for me too," he finally said, the words sounding abrupt in the silence.

"Do you ever wonder about your... not real parents, I guess, but... birth parents? Do you know anything about them?" Despite the jokes about his alien lover when they were alone, Lex had been remarkably leery of discussing the reality of Clark's situation, afraid of scaring him or of hurting him.

Clark shifted uncomfortably, deliberately turning his attention back to the road, though guilt got the best of him before a mile had passed. Lex had answered his questions; how could he do any less? "I do," he said quietly. "I wonder about them a lot: what happened to them, why they sent me away, how they chose Earth - if it was planned or just random. If... if the meteors came down with me on purpose or by accident."

He bit his lower lip, glancing over at Lex for comfort and support, as he'd never spoken any of this out loud before. "I wish I knew about them, but there's nothing in the ship, well, nothing but a tablet that nobody can read."

"I could have decryption experts look at it," Lex offered carefully. "We would have to be very careful to keep the true nature of it secret, but... it could be done if you wanted to. Which doesn't mean that we'd necessarily be successful, just look at how impossible it was to decipher hieroglyphics before they found the Rosetta Stone, but we could try. And maybe there is some kind of key included. It would pretty dumb of your parents to include information that they would have to know you couldn't read. There has to be something on the tablet, in the ship, or in your head that can let you understand it."

"I'd like to know... but what if I find out I'm the first of some invasion force?" For once Clark wasn't kidding when he said this. "Or what if they shipped me off because I was some big danger to wherever I'm from?"

Lex frowned and sat up so he could turn and face Clark, who was staring at the road far more intently than necessary. "I suppose it's possible, but I really doubt you're the advance force for some War of the Worlds scenario, Clark. For one thing, it'd be pretty poor planning to send a scout who doesn't know how to communicate back to the main forces... or even who they are. And for another, unless they live a hell of a lot longer than we do, a dozen years is rather a long time to wait to send the first wave.

"As for the idea of you being a danger, I can't see it. You were a baby when you got here, hardly a danger to anyone. And you're the nicest person I know. I'm sure that whatever the reason your parents sent you here, it was a good one and that they miss you."

"Their fault, they're the ones who sent me away," Clark replied instantly. "Though I guess I should thank them. If they hadn't, I wouldn't have my parents, and I wouldn't have you." He looked away from the road and managed a smile. "Who needs world domination when I have that?"

Lex chuckled. "So I'm better than a world, am I? You're very good for my ego, Clark." He promised himself to bring up the possibility of studying the tablet again some time when Clark's emotions weren't so close to the surface. He was sure that any people who could have a son as warm and loving as Clark would not have sent him away without an extraordinary reason. It would help Clark to know it.

"Who would want to be in charge of the world? It never made any of the people who tried to conquer it happy; look at all those emperors and tyrants your father always tells you about. Were any of them happy?"

"Well, I think Alexander was when he was with Hephaestion, but overall, no, not really. The problem with ruling the world is that there's always someone wanting to take it away from you, so it's a never-ending battle.

"I used to think that was what I wanted, but it was more that I didn't know any other goals. That one was my father's, and I never really wondered what I wanted. Don't get me wrong; I like money and power and would never voluntarily give it up, but... I'm not sure what else I want. Except you."

"That you have." Clark shifted his hand to stroke Lex's face. "You can figure out the rest later; you've got time. We've both got time."

"At least we know you're not an Ocampa and only going to live seven years," Lex teased lightly. "That would be bad."

"Maybe I'm a Vulcan who had an ear job so that I can fit in with normal folk better," Clark snickered, putting the question of his origins out of his mind for now.

"I know, you're an Orion slave boy, and they dyed your green skin so you wouldn't stand out," Lex shot back.

"And would that make you Captain Kirk? Clark... I... must... have... a blowjob... or... I'll die!"

"Argh! If you weren't driving..." Lex threatened, laughing. "That was so bad. But at least you didn't say Riker. I'm not sure I could manage that wooden lack of expression. I want to be Q!"

Clark burst into laughter. "See! You do want to rule the world - or be all powerful!" He frowned suddenly. "Argh! You and your slash, now you've got me thinking about all the looks Q gave Picard!"

"Bald men are sexy," Lex replied smugly. "But I prefer Chakotay/Paris. Something about the older man seducing the young lover..."

"Gee, can't imagine why that would appeal to you," Clark drawled. "Would Paris have had to kiss Chakotay first too?"

"Well, since he didn't have to worry about Paris being underage or Kansas laws, probably not," Lex responded dryly. "It's worrying about fifteen years or whatever it is in prison that can make a man wary."

"If you hadn't have had to worry about that, what would you have done?"

"Everything I'd been fantasizing about since I opened my eyes with your lips on mine. I'd have kissed you and seduced you and done everything that we've been doing this summer, only a lot sooner."

"Oh." Clark shivered and licked his suddenly dry lips. "When?"

"The same afternoon we met. There's something about a near death experience that makes a man horny. I went home and jerked off thinking about you, you know."

"You did?" Clark stared at Lex until he remembered that since he was driving, he should really watch the road. "Wow. I..." At the time he'd still been infatuated with Lana, so while he had found his new friend intriguing, Clark really hadn't given it much thought beyond a 'whoa, I saved his life' manner. "I'll remember that next time I save your life."

"Which actually happens with distressing frequency," Lex sighed. "I swear every mutant in Smallville seems to feel the need to take it out on me. It's a good thing that you do keep saving me, or I'd be dead a dozen times over. But next time, and I'm almost certain there will be a next time, I'll be able to reward you appropriately, in the best damsel in distress fashion. I'll share my favors with you."

"Damn meteor rocks," Clark sighed, before giving a small smile. "But I'll gladly save you ten times a day if that's what it takes - not that you won't share your favors with me otherwise..."

"I appreciate the sentiment... but a few less life-threatening encounters would be nice. Do you realize that I've been in the danger more since I got to Smallville than in the all the years I spent clubbing and not playing it safe in Metropolis?" Lex shook his head. "Good thing that Smallville has one huge advantage that outweighs everything: you."

But if Clark weren't there, then the rocks wouldn't be either... God, it was one of those brain-twisters that gave you a headache, so Clark ignored it. "At least it's been quiet this summer. I just wonder what's going to happen next, what poor person is going to get sick or worse because of them."

"I'm sorry if this sounds selfish, but as long as it's not us, I don't really care." Lex wasn't glad that the people were suffering, but for the first time in his life he was truly happy, and he didn't want anything to interfere with that. He would do what he could to help the victims--and keep a tight rein on Hamilton--but what he really wanted was to be left alone with Clark.

Opening his mouth to argue with that sentiment, Clark stopped himself, vaguely sensing that this might lead to a fight, and that was the last thing he wanted tonight. "I just hope none show up for a long time - the rocks or the mutants."

"That would be nice," Lex agreed. "Or wouldn't it be nice if there could actually be a benevolent mutation? I mean what are the odds? They can't all be lethal, can they?" He sighed. "And we really need to find some way to collect all the fragments and get them safely away from you."

"I don't think that it's so much the mutations that are lethal," Clark said carefully, "in most cases anyway, but what people decide to do with them. Why do people choose to do bad things when they have power rather then good ones?"

"Because they can. Because having power means being able to do things that no one else can and being able to get away with it. It can be a heady experience." He could see Clark's appalled expression. "You know the old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Well, human nature being what it is, it's unfortunately true. I don't know anyone, except you, whom I'd trust with absolute power... and that includes myself. Fortunately, I have you to remind me that there are some things I shouldn't do."

Clark frowned. "And to keep other people from doing the same." Maybe that only applied to Smallville right now, but eventually he'd be able to do more. "If I can tell what's right and what's wrong, anyway. There are some places the line blurs." He glanced over at Lex, well aware that many people would term their relationship as one of those 'wrong' things.

"Let's stick to things that are truly wrong, not just what some people have a prejudice against. And I guess the definition of truly wrong is something that hurts other people in some way, like a mutant killing other people. I definitely don't qualify two people falling in love as wrong in any way." Lex laid his head back on Clark's shoulder. "Nothing that feels this good can be wrong."

"Mmm, you're right there." Clark sighed happily and kissed Lex's temple.

They rode in companionable silence, the miles falling away beneath the truck's tires, bringing them ever nearer to Smallville. The sun dipped below the horizon, and the stars appeared overhead, brilliant against the black of the heavens.

Taking the Smallville exit, Clark pulled off the interstate and into the parking lot of one of the convenience stores that crowded the crossroads like paupers huddled around a fire for warmth. He opened the door and slid out of the truck, looking in and grinning at Lex's look of confusion. "Be right back. Don't let anyone steal you."

"Steal me? What are you..." But he was talking to empty air as the smugly grinning teenager had vanished inside the store, leaving Lex staring after him in befuddlement. Lex laughed softly. He could handle heads of state, billionaire entrepreneurs, and celebrities, but one Kansas teenager, albeit of alien origins, left him bemused more often than not. Shrugging, he sat back to wait for Clark to come back with whatever he'd come up with this time.

After a quick check of his wallet, Clark scouted the store's aisles, a man on a mission. Chips, sodas, Twinkies: they all ended up in his arms, balanced so precariously that he barely made it to the counter without dropping anything.

Racing back down the dry goods aisle, he grabbed a roll of paper towels and a couple of gaudy beach towels that were on clearance - knowing Lex, he wouldn't want to sit in the bed of the truck without something between himself and the metal.

The clerk started ringing up his purchases, and, before she finished, Clark grabbed a pack of beef jerky and added it to the pile. Now they were ready. Once everything was paid for and bagged, he carried it all out, placing it in the truck's bed before hopping back in the cab.

"Okay, now we're set," he chuckled, catching Lex's hand and giving it a squeeze. "Ready?"

Glancing over his shoulder to peer through the back window at the bags, Lex frowned in confusion. "I don't know. What are we doing? And what did you get?" He felt out of control, and while he didn't really mind that with Clark, he wouldn't be Lex Luthor if he didn't try to take it back.

"Something," Clark grinned, reaching out and turning Lex's head so that he was facing forward again, then starting the truck and backing out of the parking space. Coming to a stop at the edge of the driveway, he looked left and right, both quite unnecessary as there was no traffic in sight, and pulled out onto the two-lane road, heading for the destination he had in mind.

"You can be very annoying at times, you know that?" Lex groused. "I think you do this mysterious thing just to drive me nuts." Despite his grumbling, his head was once again leaning on Clark's shoulder, and one hand lay on a denim-covered thigh.

Clark beamed. "Thank you, I learned from the best." At this he looked at Lex pointedly. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that a little mystery makes life fun? Geez, it's not like I'm going to go tie you on a post in the middle of a cornfield, right?" Shaking his head, he tried to act affronted, but it wasn't very convincing.

"Mmmm, kinky. I could be convinced to try that. After all, even pale and miserable, you still looked damn good there. Could we try it again without the boxers? And definitely without the meteor fragment." Lex leered at Clark, his hand inching a little higher.

"Pervert," Clark sighed. "Only you would take what had to be one of the worst moments in my life and find it sexy." He paused, squirming a little as Lex moved his hand higher so that it was brushing the crotch of his jeans. "On the other hand, making better memories could save me from scarecrow trauma for the rest of my life... How about on the actual anniversary though? I have other plans for you tonight."

"Clark, I found you sexy when I had just been dead," Lex pointed out wryly. "But I think that's a very good idea for the future... now why don't you tell me what you're plotting for tonight?"

Clark wondered why he wasn't more leery at the thought of being up on that pole again, but then again, this was Lex, and he'd do anything for him within his power.

Catching the older man's hand, Clark brought it to his lips, kissing it before returning it to his leg - at a safer distance from his groin. "Didn't you ever have to wait for anything in your life?" he asked. "Oh, wait, I forgot who I was dealing with. Well, there's always a first time for everything, right?"

Spotting the turnoff he'd been watching for, Clark carefully guided the truck off the pavement and onto a slightly rutted dirt road, decreasing his speed so that he could watch for holes or animals.

"I waited nearly a year for you," Lex replied instantly. "I can give it to you in days and hours if you like." His hand inched higher again, but he was careful not to distract Clark too much while he was driving along this less than ideal road. "And where on earth are we going?"

"Days and hours, huh?" Clark asked, tilting his head to the side to give Lex a quick glance. "Thought I was the only one who was obsessive-compulsive enough to keep track like that. As for where we're going..." He followed the curve of the road up a small rise, then stopped the truck on a plateau overlooking the Kansas River, "right here. Come on, it's a great night for star-gazing."

Letting go of Lex's hand, Clark bounded out of the cab, leaving the keys in the ignition so that the radio would remain on. Walking around to the back of the truck, he let down the tailgate and stepped up, grabbing the towels and spreading them out to cover the now dusty truck bed. "You coming?"

Lex stared through the windshield at the countryside, then back at Clark. "Only you," he said with a faint smile as he swung out of the cab, then climbed up onto the tailgate. Pausing as he stood over Clark, looking down at him, he cocked his head slightly. "And you tell me; will I be coming?"

Ignoring Lex until he'd opened the sliding window enough to allow them to hear the music playing in the cab, Clark looked up, all wide-eyed innocence as he took the still cold sodas out of the bag and set them alongside the rest of the junk food bonanza. "I don't know if it's proper... From what I understand, this is a good make-out place when you want to get to third base with your date. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any 'coming' involved at that point, just lots of frustration."

An expression of sheer horror widened Lex's eyes. "Uh, Clark, I know we wanted to do some of the traditional date stuff, but I thought that was in addition to what we already have, not backtracking. Or is this some new and perverse way to kill me? Through sheer frustration?"

Clark pressed his lips together and tried to restrain himself but couldn't hold back his snickers at the look on Lex's face. "I'm not the perverse one; that's you, Mr. Let's Play With the Scarecrow! If you want to find out what we're doing, get your butt down here and relax 'cause you aren't getting anything standing up there!"

Giving Clark a dirty look when he realized that the teenager had been pulling his leg, Lex dropped down beside him on the towel, automatically settling against his side, head pillowed on Clark's shoulder. "So does that mean that I'll be getting something down here?" Despite his words, continuing their joking conversation, he was content just lying here with his lover, enjoying this moment of peace.

Not totally happy with their positioning, Clark bodily lifted Lex, settling the shorter man between his legs. His arms were wrapped around Lex's torso, and Lex's head rested against his chest in a very satisfying manner, and he sighed happily. "How about astronomy lessons?" He looked toward the skies and the glittering sweep of stars, wondering, not for the first time, which one he had come from.

Showing that uncanny knack they each had for following the other's unspoken thoughts, Lex stared up at the sky pensively. "Do you ever wonder where you were born, if we can even see the star that your people called home?" His arms crossed over Clark's, and he sat comfortably, perfectly at ease in Clark's embrace as he'd never been with anyone else.

"All the time." Clark rested his face against Lex's for a moment, then tightened his arms for a brief hug. "If shouldn't matter; I mean, this is my home, why should I care about a place I can't even remember, but...I do." He looked toward the skies again, seeing the old familiar constellations and wondering what lay beyond them.

Lex stared up as well, once again reminding himself that the warm body cushioning him was alien, born on another world, circling some other star. He had to keep reminding himself of the fact since his mind kept trying to ignore it, to shuffle it off to one side and pretend it didn't exist; in fact, despite his frequent jokes about it, that was what he'd been doing since he learned that Clark was alien. When he was really ready to deal with the enormity of it, he would, but for now, Clark was just... Clark.

"You wouldn't be hu--normal if you didn't wonder, Clark. But I still think that there had to be some extraordinary reason for you to be sent here. And someday we'll decipher that tablet and find out what it was and where you come from."

"I'd give it up, all of it, to be normal - human." Clark said the last word bluntly as he'd heard Lex shy away from using it.

"But that's not going to happen." Lex twisted around in Clark's arms so he could see his lover's face. "But I fell in love with Clark Kent, alien, even if I didn't know all the details at the time, so I don't really have a problem with you being him."

Clark looked wistful for a second before shaking off his impending melancholy mood. "I'm very glad of that, and besides, if I hadn't been who I am, we'd both be at the bottom of this river somewhere."

Making a face at the thought of that, Clark kissed Lex before nudging him to look at the stars again. "Pick one out."

"Huh?" Understandably confused, Lex shrugged and did as he was told, picking a bright one in Orion's Belt. "Okay," he said, after pointing to it, "now what? And if you say we're going there, I'm going to have to hit you with a tire iron."

Clark chuckled. "Go ahead; if the wood chipper didn't hurt me, that won't, but it might bend it, and you never know when you'll need one." Then he thought about any part of his truck being damaged and looked stricken

"As for why that star," he looked up, fixing the location in his memory, "until we know different, that's where I'm from. Guess we should look up the name some time."

"The next time you're over at the castle and we have some free time," Lex promised, turning again to press a kiss to the underside of his jaw. "I'm very glad you're here with me instead of back there though." He turned fully, straddling Clark's lap on his knees, hands resting on Clark's shoulders. "And not just because you keep saving my life."

"All those extra uses I have, right?" Clark asked, raising one hand to the side of Lex's face and resting it there. "For the record, I'm glad I'm here too, and not just because I keep saving your life, or anyone else's for that matter."

"Decorative, useful, brilliant... sexy as hell, and lovable." Lex smiled quickly, blue eyes fixed on green. "I hit the jackpot that day when I ran you over."

"I doubt your Porsche thought so." Clark forced himself to remain looking at Lex even though he could feel the back of his neck heating as he blushed. "But it was one of the best days of my life too."

"We should probably not let anyone hear us say that. Saying that being hit by a car or driving off a bridge at sixty miles an hour was good would probably get us years of free, involuntary therapy." Lex smiled crookedly. "But I agree."

"Good." Clark leaned in and kissed Lex soundly. "Now turn around and let's eat junk food and not think about weird alien shit, okay?"

Lex bit back his automatic retort that Clark was his favorite weird alien shit and he liked talking about him, for once letting it lie. "Clark, there is no way on earth I can eat all of that, or even half of it." He eyed the mound of nutrition-free food and grabbed some of the corn chips. "And no way am I eating Twinkies. I'm a chemist; I know what's in those things. Besides, I prefer to suck my cream filling out of other tubes."

"Gee, maybe I should call you Yul Brynner." Shaking his head sadly, Clark twisted open a bottle of Jolt Cola and swallowed half down before tearing into a package of Twinkies, grinning around a mouthful of yellow cake and cream filling.

"Yul Brynner?" Lex repeated blankly, images of The King and I flashing before his mind's eye. "No, never mind, I don't want to know." He washed down the corn chips with some of the cola, remembering it fondly from his college days. "Got anything else sweet in there that doesn't have a shelf life of a billion years?"

"Lessee..." Digging through one of the bags, Clark pulled out the beef jerky. "Want to chew on my meat, baby?"

Lex snapped at his finger, then let go when he saw Clark's smirk and realized that the only danger was of him breaking a tooth. "Brat." He took it and started chewing on the tough meat, even as he pointed out, "I said sweet, Clark. This definitely does not qualify."

"Whine, whine, whine... and you really want to get farther then third base tonight? Geez!" Making annoyed sounding noises, Clark reached in the bag again, this time finding a Blow Pop. "How about this?" Clark removed the wrapper and squinted at the candy in the starlight. "Never mind, I want this; it reminds me of you." Popping it into his mouth, he continued searching.

"I remind you of... Another thing for the list of things I don't want to know." Lex shook his head mournfully, then stole the sucker from Clark, licking it hungrily. "Mmmm, cherry, my favorite."

"Hey! That was mine!" Grumbling about greedy boyfriends who always had one thing on their mind, Clark snatched up Lex's discarded beef jerky and took a bite, wrinkling his nose when it hit him that salty dried beef and cherry candy really didn't go together well.

"Here, what about chocolate?" he asked, finding a Hershey's bar and waving it in front of Lex after taking a drink to rid his mouth of the nasty after taste.

"You mean you want me to give you back your cherry?"

Collapsing back against the truck, Clark groaned even as he snatched the sucker out of Lex's hand. "I should throw you in the river for that."

"Then you'd just end up fishing me out again," Lex pointed out reasonably as he took the offered chocolate and took a big bite. "Mmmm, I love chocolate covered nuts."

"I have it on good authority that you like any kind of nuts," Clark muttered around the lollypop.

"Nope, I'm a one nut man now," Lex responded, eyes fixed on the red-stained lips.

Waiting until he was sure Lex's attention was on his mouth, Clark crunched down on the hard candy, shattering it. "Are you saying I only have one nut?"

Wincing as Clark crushed the Blow Pop, it took Lex a moment to register his comment. When he did, he fastened a disbelieving gaze on the younger man even as he choked on one of the almonds. "No, I'm saying you are a nut!" he wheezed.

"Lex?" Clark asked, all instant attention focused on his lover as he sat up, ready to perform the Heimlich if need be.

Lex waved a calming hand at him as he continued to cough, then chugged several mouthfuls of the cola in an attempt to clear his throat. "Would you get my bottle of water from the cab? You should be able to reach it through the window." It would be much kinder to his throat than the fizzy soda.

"Sure." Scooting up, Clark stuck his head and an arm through the window, stretching to grab the blue bottle, snagging it with his fingertips and growling a curse when it threatened to roll away.

Slowly catching his breath, Lex sank back down, watching Clark fight with the bottle of water. "Should I go around and get it?" he asked, amusement clear in his voice.

"No, I've... got it... I think." Clark tried to wedge a little more of himself through the window, stopping when he realized that he might conceivably pop the whole assembly out. When he relaxed because of that horrific thought, his hand brushed the bottle again, and this time he grabbed it.

"Got it!" he crowed, working himself back out through the window to triumphantly hand Lex his prized water. "Do I get a reward?"

Lex took a couple of deep swallows, then recapped the bottle and put it aside as he moved to straddle Clark again. "My hero," he murmured, brushing his lips lightly over Clark's. "Is that enough of a reward for your gallant service?"

"Hang on." Clark swallowed down the gum that was all that remained of his Blow Pop, then shook his head. "Nope. I seem to remember promises of your favors the next time I saved your life."

A raised eyebrow was Lex's commentary on the idea of his life having been saved, but since he liked the end result too, he let it slide. "Well, in that case..." He moved closer, sinking down so that their groins were aligned, and his mouth covered Clark's in a hungry, probing kiss.

"Mmmm, much better gratitude..." Clark purred, running his hands over Lex's back, feeling his muscles bunch under the smooth cotton of his shirt.

"Ah, but you're supposed to seduce the fair princess--or prince--after rescuing him. How are you going to go about that?" Lex rocked in Clark's lap in time to music playing on the radio, grinding their growing erections together.

"Why, by feeding him delicacies of my homeland under a blanket of stars far out in the fields where we've been carried by my trusty steed," Clark answered, his voice going a bit shaky as his body reacted to Lex's motion.

"Mmm, sounds surefire to me," Lex managed to say in a commendably steady voice as he continued to move against his lover, hands now delving beneath Clark's shirt to toy with the hardening nipples. He bit at one of Clark's ears, then purred happily. "Mmm, there's the sweet I was looking for."

"I," Clark's voice cracked. "I thought I was supposed to be the one seducing you? Has my fair prince gotten bold?"

"Forgive me, gallant knight. I was overcome by my gratitude and your manly fortitude. Please, seduce away." He raised his hands, holding them away from Clark in demonstration of his submission to the other man, and he managed to still the motion of his hips as well.

As he tried to keep from snickering, Clark decided it was a very good thing he'd swallowed his gum, or he might be the one in need of a Heimlich. Manly fortitude indeed!

Running his hands down Lex's chest, he rested them on the older man's slim hips, gently turning him around once again so that they were both looking out over the moon-silvered landscape. Recalling a story his mother had told him long ago, Clark brushed his lips against Lex's ear, one hand stroking his stomach through his shirt while the other curled around Lex's fingers.

"If I could, I'd give you everything before us, but, alas, I have only myself to offer one such as you. I pray it will be enough." His hand slipped under the soft cotton, stroking over Lex's stomach, feeling the muscles twitch beneath his palm as he nibbled on the tender skin of his ear.

"It's more than I could ever deserve," Lex said quietly, pressing closer as Clark played his body, finding all the sensitive spots he'd mapped previously. "And all I could ever want."

"It was more than I deserved to be offered the chance to save you from your imprisonment by the hairy ogre." Clark smiled, feeling Lex's body shake with silent laughter. "And now you've bewitched me, not that I mind, as I never want to be free."

His hand slid higher, stroking over hard, pebbled nipples and rubbing them until Lex couldn't hold still any longer.

"God!" Lex began to move again, sliding up and down the hard ridge digging into his ass, his back arching to press his chest harder against the teasing fingers. "I want you," he panted, riding the hard cock through their jeans.

"Soon, soon," Clark whispered, his own body tightening unbearably as Lex ground against him. Amazing himself, he undid the buttons of Lex's shirt, spreading it open, and trailed his fingers over the dark shadow of the collar that was the twin to the one he wore. "Love you so much."

"Love you too, Clark. But if you don't fuck me now, I swear I'm going to flip us over and take you so hard even you won't be able to sit down!" "Really?" Clark's head shot up, and he tried not to shiver at the thought though he doubted it could ever happen. "Well, when you put it that way, my sweet-voiced prince..."

Giggling now, he flipped them in a lightning quick move so that Lex was pinned under him, face down against the cheap beach towels with Clark working on getting his pants off.

Lex pushed up as much as possible beneath Clark's weight, assisting him in getting his pants off, and he sighed when the cool night air hit his bare ass. He arched his back, offering himself, eager to feel Clark inside him again, his whole body tense with eagerness.

"My prince, my love, mine..." Clark continued to mutter the words as he pulled Lex's pants the rest of the way off, then got rid of his own, digging in the pocket of Lex's jeans for the packet of lube he hoped was there and finding himself rewarded.

Backing off, he nudged Lex to his knees, licking a line up his back while tearing the packet open and slicking his fingers up, careful not to waste a bit of the precious commodity. "Mmm, so tight..." This was breathed out as first one, then two fingers slid into Lex's ass, stretching and pleasuring him at the same time.

"So good," Lex moaned in reply, pushing back to take the fingers deeper, already moving against Clark eagerly. "Still my hero," he gasped out, a strangled cry escaping him as Clark's fingers rubbed the sensitive gland inside him. His legs spread farther apart, and his back arched more deeply, thought being shunted aside as sensation took over.

Fascinated by Lex's cat-like contortions, Clark circled his fingers over the older man's prostate again before need had him pulling them back to slick up his erection. "Always," he rasped, kissing Lex's shoulder as he placed his cock at the entrance to his lover's body and slowly pushed inside, groaning as the familiar heat enveloped him.

"Clark!" Lex moaned his name as he was filled, body practically vibrating with tension as he fought to remain still for a moment to allow himself to grow accustomed to the welcome invasion. The initial burn faded away, leaving only the hunger behind, and he started to move, his back hollowing still more as he thrust back to take Clark deeper, then moved away, the delicious friction making him catch his lip between his teeth to prevent himself from begging for more.

Feeling his muscles tense as he sought to keep from digging his fingers into the fair skin of Lex's hips, Clark bucked his hips forward, feeling Lex shudder around him as his cock hit the older man's prostate. He'd wanted to take it slow, but the feel of Lex around him didn't allow for that; it was too good. Breathing in gasped pants, he drove forward, Lex pushing back to meet his every stroke until they were moving in perfect rhythm and the truck was rocking under them.

"Yeah, oh yeah, Lex," Clark whispered, leaning in to nip at the bumps of Lex's spine, at the same time sliding his hand under the other man and wrapping it around his cock, jerking him off in time with their coupling.

Lex nearly screamed as Clark's hand closed around him, his arousal ratcheting up another few notches. His hips moved frantically between the tight fist surrounding him and the thick cock filling him, and Clark met his increased rhythm. Tiny whines escaped him with every breath, his eyes closed as he concentrated on the sensations overwhelming him, only aware of the sounds they made together, their scent, and, oh god, the feelings.

The truck's springs were creaking now, a loud counterpart to their moans, and Clark felt a fleeting worry that they were doing damage to his baby, but then - God - Lex was tightening around him, his muscles clamping around Clark's erection even as his cock leapt in Clark's hand. Hot fluid spilled over his palm at the same instant his own orgasm cascaded over him, causing Clark to howl in ecstasy as he slammed into Lex one final time before collapsing over his back, panting against the hot, damp skin beneath his cheek.

Half-crushed under Clark's weight, Lex simply moaned happily... until his knees and ribs began to protest the unyielding surface beneath them. "Clark," he gasped, not wanting to move, but knowing he needed air or he'd pass out.

"Hmm?" Clark lifted his head and, realizing Lex's distress, quickly sat up, bringing Lex with him. Running his hands over the other man's back and chest until he felt Lex's gasps for breath ease, Clark kissed his shoulder, then the back of his head. "Sorry."

"'Sorry'? I should be thanking you. Damn, Clark, with you... You know, until you I almost never let anyone top me, only when I was high, but with you, I love it. I love being able to let go, knowing that I can trust you." He leaned back, head pillowed on Clark's shoulder. "I wouldn't be able to pick which way I like it better, as long as it's you."

"Really? Wow..." Feeling a strange burst of pride swell in his chest, Clark kissed Lex's scalp again. "Same here. Every time's the best, 'cause it's with you. And I said 'sorry' because I was squashing you. I'm surprised I didn't hear your bones creak like the truck did."

Recalling the noises, Clark's eyes widened. "You don't think we messed up the suspension, do you?"

Rolling his eyes, Lex managed a credibly interested tone. "No, Clark, I'm sure your 'baby' is fine. Trucks like this are meant to carry loads, after all. You and I, no matter how energetic, are not going to hurt it; you'd break me first."

"No way!" Clark tightened his arms around Lex reflexively, hugging him close. "Even if I was nuts, I'd never do that, it would be like hurting myself."

Lex just made a contented sound, again covering Clark's arms with his own. "Well, I'm glad I rate above your truck," he teased. "Hey, can you reach the munchies without moving? I wouldn't mind some of those chips now."

Clark chuckled even as he stretched out an arm to grab the bag of plain potato chips as well as the salt and vinegar flavored ones.

He ripped them open and reached into one without looking, pulling out a handful and waving them under Lex's nose. "Eat up. I wouldn't want you to pass out from hunger."

"You're the one who made me hungry," Lex grumbled, then opened his mouth for the chips, munching away at them. "More," he demanded, not making any attempt to reach for them himself.

"Who broke your arms?" Clark laughed, eating a few himself before downing a gulp of his now somewhat flat soda.

"You wore me out; now you have to help revive me." Lex glared as Clark fed himself without offering any to him. "Or are you saying that now that I've given you what you want, you're going to abandon me? Some knight in shining armor."

"Perhaps I'm a knave who snuck in to steal your innocence and corrupt you," Clark laughed, taking another chip and holding it just out of Lex's reach.

Lex twisted around to give Clark a look of utter disbelief, then turned again and snapped the chip out of the younger man's fingers. Crunching it with relish, he then stole Clark's soda, making a face at the flatness but smug at having gotten it.

Clark snorted, letting Lex keep the cola and grabbing himself a fresh one. Rustling the bags as if grabbing more chips, he pulled a Twinkie out of its box and held it up to his lover, carefully keeping it out of his visual range.

Lex took a bite, his eyes widening as he tasted the chemical glop, and spit it out almost as quickly. He grabbed the bottle of water that was still within reach, taking a couple of deep swallows to wipe the taste from his mouth.

That done, he rose up on his knees and turned to face Clark. "I don't believe you did that! That was just..." He shuddered.

"It was a Twinkie!" Clark exclaimed, looking at the glob of yellow and white mush that was dripping down the inside wall of the truck bed. "They're good." To prove this, he stuffed the remainder of the one he held into his mouth. "See?"

Lex grimaced. "If I didn't know you were invulnerable, I'd be seriously worried right now. How can you eat those? They taste like sugared shaving cream and contain nothing even remotely resembling natural food. Have you ever looked at the ingredients?" He shook his head mournfully. "Next time you come over, I'll show you what real food is."

"Now I'm scared," Clark snickered. "What will we have this time? Squid? Eel? More of that weird Tibetan food that looked like cow patties?" Seeing Lex shiver, Clark grabbed his flannel shirt and draped it around the other man's shoulders.

"Thanks." Lex smiled quickly, then made a face and scratched his belly. "Clark, I love being out here with you, but could we please head back to the castle so I can shower?" He nearly achieved a whine on the last word.

That question received a wicked grin for an answer. "Well, we could always jump in the river to clean off instead."

That got another look. "What do you have, antifreeze for blood? I have hot, running water at home!"

"Baby." Clark hugged Lex to him, then had to grimace as their bodies almost stuck together. "Okay, a shower works, but we'd better clean up and get dressed first. Can you imagine if the sheriff stopped us on the way there?"

Picturing that, Lex grabbed Clark's t-shirt to wipe himself off, ignoring the protest. "I'll have it washed when we get back, and you still have your other shirt. We're going to have to start keeping blankets and towels in all the cars." Done, he dressed quickly, turning back to Clark only to sigh when he found him already dressed.

"We have towels," Clark protested, bending to gather up their garbage and the partially eaten snacks to stow them all back in the bags.

Hopping over the side, he landed easily, and glanced in the window at the clock on the dashboard. "It's almost eleven; we're gonna have to hurry."

"It is? I didn't realize we'd been here that long. And the towels were dirty!" Lex hopped down as well, pausing for a kiss before sliding into the cab. "Better hurry up if we're going to have time for me to fuck you."

"In the shower?" Clark's eyes brightened, and he quickly climbed in beside Lex. "You know, we really need the blankets in the cars for another reason too; it's getting colder, and I don't want you to freeze your ass off if we want to go parking somewhere."

"That would be bad," Lex agreed. "And yeah, I'd thought about it too. Blankets and handi-wipes or something. You're not a cat, and you can't 'groom' me all the time." Once again, he slid across the seat close to Clark, his hand falling naturally to the teenager's thigh.

"But I like licking you," Clark admitted, pausing in the act of turning the key in the ignition to do just that. "You taste so good, so right, it's... I just like it."

"And I like you doing it, buts it's not always practical, love." Lex's hand crept a little higher, and he smiled. "Gotta love teenage hormones. I'll just make sure to keep you interested until we get there."

"Keep breathing and you'll do that." Clark glanced over at Lex and grinned before starting the truck. Pulling forward, he slowly drove down the hill and back onto the dirt road, trying to concentrate though Lex's hand on his thigh was making it difficult.

"Something wrong?" Lex purred against the damp skin of Clark's throat, pausing in his licking and nibbling. His hand moved more actively, shaping the growing length. It was fun having an invulnerable lover who could move fast enough to keep him from getting hurt as well. Dark eyebrows rose as Clark looked at Lex incredulously. "You make me wreck Baby, and something's going to be really wrong!"

"You call your truck 'Baby'?" Lex demanded incredulously, sitting straight up to turn a disbelieving look on his lover. "And by the way, if something did happen, should I expect to fend for myself while you check out your truck?"

He wasn't sure whether to be amused or insulted, but the words earlier settled him on amusement. "You know you're a complete and utter nut, right?"

"I'm sure you mean that only in the fondest sense, considering that we're miles from the castle and Smallville and your shoes really aren't made for hiking." Clark grinned and kissed Lex's head before pulling out onto the main road.

"Threats and abuse, that's what I've been reduced to," Lex said sadly even as he settled against Clark again. "And just remember, super-boy, you leave me out here for vultures to pick my bones, and you're back to celibacy."

Clark snorted. "Me and Rosy Palm were good buddies before; we'd survive... maybe." He wasn't even going to entertain the thought that Lex would die; there was no way he was going to let it happen - ever.

"Good thing we'll never have to find out. I'm planning to live forever just to make sure no one else ever touches you." The moment he said it Lex silently cursed himself. He'd promised himself never to make Clark feel trapped, that if the day came that Clark wanted someone else, he would step back without a fuss. Well, there was nothing to do about it just then except try to distract Clark.

With that in mind, Lex slid his hand under Clark's shirt, his fingers splaying over the warm flesh of his abdomen. "You feel so good!"

"And you're trying to distract me." Clark looked over at Lex long enough for the other man to know he was serious. "Whenever we start to talk about the future, you do that. Why?"

Now Lex had a real problem: he'd already discovered that he couldn't lie worth a damn to Clark, not anymore, but he didn't think the younger man could be objective about it. Still, he couldn't avoid a direct question.

"Because you're fifteen years old, and I'm your first lover, and some day you're probably going to outgrow me. When that happens, I don't want you to stay with me because you feel trapped or you think it's what I want."

Having answered the question and certain that Clark was not going to like it, Lex winced inwardly and waited for the reaction.

Dead silence filled the truck, and Clark pulled to the side of the road, turning off the engine before shifting in the seat to look at Lex fully. "That's what you think about me? That I can say I love you, but don't really mean it - or won't when I 'grow up'?

"Thank you so much for explaining it to me." Not giving Lex a chance to respond, Clark threw open the door and started to run, vanishing into the darkness in the blink of an eye.

"Clark! Fuckfuckfuck!" Lex pounded his fists on the dashboard. He waited a few minutes to see if Clark would come back, then pulled out his cell phone. Ignoring the half dozen messages from his father, he dialed the Kents.

"Mrs. Kent, it's Lex. Is... Oh, he is. With his father?" Lex winced. "No, ma'am, I didn't do anything... except tell him the truth." He explained what had happened.

"Lex..." Martha sighed, looking out the window toward the barn. Clark had raced in there moments ago, and Jonathan was on his way out to try and find out what had happened.

"I know you had your reasons for telling him that, but... Did you just create a self-fulfilling prophecy? By making him doubt what you have together, are you going to push him away? Or is that what you're trying to do?"

Lex laughed bitterly. "No wonder my father taught me not to do the right thing; it's harder, and it bites you in the ass. Mrs. Kent, Clark is fifteen years old. How many people do you know who stuck with their first boyfriend their whole lives?

"God, I'd give anything to have him forever. I love him! But how fair would that be to Clark? If by some miracle, he does still want me in ten years' time, I'll be the happiest man on the planet, but I'm not going to trap him.

"And no, Mrs. Kent, I'm not trying to push him away. If I lose Clark, I'll never want anyone else, and I have no idea what I'll do." Unspoken, Lionel's path loomed large in the silence.

Martha was quiet for a moment, weighing possible answers as she watched her husband's and son's silhouettes move across the light spilling out of the barn's doorway. "If that's how you feel, I suggest you get over here and tell him, Lex, before it's too late, before either of you hurt the other any more."

"I was planning to." Lex flipped the phone shut without even realizing how rude it was, then started the truck and floored the accelerator, taking the country roads at reckless speeds.

Ten minutes later, he pulled to a halt at the Kent farm and saw Jonathan and Martha on the porch. Frowning, he veered toward them rather than heading directly for Clark's 'fortress of solitude'.

"He won't talk to us," Jonathan said in response to Lex's quizzical expression. "After Martha told me about your conversation, I thought it best to leave him be until you got here.

"I'm impressed by what you said, Lex. It makes me feel better, knowing that you're putting Clark first, but..."

"But he's a teenager," Lex sighed. "Thank you, sir." He turned and walked toward the barn, hoping Clark wouldn't vanish again.

"Clark, it's me."

Silence.

"I love you, Clark. Please talk to me." He was nearly at the top of the stairs.

"Why? You seem to have all the answers," Clark mumbled. He was sitting on the couch, knees tucked under his chin and arms wrapped tightly around his legs.

Lex crouched down in front of him, not trying to touch. "Clark... I love you. I want you forever, and I do know that you love me, I do. It's just..." He stood up and started to pace.

"Life changes, Clark. I'm not the same person I was at fifteen, and I don't want the same things. If that happens with you, I just wanted you to know... God." He slammed his hands against the wall.

"No, I wouldn't be okay with it, but I would understand. But, god, I hope that doesn't happen. I want forever with you, and I'm betting my heart that we'll have it."

Clark looked up, raising red-rimmed eyes toward Lex's shadowed form. "You'd understand? If you left me, I wouldn't, and don't think that I haven't thought about that happening! If somewhere down the line you might decide that you want more than me, than what I offer."

Lex turned to face the younger man, not moving any closer. "Clark, I've changed my life for you... even before we were lovers, just to be your friend. I'd die before I'd leave you, though in Smallville that's all too possible," he added, trying and failing to lighten the atmosphere.

"Clark, please. I don't want to lose you." Lex raised tormented eyes to meet Clark's.

"I don't want to lose you either," Clark said miserably. "Now or ever. I may change, Lex, but I know the fact that I love you never will."

He stood and slowly walked over to the other man, reaching hesitantly for him. "Ever."

Smiling a little shakily, Lex stepped forward, arms going around Clark. "I'm sorry. I promise not to be so paranoid in the future." He prayed he hadn't ruined everything, that his fears hadn't caused the very thing he sought to avoid.

"Don't be." Clark was utterly serious as he said this, then shivered and returned the embrace, resting his head on Lex's shoulder. "I love you."

His breath leaving him in a huge sigh of relief, Lex's arms tightened convulsively. "Love you too. I... Bear with me, all right? I've never done this before."

"Me either," Clark muttered. "But I guess you've got more reason to be paranoid with your dad and all..." He finished awkwardly, not wanting to bring up their other problem right now.

"But you're not my father any more than I am." Lex hugged Clark a little more tightly, then let go. "Give me a minute, okay? I'll be right back."

He went out and into the house where the Kents waited in the kitchen. "Thank you for letting me talk to him. I think we're okay now, but... Would it be all right if I stayed here tonight?"

Jonathan frowned, and Lex hastened to add, "I swear, nothing will go on that you wouldn't approve of."

Uncertain, but knowing it would be best for both young men to be together, Jonathan glanced at his wife.

Martha sighed but nodded. "You can stay, Lex, but please, remember that promise."

While she thought that she'd accepted her son's relationship with the other man, having them sharing a bed under her roof was almost too much. In a way, she was almost disappointed in herself, but liberal morals only went so far when put up against a mother's concern for her child.

Lex nodded, meeting each of the Kents' eyes directly for a moment. "Thank you," he said again before returning to the barn and Clark.

"It's okay if I stay here tonight... if you want me to." He waited, still not sure of his welcome after all that had happened that night.

"My parents agreed to that?" Clark looked stunned at the news. "What did you say to them?"

"I just asked if I could... and promised that we'd behave." Lex shrugged. "I think they actually believe me now when I say I love you and just want what's best for you."

"That's you." Clark's answer came without hesitation, and he looked at the couch before turning his gaze back to Lex. "Do you want to go inside or stay out here for a while?"

"Out here if that's okay with you." Lex sat on the couch and looked at Clark, holding a hand out to him. "Oh my god!" he suddenly groaned. "I talked to your parents smelling like sex!" A tide of color rose in his cheeks.

"Oh shit!" Clark's coloring matched Lex's, and he dropped on the sofa next to the older man, automatically wrapping his arms around him.

"Lex, I... I'm sorry I took off like that. I just - I just didn't know what to do."

Lex nodded. "I understand. But please, next time we argue, don't run away. I've never felt so helpless in my life as when you disappeared." His arms tightened as if to prevent a recurrence. "As long as we talk to each other, we'll be okay."

Still somewhat ashamed of his behavior, Clark nodded. Here he was trying to prove to all of them that he wasn't a kid any more, and he did this. "I won't run away from you ever again, I promise," he said quietly. "I just wish you'd said something before if it was bothering you that much."

"I was afraid to," Lex admitted. "Afraid that if I said anything it would make you think about it and make it happen. Or that you'd think I was just trying to manipulate you." He sighed, twisting around so that he was sitting across Clark's lap, looking up at him. "And... I've never had anyone to talk to before. It doesn't come naturally to me."

"You can always tell me anything, Lex," Clark said quietly. "It may not be easy for you, and I may not like everything I hear, but you can always tell me... and I'll try to do the same."

"I'm starting to get that." Lex smiled slightly. "I have a Clark of my very own, lucky me." He relaxed still more in Clark's embrace, letting his whole body slump against his lover.

"You make me sound like some big, alien teddy bear," Clark murmured, moving them both so that they were lying on the couch, Lex still wrapped in his arms. "Does this mean I need a bow around my neck?"

"Nope, the collar is all you need there... but I could think of a good place for a bow... if I hadn't promised your mother otherwise. Remind me of that next time we're alone." Lex thought wistfully of the shower and fuck at the castle that hadn't materialized.

The reminder of Lex's promise to his parents as well as the fact that they'd seen both of them like this had Clark groaning. "Oh, God. They saw the collars too..." At least Lex didn't have any visible hickies; he didn't think he could have taken his father's knowing look if that had been the case.

Lex's eyes closed as if that would change the embarrassing encounter with the Kents. "God. At least they look more like necklaces than collars... but I doubt they missed the fact that we have matching ones. God, I might ask your father to shoot me!"

"Don't even joke about that!" Recalling the time when Jonathan had tried to do just that, Clark shuddered. "And what do they expect, for me to give you my class ring? I will if you want it - when I get one, I mean."

That made Lex smile, and the silvery eyes opened to meet Clark's. "I'd love it. I'll have to find mine to give you. The more signs that you're taken, the better I'll like it." He really wasn't looking forward to when Smallville noticed what they had in their midst or Clark going off to college. Someone was going to notice what a prize he was; the very thought made Lex want to snarl and do someone serious bodily harm.

A boyish smile curved Clark's lips, and he ducked his head, kissing Lex's temple. "That'd be really cool. Sort of like... I don't know, going steady or something." He blushed as soon as he said that. "Okay, that sounded really stupid; my brain must be shutting down."

"I don't care how it sounds." It did sound ridiculous, but who cared? "I like it. That's exactly what I want."

"You mean it? I like it too. I wish everyone could know about us. Maybe someday..." Clark sighed and squirmed a bit to get more comfortable.

"Anytime you want," Lex vowed rashly, then remembered his father. "Well, maybe it would be better to wait a while. I want to keep my father away from you as long as possible." He laid his head on Clark's shoulder so that he could lick at his neck, enjoying the salty-sweet flavor of him.

"Do you - do you think he's still at the castle?" Clark slid a hand under Lex's shirt, idly rubbing the other man's stomach, trying to comfort both of them.

"No, he probably made it back to Metropolis before we did. He seems to prefer not to spend more than a couple of hours at a time in Smallville. For which I am eternally grateful." He continued licking Clark's throat, shifting slightly so he could reach his adam's apple and suck on it.

"Good." Wishing his parents hadn't extracted that promise from Lex, Clark shivered, his fingers kneading the taut flesh of Lex's stomach. "Maybe he'll stay there forever. Or go buy an island in the Mediterranean and stay there for the rest of his life so he leaves you alone."

"I live in hope." Squirming slightly, his erection practically drilling through his pants, Lex had an idea. "We still have a while before you actually had to be home. Want to go for a walk somewhere away from here?" he suggested, a hand cupping Clark's erection through his jeans.

"But... you promised Mom and Dad..." The last thing Clark wanted was them to get caught lying to his folks; the once had been bad enough, but God he wanted to feel Lex against him, to wash away the bleak time when he'd thought he'd never feel his lover again.

"So we tell them we're going for a walk. I promised nothing would happen here, and nothing will. But if they're okay with us taking off for an hour, then I can live up to my promise." Lex ground down against Clark's cock. "They're probably still waiting to see if everything's okay. One way or the other, we should go down and talk to them."

"Like this?" God, no way could he go down and talk to his folks with the wood he was sporting.

"Good point." Lex wished he could suck Clark off, but he'd promised... and although Martha had no way of knowing it, she and Clark were the only people Lex had ever made a promise to. He moved off of Clark's lap to sit beside him, breathing heavily as he tried to get his arousal under control. "Think cold thoughts, Clark."

Groaning, Clark rested his head against the back of the sofa, trying not to look at or even think of Lex. It didn't go every well. "Want me to turn on the hose? That's cold," he offered.

"Great, are we rutting dogs now?" Lex asked wryly, adjusting himself slightly. "I'd really prefer not to drip on your mother's kitchen floor. I doubt she'd appreciate it." Thankfully, that thought deflated him enough that he thought he could face the Kents without embarrassment, but he wasn't sure about Clark's state. Darting a glance over, he saw that Clark was in no condition to chat with his parents.

"Try thinking about Pete," he suggested wickedly.

"You asshole!" Clark howled before clamping his hand over his own mouth, remembering the time. "That was just - just wrong!" He sighed, shaking his head as he sat up. "But it worked. You want to be the one to tell Pete he's as good as ice water for breaking the mood?"

"No, I don't really think he'd appreciate the information. But now we can go let your parents know that we've worked things out. They looked pretty worried when I got here." Lex made sure his clothes were in order, then held out a hand to Clark, needing the reassurance of physical contact just then.

Taking Lex's hand, Clark stood, his head tilted to the side as he thought about something. "Yeah, they were. I'm surprised they weren't out here pressing me for answers after..." He broke off and looked at the slim bulge of Lex's phone in his pocket. "You called them, didn't you?"

"Of course. If you weren't here, I needed to know so that I could try to find you." Lex had never considered leaving Clark to his own devices, no matter that he was invulnerable.

They walked down the stairs and across the shadowed yard to the house, Clark holding the door for Lex as they came into the kitchen. Seeing his parents' concerned expressions, Clark bit his lips. "I'm sorry I worried you like that. It was... It's okay now, we're okay now."

Remaining silent, Lex left this to the Kents to work out although he retained a tight grip on his lover's hand.

"Son, you worried us... and you worried Lex. You two need to work things like this out between you, but I will say that running away never helps."

"I know. I was just scared..." Clark looked from his father to his mother, then to Lex.

"Being scared is normal, Clark," Martha added. "It's what you do when that happens that matters."

Clark nodded. "I know, and I won't do it again, to any of you." He winced, remembering how he'd run after finding out about his origins - though that was an extreme case when you thought about it.

"I'm glad to hear it, Clark. A man faces his problems... and the people who love him can get very irritable if he tries to shut them out." The glance Jonathan darted at Martha made it clear that he spoke from experience and made Lex cough to cover the snicker that tried to escape him.

"Listen to your father, dear. He knows what he's talking about." Martha smiled up at Jonathan, then stepped forward to rest a hand on both Clark and Lex's cheeks. "It's late, we should all get some rest."

"I - we - Lex and I... Is it okay if we took a walk? We'll be back before one."

Lex kept his gaze firmly fixed on Clark's back, not about to meet either of the Kents' eyes. He was pretty sure that a flashing neon sign proclaiming that they wanted to fuck couldn't be more obvious, but if he didn't see their faces, he could pretend that they were clueless enough not to understand.

Clearing his throat a little uncomfortably and hiding his amusement at the sheepish expression on Lex's face that he was certain no one else ever saw, Jonathan spoke up. "It's after twelve, boys. If you make certain to be back by your curfew, I don't see any problem." He almost suggested a trip to the swimming hole but bit it back, not nearly at ease enough with the situation to joke about it that way.

"We'll be back in time," Clark answered quickly, hoping to get out of the house before he said something that really gave away what they wanted to do.

"Good night, boys," Martha murmured, watching them practically run out of the kitchen and recalling how it had felt when she and Jonathan had first fallen in love and only wanted to be together. "And be careful."

"God, that was so embarrassing," Lex groaned as they walked away. "I'm too old to suddenly have parents and a curfew." Then he looked over at the other man and smiled. Being with Clark was more than worth it; besides, he actually liked the Kents.

"They're good for you." Clark snickered at Lex's expression. It implied that one or both were probably hazardous to his health.

"Uh huh. By the way, where exactly are we going? I really think it needs to be somewhere with water." He really didn't want to face the Kents again without cleaning up.

"If we hurry, we can get to the pond and back with plenty of time..." Clark suggested. "There's water there, and soft grass, and no one around for miles."

"Hurrying is good," Lex agreed, imagining Clark on his hands and knees in the green grass. "And we'll have time to swim too. I have fond memories of swimming with you," he added with a faint smile.

"Marco." Grinning, Clark swooped Lex into his arms and raced across the dark fields, leaping the fences with an exuberance that had him taking them by a good ten feet. Reaching the pond, he slowed and set Lex on the ground. "That enough hurrying?"

Looking a little dazed, Lex clutched Clark's arms for a moment before loosening his grip, although not quite letting go. "Wow. That was... wow." Grinning, he threw back his head and laughed, then finally let go of Clark to start pulling his clothes off. "Naked. Now."

"And I take it this is make up sex?" Even as Clark asked the question, he was getting undressed, his gaze locked on Lex's increasingly bare body.

"Mmm, yes. It's what makes fighting bearable." Naked aside from the collar he planned never to remove, Lex watched Clark strip off his final garments, then moved back into his arms. "I love you so much," he breathed suddenly, hands gripping Clark's upper arms. "And I'm going to burst if I can't have you soon."

Lowering his head to rest his cheek against Lex's, Clark nodded. "Same here - to both. Maybe we should think about Pete?" The last was asked with a small grin.

"Argh!" Lex gave him a dirty look. "Just for that, I'm going for a swim first, and you can wait." He turned toward the pond.

"Won't there be a shrinkage problem if you do that?"

Eyebrows rising, Lex shot another threatening look over his shoulder. "Watch it, farm boy, or you're not getting any more tonight."

Clark pouted, though he wasn't sure if Lex could see him or not in the starlight. "Fine, see if I save your life any more."

"You'd miss me if I died." Lex suddenly turned about and tripped Clark, falling on top of him with a smug smirk. "But right now, I think I still have a promise to keep." He reached over, trying to grab his jeans without moving from his comfortable position atop his lover.

"What promise?" Clark asked, locking his arms around Lex's waist in an iron grip, not daring to let go of him. "That you're going swimming?"

"You are such a brat." Lex nearly crowed with success when he managed to snag his jeans and retrieve the packet of gel from the pocket. "We have something else to take care of before the swimming portion of this evening's entertainment." He ground their erections together, enjoying the sounds Clark made.

"Oh, that." Clark's voice had taken on a dreamy quality, and his arms loosened so that he could run his hands up and down Lex's back. Spreading his legs, he felt the older man settle between them and arched upward, offering himself.

"'Oh that'?" Lex repeated. "Am I boring you already, love?" Even as he commented, slick fingers were sliding between Clark's thighs and gliding up the crease to press inside him, coating him with the slick lubricant. "God, I always forget just how hot and tight you are," he whispered harshly, eyes fixed on the open expression of the man beneath him.

After giving a low sigh, Clark lifted his head enough to look at Lex. "You forget? Am I boring you already - God! - too?"

"Just the opposite." Lex added another finger, watching Clark's face hungrily and reveling in every sound of pleasure. "I can just never believe how amazingly good you feel when I remember. Nothing could be this good... but you are, we are together." Unable to wait any longer, he replaced his fingers with his cock, sliding into Clark as deeply as humanly possible.

"Better than anything," Clark whispered once he could speak again. Lex was over him and in him, and most important of all, with him, and would be forever if he had anything to say about it.

Groaning, he arched up, feeling goose bumps ripple across Lex's back as the cool night air ghosted over them. "Need you more then anything."

"You have me," Lex promised, the words a solemn vow. His mouth closed over Clark's, tongue sliding inside to tangle with its counterpart as their bodies slid together wetly, the tight, grasping heat almost more than he could bear. Lex closed his still slick hand around Clark's erection, pumping it, wanting to make his lover come hard while he rode him.

"God, yes." Losing track of time, Clark surrendered to the myriad of sensations coursing through him. Lex's cock, hard and hot and deep within him, his hand tight and slick around Clark's aching cock, his weight, a loving and comforting blanket over Clark.

Moaning, Clark sucked hungrily on Lex's tongue before spasming, his ass clamping down on Lex's erection as he came, feeling loved and cherished and wanted for everything that he was and everything he wasn't.

Lex watched Clark come, knowing that he'd made the younger man feel this pleasure, and only when the last spasm had passed did he begin to move again, his own lust peaking after only a few more thrusts. Gasping Clark's name, he came as well, then collapsed atop his lover, never wanting to move again.

"Mmm, definitely not boring," Clark sighed, nuzzling Lex's face and licking the sweat from his neck even as he stroked his hands over the older man's back, memorizing the feel of his skin once again.

"Oh good. I don't think I could try to top it for a while," Lex chuckled tiredly, wanting nothing more than to fall asleep in Clark's arms but knowing that they had to clean up and get back to the barn. God, he was going to sleep in a barn. He laughed wryly; who would have believed it a few short months ago?

"I think you'll find a way." Clark smiled blissfully, and stretched, careful not to move Lex off of him. "Ready for that swim now?"

"Well, since we can't just go to sleep, yes. I refuse to talk to your parents one more time tonight without cleaning up first." While it had never bothered Lex to have his own father walk in on him fucking someone, Clark's parents were different, more deserving of respect.

"They're in bed now - I hope." Chuckling, Clark stood, keeping a hold of Lex until he was upright and his lover had his feet under him. "Want me to carry you into the water so you don't bruise your feet?" he asked, grinning.

Lex actually stuck his tongue out at him before wading into the pond. "Me Lex, you Clark... not Scarlett and Rhett." Now waist-deep, he turned to face the younger man. "You planning on joining me? Because I have to tell you, Clark, you need to clean up as much as I do.

"By the way, I'm willing to bet money that your parents are up till we get back, maybe in bed, but no way in hell they're going to sleep till I've brought you home."

Clark nodded, knowing that Lex was right and feeling a flash of guilt at his parents' loss of sleep. "Don't you mean until I've brought you home? Considering I doubt you could find the way back, that's more the case."

He splashed into the water, diving under it only to surface behind Lex and spit water in his face. "And I was just trying to spare your soft city feet, plus you're more the Ashley type..."

"Ashley!" Lex splashed him, insulted. "As if! No, I'm definitely the roguish Rhett type. I suppose I should be grateful you didn't compare me to Melanie." He ignored Clark's comments about his parents, knowing that Clark didn't want to hear about parental concern and distrust of Luthors.

"So you're saying I'm Ashley or - or Scarlett?" Clark huffed. "I don't think so!"

"I think we've gone about as far as possible with that particular analogy," Lex observed dryly, rubbing a hand over his belly to remove the last of the dried semen from earlier that night.

"Good, I really don't want to hear you shrieking that you 'don't know nuthin' about birthing no babies!" Clark ducked under the water again, running his hands through his hair to get any tangles out and shaking himself vigorously when he surfaced.

"Hey!" Lex wiped the water out of his eyes, taking note of the overly innocent smile on Clark's face but letting it slide... for now. "God, now I know how dog owners feel!"

"Like you weren't wet already." Clark snickered before moving behind Lex and nibbling on the back of his neck. "And like you don't enjoy seeing me wet as much as I like seeing you that way."

"It's the principle of the thing." Lex held out for nearly a full ten seconds before sagging back against Clark, head falling to one side to make it easier to reach his neck. "God, don't do that, Clark. We don't have time for anything else. It's a fifteen minute walk back." He bit his lip against the moan of pleasure.

"Fifteen seconds," Clark asserted, continuing to nip at Lex's neck and shoulders, doubting either of them could respond but enjoying the feel and taste of his lover nonetheless.

"Wha-- Oh. You're going to kill me, drain me dry." Somehow, Lex didn't sound overly unhappy at the prospect. Not that he actually thought either of them could get it up again that quickly, but at least they could linger in the water and enjoy each other for a few minutes.

"Whine, whine, whine..." Punctuating each word with a gentle bite, Clark then ran his tongue over the warm flesh and the damp leather circling it. "I think it's time to take you home, Mr. Luthor; the country air is getting to you."

Too tired to argue, Lex just nodded. "Sounds good. I get to sleep with you and wake up with you, even if I do have to sleep in a barn." He still couldn't quite believe that part.

That made Clark pause, and he lifted his head, turning Lex around so that they could see each other. "Lex, this may be hard to grasp, but we do have beds at our house."

"I do realize that, Clark, but... your parents? Us sharing a bed, no matter how platonically, only a few feet away under their roof? I just assumed that we'd spend the night out in your 'fortress of solitude'."

Clark winced but held firm. "Lex, if they'd had a problem with it, they would have showed you the extra room - and made sure you stayed in there. Besides, the couch in the loft is comfortable but not that wide. Do you really want to land on the floor if I roll over and you fall off me?"

"Ouch. Uh, no. I just hope your dad remembers that they said it was okay. Being woken up by having someone try to shoot me really ruins my day." Reluctantly, Lex stepped back and splashed his way out of the water, sighing when he realized they hadn't brought any towels. Since Clark had already donated his t-shirt to the cause earlier, even if involuntarily, it was his turn, and he reached for his shirt to dry off.

"I'll hide the shotgun." Following Lex out of the water, he caught the older man's wrist when he moved to blot himself dry. "Do you puke if you get dizzy?"

"Do I-- No. And would you let go, please. I need to dry off."

"In a minute." Catching Lex around the waist, Clark spun them both in a circle, the velocity of their movements drying them faster than any piece of clothing could. "Better?" he asked, once he was sure Lex wasn't going to fall over.

"Geez, you replace many household appliances too," Lex teased. "Very useful indeed." Once he was certain that the dizziness had passed, he got dressed again, then eyed Clark. "While I'm flattered by the attention, I really think you ought to dress before we head back. I'm almost certain your parents don't need any visuals."

"Sorry, I got distracted." Flashing Lex a grin, Clark tugged on his jeans, shirt and shoes. "And more adjectives for me, cool!" Moving toward Lex, he held out his hand. "We've got time, want to go back the slow way?"

"Sure." Lex found that he enjoyed strolling through the countryside with Clark. Then again, he enjoyed just about anything with Clark. "Just promise to protect me from any crazed cows or weird mutants we may run across," he added with a faint laugh.

Closing his fingers over Lex's when the other man took his hand, Clark laughed. "In return for your favors? Any time." He winked, though he doubted that Lex could see it in the dim light, and started them walking, turning them in the direction of the farmhouse. "So, ready to help with the chores in the morning?"

"As I've mentioned before, Luthors supervise. And I'll be more than happy to watch you. But neither I nor the cows will be happy if you expect me to milk one." Lex couldn't even begin to imagine how to go about that... and didn't they kick?

"Ahh, but now you're on my turf, and if you want to eat, you have to help." Clark was barely able to keep a straight face as he explained. "Besides, milking a cow is easy, I swear." They came to a fence, and he started to hop it without thinking before catching himself and climbing over with Lex.

"Clark, I am not milking a cow." The look Lex gave him promised dire retribution if he suggested it again. "Besides, I don't really think your father wants me anywhere near any of your cattle," he added with a hint of bitterness, remembering Jonathan's reaction when the herd had been poisoned.

"I think he'd agree to it in this case." For the chance to see Lex milking a cow, Clark would beg until he was blue in the face and come armed with a camera.

"Have I mentioned recently that you're a sadist?" Lex inquired conversationally. "I have no burning desire to milk a cow, Clark."

"I know you don't, but you would for me, wouldn't you?" Clark leaned in and nibbled on Lex's ear. "Please?"

Lex moaned softly. "That is so unfair," he groused, wobbling slightly as he walked.

"Please?"

A pitiful groan preceded the yes.

Clark grinned in triumph. "I love you, Lex."

"I think that should be, 'I love you, wimp,'" Lex sighed. "But I love you too, even if you are a sadist."

"Hey, I ate snails for you; you can milk a cow for me," Clark replied blithely.

"You said you liked the escargot!" Lex didn't think the two equated. "I think you just enjoy seeing me out of my element." Actually, Lex rather enjoyed it as well, but he wasn't about to admit that.

Clark snorted. "Pot, meet Kettle, and the snails were okay; I liked the clams better though."

"We'll have to try oysters next time." Lex could see a darker shape ahead. "Is that the farm up ahead?" he asked, squinting to try to see better.

"Either that or a bull." Hearing Lex's indrawn breath, Clark chuckled. "Yeah, it's the farm. One more fence and we're home."

"Definite sadistic tendencies," Lex muttered, musing how nice it felt when Clark said that they were almost home. Maybe someday they really would have a home of their own, but for now, he was happy. "Good thing. I have to admit that I'm tired."

"Here, let me help then." Scooping Lex up, Clark hopped over the fence and had them in the kitchen in a flash. "Figured I'd better let you walk upstairs on your own."

They headed up the stairs, and he snickered when he saw two sets of pajamas pointedly left out on his bed. "Guess that's a hint, huh?"

Lex made a face. "I was going to leave the briefs on," he sighed. "Well, I suppose it won't kill me for one night... bottoms only," he added emphatically, already stripping out of his clothes and wondering what he was going to wear the next day.

Pulling on the cotton bottoms, he slid into the bed, then looked up at Clark, waiting for him to join him so he could slide into his arms.

After changing, using the bathroom and brushing his teeth, Clark climbed into bed - his bed - next to Lex. It took a minute for them to get settled together, because his double was a lot smaller than Lex's king, but in the end, they managed it.

"Sleep tight, Krillin," Clark murmured after turning off the light, his eyes closing even as he sighed in contentment. "Love you."

Eyes popping open at the nickname, Lex sighed and shut them again. "Love you too... Goku."

Lex woke up gradually, aware of a delicious warmth all along his front and a pervasive feeling of happiness. Opening his eyes, he smiled widely when he realized that he was sprawled on top of Clark, in his bed and arms.

"Boys! Breakfast!" Martha called, knocking on the door before heading downstairs.

Clark groaned and started to roll over before catching himself and Lex. "Morning," he mumbled, opening his eyes to see Lex smiling down at him. "How'd you sleep?"

"Wonderfully." Now that Clark was awake too, Lex stretched, catlike, never moving from atop him. "Now if only we didn't have to get out of this bed." But the idea of Clark's parents coming in after them got him moving.

"Did your mother mean breakfast is ready right now? Do I have time for a shower first, or are we supposed to go down in pajamas?"

"We'd better get dressed." Clark snickered at the thought of sitting down to breakfast with Lex and his folks, all of them in their PJs. Not going to happen. "And might as well wait to shower; who knows what's going to happen when you try to milk Bossie." Whistling innocently, he slid out of the bed after kissing Lex and dug in a dresser drawer, pulling out a couple of t-shirts and pairs of sweats. "Here you go; I really doubt your clothes got washed like mine do at your place."

Oh my god, he's really going to make me milk a cow. The look of horror on Lex's face was profound. "Thanks," he managed to say in a strangled tone, accepting the clothes. He had to cinch the drawstring in until the ends hung down nearly to his knees, but he had to admit that he'd feel a lot better sitting down with the Kents wearing actual clothes.

Once he'd pulled the t-shirt on, he caught hold of Clark's hand and pulled him into a kiss. "Good morning," he said finally when their lips parted.

"You know, if Mom wasn't making pancakes and sausage, I'd be really tempted just to hide up here with you," Clark murmured. "Until Dad broke the door in anyway."

Stepping back, he eyed Lex from head to toes, studying the fit of his clothes on the older man. "I like. Really dress down day for you."

"Boys!" Martha's voice carried up the stairs. "Now."

"I think that's our cue." Taking a deep breath and feeling more nervous than he ever had over any business deal, Lex squared his shoulders and opened the bedroom door to head downstairs. Hesitating at the top of the stairs, he glanced back and held out a hand, needing the reassurance of Clark's touch. "Coming?"

Moving to Lex's side, Clark took his hand, leaning in to kiss him quickly. "I'll protect you, promise."

They walked down the stairs, and entered the kitchen, causing both Martha and Jonathan to look over at them. "Morning, Mom, Dad," Clark said, taking the platter of pancakes from his mother and setting it on the table, at the same time guiding Lex toward a chair.

"Morning, dear," she smiled. "Coffee, Lex?"

"Please." He sat down, stilling into absolute immobility, only his eyes darting from one person to another. This had to be oddest moment of his life, and he really wasn't sure how to handle it. He thanked Martha fervently for the coffee a moment later, then stared down into it as if it held the secrets of the universe.

Jonathan watched Lex curiously, somewhat taken aback by his attitude. He recognized it as the stillness of a wild animal trying not to draw the attention of a predator, and more, he realized that he was the cause of it. Startled anew by Lex's skittishness, something that he'd never seen in the hard-bitten businessman before he became involved with Clark, he raised a hand, intending to clap it on Lex's shoulder, and he was shocked when Lex flinched away.

"Lex..." he started, astonished by the split second look of fear, but what would have happened next, they would never know.

"Lex!" Lionel Luthor swept into the kitchen as if he owned it, and Lex instantly iced over.

Fuck! As Clark hadn't taken a seat yet, it took only a stride for him to plant himself between Lionel and Lex, glaring at the elder Luthor murderously and very ready to throw him bodily out of the house.

Shocked by the invasion to her home and by the sudden change in Lex, Martha stood her ground. "I realize that you aren't from around here, Mr. Luthor, but I believe that knocking is customary even in Metropolis before walking into someone's house."

Dismissing her as irrelevant, Lionel concentrated on his son. "Come along, Lex, we have a great deal to discuss."

"No," Lex replied flatly, a hand on Clark's back urging him to one side so he could meet his father's gaze indifferently. "As I thought I made clear to you yesterday morning, I have nothing to say to you, especially not with regard to Clark."

"Do you really want to try me on this, Lex?" Lionel cast a disdainful glance around the room. "This won't even be a challenge."

Lex surged to his feet, fury suffusing his face, but Jonathan beat him to it. "Are you threatening my family, Lionel?"

Lionel's eyebrows rose until they vanished beneath his thick fall of hair. "Threatening you? Why of course not, Jonathan." He walked over to the table, picked up the cup of coffee that had been in front of Lex, and drank from it. "I'm merely trying to speak to my son regarding some unfinished business we have. As he can't be bothered to return my phone calls, I had to track him down here." He glanced at Lex, and smirked. "Taking your enjoyment of rural comforts one step further?"

Clark was shaking with anger, the only thing keeping him from flying at Lionel as he had Phelan being Lex's hand on his back. He felt a touch on his shoulder as well and knew his mother had stepped up beside them, presenting a united front against Lionel.

"I would say that if he wasn't returning your calls, he must not want to talk to you," Martha commented, disgusted by the contempt with which Lionel was treating all of them - especially his own son.

"I really don't care what he wants," Lionel responded callously. "Lex, you will come with me now or... Well, I'm sure you can imagine."

"If you want a war with me, Dad, just try it." Lex was well aware that his father was threatening the Kents, and he was pretty sure they all realized it as well, except maybe for Clark, who didn't seem to have gotten past Lionel's treatment of Lex himself. "Right now, I suggest you go back to Metropolis... Don't forget, thanks to Mom, the castle is mine, not yours. It was so smart of you to put it in her name for the tax break when you brought it over here," he sneered. "Too bad she left it to me rather than you." And the staff provided by Lionel rather than hired by Lex himself would be replaced that very day.

Jonathan stood firmly on Lex's other side, the two boys protectively bracketed by the elder Kents. "Get out of my house. Now."

Lionel eyed them, but there was no question that in a physical altercation the farmer and his cloddish offspring would win against him. "You seem to have something of mine," he said coolly, nodding toward Lex.

"Last time I checked, slavery was illegal," Clark snarled. "Get out of Smallville, Mr. Luthor. Get out and stay out, or you'll wish you had."

"Clark..." Martha tightened her hand on his shoulder, hoping to keep him calm enough to avoid demonstrating any of his powers. There was no question in her mind as to what Lionel Luthor would do if he had any inkling of how special her son was.

"I told you to leave, Luthor. Are you going to do it, or am I calling the sheriff? Charges of trespassing and attempted kidnapping probably wouldn't go over too well in those hoity-toity clubs you visit."

Lex remained silent, a warm feeling growing inside him as this family rose up in his defense. He was glad that he'd already taken steps to ensure that Lionel couldn't harm the Kents, including buying the bank that held their mortgage.

Lionel's eyes narrowed, meeting Lex's cold gaze in a battle of wills. "You'll regret this, Lex. A few months from now, when your farmboy is a bad memory and you have nothing, what are you going to do?"

Lex refused to rise to the baiting, simply smiling coldly. He knew that he and Clark were more than that, and as for the business... well, Lexcorp was already doing very well. He didn't need anything from his father.

Jonathan took a step forward, and Lionel retreated. "Fair warning, Lionel. You come near either of these boys again, and you'll have me to deal with."

"Is that supposed to be a threat?" Lionel scoffed, his shoulders shaking with silent laughter. "I hate to break this to you, Jonathan, but my son scares me more than you do, and that's not at all. You've made your beds; I do hope you enjoy lying in them." Giving Lex and Clark a pointed look, Lionel turned and walked out, heading for his limo.

"If he wasn't your dad, Lex..." Clark growled, glaring at the departing car so fiercely he felt it should burst into flames.

"Violence isn't the answer, Clark, no matter what the problem." Martha took a deep breath, then did what she'd been wanting to for quite a while: she gave Lex a hug. "You're always welcome here, Lex."

Lex stared at her, eyes wide with surprise, and he stood stiffly for a moment before his arms rose to return the embrace, at first tentatively, then fiercely as he allowed himself to lean on his lover's mother for a moment.

Jonathan watched with initial surprise, then understanding, and he felt ashamed of his reactions to Lex up till now. Certainly Lex had stood a fair chance of turning out like his father at one time, especially when no one would give him a chance to become anything else, but he was not Lionel Luthor, and judging by what had just happened, he'd suffered more from his father than anyone else.

"I think you should stay here for a while, son."

Lex's eyes widened still more as Jonathan Kent called him son, but he shook his head. "I can't. I have to run Lexcorp and make sure that he doesn't get the jump on me, and I can only do that from the castle right now. Although I will have to get rid of the staff that report to him."

"Then I think Clark should stay with you. For your own safety." As appalling an idea as it was, Jonathan truly believed that Lex might be in physical danger from his own father.

"All the more reason for Clark to stay away," Lex argued, not wanting to endanger his lover.

"As if!" Clark finally swung away from the door, visibly forcing himself to relax and calm down. "What's he going to do to me? Poke me with a foil? He comes near you again, and - and..."

Martha could feel how tense Lex was, but she gently relinquished her hold on him when Clark came up behind him and stroked Lex's back. "I wish you would stay, Lex, if only for a little while. Surely you can keep tabs of the business from here for a few days. We have a computer and phone line, you know."

Lex looked at them helplessly, not sure what to do in the face of the Kents united in their desire to protect him. He scrubbed a hand over his face, the most helpless thing the older couple had ever seen him do. "I..." How could he say that he was trying to protect them by staying away?

"We can go back with you to pick up some things that you'll need, but I really think you should stay here, Lex. Unless you really want Clark staying there where Lionel could get to him."

"You play dirty, Mr. Kent."

Jonathan shrugged. "I protect my family."

Lex turned to face Clark. "Well? You haven't had much to say."

Clark had been staring at the floor, and he raised his eyes to look at Lex without lifting his head. "I wish I could kill him," he muttered, hoping that his parents hadn't heard but knowing from his mother's gasp that they had. "I hate him! I hate what he does to you! Why can't he just stay away?"

"Not his style," Lex sighed. "So how about it; if I go back to the castle, are you going to stay here where you belong?"

Jonathan wanted to protest, but he waited to see what Clark would say. He was starting to realize that contrary to what he had believed, Lex was not dictating their relationship. If anything, it appeared that Clark was a little too good at getting his own way.

Clark's chin rose, and his eyes narrowed as he stared defiantly at Lex. "No. Do you have a problem with that?"

Picking up the cup Lionel had used, Martha rinsed it in the sink, feeling as if they all might better be served by her simply throwing it into the trash.

Sighing again, Lex stared at him. "Do you have any idea what he would do to you if he ever found out your secrets, Clark? You need to stay far away from him." He could see by the stubborn expression that he wasn't making any headway, and he sank back into his seat. "Fine, you win. I'll stay here... but I'm not milking cows every morning!"

"We don't have any milk cows, Lex," Jonathan put in, then muffled a laugh when he saw the surprised expression followed by a dirty look that Lex leveled on Clark.

Though Clark was still furious at Lionel, some of the tension had left him when Lex agreed to stay with them, and he actually grinned at seeing his boyfriend's outraged expression. "Ummmm. Anyone want any pancakes?" he asked, retreating to safety behind his mother.

"Depends, are you going to tell me that I have to mill the wheat?" Lex asked in a saccharine tone, circling the table toward the snickering teenager.

Also chuckling, Jonathan got two cups from the cabinet and poured himself a cup of coffee as well as replacing Lex's. "You might want the caffeine before taking Clark on, Lex. I've found it helps."

Darting a surprised glance at him, Lex changed direction to accept the cup. "Thank you, Mr. Kent."

"Jonathan."

Lex didn't know what to say, and it showed.

Stepping neatly out of the way, Martha left her son to his own devices. "You started it, Clark; I do believe that Lex will end it." Getting her own coffee, she stopped next to Lex and rested her hand on his cheek. "And I'm Martha. You're family now; between Clark, Jonathan, and I, you don't have to worry about being alone."

"Mom... Dad..." Clark blinked furiously, feeling as if he'd been given the greatest gift in the world, and he had: both his parents' love and acceptance of his boyfriend. "I... thank you." Lex took a hasty swallow of his coffee until he got his emotions under control, nearly overwhelmed. He hadn't felt acceptance like this since his mother died.

"I'm just sorry that it took this to make me see what should have been obvious, that you aren't your father, Lex," Jonathan apologized, a comforting hand on Lex's shoulder.

Lex could only nod wordlessly, then moved into Clark's arms, automatically tucking his head under Clark's chin and pressing his face into his throat in what was becoming his standard reaction when he needed comforting.

"Love you," Clark whispered, hugging Lex tightly. "Never let him near you again, I promise." He felt both his mother and father move closer, shielding them and supporting them at the same time.

"Is this what a family's supposed to be like?" Lex asked almost helplessly, pressing closer, arms tight around Clark.

Jonathan wrapped his arms around both young men, vowing not to let Lionel Luthor hurt either of them. He didn't know how he'd be able to make it up to Lex for acting the way he had, but after seeing Lionel's attitude toward his own son, he was determined to find a way.

Tears stained Martha's cheeks, and she met Jonathan's gaze wordlessly, feeling heartsick at the thought of everything Lex had been through and how easily they could have become a cause of more pain for both him and for Clark as well. "This is what a family is all about," she whispered, stroking both boys' backs.

Lex raised his head, blinking rapidly to hold back the tears he refused to shed. "Thank you," he managed huskily, then was astonished anew when he realized that the arms he felt around him weren't just Clark's but Jonathan's as well.

"You'll always be welcome in our home, Lex. It's your home too now," Jonathan said fiercely, freeing one hand to hold Martha's.

Wanting to wipe his eyes but refusing to let go of Lex long enough to do that, Clark sniffled. "Yeah, including the cows," he said, his voice deep with emotion even as he tried to joke.

Grateful for the break in intensity, Lex shot another half-hearted glare at Clark. "You do realize that I'm going to get you for that?" He took a step back, then another, until the embrace had fallen away, then picked up his coffee and took another swallow.

Smiling, Jonathan sat back down, staying out of Martha's way as she went back to making breakfast, hopefully without any more interruptions.

"I'm so scared." Clark took the gallon of orange juice from the fridge, drinking from the bottle until his mother turned and caught him at it and smacked his shoulder. "OW! Plus, you'd have to catch me first." Things seemed to be returning back to normal for the time being, and, while Clark wasn't going to forget the threat Lionel posed, he also wasn't going to let the asshole ruin his time with Lex and his family.

"Dominic, I trust the matter will be taken care of within the hour?"

"Of course, Mr. Luthor."

"Very good. It's time that my son remembers what his true position is in life and in what manner he should act if he wishes to have what he most wants."

Lex placed a couple more shirts in the case on top of the casual clothes, and shut it, placing it on the floor next to the hanging suit bag. Looking around, he nodded sharply. "That's everything I need up here. I just have to get some files and my laptop from the study, and I'll be ready." He reached for the case, only to find that Clark had already hefted it, and sighed.

Already knowing that he couldn't win that battle, he simply picked up the suit bag and led the way out of the room, Clark and Jonathan following him like a pair of bodyguards. "I'd be perfectly fine here, you know."

"I'm sure you would be; now let's get your other stuff so we can get out of here." Clark smiled benignly though he kept looking around, scanning the walls, the ceiling and the floor as if he expected hoards of Lionel-sent assassins to jump out and go after Lex at any moment. He knew there was no way that Lex would stay at his parents' place very long, but he was right now, and that was what was important.

"I'm being pacified by a fifteen-year-old. Something is radically wrong with the universe," Lex muttered, feeling like the head of a conga line as they all trooped down to his study. The worst part was going to be the frustration though; he couldn't see the Kents allowing him and Clark to share a bed indefinitely, so he was going to be forced to sleep under the same roof but not be able to touch him.

Growling under his breath, Lex gathered up his laptop and the files he would need for the next few days, then turned to face the waiting Kent men. "This really isn't necessary, you know," he tried one final time.

Jonathan simply smiled, knowing that Clark was more than enough to deal with Lex.

"You wanted to pick up a car while you were here?" Clark reached out and took the suit bag from Lex's hand, over the older man's protests. When Lex growled, Clark grinned at his father, though he was plainly still worried about the whole situation.

Following Lex toward the garage, Clark was beginning to believe that maybe they'd make it out of the castle without anything untoward happening. Just to be safe, though, he pushed past Lex, putting himself in front of his lover and his father as he opened the door to the massive garage.

"Holy shit," Clark breathed. What had been an open expanse of pristine, high-powered and very expensive cars was now a wasteland of smashed junk. He tried to close the door again, not wanting Lex to catch sight of the wrecked vehicles, then cursed when he slipped under his arm and into the garage.

Lex stood in the garage, surrounding the dented, crushed remains of his cars, and he felt so cold. Blue eyes moved from one vehicle to the next, cataloguing the damage, and a distant part of his mind was impressed by his father's thoroughness. He was vaguely aware of Clark and Jonathan saying something behind him, but the words didn't register as more than a faintly distracting hum.

"I'll have to call the police and my insurance company," he said with an eerie calm, then, "I didn't know he hated me this much."

"Lex," Jonathan started, taking a step forward, only to stop when the shell-shocked blue eyes focused on him.

"Don't! Please," Lex added more quietly after the initial sharp exclamation. "I can't... not yet." He pulled out his cell phone and called the police to report the vandalism, then his insurance company, then stood, still and quiet, to wait for the police to arrive.

"Lex..." Clark began but fell silent when his lover turned away from him, totally consumed by the sight in front of him. White-hot rage bubbled up within Clark again, and he wished he had done what he wanted to before, namely, tearing Lionel Luthor limb from limb.

The Porsche, the Jag, the Ferrari they had practically broken their necks in while making out: all gone. It wasn't the money--as Lex said, he had insurance--it was the fact that Lionel had done this knowing what the cars meant to Lex, had done it because of what the cars meant to him, that made Clark feel ill.

Shaking off the restraining hand his father laid on his shoulder, Clark walked through the mangled remains, the burning in his gut getting hotter and hotter with each step he took. Reaching the remains of the grey car Lex had driven the day they'd discovered the truth about each other, Clark crouched down beside them.

The burning intensified, moving up to his head, the pain so fierce he closed his eyes for a moment, resting a hand on the twisted metal for support. When he finally opened them, everything turned red for a second, and when that cleared, Clark found himself staring at an area of melted metal and fiberglass that hadn't been there before. Now he could melt things with his eyes, great; what else was going to happen today?

Thankful that neither his father nor Lex had seen that, Clark stood and turned back toward them. "The sheriff's here." There was no need to elaborate on how he knew that. "Are you going to tell them what really happened?" As he spoke, he walked back to Lex's side, hugging him even though Lex remained stiff in his arms.

Lex shrugged. "This is Smallville; anything could have happened. Some new mutant may like crushing cars for all we know. It's not like he left a calling card to announce responsibility." He wanted nothing more than to sink into Clark's embrace, but he couldn't, not yet, not till he'd dealt with the authorities. "Clark, please." He shifted uncomfortably. Seeing the hurt in the green eyes as the younger man released him, he caught hold of Clark's wrist. "I can't let go yet, love. Not yet."

Jonathan placed a comforting hand on Clark's shoulder. "Let him be for now, son. When we get him home, that's when he's going to need you."

Oh, God, this hurt, wanting to help but not being able to do anything. Stepping back away from Lex, Clark nodded, feeling both sets of fingers on him tighten before falling away. "I understand." He moved back to stand against the wall, his arms wrapped around his torso to avoid making things worse by doing what he wanted and not letting Lex go.

"I understand you have a problem, Mr. Luthor?" the sheriff called, walking into the garage before halting, staring at the destroyed automobiles. "Quite the problem from the looks of it. What the hell happened here?"

Lex shrugged. "Breaking and entering. Vandalism. Yet another weird and wonderful addition to my life in Smallville.

"They seem to have concentrated in here. I didn't notice anything amiss inside the castle when I was in there, although I wasn't really looking for it either. Still, my study and my bedroom were all right."

Taking notes, the sheriff nodded. "I'll probably need to ask you some more questions later, but that should be it for now."

"Lex will be staying with us if you do need to talk to him, Ethan," Jonathan put in.

Surprised, the sheriff glanced up, finally noticing how Jonathan was hovering protectively near Lex. Oh, right, Clark was Luthor's friend, although he hadn't thought Jonathan was overly fond of the young man. Perhaps there was more to him than met the eye. "That's fine then. It's probably best not to be here just in case they decide to come back."

"I'll have to change the security system," Lex murmured, looking around almost helplessly.

Seeing that Lex was reaching the end of his reserves, Jonathan stepped in. "This has been a shock for all of us, so unless you need Lex for anything right now, I'm going to take the boys home." With the sheriff's approval, Jonathan got them out of there and back into the truck, this vehicle that Lex had originally bought for Clark the only one he had left now.

Glad that his dad was driving so that he could concentrate on Lex, Clark hesitated, unsure if his touch would be welcome yet. Raising his eyes, he looked at his father over the top of Lex's head, miserable confusion etched in his gaze.

"It'll be okay, Lex," he whispered, reaching out to take his lover's hand. "You'll beat him. We'll beat him together."

Lex turned into Clark's arms almost violently, his arms wrapping around the younger man as he clung to him. Finally able to let go now that he'd dealt with the outside world, he let himself rely on Clark's strength as he shook. "He'll never love me, will he?"

Jonathan darted a glance over at the sad little question, suddenly remembering that no matter what else Lionel Luthor was, he was still Lex's father and one who had just made it clear to a lonely young man that he cared nothing for his son, in fact seemed to enjoy hurting him. "It's his loss, Lex."

"He's fucked in the head," Clark muttered, wincing when he realized he'd said that in front of his father. "Well, he is." He held Lex close, comforting as best he could, given their current positions, and wishing he could just take off and carry Lex somewhere quiet to try and make everything better.

Jonathan gave him a look for the language, but he couldn't argue with the sentiment. "I don't want you going back there alone, Lex, and not at all till you've changed the security and replaced Lionel's staff." The sheer malicious violence of what he'd seen in that garage still shocked him.

Lex nodded slightly with his head tucked under Clark's chin, envious of the Kents' family. "Don't worry, Mr. K--Jonathan. I don't want to run into him either."

"I do," Clark muttered. "I'd burn a hole through his as... butt."

As a tension breaker, it was perfect. Lex stilled for a moment, then snickered, then burst into full out laughter, and if it had a tinge of hysteria, the other two men ignored it.

"Oh, Clark," he gasped finally, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, "he's not worth the effort."

"It wouldn't be much of an effort." Breathing a sigh of relief that Lex seemed at least a little more on solid footing, Clark kissed him before ducking his head. "I - ahhh - I sort of melted part of one of the cars back there."

Lex gaped at him, and the truck veered wildly across the road before Jonathan pulled over, both men staring at the blushing teenager. "You melted it?" Lex asked carefully. "How?"

Clark shrugged his shoulders, not quite looking at his father or Lex. "I was really pi - mad about what happened, and my head started hurting, then I closed my eyes and when I opened them, everything went red. And melted."

He looked up at that, his forced smile nervous. "Just one more thing to add to the package."

Lex blinked, not knowing what to say, and Jonathan gripped his son's shoulder tightly for a moment. "We'll figure out how to control it, Clark; don't worry."

Lex hugged Clark tightly. "At least I'll never need to wonder how to get a fire lit again," he teased lightly.

Smiling gratefully at his father, Clark nodded before resting his head against Lex's, leaning into his strength just as, not long before, he'd supported Lex. Thank God he had them all; they'd keep him sane no matter what changes came.

Lifting his head again when he felt his father pull back out onto the road, Clark smirked at Lex. "I could light one before, and without matches too. Gee, Dad, I think Lex wants to go camping with us..."

"What? No! No camping! My idea of roughing it is exploring the back yard. No tents, no sleeping bags, no cooking over open fires." Lex shuddered, and Jonathan snickered.

"Oh, come on, Lex, it's male bonding at its finest."

"No offence, Jonathan, but I'll do my bonding in the comforts of civilization."

"City boy," Clark snickered, amazed at the fact that Lex and his dad were actually joking together but loving it. "We can go before it gets too cold, and Dad and I'll protect you."

"I'll read about it on the net. You can send me reports. I am not sleeping in a sleeping bag on the cold, hard ground." Lex shook his head emphatically.

"Da-ad, come on, help me here!" Clark whined. "C'mon, Lex, it'll be fun..."

"Clark, the most important lesson you can ever learn in life is never, ever interfere between a couple," Jonathan said with a grin. "You're on your own. Although I will say that the Columbus Day weekend is perfect for camping."

Lex groaned. "No, no, no! I don't camp. I don't do primitive. I do feather beds and Egyptian cotton sheets and... and... Stop looking at me like that!"

"He's coming." Clark grinned triumphantly. "After all, it'll be come with Dad and me or stay home with Mom and help her bake my birthday cake."

"I'm sure I could learn to bake," Lex said in a last-ditch attempt to save himself. "No, huh?" He sighed. "It's the damn eyes. That is so unfair."

"He learned it from his mother," Jonathan put in, in a commiserating tone.

"Hey, at least I didn't melt you." Clark smirked, feeling triumphant. "And if I learned from Mom, Dad, why doesn't it work on you?"

Jonathan gave him a look. "I'm pretty sure your health class covered this topic, Clark. Your mother wraps me around her little finger when she really wants to... just like you do to Lex. And to think that I was worried that he was manipulating you at first." He snorted. "I owe you an apology, Lex."

Lex chuckled. "Does it ever get any easier to say no?"

"'Fraid not."

"That's what I was afraid of. Oh well, life as Clark Kent's se-slave won't be all bad." He really hoped Jonathan hadn't heard that little verbal stumble.

Caught somewhere between shuddering at the thought of his folks that way and turning crimson because of what Lex had almost said, Clark leaned against the door, finally giving in and giggling. He almost had it under control when his dad and Lex looked at each other in commiseration, and that sent him into another fit of hysterics just as they pulled into the driveway, heading for the house.

Shaking his head, Jonathan got out the truck, leaving his giggling son to Lex while he went inside to tell Martha what had happened.

"Clark?" Lex turned sideways in the seat, watching Clark curiously. "What is so funny?"

"You," Clark got out, gasping for breath, "and Dad. You looked..." He leaned his head against the window, his body shaking with laughter.

Shaking his head mournfully, Lex slid toward the driver's side door, planning on getting out that way. "Crazy man. When you calm down, I'll be inside having some coffee with your parents." After taking his luggage up to the guest room.

Meanwhile, Jonathan stood on the porch, his arm around Martha's waist as they watched the two boys. "I think it broke something in him, Martha, to know that his father really doesn't give a damn about him. If Lionel had been there, I think I would have killed him with my bare hands.

"But we're left with another problem. Can we really expect Lex to stay here for any length of time in the guest room? I remember when we started going out; that would be torture. But can we accept the alternative?" Jonathan sighed, watching Clark pull Lex back toward him and kiss him.

"Plus there's the fact that while we can make rules for Clark, making them for Lex isn't quite as easy." Martha sighed and rested her head against Jonathan's shoulder. "They won't like it; heavens know I wouldn't like it if I was in their position, but I think we really do need to stay firm on this, Jonathan.

"It's not that I doubt their feelings, it's just... He's still our child." It really didn't matter to Martha who Clark was involved with; in this situation, he was still her son, and for the time being he and Lex would just have to behave themselves while in the house.

Jonathan nodded. "I think he needs some comfort right now, though. You can't imagine it, Martha; it was so destructive." He frowned. "They proved last night that they can be trusted. If we hold firm on the no sex in the house rule, are you willing to allow them to share a bed to sleep? I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'd feel like a monster keeping them apart. I could see him growing calmer when Clark was holding him."

"Now I feel like the monster." Looking toward the truck again, Martha nodded, coming to a decision. "I'll agree to that, and it would probably save them both some worry, if not us."

"You think I'm letting you go anywhere without me?" Clark laughed after he released Lex. "Besides, you can't carry all the stuff you brought up the stairs without help."

"I'm sure I could manage," Lex sniffed, though the laughter in the blue eyes gave him away... as well as the sadness buried deep behind that. "But then again, useful is in your job description." He smiled quickly. "We should probably go in though... if you'll let go of me?"

"I'd rather not," Clark admitted, before doing as Lex asked, twisting to open the door, then getting out, waiting until Lex was down as well before grabbing his things out of the cab along with the remains of their snacks from the previous night, not wanting to leave junk in the bed to clutter it.

"You sure you don't want to fumigate it?" Lex teased, grinning. "After all, a bug might have fallen in." Clark was so cute about this truck; he was glad they'd had it with them so it hadn't been one of the ones destroyed. Sobering at the reminder, he straightened up and tried to take some of his things.

"I really can carry a laptop, you know," he finally said with fond aggravation.

"Ha ha ha." Clark crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue, looking quickly away when he felt the pressure build-up that had accompanied the display of his newest power.

"Shit." Squeezing his eyes shut, he waited, hoping that it would go away so that he didn't fry anything when he opened them again.

"Clark? What's wrong?" Lex instantly moved to his side, worried by the grimace and expression of near pain on Clark's face, everything else forgotten.

"You know what happened at your place?" Clark was still keeping his eyes tightly shut. "I'm doing it again."

Wondering why the boys had stopped, Martha and Jonathan hurried off the porch.

"Clark?" Martha called, concerned by both his and Lex's expressions.

"Well, you can't walk around with your eyes shut for the rest of your life." Lex looked around and decided that the totally bare ground of the driveway was the safest spot. He moved around behind Clark and turned him so that he was facing away from the truck and his parents. "Okay, love, bend over a bit so you're looking straight at the ground and then open your eyes. Hopefully it'll stop by itself once you let it out."

"Jonathan? Lex? What's going on?"

"You may want to take this." Handing the things he'd been carrying over to Lex without opening his eyes, Clark leaned over. "Something sort of happened at Lex's place, Mom," he explained before taking a deep breath and letting his eyes slit open.

The red glare was immediate and intense but died out quickly, leaving a patch of scorched earth behind.

They all stood there, staring down at the blackened area in silence.

"Barbecue anyone?" Lex asked cheerfully, meeting the shocked gazes that swung up to him with serenity.

Jonathan was the first to crack, chuckling at Lex's ability to take everything in stride. "You're a very unusual man, Lex Luthor."

"I know."

"No wonder he likes me," Clark grinned, relieved that he hadn't fried the whole area.

"Well..." Martha stared helplessly at the charred patch of ground, trying to process this new manifestation of Clark's other-worldliness.

"I think we need to talk about this, son," Jonathan said, drawing them all into the kitchen so they could sit down comfortably. "Do you know what triggered it? And can you control it yet?"

Lex stayed close to Clark's side, offering him his acceptance and support.

"The first time, it was because I was mad at Lio - Lex's dad for what he did. This time I was just laughing, and it started. If I keep my eyes closed, it stops it, but I can't do that all the time..." Clark winced; the x-ray vision had been enough of a problem at school, but this?

"It sounds like it happens when your emotions are high, when you're not controlled," Jonathan started.

"Which means that we just have to find a nice fireproof area for you to practice and learn to control this new power," Lex said hastily, afraid that Jonathan was going to try to make Clark over control himself again. He understood why the Kents had made him so conscious of his strength, but Clark wasn't a child anymore, and repressing his emotions was not going to help.

"And I hate to force the issue, but it has to be done soon." Martha was pale with worry, not because of what Clark's vision might destroy, but over the fact that this might reveal his secret.

Clark nodded. "I know, Mom. And, and until I can keep control of it, I'll just try not to get emotional, okay?"

"Not okay!" Lex didn't like that solution one bit. "You're way too young to get ulcers. We'll work on it tomorrow, or later tonight if you insist. It probably works similarly to your x-ray vision; we just need to figure out how to trigger and stop it. We'll do it together."

Jonathan frowned. "This could be dangerous if..." Seeing Lex growing frown, he stopped and considered what he'd been about to say. Maybe Lex was right, maybe they were remembering the younger Clark and not making allowance for increased maturity and control. "We'll work it out together," he said finally.

Putting aside her own concerns, Martha gave both Clark and Lex hugs. "Just be careful, all right? Now, why don't you take Lex's things upstairs so he can get settled in?"

Clark nodded. "Where should I put them?"

Considering this new development, Martha certainly wasn't going to risk upsetting Clark and setting off his new power. "Having everything in your room, Clark, might be a bit crowded, so you can store some of them in the guest room; it's right across the hall in case Lex needs anything."

That brought Lex's head around so fast that he almost injured himself. "What?"

"We're sticking to the no-sex-in-the-house rule," Jonathan warned, shifting uncomfortably at having to discuss this with his son, "but you proved last night that you can be trusted. There's no reason to make things for difficult for you." Hell, Clark would probably end up burning a hole in the wall between their rooms if they tried to keep them apart.

"I... thank you." Lex appeared dazed.

"Really?" At his parents' nods, Clark beamed, barely stopping himself from giving a whoop of joy. How it came about really sucked, but his folks trusted him and, more importantly, Lex, now. "All right!"

Picking Lex's belongings up again, he carried them toward the stairs. "Hey, you coming to help here any, Krillin?" he yelled when it became apparent that Lex was still standing in the kitchen, staring at his folks.

Cringing slightly, Lex glared toward the staircase, hoping that if he pretended the Kents couldn't see or hear this, it would become real. "You're the one who didn't want my help a minute ago, oh great and powerful Goku!" With a vaguely embarrassed nod to the older couple, he followed Clark upstairs.

Once the two young men were out of sight, Martha looked up at Jonathan. "I think that's one of those things parents just aren't supposed to ask about."

"Definitely. Because if we asked, they might answer, and I don't think I want to know," Jonathan agreed emphatically. He drew Martha into a hug. "It's been a pretty stressful morning, and I don't think any of us got much breakfast. How about we get started on lunch?"

"If we don't, we'll have them chewing on the woodwork soon. I wonder if Lex eats as much as Clark." Seeing Jonathan's expression, she laughed. "I know, no one eats as much as Clark."

Jonathan glanced toward the ceiling as if he had Clark's x-ray vision. "I have a feeling that it's the exact opposite problem with Lex. He seems the type to get so engrossed in something that he forgets to eat."

Hearing a thump and laughter coming from upstairs, Martha smiled before beginning to take sandwich preparations out of the cabinets. "Somehow, I doubt Clark lets him forget that when they're together."

"Clark never lets anyone forget about food," Jonathan replied dryly, setting the table.

As if on that cue, Clark's voice echoed through the house. "Mom? Are we having lunch soon?"

Jonathan started to laugh, which brought Clark and Lex down to see what was going on.

"Can I help, Mrs.--Martha?" Lex offered. He had no idea what he could do or what most of this stuff was, but he was willing to try.

"Thank you, Lex, but no. We've got it under control." Moving with the ease of familiarity, she stepped around Jonathan to carry a plate of cold cuts to the table, moving out of the way just as Clark brought the bread, mayonnaise and mustard.

"You can help with dinner," Clark grinned, pulling a pitcher of tea out of the fridge. "Hey, Mom, Lex is going to come camping with us over Columbus Day."

"Oh really?" Martha couldn't quite picture Lex Luthor camping, and her lips twitched as she tried to hide a smile.

The tiny sound that passed Lex's lips was not a whimper. "Unless I'm fortunate enough to be struck by lightning before then," he agreed glumly. Reaching for some bread and mayo, he added a couple of slices of what he thought might be turkey, wondered but didn't ask about things like cheese, lettuce, and bean sprouts, and took a bite.

"Ha ha," Clark mumbled around a mouthful of his own hastily assembled sandwich, earning himself a look from his mother. Swallowing, he continued, "You'll survive. You might even have fun."

"Dirt. Rocks. Probably mutant wildlife whose sole purpose is to have me for dinner." Lex's teeth bit sharply through the sandwich to illustrate his point.

"That happens in town," Clark said dryly.

"Clark, if Lex doesn't want to go, don't force him into it," Martha said mildly.

Jonathan snickered. He couldn't help it. Watching the two young men together, it was clear to him that Lex stood as much chance against Clark as he did against Martha.

Smiling ruefully, Lex shrugged. "I'm sure I'll enjoy it... and if not, I'll enjoy making Clark pay for it." The shark like grin appeared.

Clark wolfed down the rest of his sandwich. "Ooo, I'm terrified. Watch it, or I'll sic Bossie on you."

"Don't even joke about that," Lex shuddered. "Around here it could happen." Seeing the skeptical looks, he started counting off on his fingers, "Girl making altars to me; homicidal, invisible brother; flower-influenced teen brandishing a shotgun; flower-influenced father brandishing shot gun; near accidental skewering by mother with chainsaw; frozen pond--and I don't even want to know why!... Should I go on?"

"Don't forget shapeshifters looking like you and guys walking through walls to rob you." Clark sighed, trying not to let himself fall back into feeling that it was all his fault again.

"And you thought Smallville would be dull, didn't you, Lex?" Martha asked.

"Little did I know!" Lex actually looked amused. "Good thing I seem to have my own personal guardian angel watching over me." He covered one of Clark's hands with his. "Pity I have the devil too," he added in a mutter, thinking of his father.

Not wanting his father to spout off with one of his sayings like 'adversity makes you stronger', Clark answered quickly. "At least we know to look out for him, right?"

"Definitely. I'm just not certain which angle he'll go for first, personal or business." Lex frowned, contemplating Lionel's options, then shrugged. He'd made his preparations; all he could do now was wait.

"You still have chores to do after lunch, son," Jonathan pointed out, trying to get things as much back to normal as possible. "Including milking that mythical cow of yours," he added with a grin.

"Are you saying that we're going to be buying feed for her now, Jonathan?" Martha asked curiously.

"We can take care of him," Clark promised, before grinning gratefully at his dad. "Yessir, but taking care of Bossie should be Lex's chores, not mine, I mean, he can't mess up anything with a mythical cow, right?"

"I'd hit you if it would do more than hurt my own hand," Lex sighed. "I actually do have some work I need to get done, if I can hook my laptop up?"

"Sure, you can use the den. That's where we do our work," Jonathan said, standing up to show Lex the way.

"Let me just get my laptop; I'll be right back." Lex went upstairs to get the computer and files, then followed Jonathan to the small office. He paused in the doorway to glance back at Clark. "I'll catch up with you when I'm done."

"I'll be here." Clark watched Lex set up, then helped his mother clear the table before heading outside to get his work done, only looking back a few times to catch sight of Lex through the den's window before grinning and hopping over the fence, heading for the far field to check on the irrigation system.

A couple of hours later, Lex shut down his computer, stood up and stretched, then wandered out to the kitchen. Martha was nowhere to be seen, so he shrugged and headed outdoors, intent upon finding Clark. He looked around, feeling a bit lost.

Coming out of the barn, Jonathan had to grin. Lex looked so out of place. "He's around back of the barn, Lex."

Blushing slightly, Lex thanked him and headed for his lover, eager to see him again.

Shoulder-deep in the engine of the tractor, Clark muttered curses and growls at the recalcitrant piece of equipment. The stupid thing had up and died, and neither he nor his dad could figure out why. The bitch of it was that he could do the work they used the tractor for, and in half the time too, but appearances had to be maintained. "I should just kick you to the moon and be done with you," he grumbled, poking the grease-stained valve that he was trying to get unstuck.

"I'm pretty sure people would notice a flying tractor," Lex observed, grinning at Clark's frustration. "Want me to take a look? I've never worked on a tractor, but I'm a pretty fair mechanic."

Glad he hadn't jumped when he heard Lex's voice because that would have just dented the cowling above him, Clark backed out, swiping his arm across his forehead and grinning at Lex. "Go for it, smart guy. If you get frustrated, I'll be glad to kick it for you."

Pausing only to give the younger man a superior smirk, Lex ducked into the tractor's guts, poking and prodding and humming happily. Half an hour later he straightened up with a smug grin, reached in to start the engine, and listened to its purr with satisfaction. "You were saying?"

"That you look sexy when you're sweaty and greasy?" Clark answered, looking up from where he was sitting on the sun-baked ground nearby and smiling. "And that you are now the official engine-repairer of Kent Farms--or will be as soon as I tell Dad what you did."

"What did he do?" Jonathan himself asked, rounding the barn only to stop in disbelief at the humming tractor. "You fixed this, Lex?" At his nod, "Son! Welcome to the family!"

After gaping at him for a stunned moment, Lex burst into laugher.

Pretending to pout, Clark looked up at his father and his lover. "I can still pick it up," he huffed.

Laughing, Lex moved toward him and sank down into his lap, arms going around Clark's neck. "You're still my knight in shining armor," he soothed.

"I think I'll go find Martha," Jonathan said, beating a hasty retreat.

Clark snickered and wound his arms around Lex's waist. "You scared my dad off."

"A lack of manly fortitude," Lex chuckled. "Good thing you're the one I want."

"Even though I can't fix an engine?" Dipping his head, Clark nuzzled the damp flesh of the older man's throat.

"Even though. You have other talents--God!" Lex's head fell back as Clark's tongue traced the line of the slim leather band around his throat, making him quiver.

Continuing his explorations, ignoring the fact that they were out in plain view of anyone who walked around the barn, Clark made a questioning sound. "Want me to name them?"

"Yes, fine." Lex had no idea what he was agreeing to, but so long as Clark kept touching him, he didn't really care. Then he remembered where he was and pulled back slightly, hands clenched in Clark's hair. "Clark... we can't. Not here. Your parents..."

"Crap..." Clark muttered, letting Lex pull his head up so that he could stare into the older man's flushed face. "Wanna go up to the loft?"

"I want to run away to another time zone!" Lex groused. "But... do the house restrictions apply to the loft?" He flushed at the idea of having to ask, but he wasn't taking the chance of losing what they'd gained.

Sighing, Clark shrugged. "No clue, but probably, at least during daytime when anyone and everyone can just walk in there - and has." Deciding they'd better get up before they couldn't, he lifted Lex off his lap and drew them both to their feet. "Feel like going up there anyway or heading in to get cleaned up?"

"Yeah, at least we can pretend to be alone together for a while." Lex realized that he sounded like a petulant child being denied a treat and had to smile. "You have a terrible effect on my willpower." He slid an arm around Clark's waist as they strolled toward the loft, pausing to smile at Martha and Jonathan as they passed them.

"You have willpower?" Clark tried to look shocked even as he slid his hand lower to grope Lex's ass the moment they walked into the barn and were out of his parents' line of sight.

"I used to before a certain teenager stole it along with my heart," Lex retorted, gasping faintly as Clark's hand closed over his ass. "Stop teasing when we can't do anything about it! God!" He wanted him so much, but that just wasn't going to happen, not for a while.

Instantly contrite, Clark moved his hand back to Lex's hip. "Sorry." They climbed up the stairs, and he collapsed, bringing Lex down with him and settling them both on the couch. "How're you doing?" he finally asked after a brief silence. "Really?"

"Really?" Lex laughed bitterly. "Well, considering that I just had my face rubbed in the fact that my father really does think I'm something to scrape off his shoe, fine, I suppose. I hate him, Clark!" Lex turned into Clark's embrace and finally let out the sobs that he'd buried all day. "Hate him, hate him, hate him!" Finally the flow tapered off, with a final whisper, "Why can't he love me?"

"I don't know." Clark whispered the words into Lex's scalp as he held the older man close, rocking them both back and forth in an effort to comfort him. "Maybe he's scared of you, maybe he can't love, maybe he's just stupid because I know you're lovable, and so do my folks.

"Trying to figure it out is like me trying to understand why I'm here, it'll just make you crazy, Lex."

"Most people would tell you I already am," Lex replied wryly, already reassembling his walls. "But I'm glad you're here. It scares me to think that I was so close into doing what he wanted, to turning into Lionel Luthor's clone." He shuddered slightly. "You saved more than my life, Clark."

"That's me," Clark murmured, sighing as Lex regained control of his emotions once again, "your personal knight in shining armor - or a battered pick up truck anyway."

"Much more useful nowadays than a white charger," Lex pointed out, although the vision of Clark in chainmail, leather-encased thighs tightly gripping a warhorse... He groaned softly. "At some point we need to discreetly find out if the house rules apply out here... and if so, find somewhere else to go!"

"Hey, you're my dad's new best friend, you can ask him," Clark chuckled, though he too was wishing they were sure just what they could and couldn't do out here.

"Uh...no!"

"Ask me what?" Jonathan asked, coming up the stairs and making both of them jump.

Lex turned scarlet and buried his face in Clark's chest with an incoherent yelp, refusing to have anything to do with this. If burying their heads in the sand worked for ostriches, why not for Lex Luthor?

"If, uh, oh God..." Clearly, Lex wasn't going to be any help at all with this. "If the loft counts as part of the house."

"If..." Now Jonathan was as fiery red as Lex, and he understood perfectly why the young man was trying to hide. "It, well, uh, I suppose..." Oh Heaven help him, Martha was going to kill him. "No, it doesn't, and dinner's in an hour," he said rapidly before fleeing down the stairs as if the hounds of hell were on his heels.

Somewhere in between trying to decide if it was possible for a person's face to burn off because of a blush and trying to get Lex to move so that he could hide, Jonathan's words sank in. "It doesn't count. He said it doesn't count."

"I don't care," Lex moaned. "All the blood in my body is in my face. There's none left for anything else!"

"Geez, why? I'm the one who had to ask him!" Clark collapsed against the back of the couch, shaking his head. "That was worse then when he gave me 'the talk'."

That brought Lex's head up, and he smirked at Clark, imagining that conversation. "That must have been... interesting. But at least we can reassure him that neither of us is likely to turn up pregnant." Then he eyed Clark oddly. "At least, I'm not, and I don't think you are, ET."

Clark sneered. "Keep it up, Krillin, and you're never going to get near enough to me to find out."

Lex simply leaned back against the couch in a boneless sprawl, spread his legs, unfastened his pants and started stroking himself. "Mmm, an hour he said, right?"

"Lex..." Clark whimpered, sucking in a breath, his eyes going wide as he darted a look around the barn. "What if someone comes in? What if my mother comes out to check on us?"

Never pausing in his movements, Lex gave him a heavy-lidded glance. "After that conversation, do you really think your father wouldn't stop her? I'm sure he'd bet long odds that we're already fucking right now. Pity he'd be wrong." He gasped as his thumb rubbed over a particularly sensitive spot on the head.

Feeling his own cock twitch, pulsing against the confines of his pants, Clark made a tiny, helpless noise, his eyes riveted on the slow motions of Lex's hand. "I want..." Whimpering again, he flipped forward, nuzzling Lex's belly and moving lower, laying long, wet kisses on the other man's warm skin before licking over his fingers and erection both.

Groaning, Lex arched upward. "What do you want? Anything, it's yours," he panted, tugging at Clark's clothes, wanting to feel him as well. His legs spread wide, opening himself, and he began to writhe sensually on the battered old couch, aware of nothing but the rising pleasure and Clark.

"This - " The word was hissed out as Clark raised his head, shifting to allow Lex to pull his shirt off. "I want to feel you, taste you all over. I want to drink you down so you're part of me, always." He licked at the head of Lex's cock again, at the same time arching his hips forward into the pressure of Lex's leg.

"Oh yes," Lex purred, fingers carding through the heavy fall of Clark's hair. "But I want to taste you too." One hand freed itself to move to Clark's lap, fingers plucking at the fastenings of his jeans, then delving inside to wrap around their prize.

Clark gave a low cry, and bucked forward the moment he felt Lex's hand on him. He gave a fleeting thought to the fact that they might fall off the couch but decided it didn't matter as he swung around, keeping his body to the outside of Lex's, and at the same time his lover pulled his pants lower. At least this way, if they fell, he'd be on the bottom.

"God, yes, Lex, please," he babbled, nuzzling the older man's cock before delving lower to suckle on his balls, savoring the musky flavor.

A needy whine escaped Lex as Clark played with him, and he retaliated by mouthing his way along Clark's shaft, not giving him the pressure he wanted. His legs spread and his back arched, pushing him up into Clark's mouth, ripples of pleasure dancing along his spine.

And Clark tasted so good too. Lex lapped at the head of his lover's cock, gathering the viscous precome on his tongue and swallowing eagerly before delving back into the slit in search of more.

Whimpering, and feeling Lex do the same because of the vibrations on his skin, Clark let go of his lover's testicles to dive for Lex's erection, swallowing it hungrily, sliding one hand behind his back to pull him even closer. The light pressure on his own cock was maddening, and Clark prayed that Lex would have mercy on him soon, or he was going to have to take things in hand for himself.

Lex groaned when Clark took him in, the sound vibrating around the cock he was swallowing, and knowing that he couldn't hurt Clark, he allowed himself to bite down harder, to scrape his teeth along the length. He sucked hungrily, wanting more of the tangy fluid, a hand gliding over Clark's ass until one finger could lightly circle the tight opening.

Twisting his hips to urge Lex on, Clark relaxed his throat and took him even deeper, contracting his throat muscles around the solid length to massage it. God, he wanted to taste and feel Lex come, to chase away the shadows that had been darkening his eyes all day, and to prove to him that he was - oh God!

Feeling the finger Lex pushed into his ass rub over his prostate, Clark moaned, the first tremors of his orgasm moving through him.

Lex sucked harder, so intent upon driving Clark into climax that his own took him by surprise, making him scream around the thick shaft filling his mouth as his body convulsed. The pleasure exploded through him, starting in his center and radiating outward to his fingers and toes, making him feel like pure sensation.

Wondering if he was ever going to recover from this, Clark slowly licked Lex's now softening shaft, his body heavy with pleasure and lethargy. Forcing himself to move, he twisted around so that he was able to reach Lex's mouth and kissed him, mingling their tastes together until they were indistinguishable from each other. "God, I love you," he sighed, stroking a hand along Lex's side before resting it on his hip.

"Likewise," Lex murmured, curling closer, loving nothing more than to feel Clark lying atop him, bodies sated. "I never want to move again." The tensions of the day, while still present, had been pushed aside, and he was content for the moment, just enjoying being with Clark. "Your parents are pretty amazing, you know," he said suddenly.

"Because my dad said the barn didn't count as part of the house?" Clark asked, idly nuzzling Lex's ear and neck.

"That too. But because once he saw past my name, he could admit that he'd been wrong and, god, even try to protect me from m--from Lionel. And yeah, this too. I'm sure this is not really what he wanted for you, but he's doing his best to accept it and to give us as much leeway as possible.

"And your mother... Wow. That is one amazing lady. You're lucky to have them."

"Yes, I am. They took me in and made me part of their family without questions, even - even when it turned out I wasn't quite an average little boy. They want what's best for me, and for you too, you know; you're part of the family."

Clark smiled and kissed the corner of Lex's mouth. "And you know what? I'm lucky to have you too."

"Well, I think you're nuts, but since I like the results, I'm not going to argue with you." Lex returned the kiss lightly, then sighed. "But we'd better not test their patience. We should probably head inside soon."

"Yeah, we probably should clean up and brush our teeth. I think they've smelled enough of us on each other to last a lifetime." Fighting his blush, Clark rolled off Lex and stood, pulling up his jeans and searching for his shirt, which he found flung in the corner. "Good range," he commented, picking it up and shaking it off."

"I coulda been a pro," Lex chuckled, dressing quickly. He moved over to the top of the stairs to wait for Clark, then they went down together. "Note to self: Get a bottle of mouthwash for the loft... or at least some mints." He grinned at Clark, refusing to admit that he was just as embarrassed as his lover.

"And some wet-wipes or something as well as a blanket." His mom was just coming out onto the porch when they came out of the barn, and Clark waved so that she wouldn't have to call them in. "And maybe some stain remover." He snickered at the last.

"Why bother? You seem happy licking everything clean," Lex teased. "Although my dry cleaner would probably appreciate it." He grinned, remembering some of the pointed comments that had been passed on to him by a staff member who knew he found such things amusing. Fortunately that particular employee was his, not Lionel's, so he wouldn't have to fire him.

Clark made a face and gagged. "You, not the couch, Lex! That thing's been up there for like three years! Gross!"

"Ah, yes. It would get somewhat... pungent, if not taken care of. We can't have that." He laughed and tugged Clark toward the house. "Come on, I think my appetite's back."

"Damn! Mom made fried chicken, and I was hoping to get it all to myself!" Clark whooped out a laugh when Lex swatted him in the arm and took off, racing for the house ahead of his equally laughing boyfriend.

Lex chased Clark all the way up to the bedroom, where he pinned the younger man against the wall and kissed him thoroughly. "Thank you," he said as he stepped back, intending to dig out his toiletry case so he could brush his teeth before they went back downstairs.

"Hey, I love you; with that comes wanting to see you happy." Clark tilted his head to look straight into Lex's eyes. "Plus there's the great sex and getting to cuddle with you after - sometimes."

"So does that mean I can have your share of the fried chicken?"

"Not a chance in hell."

"What happened to wanting to see me happy?" Lex pouted, managing not to laugh.

"Happy does not include eating my share of Mom's fried chicken - or her cherry pie!" Clark huffed.

"Nice to see where I rate!" Lex snorted, finally losing his battle against laughter. "Some hero you are. You'll save me... so long as it doesn't interfere with dinner!"

Clark shrugged, trying not to snicker. "Hey, I'm a growing boy, and a guy has to have priorities."

"Just remember that the next time a certain part of you is growing," Lex replied wickedly before vanishing into the bathroom.

"Same goes for you, bucko!" Waiting in the hallway until Lex came out, Clark smacked him on the butt as he slipped inside the bathroom.

Amused, Lex went back inside, wondering if he should change for dinner or if that would make the Kents uncomfortable. Shrugging, he decided to follow Clark's lead. And speaking of Clark, he wondered if the younger man had any idea that he was the only person who'd ever dared do something as simple smacking Lex; it was kind of fun actually.

"Aren't you done yet?" he yelled, sprawling on the bed as he waited.

"Beoudidamidut." Clark's reply was muffled because of his mouthful of toothpaste. After rinsing, he headed out, leaning in the doorway to his bedroom, studying Lex as he lay on the bed. "No room service here, you know. If we want to eat, we need to go downstairs."

"I was waiting for you." Lex gave him a look as he rolled to his feet, then strolled toward Clark, coming to a halt in front of him. "You know, you're going to have to get out of the doorway for me to go downstairs."

"I was waiting for you," Clark laughed, catching his lover's hand when Lex walked toward him so they could walk down the stairs together.

"There you are, I was wondering if I was going to have to send Jonathan up for the two of you." Martha chuckled, seeing the expression on her husband's face at that.

"For all our sakes," Jonathan said fervently, "don't make me do that!"

Chuckling, Lex sank into what was already 'his' place. "At least it's in the house, Jonathan. Safe ground and all that." He flashed the wicked grin normally reserved for Clark.

Martha offered her husband a glass of water when he appeared as if he was about to choke.

Clark snickered. "That sounds like something out of Highlander, holy ground and all that."

"Just don't try to cut my head off." Lex smirked as he reached for a biscuit, and Jonathan choked again.

Looking at his father, Clark decided that he was better off not saying the comeback he'd thought of out loud, not if he didn't want Dad to end up in the hospital anyway. "Let me get that, Mom," he said, taking the platter of chicken from her and setting it on the table, as far away from Lex as possible.

"Clark..." Martha eyed the table and laughed when he grudgingly moved the platter nearer to Lex.

"It would serve you right if I did eat it all," Lex teased, taking a couple of pieces before passing the platter along. "It smells wonderful, Martha."

"You're in for a treat, Lex. Martha's fried chicken is the best in the county, almost as good as her pie," Jonathan bragged, taking several pieces himself. "And if you think you might want more, I'd suggest you take it now. The platter never seems to make it back past Clark."

"That seems to happen quite a bit with whatever food Clark's around," Martha smiled, "as you probably know from when he's eaten at your place, Lex."

"Yeah, yeah, everyone pick on the alien," Clark grumbled good-naturedly, eyeing the platter as it was passed around the table before finally getting to him.

"Yes, yes, we know, you're a growing boy," Lex crooned, then wondered if Clark would really waste the mashed potatoes by dumping them over his head. No, not food. His plate heaping with food, Lex settled in to enjoy it, nearly moaning when he bit into the fried chicken. "Martha, will you marry me?"

"Hey! No stealing my wife," Jonathan laughed.

"I might be tempted if Jonathan hadn't charmed me already," she answered, her eyes twinkling as she smiled.

"Hey! No stealing my boyfriend!" Clark objected, torn between grabbing Lex and the chicken, and finally deciding that his boyfriend was on his own right now.

Eyeing him with amusement, Lex sighed forlornly. "Abandoned already... for a chicken leg. I should have known he'd be a leg man."

"Would you prefer I was a breast man?" Clark drawled, turning red at his mother's gasped out laugh. "Sorry, Mom."

Laughing into his mashed potatoes, Jonathan figured his son was on his own this time.

"I don't think I have much to worry about on that score," Lex replied wryly, arching an eyebrow. "Ah well, I'll just have to try harder to keep you interested. Life, after all, is so boring around me."

"I'd be happy to heat things up for you any time, whenever I manage to figure out how to make my eyes work again," Clark offered, wondering if he could get away with flicking mashed potatoes at Lex across the table. Seeing his mother's stern glare, he somehow doubted it.

Deciding that they'd pushed this about as far as it should go with Clark's parents at the table, Lex switched to polite dinnertime conversation, including finding out from Clark what was Chloe's latest entry on the Wall of Weird.

"At least this one stayed away from me. Hmmm, maybe we could sic it on Lionel."

"Yeah, but how can we be sure that it'll go after him and not someone else?" Clark asked, picking the last of the meat from his third piece of chicken.

"I don't want to hear anything about siccing anything on anyone," Martha commented. "No matter how much they deserve it."

Not entirely convinced that Lionel should be classed with the human race, Lex forbore to comment. "Pity, it would have been poetic justice. Ah well, I'll have to be content with taking his company away from him." He smiled coldly.

"Lex," Jonathan started, concerned.

"Nothing illegal, Jonathan. It's just that he's so convinced of his own superiority that he leaves himself vulnerable... and I'm taking advantage of that. He's not going to threaten any of us again."

"Not if he's smart," Clark added, a look of pure determination shining in his eyes.

"Clark!" Martha rubbed her forehead. "Just, be careful, both of you, please."

"Always," Lex promised. "Except when driving off bridges, and Clark takes care of saving me then. Don't worry. I know Lionel better than he knows himself... and he doesn't actually know me at all."

"Don't be too proud to ask for help if you need it, Lex," Jonathan said quietly.

"I won't. It's too new to me to actually have anyone I can ask for help; I won't forget it."

"Like I'd let you." Seeing that everyone was done eating, Clark stood to help his mother clear the table, concern about what Lionel Luthor might be plotting overriding even his interest in his mom's pie for the moment.

"And it's very difficult to ignore a stubborn, protective, concerned, pushy, six foot four inch alien," Lex amended calmly, making everyone laugh.

END

  since 02-03-07

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