Games VI:
Truth or Dare

Orithain and Rina

December 2002

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

~ May 2005 ~

Waving a greeting to Lana at the counter, Lex slid into the seat opposite Chloe at one of the Talon's tables. "Clark had to help his father with something, but he'll be along in a little while." He took a good look at her, and his eyebrows rose in surprise.

"You look like hell," he said bluntly. "What's up?" The last time he'd seen her, only two days previously, the blonde had been practically bouncing off the walls at being chosen class valedictorian and babbling excitedly about what her commencement speech should include.

Chloe fidgeted with her notebook, then raked a hand through her hair, pushing it back out of her face. "I was thinking about talking about unwed mothers in my speech. Think that would go over well with the crowd?"

"I think the good people of Smallville might rise up to tar and feather you," Lex replied dryly, then his eyes widened slightly. "Chloe... are you trying to tell me something?" He was already plotting ways to dismember Dave if what he suspected were true.

She ran her hand through her hair again and sat up straighter in the chair. The fact that she was having this conversation with Lex Luthor would have shocked her two years ago, but they'd become friends because of his relationship with Clark and had become better ones because they found they really liked each other. "Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that it might not happen."

"What did Dave say when you told him?" The answer to this question would determine how long the other man had to live. He reached across the table to place a hand over hers comfortingly, Lex having slowly grown used to letting Chloe into his personal space over the last three years.

She smiled wanly. "That he loved me and he planned on marry me when I decided to settle down, so moving it up a few years wasn't a problem for him. I just - I don't even know if I am or not." She gripped Lex's fingers tightly and wiped at her eyes with her free hand. "Guess it's a good thing you and Clark don't have to worry about this kind of thing."

"At least you didn't have to worry about his father coming after you with a shotgun," Lex pointed out wryly, remembering the early days of his relationship with Clark, surprising a watery chuckle out of Chloe. "But it's a relief to know I don't have to have Dave killed, since I happen to like the guy."

"Since I do too, I would have had to be really pissed off at you if you had."

"If Lex had what?" Clark asked, dropping his backpack next to Lex's chair and brushing a kiss over the older man's temple before claiming the empty chair between them.

"Killed Dave," Lex replied calmly, not saying any more than that. It was up to Chloe if she wanted to tell Clark about this situation or not.

"Considering that Chloe would then try to kill you, that would be a bad idea."

She nodded. "That's sad but true, but don't worry, Clark; Lex was defending my honor, such as it is."

"A little late for that, isn't it?" Clark laughed, though the humor died out of his voice when he saw Chloe's and Lex's expressions. "What's going on?"

"Think Smallville's ready for a valedictorian in a maternity gown?"

Clark tried not to stare and said the first thing that came to his mind. "How'd it happen?"

"Clark, I know you've never had sex with a girl, but come on!"

Lex nearly choked trying to hold back his laughter, glad when a waitress brought coffee to the table, all three of them being such frequent customers that the staff knew and brought their usuals unasked. "Remind me to tell you about the birds and the bees later, Clark," he snickered once they were alone again.

"God, that's not what I meant." He glared at them for a minute before concern for Chloe overrode the annoyance. "I meant, I mean, what happened?"

Chloe sighed and picked up her drink, holding it between her palms as if trying to warm herself. "I'm allergic to the pill, and while latex is your friend, it's also not totally unbreakable and... it broke. We've got to wait another ten days or so before I can check anything."

"Shit." Clark reached out and rested his hand on her arm. "You know if you need anything..."

"If I need anything super heavy carried or done super fast, I'll call you, okay?"

Lex froze in the act of raising his coffee to his mouth. While both he and Clark knew Chloe was too observant not to have noticed some of the younger man's abilities, they'd become complacent as she let it go without saying anything. Apparently, she'd decided to change her policy. The problem was that Lex found he didn't want to lie to her, not to Chloe, his only female friend. He darted a glance at Clark.

"Chloe, I..."

"Look, both of you, I'm not stupid. Considering all of the weird things we've seen in this town because of the rocks, what's a little speed and strength? I mean, I just sat here and told you about my sex life, so don't you dare deny this!"

"I wasn't going to." Clark met Lex's gaze and swallowed hard. "Want to take a ride? I want to show you something."

Lex's gaze darted from Clark to Chloe, and he simply nodded slightly. If they were going to trust anyone else with Clark's secret, it would be Chloe. She'd proven time and again over the last few years that she was a true friend, so she deserved the truth.

"No pictures though," he said, only half-joking but trying to lighten the mood.

"You aren't just trying to get my mind off all this, are you?" she asked speculatively, even as she put her notebook in her backpack and stood, setting her untouched coffee on the table.

"Well, sort of, but it'll help explain some stuff too." Clark's stomach was in knots, but he knew this was the right thing to do, even if it wasn't easy.

"And believe me, this is one hell of a distraction," Lex muttered, letting Chloe precede him to the door. He only hoped Jonathan and Martha didn't kill them for this.

"I'll just have to trust you then," she sighed. "Who's driving?"

"Let's take Baby; there's a little more room than in whatever Lex drove." Clark strode ahead and unlocked the truck, opening the door and waiting until both Chloe and Lex climbed in before shutting it.

"You are still nuts about this damned truck," Lex observed, smiling slightly. "Are you ever going to let me replace it with something newer? Or are you just going to keep borrowing my cars?" It had reached the point that Lex had an extra set of keys made for every car he bought and simply handed them over to Clark when the vehicle arrived.

He glanced at Chloe to make sure she was securely belted in, then looked back at Clark.

"Clark keeps everything you give him," Chloe said knowledgeably.

"Chloe!" Clark groaned, climbing in beside her and buckling his belt, checking hers as well before shutting his door and starting the engine. "Hello, I told you that after we'd had too much to drink that night. It was not meant to be repeated!"

Lex snickered. "You'd think you'd have learned by now, Clark. Every time you drink too much, you tell Chloe things, and they always come back and bite you on the ass." He remembered a few that had taken him by surprise in the early days of their relationship, but he was actually used to it now.

"But even drunk, he never told me about what he could do... that I had to figure out for myself."

Clark shifted uncomfortably, pulling to a stop at a red light and waiting for it to change. "It's not like it's something I go around broadcasting, you know. Only my parents and Lex know about it."

"And he's been taught since he was a child to hide it," Lex pointed out. "Early childhood conditioning is the hardest to get past."

"Hey, it was just a comment. I can understand why you wouldn't want everyone in the world knowing that the rocks did something to you too, especially considering all the things that have happened because of them. A lot of things made a lot more sense to me once I figured it out though."

"Yeah," Clark grimaced, "the rocks..." The light changed again, and he put the truck in gear, picking up speed as they left town and headed toward the farm.

Lex slung his arm along the back of the seat, his fingers stroking the back of Clark's neck comfortingly. Hopefully Chloe's reaction to the truth wouldn't start Clark on his usual cycle of guilt for the results of the meteors. He didn't do it as often since learning more from Jor-El, but he still had an overactive conscience.

"It'll be fine," he said softly.

Chloe looked from one side to the other, studying both men. "You know, I guess I should be glad that this is getting my mind off my own problems, but you two are starting to worry me."

Clark gave a lopsided smile, reminding himself that, really, Chloe's situation was the one he should be concerned about, not what she was going to think, but... She was his best friend, especially since he and Pete had drifted apart some over the past years, and he didn't want to lose that.

"Well, let's just say that this ought to take your mind off everything else," Lex muttered, leaning his head back against the headrest. He just hoped that Chloe took this the way he thought she would; it would devastate Clark to lose her friendship. He left his hand where it was, trying to offer Clark whatever comfort he could.

"Are your parents at home?" he wondered, knowing that the elder Kents would not approve of this action.

Clark shook his head negatively. "No, Mom's at her class, and Dad went to pick up some parts in Granville, so he won't be back for a while." He took a deep breath, then let it out. "It's probably better that way."

"Okay, you two are really scaring me now."

"Sorry. There's nothing to be scared of," Lex tried to reassure her. "It's just that Clark's parents aren't really big on him telling anyone about this. It's better to present them with a fait accompli." He shrugged a little.

"That's what we did when I told Lex. Of course, the fact that we'd just told them that we were together sort of offset that some, I think."

Chloe had to smile at that. "You never do anything by half measures, do you?"

Clark shrugged, turning on the blinker and pulling into the farm's driveway. "Is there a point in it?"

Lex chuckled. "Don't waste your time, Chloe; it's part of his charm. He'd have made a good D'Artagnan.

"Does that make you Porthos or Athos?" she asked.

"Nah, he's Krillin, remember?" Pulling to a stop near the barn, Clark climbed out of the cab and stood, scuffing his feet against the dirt, while Lex and Chloe got out as well.

Deciding that there was no good answer to that, Lex just let it go and led Chloe around the truck to Clark's side. "We should go to the storm cellar now," he hinted, trying to get Clark moving again.

"The storm cellar? It's a good thing I trust you two, or I'd be feeling like the main attraction in a slasher movie." Chloe looped her arm through Clark's and gave him a tug. "C'mon, whatever it is, it can't be any worse than the fact that I might have a little alien growing inside me."

At that phrase, Clark raised his eyebrows and looked at Lex over her head. "Yeah, I guess not." They walked out across the yard toward the cellar, and he undid the latch, tugging the door open and following the other two down the stairs after Lex turned on the light.

After glancing around, Chloe looked at them expectantly. "So? It's a storm cellar."

"Yeah, but it has some fairly unusual contents." Seeing that Clark was practically immobilized by nerves, Lex walked over to the tarp-covered spaceship and yanked the canvas off, baring it to gleam in the dim light of the cellar.

"What the... " Chloe stared at the thing on the ground in front of her and suddenly found herself on her knees beside it, a hand hovering over the dark, metallic skin. "It's... oh my God. Is it safe to touch?"

"Yeah. It won't do anything to you." Clark moved over to Lex's side, catching hold of his hand and making forcing himself not to squeeze too tightly.

"And yes, it is a spaceship. Or a least a pod. You see, Clark's not exactly a mutant," Lex said, getting it out into the open, his gaze intent upon the young woman staring in fascination at Clark's ship.

"If this wasn't Smallville, I'd think you were fucking with me," she breathed, tentatively reaching out to touch craft's skin before looking back over her shoulder. "Clark, you're an..."

"Alien? Yeah." He looked toward the floor, wondering if he was going to be sick. "That arrived, with me in it, when the rocks did."

Lex's arm tightened around Clark's waist as he could feel the tension vibrating through his boyfriend. He watched Chloe carefully, relieved that she hadn't run away shrieking but still waiting to see how she would react to Clark now.

"Does it do anything?" she asked, still looking at the ship and not at Clark because she wasn't quite sure what to say to him regarding all this.

"If I touch it to wake it up, it does."

"There's a hologram generated by the ship's computer, an artificial intelligence based on the man who built it," Lex explained, thinking that Clark's unadorned statement could be a little disturbing. "It doesn't shoot death rays or anything."

"That's reassuring."

Clark took a half step forward and crouched down to be on the same level with her. "Chloe? Are - are you okay?"

She finally looked at him, appearing a bit stunned. "I'm fine, Clark, just having a little difficulty absorbing all this. I mean, this is more than I ever expected. Not only are you not a mutant, but this is proof of other life in the universe. Geez, Clark, I..." She trailed off at the expression on his face.

"You can't tell anyone about this, Chloe," Lex said, suddenly desperately worried. He couldn't imagine hurting Chloe, but he couldn't let Clark be harmed either. He found himself praying to a god he didn't even believe in to make this all work out.

"I won't! I mean, God, I didn't tell anyone about the two of you, did I, and this is a lot more important than that was." Clark, an alien. It was so weird!

"I know you didn't. I trust you, Chloe, that's why I told you." Clark shifted so that he was sitting cross-legged on the dirt floor. "I'm still me though, you know? Just because I'm... different doesn't change that."

Letting out a sigh of relief, Lex sank down to sit with the other two, automatically moving close enough to slide an arm around his lover's waist. "Told you this would distract you," he said, almost giddy with the release of tension, smirking at Chloe.

Chloe groaned. "And thank you for reminding me of what you were distracting me from."

"Here, this will distract you some more." Pushing up onto his knees, Clark laid his hand on the side of the ship, feeling the low vibration run through it as it cycled to life. The sides of the dome slid open, and the hologram appeared, Jor-El seeming appearing unphased by the appearance of a third person with Clark and Lex.

"Good day, Kal-El. Good day, LexLuthor. You have brought a female with you today."

Lex snickered at the look on Chloe's face as she gaped up at the life-size hologram. "Chloe Sullivan, meet Jor-El of Krypton." He grinned in response to the look of disbelief she turned on him, leaning his head on Clark's shoulder. "If it makes you feel any better, I fell on my ass when I first met him. It."

Clark managed a smile. "He really did. Hi, Jor-El," he added, glancing up at the hologram. He'd long ago given up trying to get it to call him Clark as it seemed pointless. "Jor-El is... well, was my biological father."

"Was?"

"He's dead. The whole planet's gone; it blew up when the sun went super-nova."

"Makes for interesting family discussions," Lex put in wryly, drawing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them as he made himself comfortable. An idea struck him, and he peered up at the hologram.

"Jor-El, can you tell if Chloe is pregnant?"

The hologram appeared to stare at her, in reality scanning her, then shook its head, a human mannerism it seemed to have picked up from watching Clark and Lex. "There are enough differences between Terran and Kryptonian biology that I could not be certain for another several weeks."

"Damn. Oh well, it was worth a shot," Lex sighed.

"Gee, Lex, thanks for asking my permission first," Chloe said wryly, though she was grateful he'd thought of it even though it seemed that the machine wasn't any better than the tests she could buy at the pharmacy.

Clark smiled and slid his arms around both their shoulders. "Since when does Lex ever ask permission for anything?"

"Besides, it's not like it could hurt you or anything. Hell, if I hadn't said anything, you would never have known. It was months before we figured out he scanned us that first night." Lex was totally unapologetic.

"What did he scan the two of you for?" Chloe asked, looking around Clark at Lex. "To see if either one of you was pregnant?"

"No!" Clark exclaimed, shuddering at the thought before giving her an apologetic look. "It's sort of because Lex and me, the two of us are sort of bonded. For life. It's some weird Kryptonian thing."

"Would you care for me to explain it in more detail, ChloeSullivan?" Jor-El asked politely.

Lex snickered at the expressions on the faces of both the others. "I don't think that'll be necessary, Jor-El, thanks all the same."

He looked at Chloe. "So, you okay with all this?"

She leaned against Clark, and as she did so, Chloe realized that no matter what she'd just learned about him, he was Clark, her friend, the guy who spent half his time helping people and the other half blushing, and even though her crush on him was long gone, she loved him. "I think it's a good thing you told me this now because if I could put my full attention to it, I'd probably have a million questions for you, but right now all I can say is that it doesn't change anything."

Clark felt the knot of tension slip from his stomach, and he pressed a kiss against the top of Chloe's head. "You're amazing, do you know that?"

"Hey! Boyfriend here, I'm the one you're supposed to be kissing." Lex crossed his arms and glared at the two of them, though the sparkle in his blue eyes gave him away.

"Excuse me while I placate my grouchy lover," Clark whispered in Chloe's ear though he pitched his voice loudly enough for Lex to hear. Pulling sharply with the arm he had around the older man's shoulders, he tumbled Lex into his lap and kissed him thoroughly, to Chloe's very vocal amusement.

"Mmm, I'm going to have to complain more often; I like the results." Lex didn't seem to intend to move out of Clark's lap any time soon, although he did crane his head around to peer at Chloe. "I don't suppose I could convince you to run some errand for a few minutes?"

"Hello? I'm the person that you two are supposed to be distracting, remember?" She paused, and waggled her eyebrows. "But a free show might do that, so if the two of you want to go for it, don't mind me. I'll just sit by Jor-El over there."

"Chloe!" Clark's tone was almost a shriek. It was weird; he was really more embarrassed about doing anything in front of the AI than in front of her. Now was that mixed up or what?

Lex sputtered, then doubled over, howling with laughter till tears ran down his face. His body shook, curling in on itself in Clark's lap, until he finally managed to gasp, "Oh my god, your face! So, shall we sell tickets or let her watch for free?"

"I really hate you sometimes," Clark sighed.

"You'd better not charge me! Besides, I know way too much dirt on the two of you, even aside from ol' Jor over there, for you to try to charge me for anything. That means I'm getting a really good graduation gift from you, Lex, right?"

"Who said I was getting you anything?" Lex wanted to know, grinning at her. He wasn't about to tell her about the brand new Ferrari sitting in his garage, waiting to be delivered to her on graduation day.

Chloe's smile turned sickly sweet. "I have pictures, Luthor. Lots and lots of pictures that neither of you've seen yet."

"What?" Clark asked. "Why not? Are they good? Come on, Chloe, give!"

"Listen to the alien, Chloe. You don't want to antagonize the superstrong," Lex snickered. "And I happen to agree. I thought we had an agreement that you let us see all the pictures you take of us."

"These are special, and you'll see them, in a few weeks, I promise." She leaned in to pat Lex's head.

"Why do I get the feeling that I should check the loft out for hidden cameras?"

"Remind me again why we gave her the security codes for the castle?" Lex wanted to know, eyeing her smirk warily.

"Because you trust me," she answered.

"Exactly," Clark said, giving her a serious look. "Want to head up to the house? I mean, this floor isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, and in your condi-" he broke off, horrified.

Lex sighed and shook his head as he pushed up to his feet, then offered a hand to Chloe. "Just keep reminding yourself that you love him and that it's part of his charm. He doesn't mean to be a clod."

"Oh, I learned that years ago," she answered, smiling gamely and allowing Lex to help her up, very aware of Clark hovering behind her. "God, it's not like I'm going to break or anything even if I am..." She stopped and bit her lower lip.

"Everything will work out, Chloe," Clark promised, taking her in his arms and feeling heat seep through his shirt when she started to cry. He lifted his head, looking at Lex helplessly, unsure of what to do.

Lex returned an equally helpless look, having even less experience with weeping females than Clark. All he could think to do was wrap his arms around both of them and try to comfort her, to let her know that he was there for her.

"There's so much I want to do. We were so careful. How could this happen?" she sobbed, giving up trying to be strong and letting her fears take over for the moment. "We're both supposed to go to school; how can you do that with a baby?"

"You'd find a way," Clark murmured, stroking her hair and trying to think of the right thing to say when in fact there wasn't one. "Nothing's for certain yet, but out of anyone I know, you and Dave would make it through this, I know it."

"You don't know for sure yet, Chloe," Lex murmured. "But if you are, I promise I'll do everything to help you... and I'll make you let me," he added with a small smile. "I can afford a nanny so that you can still do everything you want to with your lives without stinting the baby." He hesitated over the final word, but refusing to acknowledge the possibility wasn't going to change the reality.

"Plus me and Lex will babysit if you need a break." Seeing the horrified look in Lex's eyes, Clark had to grin, and Chloe lifted her head from his chest when she felt it shaking with laughter. "Look quick," he whispered. "Seeing Lex Luthor terrified is something that only happens every seven years."

"Ha ha. If you're just going to laugh at me, I'm going up to the house," Lex grumbled, relieved to see Chloe's watery smile. "Come to think of it, I'm hungry." He eyed Clark suspiciously. "Why aren't you?"

Clark shrugged. "Maybe I'm finally done with my growth spurt."

"The cookies you were wolfing down after school had nothing to do with it, right?" Chloe asked, wiping at her eyes and trying to regain her equilibrium.

"Ah, that explains it," Lex nodded, sliding an arm around Chloe's shoulders. "Although I have to admit that you don't eat quite as much as you used to. In that much at least you're a typical teen. Now you only eat twice your weight every day," he teased, hoping to cheer Chloe up with the sheer normalcy of the conversation.

"Good thing you can afford me," Clark replied blandly. Seeking to return to the regular state of affairs as well, he walked over to the hologram. "Night, Jor-El."

"Good night, Kal-El. Good night, LexLuthor, ChloeSullivan." The light blinked out, the pod closed up again, and Clark covered it with the tarp once more.

"So, was that a real guy once upon a time?" Chloe asked, staring at the cloth-covered lump fixedly.

"Yeah. He and my mother sent me here so that someone would survive the planet's destruction. I'm just lucky that Mom and Dad found me."

"Just think, Chloe, all these years you've been sharing a classroom with E.T., and you didn't even know it." Lex smirked at his lover, making sure to keep Chloe between them.

"I suppose that explains the fascination with Goku..." she mused. "But why he insists on calling you Krillin... It's not like the two of them are together that way."

Clark very seriously turned his head so that he wasn't looking at Lex, his whole body shaking with suppressed laughter.

"Do not get him started on that again, Chloe!" Lex practically begged, shooting a warning glance at Clark's oblivious back. "I do not look like Goku, Clarkbar!"

"Umm, no..." Clark explained patiently between gasps for breath. "You look like Krillin, Lexy, and I have the pictures to prove it."

"Yup, they're up in his locker at school," Chloe added. "You really need to clean those out soon, Clark. Don't want to forget them and have some unsuspecting freshman freaking out next year."

"You know I meant Krillin," Lex growled. "I do not believe you have pictures of cartoon characters up in your locker... or are you talking about those horrific pictures from the Halloween party a couple of years ago?"

"Guess," Chloe grinned as they all headed up the stairs and into the late afternoon sunlight.

"Both," Clark explained. "But Dave stuck the cartoon one up there; don't blame me!"

"Yeah, that's because you put the weird Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask one on the outside of his locker that one day." She looked over at Lex, flushing with the memory. "All I can say is that they never did that in any of the shows I saw!"

Lex snickered. "I could get you a copy of the video if you'd like?" he offered sweetly, then ducked away when she swatted at him. "Hey, you're an adult now, act like it!"

"I should have known he got it from you," Chloe sighed. "Clark, you were so sweet and innocent before Lex got a hold of you."

He grinned. "No, I wasn't; I just pretended to be."

"And he's still sweet. I know, I check frequently." Lex smirked at both of them, waiting for Clark's blush, although after three years it was a little harder to trigger.

"God, Lex, you do that to me on purpose, I know it," Clark groaned, hiding his now scarlet face against Chloe's shoulder.

"It's because you look so cute when you're all red," Chloe said sagely.

"If you do that to me during graduation, I'm going to have to kill you."

Chloe chuckled. "That gives you three weeks of life left, Lex. Enjoy it."

"He wouldn't actually kill me; he loves me. Besides, I can't do it during graduation, I'm not on the stage. Oh, that's right, they asked me to do the commencement address." He smiled toothily.

"What?" both teens chorused, though Chloe's exclamation came out tinged with laughter while Clark's was full of dread. No way was he going to get through the ceremony without dying of embarrassment now, if only because staring at Lex's butt for however long he talked was sure to give him a boner.

"Good thing my speech is first then," Chloe added, "it'll give you something to try to top."

"I'll do my humble best," Lex replied dryly. "You don't really think I would embarrass you on your graduation day, do you, Clark? At least not during the public portions of it." He smiled crookedly, knowing that there was no way he would get through an entire day without bringing a blush to his lover's face. Hell, half the time he didn't even try.

"Why doesn't that make me feel any better?" Clark asked as they climbed up the steps to the porch. He unlocked the door and held it for them both to go inside. "Want anything? I think there's some brownies left over from last night."

"Because you know that you're going to end up beet red at the party afterwards - probably after the two of you sneak back in from the coat closet or wherever you manage to sneak off to?" Chloe asked before dropping down into one of the chairs at the table. "And a brownie and milk sounds great to me."

"I never sneak," Lex said with dignity, starting to make coffee. "I merely move with a certain degree of stealth. Not to mention that Clark's parents wouldn't let us sneak off to a closet," he added with a laugh. "The dreaded shotgun might reappear."

"Tell that to those of us who were at your place for his eighteenth birthday and saw you two sneaking out of your office, not once, but twice over the evening!"

Knowing that there wasn't even any point in him turning around and giving both Chloe and Lex more to laugh at, Clark busied himself cutting them all brownies and pouring himself and Chloe glasses of milk.

Thanking whatever kind god was watching over him that she'd missed the time they snuck out onto the balcony, Lex just made a noncommittal noise as he turned the coffee maker on and rejoined the others at the table.

"Clark, why is your brownie bigger than mine and Chloe's put together?" Lex asked, exaggerating slightly for effect.

"It's not mine; it's Chloe's," Clark answered, setting the plate down in front of her. "I'm being a good host."

Lex eyed him suspiciously. "Did you poison the batter or something? You never share chocolate of any kind voluntarily, and you especially don't give away the biggest piece."

"Ooo, you're so funny," Clark snorted. "Brownies are comfort food, so Chloe gets the biggest one."

"Gee, thanks, I think..."

"Well, it makes sense in a weird sort of way, Chloe. After all, I have Clark for comfort..." Lex trailed off suggestively, not quite saying food.

"You're going to make me lose my appetite, you know."

"If you do, can I have your brownie?"

"Aha! I knew you would end up with the biggest brownie somehow!" Lex laughed at Clark as he got up to get his coffee, pausing to kiss him in passing and steal a bite of his brownie.

Clark grinned, making a move to steal the bite back. "You're teaching me to be devious is all."

Holding onto her plate so it didn't vanish too, Chloe shook her head. "Clark Kent and devious are two words that just don't fit together."

"Ha!" Lex stared at her as if she'd grown two heads. "I thought better of you, Chloe, than to be taken in by that wholesome, farm bred air of innocence. That man is as conniving as they get when it comes to getting his own way."

"There's a difference between conniving and pouting."

"Are you saying I pout?"

"Clark, I'm not even going to bother answering that." Chloe took a drink of her milk.

Lex snickered into his coffee, then gave Clark a beatific smile in response to his pouting look. "Would you like a mirror, love?"

"No. I'm just going to sit here and eat my brownie and let the two of you make fun of the pouting alien."

"Poor little Clark..." Chloe crooned, leaning over to pinch his cheek. "So unloved!"

Lex gave Chloe a horrified look. "My god, imagine if all his people could do that. If there were others here, we'd be doomed."

"World domination through a trembling lip, it would be a horrifying sight," she agreed, watching Clark with wide eyes. "And they'd be too cute to kill, so we'd just have to be happy in our servitude."

Clark smirked before swallowing the rest of his brownie. "Keep going, this is sounding better and better all the time."

"And you wonder why I call you a brat. Chloe, you might want to shut your eyes. I've learned that there's only one way to deal with him when he gets that smug." Lex came around the table and plopped himself in Clark's lap, immediately planting a very intense kiss on him.

Instead of doing as Lex suggested, Chloe bent over and grabbed her camera out of her bag. Adjusting the focus, she quickly snapped a few shots of the two of them, laughing to herself at the dazed look on Clark's face when Lex finally moved away from him.

"Okay, I'll leave the world domination up to you, Lexy," he murmured, grinning dopily.

"As long as I don't have to choose between that and you, I'll be a happy man," Lex chuckled, brushing a final kiss over his lips before stealing another bite of his brownie on his way back to his own seat.

"Not content with Smallville and Metropolis any longer, Lex?" Chloe asked, her reporter's instincts roused. "What's next?"

"Mayor of Metropolis probably," Lex shrugged. "It's a necessary first step to the White House." He made no secret of his ambitions. "I'm not quite sure about Clark in a Jackie O suit though."

"Better that than a Nancy Reagan gown," Chloe commented.

"How about none of the above," Clark groaned. "I hate to tell you, Lex, but the day this country elects an openly gay president, I'll walk down Main Street buck naked."

"Clark, Clark, Clark," Lex sighed. "Haven't you learned yet that I always get what I want? And I'm going to hold you to that. Chloe, you're my witness. Lady Godiva here just made me a promise." He grinned toothily.

"That'll make interesting publicity for you, Lex," she laughed. "President Luthor's first act of office is to ban anyone from being on the streets of Smallville while his significant other walks down the streets naked."

"She's right, you know," Clark added. "No way you're going to let anyone else see me naked."

Grumbling because he had to admit that they were right, Lex gave Clark his own version of a pout. "Fine, not Main Street. Our house. All day. It'll be my celebration for winning."

"Won't you be busy doing presidential things though?" he asked, hoping Chloe took note of Lex's petulant expression.

"Clark, the election's in November, and the inauguration's not till January. I think I'll have some time for you. Besides, if I thought being President would mean not being able to be with you, I'd forget about running."

"I can be your security detail," Clark murmured after leaning in to kiss Lex for that statement. "Lots better than the Secret Service for stopping bullets."

"If you two are going to jump each other on the table, I'm taking the truck and leaving."

"What, no more pictures?" Lex laughed. "Besides, if you touched Clark's 'baby', I think he might have to kill you. He doesn't even like to let me drive it." He sat back, managing to keep his eyes and hands off Clark, and turned his attention back to Chloe. "What are your plans for the summer? Another internship or is this going to be your 'last blast'?"

She sobered. "It depends on what happens in the next ten days."

Lex leaned over and took her hand. "Either way, Chloe, it'll still be early days. Make your plans for the summer and stick with them. It's either going to be the last time you can be quite that carefree and you should enjoy it, or it's going to be a celebration of not having any new responsibilities, and you should enjoy it."

"I... I guess I'll enjoy it then," she said, tightening her fingers around his and trying to smile.

"Then in the fall we'll all be at Met U, old times at a new place."

"And I get to watch you all doing all the dumb things that we all do the first year at college," Lex snickered. "This is going to be such fun."

"Yeah." Chloe was trying to be positive about it all, but the fact that she could spend her first semester at college in the last half of a pregnancy loomed large in her mind. Her phone rang, and she rummaged in her bag to find it, then had a quick conversation consisting mostly of 'yeahs'.

"That was Dave; he's going to come by and pick me up."

Clark pressed his lips together, concern darkening his eyes. "Chloe, you know if you need anything..."

"I know," she looked from Clark to Lex. "Really I do. I just... It's something Dave and I have to deal with right now, okay?"

"Just let us know if you need anything." Lex got up and walked around the table, then pulled her up into a hug. "Like I told Clark once, I'll do anything for my friends." He kissed her forehead lightly. "And tell Dave that if he doesn't make you smile, I'll make his life miserable." He teased her gently, trying to cheer her up. "Or, I know, we could stuff him in the pod and send him into space."

"And have Jor-El lecture him all the way to the moon," Clark smiled, waiting until Lex let Chloe go to hug her himself.

"That'll make him behave." She kept an arm around both their waists. "You two are the greatest, and I really mean that."

"Hey, it's not every girl who can claim a billionaire and an alien for her best friends," Lex pointed out. "God, we sound like the start of the character listing for a new Gilligan's Island. I guess that makes you Mary Ann."

"I always liked her best anyway, but who does that make Clark then? Mrs. Howell?"

"No! I'll be Gilligan, or the Professor."

"Definitely Gilligan... little buddy." Lex snickered, promising himself to add a sailor cap like Gilligan wore to Clark's graduation gifts. "Although Chloe does have a point. If I'm the rich guy, you should be Lovey. I refuse to think about Gilligan and the Skipper slash," he shuddered, remembering a link he'd once seen and not followed.

"Little buddy, huh? That tells me more about Clark than I ever wanted to know..."

"Chloe!" Clark groaned. "And as for you," he added, glaring at Lex, "I am not wearing a muumuu or a boa!"

"Clark, I can honestly say that I have never wanted to see you in a muumuu. The very thought is intensely disturbing. The boa though... all those feathers have possibilities."

"Hey, you two trying to corrupt my girl?" Dave called in through the screen door. "No talking about kinky stuff if I'm not here!"

"She asked us for some ideas. Said you were too vanilla to be creative," Lex shot back, chuckling. "You're going to have to do better than that if you want to keep her." He watched Chloe closely and was relieved to see that she brightened at the sound of Dave's voice.

"Can we help it if we're good?" Clark asked, glancing over at Lex when Chloe moved away from them and into Dave's arms.

"How ya doing?" he asked quietly, kissing her forehead.

"Okay. A little better now actually since these two gave me a pep talk."

Dave glanced up at Clark and Lex, his concern apparent even though he was smiling. "So you know?"

"Yeah," Clark nodded. "And like we told Chloe, if there's anything we can do..."

"What're friends for, after all?" Lex offered the couple a supportive smile, never even thinking twice about it or the fact that he wouldn't do this for anyone else in the world. "Even if it's just to talk. You have my cell number." He moved closer to Clark, an arm sliding around his waist as if for comfort.

"And I know where to find you, though if I hear screaming or moaning, I'll come back later." She sighed and looked at them both. "Thanks, guys."

"Any time, and you know it." Clark wrapped his arm around Lex as well. "See you guys tomorrow." After the couple left, he turned, pulling Lex into a hug and resting his head against the older man's shoulder. "God, I never expected that one."

"I know. It'll be so unfair if Chloe's future is messed up by one accident. But clearly she's not even considering abortion." Lex sighed. "We'll just have to wait and see and be here for her as long as she needs the support." He glanced up at Clark. "I'm glad that's one thing we don't have to worry about."

Clark nodded. "Well, you don't have to worry about it now. I seem to remember a time when you were concerned about just how different my biology was from yours..."

"Clark, you have to admit, with all the weird shit that happens to both of us, if it was going to happen to anyone, it would be us." Lex would never admit just how relieved he'd been when Jor-El had confirmed that Clark was totally male and could not get pregnant.

"God, do not even joke about that!" Clark moaned. "I'd be happy to play uncle to your brother if we ever got to meet him or to Chloe and Dave's kid if it turns out they're having one; no way do I want to have one myself!"

"Not to mention the whole issue of where it would come out," Lex joked, but his heart wasn't in it. The mention of his brother had reminded him that he'd never even met the boy, the offspring of Lionel and Victoria. He dreaded to think what kind of life the kid had to look forward to, but he couldn't think of any way to get close to him.

"That could be a problem." Feeling the tension in Lex's body, Clark pulled back enough to look him in the eyes. "Want to take a walk? We could head over to your place, grab Sheri, and wander some."

"Sounds good. Besides, if we don't take her out and use up some of that energy, she'll never let us sleep tonight. Five right? That's when they say puppies get less energetic?" Lex shook his head in bemusement. His life was ruled by a teenaged alien and an adolescent dog. Who would ever have believed it?

"Let me clean up, and we can go." Reluctantly letting go of Lex, Clark picked up the plates and glasses and carried them to the sink. "Want to pick your car up on the way over?"

Lex looked at him blankly for a moment before remembering that he'd driven into town, so his car was still there. "Yeah, no sense tempting fate by leaving it there. We can take it back to my place, then go for that walk. Are you still okay to stay over tonight?"

"No notes or calls telling me any different, so, yeah." Clark looked over his shoulder and smiled. The need to be together every minute had cooled off over the past three years, but both he and Lex still slept much better if they were together.

"Just need to get my clothes and my books, and I'll be set."

"Feel free to leave the clothes," Lex leered, making an effort to shake off his mood. "I'd be happy to turn the castle into a nudist colony for you."

After drying the dishes and cleaning out the coffee pot, Clark chuckled. "There's the minor issue of school tomorrow and the fact that if I get kicked out, I'll never graduate."

"Then you can be my boy-toy forever," Lex offered magnanimously. "I'll keep you in the style to which you've become accustomed." He leaned against the doorframe, watching Clark, enjoying the movement of his body beneath his clothes. "Have I ever told you how much I love to just look at you?"

Pausing in the midst of putting away a plate, Clark smiled. "Well, no, not out loud, but I think I've figured it out." He hung the dishtowel over the edge of the sink and walked back over to Lex, very aware of the older man's hungry gaze on him. "But considering that watching you is up there on my favorite things to do too, it's only fair."

"And how did you describe that hobby on your college application form?" Lex snickered, imagining it. "Bird watching? Not exactly, sir, I prefer boyfriend watching." He caught Clark's hand, drawing him after as he went upstairs so they could collect his things. Much as he liked Jonathan and Martha, he wanted some time alone with Clark, which meant that they needed to be gone before his parents got home.

"You know very well what was on my applications! Hell, I think I got into half the schools because you proofed the essays for me." Clark followed Lex into his room, studying his lover speculatively. "Or did you just make big donations to all of them?"

"Nope. Not that I wasn't tempted," Lex admitted, "but I knew you would never forgive me if I did. You wanted to do this on your own merits, and you did. Just remember that when we go public as we inevitably will in Metropolis, and they start calling you 'Lex Luthor's boyfriend'." Lex sometimes wondered if they'd made the right choice by putting off the public exposure until now, but he couldn't regret letting Clark have a mostly normal high school experience, even if it did mean that the gossip rags would be especially vicious now.

"I prefer the term 'Lex Luthor's boy-toy' myself," Clark chuckled, giving the older man a hug from behind before going over to his closet and pulling out clothes for tomorrow. "Or just Lex Luthor's."

"Well, that's a given. Of course, everyone's going to have a field day with this." Lex raised his left hand, where Clark's class ring glinted on his ring finger, the ruby striking sparks in the sunlight.

"And why is that? You've only been wearing it for two years now. You mean no one's noticed it before?" He lifted his right hand to indicate the ring on his own finger. "Or do you think that they'll notice that we both have them?"

"I haven't attended very many public functions, Clark, and I've managed to keep my personal life out of the news to protect you. But the moment we appear in public together, all bets are off. The ones that had stories squashed in the past will remember the ring, and they'll start speculating. I just want you to be prepared for it.

"And yes, they're going to notice that we both have the same necklaces and that you're wearing my ring."

After folding his clothes into his overnight bag, Clark turned back, shrugging. "Fuck 'em. I don't care. I don't know any of them. The only thing that would make me worry about it is if they started to treat you differently because of it."

"And the only thing that would bother me would be if it upset you, so I think we can safely ignore them. Hopefully your parents will do the same." Lex winced, imagining Jonathan and Martha's probable reactions to the stories that would almost certainly be written about them. "Good thing your dad doesn't hate me anymore or I'd be worried about the shotgun again."

Clark smiled grimly. "They can deal with reporters. And speaking of my dad, if we want to be out of here before he gets home, we'd better scoot." He grabbed the bag and caught hold of Lex's hand. "Get your car, then get Sheri out for that walk. It'll clear both our brains."

Lex nodded, following as Clark led the way out to the truck. "Oh, I meant to ask you, did you get your passport back yet? It's been long enough since you applied that you ought to get it any day now. I'm looking forward to showing you some of my favorite places."

"It came last week. I didn't tell you?" Lex shook his head, and Clark grimaced. "Sorry, but yeah, it's here, so it looks like I'm ready for that vacation."

"Oh, this is going to be fun." Lex was practically rubbing his hands with anticipation. "Traveling, sightseeing, and sex across Europe. What could be a better graduation present?"

"Just being with you for a month is all the present I need." Clark scrawled a note for his parents, reminding them that he was spending the night at Lex's, and they headed outside. "But I'm not going to turn the rest down, especially the sex."

"Clark," Lex purred, drawing the younger man's eyes to him, "do you remember that first time we want to Aspen?" He waited for the wary nod before continuing, "And do you remember telling me that if I rented a private island, you'd go naked the whole time we were there?"

Clark froze, his eyes widening. "You didn't. Oh, God, you did."

Lex smiled slowly. "A whole week, Clarkbar."

"No clothes?"

"No clothes. Just you and me and lots of palm oil."

"You aren't going to wear any either? Won't you get a sunburn?"

"You'll have to keep me coated with sunblock then, won't you." Lex's smile just kept getting wider, like some kind of Cheshire cat.

Clark swallowed, then wet his lips. "Are we going there first?"

"Nope, last. Otherwise I don't think I'd have the willpower to leave and continue with the rest of the trip. We'll do all the stuff we can tell your parents about, and then we'll have a week just for us."

"Good," he had to clear his throat. "Good idea." Tossing his bag in the truck bed along with his backpack, Clark started to walk around to the driver's side, then grinned and tossed Lex the keys, "Here, I don't want you whining that I never let you drive Baby."

Lex clutched theatrically at his chest, staggering back a step. "My god, it's a sign of the end times!"

"Asshole. Keep it up and I'll just come home after we get your car. You can deal with hyper Sheri on your own!"

"You'd leave me alone to deal with this on my own?" Lex tilted his head down slightly and peered up through his lashes as he stroked his groin, biting his lip at the same time.

"If you're going to be that distracted, you aren't driving Baby." As Clark said this, his gaze shifted to Lex's hand and its slow movements over his crotch.

Lex chuckled as he slid behind the wheel. "Just giving you a preview of what you get later, love. I wouldn't dream of endangering your precious truck. I know it would be worth my life." He shifted a little uncomfortably, wishing they had time to take care of this, but he knew the anticipation would just make it even better when they finally did come together.

"Exactly." While reaching over to fasten Lex's seat belt, Clark made sure to rub his hand across the older man's crotch, giving an innocent smile when Lex's eyebrows rose. "Just wanted to check on things myself."

"Bastard," Lex said without heat. "Just remember that tease later tonight and know that you brought it on yourself. Think toys, Clark. Kinky toys." He smiled sweetly as he started the truck and pulled out, heading into town to pick up his car. "I haven't played with you in a while; I think it's time to indulge myself."

"Excuse me?" When Lex glanced over at him, Clark put on his best affronted expression. "Hey, Jor-El and Lara may never have done the nasty, but they were married, so I am not a bastard!"

"At least not in the literal, classical sense. But don't think you're going to distract me that easily." Lex glanced at him, a truly evil smile on his lips. "Think cock ring, E.T."

Clark blinked. "Cock ring? As in a 'playing evil mad scientist torturing the poor alien until he screams' cock ring? Oh God."

"I knew you were a bright boy," Lex purred sweetly, concentrating on the road. "You just think about that for a while."

"You're not the only one who's going to be driving while distracted," Clark muttered, reaching over and turning on the stereo before Lex could answer, preferring music to teasing for the rest of the drive into town.

Lex smirked at the road as he drove, well-pleased with Clark's reaction and looking forward to that night. He pulled in behind his car at the back of the Talon and glanced over at the other man. "Do you want to get a coffee first or head straight out to my place?"

Clark's expression plainly said that he though Lex was out of his mind for even asking. "Don't we need to walk Sheri?"

"You haven't mastered walking and drinking coffee at the same time? I realize it's slightly more challenging than chewing gum, but I have confidence in you. You can do it," he said encouragingly.

"Uh, yeah, right. Never mind the fact that you just had coffee at my place and if you have much more, you won't be able to sleep tonight..." Clark looked over at Lex's car. "You want to drive it or want me to?"

"I'll drive it. I wouldn't want to take responsibility for your baby without you here to protect it. As for being up all night, why would I want to sleep when I have you to myself for the night?" He smiled slightly, a mere quirk of one corner of his mouth, as he slid out of the truck and unlocked his car.

Clark slid over to the driver's side of the cab and rolled down the window so that he could lean out. "Just to remind you, I do have school tomorrow, and even though there's only three weeks left, falling asleep in class would be a bad thing."

"Details," Lex replied airily, waving a hand dismissively. "I'll let you get an hour or so... and don't try to tell me that you can't get by on that; I've seen you do it." He got into his car, a silver Porsche today, and pulled out, glancing into the rearview to make sure Clark was with him.

He smiled, thinking of how excited Sheri would be when they took her out. The dog clearly believed that both of them should spend all their time with her, preferably outdoors. He wondered what she was going to think of the move to Metropolis in the fall when Clark started school. They'd have to take her to parks often, or maybe he should think about buying a house with a yard. "God, I am domesticated," he muttered aloud.

A short while later they pulled into the castle garage, and Lex got out, waiting for Clark to join him. He'd decided that he'd broach the idea of a house while they were on their walk; after all, he could point to Sheri's excitement and pleasure at being outside as a need for a yard.

"You going to be okay to go out right away, or do you need to grab something to eat first?"

Clark groaned and climbed out of the truck, hefting his backpack over his shoulder along with his overnight bag. "You know, you're lucky I know you love me, or I'd really get a complex about you constantly bringing up my formerly over-active appetite."

He shoved his keys in his pocket and walked past Lex to open the inner door, stepping neatly out of the way when a bounding, barking, black and white dog raced out to greet them, dancing on her hind legs in front of Lex before rolling to her back in a plea for a belly rub.

Crouching down to give the dog the caresses she demanded, Lex smirked up at Clark. "It's the one thing about you that's perfectly normal for a teenager, love, and you're trying to deny it?" Sheri licked his cheek, letting him know that she'd had enough for the moment, and he stood up, patting her once she'd rolled to her feet.

"Come on, we'd better dump your stuff and grab the L-E-A-S-H," he spelled out, trying to keep the dog from getting too excited till they were ready to leave.

"Such a comedian..." Clark sighed, setting his bags inside the door and grabbing the leash from the hook just inside it. "Keep it up and I'll use it on you instead of her."

"Ohhh, kinky. I'll hold you to that later," Lex purred, shooting a heated glance at him. Then he was distracted by the excited dog, barking and jumping in front of them, clearly eager to go out. "But for now, her highness wants our attention."

"I keep telling you that you should have named her Cleopatra." As he said this, Clark knelt, catching Sheri by the collar and attaching the leash to the ring on it. When she squirmed and danced in place, he looked down at her sternly. "Sit, Sheri."

She did as commanded, though she kept darting looks at Lex as if hoping that he would relent and let her go. "Good girl," Clark praised, rubbing her behind the ears. "Heel now."

"She's much classier than a Cleopatra," Lex replied, watching the two of them. "Ohh, you're so hot when you're giving orders. Gonna make me heel too?"

"Yeah." Clark smirked as he tossed the leash to Lex. "C'mere, boy, good boy! Now walk your dog, and don't let her get in the brambles again, or we'll spend all night picking them out of her fur."

Lex shuddered at the memory. "Don't even joke about that." The last time he'd thought they'd have to shave her before they got all of the infernal things out of her long, silky fur. Once outside, he headed in the exact opposite direction from where they'd run into the bramble patch, not wanting to go through that again.

As soon as they got far enough away from the driveway that he wasn't worried about her darting onto it and getting run over, Lex let Sheri off the leash, smiling as he watched her bound joyously across the grass. "She loves being outside."

"Can't say I blame her." Clark moved closer to Lex, slipping an arm around his waist while they watched the dog race across the lawn. "It's a gorgeous day, and the company is pretty damn good too."

"Flatterer." Lex slid his arm around Clark's waist as well, leaning into him. "I was thinking though, she's really not going to like the penthouse in Metropolis, even if I do have servants to walk her when we can't." He took a fortifying breath, waiting for Clark's reply to decide how to broach the idea of buying a house.

Brow furrowing as he frowned, Clark looked down at Lex, not quite understanding what he was getting at. "Are you saying you want to leave her out here? I guess my folks could take care of her, but won't you miss her?"

"No!" Lex looked ready to pull her into his arms and prevent her from being forcibly ripped away from him. "I was just thinking that she'd be a lot happier someplace more dog-friendly... like a house with a big yard."

Clark reached up with his free hand and scratched his head. "That doesn't really describe your place in Metropolis, and my dorm room certainly won't have space or a yard. Besides, I think Dave is allergic to dogs."

"God, you can be so clueless sometimes, Clark!" Lex groaned. "I meant, a house for us. That we pick together. Possibly live in together at some point?"

"A house? For us..." Clark's eyes widened, and color rose in a rush over his face. "Sorry, I just didn't - didn't think. A house. For us. That's... cool."

"Well, that's a relief. I was starting to think you weren't interested." Lex glanced over to be sure Sheri wasn't into anything she shouldn't be, then turned to face Clark, arms sliding around his waist. "So you'd be willing to go house-hunting with me? I want something that's ours."

"Not interested?" For a moment, Clark flashed back to the argument they had had about his living in a dorm his freshman year and not with Lex. "Yeah, right. Why would I be interested in finding a house to share with my hot, gorgeous, sexy, brilliant lover? Gee, I can't imagine."

"Well, I know you want to live on campus at least the first year. I thought you might think I was trying to pressure you." Lex knew that his insecurities about being loved occasionally crept out despite knowing that Clark did love him.

"We had this discussion, remember? We were both there? Just because I want a place of my own for a while doesn't mean I don't love you and that I won't probably be at your place every other night and twice on the weekends." He paused. "And if it's a place we picked out together, that'll make it even better."

"Life would be so much easier if you'd just let me make you a kept man," Lex joked, smiling with relief. "I'll have an agent put together a list of possible properties that we can look at when we get back from our trip... or do we want to have something built?" They started walking again as Sheri barked at them, letting them know that they'd been standing still too long for her liking.

"Considering that you'll be paying for this house whatever we do, I think that makes me pretty kept," Clark commented wryly. "And as for buying or building... no clue. Want to see what's for sale then decide?"

"Makes sense. And for the record, I don't think I can be considered to be keeping you when you keep saving my life. It's more like you own me. Hmm, does that make me your pet?"

Clark reached up and hooked Lex's leather necklace from under his collared shirt. "Well, you do have a collar; you just need a leash..."

An eyebrow rising as Clark raised that issue for the second time in a short while, Lex simply offered him Sheri's leash since it wasn't being used at the moment. "Here you go. Anything else you need?" He eyed him challengingly.

Eyeing the leash with an almost frantic look, Clark managed to square his shoulders and reach out to hook it to Lex's collar. "Maybe that cock ring you were talking about earlier?"

Lex had to swallow hard before he could force words out of a suddenly dry mouth. "Wouldn't you get a shock if I pulled one out of my pocket. Though if you're really determined..." He raised his wrist with the wider leather collar wrapped around it. "This can be wrapped around other things in an emergency." He shivered at the thought of Clark handling him to bind him in it.

Clark eyed the black leather, then met Lex's gaze as he slowly grinned. "I'm all for inventiveness." He unsnapped the thicker band from the older man's wrist and stepped back, tugging on the leash to move them to a little less conspicuous spot, whistling for Sheri to follow as he did so.

A tiny whimper escaped Lex as he followed Clark, his cock hard and throbbing in his linen pants. He hadn't really thought the younger man would do this, but he should know by now not to underestimate his lover. He stopped when Clark did, the leash curving down to brush his chest, making him shudder when it touched a nipple as he turned slightly.

"Go lay down, Sheri," Clark murmured, sparing a glance to make sure she did as he commanded before turning his attention back to Lex. "And you stay, Lexy." He grinned again, licking a kiss over the older man's mouth before dropping to his knees, rubbing his cheek against the bulge in Lex's pants.

Lex swayed, and Clark looked up at him. "I said stay." Keeping the leash looped around one wrist, he undid Lex's pants, drawing his boxer briefs down and hooking them beneath his erection and balls and lightly blowing on the aroused flesh.

"Ahhh!" Lex caught his breath sharply. "Could we negotiate for come instead?" he whispered, staring down at the dark head. Even after three years Clark could still make him hard as a rock with nothing more than a glance.

One eyebrow quirked upward when Clark glanced up into Lex's face. "Eventually," he murmured, beginning to wrap the dark leather around Lex's cock and balls, stretching it a bit to assure himself that it would be snug, but not too tight, when wrapped twice around the older man's thickness.

Lex watched him, biting his lip hard to hold back any more whimpers, but he couldn't prevent himself from arching forward, thrusting his cock into Clark's grasp. "Teasing bastard," he rasped, feeling the leather wrapped around him, knowing that it would keep him hard and aching until Clark chose to free him.

Clark leaned in and flicked his tongue over the ruddy head of Lex's erection before rocking back on his haunches and tucking the other man's shaft back into his clothes. "Look who's talking. I seem to recall you saying you were going to make me scream tonight. I guess I'll just have to make you do it first."

"Just remember," Lex panted, fists clenched at his sides as he tried to gain some control, "I always get even." Oh yes, Clark would be screaming in pleasure before this night was over... and it would be as good as Clark making him scream. Lex smiled slowly despite the ache in his groin.

"If you didn't, I'd think that you were sick," Clark murmured, stroking a hand over Lex's groin as he slowly got to his feet. "Now c'mon, Lexy. Sheri needs to be played with." Snickering, he gave the leash a tug, ignoring Lex's growl as he snapped his fingers for the dog, picking up a stick and tossing it for her to retrieve.

"Sadistic bastard," Lex muttered darkly, moving very carefully. He couldn't believe Clark actually expected him to play in this condition... or even thought it was physically possible. But then Sheri bounded back with the stick and pranced around his feet, clearly wanting him to throw it for her. The big brown eyes had the same effect on him as a certain pair of big green ones--at least so far as it related to getting him to do things--and he stifled a groan as he bent over to take the stick and throw it for her.

Clark beamed. "You taught me well," he laughed, sidling up behind Lex and rubbing against his ass when the older man straightened up.

Lex's hand shot behind him to grasp Clark's thigh and pull him closer as he flexed his ass against his erection. "Lucky me. Is there any way I could convince you to do something with that?"

"Like what?" Clark reached around Lex to pluck the stick from his hand and throw it for Sheri, who was whining and nudging their legs in a bid for attention. "Get you down on your hands and knees and take you out here in the woods?"

"Works for me," Lex replied, somehow managing not to whimper as his cock jumped. He grabbed Clark's hand with his free one, pulling it around him to press it to his aching erection.

Clark purred, kneading the engorged flesh through the fine linen, and licked Lex's ear. "Even if I leave that collar around you while we're doing it?"

"Uhh..." Lex's language skills had suddenly deserted him, and the whimper he'd been fighting escaped as he thrust into Clark's hand. "Yes," he moaned abruptly, almost desperate to feel Clark inside him.

Green eyes darkening with lust, Clark unbuttoned and unzipped Lex's pants, slipping his hand inside and stroking his cock while sucking on Lex's earlobe. When the only sound that his lover was making was a continuous moaning, he pulled back, looking over at Sheri, who had returned with the stick.

"Down, Sheri. Stay," he commanded, waiting until she did as she was told and seemed content to chew on her stick before nudging Lex forward and out of licking range.

"Down, Lex, stay," he purred.

Lex knew he should object to being given the same command as the dog, but his cock really didn't care. He sank down to all fours on the ground, making sure not to end up facing Sheri as he really didn't want her coming over and licking his face in the middle of anything. "Fuck me already," he whined, or at least something that was meant to be that; it actually sounded more like a wordless, desperate whimper.

"Now, now, now," Clark crooned, working Lex's pants down over his hips and taking a deep breath to regain some control at the sight of him on all fours like that. "You're the pet, no ordering the master around."

He ran his hands up Lex's back, pushing his shirt up and out of the way as he did so, then dropped to his knees behind the older man and undid his jeans so that he could rub his erection against Lex's ass, almost purring as he did so. "God, you feel good."

"I'm sure I'd feel better from the inside," Lex pointed out in almost his usual acerbic tone, thrusting back, trying to force Clark into him. "Stop teasing me!"

"Try that again and I'll just jack myself off back here, and there won't be anything you can do about it." As he spoke, Clark reached around and stroked Lex's cock, feeling the wetness of precome against his palm as he did so. Making himself let go, he searched in the older man's pocket for the lube and, finding it, ripped open the packet, slicking his fingers and pressing two into Lex's body.

Lex wailed when Clark finally put something inside him, his back curving into a deep bow as he tried to open himself more. His fingers dug into the earth beneath him as he fought not to move, to just take what Clark decided to give him.

"So fucking hot..." Hissing the words, Clark quickly but carefully stretched Lex, his own body rocking forward with each move of his hand until he had to get in the other man or die. Squeezing out the rest of the lube onto his palm, he stroked it over his erection, then, after pulling his fingers from the clinging heat of Lex's body, pressed inside.

"Oh god!" Lex shoved back almost violently, forcing Clark all the way inside him in a single, rapid thrust, then wailed his pleasure at finally being filled. "Yes, more, please," he begged, twisting beneath him.

Clark gasped, freezing as he tried to keep from coming because of the way Lex was writhing on his cock. "Hold still!" he rasped, grabbing hold of the older man's hips and stilling him bodily, giving him a moment to catch his breath before he started moving, thrusting in and out of Lex's ass with long, full-length strokes.

A tiny yelp of pleasure forced its way between Lex's lips with each thrust that unerringly struck his prostate, and his body trembled with tension as he locked his muscles, holding himself still despite his urgent need to move. "Please, more, need to move, Clark, god, touch me..." An incoherent string of pleas fell from his lips, words he was barely aware of uttering.

Lex Luthor begging: was there any bigger turn on in the world? Doubting he could think of any, if only because his brain was in serious primitive mode, Clark relaxed his hold on Lex's hips just enough to allow the other man to move and at the same time slid a hand under him, stroking his bound cock, fingers playing from the dripping head to the leather-wrapped base.

Lex screamed, making the dog's head jerk up, but over the last two and half years, she'd grown accustomed to the odd noises her humans made, and she flopped back down with a disgruntled snuffling.

"Please, Clark, fuck, oh god, please, let me come, need to, please," Lex babbled, thrusting frantically back onto Clark's cock then forward against his teasing fingers.

In all reality, Clark felt the same way, but he retained just enough control over himself to continue what he was doing. "What will you do it I let you come?" he breathed, stroking his fingers over Lex's tightly drawn up balls, then nipping his way down his back.

"Claaark!" Lex shuddered with arousal, his body arching. "Anything, whatever you want, please, Clark, now, need it, need you..."

"You? Forever?"

"Already have that."

Pleased with that answer, Clark rocked his hips forward, striking Lex's prostate at the exact moment he flipped the snap catch to the makeshift cockring, loosening it.

A full-throated scream ripped out of Lex as his body convulsed in the most incredible orgasm. He tore up clods of earth as his fingers clenched in the sod, his head falling back on his shoulders as he gave himself up to the overwhelming pleasure.

Catching sight of motion off to their left, Clark whipped his head around to glare at Sheri. "Down! Stay!" he rasped before losing himself in the rippling contractions of Lex's body and his own burgeoning climax, one that was pushed to the edge by the tiny whimpers Lex gave when he continued moving in him.

As the waves of pleasure ebbed, Lex sagged forward, every muscle going limp. Only Clark's grip on his hips and cock in his ass held him up. The last aftershocks were still rippling through his body, milking Clark, and he tightened his ass, trying to give Clark the same pleasure that had sated him.

Feeling Lex slump against him, Clark groaned, the rhythmic tightening around him sending him over the edge and into oblivion. Maintaining just enough presence of mind not to slump forward and crush his lover, he rested his head against Lex's back, feeling warm, damp skin under his cheek and wrinkled cotton bunched up against his forehead. "Good boy," he whispered, giving a dopey smile and stroking Lex's sides.

"Woof," Lex replied dryly, though it was hard to sound insulted when you had a guy's cock up your ass and were still dripping semen over his hand. "Feel free to repeat lessons of that type whenever you like."

"Positive reinforcement works wonders," Clark answered, opening an eye to watch Sheri, who was squirming toward them on her belly, plainly wanting to get in on the cuddling. "Your dog wants your attention."

Lex made a face as he brushed his hands together to clean them some, then knelt up and tucked himself back into his pants. "Another pair of pants destined for the trash," he sighed, looking down at the grass stains on the pale linen at his knees and knowing that his and Clark's come was seeping into them as well. "Ah well, they gave their life in a worthy cause," he chuckled, sinking down to sit cross-legged in front of Clark and patting his knees to call Sheri.

A moment later, the dog was half in his lap, licking his face affectionately as he laughed and tried half-heartedly to fend her off.

"Mmm, that they did." After cleaning himself up as well as he could, Clark did his pants up again and settled down on the ground behind Lex, wrapping his arms around him, resting one hand on his stomach and petting Sheri with the other. "And you were a very good pet." Saying this, he unclipped the leash from Lex's collar and reattached it to the dog's.

"Smartass," Lex said without heat. "And if you're planning to hang onto that before she settles back down, I'm going to be strangled." He leaned back against Clark, smiling when Sheri finally calmed and flopped back down, this time right across Lex's lap. "I swear she does that on purpose to make sure I can't go anywhere without her."

Clark chuckled. "I always knew she was smart, or maybe she learned it from me."

"You've got that backwards, Clarkbar. I'm usually the one using you as a mattress. And it does work; I haven't lost you yet."

"Gee, like there's any chance of that happening."

"Well, now that you're an up-and-coming college freshman, I have to make sure you don't get bored with simple little me and go looking for greener pastures," Lex teased, twisting around to grin at him.

Clark snorted. "Yeah, being as I'm so worldly and all, a simple small town boy like you might not do it for me once I get back to the big city lights."

"Guess I'll just have to try harder to keep you interested then," Lex replied with a downright terrifying smile. "I'm sure I can come up with something.

"Uhhh, that's okay, I'm plenty interested in you. Riveted in fact!" Clark said quickly, concerned about that smile and what it might mean.

"Oh no, I wouldn't want you to think I was taking you for granted," Lex purred, smiling like the cat with the canary in its sights. "I'm sure I can come up with something... out of the ordinary."

"Oh shit," Clark whispered, knowing that he was in for it for sure now. "Are you sure you don't want to save it for when we're on vacation? That way it'll be fresh in my mind when I start school."

"Oh, I wouldn't dream of doing that to you, making you wait that long. I'll come up with something special then too, but tonight, love, is going to be a very interesting night." His smile looked feral, an image only increased when he nipped at Clark's chin.

Clark whimpered. "When you start saying things are going to be interesting, I get scared. Are you sure you don't want to just go get cleaned up and go hang out at the Talon or something?"

"I'm going to start thinking that you don't trust me." Lex smirked as he faced forward again, reclining against the support of Clark's body. He chuckled softly as he realized what they must look like, him in Clark's lap and Sheri in his.

"With my life," was the swift answer as Clark rested his head against Lex's. "It's just my body I'm worrying about right now."

"You can safely leave concern about your body to me. I happen to be very fond of it." Lex stroked the dozing dog with one hand, his other reaching for Clark's and linking their fingers together. "Besides, have I ever done anything to you that you didn't like?"

"Aside from making me eat caviar that one time? Never." Clark tightened his fingers around Lex's, his other arm sliding from Sheri's head to rest on the older man's stomach.

"Peasant," Lex scoffed, chuckling as he remembered Clark's expression when he'd tasted the delicacy. "Don't worry; in future I'll eat the caviar, and you can have the wieners." He stretched a bit, prompting a grunt from Sheri. "We should probably head back soon."

Clark grinned. "I like wieners. Something about their shape..." Hearing Lex's next comment, he nodded. "Yeah, it'll be dark soon, and we don't need to be chasing Sheri around in it."

Waiting until Lex had prodded the dog to move and risen, Clark stood as well, brushing them both off as well as possible. "I wonder how Chloe's doing," he murmured, handing the leash over to Lex and taking his free hand.

"Can't be too bad or she'd have shown up here by now," Lex replied wryly, long since used to Chloe's sudden appearances when she needed to talk to one of them. "At least Dave is being supportive. Things could be a lot worse."

"I guess. I wouldn't say that around either of them right now though." As they walked back toward the mansion, Clark sighed. "Graduation is supposed to be such an exciting time, and they've got to deal with this. It really sucks."

"Well, it is exciting, just not in a good way." Lex shrugged slightly. Although he felt for them, there was nothing anyone could do until they knew for sure one way or the other. He frowned slightly. "Hmmm, I hope they find out before graduation. If she is, I should probably change the car I got her for something a bit more family oriented."

Clark nodded. "She said ten days or so; graduation's in three weeks, so they should know something by then." He looked toward the darkening sky and shook his head. "You know, she's going to kill you if you trade that Ferrari in for a mini-van."

"Only if you tell her. Oh right, this is Clark Kent I'm talking to, the man who can't keep a secret from Chloe." Lex shook his head. "It amazes me that you managed not to tell her about you. So far as I can tell, that's the only thing that you managed to keep from her for more than five minutes."

"Excuse me? I seem to recall knowing about the car for most of this year and not telling her. That's a lot more than five minutes!"

"Only because she doesn't want to spoil the surprise and has been very careful not to ask you what I got her."

"You're so fucking funny..." Clark bumped his hips against Lex's, being careful not to knock the other man off his feet. "I can keep secrets, look at Sheri, and remember your birthday party last year? Hmmm?"

"Oh, I fully admit that you can keep secrets from me and occasionally even from your parents. You just can't keep a secret from Chloe. Every single thought that crosses your mind in her presence comes tripping across your lips."

Clark pouted. "She didn't know about us that whole first summer." He carefully didn't mention that it was because she'd been out of town.

Lex had no such constraints. "She was in Metropolis, Clark." Lex slid an arm around his waist, hugging him. "Don't worry, I love you, motormouth and all."

"You just love what I do with my mouth," Clark sighed. "Good thing I'm not planning a career in politics or business, I'd crash and burn."

Lex laughed. "You're a little too honest and open for those, Clark. Leave that kind of stuff to me, and I'll leave the heroic savior stuff to you."

"That and being your conscience."

"You're the only one who can." Lex had no trouble admitting it. He knew he'd be a much darker person without Clark in his life.

"I know." As much as he hated thinking such things, Clark had grown up enough over the past three years to be able to see how Lex's ruthlessness could easily have taken him over the edge of morality and into the zone his father inhabited. "But you really don't need me to chirp at you much any more. You do very well on your own."

"Gee, thanks. You'll make me blush with such effusive praise." Lex made a joke of it, but he really did like knowing that Clark--and his parents for that matter--approved of his actions, were actually proud of him. "I wish Pamela could have met you."

Clark nodded. "I wish I could have too. I'm just glad that you were able to straighten things out with her before she... Between your mother and her, you had a lot of love."

Lex nodded. "If not for them, I don't think I would have been able to love you; I wouldn't have known how to give it or trust it. I'm glad we'll never know what I would have been like. We might even have ended up enemies."

"Shhh." Clark leaned in and brushed a kiss over Lex's mouth. "Don't even say that. It didn't happen, and it never will."

"Considering that they couldn't pry us apart with a crowbar most days, no, I think that's pretty safe to say." Lex started to say something else, then movement caught his attention, his eyes widened, and he bellowed, "Scheherazade! Come here!"

The dog skidded to a halt with her nose practically touching a bramble patch, then slunk back to Lex's side, big brown eyes peering up at him mournfully.

"Heel, you pest," Lex commanded, petting her briefly to let her know it was all right. "Okay, okay," he said, seeing Clark's expression, "you were right and I should have kept her on the leash."

Biting his lips to keep from saying 'I told you so', Clark simply nodded, trying not to laugh at Sheri's mournful expression. "Going to put it on her now?" he asked, still trying to keep a straight face.

Not deigning to answer, Lex simply attached the leash to Sheri's collar, then they continued back toward the castle. He looked at it, a pensive expression on his face. "I'd never have believed it four years ago, but this place has come to feel like home. It's going to be odd not being here all the time next year."

"Tell me about it." Clark moved closer to Lex's side, resting their heads together. "But we can come back whenever we want. Matter of fact, Mom and Dad will come after us if we don't get back at least once a month." He paused and sighed. "It won't quite be the same though, will it?"

"No, somehow weekend getaways and home are never quite the same thing. And since I doubt your eventual career will be better fulfilled in Smallville than Metropolis, we'll probably never be back here full time." Lex looked around a bit wistfully. "On the plus side, no more meteor fragments or mutants, not that either have been much of a problem since I hunted them down a couple years ago."

"Can't say as I'll miss either of them too much. We'll be together though, and that's what'll make wherever we are home, isn't it?"

"Good point. I'll just have to keep kidnapping you out of the dorm."

"Oh damn, what a terrible thing to have happen. Will anyone ever save me?"

"Nobody'd better even try!" Lex growled at the very idea, then an idea struck him and he started to laugh. "We're going to make quite an impression, Clark. We've managed to keep our relationship pretty quiet till now, so when I show up on campus the first time, it ought to draw some attention."

"Lex, wherever you go, you draw attention. You're too damn sexy for your own good." Clark grinned as he said this. "I'm just glad we were able to work it so that Dave and I are gonna be roommates. It'll help a lot with the ques... Shit! If Chloe is... they'll be getting their own place." The instant he said this, Clark felt very selfish and ashamed of himself. What was the loss of a little privacy compared to what his friends would be facing?

"Let's not worry about it till it happens," Lex counseled. "At least you seem to have stopped floating in your sleep since you got it under your conscious control. That would have been pretty hard to explain to anyone, including Dave."

"If that was the case, I would have asked for a single, no question about it." They reached the castle, and Clark pushed open the outer door, holding it and closing it behind them before Sheri could dart outside again. "Or I would have just told Dave he'd been smoking too much pot."

"That would have been kind of a hard sell considering that's one California boy who doesn't do drugs," Lex pointed out, laughing. "Speaking of that though, if he and Chloe stick together, you may want to think about letting him in on your secret. He's been a good friend, but more than that, now that she knows, it'll be hard on her to have to keep it secret from her boyfriend... or husband."

Clark nodded. "Yeah, eventually. Let's just wait and see what happens first, okay? It's going to be hard enough telling my folks that Chloe knows, but telling them that both she and Dave do... Not good."

"No, not really. And I didn't necessarily mean now. In fact, I wouldn't advise it while we're all still in Smallville. But it's something to keep in mind for the future." Lex was heading straight up to his bedroom as he talked, wanting a shower so bad he could taste it.

"Yup." Clark flopped down onto the bed, lying on his back and snickering as he watched Lex almost frantically peel himself out of his soiled clothes. Sheri hopped up beside him, and he scratched her head. "I think he's got enough stuff on his mind without adding my issues into the mix."

Lex nodded as he tossed his probably unsalvageable clothes onto a chair for the servants to deal with. "Yeah, he needs to concentrate on Chloe right now. I don't think she'd appreciate distractions."

"I'm sure that once this is all over, she'll come after me with a million questions - and probably you too." The fact that she hadn't asked more was a true sign of how upset she was.

"She'll type up a list," Lex agreed with a chuckle, padding naked into the bathroom and switching on the shower. "Any chance I could convince you to wash my back?" he called.

"This after all the threats from earlier?" Clark asked, pushing up to his elbows and looking toward the bathroom. "I'll think about it."

A snort echoed oddly in the bathroom. "As if you don't enjoy these things just as much as I do! Fine, be that way. You can just lie out there all by yourself while I jerk off alone in here. It'll let me prolong our games even more later."

"Excuse me?" Clark was off the bed, stripped, and in the bathroom in under a second. He leaned against the wall next to the shower, trying to ignore Lex's smirk. "Go ahead, I just wanted to see the show."

"I ought to charge admission." Lex never looked away from him as he slowly teased himself, building the sensations slowly rather than just grabbing for his cock. Since he had an audience, he owed it to himself to give the best possible show.

One hand traveled up his chest, nails flicking first one nipple then the other, over and over. "Mmm, gonna have to put the rings in; it's been a while since I did." His other was between his legs, cupping and rolling his balls as he widened his stance, giving himself more room.

"Uh - uh huh..." Clark gulped, swallowing thickly while watching Lex's hands roam over his body and imagining how the show would look with the bright bits of metal adorning his flesh as well.

Lex smirked, pleased at his ability to render his lover non-verbal. "Why don't you get them for me and I'll put them in now?" he suggested in a throaty purr. "Since you seem to like them so much."

Talking was out of Clark's mental capacity at the time, so he nodded mutely, backing out of the bathroom, watching Lex the whole while. Once he was in the bedroom, he turned and fumbled through the box on the dresser, collecting the assorted studs and rings, carrying them back into the bathroom and offering them to Lex.

"You don't want to do it for me?" Eyeing Clark's near trembling, Lex tilted his head slightly. "Perhaps not." He reached for the two plain rings, fitting them into his nipples while Clark watched. "I'm sure you can manage to attach the chain to them," he urged, arching his back a bit to push his chest toward his lover.

"You," Clark swallowed again to wet his mouth. "You should put the rest of them in so that I don't drop them and lose them." "Sorry, love, am I getting to you?" Lex inquired with spurious innocence. "I'll take care of it now." He slid the other barbells and rings into the various piercings, leaving only the chains in Clark's hands. Done, he clasped his hands behind his head and faced the younger man, jewelry glittering in the soft light. "Put on as many or as few as you like." Though Clark wanted to see Lex with all of the chains on again, he restrained himself and carefully attached the fine links between the rings threaded through the older man's nipples. Stepping back, he set the other chains on the counter and took a deep breath. "Fucking beautiful."

Lex bowed slightly in acknowledgement of the compliment, then returned his attention to pleasuring himself, now tugging at the chain to pull on both his nipples simultaneously while fisting his cock. "Mmmm, feels so good, almost as good as being in you, that hot, wet mouth or your tight ass."

"Oh God," Clark whimpered, feeling his own erection throb urgently as he watched the show Lex was putting on for him. He wanted to reach down and stroke himself, but he was going to hold out, damnit, just this once.

"Lex is fine, I don't have delusions of godhood," Lex managed to chuckle, his hand now moving more rapidly on his cock. His other hand abandoned his throbbing nipples to reach behind him and press against his opening, pushing inside and making him cry out with increasing urgency.

Okay, so he was a wuss. Whimpering low in his throat, Clark dropped to his knees and crawled toward Lex, licking his way up the older man's erection and then mouthing the head, his tongue tracing patterns around the ball and loop at the end of the piercing there.

"Ahhhh!" Lex thrust into Clark's mouth, not able to hold back and not even trying. "God yes, so good, love you, love fucking you, gonna come in your mouth," he panted, the hand that had been jacking himself off now clenched in Clark's hair.

Closing his eyes, Clark began sucking on the thick flesh in his mouth, letting Lex's thrusts and grip dictate the pace and depth, only wanting to taste and feel his lover's climax at that point.

"Oh Jesus fucking Christ!" Lex wailed, hips snapping back and forth now as he fucked Clark's face, able to do it hard and fast without any worries about hurting his lover. A quick swallow massaging the head of his cock at the right moment and he yelled Clark's name as he came hard, nearly blacking out from the intense pleasure.

Rocking back onto his haunches once Lex stopped shuddering, Clark looked up at the older man, blinking against the spray of the shower over them both. "Mmm, so good," he murmured, steadying Lex by placing his hands on his hips when he swayed.

"Amazing," Lex panted, smiling down at him, then sinking to his knees to kiss Clark hungrily. He loved tasting himself in the younger man's mouth, and he pressed closer, then let out a startled sound. "Whoops, sorry, forgot." He reached down, curling his hand around Clark's erection. "Want me to take care of this for you?"

Clark gave a shaky laugh. "It would be nice if you would," he murmured, rocking his hips forward to press into Lex's hand.

"My pleasure." Lex pushed him back against the marble wall of the shower, then took him into his mouth with no warning or preliminaries, sucking strongly while a finger ran along the cleft of Clark's ass.

"I... think it's mine," Clark groaned, trying to spread his knees wider and to keep himself from collapsing to the floor of the shower.

Lex chuckled around the cock in his mouth, pleased by the tremor that ran through Clark. His head bobbed up and down, tasting, licking and sucking, wanting to make the other man come and drink him down.

"God, Lex, like that." Fingers scrabbling at the cool wall, Clark writhed, arching up into Lex's mouth, then back against the finger pressed against his ass. When it pressed inside him, he screamed and came, each contraction of Lex's throat muscles around his shaft pulling another spasm from him.

Lex stayed with him until the last tremor passed, then sat up, a small trail of semen trickling from the corner of his mouth. He caught it on his finger, then sucked it clean, smiling at Clark. "Delicious."

A drugged smile was the only response Clark felt capable of giving, and he collapsed onto the floor, sprawling against the wall with his legs in front of him.

Lex stood up and grinned down at him. "Why do I think that the hot tub is a better idea than a shower right now?"

"'Cause we might drown?"

Chuckling, Lex reached back and turned the shower off, then stepped out of the enclosure and padded, dripping, over to the sunken tub, starting it up. "We can't have that. I expect to get years more use out of you."

Content to simply sit there until Lex made him move, Clark made a vaguely agreeing noise. "Come with a lifetime warranty."

"Oh good, I like the model I have. I'd hate to have to return it for an upgrade," Lex teased, stepping into the hot water and sighing luxuriantly. "Planning to join me, Clarkbar?"

Groaning theatrically, Clark stood and shambled out of the shower. Dragging his feet, he crossed over to the tub, climbed up the step and slid in beside Lex, resting his head on the older man's shoulder. "Wake me up in time for school, 'kay?"

Lex just smiled, an arm around the teenager holding him close. Unable to resist Clark in a cuddly mood, he tossed out his original plans for the night without regret, instead deciding that tonight they would just be together. Clark did seem tired, and it wasn't as if holding and petting his lover was a hardship. They could play the games he'd planned another night.

"Mmm, best pillow in the world. Missed it like hell when you were gone last month."

"Missed you too," Lex admitted. "My business trips are a lot shorter than they used to be now that I have you to come home to. I hate knowing that you're on the other side of the world when I crawl into bed at night."

"Hate knowing you're crawling into bed somewhere right about when I'm crawling out of mine." Clark sighed and stretched, turning to wind his arm around Lex's body.

Lex rubbed his cheek against the top of Clark's head. "I wonder if you'll be able to fly as fast as you run once you get it fully under control?" he mused. "If so, we won't have to worry about being apart any more. You'll be able to pop over for a few hours whenever you want."

Clark nodded. "That would be good. It would help knowing that if you needed me, I could be there in minutes." He turned his face enough to kiss Lex's neck. "Just have to figure out how to do more than float at odd times."

"Well, you did manage to float when you wanted to, intentionally, last week, so I think we're on the right track. Or rather you are. I'm pretty much as helpful as a cheerleader in this instance. Want me to wave some pompoms at you?"

Clark cracked one eye open and sat up enough to stare at Lex. "The image of you in a short skirt and sweater, while interesting, does absolutely nothing for me."

"I don't think you can possibly imagine what a relief that is to me." Lex smacked his shoulder lightly, not wanting to bruise his hand. "Not even for you am I wearing a skirt, Clark."

"And why would I ask you to?"

Lex started to answer, then stopped, shaking his head slightly as if to knock loose some idea he didn't like. "This is turning into another of those conversations that makes my head ache. How about instead of wandering through the twilight zone, we get dressed and go up to the observatory, then call down for some dinner?"

Waking up somewhat at the thought of that, Clark sat up and stretched. "And then are you going to torture me? You seem to have forgotten to so far."

"That would be once we go to bed, assuming you're acting less cuddly by then. It's very difficult to torture someone who's snuggling up to you," Lex pointed out, splashing him.

Clark grinned. "I'll have to remember that for the future." He stood, stretching once again and grinning as Lex's eyes followed his movements. "If I ever get caught and threatened with torture, of course."

"Brat." Lex got out of the water as well, smugly satisfied when Clark's eyes riveted on the droplets of water dripping down his body. "On second thought, I don't feel like getting dressed... but it's too hot for a robe. Hmm, boxers?" he mused as he stepped out and reached for a towel.

A frown creased Clark's brow at that. "Lex, they'll be bringing the food up with you like that."

"Which is why I said boxers, not skin." He didn't see the problem.

"Too much skin." Even after this long together, Clark still got twitchy if he thought people were looking at Lex or too much of Lex.

"Clark, it is late spring in Kansas, and we're in the middle of a freak heat wave. I am not bundling up." And right on cue, there went the lip. Lex sighed. "Fine, I'll wear a t-shirt, but only until the food arrives, then it's off." He was so whipped.

"Okay." Clark nodded, mollified for the time being. "But if they stare at you, you're keeping it on."

An eyebrow rose. Enough was enough. "Clark, once they bring the food up, no one else will be there except the two of us and Sheri. I am not going to sweat all night because you're nuts."

"Last time I checked, there was air conditioning up there."

"Clark, is there some reason you want me bundled up like Nanook of the North when we're alone? Some new weirdness you have not yet shared with me?"

Clark sighed. "Maybe I want to tear the clothes off your body. Maybe I want to be able to eat my meal without drooling all over from staring at you. Maybe I want to keep anyone else from staring at you."

"Clark, you are a very weird individual. However, I happen to love you, eccentricities and all, so just for you, I'll wear a shirt. Which means I should get to dress you the way I want, right?"

"Ummm, is it too late to cuddle more?"

Lex's shark-like grin was sufficient answer. He toweled off briskly, then headed out to the bedroom to pull on boxers and a loose t-shirt with the Princeton crest across the front.

Clark followed after drying off as well. "Why do I take that to mean yes?"

"Smart boy. Here, put this on." 'This' turned out to be an indecently short pair of cutoffs that would let the head of his cock show out of one leg if he wasn't careful and a custom-dyed green leather harness that Lex swore was the exact shade of Clark's eyes.

"But - this - " Clark took the skimpy garments, wondering if they could even truthfully be called clothes, and held them up, staring. He'd gotten used to wearing tight pants and shirts when they'd gone out to clubs in Metropolis, but this? Thank God they were staying in tonight. "Is it going to fit?"

"Oh yes," Lex purred, eyeing him like a predator. "It's made for you. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing you in it."

"Oh God." Giving a sickly smile, Clark stepped into the shorts, carefully pulling them up and trying to find a way to keep his privates private. That done, he held up the leather straps, staring at them in confusion. "A little help here?"

"My pleasure." Lex pressed up against him as he untangled the leather harness and helped Clark into it, rubbing against him as he moved around to adjust it until it fit perfectly with no danger of chafing. "Gorgeous," he whispered, heated silver gaze raking over his lover.

"I feel like an extra from a hoe-down version of Spartacus."

"You look like a wet dream."

Clark managed a smile, feeling somewhat better because of the heat he saw in Lex's eyes. "I'll take your word for it."

"You'll have to because no one else is ever going to see you like this. You can put your robe on to go upstairs." To his own bemusement, Lex could feel a twitch of interest from his groin, even though he should be down for the count for a while. Then again, all bets seemed to be off in that area when it came to the two of them.

"Thank you, God," Clark mumbled, darting a gaze heavenward as he snatched the light terry robe from the hook behind the door and pulled it on. "Any idea of what we're having for dinner?" he asked, finding himself grinning when Sheri jumped off the bed and padded over to Lex, whining for attention.

"Not a clue, aside from the obvious that it's going to be one of your favorites since Mrs. Jenkins knew you would be here tonight," Lex replied as he leaned down to pet Sheri, having to kneel down to reach her belly when she rolled over and whined hopefully.

"She's got you so whipped," Clark chuckled, wishing he had a camera to take a snapshot of Lex and his dog.

Lex shot him an incredulous look. "She's in good company then... master."

"Master?" Clark's expression was incredulous. "What are you talking about?"

"Like you don't get me to do whatever you want," Lex scoffed. "It's not the dog who's got me whipped. Well, not only the dog," he added with a faint chuckle after consideration. "Good thing I love both of you."

"Good thing we both love you," Clark answered, bending over to rub Sheri's belly before straightening and bringing Lex up with him. "And I didn't realize that asking you to put on a shirt was such a horrible thing to do."

"It's not." Lex shrugged. "I just find it amusing sometimes when I notice how often you get your own way, and not just with me. That charm is lethal, Clark. Everyone bends over backwards to keep you happy, and you honestly don't have the slightest clue."

If anything, Clark's expression turned even more dubious. "Uh, yeah, right, Lex. Whatever you say. Do you want to call the kitchen before we go up so they know to get things ready?"

Lex didn't press the point. "Good idea. I'm getting hungry; must be all the exercise today." He kissed Clark lightly before stepping back and reaching for the phone to take his advice. That done, he turned back to the other man. "Ready to head upstairs?"

Glad of the robe, Clark nodded. "Sure, though how you expect me to do anything dressed like this, I have no idea." He laughed a bit self-consciously and restrained himself from trying to tug at the hem of the shorts, knowing there was no point in it.

"I expect you to be eye-candy, Clarkbar," Lex purred. "And you should be grateful that I didn't go with my first thought, which was you naked all night."

Clark snorted to himself. "That might be better then this get-up. Eye-candy nothing, I feel like a rejected Chippendales dancer!" He laughed at the last and followed Lex out of the bedroom, Sheri trailing along at their heels.

"As if you'd be rejected. They should be so lucky," Lex snorted, running a possessive hand up Clark's back as they walked. "But I'm glad that I'm the only person who gets to see you like this."

"I think you have to be able to dance to be a Chippendales guy, and mine ranks right up there with my singing."

"Clark, I've heard you sing, and no one who moves the way you do when you're not pretending to be a klutz could be that bad a dancer."

"Gee, thanks, I think..." Clark muttered, pushing open the door to the observatory and walking in ahead of Lex to commandeer the daybed, stretching his legs out across its length and resting his arms along the back.

Lex paused only long enough to admire the picture Clark made, splayed out like his own personal sex-toy before following him, settling on his knees straddling the younger man. He splayed his fingers across Clark's chest, pushing the terry robe aside so he could leer down at him and teasingly knead the muscles. Cocking his head slightly to one side, he smiled at Clark. "We have forty-five minutes till dinner will be ready. Think we can find something to do during that time?"

Clearing his throat and shifting underneath Lex's weight, Clark tried to ignore the heat in his lover's smile. "After what we've done in the past two hours? Maybe take a nap!"

Lex chuckled. "What, no dance for me? I was looking forward to tucking hundred dollar bills in your shorts."

"Yeah, like anything else could fit down there!" Clark laughed, sincerely doubting that even a slip of paper could make it down the skin-tight shorts.

"Have a little confidence in me," Lex chuckled. He hadn't brought his wallet up with him, but he reached down to pick up one of Clark's notebooks and tore a few pages out, tearing them into bill-sized strips. He then carefully tucked one into the waistband. "If you want more, you're going to have to show me something."

Clark craned his neck to look down at his chest, still unable to believe that he was actually dressed in green leather strapping and shorts so short and tight they should be illegal. "Umm, exactly what can't you see right now?"

"Dancing. You. Music." Lex gave him his trademark evil smirk.

"Oh darn, no music up here, what a shame," Clark back-peddled quickly, knowing he'd die of embarrassment if he got up and tried to dance for Lex.

Eyebrows rising, Lex picked up the remote for the sound system and turned it on, smiling as the CD they'd been listening to the last time they were here started up. "Well, it's not exactly typical stripping music, but I'm sure you can work with it."

"Work with Nine Inch Nails? Lex, that is about as far from dance music as I can imagine. Besides, I can't get up, you're sitting on me."

"Bitch, bitch, bitch." Lex twisted to one side and tossed the remote to Clark, then stretched out, arms and ankles crossed. "So pick something else."

"Look who's talking, the guy who refused to get in my truck while Creed was playing," Clark snickered, about to push the button to change the CD when the track advanced, making him pause. "Okay, this is a little better," he muttered, setting the slim remote down and shaking his head, not believing that he was going to do this. But then, with Lex, most everything they did was things he had never dreamed of.

Closing his eyes and hoping that his furious blush didn't look too horrible, Clark listened to the heavy drumbeat, feeling his body sway with the pronounced rhythm, sliding his hands down his chest to toy with the tie holding the robe together.

"Woo hoo, take it off," Lex called, chuckling at the look Clark gave him. He motioned zipping his lips and pulled another cushion behind his back, making himself comfortable as he sat back to enjoy the show.

"If I do, I'll never get it on again," Clark laughed, before thinking that probably wasn't a very smart thing to say. Trying to put the location out of his mind, he closed his eyes, letting his body sway to the music, each distinct beat a counterpart for a hip thrust.

Lex swallowed hard, not commenting on Clark's statement, instead just watching him. If this was what Clark considered bad, good might just kill him. His eyes heated as Clark moved to the music, motions growing more fluid as he lost himself in it and grew less self-conscious.

By the first chorus, the robe had fallen to the floor without Clark consciously noticing. He loved this song, even though it was one he couldn't play at home because of the language, which may have been part of the attraction of it for him. It was raw and dirty and actually made him think of Lex and what he thought of himself. He slid one hand up to rake through his hair, and the other stroked across his chest, rubbing over hardening nipples as he licked his lower lip.

Lex reminded himself that their dinner would be arriving in less than an hour, and Clark would never forgive him if they were fucking when the servants walked in with it. But god, he looked good.

'I want to fuck you like an animal'

Yeah, that pretty much described what he felt sometimes when he was with Lex, but there was so much more to their relationship that those raunchy words didn't cover. The sex was amazing, but best was the total acceptance, the total trust that was such an anomaly in both their lives.

Without noticing it, Clark's movements had slowed, his hands lingering over his skin, tracing the lines of the straps crisscrossing his chest and ghosting down to the waistband of his shorts as he thought about how much richer his life was with Lex.

Watching him, Lex could almost follow his thoughts, and suddenly watching wasn't enough. He rose to his feet and moved closer, his hands covering Clark's. "Love you," he whispered, starting to dance with his lover.

Green eyes flew open, followed by a blinding smile at Lex's closeness, and Clark slid his hands to his lover's waist while keeping Lex's hands on his, their hips rocking together to the music. "I was just thinking the same thing," he murmured before brushing a kiss across Lex's mouth.

"Oh good. I decided that as fantastic as the show is, we do everything better together." He smiled, moving to the music with Clark in his arms. "Have I mentioned recently that I love dancing with you?"

"Hmm, no. Guess that means we should do it more often, doesn't it?" They'd missed the formal this year because Lex had been out of town, but it really hadn't mattered to Clark. They'd gone together his sophomore and junior years, and that had caused enough talk to last a lifetime.

"Just wait till you see the clubs in London and Rome. We're going to have to chain ourselves together to prevent anyone trying to make off with you," Lex said with a slight laugh. "But they'll all want to watch us when we dance because we're perfect together." He kissed Clark lightly, biting at his lower lip.

"Just so long as they don't touch you," Clark murmured, sliding a hand up under Lex's t-shirt and stroking his back. "They do that and there won't be a club left standing."

"You're crazy," Lex replied fondly, "but it's cute on you. You know I'm not interested in anyone but you, and I wouldn't be even without the bond, you neurotically jealous alien. But if anyone gets grabby--with either of us--you can do whatever you like to them, so long as it doesn't end up with either of us in jail."

"Nah, I can be sneaky; I learned from the best." The song changed to one that really wasn't conducive to dancing, but if Lex didn't care, then neither did Clark, and he nuzzled the older man's neck as they moved together.

"I think I resemble that remark." Lex really didn't care what Clark said as long as they kept dancing, Clark's arms around him and his lover rubbing and nibbling his throat. Sometimes, the younger man reminded him of a big cat marking his territory, but as long as that remained limited to Lex, he was happy to indulge him.

"Gee, someone would think you had a guilty conscience." Clark slid his other hand to the back of Lex's head, stroking his palm over the thin skin of his scalp.

"No, just an alien conscience who doesn't let me lie to myself." Lex laid his head on Clark's shoulder, practically purring with contentment, his hands stroking over the broad back bared by the leather harness.

"Always let your conscience be your guide," Clark murmured, resting his cheek against Lex's temple and enjoying the peaceful feeling of just being together with his lover. He lost track of time as they swayed together and looked up, startled, when someone knocked on the door to the observatory.

"That would be dinner," Lex said lazily, not raising his head, a small smile curving his lips when he realized that Clark had instinctively spun them so that his body was between Lex and the door. "The cook's pretty good; I don't think you need to protect me from it. Though you may want to grab your robe before they come in," he reminded gently, knowing Clark would be embarrassed if any of the servants saw him in that outfit.

"Huh? Oh!" Flushing, Clark dove for his robe, belting it on before walking over to the door and opening it just enough to pull in the cart that the servant had brought up.

"Thanks, I'm sure it'll be great," he said hurriedly, keeping his body between the opening and any chance the woman had of seeing Lex in his boxers and t-shirt.

"Eat on the floor or at the table?" he asked, shutting the door once again and pushing the cart over toward his lover.

"Depends what it is. If it's anything we need to cut, the table will be easier. Otherwise, the floor's good," Lex said, coming over to peer under the covers. "Gee, cheeseburgers and potato salad, what a surprise. Do you know that she won't even make any other kind of potato salad now except your mother's recipe?" Lex said, bemused. "I may pay the salaries around here, but you're definitely the one in charge."

He picked up a plate and settled cross-legged on the floor, waiting for Clark to join him. "Oh, I forgot. Hand me a bottle of water?"

"After that remark?" Clark sniffed disdainfully before grabbing a bottle of Lex's Ty Nant from the mini-fridge as well as a Coke for himself. "Only the fact that you appreciate Mom's potato salad is saving you right now."

He dropped to the floor next to Lex, reaching for the ketchup and slathering it on his burger, then adding relish and onions and finally biting into the monstrosity.

Lex watched with horrified fascination, three years still not inuring him to what Clark considered the perfect burger. He picked up his own burger, perfectly spiced and cooked, the bun lightly brushed with Dijon mustard, decorative rings of Spanish onion and a single lettuce leaf on top, and took a bite. "Saving me from what?" he finally asked. "I want to make sure I'm not missing anything interesting."

"Haha," Clark mumbled around a mouthful, swallowing before he continued. "Saving you from dehydration because I wouldn't have gotten you your drink otherwise."

"Boring," Lex proclaimed. "You sure you wouldn't like to punish me in some way, tie me up maybe?" His eyes danced at Clark over his burger as he took another neat bite, tongue darting out to catch a bit of cheese dripping out over the edge.

"Been there, done that, got the cock ring to prove it." Grinning, he continued to eat, interspersing bites of his burger with the potato salad.

Eyebrows rising, Lex reached over and stole some of Clark's salad, making sure to keep his own plate out of the younger man's reach as he did. "Don't worry, Clark, I haven't forgotten. I still have plans for you for later." He petted Clark's groin lightly, then slid his fingertips beneath the ragged hem of one leg, nudging his cock.

Clark's bare toes curled, and he fought to remain still so he wouldn't dump his food all over the floor. "You're planning on tying me up?" he croaked, avoiding looking down because he did not want to see if his cock was exposed.

"Among other things," Lex replied with a sweet smile, thumb rubbing over the smooth head of Clark's cock as it slowly pushed out the bottom of his shorts. "Mmm, my favorite part of any meal," he purred, putting his plate down for a moment to bend over and flick his tongue over Clark.

"Isn't - aren't you supposed to finish your dinner before having dessert?" Clark's voice was a hoarse groan, and he leaned back against the side of the daybed, closing his eyes and trying to control his breathing.

"Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds," Lex replied loftily, licking him like an ice-cream cone, his tongue delving beneath the shorts to probe at the shaft, then returning to the more easily accessible head.

"Huh?" Clark was past the point of trying to understand that statement, and he whimpered, arching his back and praying that he didn't split his shorts wide open. Lex licked him again, then sat up, reaching for his plate. "Yum. But since you want me to finish my main course first, that'll have to do for now." He smiled sweetly at Clark and took a bite of his burger.

It took a moment, but when Clark finally realized what was--or wasn't--happening, he straightened up, staring over at Lex, who was blithely eating his meal. "Asshole," he growled, shifting uncomfortably and trying to rearrange himself so that he wasn't hanging out for everyone to see.

"Don't do that on my account. I happen to like the view." That probably would have been more comforting if Lex hadn't chosen to follow the statement with another sharp bite into his burger.

Snarling, Clark tore into his own food, trying to ignore the ache in his groin. "Tough shit."

Lex snickered. "You don't handle frustration well, do you? Here, let me help you with that..." He put his plate aside and moved up onto his knees, unfastening Clark's shorts with difficulty, then carefully freeing him of the soft, tight denim. While Clark was distracted by his touch, with his free hand Lex reached behind a cushion for one of the items he'd secreted earlier, and the next thing the younger man knew, there was a cock ring snugly wrapped around the base of his cock and balls.

"There," Lex said with satisfaction. "Now you don't have to worry about anything happening too soon." He sucked briefly on Clark, lapping away the salty fluid, then sat up again.

"I hope you remember that I didn't leave you in yours too long earlier," Clark rasped, his voice as tight as his whole body was wound.

"Ah, but you're superhuman, remember?" Lex purred, eating a bit more of his dinner before putting it aside in favor of the much more interesting feast sitting beside him.

"I'm also eighteen. You know, peak of my sexual appetite and all? I'm sure you remember how it was all those years ago."

"Watch it, lover, or we'll find out exactly how much you can take," Lex growled throatily, nuzzling his erection, rubbing against him like a cat scent-marking its territory.

Clark took a deep breath but didn't back down. "I have school tomorrow, remember? You can't do anything too drastic."

"It's not even sunset yet, Clark. We still have hours left that we can play and still let you get a good night's sleep. You're not going to get out of it that easily." Lex bit at Clark's lower lip, tugging gently.

"Ummm... I have homework to do?" Clark tried, squirming back against the couch as far as he was able to go.

"No, you don't. But I do. I have an assignment to find out what makes you scream with pleasure, what makes you squirm and writhe and beg me for more. I'm looking forward to it." Lex moved to straddle Clark's lap, rubbing sensually against his restrained erection.

Clark's expression was a mix of lust and trepidation. Lex had an amazingly creative mind, and tonight he was on the receiving end of its machinations. "I - I thought you'd found all those things out already," he whimpered, bringing his hands to his lover's waist and arching up under him.

"I need to make sure I haven't missed anything. After all, you're my lover; I have to do my best for you." He pressed harder against Clark's erection, thumbs flicking the younger man's nipples as he kissed him lazily.

"You're Lex Luthor; you always do your best," Clark managed to get out before he dove back in for Lex's mouth, hoping to coax him into doing more.

"So glad you noticed," Lex murmured into his mouth before giving up on words and simply enjoying the kiss, their bodies rocking together. When he had to pull back to pant for air, he smiled at Clark, licking his lips and tasting him. "I'm being selfish though. You haven't finished your dinner. Please, go ahead. I'm sure I can find something to keep myself busy."

"Lex..." Clark growled, tightening his grip on the other man's hips. "I'm not hungry for food right now. It'll keep."

"Are you sure? I wouldn't want you to pass out from hunger or anything." Lex started nibbling along his throat, apparently finding his Adam's apple fascinating as he sucked and bit at it. "Mmmm, delicious."

"I'm not going to pass out from hunger! Got it?" It took Clark a second to realize he was shouting, but he found he didn't care.

Lex's eyebrows rose, and he actually managed to paste an expression of concern on his face. "Why, Clark, you sound stressed. Maybe I should just let you rest for a little while. Or give you a nice massage to relax you." He started kneading Clark's chest, nails scraping his nipples every so often, apparently to 'relax' him.

Fine tremors were running through Clark's body, and he twitched every time Lex's nails abraded his nipples. His cock was leaking, dampening the fabric of the older man's boxers, and he leaned his head back so that it was resting on the cushions, staring sightlessly at the ceiling, soft whimpers emerging from his throat.

"Fuck, you're gorgeous." Lex had to stop what he was doing and just look at him, a rawly possessive look in his eyes. "So incredible, so responsive... And. All. Mine." He punctuated each word with an almost savage bite, working down from Clark's throat to his nipples, intent on worrying the sensitive buds raw or as close as he could get with Clark.

"Lex..." Clark's ragged whimper changed to a moan of pure need at each impression of teeth against his skin. It might not mark him, but, God, it felt good. He wrenched his hands down to his knees, his fingers digging into his own flesh as he fought to remain still and allow Lex the freedom to do as he wanted.

"That's me." Lex snapped at each nipple, going back and forth, biting and tugging, faint sounds of pleasure, almost growls, escaping him as Clark let him do whatever he wished. His nails ran up and down his lover's sides, his erection ground against Clark's, and his mouth finally abandoned the rigid, reddened nipples to start downward again.

"Oh, God," Clark whined, spreading his legs wider under Lex's weight, shifting the older man as if he weighed no more than a feather. His erection ached and throbbed, pulsing against the leather band, but he made no move to try and remove it.

"Not god, just Lex." He delicately traced Clark's belly button with his tongue, a whisper soft caress more maddening than anything else he could have done, his fingers now gentling as well as he teased Clark with more the promise of touch than actual touching.

"Unh!" Clark bucked almost violently, looking for more sensation and whimpering when Lex rode out the motion, refusing to allow him any more than he offered.

"Something wrong, love?" Lex asked wickedly, feathering his fingers over Clark's dripping erection, still teasing.

Clark gasped for breath and managed to lift his head from the cushions to stare at Lex. "W-why would you think that?" he panted, his whole body shuddering with the need to come.

"You seem a bit distressed. Oh, and messy too. Let me take care of that for you." Lex closed his mouth over the tip of Clark's erection, lashing it with his tongue as he cleaned away every trace of precome and delved into the slit in search of more.

A sound of pure need escaped from Clark's throat, and he flailed out with a hand, almost grabbing hold of the day bed's leg before taking hold of his own hair instead, the pain of each tug a minor distraction compared to the feeling of Lex suckling on his erection.

A shudder of sheer lust rippled through Lex at the sound that Clark made, and he raised heated silver eyes to see the look of need on his lover's face. "I want to fuck you, Clark, fuck you while you keep this on," he stroked the cock ring and the velvety skin beneath it, "and then after I come inside you, I want you to fuck me till I come again. And only then, when you're so hungry you think you'll die from it, will I take this off and suck you dry."

"Please..." Clark whimpered, managing to wriggle down so that he was flat on his back, his feet flat on the floor so that he could lift his hips in an offering, oblivious to the fact that Lex was now straddling his chest until his lover's cock brushed his lips, and he eagerly latched onto it.

"Ah!" Lex cried out sharply, his hips driving forward as Clark sucked him. He rode the pleasure for a short time, his breath coming in pants as Clark teased his arousal higher, but soon he pulled away, knowing that if he didn't, he would come in Clark's mouth and be unable to carry out his plans.

"So good," he rasped, leaning down to kiss Clark hungrily as he positioned himself between his lover's widespread legs and pushed into him.

"Fuck me fuck me fuck me," the words were a mindless chant, and Clark arched off the floor with so much force he picked Lex up as well, the move driving the other man even deeper into his body.

"Christ!" Lex wailed as Clark's move drove him what felt deeper than he'd ever been, his body almost entirely supported by his cock inside his lover for a moment before they sank back down. He fucked Clark wildly, hard and fast, intent upon his own orgasm, yet still not forgetting the other man. He struck the teenager's prostate with each thrust, and his fist pumped Clark's bound cock, increasing the sensations wracking his body.

To keep from grabbing and possibly injuring Lex, Clark grasped his wrists behind his head, writhing and twisting, feeling the pressure build inside him but knowing there was no release in sight. He had an absurd thought and began laughing hysterically, even as he arched up into Lex's thrusts, needing more.

Even in the midst of the mind-numbing pleasure, Lex's curiosity was roused, and he slowed enough to gasp, "What's so funny?"

"Just... just, oh God, hoping I didn't bust the cock ring because of my strength." Clark's laughter mingled with his moans, and he tightened his ass around Lex's cock, trying to get him to move again.

Lex gaped at him then started to laugh as well, pushing closer when he almost slipped out of Clark. "Better not or I'd have to start all over," he rasped, hips slowly speeding up again until he was slamming in and out of Clark, his body tightening as his climax crept up on him.

"No!" Clark yelped before recognizing the signs of Lex's impending orgasm and doing everything in his power to help the older man over the edge. Lex suddenly arched over him, crying out, then practically dove into his mouth, kissing him hungrily as his body convulsed with pleasure. He wailed Clark's name as spasms wracked him, his body shooting bursts of semen into his lover.

The second that Lex relaxed, Clark flipped them over, cradling the back of the other man's head in his hand so that it didn't hit the floor when the rest of his body did. "My turn now," he rasped, grabbing for the lube in the end table nearby and quickly stretching Lex's ass before finally pushing into it, groaning all the while at the constriction of the leather around his erection.

"God yes, fuck me, want to feel you inside me while I still feel it," Lex moaned, aftershocks of his climax still rippling through him. "Fuck me hard, Clark," he demanded, raising his head to bite at him again. "Want you," he growled.

Clark's carefully held control slipped a bit at that moment, and his fingers dug into Lex's hips, leaving angry red marks behind when he moved them away. Hooking his arms under Lex's knees, he bent the older man almost double, powering into him with deep thrusts that rubbed across Lex's prostate.

"God, yes, like that, fuck, harder!" Lex practically yowled with every pounding hit against his sensitive gland, his ass pushing upward to meet every thrust. He loved it when Clark forgot to be so careful, marked him a bit and gave him an edge of pain with the pleasure.

Turning his head, Clark sucked on the inside of Lex's thigh, raising a dark bruise there before switching to the other limb and creating its duplicate. His senses were all on overload, and he'd lost sight of the fact that he couldn't come because of the cock ring, only knowing that he needed to get deeper into the tight heat that surrounded him.

Whining and thrashing beneath his lover, Lex whimpered as his body began painfully to harden again, the stimulation riding the edge of pleasure and pain, not sure what it was feeling. Clark was giving him exactly what he'd said he wanted, what he did want, and it was incredible. He'd never been able to drive the younger man so far out of control before, and he was loving every moment of it.

Clark shifted his arm and caught one of Lex's nipples between his fingertips, tugging at the silver ring threaded through it, pulling the tender flesh taut before letting it go. Hearing Lex's groan, he repeated the move, then shifted his grip down to the other man's lengthening cock, spitting into his palm and using the moisture as lube to slick the movements of his hand up and down the engorging flesh.

"Clark, fuck, yes, so good, hurts, more," Lex whined, writhing beneath his lover, spread open and helpless, only able to take whatever Clark wanted to do to him and demand more.

Hurts? The word shook Clark from his lust-induced haze, and he shook his head, slowing his movements and trying to focus in Lex to determine what was wrong.

"Don't you dare stop!" Lex snarled, thrusting up violently. He clawed at Clark, trying to make him speed up again. "It hurts good, want you harder, want to feel you so deep inside me, don't you fucking dare stop!"

Hurts good? Clark's baser instincts reared up again, pushing his conscience to the back of his mind, and he caught Lex's wrist in his free hand, bringing it to his mouth and sucking on his fingers as he began to jack him off again, lips, hand and body all moving in time with each other.

Lex wailed again, crying out his pleasure as Clark took him savagely, overwhelming him with sensation. His cock was hard as steel again, his body shaking with the sensory overload, and he never wanted it to end.

"Come for me," Clark rasped after letting Lex's fingers fall from his lips. He started pulling at the rings in the other man's nipples again, distending the flesh and feeling the tremors that worked their way through Lex's body as he did so.

Letting out a scream that left his throat raw and sore, Lex convulsed again in a nearly dry orgasm. He drove upward, fighting to open himself more, to take Clark deeper, the sensations so intense he couldn't tell anymore if they were pleasure or pain.

"Yes, good, hot, tight..." Clark lowered his head, continuing to thrust into the spasming channel, his frustration growing as he reached for his own climax and was once again denied it.

Lex finally had to push at him, unable to take any more, whimpering with every stroke into his hyper-sensitized body. "Stop, please, too much," he panted. "Come here, lemme suck you." He lay beneath Clark, waiting, too exhausted to move. "Fuck my mouth, Clark." Once he had Clark in his mouth, he would release the cockring and let him come. Then he thought of something. "Wipe the lube off first. Want to taste you, not it."

It took a moment for Clark to realize that Lex's pleasured whimpers had turned to ones of discomfort and to process what the other man had said. Once he did, however, he pulled back, allowing Lex's legs to fall from his shoulders, and crouched over his lover on his hands and knees.

Crawling forward, he stopped with his erection over Lex's face, grabbing for tissues to clean himself off and a pillow to place under Lex's head before arching his hips lower, pressing the head of his cock against the other man's lips, groaning when he felt it slip inside. Lex moaned happily, suckling on the thick shaft filling his mouth. He was intrigued by the contrasting textures of the leather and Clark's skin and kept tracing the lines where they met with his tongue. Clark's tortured moans rang in his ears, and as he sucked strongly, he pressed two fingers inside him, reaching for his prostate, and unsnapped the cock ring.

Letting loose with a bellow that trailed off to a low, constant whine, Clark froze, his whole body going rigid before reacting to the sudden freedom. He thrust his hips forward, feeling the contractions as Lex swallowed around him, and came for what felt like an hour.

He swayed, his vision going gray around the edges, then collapsed on his face, lying half on top of Lex, completely out of it.

Smugly satisfied at having made Clark pass out, Lex squirmed beneath his weight until he was comfortable, then relaxed to wait for him to wake up again. He knew it would only last a few moments, but he was very pleased with his accomplishment. He snickered as a thought struck him. "I can now say with complete honesty that I'm the only man on the planet to bring an alien to his knees," he muttered, amused.

Clark came to and groaned as he shifted, then realized that Lex was under him. "What - what happened?" he rasped, lifting his head and upper body enough to look down at the older man, amazed that he even had the strength to move, considering how he felt.

"You passed out," Lex replied smugly, a Cheshire-cat-like grin on his face. "I think this is where I say I told you so." Just as sated as Clark, he still managed to radiate superiority. "Told you you'd like it." He raised his head just enough to kiss his lover.

"Uh... yeah." Clark blinked owlishly before grinning dazedly and collapsing back on top of Lex. "Mind if I not move for a year or two?"

"Sounds good to me," Lex admitted, one arm coming up around Clark. "But I'm pretty sure someone will come looking for you when you don't show up for your graduation." He chuckled tiredly. "Chloe would find us and take pictures for the Torch, her farewell issue."

Clark growled at the thought of that. "At least she couldn't see much of you if she did it," he mumbled.

"No, but she'd have much too good a shot of your ass. For someone who's dating an actor, that girl spends much too much time taking pictures of us," Lex grumbled in turn. "This is about the only place we're safe from her."

"She only does it because she knows it bugs us. Besides, she has a ton of pictures of Dave too, trust me on that." He stretched and nuzzled Lex's neck. "Maybe we should spend the next few weeks taking pictures of them to get back at her."

"Hmm, I like it. I'm just not sure if it would stress her out more right now or distract her. This is one time we don't want to make things harder on her." Lex regained a bit of energy and started absent-mindedly stroking Clark's back.

"Mmm, true. She needs to be taken care of." Sighing, Clark curled closer around Lex, appreciating the petting. "Maybe a harmless mutant will pop up and get her mind off stuff."

"No such thing," Lex grumbled. "Every mutant is out to get me. It's a conspiracy to eat away at our time alone." He conveniently ignored that there hadn't been any really troublesome mutants in over two years, not since he'd had all the meteor fragments rounded up.

"Guess you're just a magnet for all thing Kryptonian," Clark chuckled. "Good thing you have me to save you from the other ones."

"Good thing you're cute enough to make for the others."

"Ha ha, so funny I forgot to laugh."

"That's okay, I forgive your lack of appreciation for my exemplary sense of humor. You have other, redeeming values." He kissed Clark lightly, eyes sparkling with merriment. "Which reminds me, is there any place in particular that you absolutely want to visit or are you leaving yourself in my hands... again?"

Clark shrugged. "You've been there before, I haven't, so I'll follow your lead." He snickered and rolled to his side, grinning down at his lover. "I'm a Europe virgin, so break me in gently."

"And here I thought I'd very thoroughly made sure that the term virgin could not be applied to you," Lex chuckled. "I've been remiss. I'll have to take care of this." He rolled to face Clark, pushing him over onto his back so he could sprawl atop him, chin propped on his crossed wrists.

"Lex, if you think either of us are getting anything up again tonight, you're nuts. As hard as it is to believe, you did me in."

"Wonderful. But that's actually not what I meant. I don't think I could get it up again tonight if my life depended on it. I was talking about Europe. We'll have three weeks to travel and see everything, museums and castles by day, clubs by night, and then a week naked on a nice tropical island."

"Mmm, sounds good. Do we get to meet the Queen when we're in England?"

Lex looked startled. "You want to?" He shrugged. "Okay, that's doable. It won't be a personal, one-on-one meeting, but we can certainly be at the same party where we would be presented to her."

Clark just stared in response. "I was kidding, you know. Something tells me that any party the Queen of England would be at would be pretty damn boring."

"Oh, thank god!" Lex sighed with relief. "Boring wouldn't begin to describe it, although if Sir Harry happened to be there, it could be entertaining. He seems to think I'm the devil incarnate." He snickered. "One would think he'd be more concerned with Lionel... his son-in-law."

"God, that just sounds so wrong when you say it that way. Aren't he and Lionel about the same age? Ugh!" Clark shuddered and made a face.

"Uh huh." Lex nodded, looking faintly nauseated himself. "At least Lionel looks younger. Victoria seems happy enough with her bargain in the pictures I've seen of them. Better him than me although perhaps they deserve each other."

Clark shuddered again. "Do me a favor and don't remind me that you were ever with her 'that way', okay? It's bad enough having to see her try to get you alone whenever we see them out somewhere."

"Don't worry about it, I'd rather be alone with a barracuda. I'd have a better chance of survival. Besides, what would I want with her when I have you?" Lex scoffed.

"Nothing." Clark appeared smug. "Besides, she's probably got stretch marks and saggy boobs now that she's popped out a kid, right?"

Not stupid enough to point out the miracle of personal trainers and extreme unlikelihood of Victoria Hardwick-Luthor breast-feeding, Lex just murmured noncommittally. "Not something you ever have to worry about."

Shaking his head, Clark ran his hands down Lex's back. "That really worried you, didn't it? Wondering if I could somehow get pregnant."

"Not worried exactly, but it did occur to me. Tell me that wouldn't have been the crowning weirdness in our lives?" Lex challenged. "Not that I wouldn't have liked a miniature you, just not that way and not when we were that young, or even this young." He shook his head, thinking of Chloe.

"Hmm, yeah, it does sound like something that would happen to us. Thank God it didn't. Having a kid period would be weird enough, but right now..." He cringed, thinking about Chloe and Dave. "Bad news."

"Exactly. Who knows, someday we might want a kid. It would certainly thrill your mother. But right now... no. You might be able to make a good father, love, but me, not a chance. I would be a terrible thing to do to an unsuspecting infant." Lex shook his head emphatically.

Clark stayed silent, giving Lex the look that patently said he didn't believe him.

Easily reading the look, Lex smiled faintly and kissed him. "Thank you. But we're not going to be putting it to the test anytime soon. Then again, we couldn't possibly do worse than Lionel. I really feel for Gus. God, imagine naming your kid Augustus."

"It's just wrong, for every reason you can think of," Clark sighed. "Are you sure I just can't run there and steal him? I bet my folks would do a great job raising him."

"I wish we could. But unfortunately Lionel would come after him, and we'd all end up in jail. He won't ever let us anywhere near that kid, and he's going to raise him to hate us." Lex sighed heavily. "I had my mother and Pamela to mitigate Lionel's influence; this poor kid won't have anyone to love him."

"That really, really sucks." Clark shook his head before relaxing back onto the floor and staring up at the ceiling. "I wish we could do something."

"Me too, but I really don't see how. No matter what I think of them, Lionel and Victoria are his parents, and emotionally bankrupt as they are, that's not grounds to take their child away from them." Lex was only glad that the child had been born long enough after the marriage that there was no room to wonder if he might have been the father.

Clark sighed. "This just really sucks," he repeated before managing a half smile. "Too bad some more meteors don't fall and squash them."

"You know, I've wondered occasionally what my life might have been like if it had been my father who was killed when they hit. I can pretty much guarantee that, unlike Lana, I wouldn't be having heart to hearts with him in the cemetery."

"You'd be dancing on his grave?" Clark asked, saddened by the thought and the fact that Lex's past would drive him to do such a thing but not denying him the right.

"No, I wouldn't even do that now, and I hadn't reached the point of hating him when I was eight. No, I just wouldn't be there at all. I can't imagine anything inspiring me to visit Lionel Luthor's grave."

"I'm sorry." This topic was depressing both of them, and Clark wondered how they'd gotten onto it, but, considering the strange pathways their conversations took, he wasn't really surprised by where it ended.

Lex shrugged. "His loss not mine. He got Victoria, and I got the Kents. Do you hear me complaining?" He brushed a kiss over Clark's mouth, then eyed him curiously. "Is the floor really not uncomfortable for you? I mean I know you can't be hurt, but hard is still hard, isn't it?"

"Well, now that you mention it... yeah. Want to head downstairs, clean up, and cuddle in that big bed of yours?"

"Excellent idea. But if you ever tell anyone that I cuddle, you realize that I'll have to kill you, right?" Lex warned solemnly, his eyes dancing merrily as he pushed to his feet, wobbling slightly.

Clark pouted and slowly got up as well, stretching this way and that before shaking his head, realizing that he didn't even ache. "Does that mean I have to send back the 'Cuddly Corporate Raider' shirt I got you?"

Lex grabbed a cushion and threw it at him.

+++

Tapping her pencil against her lip, Martha Kent looked down at the list in front of her then up at the young man sitting across from her. "All right, that's the invitation list. You said you wanted to plan the music, Lex?"

"I thought I could just hire a band, someone at the top of the charts now. Clark's pretty easy when it comes to music. And as long as we can dance to it, I'll be happy. Just don't forget to save me a dance," he teased her. "If we can't elope, we can at least dance. Though it really should be a tango."

Martha arched an eyebrow then smiled. "If they can play it, you're on. As for a top of the charts band, where exactly are they going to play out here? In the barn?"

"Well, the barn or we could have it at the castle. If there's one thing I have, it's space." Lex made a mental note to make sure a tango was played during the party, even if he and Martha were the only ones who danced.

"I think you could hold the whole graduation there," she chuckled, glancing down at the list again. "And don't take this the wrong way, dear, but Jonathan and I would like to have it here. It's one of the last things that we can do for Clark before he..." She fell silent and took a sip of her tea, trying to compose herself. "I'm sorry, mother hen syndrome is raging out of control here."

Lex reached over and took her hand. "We're only going to Metropolis, only a couple hours away... and do you really think I won't make him bring me back often for your cooking?"

She gave a watery smile and tightened her fingers around his. "You had better. This is like losing two sons instead of just one, and I truly mean that. You've become a special part of our family, not just because of how much you mean to Clark, but because of how much you mean to Jonathan and myself as well."

Lex flushed and stammered, having no idea what to say to that. After a flustered minute, he drew his composure together and managed to smile. "Thank you. I don't think you can imagine how much that means to me. For the first time since my mother died, I feel like I have a family."

Sensing his discomfiture, Martha tried to ease the moment. "Just so long as you and Clark don't forget where we live. If you go too long without a visit, we'll have to come track you down in Metropolis."

"Well, I hope you'll visit us regardless, not make us avoid you to drag you there. I'll even spread hay in the foyer for Jonathan," Lex joked.

"Won't you need it if you take Bossie with you? If you don't, she'll be very lonely."

"God, I'm going to have to kill Clark for starting that," Lex groaned. "No, I'm not taking Bossie; she'd be lonely away from her other cow friends."

"You can't kill Clark, you love him," Martha reminded him before changing the subject. "Sheri is still staying here while the two of you are traveling, right?"

"Yeah, she likes you... and Enrique would quit and put a contract out on me if I left her with him," Lex chuckled. "The man was not meant to deal with animals."

"I don't know; he seems to handle you and Clark well."

Lex gaped at her for a moment, then burst into laughter. "I think I liked distant respect better." He shook his head, getting up to get them both more coffee.

"Family," she reminded him, taking the mug he handed her and smiling up at him. "You lose the distance but gain a whole lot more."

"Nobody mentioned the insults part." He eyed her curiously. "How did you adapt to... all this?" He waved vaguely. "It's a big change from Metropolis."

Martha took a sip of her coffee, a far-away look in her eyes. "It was, but I got so much more than I lost when I came out here with Jonathan. I had my husband, a home, then a son. It's a different life from what I thought I would have, but I wouldn't change a thing about it."

She took another sip and looked at Lex. "You seem to have done your share of adapting as well."

Lex watched her over his coffee, sighing faintly. "But not voluntarily, not at first anyway. God, I did not want to be 'exiled' to Smallville when Lionel sent me here. I had no idea how lucky I was. Don't get me wrong; small town life still isn't for me, but finding Clark... I wouldn't change that for anything."

"It's been good for both of you. I know it was hard for Jonathan and I to totally accept everything about your relationship at first, but what we see when the two of you are together... I couldn't ask for anything more for my son."

Lex smiled shyly. "I would do anything for him, you know that, right?"

"Yes, but I also know that he wouldn't ask you to."

"No, he usually asks me not to," Lex admitted.

"It's if he ever stops that you'll have to worry."

"I can't imagine that ever happening. If he's typical of what his race was like, the universe suffered a loss when their planet was destroyed... however long ago that was."

Martha nodded. "Yes, it did, but I'm not going to be sorry that it brought him here."

"No, considering that he's the best thing that ever happened to me, I'd be lying if I said I was either." Lex took a quick gulp of his coffee, uncomfortable with the conversation yet somehow glad he was able to talk to Martha this way.

Pursing her lips together, Martha pondered a question she wanted to ask. "When the two of you are in Metropolis permanently, do you think that your father is going to be a problem for you?"

Lex shook his head. This was a question he'd considered long and hard and discussed with Clark before the younger man decided to go to Metropolis University. "No, not really. He's going to try to get public digs in certainly, especially now that Clark's older and we're going to start appearing publicly, but I have too much power for him to do anything else."

"Thank God for that." She squeezed his hand and took a deep breath. "Well, we'd better get back to this planning, or Clark will be graduated with no party in sight."

"And we can't have that." He darted a sly glance at her. "Shall I provide the fireworks?"

"Is there even a point in saying 'no'?" she asked.

"Of course there is." He waited a beat. "Then I'd have to convince you to change your mind."

"Are you trying to steal my wife again, Lex?" Jonathan asked, coming into the kitchen. "And don't worry, conspirators. I sent Clark into town for some baling wire we need. He won't be back for a while yet."

"No, he's trying to talk me into letting him provide fireworks for the party," Martha chuckled, rising to kiss her husband then pouring him a cup of coffee.

"I thought that was what he and Clark specialized in?"

"Well, if you really want us to put on a show..." Lex drawled, then laughingly cringed, an arm shielding his head from the dagger glares from both parents. "Sorry, sorry, don't kill me. As if I'd actually let everyone see what they were too stupid to notice and chance one of them trying to grab him," he snorted. "Bloodshed would put a damper on the party."

"Considering that you two are almost visibly joined, this insane jealousy you both suffer from must be another effect of the bond," Jonathan observed dryly.

"I don't know about that; I think it's just their personalities," Martha commented. "They both acted like that even before they were together." She looked over at Lex. "You were just more circumspect about it."

Lex managed a sheepish grin, but he couldn't deny that he'd had a tendency to dislike anyone who had the slightest potential to become romantically involved with Clark. "I thought I hid it better than that," he admitted wryly. "Jonathan's shotgun was very inspirational, not to mention you and that chainsaw. Though I did have a few fantasies of pushing both Lana and Chloe off a bridge."

Martha just shook her head, not doubting that fact in the least. "At least you didn't act on the impulse, dear. I think we would have been harder to convince if you were courting Clark from jail."

"Hell, I think Clark would have been a lot harder to convince if I'd harmed a hair on either of their heads. But Chloe's very happy with Dave now... and I can smirk at Lana knowing that I have him," Lex replied smugly.

Jonathan had to laugh. "If you weren't clearly so insanely in love with my son, Lex, that comment would have me believing you were with him just to spite Lana."

"No, but it's a nice fringe benefit." Lex sighed at Martha's disapproving glance. "I know, I know, but she's just so damn nice!"

"She's a lovely young girl," Martha said diplomatically. "As is Chloe. Do you know if something's wrong with her? I saw her in town over the weekend, and she just didn't seem herself."

"You know Chloe, she's probably tracking another mutant or obsessing about getting her speech perfect." Lex looked down into his coffee, unable to meet Martha's clear gaze. He'd never mastered lying to his lover's mother, but he wasn't going to betray Chloe's confidence.

"Probably." Martha glanced at Jonathan, who shrugged his shoulders a bit. "Well, whatever it is, I hope she works it out. Now then, we're having barbeque and all the fixings; can you think of anything else?"

"Pie!" Jonathan put in with a laugh.

"And potato salad and I might even let Clark have some," Lex added, chuckling as well. "Maybe shrimp? They went pretty fast at Clark's birthday party, and they go with barbeque."

She jotted a few notes down on the list, nodding all the while. "I think with you two around I'd better make Clark his own pie as well as his own bowl of potato salad."

"He can share with the others. I'm the one who needs his own potato salad!" Lex replied covetously.

"Than I'll be sure to make you your own bowl too, dear." Martha reached out and patted Lex's arm, her eyes sparkling with laughter. "Should I arrange to have some shipped to you every week once you move?"

"Hmm," Lex pretended to consider it, then shook his head wistfully. "No, Clark would just hog it all, and then I'd have to push him off a bridge. Better not to chance it." He held the expression for a moment longer before breaking into laughter.

"You did that once already, why would you want to do it again?" Clark asked, pushing open the screen door and walking into the kitchen, Sheri following at his heels and trotting straight over to Lex. "And what would I hog?"

"Any care packages that your mom sent to us in Metropolis." Lex greeted the dog, petting and cooing at her till she decided he'd made up for abandoning her and continued her circuit to the next person. That taken care of, Lex stood up and greeted Clark as well, kissing him.

"Well, yeah, I mean, she is my mom," Clark grinned, kissing Lex again when he started to pout. "But I'll share if you're a good boy."

"Gee, there was no if about it last night as I recall," Lex started, laughing behind the hand Clark slapped over his mouth. Twisting free, he grinned at the others. "See the abuse I put up with?"

Martha looked over at Jonathan again, and both of them shook their heads. "That habit of sharing too much is something I won't miss," she said, though she knew it wasn't true. Seeing both Clark and Lex that happy truly made her content.

"No, that was me the other night," Clark mumbled in Lex's ear.

"Mmm, so it was," Lex purred, pressing closer. He had moods where he liked to be as close to Clark as possible, and this appeared to be one of them. He'd growled at his lover one time when Clark called it his cuddly mode, but in the privacy of his own mind, he had to admit that there was more than a grain of truth in that.

Keeping his arms wrapped around Lex, Clark backed toward a chair and dropped into it, pulling the older man into his lap and rubbing Sheri's head when she abandoned his father to visit. "The baling wire's in the barn; did you need anything else, Dad?"

Realizing that the lists were still on the table, Martha picked them up at the same time she gathered up the coffee cups for refills, hoping Clark didn't ask what they were.

"No, I think that's it for today. Why don't you go ahead and meet Pete down at the pond? It's a perfect day for a swim, and I know he'd like it if you spent a bit more time together."

Lex frowned slightly, knowing he was the reason why Clark and Pete had drifted apart the last couple of years. Pete had tried, he gave him credit for that, but he'd never been quite comfortable with Clark and Lex's relationship, whether because they were both men or because Lex was a Luthor, no one was certain. "You should go. You only have a little longer before you both leave Smallville, and you probably won't see each other very often after that."

"Yeah." Clark sobered, and he tried not to fall back into his old habit of blaming himself for the fact that he and Pete weren't as close any longer. He knew it wasn't true, but it didn't mean he didn't miss his friend. "That would be fun." He slid Lex off his lap and onto the chair as he stood.

"I'll give him a call and you three can go back to your planning." Giving Lex a kiss, he darted up the stairs just ahead of a trio of exasperated remarks.

"That boy can be incredibly irritating," Jonathan observed.

"It's part of his charm," Lex sighed. "And you can't get mad at him about it or he just looks at you."

"It worked when he was five, and it still works today," Martha sighed, refilling all their cups and setting them on the table then getting Sheri a Milk-Bone from the cupboard and offering it to her.

The dog took the biscuit daintily, then plopped down on Lex's feet, making him yelp as an elbow dug into him, and started crunching away happily.

"Hmmm, maybe I should try that. Think Clark would like a Milk-Bone?"

"In return for what?"

Upstairs, Clark flopped down on his bed and punched Pete's number in on his phone, studying the cracks in the ceiling while he waited to see if his friend would pick up. "Hey, Pete, Clark. I was wondering if you wanted to head to the pond and take a swim, kind of for old times' sake?"

"Clark, hey. I didn't expect to hear from you." Pete was about to make a snarky comment about being busy with Lex, but he bit it back. Clark was making an effort here, and he should meet him halfway. "Sure, a swim sounds good. I was just kicking back here, not doing much of anything. I'll head out and meet you there, 'kay?"

Breathing a silent sigh of relief, Clark relaxed. "Sounds great. See you in about fifteen?"

"Okay, see ya then." Pete hung up with a smile on his face. It would be good to spend some time with Clark again. He probably should have asked if Luthor was coming too, but he really didn't want to know.

He quickly changed into his trunks, and pulled his jeans on over them, grabbed a towel and a couple of beers, and headed for the pond, knowing that Clark would beat him there since he lived closer.

Clark had his towel spread out and his jeans off and tossed on it by the time Pete arrived. Looking up from where he was sitting, he gave a hopeful grin and waved. "It should be warm enough considering the weather we've been having."

Pete nodded. "Yeah, we used to go swimming earlier than this... but that was when we were young and foolish." They shared a grin. "And we can have these afterward." He held up the two bottles of beer he'd brought along.

"Excellent." Clark pushed up to his feet and waited while Pete stripped down to his trunks. "Remember the time we went in after Easter, and there was ice on the water when we came out?"

Pete shuddered theatrically. "God yes! It took a month for my balls to crawl back down. Why did I ever let you talk me into that?"

Clark grinned. "Because we were young and foolish? It's not like you were doing anything else with 'em at the time, so did it matter?"

"I'll have you know that the ladies were aware of the Ross charm even then," Pete replied loftily, then stuck his tongue out at Clark, laughing. "Last one in's a rotten egg!" he yelled, bolting toward the water.

"First one eats it!" Clark shot back, chasing after, then diving into the water alongside Pete, splashing him with a huge wave when he surfaced above the water.

Pete let out a whoop, and the war was on. They splashed and sprayed each other, yanked one another beneath the water, and all but drowned themselves, enjoying every moment of it. When Pete managed to surface right in front of a surprised Clark and spray him with a huge mouthful of water, he let out a victory yell.

Clark choked, getting his feet under himself and straightening up, hacking and coughing theatrically. "Okay, okay, uncle!"

"And Ross wins again," Pete crowed. "I've still got it." He started to slap Clark on the back before a somewhat uncomfortable expression crossed his face and he turned to wade out of the water instead. "Time for those beers, I think."

Clark sobered, sighing when he figured out what had led to Pete fleeing the water. "Are you sure I can keep from jumping your bones if I have one?" he asked somewhat sarcastically.

Pete froze, his back to Clark. "That wasn't fair, Clark. I've never said anything like that."

"No, but can you tell me honestly you haven't thought it or something like it? I used to wonder if we quit hanging together because you didn't like Lex, but now I know what the real reason was. It's okay, not everyone can deal with fags."

"Clark," Pete said helplessly, turning to face him, the beers held out like some kind of shield. "I... It's just wrong, Clark, unnatural. You're my friend, but this..."

Clark walked out of the water, keeping a distance between himself and the other teen so he didn't make Pete any more uncomfortable than he already was. Bending, he picked up his towel and started to dry himself off, then pulled his clothes back on. "I get it. And it may be wrong and unnatural for you, but not for me." He looked over at Pete and gave a sad smile. "Sorry if you can't see that."

"Clark, I..." Pete took a step toward him, biting his lip. Clark was his friend, had been his best friend for years, but God, how could he accept this? Slowly he shook his head. "I'm sorry that you can't see that it is," he said quietly.

"I'm not going to argue about it with you." Clark looked down at the beers in Pete's hands, then back at his face. "I hoped that we could work this out before we all took off, but I guess we can't. Good luck, Pete. I was always proud to be your friend."

Despite the sadness in his eyes, Pete didn't say a word to stop him, only watched Clark leave in utter silence.

Once he was out of sight, Clark took off, racing the wind and trying to put some distance between himself and the ruins of what had once been his closest friendship. When he finally stopped, he was by a river that probably didn't run through Kansas. Dropping down to the edge, he folded his arms on top of his knees and rested his face on them, jaw clenched as he tried to get control of himself. No way could he walk into the house like this; Lex and his parents would know something was up, and he didn't want any of them blowing their tops or suggesting he try one more time to make things work. He'd been trying 'one more time' for most of the past two years, and he just couldn't any more.

Lex stood in the Kents' kitchen, staring pensively out the window. "I hope Clark and Pete manage to work things out. He really misses him. They were best friends for so long, and he lost that because of me."

"Not because of you, Lex," Martha said quietly. "Don't think that."

He laughed harshly. "It's either because I'm a Luthor or because I'm a man. The first is definitely because of me, and the second... well, who knows if Clark would have had the same reaction to another man? If not for me and whatever mutation I have, he might be happily dating some corn-fed prom queen." Lex pressed his forehead against the sun-warmed glass. "Should I have tried harder to stay away from him?" he whispered almost soundlessly.

Sharing a worried look with Jonathan, Martha stood and walked up behind Lex, resting her hands on his shoulders and squeezing them gently. "Considering what I've heard about the way the two of you got together, do you think it would have done any good? He loves you, Lex, and you love him. If Pete or anyone can't accept that, it's their loss, not yours. You both have friends who accept and love you because of who you are, not in spite of it."

Lex glanced over his shoulder at her. "How did you get so wise?" He managed a tiny smile even as he reached down to pet Sheri, who was whining at his knee, distressed by the upset she could sense in him.

She smiled in return though her eyes were dark. "Being married to Jonathan for twenty years."

After throwing what must have been a truckload of rocks into the river, Clark stood up and dusted the seat of his pants off. Sitting out here wasn't doing any good, and maybe he could avoid letting Lex and his folks know what had happened. Maybe.

Tucking his towel under his arm, he turned around and headed back the way he'd come, a fleeting blue and white blur racing through the fields and over fences.

Still staring out the window, Lex announced, "Either my eyesight is going or that blur is Clark getting back. I thought he might have brought Pete back for dinner, but I guess not."

Clark raked a hand through his wind-tousled hair as he climbed the porch steps, smiling and waving a hand in greeting when he saw his mother and Lex watching through the window. "I'm back," he said unnecessarily, walking through the kitchen to drop his towel in the laundry room. "Going to run upstairs and take a shower. I'll be back down in a few."

All three of the others stared after him.

"That was not a happy expression," Jonathan said.

"No, something's wrong," Lex agreed. "I'm just not sure if it would be better to let it slide for now."

Martha closed her eyes and shook her head. "Maybe we should let it rest for now. He'll tell us when he's ready."

Lex's fists clenched at his sides. "God, I hate it when he's hurting. I want to do something to make it better, but I can't."

"And that's the hardest part of being in love, son," Jonathan said, laying a hand on his shoulder.

"You're here," Martha added, "that helps."

"Does it ever get any easier?"

She shook her head. "Not really."

Upstairs in the shower, Clark closed his eyes and leaned against the wall, trying not to think about what had happened earlier and how he'd probably never really speak to his former best friend again. Yeah, they'd see each other around, it was impossible not to in a town the size of Smallville, but there wouldn't be anything else.

Pete had headed home after Clark left earlier, and he was sitting going through an old photo album. Funny how Clark was in the pictures of practically every occasion, birthday parties, Halloween, camping, it had always been the two of them. How had his friend gotten so messed up? Sadly, he shook his head and put the pictures away, wishing there was some way he could help Clark, make him realize how wrong all this was, but there wasn't. It was for the best that they were going their separate ways; it hurt to see Clark like this.

Martha heard the water shut off upstairs and slid an arm around both Jonathan and Lex's waists, hugging them before stepping back. "If you want to go on up, go ahead, Lex. Dinner should be ready in half an hour if you can get him down."

Trying to shake off the somber mood, Lex glanced at her. "I'm not sure, I don't have much experience with trying to get him down..."

"Alexander Joseph Luthor!" Martha put her hands on her hips and glared at him before chuckling. "Go upstairs before I swat you."

His laughter trailing behind him, Lex got. He was still smiling when he slipped inside Clark's bedroom, their bedroom actually whenever they were at the farm, but his expression sobered when he saw Clark. He walked up to him, wrapped his arms around him, and simply held him.

"Mom and Dad finished with you?" Clark asked, giving a game smile but holding on to Lex tightly, dropping the pictures he'd been looking at as he did so.

Lex glanced down, his eyes closing briefly when he saw the pictures of a much younger Clark and Pete. "I love you," he said softly, trying to let the other man know that he was there for him without pressuring him to talk if he didn't want to.

"I love you too." Still holding on to Lex, Clark walked them over to the bed and sat, curling up around the older man as much as possible. "Some people just can't understand that."

Lex sighed. So that was it. He petted Clark soothingly. "They would say that they were right and we were wrong, you know. And who knows, maybe they're right. I don't happen to believe that, and I wish you didn't have to deal with this, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Clark nodded. "I know, I just... It hurts. It doesn't make them right though. They can take their closed little minds and shove them up their asses."

Lex had to laugh at that mental image. "I think if they could do that, it wouldn't be an issue," he teased, rubbing his cheek against Clark's hair, hugging him.

"Yeah." Clark tried to smile, but he knew it wasn't particularly convincing and tried to change the subject. "So did the three of you get the party planned?"

Pulling his lover closer, Lex mentally damned Pete Ross to the lowest level of hell for the pain he was causing Clark, but none of that showed in his voice. "What makes you think we're having a party for you? There are enough of them planned that you don't need one more," he teased. He promised himself to find time to talk to Martha and see if she thought they should skip inviting Pete; Lex wasn't sure if it would be worse if he did or didn't come.

"You weren't going to have a party for me? Geez, some boyfriend." Clark tried to concentrate on the teasing conversation and not on what had happened before. "Maybe I'll just go to the one that Rob's parents are throwing instead."

"I thought you were planning to go to that anyways? It's not as if you can only go to one grad party, you know." He glanced over at the clock and nudged Clark. "Dinner's in fifteen minutes. Don't you think you ought to get dressed? Much as I like the towel look, your parents might disagree."

"Yeah, I'd better." Straightening up, Clark got off the bed and rummaged around in his drawers for clothes. Dropping the towel, he dressed quickly in shorts and a t-shirt, then turned back to Lex. "Am I presentable now?"

"Always. Of course, I liked the towel--ease of access, you know." Lex stood up as well and came over to wrap his arms around Clark, nuzzling his throat. "Mmm, you taste good. Never mind dinner; I'll just have you."

Clark smiled. "Works by me, I'm not really hungry any way. Want to risk my parents' wrath and break the no-sex-in-the-house rule?"

Lex sighed. "I suppose it would be pretty stupid to make it through three years, and then screw up a couple months before we move to Metropolis. I have to tell you though; we'll be staying at the castle whenever we visit if that rule's going to continue. It was fine for the teenaged son of the house, but it doesn't really work for visiting adults."

"That's going to be weird." Clark looked down at Lex, considering the notion. "Not living here. I mean, I'm excited about school and being able to be with you whenever we want, but... this is all I know."

"It'll still be your home, Clark, and we'll visit as often as we can. But could you really imagine spending the rest of your life in Smallville? This isn't what you said you wanted." Clark nodded. "It isn't, for me or you, but it's still weird." He shrugged before hugging Lex close. "You'll protect me in the big, bad city, won't you?"

"I'll lock you up in my tower like Rapunzel to keep you safe," Lex replied, urging him toward the door with an arm around his waist. "Come on, your mom is still trying to fatten us both up before we slip away from her."

"She's going to stuff food down our throats when we get back from Europe, you know," Clark sighed, walking alongside the older man as they went out the door and down the stairs. "And every time we come home too."

"Eating Martha's cooking is not exactly a hardship, Clark. If you're finding it too difficult, I'd be more than happy to take care of your share."

Clark froze, eyes wide. "No way!"

"So I guess being stuffed isn't so bad after all, hmm?" Lex smirked at him.

"Depends on what I'm being stuffed with," Clark muttered before they entered the kitchen, helping to set the table as Martha placed the food there.

Lex shot him a look that promised retribution--and stuffing--later, then smiled seraphically at his lover's parents. "It looks wonderful, Martha. Thank you." He took a serving of chicken salad and passed the bowl to Jonathan, then eyed her quizzically. "Just out of curiosity, are you ever going to stop trying to fatten me up?"

She dished some broccoli onto her own plate and handed the bowl to Clark before looking at Lex and smiling. "Are you complaining, dear?"

"If he is, can I have his food?" Clark asked, grinning, even though he wasn't taking nearly as large portions as he normally did.

"Touch it and die, Kent!" Lex warned fiercely, hovering over his plate like a mother bird over her eggs. "And no, I wasn't complaining, just wondering. I think you've been feeding me every time you saw me for the last three years!" he laughed, making Jonathan chuckle.

"At least she didn't dump anything over your head!" The elder Kent looked amused, remembering some of the incidents caused by his and Martha's tempers butting heads.

"That was because you deserved it, Jonathan," she answered mildly. "And you always come over at mealtimes, Lex. If I was the suspicious sort, I'd begin to wonder if it wasn't planned."

Clark snickered and toyed with his food, eating a bite from time to time.

"Of course it is," Lex admitted easily. "I plot, remember?" He helped himself to another roll, sighing happily when his fingers closed over the warm bread. "How am I ever going to survive without this?"

Martha took a sip of her iced tea and glanced at Jonathan. "If you can't, you'll just have to make sure the two of you get back here often."

"Every month, Mom," Clark promised, smiling at her.

"I hope you'll come visit us as well," Lex invited. "I've sort of gotten used to this whole family thing."

"If you don't, I'll have to carry you there," Clark warned, looking at his father.

Lex almost choked on his dinner as he tried not to laugh. "If you're going to do that, let me know so I can get the video camera set up," he snickered.

"I'll tell Chloe too so she can take pictures."

"Clark..." Martha said sternly, before biting her lips to hide her smile.

"Is that the respect a son owes his father?" Jonathan intoned, his own lips twitching suspiciously. "For shame, Clark."

Lex had given up trying to restrain himself and was doubled over, laughing. "You people are just weird," he gasped out.

Clark grinned. "But you love us anyway. Must be because you feel right at home."

"Weird does seem a good description of my life some days," Lex agreed. "I keep wondering what else we'll find contaminated by the meteor fragments and what new and bizarre mutant will jump me. Good thing I have my own personal protection system." He slipped a piece of chicken under the table to Sheri, who was again lying on his feet.

"You know the rules, Lex," Martha admonished. "She can come in the house, but no feeding her from the table."

"I thought you and Dr. Hamilton collected all the fragments?" Clark asked, though he knew that getting every bit of the rocks was probably impossible.

Lex didn't bother arguing with Martha, knowing it was a waste of breath. Besides, he fed Sheri at the table at home, and it hadn't turned her into some ravening beast. He'd just make it up to her with a treat when they went home.

"Collected all of them that we could find. I'm just worried about some that might have washed into some subterranean creek bed or something. Someone eats a fish from there, and we end up with Aquaman or god knows what."

"What was that thing from Saturday Night Live?" Clark asked. "Land shark?" Even though he was laughing as he said it, the chance of it happening wasn't funny at all.

Lex shuddered. "Hopefully we won't ever find out. I did try to get all the fragments, and if we're really lucky, I succeeded. But there's nothing else we can do. And I find it promising that there hasn't been one for a while, a mutant that is."

"Much to Chloe's disappointment. At least she won't be asking why the rocks do things to people any more..." Clark realized what he'd said and winced. He and Lex hadn't told his folks that Chloe knew or why, but now they might have to.

Jonathan frowned, eyeing his son. The comment had been perfectly innocent, and he would have passed it off as referring to the lack of mutants stirring up her interest or her move to Smallville in the fall. He would have passed it off, that was, if Clark hadn't winced.

"Why's that, son?"

"She umm... sort of brought up the fact that she knows I'm not quite normal. She thought it was the rocks until..."

"Until what, Clark?" Martha asked, worry etching lines across her brow.

"Until we showed her the ship," Lex admitted, reaching over to take Clark's hand.

"You did what?!?" Jonathan roared.

"She's not stupid, Dad!" Clark retaliated, trying to stay calm and present the argument in a logical way. "She said flat out she knew about the speed and strength, and I... I just couldn't lie to her any more."

"Clark, if people find out about you, son, you could be in danger. They would want to study you." Seeing the stubborn expression, Jonathan tried another tack. "Lex would be in danger too. Do you think they would care about hurting him to get to you?"

Clark sat up straighter in his chair, his whole body tensing. "I wouldn't let them."

"I know you wouldn't, Clark, but no matter how much you can do, you do have limits," Martha said gently.

"It was only Chloe," Lex said, springing to Clark's defense. "I'd trust her with my life. She would never do anything to hurt Clark."

"Not intentionally, no, but how long is until she tells someone?"

"God, Mom, I told her because she needed something to think about other than the fact that she might be pregnant!" Clark exclaimed. Once he realized what he had said, his eyes widened in horror. "Oh shit."

Lex sighed, shaking his head. "It is truly a source of amazement to me that you've managed to keep your secret from almost everyone." He glanced at the stunned Kents. "I really don't think Chloe wants anyone else to know about this. It might be nothing."

Martha inhaled sharply and pressed her hand to her lips before nodding. "Of course. I can imagine how hard this must be for her right now and for Dave as well."

"Oh God..." Clark pushed his plate out of the way and rested his forehead on the table, groaning. "I have the biggest mouth in the world."

Lex rolled his eyes but managed not to agree. "Do you think you can manage not to tell Chloe that you let it slip? She does not need that added stress right now. If she gets any more wired, her hair is going to stand on end."

"You want to staple my lips shut to keep me from blabbing?"

"I doubt it would help. You're lucky you're so lovable. People just forgive you for blunders that would have them out for anyone else's blood."

Clark kept his head down on the table. "Gee, thanks. I think."

"Sit up, Clark," Martha sighed. "We can't undo what's been done, so we'll just have to deal with it."

Jonathan slumped in his seat, then reached over to place a hand on Clark's shoulder. "Lex is right, son. Chloe cares about you and wouldn't do anything to hurt you. I'm not pleased that you told anyone about yourself, but if it was going to be anyone, better her."

Frowning, Lex forbore to comment. This wasn't the right time, but someday soon they were all going to have to deal with the fact that Clark wasn't a child anymore, and his parents no longer had the right to make his decisions for him.

"Yessir." Clark straightened up in his chair but kept his head bowed. As far as days went, this ranked right up there with his worst ones. "May I be excused please?" he asked quietly.

Waiting until Clark had disappeared upstairs after Lex assured him that he'd be right up, the other man turned to face the Kents. "Okay, Clark is hurting right now, and I am not going to leave it like that. I had him almost cheered up from whatever happened with Pete, then you came down on him like a ton of bricks for choosing to tell Chloe about himself. No, let me finish," he said sharply when Jonathan started to say something.

"You have been extraordinary parents to him--and to me for the last few years--but Clark isn't a child anymore. If he chooses to trust someone with his secret, that's his decision to make.

"Right now, however, I intend to make him feel better... in whatever way will work best," he said distinctly. "The only question is whether I take him back to the castle or if you're ready to admit that we're both adults now." Having thrown down the gauntlet, Lex waited for their decision.

Taken aback, Jonathan could only gape at the young man as he tried to marshal his thoughts. "Lex, I..." He trailed off, honestly not sure what to say. Much as he hated to admit it, Lex had made some valid points.

Martha closed her eyes and reached blindly for Jonathan's hand. Lex's rebuke stung, doubly so because it was true. "Go be with him, Lex," she said quietly, feeling the words stick in her throat. "I'm sure he would rather not see us right now. It's - you spend your whole life trying to protect them, and then one day they don't need it. Just because that's true doesn't make it any easier to give up the habit."

Nodding, Lex stood up, then hesitated and came around the table to hug her quickly. "Just because he doesn't always need it doesn't mean he doesn't still want it," he whispered, kissing her cheek lightly before disappearing upstairs.

Watching him vanish, Jonathan's hand tightened on his wife's. "I'm ashamed of the way that I treated that young man when I first met him, and I'm proud to have him as a member of this family now."

Lex slipped into the bedroom and shut the door behind him, frowning when he turned to the bed and didn't immediately see Clark. "Clark?" he called softly, looking around.

"I'll be out in a minute," Clark called from the bathroom. He straightened up from where he was leaning over the sink and scrubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands before splashing cool water on his face, obliterating the pair of tear-tracks that had marked his cheeks. He felt stupid for crying; it was something 'real men' didn't do, but then, he could do a lot of things that 'real men' couldn't.

After drying his face, he opened the door, crossing back over to his bedroom and looking at Lex, who was sitting on the bed, watching him. "Are Mom and Dad any better?"

"Yeah, I think they understand now that you're eighteen not eight." Lex sighed and held his arms out to his lover. "C'mere."

Taking a step forward, Clark collapsed into Lex's arms, letting himself be held as if he was even younger than eight. "I should learn to think before talking," he sighed into Lex's neck.

"It gets you into trouble sometimes, but you wouldn't be you if you were less open. I just don't want to see you get hurt." Lex's arms tightened around him, ready to protect Clark from the entire world if necessary.

"I'm more worried about you getting hurt." Clark shivered thinking about it. "Do you think someone would really do that? Hurt you to get to me?"

"Clark, I know I've been playing a nice guy for the last few years, but do you really think I'd allow anyone to hurt either of us? I told you once, I'll do anything for my friends. And I'm very self-protective as well."

Clark nodded against Lex's chest, then sighed. "Yeah, but you aren't bullet-proof, Lex."

"No, that's true. But I have security, and you, and a gun. And I'm perfectly willing to use it to protect either of us. Someone comes after us, I will shoot to kill. Self-defense is a perfectly valid defense. That's why I have lawyers on retainer." Lex shrugged. "But that's not going to happen, Clark. You've been careful, and we're going to be disgustingly happy together for a very long time."

"Promise?" Clark mumbled, feeling very childish for wanting the reassurance but not caring right then.

"Of course." Lex tilted Clark's head up so he could see his face. "Do you really think I'd let anyone take you away from me?"

"I'm more worried about them taking you away from me, but no, I can't see either of us letting that happen." Clark relaxed more into Lex's arms, absently rubbing his face against the other man's shirt and chest.

"Now you're getting the idea, love," Lex praised, his stroking of Clark gradually changing from soothing to sensual. "Nothing's ever going to keep us apart, Clark. The stuff of legends, remember?" His hand slowly crept down, fingers delving beneath the waistband of Clark's short.

"How could I forget with you to remind me?" Sighing, Clark twisted until he was lying on the bed, his head in Lex's lap, his eyes half-closed. He put aside the day's events, allowing Lex's touch to soothe him, but when the older man's hand slid down to cup his penis, his eyes shot open. "We're in the house, Lexy. Don't tease, not now."

"I'm not teasing," Lex reassured him, his fingers stilling but not moving away. "Your parents and I talked about that, and they agreed that we're old enough for that not to be a good idea anymore. So we can stay right here tonight, love. You can have the comfort of your parents' home and me."

"They did?" Clark found himself speechless for a moment. "They really agreed to end the rule?"

"Yes. Think of it as a very belated birthday present. Or an early grad gift. Your parents have realized that you're not a child any more."

"For how long?"

Lex eyed him oddly. "Well, unless there's something really odd about Kryptonian biology, I'm relatively certain that you'll remain an adult for the rest of your life."

Clark shook his head. "I meant, how long are they going to think that? And why? After what just happened, I'm surprised they didn't ground me for life."

"Well, uh, we kind of had it out," Lex admitted almost sheepishly. "I wasn't happy about the way they were treating you, so I said some things I've wanted to for some time now. And they realized I was right. They'll stop treating you like a child... mostly. Just bear with them at times; you're their only baby after all."

"I know." Clark turned his head to press his face against Lex's stomach, glad he hadn't been downstairs when that had happened. "I don't mind most of the time, but I - thanks, Lex." He pressed a kiss against the soft linen shirt. "Love you."

"You could show me," Lex urged, rolling onto his back and bringing Clark with him. "I want to watch you ride me," he whispered, not sure if Clark would be in the right frame of mind for that tonight.

Feeling his face heat with the force of his blush and giving a quick prayer that his parents were doing the dishes or had turned on the TV, Clark nodded, pushing slowly up to his knees, his need to please his lover winning out over his mortification at the idea of his parents hearing them.

"God, you're so fucking beautiful," Lex breathed prayerfully, staring at him. Cliched though the phrase might be, Clark really did look like a Greek god, and he was all his. Keeping his eyes fixed on his lover, he began to tug at his own clothes, needing them off, needing to feel their skin touching.

After tugging his shirt over his head, Clark tossed it aside to assist Lex in getting his own clothing off. "You always say that, but next to you I feel like a tractor next to a Porsche or something." Bracing his hands on both sides of the older man's body, he leaned in and licked a path up his chest from navel to neck.

Coherent thought a thing of the past thanks to what Clark was doing to him, Lex could only shake his head. It baffled him that Clark had no clue how incredibly gorgeous he was, but he was perfectly willing to spend the next seventy years or so convincing him. "As long as you're mine, I don't care what you are."

Clark sat up enough to flash Lex a brilliant smile. "I'll always be that," he promised, placing a kiss over his heart, before unbuttoning and unzipping Lex's slacks, shifting back so that he could help the other man get them off.

Once naked, Lex hooked a finger in the waistband of Clark's shorts. "Now yours. Want to enjoy every bit of you tonight."

"And what makes that different from any other night?" Clark asked, straightening up and allowing Lex's grip on his shorts to pull them down over his hips along with his boxers. With a quick shimmy, he was out of them and lying on top Lex, hugging him tightly, still feeling a bit odd about doing this in his own bedroom.

"That makes this exactly like any other night, which is a very good thing," Lex mumbled, his words muffled by the earlobe he was nibbling voraciously. His legs rose to wrap around Clark's waist, drawing him closer, then he forced himself to let go. "Mmm, I love feeling you on top of me."

Clark shivered and ground his hips down against Lex's, feeling his growing erection rubbing against Lex's cock in a tantalizing manner. "Is that a hint for me to get moving?" he asked, sitting up and pulling open the drawer on his bedside table before remembering he didn't have any lube here. "Shit."

Lex looked at him blankly for a moment before realizing what the problem was. "In my pants pocket," he snickered, not helping Clark's thought processes any by curling a hand around his cock and pumping him gently.

"God," Clark rasped, trying to keep his voice low. He looked around for Lex's pants, cursing again when he saw them half way across the room. "Got a better idea."

Leaning to the side, he reached under the bed for a bottle of hand cream and squirted some into his palm, rising up on his knees and pressing two fingers inside himself, feeling the tight muscle stretch as he did so.

Watching him, Lex moaned harshly and his cock jumped. Watching Clark get himself ready for him, knowing that his lover was about to climb on and fuck himself on him... He whimpered and humped the air, his much vaunted control a thing of the past.

Hearing the noise, Clark looked up, eyes wide. "Shhh!" he whispered, leaning in to kiss Lex to keep them both quiet while he slicked up the other man's erection and carefully maneuvered himself down onto it, gasping as the thick flesh filled him, stretching him even farther than his fingers had.

Lex shoved a clenched fist against his mouth, knowing that there was no way in hell he was going to be able to remain silent while seeing and feeling this. "So good," he whispered, his free hand reaching for his lover's erection, wanting to pleasure him as well.

"Yes," Clark whimpered, pushing up, feeling Lex's erection slide inside of him and his grip on his cock tighten before he lowered himself back down again. "Best thing in the world." He repeated the motion, feeling sweat slick his skin and watching as the droplets seemed to glow on Lex's pale flesh.

"Only thing," Lex replied vaguely, his eyes fixed with unwavering attention on Clark, darting from the pleasure apparent on his face to his hard and dripping cock clutched in Lex's own hand. Reluctantly, he drew his hand back, clenching it in the sheets. "Want you to come from me inside you," he panted.

"Lex?" Clark's eyes widened, and he bit back a loud moan. If they did that, he wasn't sure he could keep quiet when he did finally come. Taking a shuddering breath, he locked eyes with his lover and nodded. "From you in me," he breathed, rocking his hips faster.

Lex disentangled his clutching fingers from the bedding and offered them to Clark, letting his lover suckle on them to muffle any cries. "You feel so good, so hot and tight around me, grasping at me to try to pull me deeper. We belong together." He bit at his fist again, quieting himself and trying to distract himself from the growing pleasure.

Clark nodded violently, each motion rubbing the head of Lex's cock against his prostate, making his own erection ache and his balls draw up tight against his body. Whimpering now, he drove up and down in short, staccato movements, letting go of Lex's hand to bite down on his own when he came, his scream muffled by his own flesh in his mouth.

The feeling of Clark clenching down on him, rippling around him, tipped the balance in the battle Lex was waging against his own climax, making him come with a scream that would have echoed through the whole house if he hadn't bitten down on his hand hard enough to draw blood. He thrust upward into Clark's yielding body hard enough to raise them both off the bed, then sank down again, tremors of ecstasy visibly shaking his body.

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God." Clark kept repeating the litany as he collapsed on top of Lex, supporting some of his weight on his arms. The move made the other man slip out of him and he whimpered in frustration, but it felt too good to be body to body, so he didn't complain.

"Love you," Lex whispered. He never seemed to tire of saying that, perhaps because he'd so rarely had the opportunity before Clark. "I may never move again." He managed to move one arm enough to wrap it around Clark, holding him close, and he dredged up the energy for a smile.

"All I ever need," Clark whispered, resting his head on Lex's chest and closing his eyes for a second, trying not to think of anything but his lover.

Half dozing, Lex made a contented sound as he stroked Clark's back. They should get up and shower, but he didn't want to move yet.

"I don't think Pete and I are friends any more." Clark said this quietly, testing each word as if it was an exotic snake out to bite him.

Lex tensed slightly, as ever hating it when there was something he couldn't fix for Clark. "I'm sorry," he offered. "I know it's because of me, or at least the fact that I'm a guy. I kept hoping, for your sake..."

Clark nodded. "Me too, but I guess he'd rather choose his prejudice over our friendship. We aren't as close as we were, but it still sucks. Not as much as losing you would though." He didn't try to deny what Lex had said, knowing there wasn't a point. "I think it's the fact that you're a guy. He actually got over the fact that you're a Luthor."

"Well, not even to save your friendship am I changing that!"

"Like I'd ask you to!" Clark looked horrified at the thought. "I love every hairless, male inch of you."

"Glad to hear it. I don't think I'd make a very good woman. Can you imagine having to wear a bra and nylons and heels all day?" He shuddered. "I'd rather less painful torture." He cocked his head amongst the pillows. "I might look good though..."

At the suggestion, Clark actually cringed away from Lex. "Uh, yeah. You want to do that, go ahead, Lex. I'll just find something else to do that night."

Lex burst into laughter, tears eventually rolling down his face as he gasped for breath. "Oh my god, your face!" he whooped.

At that, Clark rolled off of Lex to sit on the edge of the bed, almost falling off it when he forgot that they weren't in Lex's much wider bed. "For that I should make you wear it and have Chloe there to take pictures."

Finally regaining control of himself, Lex rolled over and pushed up onto all fours, crawling toward his lover. "Oh, not that! What can I do to make it up to you?"

"What can you do?" He appeared to think about it for a moment, then grinned. "Let me have the shower first!"

"Nope, we can share. Although I think you're going to have to carry me if you want to do it any time soon," he admitted with a quick chuckle.

"You want me to carry you after that?"

"Actually I was planning on waiting a while, but if you want to go now..." Lex twisted, going from hands and knees to sitting cross-legged in single lithe movement. Propping his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands, he eyed Clark, looking very puckish.

Clark considered that, "But if I leave you here, then I get the shower to myself."

"And no one to wash your back," Lex pointed out, as seriously as if this was a key negotiation in one of his corporate takeovers.

"You mean no one to hog the hot water," Clark countered.

"I'm more than happy to share with you. You just get distracted easily."

"Are you saying I have no attention span?"

"Quite the opposite. I still haven't forgotten the time you just stood there and watched me and never actually got in the shower yourself."

"Oh, then you're saying I'm obsessed?"

Lex considered that for a moment, then nodded judiciously. "Yes, not that I'm complaining, mind you. I like it. I just refuse to take responsibility for you not getting a shower. You're always welcome to join me."

Clark tried to keep a straight face but gave up and started laughing. "I wasn't complaining about it either. I can think of worse things to be obsessed with than you. Of course, your logic was flawed in that argument. If watching you is why I don't shower in the first place, shouldn't showering by myself be better?"

"But I want you with me."

"Good enough for me." Clark grinned and grabbed their robes from the hook on the back of his door. "Ready to get clean?"

Lex's response was to stand up and stretch, back arching like a cat's as he worked the kinks out. "I'm in your hands."

Clark glanced down at his empty hands, then at Lex. "Really? And here I thought it was my ass that you were in a while ago."

Lex shook his head, groaning laughingly. "And will be again if you keep that up." His nude body showed the effects of remembering that, and he looked down at himself, sighing. "I should be used to being in a perpetual state of semi-arousal by now, I suppose."

"You mean after almost three years, you still aren't used to it?" He shook his head sadly. "Slow learner."

"Still enjoying it," Lex corrected, moving across the room and into the arms that opened to receive him.

Clark pulled Lex in for a hug and nuzzled his temple. "And I intend on both of us enjoying it for the next hundred years or so." Lifting Lex's robe, he helped the other man into it, then pulled his on as well.

Lex stepped out of the bedroom, in one of those moments of cosmic bad timing, at the very moment that Jonathan and Martha were walking down the hall to their bedroom. A tide of color ran up his cheeks as he stared at them, but he didn't say a word.

Looking somewhat flushed himself, Jonathan looked from Lex to Clark, noting with approval the happier expression on his son's face compared to how he'd looked when he'd gone upstairs earlier. "Good night, boys," he said simply, acknowledgement and acceptance somehow conveyed in those three words.

Feeling his face heat in a furious blush, Clark managed a strangled. "Night, Mom, night, Dad," waiting until they walked down the hall to their own bedroom before pulling Lex into the bathroom and shutting the door behind them then hiding his face in his hands.

Also a bit uncomfortable since he hadn't planned on rubbing the elder Kents' faces in their physical relationship, Lex hugged Clark, rubbing his back. "Sorry, love, I should have thought and asked you to check before stepping out. I didn't mean to embarrass you."

"I should have thought to check." Clark sighed and looked up, managing a sickly grin. "But I guess we had to face it some time, right? Or they did any way."

"Aside from all of us being embarrassed, it was fine. It's not like they didn't already know after all." Lex let go of him to turn the shower on, automatically adjusting it to the right temperature.

"No, but..." Clark shucked off his robe, following Lex into the shower after the older man had done the same, "I don't want to think about them 'doing it', and I bet they feel the same about me."

"I'm sure you're right. Lionel seems to be unique in his attitude," Lex added in a mutter, thinking again of the elder Luthor's former penchant for bedding his lovers. "But they'll be fine, you'll see. We'll have breakfast in the morning, and it'll be just like always."

"Except for having to go out to the barn if we want some privacy," Clark commented, taking the soap and beginning to wash Lex's chest. "And what was Lionel's attitude aside from being that of an asshole?"

Somewhat startled, Lex realized that they'd talked about Lionel remarkably infrequently over the years, Clark and his parents respecting his obvious desire to forget the man as much as possible. So Clark really didn't know. "Ah, well, Victoria was not the first to go from my bed to his."

Clark blinked in surprise. "Were your old lovers all blind as well as stupid?"

Lex burst into laughter. "Oh, Clark, I do love you," he murmured fondly.

"I love you too, but what does that have to do with the fact that your old lovers were all idiots?"

"They weren't idiots," Lex defended them, "just not really lovers, simply sex partners. And Lionel had more money and power than I did." He shrugged, dismissing the horror he'd felt the first time he'd learned of it and his continuing revulsion.

Clark shuddered. "That's just... gross." He leaned in to kiss Lex to wipe the image out of his mind, his hands still stroking lather over the other man's body.

"But not an issue any more." Lex kissed him back, standing still as his lover cared for him. "If he made a move on you, I'd destroy him, and he knows it. Not that I believe for a second you would have anything to do with him," he hastened to explain, "but just for subjecting you to the innuendo."

"If he ever tried, I'd puke all over him before throwing him to the Pacific Ocean." He looked ill at the thought. "That's just... sick!"

"And he's not stupid enough to think otherwise." Lex reached for the shower gel, starting to wash Clark. "Forget about him. It's best."

Clark let his hands fall to his sides and leaned back against the wall so that Lex would wash him. "Sorry, shouldn't have brought him up to begin with."

"You didn't, I did," Lex pointed out, dismissing him. "But there are other things I'd much rather bring up." His fingers strayed a little lower.

"Trying to make up for lost time in here?"

"You know me, I like to be thorough." Lex's silvery eyes smiled at him through his lashes.

"It's one of the things I admire about you," Clark murmured, sliding a hand over Lex's hip to cup his ass. "You always cover every base."

"Covering is such fun. Although being covered can be nice too," Lex mused, fingers now gliding along the cleft of Clark's ass. "What do you think?"

"It falls in the same category as filling and stuffing for me." Saying this, Clark ran a finger up the cleft in Lex's ass, tracing one fingertip over the tight muscle.

"And turnabout is fair play," Lex murmured, turning around to face the shower wall and pushing his ass back. "Think you can figure out something to do with me?"

Clark chuckled. "I know I can." He dropped to his knees behind Lex, spreading the other man's cheeks apart and flicking his tongue over the clenched muscle between them. "How'm I doing so far?"

Lex whimpered, spreading his legs wider to give Clark better access to his body. His hands clenched on the towel bar, holding him upright. "N-not bad."

"Just not bad?" Even Clark's voice was pouting. "I'll have to try harder then." He nipped the firm flesh next to his face, then lapped at his target, pressing the tip of his tongue into Lex's body once the muscles relaxed.

Lex bit back a moan of sheer pleasure, wanting to see how creative Clark would get if he held back. "Always g-good to have a goal," he panted, somehow maintaining an amused tone even as his body thrust back uncontrollably, wanting more of Clark.

Clark smacked Lex's hip with one hand, then slid his fingers between the older man's legs to play with his balls. "I'm highly focused," he commented before licking at Lex's ass again.

"Something that I've always loved about you." He thrust back sharply. "Damnit, stop teasing! If we run out of hot water before we finish, I'm going to kill you!" He writhed on the tip of Clark's tongue, tiny whines of lust falling from his lips.

"And how are you going to explain that to my folks?" Snickering, Clark blew a raspberry against the curve of Lex's butt, at the same time rolling his testicles between his fingers. Surging up the other man's back, he pressed Lex against the wall, arching against him and rubbing his erection over Lex's ass and lower back. "Sorry, Jonathan and Martha, I killed Clark because he wouldn't rim me the way I wanted?"

"Bastard!" Lex groused, somehow managing to laugh and moan at the same time. He squirmed, pinned between Clark's hard body and the wall, not able to move enough to take Clark inside himself where he wanted him. "Please," he begged, ass cheeks clenching around his lover's shaft.

"Politeness gets you everything," Clark murmured, slicking himself up with liquid soap before pressing inside, groaning at the glove-like heat surrounding him. "Gets me everything too."

"Oh yes!" Lex pressed back against him, his head falling to Clark's shoulder as his back arched, taking his lover as deep inside himself as humanly possible. "Love you, god, more, Clark, please," he panted, hips twisting in Clark's iron grip, needing to move.

Supporting Lex with one arm, Clark wrapped his other hand around his lover's erection, pumping his flesh as he rocked in and out of his body. "Yeah, good, everything," he rasped, biting down on the side of Lex's neck, concentrating on that rather than the overwhelming urge he felt to come right then.

Lex shoved a fist against his mouth to muffle his cry when Clark bit and marked him, his body tensing as the sensations built. He gasped with every forceful thrust into him, rocking back to meet each one, then cried out again when Clark bit down again at the same moment as he struck Lex's sweet spot. He shook in his lover's embrace as he came, his seed spilling over Clark's pumping hand.

Retaining enough control so that he didn't break the skin where he was biting, Clark rode out the waves of Lex's climax, circling his hips shallowly until he felt Lex slump in his arms. At that signal, he arched forward, letting go and coming deep within the heat of his lover's body.

Resting his come-slick hand against the wall to support them both, Clark groaned and shifted, feeling his cock slide out of its warm haven. "Water's getting cold," he muttered, licking at the bruised flesh on Lex's neck.

"We should probably get out and get back to bed. I still can't sleep through your father getting up," Lex sighed, still letting Clark support his weight... and stay between him and the rapidly cooling water.

Reaching for the washcloth, Clark cleaned Lex up then reached for the spigot, turning the water off so that Lex didn't get splattered with too much of the coolness. "I think he clomps extra loud outside the door when he knows you're here," he chuckled. "At least he doesn't come in and drag you out of bed like he used to do to me."

"Thank god for small mercies!" Lex replied fervently. "I don't think I could face that first thing in the morning." As he dried off, he thought about it. "Maybe I should get up tomorrow morning and make breakfast or something."

Clark grabbed a towel for himself and started to dry off. "Don't you mean order breakfast?"

"Ha ha. You've admitted that my omelets are great." Lex swatted him with the towel.

"You want to cook, cook." Clark grabbed the towel and pulled Lex in to kiss him. "Just let me sleep in."

"Hmm. On second thought, this'll be the first time we can take advantage of waking up together here. I wouldn't want to miss an opportunity."

"You're going to get up before my folks do to do that?" Clark's expression said more than words how likely he thought that was.

"Uh, no. I'll keep you in bed to do that. I think I'll invite them over for brunch on Sunday. Your mom would probably enjoy a meal she doesn't have to cook herself."

"As good as that sounds, I don't think Dad will let me 'sleep' in." Once they had their robes on, Clark opened the bathroom door, and they padded back across the hall to his room. He pulled on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, then flopped on the bed, waiting for Lex. "But brunch sounds good. Maybe out on that terrace if the weather's good?"

"That I can do. And if you have to get up to help your father, wake me up first." Lex smiled wickedly. "I can always go back to sleep afterward."

"What?"

It was his free period, so Clark headed over to The Torch's office to finish up his article for the year's last issue. Opening the door, he glanced in and saw Chloe sitting at her computer, apparently staring at the monitor much as she'd done every day of the past week. "Hey Chloe," he said quietly, not wanting to startle her. "How's it going?"

"I'll let you know in a day or so," she sighed. "God, Clark, this is driving me nuts. If this is so stressful, what'll I do if... If." She slumped in her chair, head falling back so she was staring up at the ceiling. "I'm not ready to be a mom, Clark. But the other options... I don't think I could."

Closing the door behind him, he walked over behind Chloe and rested his hands on her shoulders. Bending down, he pressed a kiss against her fair hair. "It's your choice, Chloe," he said quietly. "You know Lex was serious when he said he'd do anything to help. If you have a nanny, you and Dave can go to college and do everything you planned on."

"I know but... I keep feeling like I got myself into this mess and I shouldn't be relying on Lex to get me out of it, you know?"

"He's not really getting you out of it; you'll still have plenty of sleepless nights and all those good things." Thinking about what he was saying, Clark winced. "If it even happens."

"God, I wonder if I could sue the condom company," Chloe sighed. "I do want kids... someday. Just not yet. I don't want to end up blaming the poor thing for all the things I don't get to do. So yeah, if it is true, I'll take all the help Lex can give. For all our sakes."

"Do you really want to end up on the news because of that?" Clark gave Chloe's shoulders a squeeze before pulling a chair up to sit next to her. "If you are... are you and Dave gonna get married?"

"I can't even think about that. I mean, I know it's better to have a family and all, but I don't want to get married because I have to. I want... what you and Lex have. I want that kind of love. It sounds so selfish when I say that," she groaned. "I think Dave and I could have that if we have time, but we're not ready for it yet. God, I'm only eighteen!"

"Yeah, you have to do what you feel is right for you. Just know that I'll be here for you, and so will Lex, and Dave will too. Whatever you need, even if it's just someone to hit because you're frustrated." He gave a small smile. "Hey, the big guy has to be good for something, right?"

Chloe managed a watery chuckle, turning to hug him. "Thanks, Clark. I don't know what I would do without you. You're my best friend, you know."

He wrapped his arms around her, holding on tight. "You are too. I never forget that, and I never will."

"So does that mean you're going to tell me what's going on with you and Pete?" She'd noticed the strain between them the last while, and it had gotten really bad in the last week or so.

Clark sat back, looking at the floor before raising his eyes to meet Chloe's. "He just... He isn't comfortable with Lex and me, and I'm not comfortable with him thinking it's wrong, so... we aren't friends any more."

"Oh, Clark." Chloe moved out of her chair and into his lap to hug him tightly. "I'm so sorry. I kept thinking he'd come around; I couldn't believe that he was really that narrow-minded."

He closed his eyes and rested his head against hers for a moment. "I hoped he would too, but he made it clear what he thinks about me and about me being with Lex and..." He stopped speaking, his throat closing down on the words. "I guess this all showed me who my real friends are."

Chloe kissed his cheek just as a laughing voice demanded, "Should I be worried about this?" and Lex came around to face them. The amusement dropped from his face when he saw their expressions, and he instantly reached for Clark's hand, asking what was wrong.

Keeping one arm around Chloe, Clark tightened his fingers around Lex's. "We were talking about Pete," he said quietly, doubting he could keep that from Lex.

"Ah. Would you prefer that I leave?" Lex offered quietly, knowing that in this instance, Chloe might be able to comfort Clark more. She too had been Pete's friend, something that Lex had never managed despite his efforts for Clark's sake.

Clark shook his head, letting go of Lex only long enough to grab him a chair too. "No, it's a dead end subject, I guess. No point in you going." He glanced at the clock, then at Lex. "What are you doing here anyway?"

"The principal asked me to meet her to discuss the timing for the big event. She also seemed to want to make sure that I wouldn't be driving myself that day, though she managed not to say it in so many words. It seems that since you'll be busy, people are assuming I'll drive off a bridge and not have anyone around to save me," Lex said wryly.

Clark had to chuckle at that. "Well, she does have a point... And why is she worried about how you're getting to the ceremony?"

"Apparently it would put a damper on the day for all you cute little kiddies if they have to scramble at the last moment for someone else to give a speech because I've managed to kill myself."

"Speech?" Clark's eyes widened in horror. "You're giving the commencement speech? Why didn't you tell me?" He turned to stare at Chloe. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Uh, Clark, I did tell you. Although admittedly, considering Chloe's... announcement a few minutes earlier, I suppose you could be forgiven for forgetting."

Chloe nodded. "He did, Clark."

"When?"

"Right after you showed Chloe your ship."

Clark thought about that for a minute. "Oh. Sorry I forgot, Lex. Umm, what are you going to talk about?"

Lex shrugged. "The usual. Starting a new life, forging destinies, making a great future for yourselves and your posterity... oh wait, that's been done." He smiled faintly.

"Only a million times," Chloe remarked dryly.

"What about tolerance?" Clark asked, giving a wicked grin.

"I'd really prefer not to be stoned at a high school graduation, if it's all the same to you, Clark," Lex retorted. "Although I suppose I could go on about the unspoiled beauty of today's youth and how it will blossom..."

"No!" Clark and Chloe both yelled simultaneously.

Lex snickered. "Oh, I think I have a winner. Hmmm, let's see..."

"Do it and you'll be celibate the whole time we're on vacation," Clark growled.

"And I'll print those pictures of you from last Halloween poster-sized and hang them up at The Talon!"

Lex burst into laughter. "You two have no sense of humor, you know that? Calm yourselves. My speech is already written, but you're just going to have to wait till graduation day along with everyone else to hear it."

Chloe turned in Clark's lap to catch his gaze. "You keep him busy, and I'll riffle his drawers?"

"I think that's how I'll be keeping him busy."

"Better watch it, Chloe. Clark's very possessive of my drawers. You might draw back a bloody stump." He stood up, picked Chloe up and dumped her onto a chair, then took the now vacated spot on Clark's lap. "And he's not the only one. Mine," he said emphatically.

"Hey! Be careful with her!" Clark demanded though his arms automatically went around Lex's waist the moment the other man sat in his lap. Lex rolled his eyes. "Clark, she might possibly be a couple weeks pregnant. Picking her up and putting her down on a chair is not going to harm her or any potential offspring. And if you try treating Chloe like she's breakable, I'm not the one you're going to have to worry about." He was under no illusions that Chloe would suddenly develop Lana's personality just because she might be having a baby.

"Actually, I'd prefer to be treated somewhere between 'fragile as crystal' and 'one of the boys'," she commented, picking up her feet and resting them in Lex's lap, causing Clark to snicker.

"Chloe, I'll treat you any way you please so long as you stick to sitting in Dave's lap. This one's mine, and I'm a little possessive of it," Lex retorted, though the amusement in his eyes let her know that he wasn't totally serious. In fact, she was probably the only person he wouldn't growl at for touching Clark, but he'd still rather be the one doing the touching.

"But Dave would let you sit in his lap," she pouted, trying not to laugh.

"Which I wouldn't like."

"But I don't want to sit in his lap," Lex pointed out. "See, Clark doesn't like the idea either. We'll all stick to our designated laps, and life will flow smoothly."

Chloe looked at the chair she was sitting in. "My lap is in Drama 3 right now."

"Sure you won't share?" Clark asked Lex. "You can each have a leg if you want."

"Well, I suppose, in the interests of equity," Lex said, sounding much put upon as he shifted to one side, making room for the blonde. "Don't say I never did anything for you."

"Would I ever say such a thing to you?" Chloe asked, scooting over and settling onto Clark's lap next to Lex.

As he slid his arm around Chloe's waist, Clark had to laugh. "I feel like Santa Claus here."

"Hmmm, anything you want to tell me about you and the elves?"

"No, but I can tell you about Rudolph's red... nose."

"You two!" Chloe laughed, trying to smack them both but ending up giving them as much of a hug as was possible giving the way they were situated.

"Thank you for stopping him," Lex said fervently. "I cannot tell you how much I don't want to be thinking about Santa and Rudolph." He shuddered. "You are a sick and twisted individual, Clark Kent." He paused a beat. "Must be why I love you." He grinned and hugged the other two as well, then blinked.

"Uh, Clark? Are you feeling particularly happy? I only ask because we might get some odd looks if anyone else comes in and notices the foot or so of empty air between you and the chair."

"Shit."

"Clark," Chloe said calmly, "you're floating."

"It happens every so often," he sighed. "I've gotten better at controlling it, but I guess I wasn't paying attention. Hang on." Biting down on his lower lip, he closed his eyes and was relieved to feel them settle back into the chair.

Lex tried, he really did, but he couldn't help himself. "You should be honored, Chloe. Up till now that's only happened when he was dreaming about me or fucking me."

"Umm, gee, thanks, I think."

"Lex!" Clark hissed, hiding his face against Chloe's back. "I cannot believe you said that!"

"Well, it's true," Lex replied innocently, smiling sweetly at his blushing lover. "Besides, it's gotten much harder to make you blush lately." He chuckled and pried Clark's face up so he could kiss him.

"That just makes you try harder," Clark sighed.

Chloe shook her head and was about to move when the bell rang. "I won't say the appropriate cliche, but I'm out of here, and you should be too, Clark. Don't touch the computer, Lex!"

Reluctantly getting out of Clark's lap, Lex watched him get his things together. "Will I see you later, or do you have stuff to do at home?"

"Chores, but after that I'm free. Be over around six?"

Lex nodded. "I'll see you then." What with everything that was going on in preparation for graduation, he hadn't seen all that much of Clark recently, and it was starting to get to him. He kissed Clark lightly, not trusting himself to do more, then stepped back. "Go, it would be silly to screw up and not graduate at this late date."

"Ain't that the truth!" Clark grinned even as he quickly adjusted his jeans after checking to see that Chloe wasn't looking. "Calc... right. Time to concentrate, right."

Chloe reached back and grabbed Clark by his backpack strap. "C'mon, Wonderboy, five more hours and you can float all you want."

Lex snickered. "I'll look forward to it." He waved as they left, then headed out to his car, pleased with his hit-and-run visit. Both of them were much more cheerful than they'd been when he'd arrived.

Sighing in disgust, Lex leaned back in his chair, eyes closed and fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. That was the fourth time he'd run that simulation, and it was the fourth different answer he'd gotten. At this rate he might as well invite Lionel to return as CEO. He'd never admit it to Clark, but moving to Metropolis was going to make things a lot easier on him. He really should have been more on the spot as Lexcorp expanded, but he'd been determined to stay with Clark.

His inheritance from Pamela had made it possible for him to stage a hostile takeover of LuthorCorp only months after he'd barely been able to swing Lexcorp's startup, and a trust fund from his mother's family had allowed him to continue his lifestyle, but it was Clark who'd made him finally enjoy his life. And now he was going to have it all, Clark, wealth, power... and fun. He smiled.

"Okay, let's try this again." He opened his eyes and started in surprise. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked Clark.

"Long enough to see that things aren't going well in the land of corporate America." He set his backpack down on the floor and hopped up onto the edge of Lex's desk, peering around at the computer screen. "What's up?"

"I think I'm just tired. I've reached the point of getting a different answer every time I try this," Lex sighed in frustration. He rolled his head, trying to unkink his neck. "I think I'm going to do what I should have done in the first place and send this damn thing to my assistant. Let him figure it out and report back to me.

"What about you, all set for this weekend?" While they'd kept the details from him, Lex and Clark's parents had realized that a surprise grad party wasn't going to work, not if they expected anyone to be able to attend. Lex was also hoping that Chloe would have something to celebrate by then, but either way, it would do them all good to relax and have some fun.

Clark slid off the desk and moved around behind Lex, setting his hands on the older man's shoulders and working at relieving some of the tension he could feel there. "Ready as I'm gonna be," he chuckled. "Dad's had me cleaning out the barn. I thought there was some rule about making a guy help set up his own party?"

"Yup, that he has to do as much of the work as possible so he can truly enjoy the results." Lex groaned happily as Clark worked some of the knots out. "You've gotten very good at that, love. Best masseur I've ever had." It had taken some convincing to make Clark believe that he wouldn't hurt Lex, but once he had, his strength plus Lex's inclination to relax around him anyhow had made for some wonderful massages. "I may have to move into your dorm room myself just to stay close to these hands."

"If it keeps strange women and men from getting their hands on your nude body, I'll come over to your place every day and rub you down." He wiggled his eyebrows lasciviously as he said this. "All over."

"Promises, promises." Lex let his head fall back against Clark, peering up at him upside down. "Besides, you know perfectly well that you're the only person who's had their hands on me in three years. Crazy, jealous alien," he muttered fondly. "But do tell me more about what you would do to distract me from the legions wanting to get their hands on me."

"You forgot useful and decorative," Clark grinned, bending down to plant a kiss on Lex's mouth. "And as far as distracting you goes," he popped open a button on Lex's shirt and slid a hand beneath it to stroke the older man's chest, "how about I just keep doing what I'm doing?"

"I think that might do it," Lex agreed contentedly. "I won't even remember anyone else exists never mind notice them." He gave himself up to Clark, closing and pushing the laptop farther away on the desk while he all but purred under his lover's hands.

"Good." Clark smiled, bringing his hand back up to knead Lex's shoulders, relaxing himself when he felt the tight muscles loosen under his palms. "Oh, Mom wanted you to call her--she said you'd know what it was about--and I'll even leave the room so you can make your plans in secret."

"Are you planning to leave the state as well?" Lex asked dryly, knowing perfectly well how far Clark could hear. He had, after all, been the one to keep him distracted when he was trying to learn how to control his hearing. He rolled his head, unkinking his neck and relaxing, wanting to enjoy this a bit longer before calling Martha.

"I'll put on my headphones." Clark's tone was dry, and he tightened his fingers just slightly to punctuate his point. "I know when not to listen in, you know."

"I know. I also know you could listen--or not listen--as easily in the next room as you could from right beside me." Lex turned his head to brush a kiss against Clark's wrist. "After I'm done, do you want to go for a swim? Or maybe invite Chloe over? Or do you just want to laze around and do nothing?"

Brushing his thumb over Lex's cheek, Clark smiled. "It's a little hard to not listen when I'm sitting right here, so I'll go in the other room." He went back to massaging Lex's shoulders. "Swimming sounds good; we haven't done that in a while. Chloe was going over to Dave's, but we can invite them both if you want."

"If you don't mind. I'm still trying to get the hang of this friendship thing, but I'm pretty sure that distracting a couple who are worrying about whether they're about to become parents falls into that category. Why don't you call them while I'm talking to your mom? They can come over for a while, then we can have some time for ourselves. Or do you have to be home early?"

"Will do." Bending in to kiss the top of Lex's head, Clark then released his shoulders and walked around the desk. "As for tonight, I just have to be home at the regular time, so we'll have a little quiet depending on when they leave." He grabbed his backpack and pulled his cell phone from one of the pockets. "Be back in a few."

"Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to our vacation and this fall when there's no more curfew?" Lex muttered, though he still looked relaxed. "If you finish up first, call down and get us something to eat? I think I missed lunch again." He was already reaching for the phone to call Martha, wondering what had come up. He'd thought all their plans were finalized; after all, it was only three days till the party.

"Will do," Clark called back through the doorway, already dialing Dave's number.

"Hi, Martha," Lex said as his lover's mother picked up the phone. "What's up? Clark said you wanted me to call?" He leaned back in his chair, propping his feet up on the desk, ankles neatly crossed as he listened, a tiny part of his attention on the indistinct drone of Clark's voice from the other room.

"Hello, Lex, and yes, I did. I wanted to get your opinion on something. Charlene Ross called and said that they wouldn't be able to come to the party after all. Considering what happened between Clark and Pete, I think it's for the best, but I'm undecided about telling him now or just letting him find out later. He'll dwell on it either way, I know, but I don't want to spoil his last few days of school."

Lex frowned, tongue rubbing absently at his scar as he often did when deep in thought, and stared at the wall between him and Clark as if he were the one with X-ray vision. "I think," he said slowly, "that it would be best not to tell him yet. There's nothing that he could do about it if he knew now, and it would only reopen the wound. I don't think he actually expects Pete to come after what happened, but we don't need to make him think about it until he has to."

She sighed. "That's what I thought too. I hate that this has happened to them, but I hate the fact that Pete and his parents can't get over their homophobia more." She sighed again. "Anyway. You are spending Friday night here, aren't you? We'll have a lot to do in the morning; I'll need someone to sample the potato salad."

Lex chuckled, his mood instantly improving. "It's a tough job, but I'll do my best to help out. We wouldn't want to serve anything less than perfection." They chatted for a few more minutes before Lex hung up and went in search of Clark.

Hearing footsteps, Clark looked up from the floor where he'd been playing with Sheri. "Get things settled?" At Lex's nod, he grinned. "Cool. Chloe and Dave are on their way over. They're bringing pizza; I said we'd do the drinks, okay by you?"

"Sounds good. They going to be here soon?" Lex's stomach grumbled, making it clear why he was asking. He dropped down to the floor as well, joining the game to Sheri's pleasure. She had decided some time ago that they were both hers, and she was happiest when both men were with her.

"Half an hour or so." As Clark spoke, he tugged at the knotted rope that was clamped between Sheri's jaws, pulling the dog closer to them.

"So the next question is, do you want to play with Sheri or with me?" Lex gave him a sultry look from heavy-lidded eyes even as he tugged on the rope.

Clark snickered even as he felt a familiar stirring in his groin. "Well, babe, with my superspeed and all, I could be done before Dave and Chloe get here, but what about you?"

"Ow! Does the phrase 'friction burns' mean anything to you?" Lex winced theatrically. "I was thinking more of a quickie, but not after that! Play with the dog. Anything else can wait till later."

"Wimp," Clark laughed, rolling Sheri to her back and rubbing her belly, sending the dog into fits of delight.

"You burn it, you don't get to use it." Lex smirked at him. "Mmm, that looks like fun. Wanna rub me later?"

"If you squirm like this, sure." Clark leaned over to kiss Lex, looking toward the front of the mansion when the doorbell sounded. "Looks like they're here already; must not have been a line at the pizza place. Eat first, then a swim?"

Lex's stomach answered for him, making them both laugh. "I think so. Go let them in." Lex pushed to his feet, eyeing Clark with pleasure. "Have I mentioned how good you look at my feet?"

"Is this when I say 'Yes, Master' and kiss your feet?" Clark laughed.

"Sounds interesting to me," Chloe put in from the doorway, Enrique having let them in. "Hey, Lex, let me in on your training techniques? I still can't get Dave to do that yet."

"Don't say a word! I don't want to end up like Clark!" Dave yelped while Clark rolled his eyes at all of them from the floor.

"The abuse I put up with..." Clark sighed, climbing to his feet, catching Sheri by the collar before she could jump on the newcomers. "There had better be sausage and peppers on one of those pizzas or you won't be forgiven for what you just said." In almost perfect synchronization, Lex and Chloe ducked their heads and peered mournfully up at him through their lashes while Dave laughed at them all. Two pairs of blue eyes blinked sadly, and Lex and Chloe each claimed one of Clark's arms, hanging on to him.

Clark's expression turned mournful. "No sausage and peppers?"

"Forgotten for food again," Lex sighed. "The honeymoon is definitely over."

Chloe laughed. "Would I dare bring pizza and not have sausage and peppers? You'd both toss me out on my ass."

"They'd have to go through me first," Dave said grandly, stopping and fisting his hips in a heroic pose.

"Oooo, that scares me! Lex, save me?" Clark laughed, leaning against the older man's side.

"From what?" Lex wanted to know, eyeing Dave. "Look, even Sheri's laughing at him."

"Hey, don't insult Dave!" Chloe ordered. "Only I'm allowed to do that," she added with a giggle.

"You insult Lex; I can insult Dave!" Clark protested.

"Not if you want pizza!"

"Uh, guys? My house, my rules. Everybody be quiet and hand over those pizzas or you're all out on your asses." Lex stared them into silence, then reached for the top box, making a face when he peered inside. "Oh, Chloe, Hawaiian?"

"Are you going to argue with a woman and her cravings?" she asked blandly.

"Cravings?" Clark's eyes got wide.

"Geeze, Clark, can't you take a joke? Dave wanted it; you know those strange California types."

"To know me is to love me," Dave chuckled, closing the pizza box and almost catching Lex's nose with the edge of the cardboard. "And if you two don't like it, that leaves more for me."

"You are a very sick man," Lex observed, a small part of his mind wondering if there was any other person on the planet aside from the three in the room with him who would dare slam a box shut in his face and deciding not. He smiled, glad that he'd found such good friends. "Chloe, he's your boyfriend, you can share that with him and deal with picking pineapple off pizza. Clark and I will have the other one."

"I'll give it to Sheri," she laughed, petting the dog on the head when she came over after hearing her name.

Clark shook his head. "Do that and Lex will freak." He grabbed the boxes from Dave and started walking down the hall toward the pool. "C'mon slow pokes! We can eat then swim, but not if you don't hurry up!"

"You might as well," Lex recommended as they all followed Clark and the food. "She'll beg for it anyways since she loves the stuff." He grinned down at the dog padding along beside him. "Hey, Clark," he called, "make sure you don't put the pizza boxes down too low. Remember what happened last time!"

"Argh! Don't remind me!" Clark laughed, pushing open the door to the pool house, holding it until the others caught up with him, then heading over to the table to set the food down. "She ate a whole loaded pie and then was up all night puking! Had us up all night too, talk about gross!"

"I still think he was more upset about the loss of the pizza than dealing with her being sick," Lex murmured confidentially. "If he ever leaves me, it's going to be for a chef. Or the owner of a grocery chain."

"Tell us something we didn't know," Chloe laughed, settling herself into a chair and reaching for one of the paper plates they'd brought with the pizza. "Okay, where are the drinks?"

"Nag, nag, nag," Clark sighed, walking over to the wet bar to grab a couple of bottles of soda from the mini-fridge and a bottle of water for Lex as well. "Dave, how do you stand it?"

"I have certain advantages: I can shut her up," Dave laughed, glancing at Lex. "I'm sure you understand what I mean."

"Why don't you explain it to me then?" Chloe suggested dangerously, eyeing her erstwhile boyfriend.

"Now aren't you glad I have so many guest rooms?" Lex snickered, not seeing any way for Dave to get himself out the hole he'd dug.

Clark laughed as he set the bottles on the table. "So Dave can hide in them while Chloe tries to find him to strangle him?" he asked, serving the others their pizza before getting himself two slices.

"No witnesses that way," she murmured. "I can blame it on a meteor mutant."

"Been nice knowing you, Dave," Lex said calmly, taking a bite of his pizza and stealing a piece of sausage from Clark's. "Would you prefer flowers or a donation to your favorite charity?"

Knowing there was no way to win, Dave fell to his knees in front of Chloe's chair and pressed his head against her legs, staring up at her soulfully. "Please forgive me, honey? I'm sorry, I'll never do it again, I swear!"

"Gee, and to think that I always thought never was longer than a commercial intermission," Chloe snorted. "Get me a slice of their pizza, and I'll think about forgiving you."

"And what makes you think we're going to share?" Lex wanted to know. "We're not the ones in trouble." Dave looked from Clark and Lex, who were plainly ready to do battle for their pizza, to Chloe, then swallowed hard. "If I die doing this, remember, I did it for you, baby."

"God! Talk about bad; here, take the pizza!" Clark groaned, opening the box and handing a slice over to Dave, who proudly presented it to Chloe.

"And just how are you going to get out of the doghouse now? That was mine." Lex looked from the slice that Chloe was already biting into to Clark, eyebrows raised in challenge.

Clark smirked. "Like this." He leaned over the table and kissed Lex, his tongue making a leisurely journey around the other man's mouth before sliding over his lower lip as he moved back again to Chloe and Dave's applause.

"Damn, Kent! Good thing you like boys or us het guys might have some serious problems keeping our ladies around with you kissing like that," Dave laughed, settling into his own seat and digging into 'his' pizza.

Lex blinked at Clark, looking dazed, then blinked again. "Want to give away any more of my pizza?"

Clark grinned widely. "Nah, I'll just eat it myself."

"Well, as long as I keep getting payments like that. But what am I supposed to eat?" Lex leaned toward him, one hand now sliding up Clark's thigh.

"I can think of something," Clark murmured before hearing the rustle of Chloe's hand in her purse and turning a heated gaze on his two friends. "Chloe and Dave won't mind borrowing a guest room, will they?"

"Oh no!" Chloe laughed. "I've missed out on too much over the last three years. If you two are going for it, we're staying!"

Dave groaned. "God, I've got a voyeur for a girlfriend."

"I think we need to start charging admission," Lex muttered, though he seemed much more interested in nibbling on the soft underside of Clark's jaw than in any possible financial benefits.

"Don't knock it," Chloe retorted. "We might learn something new. This is Lex Luthor after all, whose exploits in the Metropolis clubs are still legendary."

"And they don't know the half of it," Clark groaned forcing himself to sit back before he did something he'd really regret, if only because Chloe would tease him about it forever.

"Coward," Lex muttered, amused. That was the one area where Clark had held firm for the last few years, never going past a certain point in public, or even in private if friends were around. To the young man who'd fucked and been fucked in front of an audience of dozens if not hundreds of strangers in various clubs in Metropolis, it was... cute.

"Exhibitionist," Clark shot back, picking up his pizza and taking a bite while the other couple laughed at them both.

"Don't knock it till you've tried it." Lex leaned closer to steal a bite of Clark's pizza. "As long as no one touches, it can be hot to know they're watching and getting off on your pleasure." He smiled reminiscently, the tip of his tongue appearing to moisten his lips.

"Damn, it got hot in here all of a sudden," Chloe breathed, watching them. Even after three years, sometimes the heat that Clark and Lex generated took her by surprise.

"Hey! Chill, you two, or I'm going get jealous that my girlfriend is more interested in you than in me!" Dave complained, tossing a piece of pineapple at Clark and hitting him on the cheek. Making a face as the warm fruit slid down his face, Clark grabbed a napkin and wiped the sauce away. "With manners like that, I can see why! Do it again, Anders, and you're going in the pool like that!"

Not one to waste an opportunity, Lex licked Clark's cheek clean, then frowned thoughtfully. "Hmm, I may need to rethink the advantages of pineapple on pizza. If I pick it all off and put it on Clark, it has possibilities. What do you think, Clarkbar, you willing to lie still while I drape you in pineapple chunks and nibble it off you?"

Easily able to picture that, Chloe whimpered faintly. "We may need one of those guestrooms after all!"

"My girl gets turned on more by the two of you than by me; where's the justice in the world?" Dave muttered.

"That's because we're just a hell of a lot sexier than you are," Clark laughed. "And don't tell me she doesn't find you sexy; I've heard stories!"

"Besides, if Chloe didn't like you better than she likes us, you wouldn't have your current problem," Lex pointed out delicately. "Or do you?" He'd tried to be patient, but concern for Chloe had taken over, and he waited anxiously for the reply.

Chloe shook her head, looking pensive. "Tomorrow. I don't want to check today and think everything's okay then find out something was messed up because I did it too early."

Dave moved over beside her, hugging her tightly. "Love you," he murmured, kissing her gently.

"So, tonight we relax and have fun and don't worry about anything. Except for the lack of pizza," Lex muttered, eying the box. "Clark, if that was the last piece you just took, I swear I'll drown you!"

He blinked, looking totally innocent. "But Lex, you said you liked pineapple and pizza sauce!"

"Good news!" Clark shouted the second Lex picked up the phone. "You don't need to pay for a nanny after all!"

"Oh, thank god!" Lex exclaimed, a huge smile breaking over his face. "Chloe and Dave must be so relieved! I think we need to celebrate." Then he remembered that it was only two days till Clark's party. "Well, we'll have an extra reason to party on Saturday."

"Seriously," Clark laughed. "Think Dave and Chloe would take it as a joke if I bought them a package of super-strong rubbers?"

Lex burst into laughter. "Well, in case they don't, I'm glad you're invulnerable. Though you may find out first hand how they taste," he chuckled. His business line rang, and he made a quick apology to Clark so he could take the call. When he came back a few moments later, he sounded oddly apologetic.

"Clark... I'm going to have to go to Japan to meet with a supplier. But I'll be back in time for your party, I promise."

Clark's grin faded away to nothing. "Oh, okay. When are you leaving?" He knew it had been hard for Lex, running the businesses from Smallville when he really needed to be in Metropolis, and he understood the older man's need to travel from time to time, but why did this have to happen now?

Lex sighed. "Right away. That way I can get the business taken care of and be back in time for the party. A situation has arisen, and I can't afford to let it continue. I'm sorry, love, I wanted to be with you for everything, but I will be back for the party."

Nodding even though Lex couldn't see him, Clark shifted the phone to his other ear. "I know you will, Lex, and I know you wouldn't go if you didn't have to. So you get on that plane, kick some righteous butt and get back here fast, okay? If you don't, I'll end up seeing just how fast I can swim and come over there and get you."

"That would make for interesting international relations," Lex observed dryly. "Thanks for understanding. I'll see you on Saturday, love."

"Kay. Love you and I'll miss you."

Cursing up a storm, Lex broke every speed limit and traffic law--and possibly some air traffic control regulations--as he drove from the airport to the Kents' home. Shooting a glance at the clock, he groaned and stepped a little harder on the gas. Clark's party had started half an hour ago.

"C'mon, mopey, cheer up! He'll be here soon, and besides, aren't we good enough company?"

Clark managed a grin for Chloe, but it was plain his heart wasn't in it. "Good food, good music, good friends, who could ask for anything more, right?" he said, looking around the yard at the spread his parents and Lex had put on and somewhat amazed at the number of people who had shown up. Only problem was, Lex wasn't here yet.

Lex pulled into the yard with a squeal of tires and a cloud of dust and jumped out, looking around frantically for Clark.

"Well, you could always dance with me," Dave laughed, before frowning. "But then that would leave Chloe alone, and who would she dance with? Lana?"

"We could always have a threesome," Clark suggested gamely.

Chloe laughed. "Kinky, Kent, and you wish!"

"Hey, can't blame a guy for... Lex!" Giving a whoop, Clark raced through the crowd, catching his boyfriend around the waist and swinging him in a circle while kissing him soundly. "You made it!"

Clutching at Clark as he wavered dizzily, Lex returned the kiss, smiling. "Told you I would. Sorry I was a bit late. We ran into a headwind." More precisely, the situation in Japan had been a lot worse than he'd expected, and he'd been negotiating with his supplier much longer than anticipated. In fact, he'd brought the woman back with him on the plane so they could complete their deal and still let him keep his promise. Even now the plane was on its way back to Japan to take her home.

Dark eyebrows furrowed as Clark frowned. "Did you get what you had to do, done? Lex, if you had to stay, you should have. I mean, that's your business, you can't blow it off for me."

"I'm Lex Luthor; do you really think I would let anything interfere with business?" Lex sidestepped the question.

"I'm Clark Kent, the reason some would answer yes to that question."

"Well, they'd be right," Lex admitted, "but not in this case. I finalized the deal before I came back." Or at least before I got off the plane.

Clark still looked skeptical but relented. "God, you're here! Want a shower? I brought a change of clothes over for you earlier, want to change? Something to eat? Something to drink?"

"Yeah, a quick shower and change would be good. I've been in these clothes for about twenty hours. Give me a few minutes, and I'll be back out to join you." He waved to Chloe and Dave.

Clark moved to follow but was hauled back by the other couple.

"Oh no!" Chloe admonished. "You follow him in there, and we won't see either of you for the rest of the day!"

"I hate to admit it, but they have a point." Lex paused to pet Sheri, who'd just discovered his arrival, then headed inside. "Back in a few," he called back.

Seeing Clark's expression, Dave sighed. "God, you'd think it had been a year instead of three days. Go dance with Chloe, Kent; I'll find something to do."

"Don't spike the punch!" Chloe called, grinning as Clark just shook his head and escorted her onto the makeshift dance area.

"Kind of like old times, eh?" he asked, smiling down at her.

"At least there's no tornado today." She grinned up at him wryly. "Not that I think you'd go anywhere when Lex is here."

"If I did, I'd take you with me to help save him, unless Dave objected, of course."

"We could be your Scooby gang. Dave, Lex and I can follow behind, and Sheri can be Scooby." Chloe snickered. "So Lex would be Daphne, the pretty one, and I'd be Velma, the smart one."

He snickered at the comparison. "And would Dave and I be Fred and Shaggy or the reverse? How about I compare us to Buffy and her crew instead? Lex can be Cordelia."

"And you can be celibate if Lex hears you call him that. I think he'd be Spike to your Buffy. And he'd probably like the comparison," Chloe laughed.

"Gee, Buffy, thanks, dear. Remind me why we're friends? Can't I be Angel and be all dark and broody and stuff?"

"Clark, you are the least broody person on the planet. Stick with being the super-powered slayer. Though I guess you'd be Buff instead of Buffy."

"Watch it or I'm going to give you a hot-foot," he muttered, before snickering. "So would that make Dave Tara to your Willow?" As he asked this, he dipped her dramatically over his arm, waggling his eyebrows at Dave, who was watching from the edge of the open space.

"Okay, Kent, hands off my girl," Dave demanded, joining them. "Save the moves for Lex; Chloe's taken." He grinned at the other man, not in the least threatened by Clark and Chloe's friendship.

Clark pouted and straightened Chloe up again. "Man, take all the fun out of everything..." he muttered before snagging Dave around the waist and performing the same maneuver on him. "You don't mind, do you, Chloe? He's just so cute..."

"Kent, if you kiss me, I'm gonna punch you in the nose!"

"I won't like it much either," Lex put in. "I leave you alone for five minutes and already I'm replaced. Chloe, shall we console ourselves together?"

"No way!" Clark immediately straightened up, resulting in Dave on his butt in the dirt and himself with his arms wrapped around Lex. "Feeling better?"

Chloe bent to help Dave to his feet. "I guess I shouldn't feel bad about getting dumped by him now that you've had it done to you too."

"I get the feeling that anyone but Lex would end up in the same situation," Dave replied laughingly. "You'd didn't have to dump me literally, you know. I didn't need the bruises."

Lex smirked at him. "Better than what I'd do to you for stealing him."

"Now, now, Lex, no hurting our nice friends," Clark murmured moving around behind the shorter man and grinning at Dave and Chloe over his shoulder. "And I'm sure Chloe will kiss the bruises for you."

"Maybe later," she laughed, dusting her boyfriend's back and butt off.

"Good idea. I'm pretty sure there are laws against that sort of thing in public. And for the record, I wouldn't have to hurt our little friend here. Chloe would do it for me." Lex grinned wickedly, starting to move to the music since Clark was so conveniently positioned behind him.

"Clark would save me," Dave called out even as Chloe turned him around and kissed him.

"That a hint that you want to dance?" Clark asked, hugging Lex close as tightly as possible while still allowing for movement. "God, I missed you."

"Clark, I am dancing. Follow my lead already." Lex leaned his head back against Clark's shoulder and turned slightly so he could kiss the underside of his jaw.

"God, they're at it again!"

"Someone turn the hose on Kent!"

"Geez, get a room!"

A chorus of friendly insults and catcalls rose around them, making Lex laugh.

Clark groaned and shook his head, catching his parents' eyes and grinning when they didn't look at all sympathetic toward his plight. "Yeah, yeah, give me a party so I can be publicly embarrassed," he muttered before shrugging. "What the hell, if you're going to go, go big." Saying that, he caught Lex's mouth with his, giving him a proper welcome home kiss.

Surprised and pleased, Lex turned in Clark's arms so that they were face-to-face, the kiss deepening until the need for air forced him to pull back slightly. "Mmm, if that's the welcome I get, I may have to go away more often."

"No fucking way," Clark growled. "Got it? If you have to, you have to. Just don't make it a weekly occurrence, okay?"

"As if I would," Lex scoffed. "If I had to travel that often, I'd be stuffing you in my suitcase."

"Might be interesting trying to get me through customs that way."

"Don't think claiming you were my security blanket would work, huh? Damn, I guess I'll just have to stay home then. Think you can make the loss of world travel up to me?" Arms looped around Clark's waist, Lex was again moving to the music.

Clark chuckled and pulled Lex even closer against him. "I'll do my best. How about I try to make you see stars later on?"

"It's a date! I do like the way you think." Lex practically beamed at him, pressing closer still to hide his erection. "You know, someday I may be able to get through a public event in your company without a hard-on. Why do I have the feeling that you and I are an exhibit in the alternate sexuality module of the local sex ed classes?"

"Because we're the most visible example of 'aberrant behavior' within a hundred miles? No contest," Clark laughed. "And when you stop getting hard around me, I'll know the magic's gone. Can't have that now, can we?" he asked, circling Lex's waist with his hands and rocking against him to the slow beat.

"That just means you have to keep my interest up," Lex said somewhat breathlessly. "Get back here!" he almost yelped when Clark took a step back, yanking him firmly back against him. "I'm not exactly fit for public viewing at the moment, and there are kids here. Why are there kids here, Clark?"

Clark glanced at the youngsters racing around the perimeter of the gathering, their mouths and shirts stained from ribs and watermelon juice. "People do have brothers and sisters, Lex. Those two over there are Dave's little sisters," he added, pointing to a pair of tow-headed girls who were trying to entice Sheri to do tricks.

Lex glanced over, wondering if he could pay his dog to distract the kids. "That family is disturbingly blond. It's not normal." He eyed the children with suspicion, steering Clark farther away from them.

"How can someone be disturbingly blond? Is it the blond part that's disturbing or the fact that they're all that way?"

"Both. It's unnatural, as if a Clairol factory exploded on them. And we all know about the IQs of blonds," he added in a louder tone as they passed near Chloe and Dave.

"Higher than that of baldies!" Chloe shot back, while Dave nodded in agreement.

"You're on your own for this one, babe," Clark laughed. "You started it, after all."

"Well, since this is in honor of your graduation, I suppose I should go easy on them," Lex mused, smirking into Clark's shoulder. "Go play, children. Make merry." He waved at them, giving them an indulgent avuncular smile, hamming it up as he relaxed, his fatigue making him a bit punchy.

"Wimp!" Dave called even as Chloe pulled him away just in case.

Clark snickered. "I think you need something to eat. Should I even ask how much sleep you have over the past three days?"

"Sleep? I think I've heard of that. It involves closing your eyes and being still for a few hours, doesn't it?" Lex made a joke of it, but he really hadn't had more than a couple hours sleep snatched here and there while he'd been away. "And yes, food would be good."

"C'mon." Clark let go of Lex with one arm, leaving the other one around his waist, and walked him over to the long tables that were groaning with food.

"Welcome back, Lex," Martha smiled, leaning in to kiss his cheek before reaching into a cooler and handing him a large mixing bowl. "This is your bowl, just liked you asked for."

Clark glanced down at the potato salad and started to laugh. "That should do you for fifteen minutes or so."

Lex gaped in disbelief at the bowl he'd automatically taken, then looked back up to meet Martha's sparkling eyes, and he burst into laughter. "How on earth did you manage to hide it from Clark?" Smirking at the younger man, he grabbed a fork and dug in.

"Haha, and to think, I actually missed this while you were gone."

"I bribed him," Martha laughed. "Strawberry rhubarb pie is a wonderful enticement."

"Strawberry rhubarb pie?" Lex's head came up like a dog on a scent, and he looked around. "He didn't eat it all, did he?" His expression didn't bode well for his lover if the answer was yes.

Clark ducked his head and edged around behind his mother, figuring that she was better protection than anything else in the world. "Ummm... there's angelfood cake with strawberries and ice cream..."

"You ate the whole thing?" Lex glared, looking smug when Martha stepped away from Clark, not about to get in the middle of that. "You, Clark Kent, are a pig. You could have saved me some," he grumbled.

"This from the guy hoarding a gallon-sized bowl of potato salad. Doesn't work, Krillin, not at all." Clark laughed and leaned in to whisper in Lex's ear. "There's pie for you; you'll just have to wait until later to get it."

"Mmm, sounds good. I'll have to be especially nice to you to make sure I get some. Want some of my potato salad?" Lex offered, grinning as he held a forkful toward Clark.

"Who are you and what did you do to my boyfriend?" Clark demanded, looking at Lex strangely. "The Lex Luthor I know never shares his potato salad with anyone."

"I'm trying to bribe you so I can seduce you later. Or convince you to seduce me." Lex smirked, waving the fork enticingly in front of Clark. "I only share my food with the ones I love."

Clark couldn't help but blush, knowing his parents were standing behind Lex, but that didn't stop him from catching Lex's hand and eating the food off of it. "Works for me, but I'll need more then one forkful - and that's if you don't crash out the second you lie down later."

"Clark, as tired as I am," Lex admitted, digging into the bowl and offering Clark another bite, "I probably won't be able to sleep at all tonight. You'll be the one trying to keep up." Suddenly realizing how that sounded, he flushed as the Kents looked at him with raised eyebrows.

"We'll keep them both busy, Mr. and Mrs. Kent," Chloe piped up quickly. "Hope you don't mind if a bunch of us crash in the loft tonight."

Martha, who had placed a chip that was loaded with dip between Jonathan's lips when he'd tried to comment on Lex's statement, smiled. "Just so long as you don't tear the place down or set it on fire, we don't."

"I think I can keep from doing that," Clark muttered.

"Damn, I must be losing my touch," Lex murmured, deciding he might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. "I'll have to work on that." This time Lex ended up with food stuffed in his mouth to keep him quiet.

"You need a muzzle," Clark sighed, only to flush a deeper red when Lex grinned around his mouthful of food and waggled his eyebrows. "Mom, some help here?"

"I'm too busy with your father, dear," Martha laughed, patting Jonathan on the back as he seemed about to choke.

"They're conspiring against us, Jonathan," Lex managed to say, swallowing the last of the potato salad Clark had shoveled into his mouth. "And I don't think we have a hope against them."

Laughing and nodding, Jonathan pulled Martha into his arms, dipping her back to kiss her.

Chuckling at the expression on Clark's face, Lex put his bowl down and tugged on Clark's arm. "Let's dance some more."

Clark shook his head but followed obediently along. "I thought you were starving?" he asked, purposefully bumping into his friend Rob as they walked back into the group of teens dancing and snickering at the scowl it earned him. "And don't tell me you want to be dipped like Dad dipped Mom, okay? The music's all wrong for it!"

"I am starving... just not necessarily for food." Lex moved back into Clark's arms, feeling the tension slowly seeping out of him with every touch. "Have I mentioned recently how much I hate that you can't come with me on these trips?" he sighed, barely aware of what he was saying as he unwound.

Nodding in commiseration, Clark sighed. "Don't need to tell me that, I agree totally, but if I went along, I doubt you'd get much business done, and that's the whole point of the trips." He smiled, and rested his face against Lex's for a moment. "I'm starving for that too, but, unlike my birthday party, we can't vanish until later since it's a mixed crowd."

"I suppose your parents would object if I offered them all money to leave?" Lex sighed. "Think we could bring the old Roman custom of orgies back into vogue? Not that anyone else would touch you, but they could watch if it would get me you sooner." He moved closer, needing to feel Clark against him from head to toe.

Clark shook his head mournfully, spreading his hands across the small of Lex's back and kneading his flesh through his shirt. "No can do; besides, you know Chloe would take pictures if we did that, and Dave would probably provide commentary on our technique."

"God, they would, wouldn't they," Lex groaned. "My life was ever so much simpler without friends." He glanced over, seeing Chloe and Dave dancing together, the two blond heads easy to spot. He shrugged slightly. "At least I get you later after everyone else has left.

"But let me guess... after most of these people have left, your best friends are going to stick around for a private celebration?" Lex bit back a sigh, imagining extra hours of waiting to be alone with Clark, spent in the company of Chloe, Dave, Lana, and a few others... though not Pete. Remembering Clark's expression a few days earlier, he promised himself to smile and be patient.

"Yeah." Clark looked rueful, hoping Lex wasn't annoyed over the fact. "Chloe, Dave, Rob, Lana, maybe a few others... We were gonna crash out in the barn with a cooler and some snacks and recall our glory days." He hugged Lex close and kissed him. "But after everyone goes to sleep..."

"Little Clarkie'll wake up?" Lex teased, nibbling on Clark's chin as they danced. "Just how are you planning to manage this? You're not exactly quiet, Clark."

Clark snorted. "I'll chew on a corncob to keep quiet. Geeze, Lex, what did you think? I'd jump you in the loft right next to Lana? I meant we could sneak out and get back to nature some!"

"And this is the boy who turned ten shades of red the first time I suggested anything outdoors. I'm so proud of you." Lex smirked at him.

"Yeah, you trained me right well, Mr. Luthor, sir." Clark arched an eyebrow in a perfect imitation of Lex's expression before sticking his tongue out at him.

Lex immediately caught and sucked on it, rubbing against Clark as they danced. "Mmm, was that an offer, Clarkbar?" he chuckled, his hands resting on his lover's ass.

Ignoring Rob's snicker from behind him where he was dancing with Lana, Clark grinned. "More like a promise for later, Lexy. Feel like getting down and dirty in the toolshed?"

"Depends. Are you going to drop me on the tools again? Those handles are not what I want impaling me."

"I have never dropped you," Clark said indignantly.

"Then how do you explain those bruises on my ass?" Lex wanted to know, managing to keep a straight face. He knew perfectly well that Clark would do anything to keep from hurting him in the slightest, but he enjoyed teasing the other man... and he had been bruised a few times as they got overly eager.

"Fingers?" Clark asked sorrowfully, knowing that Lex hadn't minded the marks, but he still didn't like having put them on him.

"Stop that right now! You know perfectly well that I love it when you mark me." Lex rubbed his leather-wrapped wrist against the small of Clark's back after working his hand beneath his shirt.

It was Clark's turn to smirk. "I know," he snickered, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath when he felt the rub of Lex's hand and wrist against his skin, not wanting to drag him out of there.

Clark caught a flicker of movement off to his side, then the collar of his shirt was pulled out, and he felt something wet slide down his spine - something that probably would have felt cold to anyone else on the planet. Making himself jump and yelp, Clark spun around to glare at the totally innocent looking duo of Dave and Rob, then at Chloe and Lana who both had 'it wasn't us' expressions.

"Uh, guys," Lex said, "if you think that I want Clark cooled down... you're wrong! Go concentrate on your own dates and leave mine alone." He glanced at the two girls. "Come on, ladies, can't you control the Neanderthals?"

Chloe and Lana shared a look, and both broke into laughter.

"You must be kidding, right?" Chloe laughed.

"Maybe if you loan us Sheri's leash," Lana added.

"Ooo, kinky, Lana," Dave grinned. "I didn't know she had it in her, Rob."

"Neither did I." Rob ducked when Lana gave him a killer look, then grinned sheepishly.

"We'll be good," Clark sighed, wiggling his shoulders as if trying to dry his back before managing to neatly dump the ice cube down Dave's shirt before the other teen could stop him.

"Hey!" Dave howled, dancing around as he tried to get the ice out, finally succeeding and giving Clark a dirty look. "You are so gonna pay for that, Kent."

Lex snickered. "Looked like payback to me and not even with interest. I'd call it even if I were you, Dave."

"It was Rob's idea," Dave pouted, looking at Chloe, who just shook her head.

"Then I'll just have to get Rob back later, won't I?" Clark asked sweetly.

"Sounds like there may be some excitement around here later on. Should I bother sticking around?" Lex asked, eyeing Clark. "Maybe you three guys would like to be alone."

"Touch my boyfriend and I'll break your arm, Clark," Chloe shot back.

"Here, Clark, take Rob," Lana laughed, pushing her redheaded boyfriend toward Clark.

"Sorry, Rob, only one I want to touch is Lex." Clark lowered his voice conspiratorially. "He gets really jealous."

"Not exactly a secret, Kent," Rob snorted, eyeing the two men. "You two are the poster children for rabid possessiveness."

"Hmmm, maybe it's the meteors," Chloe mused, making Lex growl.

"We are not candidates for your Wall of Weird, Miss Sullivan!"

"Naw, they're candidates for the Wall of Bad Romantic Cliches," Dave laughed. "Rich bad boy steals away the poor but sweet farmer's son."

Lana shook her head. "That's a different version than the romances Nell had lying around."

"She just buys them in the wrong section of the store," Clark laughed.

Lex groaned. "Are you telling me that I'm starring in a sappy romance novel? God, someone kill me now!" Suddenly remembering how often that had been tried in Smallville, his eyes widened. "Wait, no, I take that back!"

"Worried some mutant might hear you and take you up on it?" Chloe asked as she leaned against Dave's side.

Clark looked around quickly before reaching out and rapping on Rob's skull. "Knock on wood," he explained, seeing the others' perplexed looks.

"Yes!" Lex replied emphatically. "I've had more near death experiences since moving to Smallville than in my whole life before that... and that includes my vacation in Israel! It amazes me that anyone survives this town."

"We manage," Clark said quickly.

"Somehow," Rob chimed in, hugging Lana to him.

Lex swore that if Lana said one word about her parents, he would scream. Deciding that discretion was definitely the better part of valor in this case, he moved back into Clark's arms. "Think we can manage a whole dance without interruption, or should we run away and hide?"

"They'd find us," Clark intoned sadly.

"You bet," Chloe grinned.

"Are you sure that having them all killed would be bad?" Lex sighed. "Or I could just have them kidnapped and sold into white slavery. We could buy them back in a few weeks."

Clark just looked at him.

"Have I mentioned that you never let me have any fun?"

"Significant other abuse," Chloe said sagely.

"You should write an editorial about it in the Torch," Lana told her while Dave and Rob tried to keep from laughing.

"They're making fun of me again," Lex sighed, dropping his head to Clark's shoulder. "Aren't you supposed to protect my honor or something?"

Clark shook his head. "Not when you started it."

"I did not," Lex replied indignantly. "This all started with an ice cube, and I had nothing to do with that. Hmph. I think I'd be better off going back to my potato salad."

"If Mr. Kent didn't eat it all," Rob said before breaking into laughter as Lex spun to look toward the table with the food on it.

"Don't worry, baby," Clark crooned, "I'm sure Mom is protecting your potato salad."

"You're as bad about that as Clark is about pie," Chloe commented.

Lex shrugged. "I know what I like, and the Kents produce the best of everything."

Dave and Rob shared a look over Chloe and Lana's heads.

"Not even gonna touch that, man."

"No way, no how."

"Like anyone wants you to," Clark responded, kissing Lex on the side of his head in thanks.

"Touching would be a very bad idea," Lex agreed with a shark-like smile.

"I think Lex had the right idea. Do you want to dance with me, Rob, or should Lex and I leave you and Clark alone?" Lana asked sweetly.

"I danced with him at Homecoming; it's Dave's turn this time," Rob protested.

"Sure!" Saying this, Dave grabbed Clark, and the two of them performed an impromptu waltz around the others.

"We've been dumped," Lex said mournfully. "Shall we console ourselves together?" He offered Chloe his hand.

"I think so. Those two are way too fickle. Besides, you could keep me in the style I want to become accustomed to," Chloe teased, making Lex chuckle.

Clark sighed. "We just can't win against those two, you know?"

Dave nodded. "I never thought we could."

"Does that mean you're going to behave?" Chloe wanted to know, while Lex snorted at the very idea.

"I think we should quit while we're ahead, reclaim our men, and enjoy the party."

"And then enjoy our men?" she murmured wickedly before neatly cutting in between Clark and Dave.

Lex was still laughing as he moved back into Clark's arms. "I like the way she thinks," he said in response to Clark's questioning look, knowing the younger man would have heard Chloe's comment.

"Pervert," Clark responded with a laugh.

Just then, the music changed to a hot Latin beat, and with a smirk, Lex headed toward the Kents. "Oh, Martha," he called sweetly, "I'm here to claim my tango!"

"We're heading to bed now, dear. If you all need anything, you know where we'll be."

Clark nodded and gave his mother a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "We'll leave the barn in one piece, promise," he grinned. "No fires inside either."

"That would be appreciated," Jonathan replied dryly. "Putting you and Lex in a flammable area has been interesting since your heat vision manifested itself."

"Da-ad," Clark groaned, ducking his head and glad that it was dark out so that his blush didn't show.

Lex found himself equally glad for the darkness as he remembered the problems they'd had before Clark got that new power under control. "No fires of any kind indoors," he promised. "Good night."

"Good night, Lex," Martha gave him a kiss as well. "We're glad you're back."

Clark waited until his parents walked back toward the house, taking Sheri with them, then tugged Lex into the shadows of the barn so that he could kiss the older man like he'd been wanting to all day.

Lex followed willingly, a soft moan of contentment escaping his lips as Clark's mouth covered his, and he pressed close to his lover's length. When they paused for air, he murmured, "Are you sure we have to go back right away?"

"They'll come looking for us if we don't," Clark sighed in between his exploration of the skin underneath Lex's jaw. "Do you really want them walking in on us in the middle of things?"

"No." Lex was quite certain of that. Bad enough phones and Sheri interrupted them at inopportune moments, they didn't need an audience as well. "Okay, I'll go be sociable, but once they're gone, you're all mine, Clarkbar."

"If you wait until that happens, it'll be morning. You stay awake until they all go to sleep, and I'll do the rest."

"Clark? Lex? You two get eaten by a cow down there?"

With a heated look at his lover that promised a lot more than simply being awake later, Lex started toward the barn, knowing Clark would follow.

They climbed the stairs to see the other four sprawled out on the floor around old copies of yearbooks, reminiscing about their high school years and friends who had moved away.

Clark stepped over Dave's legs and settled against the couch, pulling Lex into his lap as he did so. Glancing at the picture Chloe was pointing to, he gagged. "Joe-Bob Morton, God, that guy was the biggest asshole! I hear he's on parole in Missouri somewhere."

"Joe-Bob," Lex replied in disbelief. "You actually knew someone named Joe-Bob? That alone should be on the Wall of Weird." He shuddered faintly, hoping to distract Clark from the picture on the next page, one of Clark, Chloe and Pete laughing together in the Torch office.

"Major caveman attitude," Rob commented. "Hey, too bad Pete couldn't make it." He groaned as he was elbowed in the ribs by both Lana and Chloe.

Clark shrugged though he held Lex a little tighter. "Guess he had something else to do."

Lex stroked Clark's arm comfortingly. "So other than various deceased mutants, some people actually just moved away like normal people? How out of character for Smallville."

"People actually want to move away from the Meteor Capitol of the World, be still my heart," Lana murmured.

"Amazing how we're all leaving for school then, isn't it?" Dave asked.

"And who's planning on coming back after college?" Clark added.

The resounding silence made it clear that none of them expected their futures to lie in Smallville.

"It's not just Smallville, you know," Lex said. "A lot of kids from small towns move away after college. There are more opportunities in the city unless you're planning an agricultural career."

The teenagers nodded, and Chloe flipped the yearbook to another page.

"Chloe, I love you, but there is no way I'm getting up on the couch and singing *NSync songs, not even for you!" Dave laughed before taking a swig of his beer, still snickering.

"Hey, those are the rules," Rob pointed out. "You picked dare, so you gotta do whatever she tells you to." He snickered. "Chloe, get the camera ready."

Lex chuckled as well, but he wondered just how much he'd had to drink that he'd gotten roped into playing Truth or Dare with a bunch of teenagers. And if he chose truth, they might be getting quite an education before the night was over.

"Better you than Clark," Lana commented, covering her mouth and giggling after she gave a lady-like belch.

"Hey! I resemble that remark!"

"The things I do for love - and to preserve said love's modesty," Dave sighed, getting to his feet and finishing off his beer before climbing up onto the couch and belting out 'Bye Bye Bye' complete with the appropriate boy-band dance moves.

"What modesty?" Lex wanted to know, laughing, then ducked against Clark when Chloe started pummeling him with a pillow. "Ow!" He tackled her to get her to stop, ending with the two of them in a tangled heap on the floor, Lex victoriously on top.

"Dave, they're at it again," Clark sighed. "Good thing I'm not the jealous type."

"Oh, please!" the others chorused.

Groaning, Clark tapped Lex on the shoulder, waiting until he turned his head to take a picture of him and Chloe. "Gotcha."

"Et tu, Clark?" Lex groaned, disentangling himself from the blonde and getting up to move back into his lover's lap. "You have a great future as a gossip columnist." Not giving Clark a chance to reply, he looked around. "Whose turn is it?"

"Yours!" Rob said quickly. "Truth or Dare."

Lex frowned slightly as he considered it, then shrugged. Either way, he was pretty sure they'd find a way to get what they wanted from him, and he was well aware of how interesting his club reputation sounded to teenagers. "Truth."

"What's the weirdest place you've ever done it?"

"Geez, Rob, ask something interesting," Clark moaned.

Lex groaned mentally, knowing Clark wasn't going to be pleased. "At the top of the Eiffel Tower."

"The top of the... Whoa!" Both Dave and Rob looked impressed while Lana and Chloe exchanged amused looks.

Clark shook his head. "I don't want to know. I do not want to know."

Lex kissed Clark quickly. "Chloe, your turn. Truth or dare?"

"What the hell, truth."

Lex smiled wickedly. "How many people in this room have you ever been attracted to?"

"Lex..." Clark muttered, glad that he hadn't been asked that question.

Chloe smiled sweetly. "Four," she answered, not elaborating any more than that.

The eyes of the five other people in the room widened, and all but Lex darted glances at each other, wondering which one was the one who didn't interest Chloe. Lex chuckled, bowing to her slightly. "Pick your victim, Miss Sullivan."

She looked around the circle slowly. "Clark."

"Oh, Go.. Da-" He winced when Lex elbowed him in the ribs. "Truth."

"That's my brave boy," Lex murmured, smirking faintly as he took a mouthful of his beer.

Clark's glare could have melted stone.

"Where and when did you and Lex do it for the first time?" Lana asked, her inhibitions clearly lowered by the alcohol.

Clark's jaw dropped, and his eyes widened as he blushed furiously. He would have expected this from Chloe or Rob, but Lana? "Oh, God..." he mumbled, trying to sink down behind Lex and hide. Lex jabbed back with an elbow.

"You heard the lady, Clarkbar, now answer the question." He glanced over his shoulder, not wanting to miss the view of a bright scarlet Clark.

Clark reached for a fresh beer and chugged half of it down before answering. "Lex's place, summer after freshman year," he said in a garbled rush, finishing the beer the second he was done.

Chloe glanced at Lana, and they both frowned. "Saying Lex's place is like saying the state of Kansas," Lana groused. "Specifics, Clark. Answer the question properly."

Leaning his head against Lex's shoulder, Clark muttered something in the older man's ear, trying to ignore the other teens' chortles.

Trying not to laugh, which might get him incinerated on the spot, Lex managed to repeat Clark's question. "What, exactly, do you mean by doing it?"

"Use your imagination, Clark. I know I have," Lana replied.

Stunned by Lana's answer, Clark answered without thinking. "First kiss was in his pool, first blowjobs were by the pool, first time he fucked me was in his bed, first time I fucked him, same place, and, oh fuck, I'll shut up now." Beet red, he hid his face against Lex's back, knowing the other man could feel the heat of his blush through his shirt.

Rob looked at Lana, who was almost as red as Clark. "That was thorough."

Chloe had to fan herself and drink some of her beer before she could say anything. "Well, that's just fueled my imagination for a while. Ahem. Your turn to pick the victim, Clark."

"Don' wanna," he mumbled, still hiding behind Lex.

"In that case," Lex spoke up, "Lana. Truth or dare?" Not quite trusting the glint in Lex's eye, Lana tossed her hair over her shoulder and grinned. "Dare."

Pleased that she'd done exactly what he hoped, Lex smirked. "In that case, I want to see you kiss Chloe. Properly." He darted a glance at the blonde to make sure she was okay with it, then relaxed when she didn't seem about to kill him.

Clark peeked out from behind Lex's shoulder to see Lana blinking in shock. "Hey, that's easy compared to what I just did."

"Let's hope Lana doesn't go as overboard as you did, Clark," Dave snickered.

"Afraid of a little competition, lover?" Chloe asked brassily, shooting a glance at her boyfriend before sitting up straight and waiting for Lana to do something.

Buoyed by the alcoholic buzz, Lana smirked at Dave. "She did say four of us earlier, didn't she?" With that, she leaned in and kissed Chloe long enough that all the guys were staring at them when they broke apart.

Chloe blinked a couple of times, then leaned back against Dave. "Definite competition, surfer-boy."

Lex burst into laughter, for the first time really liking Lana. "Impressive performance." He toasted her with his beer.

"Hey, Lana, you could always kiss Clark next if you want," Dave shot back.

"Or me, you know; boyfriend? President of the student council? Beat out for valedictorian by a hundredth of a point by the intrepid reporter over there," Rob added.

Laughing, Lana moved to straddle Rob's lap and give him an even more thorough kiss than she'd given Chloe. "Happy now?" she whispered.

"I know I am now that no one's talking about kissing Clark," Lex put in.

"Not even you?" It was Clark's turn to pout.

"Only me," Lex clarified, turning to face him, and covering Clark's mouth in a kiss that made all the others look like ones given to a maiden aunt.

Chloe fanned a hand in front of her fact. "I think I need a breath of cool air."

Dave frowned. "I hate to say it, but I think I do too."

Clark's only reply was a sappy grin.

"Wow," Lana murmured, watching the two men. "They definitely were showing the wrong videos in sex ed at school!" She squirmed a bit in Rob's lap.

"Get your own," Lex replied. "This one's all mine."

"Mmm hmm..." Clark murmured happily.

"We're back in romance-land again," Rob groaned to Dave. "Who's next?"

"You are!" the others responded, making him groan.

"Truth," he said quickly, in case anyone got any ideas of making him kiss one of the guys.

"When was the first time you and Lana kissed?" Chloe asked.

"Second grade," he replied promptly. "I kissed her, Brad Matts punched me in the eye, and we both got sent home for the day."

"Cop out!" Dave scoffed.

"But it answered the letter of the question if not the intent," Chloe pointed out. "We'll just remember that Rob's a wuss and phrase the question more carefully next time." She shook her head at him. "So, who's next?"

"Dave's turn again," Clark chuckled, digging into a bag of potato chips and crunching them down. "Who wants to ask?"

"I will!" Chloe replied instantly. "And you're doing truth whether you like it or not. Do you get turned on by seeing Clark and Lex together?" she challenged.

"Is that fair?" Dave whined, looking at the other men for sympathy and sighing when he didn't get any from any of them.

"I dunno - I guess, in a weird, abstract sort of way. You and Lana kissing did more for me though."

"Sexist," Chloe sighed. "But don't worry, I won't make you admit how hot they make you, baby," she cooed, grinning at him. "Pick the next victim."

"You're all heart," he sighed. "Your turn again, Clark."

"Dare," he replied before Lex could elbow him again.

"Well, telling you to kiss one of the girls would be really daring," Dave chuckled, seeing Lex's glare, "but since we got to watch them, turnabout's fair play as they say. Let's see you really kiss Lex."

Chloe eyed her boyfriend. "I thought this was supposed to be something he wouldn't do normally?"

"They kiss in front of us, but they don't kiss, you know. I want to see what it's really like," Dave shrugged. "And I doubt you or Lana would be complaining."

"Wake me up if I fall asleep," Rob sighed.

"You two really have way too much interest in our sex life," Clark sighed before turning Lex in his lap, and, after a look at the others, licking his mouth open before taking his lover's mouth in a kiss that left Lex breathless and himself feeling the same way.

"Okay, yeah, that was hot," Dave admitted. "And it's been a while since Lex had a turn. Truth or dare, Luthor?"

"You think I can move after that?" Lex laughed. "Truth."

"I've got one," Lana said quickly, "why Clark?" Seeing the looks the others were giving her, she elaborated. "I mean considering how you wanted to get out of here when you first moved here, why choose someone who would tie you to Smallville?"

Lex looked over his shoulder at Clark, his gaze softening. "What choice? I fell in love with him. That's not something you choose, Lana, not when it's real."

"Good answer," Clark murmured, tightening his arms around Lex's waist and kissing him. "Besides, I jumped him; he didn't have a chance," he added in a voice loud enough for the others to hear.

"Don't remind him that I'd been trying to seduce him for months," Lex told the others. "Ignorance is bliss."

"God, don't get started on that again," Chloe groaned, not wanting to sit through another round of who seduced whom. "Pick the next person, Lex."

"I think it should be... Chloe." Lex smirked at her. "Truth or dare, blondie?"

"Unlike some of the chickens in my class, I'll say truth," she smiled.

"Boys are wimps," Lana laughed, snuggling closer to Rob.

"Excuse me, Miss Lang? Just who took dare last time?" Dave pointed out.

Lana wrinkled her nose at him and concentrated on stroking Rob's chest. "Okay, Chloe, have you ever done anything with a girl?"

"Well, this one time, at band camp..." She waited until the others caught the reference to 'American Pie' and laughed before continuing. "Not any more than we just did."

"Damn, there go all my teenaged fantasies of the girls getting it on in the locker room," Dave mourned. "So, who's your victim, Chlo?"

"Boys and their over-active libidos..." She shook her head sadly. "Not that it's a bad thing, some of the time. Lana, you're it."

"Overactive libidos?" Clark frowned. "What does she mean by that?"

Lex snorted. "Like you don't know. Or if you don't consider this overactive, I don't want to know what is. My ass wouldn't survive it." He smirked at his blushing lover.

"Okay," Lana said, ignoring Clark and Lex with the ease of long practice. "Truth."

Chloe arched her eyebrows and leaned forward within the circle of Dave's arms, unable to resist asking this question. "You asked Lex, 'why Clark', so I've got to ask you, why not Clark? You had to be blind not to see how he was drooling over you before Lex came along."

Lana flushed and looked away, taking a long swallow of her beer to postpone the inevitable. "Because... because I thought he'd still be there whenever I decided to say yes," she admitted. "And I wanted the truth about the secrets he was keeping first."

Clark sighed and gave Lana a sympathetic smile, though in truth, he couldn't quite remember the almost obsessive feelings he'd had for Lana when he was younger. "Sorry, Lana," he murmured. "I'm not," Lex said emphatically, his hand tightening on Clark's in a possessive display. "Anyone foolish enough to let you get away deserves exactly what they don't get. Unlike me who gets you." He added the last smugly, making everyone, Lana included, laugh.

"Do you always get what you want, Lex?" Rob asked, feeling a bit of his own tension ease when Lana smiled up at him.

"Yes." Lex looked surprised that he'd had to ask. "I thought that much was obvious by now."

"Sometimes he has to beg though," Clark snickered after taking another drink.

"Now that I'd pay to see," Dave called.

"I'm definitely taking truth for the rest of the night," Lex said emphatically.

Chloe burst into laughter. "Ah, come on, Lex, you won't let us watch? It would be educational."

Lex flipped her off.

"Such a crude gesture from such a gentleman!" Rob gasped.

"He doesn't know you very well, does he?" Clark sing-songed into Lex's ear before giving in to temptation and nipping at the lobe.

Lex moaned and pressed closer, fingers stroking over Clark's shoulder as he shivered. "No one does. Only you," he gasped, back arching as he fought not to beg Clark for more.

Chloe leaned over to Lana. "Five bucks says Clark has him begging if he does that again."

Lana glanced over at the couple and wet her lips. "No bet."

Dave sighed. "Does it disturb you that your girl gets turned on more from watching Clark and Lex than by you?" he asked Rob.

"Naw, that's just in public. She's happy with me in private," Rob boasted, not about to tell his friend that Lana was still holding out, even if she had been giving him some signs lately that that might change.

"You know I love you," Chloe laughed, leaning over to kiss Dave.

Clark chuckled in Lex's ear. "Can't blame them; I get more turned on by you than either Rob or Dave too."

"Well, that's a relief," Lex said dryly. "I don't think our bed is big enough for them too. And I'm long past the threesome stage." He winced the moment the words left his mouth, hoping no one would call him on them.

Rob eyed Dave. "Should we?"

The blond teen shrugged. "Think it could top the Eiffel Tower story?"

"Probably not, damn it."

"Good choice, Robby," Lana murmured.

"I've heard about 'em; they weren't that exciting," Clark added.

Lex didn't say a word, and after a look at him, Chloe didn't point out that Lex might have toned down the details of his past escapades to make them sound less interesting to his present-day lover. "Are we still playing this game?" Lex demanded, trying to get the attention away from his past. "If so, whose turn is it?"

"Lana went last, so she can ask someone, or do we want to take a nature break and get more beer?" Clark asked, noting the cooler was empty.

"Oh, we definitely can't run out of beer," Dave replied instantly. "But where are we going to get more? No way any of us should be driving."

"Lex could have some flown in for us, right?" Chloe laughed, extricating herself from Dave's arms and standing, wobbling a bit before she got her balance.

"There's more downstairs in the other cooler." Clark wasn't commenting on the fact that his dad had bought the cases only after his swearing they weren't going anywhere that night.

"Excellent. Nature break and grab the beer, then Lana can pick the next victim. You know how to throw a party, Kent," Dave laughed.

Not moving, Lex murmured, "I'm sure we can amuse ourselves for a few minutes while your friends are gone."

Clark waited until everyone else went downstairs before replying. "Lexy, I'm fast, but I'm not that fast, not if you don't want friction burns anyway."

Lex burst into laughter. "That's not what I meant, you lunatic! But we can have a few minutes of 'heavy petting' before we're interrupted. It's not like any of them don't know what we do together."

"If you ask me, they're all too interested in what we do when we're together," Clark answered while picking Lex up off his lap and turning him around so that they were face to face, chest to chest, groin to groin. "Maybe I can conk 'em all on the head so they go to sleep, think that'll work?" he asked, arching up into Lex's weight and nuzzling his throat.

"Don't tempt me," Lex groaned, pressing down against Clark hungrily. "As for the other, how many teenagers actually have a same-sex couple they can see in real life? It's like permanent show and tell. But can we forget your friends for a few minutes?" He moaned as Clark bit at his throat, knowing that the younger man was marking him. "Think they'd notice if I sat in your lap a little differently?" he laughed shakily.

"Like how?" Clark mumbled around the warm flesh under his lips. He slid his hands under Lex's shirt, stroking his back and pulling them even closer together.

"Like you inside me. Can you imagine it, sitting here talking and all the while your cock is buried in my ass and we're both feeling it, holding back from coming till we're alone again," Lex rasped.

Clark stiffened, on the edge of coming just from the description and the feel of Lex moving against him. "Fuck! God, Lex." He was on the verge of agreeing, but caught himself and took a deep breath to clear his lust-addled mind. "I want you, but I can't, not like that, not with our friends here."

"Well, not that I wouldn't have loved it if you'd agreed and I wouldn't already be sitting on you, but I didn't really think you would," Lex admitted. "But I hope you know that once we are alone, you aren't getting any sleep tonight."

"I'm not the one who's been half-way round the world and is running on pure energy right now, Lexy," he purred. "Once everyone's asleep, we'll see how long we can hold out."

"I've been celibate for three days, Clark. And we've been talking about sex for hours. Do you really think that I have the slightest interest in sleep?"

Clark nodded and pulled back to admire the mark he'd left on Lex's throat just above his collar. "Good."

"Hey! You two decent up there?"

"Unfortunately, yes!" Lex yelled back, twisting in Clark's lap so he was leaning on his lover's chest and facing the others as they climbed back up the stairs into the loft.

"Nice hickey, Lex," Chloe snickered.

"Jealousy will get you nowhere."

"Okay, sounds like Lex should be next," Lana put in hastily. "Truth or dare, Lex?" She sank back down to the sleeping bag on the floor with a fresh beer, waiting for his reply.

"Truth, of course. I don't trust you juvenile peeping toms."

"Besides, giving you dares is no fun since you've done it all," Dave laughed.

Lana had had time to think about her question when she and Chloe had gone to the bathroom. "Had you been with guys before Clark or just girls?"

"Guys, girls, men, women, and some that I wasn't quite sure how to classify," Lex laughed. "Made it easy for me to recognize something special when I saw him."

"Slut," Clark chuckled, stroking Lex's chest through his shirt. "Not that I mind unless they try to touch you again."

"Your turn, Lex." Dave tossed a piece of popcorn in the air and caught it. "Who are you going to skewer now?"

"Since you spoke up, you of course." Lex smirked at Dave. "Name your choice."

Dave ate another piece of popcorn and fed one to Chloe. "Truth; if I had to get up and sing again, I'd fall on my face."

"Well, that could be funny..." Rob said, stopping when Lana elbowed him.

"Let's see..." Lex mused. "Ah, I know. If you couldn't have Chloe, and ignoring any existing boy or girlfriends, who would you want to be with?"

"Reese Witherspoon," he answered without missing a beat.

"Apparently the young men of Smallville are masters of the copout," Lex said wryly before chuckling. "Though it's probably wise, considering the young women of Smallville."

"Hey, you didn't say they had to live here," Dave protested.

"Or that you had a chance in hell with them," Chloe snarked.

"I'll be more careful in my phrasing next time," Lex purred, making Dave's eyes widen nervously.

"Uh, yeah. Lana, truth or dare?" he asked quickly.

"I just went!" she protested. "Ask Rob or Clark!"

"There's nothing in the rules about how long it has to be. But... one of you guys want to rescue her?"

Lana looked over her shoulder at Rob and he visibly melted. "Me," he murmured.

"Wuss," Dave muttered. "Okay, truth or dare then?"

Rob shrugged. "Since I'm a wuss, I'll go with dare."

"Okay, I dare you to tell Lana how you really feel about her." Dave smirked, knowing that the other couple still tried to pretend that they were more friends than dating half the time.

Clark saw a flash of panic streak across Rob's face and tried to intervene. "Hey, isn't that more like truth than dare?"

Dave shrugged. "It sounded like a dare to me, but if you've got a better idea..."

"I love you," Rob blurted, causing the others to stare at him. "Lana, I mean. I love Lana."

"Oh." Lana stared at him for a long moment until Rob, looking panicked, started trying to take it back. Then she moved closer to him, slid her arms around his neck and kissed him. "I love you too," she whispered when she finally broke the kiss.

"That's so sweet," Chloe murmured, resting her head on Dave's shoulder.

"Not a word, Lexy," Clark whispered, smiling at the other couple as he hugged Lex close.

"Not even I love you?" Lex whispered back, smiling. "It's about time they admitted it. I think they took longer than we did, and neither of them has to worry about going to jail."

"Or about someone coming after them with a shotgun."

"Mr. Kent did that to you, Lex?" Chloe asked.

"Well, only under meteor influence. But he certainly threatened it more than once!" Lex sighed, glad again that the awkward, early days were long over and the Kents accepted him as part of their family.

"But then again, you tried to shoot me under meteor influence, so it's all excusable," Clark laughed. "Want to play more or go back to talking about the good old days?"

Lex shrugged. "Majority rules. I'm open to either... just so long as everyone realizes that there won't be any exhibitions tonight!" he added with a laughing glance at Chloe.

Various catcalls and boos greeted that remark, and Clark yawned, stretching his arms up over his head and grabbing a bag of popcorn off the seat of the couch. "Sick, sick people."

"Which is why we're your friends," Rob answered, finally looking away from Lana.

"Which is why I'm going to be paying for therapy for years," Lex shot back. After stealing some of the popcorn, he looked around. "So, which is it? More of the game or reminiscing?"

"What were we playing anyway?" Dave asked, only to be pelted with popcorn and cheese puffs.

"Sounds like one vote to call an end to the game... though personally I think he's just afraid of what we'll ask him. You have him so cowed, Chloe," Lex said reprovingly, his eyes sparkling with laughter.

"I'm good, aren't I?"

Dave waggled his eyebrows. "I'll have to agree with that."

"Sounds like it's our turn to demand details about someone else's sex life," Lex snickered. "So, Chloe, is Dave good too?"

"Is that truth or dare?"

"Why? Are you going to show us?" Clark called.

"Kinky. I've never seen an orgy in a barn. Actually, it sounds like a porn flick, but hey, don't let me interfere," Lex laughed. "And answer the question or I'm going to have to assume that he's not and find someone better for you."

"Chloe!" Dave demanded, outraged.

"Calm down, Diva," she laughed, patting his leg. "He's good; he's better than good; he's great!"

"Should we start calling him Tony then?" Clark snickered.

"God, someone please just shoot me now!" Dave moaned while the others all laughed.

"Geez, Lex, who knew you were a matchmaker?" Rob realized, looking amused.

"I'm not," Lex replied indignantly. "I just watch out for my friends."

"And watch it, Rob, or we'll start asking you two about your sex life!"

"Ask us tomorrow," Lana said suddenly, staring down at her hands after darting a quick glance at Rob.

"Lana?" he asked, shocked, before wisely shutting up.

Clark started to wonder just what they were going to do here in the barn around the rest of them, but that got him thinking about Rob and Lana having sex period, and for a moment, he let his mind wander back to the old fantasies he had had about her.

"You'd better be thinking about me," Lex hissed at him, shooting a challenging glance over his shoulder. "We'll have to move some of the hay bales up when we're ready to sleep. We can make dividers with them." And create the appearance of privacy if not the reality. And since we're all going to be doing the same thing, I don't think any of us are going to be overly picky about it.

"If we move that many hay bales up here, there won't be room for us!" Dave protested, looking around the loft space which was already crowded with all of them on the floor.

"If we hadn't been drinking, I'd say we could all go over to the castle, plenty of room there," Clark snickered. "And yes I was thinking about you," he whispered in Lex's ear, "... eventually."

"Brat," Lex murmured. "And you know, comfort is good. All I have to do is make a single call on my cell, and I can have a limo here in a few minutes to take us back to the castle with separate rooms, queen size beds, and showers."

"But our folks all think we're here, and so do Mr. and Mrs. Kent," Rob said, torn between wanting privacy with Lana and the chance of his parents grounding him for life.

Lex shrugged. "We can leave a note for Clark's parents. I really doubt that it makes much difference whether you sleep in a barn or a bed. It's not like we're going to drive or do anything stupid."

"We can take hay bales if you want to feel like you're sleeping out here," Dave laughed.

"You think you parents would mind, Clark?" Lana asked hopefully.

He shook his head. "Not if we don't drive, but, Lex, it's three in the morning; do we want to wake up Enrique and have him come get us at this time? He's going to be pissy, and you can't afford to give him another raise."

"God no!" Lex looked horrified at the idea. "I'll call my chauffeur directly. A bonus will content him." He suddenly thought of Sheri and reminded himself to have Clark get her in the morning or she'd be mad at both of them. "So, we moving to the comforts of the castle?"

Rob looked at Lana, who nodded even as she hugged him. "Looks like castle it is."

"Gee, sleep on the floor or in a nice, expensive bed, hard choice there!" Chloe laughed, standing and shaking her head at the mess of bottles and empty bags around them. I guess we'd better clean up before we leave though."

"I can get it tomorrow," Clark offered, pulling Lex's phone out of the jacket he'd draped over the couch arm and handing it to him.

"Go leave a note for your parents while I call," Lex suggested. "As long as they know where we are, everything will be fine." Turning away as someone picked up on the other end, he quickly gave orders for a car to come pick them up, one big enough for six people and their overnight bags.

"It'll be here in about twenty minutes," he announced, turning back to the others. "And I have to admit that my bed sounds wonderful to me compared to a blanket over hay."

"Why do I think you were never a boy scout, Lex?" Rob chuckled.

"Because first I had asthma that made it impossible, and then I was bald." Lex shrugged, long accustomed to his status as a freak when a child.

"Hrmmm, and I thought it was because you tried to seduce your fellow scouts," Chloe grinned, giving Lex a hug.

"Nah, that was the girl scouts. He liked the skirts," Clark called, climbing back up the stairs. "I left the note on the table and told them to call if there was a problem, so we should be set."

"Great. Want to wait downstairs for the limo? We're likely to lose track of time if we stay up here." Lex grabbed his jacket and moved to Clark's side.

"Head 'em up and move 'em out. Yo mules!" Clark called, grabbing the girls' bags and leading the way down the stairs.

"Mules, such respect."

"Shut up or he'll make us carry the girls' bags too!" Dave hissed at Rob as he picked up his own.

"Are you saying that you don't want to help us?" Chloe asked sweetly.

"Clark doesn't have anything to carry," Dave explained.

"Uh huh. Watch it, David, or you'll be on the floor no matter where we stay!"

Dave cast himself to the ground at Chloe's feet and peered up at her adoringly, hands clasped together. "Forgive me, my goddess, I live to serve you."

She smiled in triumph. "That's how you train them, Lana."

Lana squeezed Rob's hand and shook her head. "Maybe it works for you, Chloe, but not me."

"I like the pick 'em up and throw 'em over your shoulder routine myself," Clark offered.

"Don't even think about it!" Lex said warningly, eyeing the other man narrowly.

"I dunno, could be fun to watch," Dave mused, earning himself the Luthor glare of death.

"I think we need to lock the doors between us and them once we get there," Rob murmured to Lana. "They're all nuts."

"Yes, they are!" Lana whispered, watching wide-eyed while Clark hoisted Lex onto his shoulder and carried him around, leaving Chloe and Dave in hysterics on the ground.

"One picture and you're a dead woman, Chloe!" Lex yelled as Clark carted him away.

"Oh, I think I need a poster of this for the dorm room," Dave laughed.

Once they were safely in the shadows, Clark set Lex down, his hands roaming over the older man's body as he did so. "You're a good guy, Lex," he murmured, wondering if he was going to survive the limo ride back and thinking it would be so much easier to run them both to the castle.

"Just remember that when I'm sitting in your lap in the limo. You remember how much I like you and limos?" Lex purred, pressing closer as he smirked at his lover.

"No. Just... no, Lex, please," Clark whimpered, remembering their trip to Gotham City and the first time they'd gone clubbing in Metropolis. "It'll take fifteen minutes to get to your place, then you can do anything you want with me, just not in front of Lana and Chloe."

"Like Chloe hasn't seen it before. But since I don't want any of us having to do CPR on Lana, you win. But I'm holding you to that once we're securely locked in our room."

"I hope you're doing more than holding it."

"Actually I was planning to fuck it till you scream."

Clark swallowed hard. "They're all going to be far away from your room, right?"

"I'll put them in other wings if it'll make you happy. Of course, we'll have to send search and rescue parties to find them again," Lex replied.

"Of course, they'll be busy too, so maybe they won't notice..."

"I doubt any of them would notice if we were all sharing the same bed. Everyone's pretty focused." Lex grinned as he watched Chloe and Dave wrap themselves around each other nearby.

Clark suddenly frowned. "Can you make sure there are, ummm, rubbers in their rooms? I don't want - you know - happening again."

"There always are, in the nightstands and bathroom cabinets. I consider it part of being a good host. Though guests have to provide their own partners nowadays. I'm only interested in one person."

"Damn right!" Clark growled and nipped at Lex's lower lip just as they were lit by the harsh glow of the limo's headlights as it pulled into the drive.

"Timing is everything," Chloe called.

"And he told me I have to behave in the car," Lex replied mournfully. "Can you imagine?"

"Cry me a river," Clark sighed, grabbing the bags and helping the driver load them in the trunk. He wasn't worried that he didn't have anything; enough of his clothes had migrated to Lex's over the years that it wasn't a problem, just as the opposite was true as well.

They all climbed inside and arranged themselves, Chloe and Lana on Dave and Rob's laps and Lex on Clark's. The driver shut the door and headed around the car to get in and take them back to Lex's.

"Just a few more minutes and we'll be comfortable. Snacks and drinks are available if anyone's interested," Lex offered, hoping no one would take him up on it since he thought that if he didn't get somewhere alone with Clark soon he might scream.

Noting the look that Rob and Lana exchanged and the one Chloe was giving him, Dave shook his head. "Thanks, Lex, but I think we're all going to be set once we get there."

"I think privacy's all we need," Rob echoed, much to the others' amusement.

"Oh thank god," Lex said fervently, getting smiles from everyone. "You are true friends. And now I won't have to drug your drinks." That brought a round of laughter, and they all chatted about nothing during the short drive to the castle.

Once there, Lex showed the other two couple to their rooms, giving them a quick rundown of which numbers to call to reach the kitchen or him and managing to point out the condoms discreetly. That done, he bid them all good-night and practically dragged Clark to their room.

"God, I thought we'd never be alone!"

"Are you saying I'm not worth waiting for?" Clark mumbled even as he worked at stripping them both out of their clothes, eager to get his hands on Lex.

"I'm saying I'd rather not have to wait so long, especially after having been away for a few days," Lex grumbled, then let out a breath of satisfaction when they were finally able to press their naked bodies together. "Missed you."

"Missed you too." Impatient for more, Clark picked Lex up and walked them both over to his bed where he tumbled them down onto the duvet together. The feel of Lex under him was almost too much, and Clark ground down hard against his lover's body, the feel of Lex's hardness rubbing against his a total turn on.

"God, I want you in me, then I want to be in you, then I want to taste you all over..." he mumbled, licking his way down Lex's throat to his chest before fastening his lips on one small, peaked nipple.

"Th-that can be arranged," Lex managed breathlessly, his body twisting under Clark's as he sought more stimulation. His back arched, and his legs wound around Clark's waist as the younger man teased and tormented him, making him whine hungrily. "Damnit, Clark, no teasing! I want you too much. Fuck now, play later," he demanded.

Clark wasn't about to argue that point so he grabbed for the lube, stretched Lex with lightning speed, and slid home. The tight heat had him groaning and just wanting to wallow in the feeling, but he knew Lex wanted it hard and hot this time, so he gave his lover what he wanted. Hips snapping back and forth, Clark took Lex hard and fast, each stroke a full length ramming into the other man's body.

"Oh fuck yeah!" Lex groaned, thrusting up to meet every stroke. "Love you, love this, so fucking good, the best," he rambled, his body already tensing with his imminent climax. He forced his eyes open, wanting to see Clark as he came, hazy silver-blue eyes focused on his lover.

"Mmm hmm." Unable to say more than that, Clark gasped, shuddering, before coming the instant he felt Lex's body clench around him.

"Fuck, oh fuck, that felt good," he rasped, half-collapsing on top of the older man and licking at a droplet of sweat standing out on his forehead.

"Mmm, amazing," Lex agreed in a breathless whisper, eyes shut as he luxuriated in the sensations filling his body. "Sorry I jumped the line, love, but I promise you can have me in you just as soon my bones resolidify."

Clark chuckled low in his throat and rolled off of Lex to stretch out on the bed next to him. "Do you really think I'm going to complain about what we just did? And you call me a nut!"

"Just checking. You sounded pretty emphatic about the order you wanted things to happen," Lex replied, rolling to his side so he could nestle against Clark. He lazily petted his lover, simply enjoying their closeness for the moment.

"Just so long as it all happens some time tonight, I don't care what order it is, though licking you all over will probably go best at the end."

"If you're waiting for me to object, you're going to have a long wait," Lex replied lazily, even as he reached over Clark for his t-shirt on the floor, intending to wipe himself off.

Clark snickered and stretched again, catching Lex's wrist once he was done and pulling the other man on top of him. "Glad to hear it." He smiled more tenderly and stroked Lex's back. "Did I tell you I'm glad you're back?"

"Only as often as I said how glad I was to be back. We may not need constant proximity any more, but I swear I could feel every mile between us." Lex shuddered faintly.

"I know." Clark nodded wearily. "I had really weird dreams."

"God, so did I. Sounds like we may need to have another chat with Jor-El. I thought we were supposed to be past being joined at the hip by now... not that I mind, under most circumstances," Lex hastened to add.

"Me either. Maybe it goes in phases, or maybe it's because we hadn't been that far apart." Clark sighed. "I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about," Lex said fiercely. "Don't start going all 'I'm an alien, everything's my fault' on me again." He shook the younger man. "I happen to think that the benefits of being with you so far outweigh the few drawbacks that they might as well not exist. Now kiss me, you ridiculous angsting alien."

"I'm not ridiculous," Clark muttered before doing as Lex ordered. "That's one adjective I don't want."

"How about beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, mine? Like those adjectives?"

"Much better. Those I'll take."

"And I'll take you." Lex moved a little closer, bracing his head on his hand as he turned his attention to Clark's chest, first licking it then blowing on the damp flesh. "Mmm, tasty."

"Damn fast recovery time you have there, Lexy," Clark purred, arching up under the other man's weight like a cat. "What do they put in that Japanese food?"

"More to the point is what was missing from my diet... namely you," Lex muttered as his free hand snaked down to Clark's groin, petting the soft but rapidly hardening flesh there. "I need my Clark fix."

Clark gave a laughing groan. "Didn't you just get an injection of Clark?"

"Ah, but I was in withdrawal. That stopped the pain, but I still want the high." He bit down sharply on a nipple, knowing that it would simply arouse Clark. "Or are you saying that you can't keep up?"

Shuddering with pleasure at the feel of Lex's teeth on him, Clark licked his lips, eyes locked with Lex's. "Do your worst, Lexy; I'll stay with you every step of the way." He wound a leg over Lex's thighs and rubbed his calf against the smooth skin.

"I'll do my best instead," Lex purred, stringing a line of bites along the outer edge of the thin leather collar lying against his lover's collarbone, then slowly working his way down the center of Clark's body only to stop when he reached his navel. He'd discovered some time back that if he bit exactly the right spot with just the right pressure, Clark was actually a bit ticklish there, and he loved making him jump.

"Le-ex," Clark whined, squirming and trying not to choke when his laughter mixed with a moan when Lex bit him harder, not hurting him, as there was no way that could happen, but making him feel the pressure. "You're teasing me."

"Why, yes, Clarkbar, I am." Lex gave him a sunny smile and bit him again, making him squirm. "Mmm, very nice," he purred. "That shimmy looks even better naked in bed than it does on the dance floor. Think I can make you do it again?" He leaned close, this time plunging his tongue into Clark's belly button instead of biting him.

Clark whimpered and felt his stomach muscles contract into a solid wall as Lex's torture sent tremors of pleasure through him.

"Yes, I like that," Lex purred, nipping at the thin skin before moving down again, bypassing the straining erection to lave the sensitive skin where his leg met his torso. "You taste so good, salty but a little sweet too."

"Like kettle corn?" Clark panted, twisting his hips to try and get his cock closer to Lex's darting tongue.

Lex wrinkled his nose. "That's your taste, not mine. Nasty stuff. I'd much rather have you. In fact, I think I will." That was all the warning Clark got before Lex had swallowed him whole, his mouth sliding right down over him until Lex's nose was pressed to his belly and the head of his cock was firmly lodged in Lex's throat. While Lex swallowed. Over and over.

"Lex!" Clark screamed, bucking up off the bed, his hands fisting in the duvet as he struggled not to come. "Oh God, please. Want to come with you in me, please, don't... Stop..."

Clark's words finally made it past the lust hazing Lex's brain, and he paused. In him. Right. Okay. He sat up, lips swollen and glistening with moisture, staring down at Clark as he moved between the younger man's legs, pushing them back until Clark caught hold of his own knees and watched him position himself. Blue eyes met green as Lex pushed forward the barest fraction of an inch, the head of his cock pressing against Clark's entrance, hovering there for an instant before popping inside him. Both men gasped sharply, and unable to resist, Lex pressed forward again, slowly filling his lover.

Letting out a sigh of complete contentment, Clark let his head fall back against the pillow, concentrating on the feeling of being stretched and taken and the sight of Lex over him, causing those sensations. "Gorgeous..." he whispered, rocking his hips slightly to shift Lex within him.

"You," Lex managed, hips moving slightly more rapidly now, unable to maintain the initial lazy pace despite their recent climaxes. "So good, Clark, only you," he murmured, watching the expression of pleasure twist his lover's face, needing to see him.

"Uh huh." Letting go of his legs, Clark wrapped his arms around Lex's body, pulling him closer so that his erection rubbed against Lex's stomach, painting his skin with streaks of precome. Wanting to hold out longer this time, he closed his eyes, arching up against Lex with each stroke, small whimpers and moans escaping his lips.

"God," Lex groaned, shutting his eyes as he fought for control, the sight of Clark nearly making him lose it. "So fucking gorgeous," he rasped, lowering his head to capture his lover's mouth, tongue pressing inside in the same rhythm as their lower bodies.

Clark tried, he really did, but the combination of Lex filling him everywhere did him in, and, with a low groan that reverberated around his lover's tongue, he came, wetting both their stomachs with his semen.

Lex lasted through Clark's climax, watching every nuance of his expression as he came, and he waited until the hazed eyes opened to begin to move again. Staring into the sated gaze, he groaned as his hips rocked faster and faster, and he gasped Clark's name as he came.

Savoring the feeling of Lex spasming inside him and loving the complete trust the other man exhibited when he collapsed on top of him, boneless and relaxed, Clark smiled and stroked Lex's back. "Get some rest, Lexy," he murmured, flipping the corner of the duvet over both of them and kissing Lex's temple. "You're going to need it once everyone gets up tomorrow."

"God, I have to face Lana over the breakfast table. And Chloe." Lex groaned pitifully and buried his face against Clark. "I'm just going to hide in here. Enrique can let them out."

"Imagine 'em naked," Clark yawned, closing his eyes and snuggling closer to the other man, falling asleep easily, knowing that Lex was with him.

Repulsed, Lex almost hit him with a pillow before he noticed that the younger man was dozing off. Sighing, he shook his head and closed his eyes, promising himself that under no circumstances was he going to picture Lana Lang naked!

"...and so, in conclusion, I ask for you not only to challenge yourselves in the future, but to challenge your beliefs as well. We are the future; let's make it an open one."

Clark surged to his feet, applauding along with the rest of the graduating class as Chloe stepped away from the lectern and walked back to her seat, her speech finished.

The auditorium was packed with graduates, their friends and families, and it was standing room only in the back. Rob and Chloe had given their speeches; next was Lex, then the handing out of the diplomas, and that was it; high school was over. It was an almost scary moment.

Nodding to Chloe as she passed him, Lex waited until the principal introduced him, then rose to his feet and paced toward the lectern, aware of every eye on him. "Thank you, Principal Mitchell. It's an honor to be here today... especially since a few short years ago I was more likely to be ridden out of town on a rail." He let the polite laughter die down. "But that just goes to prove how big a difference each and every one of you can make. If one high school student could reform me, just imagine what an impact you can have on the world." He grinned and waited for the wave of genuine laughter to pass, his eyes seeking Clark's.

A rush of love and pride swept over Clark, and he smiled up at Lex, mouthing 'I love you' as the audience quieted down once again. Once Lex began speaking again, though, he grinned, and slipped a hand in his pants pocket, and pulled out a Blow Pop. After quickly unwrapping it, he pulled it out and popped it in his mouth, grinning when he saw Lex's eyes cut toward him and then widen.

Feeling his body swell and vowing to get revenge on a certain high school graduate later, Lex cut his speech short. He had no recollection of what he said, most of his attention focused on Clark, who every so often would take the sucker out of his mouth and lick it intently, but he must have made sense since the applause was more than perfunctory as he returned to his seat.

Crossing his legs to hide his problem, Lex shot a look at his lover promising retaliation and pretended to pay polite attention to the remaining speeches and awards being presented.

Clark had to bite his lip to keep from laughing and quickly stuffed the sucker back in its wrapper and in his pocket when Principal Mitchell took the podium again, this time to announce the graduates.

As one the class rose and began to file forward, each walking across the stage to accept their diploma and shake the principal's hand. The line inched slowly forward until...

"Clark Jerome Kent."

Beaming, Clark crossed the stage, winking at Lex before he accepted the folder, looking out over the crowd to spot his parents standing and applauding.

Watching, Lex felt Clark's pride and joy as if it were his own, and he smiled, glancing over at Jonathan and Martha to share the moment with them. From now on, everyone would have to acknowledge Clark as an adult. 'Love you,' he mouthed when Clark looked back at him, students still moving across the stage.

Finally, the diplomas were all handed out, and after the principal welcomed them as Smallville High's newest graduates, they stood and whooped, tossing their caps in the air and hugging each other.

As the ceremony broke up, Lex moved toward Clark, wending his way through the crowd, knowing that Jonathan and Martha would be doing the same. Their eyes met, and they shared a smile, then he had his arms around his lover, and they were laughing together.

"You did it, Clarkbar."

"They let me loose on the world," Clark laughed, "scary thought, eh?"

Martha and Jonathan made it to them at that point, and they both joined in the hug. "I'm so proud of you, honey," Martha exclaimed, kissing Clark on the cheek, then rubbing away the lipstick that stained his cheek.

"Congratulations, son," Jonathan said, a hand on his shoulder. "I can hardly believe that you're a man now; I keep remembering the little boy we brought home years ago."

Lex hid a grin, having no trouble remembering how adult Clark was.

Clark ducked his head and grinned. "Gee, Dad, that's the same thing you said when I turned eighteen!"

"It's a good line," Jonathan replied calmly, then laughed. "Be kind to your old man, son. It's not only mothers who have a hard time seeing their only chick leave the nest."

"Why am I suddenly picturing Clark with yellow feathers?" Lex snickered. "Very big bird."

"Where's the love?" Clark moaned, hiding his face in his mother's shoulder.

"You show respect, dear, you get it," she laughed softly.

Chloe and Dave joined them, hugging Clark, and then Chloe flung her arms around Lex excitedly, smiling as he hugged her back.

"Congratulations to both of you," Lex said. "Oh, by the way, Chloe, I got you a little something to celebrate the occasion." Stepping back, he tossed her a keyring.

She studied the platinum chain and grinned before hugging Lex again. "It's gorgeous! The Volvo keys will look smashing on it!"

Clark hid his face again and snickered, trying not to give away the surprise. He looked up in time to see Pete walking by with some of the other members of the football team and pushed down the sadness when his former friend didn't even glance his way.

"This might look better," Lex said and tossed her the electronic key.

Now Chloe looked perplexed. "Lex, this is great, but I don't think an electronic key will work on an old Volvo."

Lex had to laugh. "Chloe, there are times you prove the blonde stereotypes. What does it say on the key?"

"Excuse me?" she sputtered before looking down at the logo on the key. Her eyes widened, and her head shot up so that she could stare at Lex. "A Ferrari? Are you telling me that a car goes with this key?"

"And the light dawns." Lex shook his head, chuckling. "Graduation is a once in a lifetime thing, so I think it's justified."

"Oh my God!" she shrieked, pushing past her father and Dave to race out of the auditorium. The shrieks rose in volume when she saw the car, causing most of the people in the entry area to stare at her curiously.

"I think she liked it, Lex," Clark commented.

"How could you tell?" Lex winced as she shrieked again. "That's our Chloe, so quiet and demure you can never tell how she feels."

Dave shook his head. "You gave Chloe a Ferrari? God, how will I live down the fact that my girl has a cooler car than I do?"

"You'll just have to be nice to her so she'll let you ride in it," Lex replied heartlessly. "And you'd better go admire her in it, or you'll be in deep trouble."

Dave nodded and ducked away from his parents, racing outside. "Chloeeeee! I want a ride!!!!"

"How long do you think I should wait to tell him about the Porsche?" Lex laughed, leaning into Clark.

"Not too long or he might flood Chloe's drooling on it," Clark murmured, kissing Lex's temple. "You're amazing."

"No, you're amazing. I'm just rich. That doesn't really mean a whole lot, though it is fun to give things to friends when they don't expect it."

"What's amazing is the fact that Clark kept those cars a secret for as long as he did," Martha laughed, leaning against Jonathan's side.

"I found the right threat to keep him quiet," Lex chuckled, not elaborating.

"He promised me one of each if I didn't tell."

"What?" both his parents chorused, making Clark break into laughter.

"Don't worry, I haven't lost my mind," Lex laughed. "I just mentioned that he'd be sleeping alone for a month if he blew it." He gave Clark a toothy smile.

Martha arched her eyebrows and looked over at Jonathan. "That's probably as effective as us telling him no pie for a month."

"Don't mind me while I sink into the floor here," Clark sighed.

"We love you despite your addictions," Lex soothed. "But we'd better get out there to admire Chloe's car and tell Dave about his."

"Whoa, Lex," Clark said loudly, pointing toward a dark blue Porsche, "so this one's mine? Cool!"

"'Fraid not, Clark," Lex replied, playing along as Chloe and Dave looked over. "This one's Dave's."

"What?!" Dave spun around so quickly he landed on his ass.

"Geez, Lex, everyone gets a car but me," Clark whined.

"You have your truck. And me. Don't be greedy."

"True."

"Who wants the first ride?" Chloe and Dave called simultaneously.

Lex looked from one to the other and hid behind Clark. "No way I'm getting in the middle of that," he said emphatically.

"I think Mr. Sullivan needs the first ride with Chloe and Mrs. Anders with Dave," Martha said quickly.

"Wonderful diplomatic skills," Lex muttered, peering around Clark's shoulder at her and heaving a sigh of relief when her suggestion was followed. "Remind me not to do that again," he chuckled. "I think my life passed before my eyes."

"They would have hated me if I blew up their cars to keep them from fighting over you," Clark whispered back, waving at Lana and Rob when they passed by with his parents and Nell.

"We would have had to flee the country," Lex agreed. "Wait a minute... get them back here!" he said to general laughter.

"I thought the two of you were fleeing the country on Monday?" Martha commented wryly. "Let them go; this way you can come back when your trip is over."

"But what if I don't want to give him back?" Lex replied, glancing up at Clark. "Oh well, it's not like I don't get my daily fix."

"Lex..." Martha looked stern. "You will bring Clark back, understand? I know your weakness too, remember."

Clark gasped, looking horrified. "No, Mom, not that! Not... holding out on the potato salad!"

Bursting into laughter, Lex had to lean on Clark for support to keep his feet. "You play dirty, Martha," he finally managed. "Fine, I won't kidnap your son into white slavery... kind of hard to do anyway when all he has to do is look at me and I fold."

"Clark Kent, Sheri and potato salad, Lex's three weaknesses," Jonathan laughed.

Clark snickered. "Could be worse."

"Yeah, it could be money, power, and world domination," Lex retorted.

"Or wine, women and song."

"I prefer scotch, man, and song."

Martha looked stunned. "You mean you actually like Clark's singing? If I ever doubted it was true love, it's gone now!"

"Now wait a minute," Lex exclaimed. "I said song, not Clark's singing. I love you dearly, Clarkbar, but I swear you're tone deaf."

Clark folded his arms over his chest and pouted.

"Mmm, you look adorable when you do that." Lex turned to face him fully and caught the protruding lower lip in his teeth, tugging lightly.

Martha shook her head and smiled when Clark immediately wrapped his arms around Lex and kissed him. "Boys, before you vanish, do you think we could get some pictures with both of you?"

Lex blinked. "Chloe should take lessons from you. She just starts snapping away without bothering to ask."

"I'd like something that would be suitable for display," she responded, giving both of them the eye.

"Yes, Mom," Clark grinned. "But who's going to take the pictures so we all can be in them?"

"I would be pleased to offer my services in that regard as well as my congratulations upon your achievement, Master Clark," Enrique said, appearing out of the crowd.

Clark's jaw dropped, and he couldn't help but stare at Lex's manservant as he took the camera out of his mother's hands. "I've never seen him away from your place," Clark hissed into Lex's ear as his parents joined them. "I didn't think he could!"

Lex looked at him strangely as they moved into position. "He's not a ghost chained to a location, you know. And I don't lock the staff in the dungeon when they aren't working."

Clark blushed. "I know. I just... never thought about it," he finished lamely.

"Boys, hush and smile for the camera," Martha murmured.

"Cheese," Lex muttered, then smiled, wanting a good picture of them, of his family. His smile widened at the thought, and his eyes rose to Clark's face even as he continued to face the camera.

"Cheese," the Kents chorused, arms around each other and Lex as Enrique snapped the picture, saving the moment forever.

END

  since 02-03-07

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