Games 12: Charades

Orithain and Rina

August 2003

Disclaimer: Would that they belonged to us so that we could watch instead of just writing about it, but they donít.

"I donít know, it still feels like I cheated to get the job," Clark sighed, looking down at the campus newspaperís last two editions: his Ďexclusiveí interview with Superman and Chloeís with Lex. "I mean, I didnít even interview anyone; at least you talked to Lex. God, I feel like I donít deserve this job at all."

He sighed and looked over at Chloe, who was packing up her apartment for her move to Gotham City where sheíd snagged at job at the Gotham Examiner while Dave was going for his masterís degree in theater at Gotham U.

"Stop it, Clark!" Chloe smacked him with the newspaper she was using to wrap breakables for good measure. "You did a fantastic job of writing that story, and itís not like you didnít include the answers to questions everyone was asking. So what if you were the source of both questions and answers? To my way of thinking, thatís twice the work."

"Ow," he muttered, more from habit than feeling the hit. "And how is it more work when you know the answers ahead of time? Itís not like I had to do any probing to find out what I wanted."

"Because you didnít get to follow bits of information that the interviewee let slip. You had to plan the entire thing and make sure that you had a story. There were no leads to follow, no surprises, nothing but you... and you still turned in a story that had both Clark Kentís voice and Supermanís. Just make sure you donít really develop a split personality," she tried to joke, knowing even as she did that it was falling flat.

Clark gave a half-hearted grin and shrugged. "Sometimes I wonder if I am," he muttered, reaching for a glass and rolling it in newspaper before handing it over.

Lex swallowed hard where he was standing on the other side of the door, hand on the knob. Heíd been about to open the door to the small apartment Dave and Chloe had shared for the last three years when heíd heard what they were saying. Apparently Clark was having even more issues with Superman than even Lex had realized if he was doubting his writing abilities now. That was the one thing that had always been purely Clarkís, nothing to do with being an alien.

"Hi, guys," he greeted as he finally opened the door and joined them, exchanging a concerned glance with Chloe before leaning down to brush a kiss on top of Clarkís head.

"I told you, you should have let me pay for movers to do all of this."

"Nah, she likes her slave labor more then movers," Clark said, trying to joke to cover his earlier comments.

"Hey, Dave is her only slave! Youíre all mine, Kent." Lex slid down to the floor, managing to make even that look graceful, and leaned into Clark, an arm going around his waist.

"Have I told you how much I enjoyed your article about Superman? I thought you managed a great balance between farm boy and superhero. Even I learned a bit more about you."

"That wasnít what you said when I was writing it." Clark leaned against Lexís side for a moment. "It was more like Ďif you shout at that computer one more time, Iím throwing it out the window.í"

Lex grinned. "Well, I stand by that comment. Yelling at inanimate objects is particularly pointless. If you really need to work out your frustrations, you always have me." He mock leered at Clark. "But the rather painful genesis doesnít negate the results."

"I thought with you around, Kent didnít get frustrated," Dave panted as he entered the room and collapsed on the couch after carrying a load of boxes down to the van.

"Different frustrations, idiot," Clark shot back, half-heartedly chucking a wad of bubble wrap at the other man.

"Do you really want details?" Lex inquired, one pale eyebrow rising.

Chloe snickered at the expression of horror on Daveís face.

Dave shot to his feet. "I think Iíll work in the bedroom."

"Must be a hint that break timeís over," Clark murmured, reaching for a stack of CDs and putting them in a box. "God, how did you two get all this stuff?"

Lex twisted around to stare at him in disbelief. "Excuse me? As I recall, you had nearly this much, and that was for one person after only one year in the dorm!"

"No way, besides, who took a fleet of moving vans just to get his shoes from the penthouse to our place?" Clark grinned at the last.

Lex raised his chin and looked down his nose. "Just because you donít realize that thereís more to life than sneakers and boots doesnít mean weíre all sartorially challenged."

Glancing over at Chloe and grinning, Clark nodded. "Whatever you say, Imelda. Iím going to go help Dave in the bedroom. Maybe heíll let me look at Chloeís lingerie."

"Donít you dare!" Chloe gasped.

At the same moment, Lex said, "Forget it! I donít care how much you like the lace, Iím not wearing womenís lingerie!"

"Spoilsport!" Clark called over his shoulder as he headed toward the bedroom. "Oh, Dave..."

Lex laughed and reached for some of the newspaper, starting to wrap a glass. "Heís going to miss you both. Youíll have to come visit us often, and weíll visit you in Gotham, too. Just try not to terrorize Dick too much. Bruce will never forgive you if Dick flees the city to escape you."

Chloe looked up from her packing, smirking. "Oh, I wonít bother them, once they finally tell me what that big secret they have is. I know they arenít aliens, so thatís one thing off my list anyway."

"You know, Chloe, not every secret is meant to be ferreted out by you. Sometimes itís best to leave things alone." Lex had a feeling that no matter what he said, Batman and Robin would soon be letting someone else in on their secret, and he planned to laugh at them when it happened.

"Oh no," she laughed, shaking a finger at Lex. "Just because Clark is above down and dirty investigative journalism, it doesnít mean I am. I will find it out. It might just take some time - and calling them at inopportune moments."

Lex shook his head. "Just try to remember that some secrets are better kept from the public eye." While he wasnít concerned about Chloe knowing, he didnít want to think about what would happen to his friends if Chloe wrote a story exposing their alter egos.

"Hmm, it must be a really good one then," she mused. Seeing the look on Lexís face, she gave a sigh of frustration. "Have I told one single person about Clark? Have I?"

Lex sighed as well, leaning his back against the hideous puke green sofa that had been all Chloe and Dave could afford when they moved into the apartment. "No. You know I trust you, Chloe. But Bruce... well, heís a very private person. He makes me look gregarious."

"Iíve noticed that," she deadpanned. "Okay, I wonít bug them too much, plus itís not like the junior reporter on the totem pole is going to get any good stories anyway. Iíll probably be stuck writing pieces on Mrs. OíLearyís cat that won first prize at the local show or something."

"Iím sure the cat will be lucky to talk to you," Lex consoled, patting her on the head while making a mental note to call Bruce and suggest that he give Chloe a personal interview. While she might not be assigned a good story, there was no reason why she shouldnít get the advantage of knowing Bruce Wayne. He wasnít sure that she realized it, but Bruce considered her a friend and had already let her get to know him better than most people whoíd been acquainted with him for years. If he would talk to anyone, it would be Chloe, and that would make her career in Gotham City.

"Talking cats? Is this more Smallville weirdness?" Dave asked as he lugged another box out of the bedroom.

Clark followed behind, easily balancing three large boxes in his arms. "Where are there talking cats? Do you think itís meteor rock stuff?"

Lex and Chloe both rolled their eyes. "You know youíve been in Smallville too long when that actually makes sense," Lex sighed. "No, there are no talking cats, no new mutants, and no way either of you is getting out of helping to pack."

"Unless you want to find a nice sofa to sleep on," Chloe added, eyeing her boyfriend balefully.

"Damn, whereís a good emergency when you need it," Clark mock-whispered to Dave, who snickered, holding the box higher to deflect Chloeís glare.

"A short sofa," Lex said emphatically, arms crossed as he eyed Clark. "We really ought to take a break and leave the muscle-bound, brainless ones to do the manual labor, donít you think, Chloe?"

"You canít do that. Someone has to direct us dopes around," Clark grinned, balancing the boxes in one hand to open the door, then shifting them to a more conventional carrying style as he followed Dave out into the hall.

"We can supervise... from a comfy chair with cool drinks in hand." Lex smiled evilly even as he picked up a box and followed the other two out. "Tell me again why I couldnít hire a mover for you?" he muttered as he jabbed himself in the gut with a corner of the box.

"Because work is good for you," Chloe called out gleefully before going back to wrapping the remaining glasses.

"I delegate!" Lex yelled back as he disappeared down the hall. Shaking his head, he carried the box out to the truck and set it into Clarkís hands to balance properly with the others.

"And to think that only a few short years ago, people trembled in fear of my name."

"If it helps any, people are scared of your dog," Dave offered.

Clark snickered. "Who can blame them?"

"Ha ha," Lex muttered sourly. "A real pair of comedians. Iím going back to help Chloe. And you might want to find out if Dave has a sofa you can sleep on, funny guy."

"Heíd share his bed," Clark answered, not missing a beat.

"The hell I will! You snore, Kent!"

"You are not sleeping with Dave and Chloe!" Lex exclaimed at the same instant, whipping around to face him again.

"Chloe might like it," Clark replied, setting the boxes in the moving van and keeping his back to Lex so he wouldnít see him grinning.

"Exactly my point," Lex growled, grabbing hold of Clarkís arm and pulling him around to face him. "I donít share."

Clark leaned in and kissed Lex on the nose. "Then donít tell me Iím sharing a couch with Dave."

"Youíre going to be chained to our bed."

"Mmm, I love it when you get kinky on me, Luthor."

Dave gagged and started walking back toward the apartment building. "Work first, then you can get all bondagy. Got it?"

"Ooo, we have Daveís permission. Be still my heart," Lex snarked, waiting for Clark and catching his hand as they started inside.

"Well, you know we have Chloeís - sheíll even offer to film us, Iím sure," Clark chuckled.

"Tell her to chain up her own boyfriend if she wants to film that. Iím not sharing the sight of you like that with anyone." Lex pressed closer, their hips and legs brushing as they walked.

Clark grinned and tightened his fingers around Lexís. "Thatís the first time Iíve ever heard you say that."

Lexís hand tightened possessively. "Are you trying to tell me that Iím growing up?" he chuckled. "Iíd rather keep you all to myself than show off what I have."

"Definitely growing up - usually you want me nude and lewd in public."

"Now I just want you nude and lewd in private," Lex retorted, wrinkling his nose at Clark. "Which isnít to say that I donít still want to go clubbing occasionally. So long as you do all of your dancing with me."

"Who else am I going to dance with?" Clark asked, holding open the elevator door as they walked inside it. "Well, except for Chloe and Mom and Dave that one time."

One eyebrow rose but Lex didnít mention the episode with the red kryptonite and Clarkís dance with... he couldnít even remember the womanís name. "Letís just keep it that way," he replied. Three years later and he still got jealous when he remembered Clark wanting someone more than him.

"You got it, Krillin." Clark let go of Lexís hand and hugged him close. "Like I want anyone else." Kissing Lex, Clark smiled, wondering why the other man even thought he might want anyone else.

"Smart boy. Remind me to reward you for that later." Lex leaned against Clark for the last few steps, content to let his weight be supported. "I wonít even mention a certain primary-colored suit."

"Good, and I wonít mention a certain orange one either."

The elevator door slid open again to reveal Chloe and Dave standing there, their arms full of boxes.

"Going down?" Dave asked, piling his boxes into Lexís arms as Chloe put hers in Clarkís.

"How did I go from feared corporate shark to downtrodden gofer?" Lex grumbled. "This is all your fault, Clark."

"This is all your fault, Lex," Clark muttered as he flew through the air, racing toward a giant mechanical... thing that was menacing downtown Metropolis. Forget spending a relaxing evening at home, he was spending his battling something that looked like a cybernetic octopus.

Back at the house Lex stood in the back yard, arm still curved around the empty space that had been occupied by Clark only moments before. "What the...?" Sighing, he let his arm fall back to his side and exchanged resigned looks with the dogs. "Looks like weíre on our own for a while, guys."

He headed inside to turn the TV on and see what had drawn Clark away.

Picking himself out of the rut heíd plowed in the street, Clark frowned and flew at the machine again, aiming for a leg to try and disable the thing. Several buildings were already in shambles because of their battle, and he just hoped no one had been hurt.

Watching the battle on the news, Lex winced when Clark slammed into the street... several feet into the street. He relaxed slightly when Clark finally went for a leg and fixed himself a drink. "I told you physics and geometry would be helpful in real life," he muttered, watching as Superman finally knocked it off balance.

Now that the machine was teetering, Clark got closer to the body, tearing the appendage from the body, then digging into the electrical guts to incapacitate it.

Lex suddenly slammed his drink down onto the table hard enough to make the thick glass top tremble and leaned forward to glare at the screen. "I donít believe it," he growled, eyes fixed on the tiny image of Lois Lane picking her way through the wreckage toward the smoking machine and Clark. Especially Clark.

Relieved that the machine seemed to be decommissioned, Clark stepped back away from the steaming pile of junk heíd turned it into. "Miss Lane," he said, sighing inwardly when the reporter smiled brightly and laid a hand on his arm.

Lex ground his teeth when Lois Lane laid hands on his lover, and he vowed to have Clark fumigated when he got home. "I know you can hear me," he growled. "Get rid of that skanky bitch and get your ass home where it belongs."

Assuring Lois that he was fine, Clark gently disengaged himself from her grasp, wincing when he thought of just how pissed Lex was going to be at her having touched him. Hefting the mechanical carcass onto his shoulder, he took to the air again, carrying it off.

Lex glared at the simpering reporter watching his man, and he vowed to remind Clark exactly who he belonged to as soon as he got home. Arms crossed over his chest, he paced the study, only the dogs watching him as he fumed.

Whipping through a change of clothes, Clark strolled out of the pool house, across the yard, and into the house. "I want to know who the hell keeps making those things," he sighed, going into the kitchen to get a soda. "Thatís the third this month."

"Probably Lois Lane so she can have another opportunity to paw you!"

"Lex..." Clark sighed, turning to look at the older man and bending down to pat both the dogs. "You know that isnít true."

"Do I? I wouldnít put it past her," Lex growled, taking another swallow of his scotch as he stood in front of the window. "Sheís determined to get you, to get Superman, that is."

"Told you we should have redesigned the costume," Clark said, before growing serious as he straightened up. "She might be trying to get me, but she never will," he said, sliding an arm around Lexís waist.

"Damn right," Lex snapped though he was slowly relaxing into Clarkís embrace. "Someday, years from now, when you finally decide to go public, I want to be right there beside you, smirking at her to let her know why she could never win."

"Smirk all you want, baby," Clark grinned, relieved. "So, does this mean youíre going to go all caveman on me now? Just remember, I want to try to figure out where the hell those machines are coming from once weíre done."

"Thatís assuming I leave you two brain cells to rub together," Lex laughed, already delving beneath Clarkís clothes in search of the warm skin he wanted. "You smiled at her. I think you need reminding who youíre supposed to be smiling at."

"Ummm... you?" Clark asked, giving in and zooming them upstairs to the bedroom.

"Exactly. Just keep remembering that." The moment they reached the room, Lex sank to his knees on the thick green carpet, pulling Clarkís jeans down as he went. He paused only long enough to admire the body before him, then took the still soft flesh into his mouth, suckling as Clark filled.

Leaning back against the wall next to the window, Clark groaned and closed his eyes, curving his hands around Lexís head. "Remember what?" he murmured. "That I love you?"

Lex hummed his agreement, fingers lightly stroking the smooth skin behind Clarkís balls, then gliding along the shallow crevice. He loved touching Clark, exploring him and drawing soft sounds of pleasure out of him.

"Lex..." Clark groaned, arching his hips but then pulling back. "Want to come with you in me," he rasped, drawing the older man to his feet and kissing him hungrily.

Lex had planned to suck Clark dry and then fuck him, but he was nothing if not versatile... and far from foolish enough to say no to a request like that! He kissed Clark back as he rocked against him, their erections gliding easily against one another. He took a step back, drawing Clark with him, intent on reaching the bed.

Managing to strip out of his jeans and t-shirt as he walked and get Lex out of his clothes as well, Clark dropped onto the bed, spreading his legs and reaching for the lube to hand it to Lex.

With a thick coating of the slick gel on his fingers and cock, Lex looked at Clark and simply froze. He stared at Clark, hard, naked and sprawled on their bed, and all he could think of was the punch line of a very old joke. "Acres and acres and itís all mine," he murmured, licking his lips as he lowered himself to hands and knees straddling Clark.

Knowing better than to ask Lex what the hell he was talking about and in all reality not really caring, Clark simply reached up and pulled Lex in for another kiss, devouring the other manís mouth hungrily.

Yielding to the tug, Lex collapsed on top of Clark, both men moaning at the contact. "Never going to let you go," Lex rasped, biting at Clarkís throat as he rose to his knees again long enough to position himself and push inside.

"Never want you to," Clark whispered, pulling his knees back closer to his chest to take Lex deeper inside himself.

Panting as he slowly possessed Clark, Lex allowed his blue eyes to speak for him, showing everything he felt as he stared into Clarkís gaze, pleasure shivering through him. With one hand supporting him to allow him to thrust harder, the other moved over Clarkís body, scratching and tweaking sensitive spots.

Shuddering as he was claimed, Clark arched up, lifting his head so that he could kiss Lex, claiming the other manís mouth just as he himself was being claimed by Lexís possessive lovemaking.

Lex gentled his movements, rocking languidly into Clark and reveling in the sensations. "Want to stay like this forever," he murmured between sucking kisses, fingers lacing through Clarkís.

"Think Iím going to complain?" Clark breathed, biting down lightly on Lexís lower lip and tightening his body around Lexís cock.

"You will when I donít let you come," Lex teased, arching his back a bit more so his belly rubbed against Clarkís erection.

Clark froze and opened his eyes wider to gaze up at Lex. "Are you planning on doing that?"

Lex had to laugh at expression of sheer dismay. "Not this time, Clarkbar," he chuckled. "I want to feel you come. We can play with the cockring later."

His sigh of relief aborted as Lex finished his comment, Clark groaned. "Would it be too much to wish that another mechanical thing comes to town before that happened?" he gasped, tightening his fingers around Lexís and grinding up into the other manís weight.

Lex tsked, grinning wickedly. "Definitely. I love making you squirm and beg. If the bad guys only knew the real way to bring Superman to his knees..." he snickered.

Clark snorted, though it came out more like a moan. "Like Iíd want to be on my knees in front of any of them."

"Glad to hear it. I donít share well." Unable to hold back, Lex started to move a little faster, groaning at the added sensation. "Besides, theyíd never get you out of the suit."

Deciding that coming was a much better idea then talking at this point in time, Clark kissed Lex deeply, surging up underneath him and flipping them both over to sit astride Lex, groaning as the move drove Lexís shaft even deeper into him.

The sudden move made Lex cry out and his fingers tighten on Clarkís. He lay beneath his lover, hands interlaced, gazes fixed on one another, and he thrust upward, driving into Clark, needing to come, to make Clark come.

"God, Lex, fuck..." Clark rasped, leaning in to rub his cock against Lexís stomach, then groaning and stiffening as his orgasm shot through him, making him convulse around the other manís erection as it rubbed against his prostate.

Lexís eyes opened wide when Clark suddenly clenched down on him, and he cried out as well, teetering on the brink of his own climax. He rode out Clarkís, gasping and moaning with every ripple and spasm, then flipped them over again to power into Clark a few more times before his own orgasm overcame him. He cried Clarkís name, stiffening and arching above him, then slumped atop the sticky, sweaty body, totally sated and content.

Loosening his fingers from Lexís, Clark wrapped his arms around his loverís body and closed his eyes, not caring if he moved again that evening. "So I take it Iím forgiven for smiling at you-know-who?" he murmured.

"I suppose. But youíd better superspeed it back to our bed whenever you do so I can remind you again who youíre supposed to be smiling at!"

Lex tried to grumble, but he was too satisfied... and grumbles lost their effect when you were nuzzling the other person.

Clark chuckled quietly. "Donít I always? And would it help if I said I was thinking of you when I smiled?"

Lex made a noise suspiciously like a purr. "You know it does. I am so owned," he sighed, but he was smiling as he did. "Have I ever told you how grateful I am that you somehow ended up here, with me? I canít imagine my life with you on another planet."

"Me either." Clark shifted a bit and reached for the sheet, drawing it up and over them both. "I donít want to think of what my life would be without you."

"Glad we wonít ever have to find out." Lex squirmed a bit until he was comfortable, sprawled in his favorite position atop Clark, his temple resting on the leather collar around Clarkís neck.

"Ditto, Ďcause it would really suck."

"Okay, is my tie straight?" For the millionth time, Clark looked in the mirror in the master bath, adjusting his shirt collar and raking his fingers through his hair. This was stupid. Considering everything heíd done, what was starting a new job? But, no matter what, it was important, and he was nervous. Sick to your stomach nervous.

Rolling his eyes, Lex repeated for seemed the thousandth time, "Your tie is fine, Clark. With your glasses you look totally different from Superman. Your socks match your suit fine. Your wallet is in your pocket, and so is your cell phone."

Hearing the amused exasperation in Lexís voice, Clark sighed. "Iím being an idiot, arenít I?"

"Well... yes. But youíre my cute idiot."

"Thanks for the support," Clark said dryly.

"Iím always here for you," Lex replied grandly, a grin breaking free. "Think youíre going to be able to meet me for lunch? I can make the time whenever youíre free."

"Not sure," Clark answered, trying not to smile in response to Lexís grin. "It depends on what they have me doing today, I guess. Donít want to make the boss mad by telling him I have to go meet my boyfriend for lunch on my first day, you know?"

"You should have let me buy the damn paper," Lex grumbled, but he wasnít serious, and Clark knew it. "Anyway, call me if you can and Iíll meet you. Otherwise Iíll see you tonight. Donít get so distracted that you forget your way home."

"Iíll call you either way," Clark promised, ignoring the distracted comment. "And Iíll either see you at lunch or tonight." He leaned in and kissed Lex. "Love you, Krillin."

"Love you too... Goku," Lex sighed. Heíd been reduced to cartoon nicknames. And after this many years, he had to admit, if only to himself, that they werenít going away and heíd even grown somewhat fond of them.

"Call me if you win the Pulitzer today."

"If?" Clark chuckled, hugging Lex close then letting go before he wasnít able to. "Thatís when, bud."

Giving the dogs a goodbye pat, he ducked out the door to the garage, climbing into the black BMW sedan he now drove. It had been hard, but heíd realized that his truck wasnít suited for daily driving in the city, so Baby was retired to the castle in Smallville on the promise that theyíd use her whenever they visited.

Traffic was light as heíd left quite a bit early for his first day, and Clark found a parking space with relative ease. Hoping that nothing would need Supermanís attention today as he didnít want to try to explain that absence his first day on the job, he climbed out of the car, locked it, and walked toward the Planetís headquarters.

Realizing that he still had half an hour to kill before he was due to meet with Perry White, Clark bought himself a coffee and the morningís edition of the paper, settling himself on a chair in the coffee shop and trying to concentrate on the news, which happened to include another of Lois Laneís stories about Superman and his latest battle against the mechanical monsters that still were showing up with alarming frequency in Metropolis.

Thus distracted, the half hour passed quickly for Clark, and it was almost with a sense of relief that he threw his cup away, put the paper in the recycling bin, and headed for the security desk to have them call upstairs.

Within moments a freckled redhead, who couldnít possibly be as young as he appeared, bounced out of the elevator with Clarkís brand new press pass. "Hey, heís okay, Tom," he said to the security guard, who was well used to Jimmy Olsonís energetic approach to life. "Meet our newest reporter, Clark Kent. CK, meet Tom." Not giving the men time to do more than nod, he drew Clark into the elevator, talking a mile a minute.

"Everyoneís dying to meet you since Perry teamed you up with Lois. Heís never done that before, so you really must have impressed him. Lois though, well, good luck, CK. Sheís not happy about having a partner. But sheíll come around if you pull your weight... though she scares the heck out of me most times.

"Are you really dating Lex Luthor? Wow, thatís wild, a reporter and Metropolisí most famous inhabitant. You gonna do an exclusive on him?

"Oh, by the way, Iím Jimmy Olson," he finally introduced himself before pausing for breath.

It took Clark a few seconds to recover from that onslaught of information, but when he did, two things stuck in his mind - that Jimmy knew a hell of a lot about him and that, even worse, he was going to be partnered with the woman who had a severe fixation on Superman. God, Lex was going to kill her - or maybe him.

"Good to meet you, Jimmy," Clark said. "And I donít know about the exclusive.... Lois Lane? Iím being partnered with Lois Lane?" Clark wondered if the earth could just open up and swallow him now.

"Yup. You should have heard what she had to say about being partnered at all, never mind with a Ďsmall town hick who wouldnít know a Pulitzer from a cow pattyí," Jimmy snickered. "Actually, Iím surprised you didnít. I thought they could hear her in Gotham City."

"Great," Clark practically moaned, wondering if life as Lex Luthorís boy-toy really was that terrible a thing to consider. "Well, I suppose Mr. White had his reasons, hopefully ones heíll share with us both."

"Kent! What are you waiting for? Get in here!" Perry White himself yelled down from the door to his office, cigar clamped between his teeth. "Lane, get off the damn phone and get your fat ass up here!"

Lois whirled around so fast she almost gave herself whiplash and glared up at her editor. "Iíll have you know Iím the perfect weight for my height," she snarled, though she did peer over her designer-clad shoulder as she stood up.

"Donít get used to this, Smallville," she snapped as she went up the stairs, Clark trailing behind her. "I work alone."

Clark shot an almost desperate look toward Jimmy, who was backing away, hands in the air, an apologetic expression on his face. I bet Chloeís first day went better than this, he sighed to himself, following Lois into the editorís office, closing the door behind them and waiting politely until she took a seat.

"They didnít teach you what chairs are for in Hicksville?" Lois asked snidely as she crossed one silk-clad leg over the other and leaned back to glare at Perry.

"Play nice, Lane. Kentís your partner and thatís it." When Lois opened her mouth to argue, he glared at her. "Did you not see the sign on my door that says Ďeditorí?

"Now go interview Councilman Larkin. Somethingís going on at the city waterworks, and I expect you two to find out what." He looked down at his desk then raised his eyes to glare at them. "Why are you still here?!"

Lois sighed and stood up. "Come on, Smallville. Looks like Iím stuck with you for now."

Deciding heíd better take a stand now or she was going to run rampant over him, Clark waited until they were outside the office to have his say. "Itís Clark or Kent, not Smallville. You donít like partners, thatís not my problem. Iím going to do the best job I can with or without your assistance. You want to complain, go complain. Iím going to that interview."

Lois stared after him as he headed to the elevator without waiting to see if she was following. "Well, well, maybe this wonít be so bad after all," she murmured. "I should let you go alone if only to try to explain to Perry why you didnít work with your new partner, but letís see how this goes. Dazzle me, Smallville."

Turning when he heard Lois come up beside him, Clark offered a smile. "So, am I driving or are you?"

"I will. Iím not about to be seen in some pickup truck," Lois sniffed. "My clothes would get wrinkled."

Clark couldnít help but snicker at that remark. When Lois regarded him curiously, he shrugged. "You sound like Lex." There was no point in explaining anything more as he was sure his home life was common knowledge - a fact Jimmy Olson had already demonstrated.

Lois regarded him, eyebrows raised. "So you really are involved with Lex Luthor. Yet youíre working for a living?" She ignored his question about the story for the moment, intent on chasing this one.

"I donít sponge off people," Clark said flatly, making sure she understood he was speaking about their situation too.

"Good for you."

Clark was annoyed by her tone but changed the subject before he gave her what for. "So weíre trying to find out whatís going on with the waterworks. Is this in regard to the lowering water tables or possible contamination?"

"Thereís a rumor that the cityís water is being contaminated by uncontrolled wastewater from a plant," she continued, switching gears without pause. "And did you know that Vincit, the corporation that bought several old plants a couple of years ago, is actually owned by Lionel Luthor?"

"That would explain quite a bit," Clark murmured. "But I wonít make snap judgments. Do we have any way of testing the water those plants are pumping out? If they are the source, someoneís got to be paying off the DES and the city inspectors."

"You know if Luthorcorpís behind it, or Lexcorp if you prefer, Iím not going to sweep it under the rug because of your boyfriend."

As the elevator doors opened to let them out in the parking garage, Clark looked at Lois levelly. "I wouldnít want you to."

"Glad weíre clear on that. I donít actually think itís junior. Senior is the more criminally inclined of that family tree, but Iíll follow the story wherever it leads." Lois pushed the lock release on her beloved BMW and slid behind the wheel with a sigh of pleasure.

Thinking that Lois and Lex were alike in so many ways it was spooky, Clark settled in the passengerís seat, his long legs crowded under the dashboard. "Lionelís trouble," he said, trying to find the lever to move the seat back.

Afraid that Clarkís knees would damage the dashboard, Lois told him where to find the control, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he pushed the seat back. "I think everyoneís aware that Luthor senior is somewhat lacking in the milk of human kindness," she replied dryly. "But I suppose youíre going to tell me that Lex is a perfect angel."

Clark sighed, determined that this wasnít going to turn into a dirt session on Lex Luthor. "He has his faults like everyone does, but compared to Lionel, he is an angel. Now, what exactly are we looking for from Larkin? Hints that heís complicit in this?"

Lois smiled slightly as she replied, "That or that he knows more than heís telling. Somethingís off about him, but it be simply that he knows something and is afraid to speak up rather than being involved himself."

"So are we going to hit him from both sides or play nice reporter, mean reporter?"

"You mean you can do something other than nice?" Lois asked dryly, glancing at him. "No offense, Smallville, but you ooze niceness."

"Clark or Kent, not Smallville," Clark reminded her. "And I was planning on you being the mean one. Heíll probably be spilling his guts before you get two words out."

"And I meant that we donít really have any other options since you couldnít be anything but the good cop. But Iíll enjoy scaring him into telling us what he knows."

"And Iíll pick up the pieces and get him coherent again."

Lois didnít reply, though she was starting to think that maybe Perry wasnít suffering from the early onset of senility after all. She and Kent might make a damned good team after all. "Keep an eye out for a parking spot," she ordered as she pulled into the underground lot of the building where the city councilmen had their offices.

"Yes maíam," Clark answered, grinning widely when she flashed him a murderous look.

"Ten more minutes and we would have had it all," Clark growled as they rode the elevator down from the Councilmanís office. "Ten to one that was Lionel on the phone to him and thatís why he grew some balls again."

"Sucker bet," Lois growled right back. "We need to find out more about our good friend Councilman Larkin. If heís as dirty as he seems, there has to be a paper trail somewhere."

Clark grinned. "Time to buzz the internet?"

"You got it... Smallville." Lois grinned at him. "And you can spring for the Chinese."

"Hey!" Clark laughed. "Youíre the one making the big bucks here!"

"Yeah, right, on a reporterís salary?" Lois snorted. "Youíre the one shacked up with Daddy Warbucks."

"If thatís a joke about lack of hair, Iím going to have to fry your hard drive," Clark laughed. He had to admit, the past few hours heíd spent with Lois had given him an appreciation for her skills, and since he wasnít fending off her advances as he did while in costume, he found that he liked her. "I pay my own way, Lane - only problem is, I donít get paid for two weeks."

She rolled her eyes. "Fine, I wouldnít want you to weep into your lo mein. Iíll get lunch this time. But donít think Iím going to carry you. Once you get paid, youíre buying!" She pulled up outside her favorite Chinese takeout and hopped out. "Coming? If not, Iím picking!"

"Is that supposed to scare me?" Clark called, climbing out of the car and hurrying to catch up to his partner. "I live with a guy who doesnít know the words sweet and sour. Order anything, Lois, it wonít scare me."

"Sweet and sour!" Lois wrinkled her nose. "I think thereís a fast food American Chinese place in the food court of that building across the street. Sweet and sour!" She shook her head. "I suppose you want a fork too?"

"Get me an order of lo mein and some chopsticks and Iíll be fine. I wonít embarrass you, I promise."

"Youíre not eating in my car!" Lois glared at him. "Weíll eat back at the office. That way we can get started on our research at the same time."

Eyeing Lois as he would a rabid dog, Clark nodded slowly. "Okay. No eating in cars, just while weíre working. Any by the way, do I get a desk or anything or do I have to hang out at yours?"

Lois stared at him before she realized that Perry had sent them out literally the moment Clark arrived and started to laugh. "Yes, you have a desk, near mine actually," she chuckled. "I think you may even have a coffee cup."

"But is it clean?" Clark asked dubiously before grinning.

Lois rolled her eyes. "I know Luthor has servants and appliances and such, but we mere mortals have this thing called dish soap and a cloth. It does amazing things for dirty cups."

Clark shook his head. "Lois, my parents have a farm. A farm, got it? No dishwasher except for me, no catered meals and no cleaning service. I think I know how to wash a mug."

"Good, then you can wash mine too."

"Only if my name goes first on the byline."

"When Perry suggests a threesome!"

"With him or Jimmy?" Clark shot back.

Lois burst into laughter. "Not bad... Clark. There may be hope for you after all."

"Glad to hear it, Iím going to appreciate getting home in one piece today."

"Probably just as well. Iíd hate to have your boyfriend after my blood." Lois grinned.

"Yeah, itís so hard to clean out of carpeting," Clark nodded, laughing along with Lois as they ordered their food and waited for it to be made.

"Youíll be happy to know I survived," Clark called, walking in the door from the garage and greeting the dogs before looking around for Lex. "Lex? Where are you?"

"In the kitchen trying to figure out why the garbage disposal decided to shoot an eggshell across the kitchen," Lex grumbled in reply, coming down the hall. "Stay away from it, I think itís out to get us."

He hugged Clark and kissed him lightly. "So how was the ace reporterís first day?"

Deciding he didnít want to know how or why the disposal was running rampant, Clark grinned. "Actually, it was great. Lois and I interviewed Councilman Larkin and spent the afternoon digging into his past. You wonít believe who heís in bed with - not literally of course." He shuddered at the thought.

"Lois?" Lex zeroed in on the word, the rest of Clarkís comment barely heard. "And why were you and Lois doing anything together?" There was a hint of a possessive growl in his voice, and he was clutching the kitchen towel heíd been drying his hands on so tightly he was about to tear it.

Clark winced, cursing his slip up. Heíd wanted to break that news to Lex in a much easier way - like when the other man was tired and blissed out from being made love to for hours.

"Sheís my partner," he said, mumbling the words together.

Lex froze absolutely. "Sheís your what?" he asked, brows drawing down into a frown. He could not have heard correctly. There was no way that grabby reporter was going to be around his Clark all day, every day.

"Perry assigned us to work together," Clark answered, looking as if heíd rather face a score of monsters than Lexís reaction. "She wasnít too thrilled about it, believe me. Kept making remarks about Smallville and me being a hick, but by the end of the interview we were getting along."

Lex growled, reminding himself that he trusted Clarkówhich he didóand it wasnít Clarkís fault that he was partnered with the bitch in heat who kept drooling on his alter ego.

The sound of fabric ripping drew his gaze down to the white rags in his hands that used to be a hand towel, and he cursed.

"Are you sure I canít have her killed?" he asked almost wistfully. "Iíd be happy to get you another pet."

"No, Lex," Clark said gently, stepping forward to take the shredded towel from the older manís hands. "Would it improve your mood at all if I told you we think Lionel is behind something dirty?"

"God, no. Well, yeah, Iíd love to see him get whatís coming to him, but people still persist in thinking I must have something to do with the things he does because we share the same last name."

"Well, Lois seems willing to judge you on your own merit." Clark saw Lexís eyes tighten and backtracked. "Okay, no more mentioning her name tonight, I promise!"

Lex ran a finger over the leather band just visible on Clarkís collarbone through the open neck of his shirt. "I really wish I could mark you sometimes, just for a little while," he murmured.

"Youíre smart. Figure out a way."

"The only thing that weakens you at all is kryptonite," Lex pointed out, still petting the leather and the skin beneath it. "Weíd have to experiment to find out how much would weaken you without hurting you, and youíd end up sick in the process."

Clark shrugged, keeping his eyes trained on Lexís, his expression one of love and trust. "Once you move it away from me, I get better. If you want to experiment, weíll experiment."

"God no!" Lex shuddered at the thought of Clark in pain. "Even that small stone in Lanaís necklace weakened you incredibly. Iíd never hurt you like that."

"Lex..." Clark sighed and set his hands on his loverís shoulders. "If itíll make you feel better, do it. So we donít use a stone, maybe we can grind up a chunk, mix it with something to make it less potent. Hell, youíre the scientist, figure it out."

Lex frowned, but his scientific curiosity was aroused, and he was already considering mass ratios and safety factors. "No," he mumbled absently, his blue eyes focused inward, "the only thing that blocks it is lead, and thatís absolute. It would have to be a minute quantity, just enough to weaken you without causing the other physical reactions, and it definitely could not touch you directly. Mass and distance are the key factors."

Clark grinned, turning Lex and nudging him up the stairs to his office. "You figure it out, Einstein. Iíll make dinner, then maybe we can see if it works."

"Clark... are you sure?" Lex was intrigued with the idea, but he was worried about Clarkís reaction. "I mean, having scientists experiment on you was your worst nightmare. Do you really want to do this?"

Clark gave Lex another nudge up the stairs. "Have I ever done anything I didnít want to? The way I figure it, even if itís uncomfortable, youíll make me forget about it in the long run."

Lex started to laugh and finally began moving up the stairs. "So itís all on me, is it? I have to admit I like the idea of you going to work with a mark that I left on you... Superman can just use makeup if necessary." He smirked.

"Makeup? No way, Luthor! One does not fight crime in makeup, ask Wonder Woman!"

"By the way, donít make any plans for lunch tomorrow." Lex had considered surprising him but realized that it was likely heíd miss Clark if he tried.

Shaking his head, Clark turned to go back downstairs, then looked back over his shoulder. "Iíll pencil you in," he chuckled.

"Well then, Iím looking forward to hearing Superman explain a hickey to the oh-so-charming Ms. Lane." Lex smirked again. "And where are you going?"

Clark groaned. "I was going to make dinner while you researched your diabolical experiments."

"Hmm, I suppose thatís acceptable... so long as you kiss me first." Lex halted on the stairs, arms crossed over his chest, and looked down his nose at Clark.

"I suppose I could do that." Clark grinned and moved back up the steps to give Lex a chaste kiss. "Like that?"

The blue eyes narrowed. "What do you think?"

Catching Lexís face between his hands, Clark kissed him lingeringly. "How about that?"

"Much better. Now go make us something to eat while I figure out how to turn you into my helpless sex-slave." Lex brushed another kiss over Clarkís lips before continuing upstairs to change and start running simulations.

Clark laughed to himself as he headed down to the kitchen to start dinner. The dogs padded in and flopped on the floor, looking up at him, and he shook his head. "Good thing I love that man or Iíd be in real trouble."

Upstairs Lex changed quickly, indifferent to the fate of his suit as he tossed it onto a chair, already mumbling formulas as he considered the problem. Comfortably dressed in the sweats that he often wore around the house when no one was likely to drop in, he settled behind his desk and started running simulations to determine how much kryptonite would weaken Clark to human levels without harming him.

Having thrown together a pot of chili, Clark let it simmer while he went upstairs and changed, laughing to himself as he hung up Lexís suit and put his shirt in the dry cleaning bag. He peeked into Lexís office, but the other man was still hard at work, so he left him alone at it.

"We need to get him working on alternative fuel sources," he commented to Gohan, grabbing a couple of tennis balls and taking the dogs outside for a run.

Satisfied that heíd considered every variable and his results were as accurate as possible without a real test, something that still made him nervous, Lex pushed back from the desk and stretched. He blinked in surprise when he realized that it was pitch dark out, the evening having slipped past unnoticed. "So much for celebrating Clarkís first day at work," he mumbled, vowing to make it up to him.

Lex headed downstairs in search of the rest of his family, hoping Clark had waited for him for dinner.

Looking up from his laptop, Clark smiled as Lex came in the living room. "So? Howíd it go?"

"Well, I think Iíve figured it out, but thereís only one way to be sure." Lex frowned as he thought about it. All his data told him that he had the right proportions and that this would work, but... it was Clark.

"Well, letís eat dinner, then you can try it out - unless you think I might puke, in which case you can eat and Iíll wait."

"No, you should be fine if Iím doing this right. You were half right, you know. Diluting the effects is part of it. I set a tiny chip of kryptonite, less than a milligram, in a lead cuff. The cuff and sides of the setting will prevent it from touching you, but itíll be close enough to weaken you.

"I think." He sighed, reaching over to take Clarkís hand. "All the data and every simulation says Iím right, but... I donít want to hurt you."

Clark turned his hand over and tightened his fingers around Lexís. "I trust you, Lex. You wonít hurt me."

"God, Clark, how can you trust me that much?" Lex clutched him, eyes falling to the leather band around his own right wrist that had come to symbolize their relationship for him.

"Thatís an easy one." Clark set his laptop on the floor and pulled Lex into his lap. "I love you and I know you."

Lex laughed a bit wildly. "Most people would say those two statements are mutually exclusive." He slowly relaxed into Clarkís embrace. "Iím so lucky I found you," he whispered, curling into Clark, his temple resting on the leather band Clark wore.

"Lex, we donít have to do this if you donít want to," Clark said soothingly, stroking his hand over Lexís back.

"Thatís just the problem. I do want to. So much. I never realized how much I wanted to see a mark on you that I put there," Lex whispered, raising his eyes to meet Clarkís gaze.

"Then do it," Clark answered before kissing Lex tenderly. "Show everyone Iím yours."

A shudder ran down Lexís spine, and he deepened the kiss, possessing Clark. When he finally raised his head, he smiled into Clarkís eyes. "Dinner first. Weíre going to need the energy. And weíll see who lasts longer when weíre on equal footing," he purred, looking intrigued by the thought.

"Hmmm, now youíre scaring me, Mr. Luthor. I think the thought of having the worldís strongest man helpless at your feet turns you on."

"Damn right," Lex chuckled. "Bullets bounce off him, bombs donít even muss his hair, but Lex Luthor leaves hickeys on him. Think thatíd work for Supermanís publicity?"

"Sure, it would make him seem more human rather than the big, blue Boy Scout."

"Just as long as Lois Laneís not the one he seems more human to!" Lex retorted. "She already thinks heís much too approachable as it is. You sure I canít stick a Ďsoldí sign on you when you go out? Or the next time someone asks you what the S stands for, tell them that!" Despite his real possessiveness, Lex was laughing as he made the suggestion, able to imagine Clarkís expression if he ever had that conversation.

"Theyíd probably ask who the realtor was," Clark sighed.

"Tell them it was a private sale. And the ownerís definitely not in it for the resale value."

"Are you saying I have no resale value?"

"Iím saying it doesnít matter since Iím never letting you go."

Clark smiled. "Good answer. Now come on and letís go eat. We still have work in the morning no matter how evil you get tonight."

"Which is just so wrong... then again, I can keep myself smiling all day by imagining you squirming on your hard chair after tonight." Lex beamed at him.

"Lex... you do realize Iím going to be going to work in a building full of reporters, right...?" Clark asked, beginning to realize just what heíd gotten himself into here. "Maybe we should wait for the weekend."

Lex shook his head slowly but very definitely. "Oh no, this was your idea, Clark. Youíre not backing out now. Besides, it wouldnít be nearly as good that way. Do you have any idea how many board meeting Iíve spent trying not to shift in my chair? And thatís with the way I heal! I may even bring a donut when I come pick you up for lunch."

"Ass," Clark growled, swatting at Lex but taking care not to really hit him.

"Thatís what youíll be feeling." Lex smirked as he slid an arm around Clarkís waist. "So whatís for dinner, honey?"

Knowing when he was beaten, Clark just sighed. "Chili and cornbread and a salad. Thereís beer, if you want, or iced tea."

"One beer, but no more. I wouldnít want to miss a single detail of tonight."

Clark paused. "Just so you know, you are not videotaping this. Got it?"

Lex shook his head emphatically. "I would never document how to weaken you, Clark. No one should be able to get through our security, but I wouldnít take the chance, not with your life."

"I just meant because I didnít want it dragged out every time you wanted to crow over it, but yeah, thatís a reason too."

"Clark, I have a very good memory. Iíll drag it out and crow plenty... and I will get a picture, a still shot, of you with a hickey."

"Okay. That you can do - but you canít crow about it more then once a month!"

"Unless you deserve it... or Lois gets grabby!"

They walked into the kitchen and Clark started serving up the chili as Lex carried the cornbread and salad to the table. "Maybe I can tell her Supes mentioned his soul mate or something the next time I Ďinterviewí him."

"You do that." Lex knew he was being unreasonable, but watching Lois practically swoon over his lover infuriated him. He wished he could claim Clark publicly, all of Clark. "But at least you and I know heís taken."

Clark sighed, but smiled. "And always will be. Now eat, Luthor; mad geniusing is hard work."

"But Iím so very good at it." Lex grinned as he sat down, patting Sheriís head as he did. "Mmm, Iím so glad your mom shared her recipe with you. This smells great."

"Hey! Iíve adjusted the recipe some. Itís my own now."

Lex raised an eyebrow. "You added more hot sauce, Clark."

Clark pouted. "And bell peppers."

"How could I have forgotten those?" Lex rolled his eyes. "Sit and eat, pouting boy."

"For that, you can rinse the dishes and pots," Clark answered, sitting down and helping himself to some cornbread.

"You do realize that the dishwasher actually washes the dishes for you, right? Hence the name dishwasher. Thereís no rinsing required."

"You still need to rinse them if you donít want to clog everything up."

"No, you donít. That was dishwashers twenty years ago. Itís called progress."

"Fine, then you can put the dishes in the dishwasher!"

"Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dearótill we get upstairs, and then itís whatever I say."

"Keep it up and Iím going to have a headache."

Lex leaned over the table and kissed him. "No, you wonít. Even if you could, you wouldnít tonight."

Clark sighed and went back to eating, slipping Gohan a bit of bread in between bites. "You know me too well."

"True but it works both ways. You know me better than anyone else." Lex settled back in his chair, enjoying his dinner and sharing bits with Sheri. "Iíve been thinking though, this is probably something your parents would not understand."

"Not at all," Clark agreed, shuddering when he thought of his fatherís reaction to the idea of Clark purposely exposing himself to kryptonite. "Some things parents donít need to know."

Lex nodded vigorously. "I think they really would shoot me." He winced as he imagined the scene. "Definitely falls into the category of too much information for parents." Lex finished his beer and pushed the bottle aside, still nibbling on cornbread, though he was done with his chili.

"Too much information for anyone but us, I think."

"Yeah, not something we need to share. And for all we know, youíll hate it so much weíll never try it again. Anythingís possible," Lex shrugged. He knew this was going to be very strange for Clark.

Clark grinned. "Or Iíll love it so much Iíll wear the cuff all the time, quit my job, and be your bitch."

Lex choked on the mouthful of water heíd just taken as he burst into laughter. Sputtering and trying to dry himself off, he shook his head at Clark. "Weíd have to change Supermanís costume to something in black leather and chains. Maybe Alexanderís shield on the pouch," he snickered.

"I donít think so," Clark said slowly, eyeing Lex as if he thought the older man might run out right then and there to order exactly that outfit - and knowing him, he might.

"Oh, I donít know." Lex leaned back in his chair and eyed Clark assessingly. "I think youíd look very... edible that way."

"Want to bet my new partner would agree with you?"

Lex snarled. "That bówoman needs to get her own man."

Clark shrugged negligently, enjoying this just as Lex had enjoyed the costume comments. "So find her one."

"Do I look like a yenta to you?"

"Maybe... if you put on a babushka..." Clark answered, cocking his head to the side and studying Lex seriously.

Lex very calmly threw some cornbread at Clarkís head.

In a lightning-fast move, Clark caught every crumb in his mouth and settled back in his chair, licking his lips.

"You can be quite the brat when you want to be, canít you? Just remember, youíre not going to be quite so invulnerable later," Lex smirked. "And spanking you when you actually feel it could be almost as much fun as marking you."

"Sadist," Clark said calmly, finishing his drink and standing to gather their dishes, carrying them to the sink.

"And youíre all mine." Lex managed a credible maniacal cackle as he watched Clark, enjoying the view.

"Youíre still doing the dishes though."

"You want me to get dishpan hands?" Lex whined, trying to keep a straight face.

Clark snorted. "I believe you mentioned that wonderful invention, the dishwasher, before dinner? Use it." With that, Clark smiled at Lex and headed upstairs to the bedroom, anticipation curling in the pit of his stomach.

"Damn, heís harder to manipulate nowadays," Lex murmured to Sheri with a grin that spread when she just woofed softly at him and dropped her chin back on Gohanís paw. Knowing what was waiting for him upstairs, Lex had the kitchen cleaned up in record time, though he avoided the apparently possessed disposal, and hurried up to the bedroom.

"Last chance to change your mind," he called as he veered to the left into his office to get the cuff heíd made then came back into their room.

"Now why would I do that?" Clark answered from where he lay on their bed. Heíd stripped and was lying there nude on the sheets, having removed the comforter so it didnít get stained. Lex stopped to admire the sight, knowing heíd never become jaded to Clarkís beauty. "Just giving you the option, Clarkbar. ĎCause from here on, youíre all mine." He walked across the room, watching Clark carefully for any signs of discomfort, but apparently heíd gauged the amount correctly. He sat on the side of the bed and reached for Clarkís right arm, slipping the lead cuff onto his wrist. "If this works, Iíll have the inside plated in silver so we can use it again if you want. I donít want you to end up with lead poisoning." He eyed Clark warily. "How do you feel?"

Clark blinked and took a deep breath, considering the question. "A little disoriented," he said at last, "but not really sick or anything. Not sure how it would be if I got up though." He smiled and addressed Lexís other comment. "I donít think I can get lead poisoning, Lex."

"Yeah, well, youíre not usually wearing kryptonite either, so Iíd rather not take the chance." Lex leaned down and kissed him, at first lightly, then gradually with increasing hunger until they were both hard and panting. "Now for the real test," he murmured, trailing kisses along Clarkís throat until he reached the base. He fastened his mouth over the skin, biting and sucking hungrily, drawing the blood to the surface.

Groaning and feeling a definite sting to Lexís bite that wasnít usually present, Clark arched his head back, baring his throat as he fisted his hands in the sheets. "So?" he gasped, when Lex pulled back to look down at him. "Did it work?"

The huge smile on Lexís face was answer enough, but he purred, "Yes," in a throaty murmur, one finger lightly tracing the small mark on Clarkís throat. "Mine," he rasped, leaning down to place another on the other side, just below where his shirt collar would cover it.

"Yes," Clark whispered, pressing up against Lexís hungry mouth, one hand reaching up to curve around his head. "Always."

Lex took Clarkís mouth again, shifting to lie on top of him and settle between the wide-spread legs. He rocked against Clark, moaning quietly, and his fingers clutched his loverís hips, hard enough to bruise.

Sliding his hands down to Lexís hips as well, Clark made to lift him and settle him closer only to find it took quite a bit of effort. He laughed into Lexís mouth and slid his legs up around Lexís thighs. "Hmmmm, this might have some disadvantages."

Lex chuckled. "Welcome to the world of the average human male. But you neednít worry. I have no intention of going anywhere but closer." He reached for the lubricant, reminding himself to be careful since for the first he probably could hurt Clark, and he didnít want that to happen. "Might hurt a little when I go into you," he warned before sliding a slick finger inside Clark.

"Nah," Clark smiled, though he did tense slightly before relaxing again, his eyes fixed on Lexís. "Iím never gonna be able to live without you now, you know." He waited for Lexís look of confusion, then grinned, though it changed to a groan when the finger crooked inside him, rubbing his prostate. "Technically youíve taken my cherry twice."

Lex had to laugh. "You really are nuts." He added a second finger, watching Clark ride his hand. "God, youíre gorgeous." He petted Clarkís belly as he finger-fucked him, occasionally stroking his heavy cock, and his thumb rubbed Clarkís sac.

"Insult the alien while you have him in a weakened and sex-starved state - nice, Luthor," Clark panted, his hips rolling against the motion of Lexís fingers, his whole body straining for more.

"Hey, Iím the evil mastermind. Gotta live up to my image," Lex murmured, watching him hungrily. He had three fingers inside Clark now, and he thought he might die if he had to wait much longer. His other hand grabbed for the lube and squeezed it onto his cock, making him gasp as the cool gel hit his heated flesh.

"So live up to it already and fuck me!"

"Talk about a pushy bottom," Lex laughed. A moment later his fingers were gone and he was pushing inside Clark, only to pause at Clarkís gasp. "Okay?" he panted, gritting his teeth as he fought to remain still.

Waiting out the surprising feeling of almost painful fullness, Clark licked his lips, then met Lexís eyes and nodded. "Yeah, itís just - different somehow. Feels good though." He managed a grin at the last and rocked upward under Lexís weight.

"I know." Lex kissed him as he began to move again, at first slowly and carefully until Clark growled at him and grabbed him by the ass to yank him down hard. Laughing then, he started moving harder, taking Clark, driving into him over and over, and at the same, without even realizing he was doing it, he laid a line of sucking kisses just above the leather collar lying on Clarkís collarbone, marking him again where only they would be able to see.

"Lex..." Clark moaned, his eyes falling closed as he writhed under the other man, reveling in the sharp, new sensations. This was being claimed, being possessed, and he loved it.

"Right here, love," Lex panted, driving into him, possessing Clark as Clark possessed him. "So good, love you, so close," he moaned, a hand snaking between them to curl around Clarkís cock.

"Yes..." Clark gasped, shuddering as he felt Lexís hand close around his erection and his teeth close on the muscle of his shoulder. Unable to hold back any longer, he screamed and came, twisting beneath Lexís body, for once not having to worry about throwing him off as he came.

Lex cried out as Clark clenched around him, more tightly than usual, making Lex suspect that subconsciously Clark held back his strength even when climaxing so as not to hurt Lex. He managed a few more rapid, shaky thrusts before he yelled Clarkís name and came, as deep inside Clark as he could get.

They lay there together, sticky and silent until Clark caught his breath. "Whoa," he murmured. "That was... intense."

"In a very good way," Lex agreed, nuzzling against him contentedly. "Though I have to admit I kinda miss the floating."

Clark snorted. "Ha ha."

Lex raised Clarkís hand, pressing his lips to the skin just below the cuff. "Think youíll ever want to try that again?"

"I think I could be persuaded to," Clark sighed, shifting under Lex, then blinking in surprise when stretched muscles twinged. "Depends on how much shit I hear about my new necklace at work tomorrow."

Lex snorted. "No one better be looking that closely. Only the first one will be visible when youíre dressed, and just barely at that. Though knowing the intrepid Ms. Lane, sheíll still notice."

Clark groaned. "I am never going to hear the end of this. I bet Jimmy takes pictures - or Lois tells him to if he doesnít."

Remembering what Clark had told him about the redheaded photographer over dinner, Lex grinned. "Just wait till I show up to pick you up for lunch then."

"Forget the kryptonite, this is going to kill me."

Lex stepped off the elevator into the Planet newsroom, ignoring the spreading pool of silence and stares as he made his way over to Clarkís desk, glad heíd spotted him right away and wouldnít have to ask for directions. He strode directly to Clarkís side and placed a possessive hand on his shoulder as he leaned down to kiss him.

"Uh, hi Lex," Clark managed, feeling his face heat when he heard Jimmyís snickers and felt Loisí gaze center on them. "Lunch time already?"

"Going to introduce us, Kent?" Lois asked, smirking as she stood and sat on the edge of his desk.

"Uh - " Clark stammered, trying to get his brain to work again. "Lois, this is my -" What to say? Boyfriend? Lover? Partner? Life-bonded? Shit. "This is Lex Luthor, my boyfriend. Lex, this is Lois Lane, my partner."

"Ms. Lane." Lex offered her his hand, regarding her from cool blue eyes while his other hand remained very obviously on Clark.

"Mr. Luthor." She smiled, shaking his hand firmly. "Good to finally meet you. The way you always turn my requests for interviews down, I was beginning to think you had something against the Planet, but since you let Smallville work here..."

Clark yelped. "Let me? Get real, Lane!"

Lex burst into laughter. "Let Clark? You donít know him very well yet, do you, Ms. Lane? ĎLet him.í" He snickered. "Címon, Clarkbar, or weíll waste your whole lunch hour standing here, and I donít know about you, but Iím hungry."

"Well, itís only been a day," she protested. "Eventually Iíll weasel everything he knows about Superman out of him."

Clark shot to his feet, intent on getting Lex out of the newsroom before he tried to do Lois bodily harm. "See ya later, Lois," he called, nudging Lex toward the elevator and trying not to cringe when he heard her say, ĎSee ya, Clarkbar,í in return.

Lex crossed his arms over his chest and turned to face Clark. "Tell me again why I canít have her sent to the far side of the moon?"

Clark sighed and looked at Lex as the elevator doors closed behind them. "Because sheís a good reporter and she has no idea of why youíre reacting like this."

"And you donít think sheís pushing any buttons, Clarkbar?" Lex all but snarled.

Clark leaned down and kissed Lex until he stopped growling. "Sheís teasing, Lex. I mean, that on top of me walking in with this mark that you know she noticed..." He pulled back and smiled, hoping to coax Lex to do the same but sobering when it didnít work. "Iíll ask her to lay off."

"Donít, itíll just make it worse," Lex sighed, slowly relaxing. "Youíll just be letting her know she hit a nerve. She reminds a little too much of myself in some ways. Just remember youíre taken."

"Like Iíd ever forget that." Clark reached out and took Lexís hand, squeezing it gently as the elevator doors opened on the lobby. "She reminds me of you - you, and Chloe too - and sheís not bad when she isnít rhapsodizing about the S-man."

That had Lex growling again, albeit half-heartedly. "Someday, when you retire or come out or whatever, I will be there to see her face when she finds out that you and he are the same person. And if thereís any justice in the universe, Iíll be the one to share that secret and to tell her to stay the hell away from my lover."

"Of course you will," Clark soothed, having heard this refrain many times before and sure heíd hear it even more now that he was working with Lois. "You can tell her any way you want when the time comes, okay?"

"Stop pacifying me," Lex grumbled even as he leaned into Clark as they walked. "Iím entitled to be jealous."

"Yes, you are, even though I havenít done anything to encourage her and you know damn well I wonít," Clark said, keeping his tone low and even. "Be jealous all you want, Lex, bring out the cuff all you want and mark me so she sees if it makes you feel better."

Lex sighed. "How am I supposed to enjoy a good mad when youíre so damn reasonable?" He stopped and pulled Clark into a quick kiss, indifferent to the people who stopped to gape at Lex Luthor indulging in a public display of affection.

Clark grinned. "You arenít, thatís the whole idea behind it," he answered. "I donít want you taking Joelís head off this afternoon because youíre annoyed with Lois."

"Joel ought to give half his salary to you."

"I have my own job now, donít need it," Clark smiled. "Now if it was Enriqueís salary you were talking about..."

Lex chuckled. "And what makes you think youíre worth that much?"

Clark smirked. "You do."

"I hate it when you use my own words against me." Lex laughed and shook his head.

"I learned to negotiate from the very best. So, where are you taking me to lunch?"

Lex gestured up the street. "The Midtown," he replied, naming a well-known lunch spot in the area. "They make the best cheeseburgers in town."

"Sounds good to me," Clark said brightly, "we had take-out Chinese yesterday."

"Weíll have to do that sometime. I enjoy eating it off you," Lex purred.

Now Clark shivered, remembering the trip heíd taken Lex on the summer between his junior and senior years in high school. "Yeah, I noticed that," he said throatily.

Lexís eyes grew heavy lidded as he picked up on Clarkís arousal. "How about this weekend then? We havenít had Chinese in ages."

"How about I pick it up on the way home from work on Friday?"

"And then we lock the door and not get out of bed all weekend?"

"Well, the dogs might not like that, but I would."

"Okay, so we get up occasionally to let the dogs out and to eat and shower. And maybe to make use of the kitchen table." Lex grinned wickedly.

Clark chuckled. "Why do I get the feeling weíre going to be really tired of Chinese food by Monday?"

"But not of the serving dish."

"You mean I get to eat it off you too?"

It was Lexís turn to shiver. "Whenever you want."

"Mmm, since Iím getting the food, itís only right I get to serve it up first," Clark murmured as they walked up to the door of the diner.

"We should always be fair," Lex agreed, going inside and immediately being led to a vacant table.

"Most definitely," Clark said agreeably as they sat and took the menus the waiter handed them. "Fairness is a wonderful thing."

"Share and share alike." Lex glanced at him over the menu, the blue eyes laughing. "Weíre starting to sound like your father."

Clark shuddered. "Ruin the mood, why donít you - though since we both have to get back to work after this, itís probably a good thing."

"Hold the previous thought till tonight. After all, itís your turn."

"I think Iíll save my truly evil thoughts for the Chinese food."

"You mean itís just going to be you and me tonight? How humdrum," Lex teased.

Clark rolled his eyes and kicked Lex under the table. "Poor baby. Maybe there will be an emergency."

Lex glared. "Do I have to put a homing beacon and tags on you?"

"Or you can cuff me."

"Mmm. Youíre turning out to have quite the kinky side, Mr. Kent."

"Something else youíve brought out in me, I suppose."

"If youíre waiting for an apology, itíll be a long wait," Lex replied, grinning.

"Did I ask for one?" Clark laughed, looking up as the waiter came up and took their orders.

Lex relaxed in his seat, sipping his water. "Lexcorp is hosting a fundraiser next month. Try to keep the first Friday night free, okay?"

Pulling out the PDA heíd discovered in his suit pocket yesterday morning, Clark made an entry in it for the date. "Gotcha covered. Whoís it for?"

"The Save the Spotted Owl Society," Lex replied blandly, then grinned when Clark rolled his eyes. "An environmental lobby."

Clark tried not to laugh at the look on Lexís face. "And just who talked you into this one? Not that I think saving the spotted owls is a bad thing..."

"Your mother," Lex sighed. "One minute she was telling me that I needed to be more aware of my influence, and the next I was shelling out the money for this thing. The woman is a menace. I didnít even get any potato salad!"

Clark broke into laughter at this. "So she and Dad are coming up then?" At Lexís nod, he grinned. "Iím sure sheíll bring you some when they do."

"I told her sheíd better book a room at a hotel if she didnít!" Lex groused.

"You didnít!"

"Damn right I did. If sheís going to do these things to me, I want my bribe," Lex retorted, knowing perfectly well that heíd never allow Jonathan and Martha to stay anywhere but their home.

"Youíd better watch it, or sheíll put chili powder in your salad!"

"Naw, sheís planning to guilt me into a huge donation, and that wouldnít help her cause," Lex chuckled.

"Oh, like you wouldnít give it anyway," Clark answered, taking a drink of his water. "So is there a theme, or is it break out the tuxes again?"

"Tuxes. Which have the added benefit of letting me look forward to peeling you out of yours when the eveningís over."

"After Mom and Dad have gone to bed."

"And weíre in our nice, sound-proofed room."

Clark felt the back of his neck heat and grinned ruefully. "And weíll be putting the cuff away until theyíve gone."

Lex shuddered. "Yes! No way am I explaining marks on you to them. I really donít think theyíd approve of the experiment, no matter how much you and I enjoy it."

Raising a hand to rub at his neck pulled back the sleeve of Clarkís shirt, exposing the cuff. "No, theyíd freak, thatís for sure."

"And then theyíd kill me." Then Lex realized what he was looking at, and he frowned. "Clark? Why are you still wearing that? You could get hurt!"

Clark glanced down at the cuff and shrugged. "Because when I took it off, the marks started fading, and I know you wanted them visible. If something happened, Iíd take it off."

"Not enough to endanger you, Clark," Lex said fervently. "Never enough for that." He reached across the table to take Clarkís hand, the leather wrapped around his wrist pressing against the cuff on Clarkís.

"Lex," Clark said gently, turning his hand over to twine their fingers together. "I wonít do that, itís just - you like seeing them and - and I like being able to have them, if only for a while." He met Lexís eyes, hoping the other man understood.

Lex nodded slowly, his free hand rising till he could lightly rub one of the marks with his thumb. "Okay, youíre an adult; you know what you can and canít do. And I canít deny that I like seeing them on you or that you wanting them makes me hard. Just... if you start to feel sick..."

"Iíll take it off," Clark promised. "Or if I see a car hurtling toward us or anything else that might need my special attention." He licked his lips and looked at Lex over the rim of his glasses. "Anything."

"Hey, no cars. Only Iím allowed to do that to you," Lex teased, lightening the mood.

"Youíre the only one allowed to hurtle toward me?" Clark asked, amused.

"Exactly. You seem to bond for life when that happens, so no one else." Lex smirked at him over his water.

"I suppose Iíll just have to avoid hurtling objects then."

"Good plan since I donít intend to share."

Clark chuckled. "I had an inkling that was the case." The food arrived, and he dug into his burger, leaning over his plate to keep from dripping on his clothes.

"Smart man," Lex said before taking a huge bite of his own burger and closing his eyes in ecstasy. "A place where you can get a good burger is close to heaven," he mumbled as he munched on a fry.

"Mmhmm," Clark mumbled around a second mouthful. "Be better wif Momís potato salad though."

Lex glared. "Keep it up and weíll be going to Smallville this weekend rather than those other plans we were making."

"Chinese this weekend, potato salad when Mom comes up unless you want me to make a fast run there before you get home."

"No, I can wait. Besides, Iíd rather have you home with me," Lex admitted. "And if you go, your parents will understandably want you stay a while and visit."

"Good point," Clark nodded. "I need to call them tonight too - sort of forgot to last night."

Lex gave him a smug smile. "Canít imagine why. Oh hell, I still need to call a plumber or at least have Joel do it. That or a priest to perform an exorcism!"

"Possessed garbage disposals, only us," Clark laughed. "I wouldnít be surprised if one of the dogs got a bone in it or something."

"I refuse to even imagine why one of the dogs would be on the counter," Lex said emphatically. "If thatís the case, I donít want to know. I just want the damn thing to stop spitting garbage at me."

Clark bit his lip to keep himself from snickering at Lex and blinked in surprise, lifting a hand to his mouth and shaking his head when he saw that his fingers came away bloodstained. "Whoops."

Lex shook his head as he offered Clark his handkerchief. "Yet another detail youíll need to get used to while wearing that." He actually looked faintly amused by Clarkís trials and tribulations as an ordinary mortal.

Dabbing at the blood with the clean piece of linen, Clark sighed, then laughed quietly. "Jimmyís eyes are going to bug out of his head when I get back to the Planet."

After swallowing the bite he was chewing, Lex eyed Clark curiously. "Why?"

"Considering the way I looked when I came into work this morning and the fact that Iím coming back from lunch looking like youíve bitten my lip off? I canít imagine."

Lex snickered. "Youíre such a sex kitten, how can I resist you?"

Clark groaned. "What have I ever done to deserve this?"

"Seduced me in my own swimming pool." Lex beamed at him.

"Damn."

"Accept your fate, youíre all mine now."

"Should I spread myself out in a bower so that you can ravish me?"

"Donít tempt me. We both have to work this afternoon. But Iíd be happy to ravish you tonight if you can wait till then."

Clark sighed heavily. "I suppose I can wait - what? Shit." He pulled his pager from off his belt and gave a real sigh. "Gotta go, something must be up, Mr. White wants me in his office now."

He stood, then leaned over and kissed Lex. "Iíll see you tonight."

Lex smiled and waved him off as he waited to pay the bill. Apparently he was going to have to get used to a few things himself now that his partner was a journalist. "Take care of yourself," he called after Clark.

"Love you," Clark answered, looking back over his shoulder, then letting out a yelp of pain when he walked into an empty chair, catching it just before it toppled over. He looked back at Lex a final time, waved, then hurried out the door and toward the Planet.

END

  since 02-03-07

 

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