Games Interlude
Bored in Bed

Orithain and Rina

October 2002

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

Autumn 2003

Finding himself with a few free minutes after eating lunch with Lana, Chloe, Pete, and Dave, Clark went out to the parking lot and dug the cell phone Lex had given him out of the truck's glove compartment. It was autumn again; the air was full of the scent of burning leaves, and people were beginning to drag out their heavier coats in deference to the dropping temperatures. Today, however, was sunny and mild, and Clark spread his jacket out on Baby's hood before hopping up to sit on it.

After waiting for the phone to power up, he hit pound one, leaning back on his elbows and looking up at the watery blue sky while he waited for the call to go through. It wasn't that he was worried about Lex, but he'd looked... off this morning. Clark supposed anyone might look a little green around the gills after what they'd been through the night before, but Lex had had a former cheerleader who now was able to squeeze herself through the tiniest of cracks sneeze green goop all over him before they'd been able to catch her by trapping her in a vat of liquid nitrogen.

Lex never got sick, so there wasn't a chance he'd catch whatever Sheila had, but still, it never hurt to check. "Hey there, sexy, how's it going?" he asked, once Lex picked up.

About to reply, Lex was wracked by another massive sneeze that left him moaning pitifully as his head threatened to explode. Once he'd caught his breath again, he managed to croak a greeting. Into the stunned silence he added, "I think I am susceptible to meteor-mutated viruses." Blowing his nose almost viciously in an attempt to draw a single free breath, he huddled beneath a blanket in his office. He'd been trying to work, but he was about ready to admit that it wasn't going to happen and crawl back to his bed, tail between his legs.

"Jesus, Lex!" Clark sat straight up, his expression one of horror. What if it was some kind of meteor-influenced plague? What if Lex got so sick he... Violently cutting off that line of thought, Clark tried to keep himself calm. "You need a doctor. Want me to come and get you?"

"No!" Lex grumbled, irritable. He felt rotten and out of control, and he didn't like it. "If it's a common, garden-variety cold, there's nothing a doctor can do but send me to bed and tell me to rest. And if it is some weird meteor mutation, as seems likely, there's even less a doctor can do. I'm just going to treat it like a cold and go back to bed. Orange juice is your friend." He hesitated a moment. "If you'd like to come and keep me company..."

"Damn it, Lex..." The echo of the bell rang out over the parking lot, and Clark growled in frustration. "Do you even have any medicine there? Never mind, I'll bring some over when I come by after school. Go to bed and rest, got it?"

A hacking cough answered, followed by a cranky acquiescence. Hanging up, Lex stared down at Sheri, who had remained glued to his side all day, clearly concerned by her human's state. Allowing himself to moan miserably as he dragged himself to his feet, since there was no one to hear him, Lex observed, "I forgot how godawful it is to be sick." In seeming agreement, the dog licked his hand.

Shortly afterward, Lex was huddled beneath the covers, head propped up on several pillows so he could breathe, sound asleep, with a box of tissues and a glass of orange juice on the nightstand. Sheri lay atop his feet, napping and keeping him company.

"I'm sure that when Lex said that he didn't want any company, he didn't mean Clark, Jonathan or myself. Thank you for your concern, Enrique, but it really isn't needed. Go back to what you were doing, goodbye." Stepping nimbly around the protesting servant, Martha Kent balanced her bags in her arms while nudging the door shut in his face.

Having received a call from her near-frantic son, she'd come over prepared to find Lex on his deathbed, but what she found was a sick and decidedly grouchy young man who was in no danger of dying as far as she could tell.

Setting her bags on the floor, she walked over to the bedside and placed her hand on Lex's forehead, pursing her lips together when she felt the heat of his fever. "I see that at least you had the sense to get in bed and bundle up. I doubted that you had any medicine here, so I brought what we had. First thing is to take your temperature, then dose you up, then we'll see."

"I'm fine," Lex groused, then sneezed, which set off another coughing fit, making Sheri bark. He finally collapsed back against the pillows, panting for breath and looking utterly miserable. "God, this is horrible."

"And obviously not fine." Maintaining her brisk tone to hide her concern, Martha plucked a thermometer out of one of her bags and held it up in front of Lex's mouth. "Open."

Lex's glare should have melted the thermometer, but since it didn't oblige him by disintegrating, he opened his mouth and let Martha stick it under his tongue, though not without a distinctly sulky look. He lay back against the pillows, scowling, arms crossed over his chest, looking like a spoilt child.

Unimpressed by Lex's glare, she picked up his wrist to check his pulse, counting it off against the seconds on her watch. "You know, if you don't like the thermometer in your mouth, there is another place to put it."

Lex's eyes widened. "Oowounthare!" He pressed more firmly back against the pillows and mattress just in case.

Martha raised her eyebrows. "You want to try me? Keep your mouth closed, Alexander. Two more minutes."

Pouting, he gave her a pitiful look out of big blue eyes, hunching down into the bedding to look smaller.

Satisfied that he'd do as he was told, Martha went through her bags, lining up a variety of over-the-counter medicines on the bureau, coming back over to the bed in time to take hold of the thermometer, removing it from Lex's mouth when he opened it.

"One-hundred and one point five. No wonder you feel horrible. First of all, let's get some medicine in you, then some fluids. I've got a pot of chicken soup simmering in the kitchen, and there's fresh orange juice too." As she spoke, she shook two pills out of the cold medication bottle and handed them to Lex before pouring a glass of water from the pitcher at his bedside.

"People go through this all the time? Remind me to fund more research into curing cold and flu viruses." Lex accepted the medication, not sure what if any effect it might have on a meteor-enhanced virus but willing to try anything to get rid of this.

"It probably feels worse because you aren't used to being sick." She took back the glass after Lex had sipped from it, then pulled up a chair beside the bed. "You'll be fine in a few days, Lex. I'm sure of it."

Lex looked up at her, allowing a hint of his fear to show through. "But you don't know. This isn't a cold; I don't get those. This is some meteor-mutated bug, and we have no idea if it'll react like a normal cold and go away after a few days or... not." He wrapped his arms around himself, trying not to let himself think of the possibilities.

Shifting over to sit on the bed beside the distraught young man, Martha wrapped him in a hug and kissed his temple. "If not, then we'll find what it takes to cure it. Do you really think that Clark or Jonathan and myself will let anything happen to you?"

Lex actually relaxed into her embrace for a moment, allowing himself to accept the comfort she offered. "My mother would have liked you," he said softly even as he sat up again after hugging her back. He petted Sheri's head, placating her after she'd whined, wanting to be in on the hug.

"I know I would have liked her too, since her son is very special to me." Standing again, Martha paused to pat Sheri's black and white spotted coat as well. "You rest. I'm going to get you that juice; do you want anything else?"

"No, I don't think I could eat anything," Lex admitted. "Maybe later. Thank you." He smiled up at her as he settled back amidst the pillows, already starting to doze off.

"Just rest then, dear." She rested her hand on his forehead again, feeling the heat radiating off of him, before walking out of the bedroom to get him the juice.

Despite feeling absolutely miserable, Lex smiled into his pillows. It was nice having someone take care of him, someone who actually gave a damn. It was kind of like having his mom or Pamela back again, only he knew Martha wouldn't leave him. One hand over Sheri's back, he sank into a deeper sleep.

Martha returned with the juice and, seeing that Lex was sleeping, set it on a coaster on the bedside table. She wanted to feel his forehead again but didn't want to wake him, so she settled herself in the chair next to the bed, pulling a book from her purse and starting to read.

Clark broke every speed record in the books getting from school to Lex's, taking Baby only as far as the farm before running flat out, arriving at the mansion disheveled enough to make Enrique look at him oddly. He raced up the stairs, trying to be quiet as he opened the door to Lex's bedroom, and peered inside, not sure of what he was going to find.

Martha looked up at the slight noise and gave a reassuring smile before motioning Clark inside. "His fever's down some; I think he's going to be all right."

The sound of the door opening and voices woke Lex out of his light doze, and he opened his eyes to meet a pair of worried green ones. "Hey, Clark," he murmured sleepily, automatically reaching out for him.

"Hey, Lexy," Clark breathed, sitting gingerly on the edge of the bed and hugging Lex close, his every movement one of infinite care as if he was afraid his lover would break. "Feeling any better?"

"Not really," Lex shrugged slightly, feeling as if every bone and muscle in his body ached, "but your mom assures me that I'll be fine in a couple of days. I'm really glad I don't have to do this every year like most people seem to."

"Me too." Clark looked over at his mother for reassurance, feeling himself relax a tiny bit when she smiled. "Can I do anything to make you feel better?"

"And before you answer, please remember I'm sitting right here," Martha added.

Lex laughed weakly, then started coughing, waving Clark off when he jumped up. "Much as I appreciate your opinion of my prowess, Martha, I couldn't do a thing right now if my life depended on it." He looked back at Clark. "Sit with me for a while?" He just wanted Clark to hold him.

"Of course!" Clark looked over at his mother again. "It's okay, right?"

"It's fine, dear," Martha smiled, setting her book down and getting up out of her chair. "You being with Lex can only help. I'm going to go down and heat up the soup. You can try and eat some in a little while, and then you can have more cough medicine."

Lex made a face, then dutifully said, "Yes, Mom," when she gave him the look that cowed her own son and husband. The moment Clark stretched out beside him, Lex moved into his arms, gravitating toward his warmth and the security of his embrace. "Thanks," he murmured, head pillowed on Clark's chest.

Clark sighed, resting his cheek against Lex's temple and frowning because he really couldn't feel any difference in his body temperature. Sometimes, being invulnerable sucked. "Wish I could have ditched class and gotten here sooner. How do you feel, really?"

"Like someone used me for a punching bag and like I'll never be able to breathe properly again. I'd love to get my hands on that bit--cheerleader just for five minutes," Lex growled. "I was perfectly happy not ever getting sick again."

"I wish there was something I could do to help." Seeing a small green jar on the table, Clark reached for it, scooping out some of the mentholated cream onto his fingers and moving aside the blanket and Lex's flannel pajama top to rub it on his chest. "Mom always rubbed this on Dad's chest when he had a bad cough, and is that my shirt you're wearing?"

Lex flushed slightly. "Uh, yeah. When I wasn't feeling too good earlier, I wanted... I put it on." He lay back as Clark massaged the gel onto his chest. "That does feel good."

"Well, at least something of mine could be here with you since I couldn't." He continued stroking the balm into Lex's skin then up onto his throat, frowning as he felt the swollen glands beneath his lover's skin. "Did Mom make you take anything?"

Lex waved a hand at the nightstand, indicating the various bottles and boxes. "I took whatever she told me to. I wasn't going to argue with your mother, not after she threatened... well, not when she was so clearly determined." He lay watching Clark, Sheri draped over his feet, and he was the most comfortable he'd been all day despite his continued misery.

"What did she threaten you with?"

Lex flushed. "You know, I'm really thirsty. Is there any water or juice left?"

Clark poured Lex a glass of water and offered it to him, waiting until after he drank to repeat his question.

The older man groaned and sank down into his pillows. "Basically, she threatened to shove the thermometer up my ass if I didn't stop complaining," he mumbled.

"Really?" Clark gasped, trying to keep from laughing. "Did you tell her it's a lot smaller than what you're used to having up there?"

"Clark!" Lex sputtered impotently, then pulled a pillow over his face. "I'm sorry!" Clark yelped when Lex started coughing again. He kept one hand on the older man's chest, rubbing his back with the other until the wracking barks finally eased. "Didn't mean to make that happen."

"Not your fault. Everything makes me cough right now, laughing, hell, even breathing. I'll be fine. Now quit tormenting me and come back here and hold me."

"Okay." Not quite sure how to behave, Clark shifted them both, feeling Lex relax back against his chest again. "Should we take your temperature again or something? When was the last time Mom checked it?"

"Clark, I just have a cold. I don't need my temperature checked. I feel miserable, and there's nothing that I can do about it except wait it out, so I want my lover to hold me. So just lie here, okay?"

"Okay." Clark's voice was very quiet, and he didn't say anything else, wanting to do as Lex asked and hoping it would help.

Lex cuddled close, but he soon noticed Clark's unnatural silence and stillness. "Sorry," he sighed. "I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm just not used to this."

"It's okay. When Dad gets sick, he's grumpy too. If you don't want to talk, you don't have to. Mom should be back up with the soup soon; maybe you'll feel like eating then."

"You're humoring me, aren't you? Fortunately I love you, so I'll let you get away with it." Lex tried to lean against him but had to sit up to grab for some tissues when his nose started running again. "This is so revolting," he grumbled.

"No, I really mean it." Clark waited while Lex noisily blew his nose. "I am sorry that I didn't take care of Sheila before she got you sick though."

"Don't mention her name to me, please. I feel myself reverting to the old vengeful impulses. Being sick does nothing good for my temper," Lex grumbled, dropping his head back to Clark's shoulder.

Clark winced. "I think she's sort of in stasis or... dead, so you really can't do anything to her." He didn't want to think about the later, so he began rubbing Lex's chest again.

"No, but I can dream," Lex groused, curling more into Clark's warmth, his leg sliding over the teenager's as he half lay on top of him.

"Why don't you do that?" Clark murmured. "Close your eyes and dream about smacking her around some."

Lex chuckled, stopping himself before he triggered another coughing fit. "Better not let your mother hear you say that," he murmured as he drifted off yet again.

A bit later, Martha came back, bearing a covered tray. When she saw that Lex was asleep again, she smiled, setting the tray down and pressing a finger to her lips to tell Clark to stay quiet. He nodded, and she ran a hand through his hair, leaning in to kiss the top of his head then sitting in the chair again.

Eventually Lex stirred against Clark, rubbing his cheek on his lover's shoulder as he stretched, eyes opening slowly. "Hi," he murmured, rolling closer and tucking his head under Clark's chin in his usual habit of trying to avoid waking up.

Clark tightened his arms around Lex and kissed his temple. "Hey there. Have a good nap?"

"Mmmm, I actually feel a little bit better. I think I'm hungry." Lex sat up slowly, his head a bit heavy but overall feeling much improved.

"Mom had to go to her class, but she left a thermos of soup up here and a bowl. Want to try some?"

Lex nodded. "Yeah, that sounds good." He reached back, piling up pillows behind himself to lean on, then turned back expectantly.

"Here, son, let me get that for you," Jonathan chuckled, reaching for the thermos and utensils. The fact that Lex hadn't noticed he was there told him more than anything just how run down the younger man was.

"Thanks, Dad," Clark murmured, hoping Lex wasn't embarrassed that his dad had seen him in cuddly mode.

Lex nearly got whiplash as he twisted to face the elder Kent when he heard his voice. "Oh. Hi, Jonathan. Sorry, I didn't see you there." Normally he'd have tried to cover his less than aloof snuggling with Clark, but he trusted Jonathan Kent, and he still wasn't feeling all that great. He wanted to keep leaning on Clark for a while.

"Don't worry about it, son," Jonathan said easily. "I don't imagine getting sick for the first time in over a dozen years is an easy thing. I do it a lot more often than that, and I still just want to be left alone and have Martha fuss over me."

Clark nodded. "I go hide in the barn when Dad gets sick." He watched his father pour some of the soup into the bowl, then held it so that Lex could spoon some of it up.

"I'm not that bad!" Jonathan retorted, only Lex being balanced against his son's shoulder saving Clark from a swat.

Lex watched the two of them with amusement as he took a few spoonfuls of soup, then pushed it aside. "That's all I can manage for now. It's good though." He reached for the glass of water on the nightstand, incredibly thirsty.

"Let me get that," Clark said quickly, picking up the glass and holding it for Lex to drink from, managing at the same time to hand the bowl back to his father. "Is it too warm? Too cold? Mom left some crackers too, want to try those?"

"Clark..." Lex started, but looking into the earnest green gaze, he couldn't say anything more. "No, it's fine. I just can't manage much right now. I'll have some more later, all right?"

Jonathan smiled, covering it with a faked cough. "Well, it looks like you two will be all right here. I'm sure I can leave you in Clark's capable hands." He had to smother another laugh at Lex's panic-stricken look. "Then again, Martha would probably kill me if I left before she got back." He settled back into the chair. "Why don't you find a game on TV, son?"

"Are you sure that wouldn't be too much excitement for Lex?"

Lex closed his eyes briefly. "No, actually, having a distraction would be good. And that doesn't require any concentration. Go ahead, find something we can watch."

"Okay..." Clark still sounded skeptical about the wisdom of this but did as Lex asked, finding the remote and flipping through channels until he found a college football game for them all to watch.

"Great," Lex said happily, leaning against Clark and lazily petting Sheri as they watched the game, while Jonathan sprawled in the chair, feet propped up on the bed. "Who'd have thought a cold could be a bonding experience?" he murmured a while later.

"We going to break out the guitar and start singing 'Kumbaya' next?" Clark mumbled. He'd just about fallen asleep, the fact that he'd spent half the day stressed about Lex's health having worn him out.

"Not even fevered and drugged!" Lex retorted instantly, shuddering. "Next you'll be suggesting karaoke. I really wonder about you sometimes, Clarkbar."

Jonathan watched the two boys, for the first time getting a chance to see how they acted when they were alone together, and he realized again how much they loved each other. They were both falling asleep, curled up together, and he was surprised by how right they looked.

"I'm just entertaining," Clark sighed, letting his eyes fall closed.

An hour later, Martha came back, peering into the bedroom and shaking her head at seeing both boys asleep in the bed, and Jonathan snoozing in a chair next to it with a football game blaring in the background. Walking over to the TV, she turned it off, then glanced back when her husband shifted in his seat.

Jonathan peered around blearily, wondering what had woken him, then spotted Martha coming toward him. Smiling, he caught her with an arm around her waist and drew her down to his lap. "Hi there, beautiful." He spoke quietly, not wanting to wake Clark or Lex.

"Hi," she whispered, kissing him gently. "How are they doing?"

"Clark wore himself out worrying about Lex, and Lex has no idea how to react to being sick," Jonathan replied, amused. "He's feeling a bit better, ate a few mouthfuls of soup, but I have a feeling things will get really interesting around here when he's over the worst of it but still weak. That young man doesn't like admitting to any weakness."

"Sounds like someone else I know," she said wryly. "I should check his temperature again and give him some more pills. Did he take any more cough medicine while I was gone?"

"Not that I saw," Jonathan shook his head, ignoring her other remark with the skill of long practice. "He's mostly been asleep." He chuckled softly. "He really does act like Clark's his own personal teddy bear when he forgets they're not alone."

Martha settled her arm around Jonathan's neck and rested her head on his shoulder as they both watched the boys. "I told you he did that," she said quietly. "I think he needs to, to make up for what he missed after he lost his mother."

"Yes, you did. But you must admit, Martha, that it's rather difficult to imagine, let alone believe, without seeing it firsthand. Lex is usually so self-contained that I couldn't picture it. But seeing him with Clark like this... it's the only time I can remember that he actually seems his age."

"Quite the different picture, isn't it?" she asked, smiling gently.

Clark shifted and opened his eyes, blinking owlishly from under his bangs and grinning sleepily when he saw both his parents there, and it was all Martha could do to keep herself from brushing his hair off his brow and kissing his forehead.

Clark blinked again, trying to orient himself, then felt Lex shift in his arms and stroked his chest, settling him again. "Everything okay?" he whispered.

"Fine," Jonathan reassured him. "Do you know when Lex last took anything? Your mom thinks it's probably time for more. And we should probably see if he can eat any more."

"Before you got here, I think. Time for more?" Clark really didn't want to wake Lex up, but it was probably better to do it now than have him up all night coughing because everything wore off.

"He should take something." Martha slid out of Jonathan's lap and placed her hand on Lex's forehead. "His fever's up a bit. Medicine, rest and some food will help with that."

She walked over to the dresser to get the pills and pour out the cough syrup, and Clark shook Lex gently, kissing his temple. "Hey, sleeping beauty, time to wake up and take some more yummy medicine."

"Go 'way," Lex grumbled, burying his face more firmly against Clark, until a coughing fit forced him to draw back as he tried to catch his breath. Giving Clark a jaundiced look, he demanded, "Did I actually hear you refer to 'yummy medicine'?"

Jonathan wasn't sure which was more entertaining, cuddly Lex or grumpy, bad patient Lex, but watching the young man, he was surprised to find himself pitying Lionel Luthor, who would never see his son like this. Worse, the elder Luthor would never want to and never know what he was missing.

"Well, it works in the commercials, doesn't it?" Clark's tone was somewhere between indignant and pleading. "And if you don't take your medicine, you won't get better, right, Mom?"

Martha brought the various doses over to the bedside and offered the pills to Lex, holding onto the glass of water until he needed it. "Well, that's true, Clark, but I don't think Lex really needs baby talk to help him take these."

Lex sighed, eyeing the medications with disfavor but taking them since he liked being sick even less. "You know, it's really unfair that swatting you only hurts me," he observed, staring at Clark as he sank back against the pillows now piled up behind his back.

"Yeah, corporal punishment's pretty much a lost cause with Clark," Jonathan agreed. "But he's always responded better to the threat of withholding a treat anyways."

"Now that I can do," Lex snickered.

"You know," Clark sighed, "I almost liked it better when the three of you didn't get along. At least that way you weren't ganging up on me." He hugged Lex and grinned at his parents as he said it, clearly not meaning any such thing.

"Well, if it would make you happy, son, I suppose I could go get my shotgun and threaten Lex," Jonathan mused.

"Hey! No abusing the patient," Lex complained.

"If he's dead when I come back with the soup, you two will have a lot of explaining to do," Martha threatened, popping the thermometer into Lex's mouth once more before she left.

"Gee, Dad, he can't talk; this could be fun," Clark snickered.

Lex pouted at them, ostentatiously turning his back and burrowing into the pillows. Sheri grunted her displeasure when he moved, shifting her as well, then settled back down, chin on his leg so she could watch the others.

"I never realized you regressed to a two-year-old when you got sick, Lex," Jonathan observed, amusement clear in his voice, prompting a disgruntled growl from the lump under the covers.

"That's 'cause we've never seen him sick before." Clark's tone was conciliatory, and he rubbed a hand over his lover's back before getting out of bed, groaning as he stretched. "Be back in a minute, nature calls."

"Go for me too," Lex groaned, pulling the pillows over his head. "God, my whole body aches. This is worse than anything the damned mutants have managed to do to me before." The pressing need made him sit up, staring blearily at Jonathan for a moment before getting out of bed. Unfortunately, he'd overestimated his strength, and he staggered, feeling dizzy.

"Easy there, Lex," Jonathan said, catching the younger man around the waist and helping him walk toward the bathroom. "Slow and steady is the best way to go."

Hearing the scuffle outside the bathroom, Clark threw open the door, eyes wide. "What happened?"

"Finish what you were doing and tuck yourself in, son," Jonathan advised, trying very hard not to laugh. "Everything's fine; Lex just got up too fast and got wobbly."

"What? Oh, God!" Clark spun around and set himself back to order, blushing a furious crimson and whispering a prayer of thanks that his mother hadn't been in the room.

"Want me to help?" he asked, turning around again and moving to Lex's other side, ready to pick him up if he started to collapse.

"Clark, I love you, and I love that you want to do things for me, but I've been potty-trained for a number of years." Lex managed to keep most of the snap out of his voice, but he was rapidly growing tired of the weakness caused by this illness.

"But what if you fall..." Clark protested. "You could hit your head, and then you'd have a concussion on top of being sick!"

Lex gritted his teeth so hard his jaw started to ache. Thou shalt not kill thy lover because he's overprotective! "Clark," he started in a tone of sweet reason very much at odds with the glower in his eyes, "I am perfectly capable of peeing on my own. In fact I insist on it!"

Jonathan stood back watching, wondering if selling tickets would be out of line. He foresaw a great many clashes between a certain irresistible force and an equally immoveable object before Lex was fully back on his feet.

Reminding himself that setting Lex on fire because of the heat of his glare was a bad thing, Clark nodded stiffly. "Fine. If you fall and break your leg, don't come running to me. I'll just go downstairs and help Mom." Visibly annoyed that Lex wouldn't let him help like he wanted to, Clark walked out of the bedroom, his footsteps thudding heavily against the flooring.

"If I..." Lex growled audibly, all but slamming the door in Jonathan's face as he stepped inside. Business taken care of, he dragged himself back out, refusing to admit how drained he was by that small exertion. "It's a good thing I can't hurt him," he snarled, "because I think I'm going to be tempted to try before this is over!"

Jonathan wisely said nothing, remembering his own reaction the first time someone told him that Martha was only hovering because she loved him. After a moment, he ventured, "You know he'll be back in a few minutes, right? He's scared to death, Lex, even more so because you've never been sick before."

Lex sighed, squirming up against the pillows he'd braced at the top of the bed. "I know. But this isn't exactly a picnic for me either. And just because I have the mutant equivalent of a cold doesn't make me an invalid."

Turning at the sound of the kitchen door slamming, Martha eyed her obviously annoyed son. "What's wrong, dear?"

"Lex won't let me help him," Clark grumped, dropping onto one of the stools next to the island in the center of the kitchen. He picked up a piece of the bread on the platter in front of him and started to tear it to shreds, heedless of the mess he was making.

"What were you trying to help him with?" Martha asked as she dished up more of the soup into a deep bowl.

"He got up and had to go to the bathroom, but he was really weak, and I was worried that he'd fall over, but he wouldn't let me help him!"

Setting the ladle down on the spoon rest, Martha turned to study her son. "Help him in the bathroom?" At his curt nod, she shook her head, trying not to smile. "Clark, would you appreciate it if anyone tried to help you in the bathroom?"

"No, but it's not like I haven't seen it," he instantly turned brick red, "and if he fell in there, he could hurt himself."

"I know you have the best intentions, but think about Lex, honey. He's a proud man, plus he's not used to being sick. Just stay close by, but don't smother him."

Clark sighed. "I'm - I'm just worried about him. What if he doesn't get better?"

"What was his temperature?"

He looked sheepish. "We - uh we sort of forgot to check before he got up."

Now it was Martha's turn to sigh. "Well, we'll try again when we go back up. I will say this, though; if he's feeling well enough to complain about you hovering, he's probably on the mend."

Lex looked up eagerly when the bedroom door opened, already missing Clark though he hated to admit it. He smiled, his earlier frustration already forgotten, when his lover walked in, followed by his mother. "This isn't nearly as comfortable without you to lean on."

Clark followed his mother into the bedroom and set the tray he was carrying down on the bedside table. "Are you sure? I mean, you have been sitting for years on your own," he answered before ducking his head at the look his mother gave him. "Sorry. Want some soup?"

"After we try the temperature thing again," Martha added, picking up the thermometer from the bedspread and carrying it into the bathroom to rinse it off before returning, holding it out for Lex's use.

Lex's expression had shut down at Clark's snipe, and he remained expressionless as Martha popped the thermometer into his mouth. Not looking at any of the others, he rearranged the pillows behind him, then sat back against them, back rigid, his posture as erect as if he were sitting in a board meeting.

Watching this, Jonathan winced. They were both stubborn, and it looked like things were going to be interesting around here while Lex was convalescing.

Seeing Lex's expression, Clark grimaced. Shit. He hadn't meant to gripe; it had just come out that way. Knowing Lex couldn't talk with the thermometer in his mouth, he sat himself down on the side of the bed after moving Sheri over, and bodily pulled Lex over against him, ignoring his stiff posture.

Lex remained tense and aloof for several seconds, then gradually relaxed against Clark, unable to maintain his temper when he was exactly where he wanted to be. Thinking over the last half hour, he was grateful that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence; they might not survive more.

Feeling Lex slump against his side, Clark released the breath he had been holding and rubbed his hand over the other man's shoulder. "Sorry," he said again, kissing the side of Lex's head.

Martha glanced at her watch and plucked the thermometer out of Lex's mouth, nodding in satisfaction at the reading. "Down to one hundred now, it looks like either the medicine or your immune system is working on whatever this bug was."

Lex nodded slightly in response to Clark's whispered apology, reminding himself that they were both on edge thanks to this unexpected illness of his. He breathed a sigh of relief when Martha said that he was on the road to recovery, but he knew himself well enough to know that the worst was yet to come. He remembered discharging himself against medical advice every time he'd been hospitalized, a not uncommon occurrence during his teens, and he was certain that he and Clark were going to have some major arguments about what he was or was not up to before he was fully cured.

"Could I have some of that soup now?" he asked, finding that he was actually a bit hungry.

As Clark reached for the bowl, Martha nodded. "If you're hungry, that's a good sign."

Holding the curved bottom of the bowl in the palm of his hand, Clark reached for the spoon, then stopped himself, doubting Lex would want to be fed like an invalid. "Eat up, or I'll do it for you," he smiled, offering the bowl to Lex.

"Thanks." Lex reached for the bowl and spoon, smiling at Clark and allowing himself to lean on the other man's strength as he began to eat. "Mmm, I think your soup might actually be better than your pie, Martha."

Jonathan shook his head. "Lex, sick or not, if you propose to my wife again, I'll throw you out the window."

"I still like the pie best, Mom," Clark laughed, trying not to move much so that he wouldn't jostle Lex.

"You have absolutely no sense of humor," Lex sighed. "Not to mention being greedy. Come on, Martha, I'm a much better deal." Lex batted his eyes at her, head leaning on Clark's shoulder as he spooned up the soup.

She eyed Lex and then looked at her husband. "Sorry, Lex, I think I'll stick with what I have." As she said that, Martha settled herself back onto Jonathan's lap, making Clark wince and look away. "I've seen Jonathan sick, and you're a hundred times worse than he is."

"Hey! I'm not that bad," Jonathan complained. "You make it sound like I turn into some monster or something."

Noticing that neither Clark nor Martha rushed to deny that, Lex snickered. The scraping of the spoon made him look down, and he was surprised to note that he'd finished the soup. Putting the empty bowl on the nightstand, he curled up against Clark, watching Jonathan and Martha.

"Want some toast or tea or something?" Clark asked, rubbing his hand over Lex's back and pulling the blanket more snugly around his shoulders.

"Actually, I'm thirsty. Water or juice?" Lex might have asked for a drink, but he showed no signs of moving away from Clark to let him get it. If anything, he settled more fully into his lap.

"Just be careful you don't spill it," Martha admonished, picking up a glass of orange juice and handing it to Lex. "Wet sheets aren't helpful in your condition."

"I'll keep him dry, Mom," Clark chuckled.

Lex shot him a look but forbore to make the comment that immediately came to mind out of respect for Jonathan and Martha. "Thank you, Martha."

Jonathan snickered at the expression on Lex's face. "Don't choke on it, Lex," he advised.

"If you do, I'll have to do CPR again," Clark warned.

"And that's supposed to be a deterrent? Gee, I don't think I'm breathing. Maybe you'd better give me the kiss of life."

"Are you going to take care of me if I get sick?" Clark asked before leaning around Lex to kiss him tenderly, aware of his parents sitting close by.

"If you get sick, Clark..." Martha frowned, not sure what they would do if that happened.

"I'd really rather not even think about you getting sick, if you don't mind. At least I remember being sick as a kid. It would be something totally new to you, and I somehow doubt that you'd be a good patient either."

"Well, if it would get me pampered like this, and a few days off of school, I could take it."

"Let's hope we never have to find out. Besides, it lowers energy levels. The only thing I want to do in bed right now is sleep."

"Then we should let you do that." Martha stood and started gathering up the dirty dishes. "Clark, your father and I are going to head home, but if you need anything, call us, understand?"

He nodded. "Yes, ma'am. When should Lex have more medicine?"

"He should be all right until morning, but if his fever goes up during the night, he can take more Ibuprofen or more cough syrup if he needs it."

"Thank you for all your help," Lex said sleepily, forcing his eyes open to look at the Kents, though it was clear that he was exhausted.

"That's what family does, son," Jonathan said. "Get some rest and we'll check in on you tomorrow."

"Will do, thanks, Dad, Mom." Once his parents were gone, Clark kissed Lex's temple again. "I'm going to get changed, okay? Be back in a minute." He slid out from under Lex and out of the bed, patting the spot he'd vacated so Sheri would move up and lie next to her master. "Shit, and I'd better get her out before she busts a gut. Will you be okay if I take her out?"

"Mmmm, not going anywhere," Lex mumbled sleepily, arms wrapped around the pillow Clark had been leaning on.

I will not kill my boyfriend. I love my boyfriend. If I kill my boyfriend, I might die too, and that would be a bad thing. At this moment, Clark wasn't sure of the last at all. Three days stuck in bed had Lex on edge and Clark at his wits' end as to how to keep his lover occupied. Normally, he would have been glad for the weekend because it meant more time with Lex, but today... Clark sighed.

"Here's all the papers that were downstairs. Need anything else?" he asked, trying to sound cheery but doubting he was doing too well.

"I need you to stop playing the jailer and let me out of this damned bed!" Lex snarled, glaring at the overbearing alien brute. "I haven't had a fever since yesterday; I'm not coughing or sneezing..." much "...and I have work to do!"

Clark looked thoroughly unimpressed. "You have your files, your laptop, a phone and an internet connection. What else do you need?" Lex opened his mouth to growl out a reply, but Clark cut him off. "And may I remind you that you practically fell on your face this morning when you were going into the bathroom?"

"I did not," Lex grumbled sulkily. "I stumbled. Millions of people stumble every day, and they don't get confined to 'bed arrest'!" He crossed his arms over his chest and glared up Clark, fortunately unaware of how closely he resembled a pouty child.

"They haven't been sick with some weird meteor-virus either," Clark reminded him patiently, though his own arms were folded across his chest, presenting a very formidable picture of resistance to Lex's wheedling.

"Past tense," Lex growled. "Now I need to get out of this damn bed so I can start getting my strength back. I need air and exercise."

Clark threw his hands in the air in frustration. "Fine, do what you want; fall down the stairs and break your neck, then see how much you get done!"

Lex sulked amidst his pillows, refusing to admit that Clark might be right. "If you're going to make me stay in bed, the least you could do is join me."

"Like there's room," Clark answered, looking at the piles of papers, Lex's laptop, assorted magazines and Sheri, all lying around Lex. "But if you ask nicely, I might."

Lex neatened the pile of magazines and moved them to the nightstand, then did the same for the papers, setting them atop the magazines. That done, he closed the laptop and put it down the floor, then looked back at Clark. "You mean you don't want to sit with me?" He even managed to make his lower lip quiver slightly.

"Oh, God..." Shaking his head, Clark walked over to the side of the bed that Lex and Sheri weren't sharing and sat down beside the older man, shifting around to stretch out on top of the comforter. "I hate to tell you, Lexy, but a glare is more effective from you."

And a glare was exactly what Clark got. "If you're just going to make fun of me, you can leave." Lex poked at him with a foot. "You're not being particularly useful anyhow." Pointedly turning his back to the teenager, he started petting Sheri, who rolled onto her back to get her belly rubbed.

"Not... useful?" Clark's voice broke, and his eyes widened as his lower lip trembled. "I lost an adjective? My first adjective?"

"Actually," Lex said, nudging Sheri out of the way as he rolled over to face his lover, a feral look in his eyes, "your first adjective was 'fucking sexy'!" He suddenly pounced, landing full length on top of Clark, mouth zeroing in the other man's.

Clark set his hands on Lex's shoulders and pushed his head back into the pillow, frowning up at his lover. "Lex, you're sick; you should be resting. And I don't remember hearing that as my first one. You said I was useful as well as decorative, so useful was first."

"Fucking sexy came about half a second after I opened my eyes to find your mouth on mine after you dragged me out of the river. It was definitely first... even if I didn't actually say it to you.

"And I don't want to rest; I want to be fucked. Being frustrated in my weakened condition couldn't be good for me." Lex rubbed against Clark, knowing that his lover's body would respond to him.

"Lex..." Clark tried to protest, but it came out more like a groan. "B-being hot and sweaty in your weakened state can't be good for you either." He was beginning to see that this was a losing battle however, considering the way Lex was grinding against him and the way his cock was appreciating it.

"Then you can bathe me afterward. Right now your choices are fucking me so I lay back and you do the work, or me jumping on top of you and exerting myself. One way or the other, this," petting Clark's rising erection, "is going inside of me."

Clark gave what he hoped was an aggrieved sigh. "Has anyone ever told you that you're as stubborn as a mule, Lex?" he asked, gathering Lex into his arms and rolling them over so that he was looking down at his lover. "But you're a very persuasive mule, so you win."

"Oh good, I'd hate to think you were developing an immunity to my charms." Lex batted his eyes, his good humor restored now that he was getting his way.

"Like you'd ever let that happen," Clark murmured, sitting back on his knees and beginning to unbutton the flannel shirt Lex was wearing. "Hey, if you're better, does this mean I get my shirts back?"

"No, I like wearing them. Much better than pajamas. Comfortable and they smell like you. I'll just have to rub them on you after they're laundered so they keep your scent." Lex smirked at him, lifting up slightly so Clark could pull the shirt off.

"And you're going to explain to Mom why all my shirts are gone?" The shirt was tossed on the floor, and Clark ran his hands over Lex's chest as the other man relaxed back against the bed.

"Considering how often I've seen her wearing your father's, I think she'd understand." Lex arched beneath the younger man's touch, enjoying the sensation of skin on skin again. "Mmm, missed this."

Clark smiled and leaned in to leisurely explore his lover's tempting mouth. "Me too. I'm sorry I've been so protective and pushy; I was worried about you."

"How can I complain about that? I'm just glad this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. I really don't think either of would survive a recurrence. But how 'bout you make it up to me by making me too weak to get out of bed for another reason?"

"I could do that, but if it gets to be too much for you, I'll stop." Clark held in his laughter until he got a good look at Lex's outraged expression, then burst into hysterics.

Lex grabbed one of the pillows and started smacking Clark with it, only stopping when the laughing teenager tumbled him back to the mattress and sprawled on top of him after wrenching his weapon away. "You're teasing a starving man here, Clarkbar," he warned ominously, trying to glare.

"Should I suggest you eat me?" Clark snickered, ignoring Lex's growl in favor of licking the side of his neck. "Okay, never mind, I'll fuck you instead. Better?"

"It'll be better when you're balls-deep in me!" Lex growled, knees pressed to Clark's ribs. "Less talk and more action, Clark."

Sheri raised her head from where she was curled up at the foot of the bed, watched her humans for a moment, and hopped off the bed to settle on the safety of her cushions.

"Yes sir, Admiral Luthor sir," Clark snorted, grabbing the lube and sitting back so that he could quickly stretch Lex's ass. "Is this better, sir?" he asked, working inside until he was balls flush with Lex's body.

"God yes," Lex moaned, body arched beneath Clark, his legs rising to wrap around his lover's waist and pull him even deeper. "Love you, want you, fuck me!" He flashed a grin as the pleas quickly changed back to demands.

"Pushy," Clark muttered before shutting Lex up by kissing him, all the while snapping his hips and driving his cock deep into the older man's body, pleasuring them both.

Lex cried his pleasure into Clark's mouth, body convulsing in climax after only a few strokes, hair-triggered after the past days' abstinence. Pleasure rippling through his body, he opened his eyes to watch his lover, wanting to see him come as well.

"God, yes!" Clark gasped as Lex's body tightened around him, milking his own orgasm from him and leaving him feeling as weak as his lover had been the past few days.

Leaning his weight on his arms, he smiled down at the dazed expression on Lex's face, unable to resist giving him another kiss. "So, was it worth the wait?"

Lex frowned. "You're always worth waiting for... but even better when I don't have to wait." He wrapped his arms around Clark and tugged, wanting to feel his weight on him. "Get down here; you're too far away."

Clark complied, dropping down until he and Lex were just about nose-to-nose. "Not waiting works for me too, but somehow I don't think you would have been very receptive the past few days, and having nosefuls of snot sneezed on me doesn't do much for my libido either."

"Ew! Clark, that's disgusting!" Lex made a face at him, wrinkling the nose in question. "Fortunately, I feel pretty much back to normal, and since it's unlikely that these particular circumstances will ever be repeated again..." At least he hoped no other mutant virus-infested person would sneeze on him. "...we shouldn't have to worry about me being sick ever again. No more enforced celibacy."

"Good, because whiny, grumpy Lex didn't do anything for little Clarkie if you know what I mean."

"'Little Clarkie'?" Lex groaned. "Please tell me you don't actually call your dick that? On second thought, never mind. I don't want to think about it.

"And for the record, Clarkbar, I very much doubt you'd be any better as a patient. It's just as well you can't get sick."

Clark snickered at the look on Lex's face. "Probably safer that way, and I agree with - with..." His nose twitched, and his expression turned confused just before he turned his head to the side and let out a series of sneezes.


  since 02-03-07


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