jumped a foot in the air at his silkily-voiced greeting. Not that
her reaction was required to confirm she was where she shouldn’t
under any circumstances.
business in Gotham, Lionel’s LuthorCorp office suite should
have been shut tight. Lex should have needed the purloined
key that rested lightly in his pants pocket to gain admittance.
Instead, the handle had turned easily, door swinging open to reveal
modern furnishings that cast stark silhouettes in the muted fluorescence
spilling from the vault safe. The heavy lead door had been pulled
closed as far as allowed without locking the intruder inside the
room, but the sound of papers being rifled could be heard above
the low hum of the nearly empty building’s climate control.
she responded, and he had to give her credit for being a more adept
liar than Clark, because barely a tremor shook her throaty voice
as she pushed the filing cabinet drawer closed.
watched her tuck a thick file folder into her briefcase as if she
had every right in the world to do so. Sensible heels clicked in
sharp staccato as she closed the distance between them, passing
a long, low trolley of refined meteorite with nary a glance.
green bars glowed neon under the bright lighting, but Lex pointedly
ignored them, as well. It was indicative of his shock at finding
Martha Kent committing an array of felonies that he took the unexpected
discovery of his father’s hoard in relative stride.
you’re looking for your father,” she began, tucking
a long auburn lock behind her ear as she edged past him, pushing
the vault closed behind her. “He’s away all week, I’m
afraid. He forgot some documents he needed.”
felt candid amazement as she patted her briefcase, looking him squarely
in the eyes.
I know.” He looked back at the now locked vault and considered
demanding she re-open it – her collusion in exchange for his
silence. But she was moving quickly across the room, and blackmailing
a Kent – any Kent – wasn’t a decision
he wanted to make off the cuff.
how the hell had she gotten in the safe to begin
paused at the door to the office, clearly waiting to usher him out.
“Coming, Lex?” she asked, a tight little smile on her
simply smiled back, a part of him perversely enjoying having caught
Martha Kent elbow deep in his father’s cookie jar.
It didn’t make him think any less of her. On the contrary,
Lionel Luthor routinely gave people reason enough to protect their
interests, and the Kents had plenty to protect. Frankly, it was
gratifying to see them doing so in a relatively competent manner.
Competent barring the unlocked door, he mentally tutored. That was
was also good indication that whatever was going on, they’d
be better served with Lex’s intervention than without. He
felt a familiar pang at the realization that he still had not earned
their trust. Not even Clark’s – not completely –
and his friend seemed to slip further from him with every passing
lock up, Mrs. Kent,” he promised, continuing with a wink and
his trademark smirk, “Dad must be getting senile. He asked
me to retrieve some information from his computer and forward it
to him, as well. I’m sure if he’d remembered your
errand he wouldn’t have made us both travel all the way from
Smallville on a Friday evening.”
spoke the last with a woefully long-suffering air that earning him
an incredulous look from Martha, but she surprised him again by
not immediately making her retreat. She was obviously, and rightly,
reluctant to leave her employer’s office open when she couldn’t
possibly have found it that way. Such a conscientious employee,
Lex mused. His father was lucky to have her.
know my way out,” he prompted, practically daring her to protest.
As she cast yet another worried look about the space, he took a
more reassuring tone. “I’ll leave it just as I found
it. Scout’s honor.”
of course that bit of fiction would be what swayed her,
because finally, full lips pursed in resignation, Martha stepped
across the threshold. “Goodnight, Lex.”
Mrs. Kent. Tell Clark I’ll see him soon,” he couldn’t
help adding, not surprised when the sound of the closing door was
the only answer he received.
to lock the door, he shot another longing glance at the vault before
rounding the imposing glass desk. He took a seat in his father’s
deep chair; leather squeaking as he leaned forward to turn on the
computer, anticipation so palpable he could taste it. His father
and LuthorCorp had been burned more than once by computer hackers
– by Lex himself, in fact – and Lex’s suspicion
that he’d begun storing his most important documents off the
LuthorCorp network were about to be confirmed.
exactly what he’d expected – and maybe Lionel was
getting senile if it could be this easy – Lex hurriedly forwarded
the files he’d wanted to his own account without reviewing
their contents. He was more concerned now with his father’s
interest in meteorites than any upcoming business acquisition. He
suspected everything he wanted to know had just walked through the
door inside Martha’s leather satchel, but Lionel would have
scanned copies of any important originals on his computer.
didn’t take him long to find a likely looking file containing
dozens of sub-folders. His father’s commissioned studies on
the Smallville meteorites were there, and Lex was dismayed to find
the results of his own studies included in the information.
He was preparing to send the whole of the research on to examine
at his leisure when the title of a sub-folder caught his eye.
clicked on ‘Lab Rat,’ cold dread and foreboding twisting
in his stomach even before the world as he knew it disappeared from
beneath his feet.
moon hung low in the late winter sky, a dark canopy sharply pinpricked
with stars, their light wavering with the brisk night breeze. Clark
could hear the soft lowing of the herd in the distance as he crossed
the gravel drive and ventured into the dimly lit field.
Lex would be freaked out enough without having Clark jump out of
the shadows at him, he trod heavily down the ancient wooden stairs.
was way past his curfew, but he’d been waiting for his friend
to show for the last two days – ever since his Mom had come
home in a state of mild shock and told them Lex had caught her in
stealing Lionel’s files.
knowing him for a year and a half, Clark didn’t have any doubt
that Lex was at LuthorCorp for pretty much the same reason his mom
had been. He also knew it was a sure bet that whatever Lex had been
after to begin with, catching Martha would have altered his agenda.
When it came to mysteries involving Clark, Lex had proven to be
in point – a lot of what Lionel had on Clark had apparently
originated with Lex: the computer simulation of the car accident;
Roger Nixon’s interview notes with the crop duster, Eddie
Cole; his brief possession of a disk composed of an entirely unidentifiable
alloy. But it was Lionel who appeared to have put it all together
by adding Dr. Hamilton’s spaceship discovery and the ballistics
analysis on the bullets that had impacted harmlessly on Clark’s
skin that day in the castle library.
it was even possible that Lionel had his sight at the time Clark
had been shot, or later when he’d used his heat vision to
torch the original Clark Kent file, and worse still, when he’d
fallen helplessly to the floor in the presence of Lionel’s
cache of meteors. And what kind of sick fuck pretended
to be blind, for Christ’s sake?
winced a little at the coarse language, unuttered though it was.
was so screwed.
was why he had figured Lex’s eventual presence in the Kent’s
storm cellar was pretty much a given.
didn’t turn around when Clark reached the packed dirt floor;
he stood ramrod straight, hands clenched at his sides. An electric
lantern hung on a hook over the little ship and the tarp had been
tossed aside in a careless heap.
shrill chirping of a solitary cricket filled the small room.
glad you know,” he tried again, and it was true. “I’ve
wanted to tell you the truth for so long.”
please,” Clark implored, unnerved by the lack of emotion in
his friend’s voice. “You have to understand why I lied.
fools, Clark. You’re all fools if you think they can protect
you from men like my father.” Lex’s voice was cold and
eerily distant. “I could have prevented this.”
what, exactly?” It was the million-dollar question
around the Kent household these days, and one that made Clark sweat
a little just asking.
not your concern, Clark. Just let me take care of it.”
detachment, and Clark wanted to shake him, except Lex still hadn’t
looked at him, and it was all starting to feel like a really
bad dream – or like one of those old black and white horror
flicks about lagoon creatures and monsters from outer space –
and Clark had the starring role, only he was the one scared
my concern?” His voice pitched high, betraying the clammy,
crawling fear that was making itself at home in his gut. “Your
Dad knows everything about me. Even…He knows how to hurt me,
Lex. What will he do?”
finally turned to face him, but Clark didn’t feel relieved.
The pale features were haggard with exhausted emotion, distrust
and disillusionment at the fore. They stared mutely at each other
for so long, that Clark’s perfect vision began to play tricks
in the low light, and he couldn’t read his friend’s
face at all, even longer, and Lex started to look like
the monster. Then he spoke and it was just Lex again, the spell
not going to do anything. I’ll make sure of it.”
Lex rubbed his eyes, tension in the lines on his forehead. “Jesus,
Clark. So fucking stupid. You’ve got to get rid of this ship.
He has to suspect it’s on the farm somewhere.”
gonna bury it. I am. Once the ground thaws and we till the fields.
If I do it before then it’d be obvious to anyone who came
that? It needs to be soon.”
is soon.” Clark shrugged a little, helpless. Farmers didn’t
schedule the weather in their palm pilots. “Next week, maybe.”
nodded absently and Clark could see the wheels turning behind pale
eyes. He was taking charge of the situation and feeling better for
it, but somehow it only made Clark feel more alone.
Until then get a lock for that door. I can’t believe I have
to tell you that.”
bristled at the censure in Lex’s tone, explaining as if to
a child, “We do have a lock. I took it off when Mom
said you were snooping around in Lionel’s office.” He
paused until he saw Lex catch the implication, continuing more softly,
“I wanted you to see it, Lex. I told you, I’m
glad you know the truth.”
spine stiffened noticeably, shuttered eyes remaining impassive.
“I need to get home. I’ll contact you when there’s
anything you need to know, but until then-” Pale eyes shifted
away, apparently scanning the cellar’s deepest recesses. ”-you
should stay away from the castle. I’ll be too busy for visitors.”
we need to talk,” Clark pressed, ignoring Lex’s illogical
mandate for the moment. He took a deep breath and plunged into the
deep end. “About us.”
Lex looked like he sincerely had no idea what Clark was talking
about, which should have stopped Clark cold if he had any judgment
left where Lex Luthor was concerned, but it didn’t. He’d
thought about this a lot the last two days, whenever he wasn’t
wondering what Lionel had in store for him. Starting over with Lex
was the only good thing that could come from this whole mess and
he didn’t want to wait, even when he knew he probably should.
things couldn’t really get any worse, right? Do this now,
and all the secrets, all the scary stuff would be out there
– he wouldn’t have to worry about it any more.
for the shadows that concealed his rising color, if not the quaver
in his voice, he rushed onward. “Well, now that you know,
I just thought… I mean, it was the secrets – my lies
– that made everything so hard. Why we never…”
He stuttered to a halt, mortified by Lex’s silence. “That’s
what I thought at least.”
half-smile twisted Lex’s lips as his gaze raked up Clark’s
squirming form. “And now that I know the truth – that
you’re not a garden-variety Smallville freak, but a freak
from a whole other planet – from another fucking species
– you thought what, exactly? That we could go steady?”
Vitriol soaked Lex’s words, dripping like acid on Clark’s
please. I-” His throat clenched painfully, choking off the
shook his head. “Don’t push me, Clark. This is not
ducked his head, unshed tears of fear and frustration stinging his
eyes, and let Lex pass, alone into the cold, dark night.
do you have a minute?”
rap on the doorframe announced Clark’s presence, startling
Lex out of his preoccupied daze. Late afternoon light fell in patterned
blocks, blood red and lavender across his desk, the pre-dawn coffee
service reminding him he hadn’t taken a break all day –
or hell, in the four days since he’d found out his
best friend was an alien.
that the most dangerous man he knew wanted to cut him open.
irritation flared at the interruption – and at Clark himself.
A curt dismissal withered on his tongue when he looked up at the
boy filling his doorway. His body the classical ideal – a
Greek statue in living flesh – Clark rarely looked his age
– to Lex’s frequent chagrin. But today he looked such
a child, so uncertain of his welcome. Large hazel eyes were shadowed
in a way that suggested he’d had some sleepless nights as
well, and Lex suddenly felt the full weight of Clark’s burden
– increased by his own hurtful words – because, of course
he had. As upended as Lex felt, it couldn’t compare to what
Clark and the Kents must be dealing with.
pushed away from the desk, rising to move to the office’s
leather sofa. “Sure, Clark. I’ll always have time for
shuffled in, hands deep in his pockets. “I wasn’t sure.
You seemed pretty mad the other night.” When he sat down,
the length of the couch separated them. Clark often sat so close
their shoulders brushed, and Lex felt the distance acutely. “I
don’t think I said it then, Lex, but I’m sorry. For
swallowed hard, uncertain what to say. Still coming to terms with
the truth, and with Clark’s duplicity, forgiveness wasn’t
ready on his lips; not yet.
you- What will you have to do to get your dad to back off?”
Clark asked, focusing intently on running his thumbnail the length
of his inseam stitching and back again. “I don’t want
to be the cause of more trouble between you two. It’s not
fair that you should have to clean up our mess.”
our mess, Clark – yours and mine – not just
the Kents’ mess.” Although Lex only half believed that
was true. Take Jonathan Kent out of the equation and he suspected
Clark would have told him the truth fairly early in their relationship,
before the lies had begun to irreparably tear at the fabric of their
friendship. “Let me worry about my father.”
it’s our mess you should let me help.” Clark shifted
closer, eyes more eager. “I could get into Lionel’s
office and the penthouse and take whatever he has that my mom didn’t
find. You know where to look, right?”
shook his head. “It’s not that easy. You could never
be certain that you had every copy and, besides which, he knows
what you are. All the pieces were there, and have been for some
time. He’s got to be close to making his move.”
I don’t want you to worry about this. I’m on top of
it. Just let me-”
it, Lex!” Clark exploded, rising to pace in front of Lex.
“I have a right to know what’s going on! Just talk to
was suddenly aware of a pounding headache, uncertain how long it
had been building behind his eyes. And he knew Clark was right –
he deserved to know what was happening. Only Lex had little more
than an educated guess at the moment, and his every instinct was
insisting that he shield Clark from even that much, keep Clark ignorant
of the extent of his father’s threat, keep him just a boy,
extraordinary though he was.
Bright green eyes fixed him, and Lex saw resolute determination
had replaced the fear.
If it were me,” he began, “I’d acquire a secure
facility first. Someplace you could be kept indefinitely for study.
I took care of the video of your mom breaking into his vault, but
he’ll know your file is missing. And he’d know that
your parents would suspect him or me if you were to disappear, so
he’ll be careful to cover his tracks. The- the lab
would have to be purchased with funds that couldn’t be traced
back to him, which is no great obstacle in itself – certainly
he has accounts set aside for just such ‘projects.’
That does make identifying its location a bit more difficult.”
Lex rubbed his forehead, unable to reach the persistent ache, and
told Clark the worst of it. “I’ve been through his personal
e-mail and financial records with a fine-tooth comb and I haven’t
found anything to give me a clue what he’s planning.”
sat down heavily, crowding Lex and deep in thought. “Maybe
that means he’s going to leave us alone. For Mom, maybe-”
laughed bitterly. “Don’t kid yourself, Clark. All it
means is he wants this – you – very badly. He’s
being extremely cautious.”
brows furrowed in concentration while Clark chewed on his lower
lip. “Hey, Lex? Couldn’t he be using someplace like
Level Three? An existing space we don’t know about instead
of buying something new?”
had already considered that possibility. “After the Earl Jenkins
situation I had the other plants checked out; Plant No. 3 was the
only location with a sub-level. Anyway, even with an existing space,
there’d still be massive expenses, retro-fits…”
He trailed off, something tickling at the back of his mind. “Shit.”
what is it?”
Christ.” He all but ran back to his desk, Clark hard on his
heels. “It’s Gotham. The fertilizer plant there –
they’ve been expanding the space. It’s all above-board;
the project’s been in the works for years.” Lex flipped
frantically through the files in his desk. “Here it is. LuthorCorp’s
Annual Report to Shareholders. ‘The Plant No. 5 expansion
experienced over-runs of nearly half a million dollars,’”
he read aloud. “Not too unusual in a project of this size,
and a nice supplement to the millions my father would have had to
think he’s building another Level Three?”
bet LexCorp on it,” Lex smiled, absurdly relieved, and shaking
his head “And he’s in Gotham City all week.
I can’t believe I didn’t put this together earlier.”
make a good team.” Clark grinned. “What’s our
sobered instantly. “Your next move is to go home.
Tell your parents what I suspect, and that I’ll leave for
Gotham City this afternoon to confirm.”
was shaking his head, his expression mulish. “I’m coming
with you,” he said, as if it were his decision to make.
Clark. You’re not.” Lex sat at his desk, preparing to
fire off a few e-mails. No telling how long he’d be gone,
but he was confident the plant would be in good hands with Gabe.
it’s my life we’re trying to save here, right?
I want to help.” Clark dropped down beside his chair, peering
up at him. “Please, Lex.”
already helped. You’d just be in the way if you came.”
He could feel Clark’s steady gaze studying him, but refused
to meet the questioning eyes as he worked.
still mad at me.”
when, Lex? I can’t not know if you’re ever going to
forgive me. I- I want to be with you.”
fear was back in Clark’s voice and Lex wanted so badly to
wipe it away. A slight shift, a turn in his chair, and Clark’s
soft mouth would open under his own; he could already hear the low,
anguished sounds Clark would offer as a balm for his soul. “Clark-”
know you wanted me, too,” Clark pleaded, clutching at the
arm of his chair. “Is it gone? Is it because I lied to you?”
up,” Lex demanded, horrified by his body’s reaction
to having Clark Kent on his knees, so close under hand.
is it because I’m…because I’m an alien?”
Clark shifted closer, pressing his chest against Lex’s legs.
up, Clark,” he choked out, attempting to push the boy away,
to no avail. Clark was as immoveable as granite. Classically carved
granite, Lex thought somewhat giddily, looking away and taking a
everything,” he finally continued, when it was clear
Clark wouldn’t be deterred. “If you’d told me
last year – before Roger Nixon, before Desiree and all the
rest – everything would be different now. You say you’re
glad that I know the truth, but the truth is you would never have
trusted me with this on your own. So how can I trust in you? How
can I ever be sure you honestly want this – that’s it’s
not merely a calculated act of self-preservation? Giving me what
you know I’ve wanted…” Lex swallowed down a lump
in his throat, embarrassed at giving away so much. “What I’ve
wanted since I woke up with you on the riverbank.”
sorry, Lex,” Clark whispered after a long moment. “I’ll
make this all up to you, if you let me.”
don’t want you to ‘make it up to me,’ Clark. Just
give me some time to learn to trust you, okay?”
Clark dropped a hand to his knee, thumb rubbing slow circles in
the grey wool. “Like, how much time?”
looked down into wide, hopeful eyes. “Like, maybe a lot of
down-shifted the Ferrari as he took the I-70 on-ramp, enjoying the
powerful purr of the engine under his body as he put Smallville
firmly in his rearview mirror. He accelerated onto the highway –
zero to one hundred and twenty in far less time than it took to
shake Clark out of his thoughts – the peace of mind of high
performance tires gripping asphalt a small consolation for the comfort
he’d been offered and refused in the beautiful young man.
could take it so easily. Take Clark and not question his motives
in offering himself to Lex. But the timing was too convenient. Intimacy
should follow truth, but Clark’s truth hadn’t
been freely given – it was taken from him, and Lex couldn’t
trust anything in the wake of that.
certainly hadn’t trusted him. So many times Lex had proven
his loyalty, his abject devotion, to Clark. So many lines Clark
had let him cross to protect his secret without ever telling Lex
what he was fighting for. Lex had killed for Clark and
the Kents and they still had not deemed him worthy.
now he would protect Clark again, by any means necessary, and against
his own father – Lex spat the word in his head, easing
the engine’s whine as he ruthlessly shifted into fifth –
the very reason the Kents had never taken him into their confidence,
and perhaps rightly so. Lex couldn’t deny the surge of scientific
curiosity he’d felt at learning Clark was an honest-to-god
alien. For a moment that lasted lifetimes, he’d sat
at his father’s computer and imagined the experiments he’d
perform were he a part of Lionel’s team. Experiments.
stumbled into the suite’s private bath and vomited his lunch,
sickened by the sure knowledge that if it were anyone but
Clark he’d have few qualms. That if it were even a Clark he
knew less well, he might still have few enough to stop himself.
taste of bile hadn’t left his mouth in days.
shifted restlessly in the deep bucket seat; the drive to Gotham
would be a long one if he didn’t find something less depressing
to think about. He forwarded through the hundreds of CD’s
housed in the car’s trunk until he found something from boarding
school days – mindless electronica he couldn’t put a
name to, but it didn’t remind him of anything or anyone
of motion in the rear-view mirror caught his eye and he squinted
at whatever was gaining on his speeding sports car, casting a glance
down to confirm that, yes, he was still topping one-twenty. His
breath caught in his throat as the mass got closer, began taking
shook his head, disbelieving laughter ruthlessly squelched when
it sounded slightly hysterical to his ears. He squeezed his eyes
closed for a moment before confirming…
arms and legs were a flurry of motion, invisible to Lex’s
eyes, but the t-shirt and flannel clad torso was unmistakable. So
too, was the look of determination Lex swore he could see in Clark’s
eyes and the set of his jaw.
Christ, Lex had known Clark was fast, but this. He didn’t
even appear to be exerting himself. Lex’s foot pressed imperceptibly
on the accelerator, eyes never leaving the boy now racing on his
bumper… and then—gone.
looked wildly around, fighting the urge to slam on his brakes. Clark
had simply disappeared from behind his car and strangely, that was
more unnerving that having him there in the first place. A moment
later he did pump his brakes, finally spotting Clark standing on
the side of the road a hundred yards ahead.
equal parts relief and exasperation hissed through Lex’s teeth
as he pulled over for the grinning boy, who had cocked a hip in
absurd parody and stuck his thumb out for a ride.
say no, Lex,” was the first thing out of Clark’s mouth
as he tossed his duffel onto the floor of the car, wedging his lanky
frame into the passenger seat. “You know I could get there
a lot faster on my own, so try to be happy about the company.”
his teeth against the urge to tell Clark he had no use for his company
– Lex’s pride would really get the best of him one day
– he addressed the more practical issues, instead. “And
what would you do when you got there? Walk into my father’s
hotel and demand he leave you alone? Oh, wait, you don’t know
where he’s staying do you? And where are you staying,
Clark? Gotham’s an expensive town; have you brought funds?”
dark head ducked in embarrassment. “I’d wait for you
when I got there. I want to help, Lex. You’ve got to let me,
okay? Or I’ll go a little crazy, I think.” A flush crept
up the exposed skin on the nape of his neck, and Lex had the unwelcome
impulse to press his lips to the pinkening skin.
there’s nothing you can do. You should stay as far away from
my father and his lab as possible, do you understand me? Christ,
what did your parents say? Did you even tell them you were coming?”
call them when we get there. I’ll make them understand, and
if I can’t, I’ll go home. I promise.” Clark looked
at him imploringly. “Please, Lex. Stop fighting me.”
eyes and blue locked in a silent battle of wills before Lex finally
heaved a sigh, pulling the Ferrari back onto the highway.
how fast are you?”
don’t really know. I used to time myself, but I keep getting
faster.” Lex could feel Clark grinning in the seat next to
him, by appearances happy to share this with him. “Last week
after I found out about your dad, I need to get away awhile. I ended
up running all the way to the Panama Canal. It wasn’t a direct
route, though. I went pretty much due South until I hit the Gulf,
and then I kept it on my left the rest of the way. I was back in
time to do my chores before dinner, but I’m not sure how long
I watched the ships going through. Maybe an hour,” Clark paused
to think. “So, best guess, there and back in half an hour.”
silently considered this new information.
you ever been?”
the Canal?” Lex searched his suddenly sluggish memory. “No.”
lot of cruise ships go through, and some private yachts, too. Mostly
freight, though. It’s pretty cool.”
Clark sent him a sidelong glance, offering, “I can see through
things, you know. And sometimes I float in my sleep.”
see through things?”
except lead. Lead also shields me from the meteors. I think that
was in the file, though.” Clark was turned in his seat now,
back against the door. “You don’t want to ask me about
the floating?” he inquired eagerly.
Clark, I’m having a little trouble wrapping my brain around
it. Do you want me
ask you about it?”
don’t care. I just want you to feel free to. You can ask me
anything now, Lex. No more secrets,” Clark promised, a beatific
smile lighting his face, and Lex felt he’d found his best
friend again. “It is pretty cool, though.”
grinned back at him. “I’ll bet it is.”
sky was painted livid purple and orange as Lex turned into the drive
of Wayne Manor. Centuries-old oaks bent twisted limbs across the
path; in dark relief against the sky, the still winter-bare branches
laced together like bony fingers, pressing down on their approach.
The ambiance had Clark instantly on edge.
knew Bruce Wayne and Lex were friends and business associates from
comments Lex had made over the months they’d known one another,
but all his efforts at learning more during their long drive had
gotten him nowhere. The less Lex seemed to want Clark to know, the
more worried he had become.
actually started to wish he had brought money for a motel
instead of just assuming he could crash wherever Lex stayed. He
hoped Mr. Wayne wouldn’t make a big deal of him showing up
pulled to a stop in front of the imposing home, a dark hulking mass
of granite, leaded windows glinting with menace in the disappearing
light. Clark grabbed Lex’s bag out of his hand, slinging his
own duffel over his shoulder, and followed him up the half dozen
stairs that led to the door.
his eyes roam the edifice, Clark started when he spied a leering
gargoyle crouching above the doorway, long tongue lolling out, blank
stone eyes seemingly insane.
Lex, this place makes Luthor Castle look warm and homey,”
he leaned in to whisper. Trying for a light tone, but missing the
mark, he vowed to just keep his opinions to himself until he was
sure of his welcome.
was still standing a little too close, breathing his friend’s
exotic scent, when Lex threw a smirk over his shoulder, lips curled
in that way that Clark suspected he really shouldn’t like
as much as he did.
it or not, Clark, the same has been said of the respective owners.”
Lex’s low voice broke through his thoughts and shimmied down
his spine, a residual effect of the hours just spent within easy
touching distance, his impulses tightly reined. “Just don’t
let Alfred hear you say it.”
Clark squeaked, as the door was pulled open, revealing the oldest,
creepiest butler Clark had ever seen. And he’d seen a lot
of them – in the movies, where, come to think of it, old and
creepy was de rigueur. Man, this guy could make a killing
curious eyes seemed to sweep him from head to toe even though he
stood behind Lex, and Clark fought the urge to shuffle his feet.
Master Lex,” the butler said in a cultured British monotone.
“You made good time, as usual.”
only snorted in response, leading the way into a cavernous entry
hall. Black and white checkered marble gleamed beneath their feet
in the soft glow of gilded chandeliers.
Bruce is out for the evening. Would you care for supper in the salon,
take a tray in my room, thank you, Alfred,” Lex answered,
pointedly, it seemed, leaving Clark out of the equation.
for the young sir?” Alfred asked, drawn face as impassive
and unconcerned as his voice.
is Clark Kent. He eats like a horse, and isn’t picky about
the venue.” Amusement threaded Lex’s voice, and Clark
knew he was enjoying his discomfort.
didn’t seem to notice the weird undercurrent between him and
Lex, rattling off the evening’s menu as he led them in a sedate
shuffle to the second story and down a hall lined with portraits
of men and women as gloomy as the house itself. Clark adjusted his
hold on their bags, which the butler hadn’t even attempted
to take from him. Not that he’d have let the old man carry
them; he just thought it was kind of funny.
Cook has made a brandy bread pudding that I’m sure Master
Clark will appreciate.
will no doubt prefer his brandy without the pudding.”
jumped when he heard his name, flushing even though neither of the
other men had noticed, and then snickered at Lex. He received a
wide, wicked smile in return and stumbled over his feet, coming
up short when Alfred halted directly in front on him.
low laugh sent hot shivers through him.
usual apartment, sir,” Alfred crossed the room to pull closed
the heavy velvet drapes before returning with a question. “Shall
I prepare a room for the young master?”
wondered if it was his imagination or if Alfred was stressing the
word ‘young’ whenever he referred to him. If so, it
really was not appreciated.
thank you, Alfred,” Lex said, and they both turned to the
door as the butler left the room.
watched Clark fidget a moment from the corner of his eye before
the boy began to survey the room, done in olive velvet and cream
watered silk. He followed Alfred’s trail to the window, peering
into the blackness beyond before returning to drop Lex’s bag
on the enormous mahogany bed, finally flopping back on it in an
attitude of profound exhaustion.
do say.” Clark propped himself on his elbows, drawing a leg
up on the luxurious velvet coverlet, and unleashing on Lex a look
that could only be described as ‘come-hither’. “I
could stay right here all night and be perfectly happy.”
Lex’s voice held a hint of warning. He was finding it far
too easy to slip back into their teasing banter of old, and he wasn’t
going to be rushed into anything.
dropped back to the bed. “Well, I would be,” he said
under his breath.
a grin, Lex pulled his bag to the end of the bed where he began
unpacking. Clark whistled in awe when he opened the closet door,
and Lex looked around to see what had caught his attention. The
boy bounded off the bed to take a closer look, forcing him into
the room he supposed was probably bigger than Clark’s entire
that’s a lot of space for a guest room closet,” he noted,
and Lex didn’t bother to clarify he was actually in the smaller
of the master suite’s two bedrooms. Clark would probably be
scandalized by the idea of a husband and wife preferring to sleep
filled the doorway, arms stretched over his head to rest on the
doorframe, t-shirt pulled up to expose an enticing strip of smooth,
tawny skin, and Lex couldn’t help but feel a little claustrophobic,
despite the surfeit of space. “Clark, I’d like to come
out of the closet.”
Clark’s mouth fell open, but Lex missed any additional response
to his deliberately provocative pun; a discreet cough issued behind
Clark and he jumped back, revealing Bruce’s manservant.
silently thanked the old man for his impeccable timing, because
hadn’t he just decided Clark was pushing too damned hard?
And come to think of it, why had he ever imagined he possessed
the self-restraint to keep from pushing right back?
room is ready, Master Clark. If there’s nothing more you need,
sir, I’ll have your supper sent up.”
shook his head to the negative, fascinated by the high color rising
in Clark’s cheeks.
lingered as long as he could, hoping Lex would invite him to return
and keep him company, but in the end he followed Alfred down the
hall to his own room. Much smaller than Lex’s, it was still
the most opulent bedroom he’d ever slept in, and he felt a
little funny putting his plain cotton boxers and worn flannel shirts
in a richly patinaed bureau he thought could go for a hundred grand
on Antiques Roadshow. His mom would be in raptures.
he so did not want to think about home right now. His parents
were probably having fits about his note.
gone with Lex to see what Lionel’s up to in Gotham. Please
don’t freak. I’ll call later. Love
eyed the phone on the writing desk like it might rear up and bite
him, and that would be an excuse not to call home –
but probably not one that his mom and dad would accept, he mentally
lamented. There really was no way around it and at the light rap
on his door, he directed the maid or serving girl or whatever she
was to put his supper tray on the desk so he could at least blame
his silence on a full mouth if things got too bad.
His mom answered the phone, and that was not good.
Mom.” He tried to sound upbeat as he lifted a heavy silver
lid and hungrily inspected a savory cut of roast.
that Clark?” His dad spoke in the background. “You tell
him to get his ass home right now.”
squeezed his eyes closed. “Mom, everything’s okay, I
promise. I’m with Lex at Bruce Wayne’s house.”
Wayne?” Martha parroted, bewildered. “Clark, what’s
think Lionel may be building a secret lab here in Gotham and we
came to…to stop him, I guess. Mr. Wayne is a friend of Lex’s.
Mom, you should see-”
honey, you need to come home. It’s too dangerous for you there.”
argue with me, young man,” she said in her sternest mom-voice,
and Clark knew that with a child who was immune to the threat of
spankings, the voice was everything. “We need to
stick close together until we have a plan to deal with this threat.
You can’t trust… “ Martha’s voice trailed
off, sounding uncertain how to finish that sentence.
can’t trust a Luthor, right? That’s bullshit,”
he cried, ignoring her startled gasp. “Lex is doing
something about the threat, and I’m going to help him however
I can. I have to.”
son?” His father’s voice carried across the farm’s
second line. Great. Tag team guilt trip, table one.
you’re scaring your mother. Now, I want you to head home right
this instant. Tell Lex we’ll handle this as a family. We don’t
need his help.”
do need his help, Dad,” Clark protested. “_I_
need his help. And since it’s me Lionel wants to dissect,
I think I’ve got veto rights on this one.”
you realize he and Lionel could be in cahoots on this? Please, son,”
Jonathan pleaded, “Just come home.”
not working with Lionel. He wouldn’t ever hurt me, I know
it. He doesn’t even want me here. I made him bring me.”
Clark calmly explained, knowing he wasn’t being listened to.
“Look, Dad. I’m not coming home. Lionel’s dangerous
and Lex is going up against him, for me. He’s a good friend
to me – to all of us – and I’m not gonna let him
go through this alone.”
voice cut across his father’s objection. “You’re
a good friend to Lex, too, Clark. You know that don’t you?”
shifted uncomfortably in the straight-backed chair. “I’ve
really gotta go. I don’t want to run up Mr. Wayne’s
long distance bill.”
silence carried the soft sounds of his parents breathing across
the miles to him, and Clark felt a pang of homesickness as he waited
for one of them to say something. It was finally his mother who
call us tomorrow night?”
I promise.” Clark picked up a heavy piece of silverware and
pushed a stalk of asparagus across the bone china. “I love
love you, too, honey,” his mom soothed.
be damned careful, son,” his dad warned.
Bye.” Hanging up the phone, Clark sat back with a deep sigh
of relief. As bad as that had been, he knew it could have been much
worse. He figured his dad’s first impulse on reading his note
had probably been to get in the truck and on the highway to Gotham,
never mind that he wouldn’t have had any idea where to find
them when he got here.
god for his mom.
started picking at the cooling food, sure his appetite had left
him. A few mouthfuls of the deliciously prepared meal and an empty
stomach over-ruled his fatigued mind and limbs until he had sped
though the meal, completely cleaning his plate. Leaning back and
scratching his stomach, he wondered what to do with the tray. He
didn’t think he should leave it outside the door like he’d
seen people do at hotels, but he didn’t want to let the dirty
dishes sit all night either. Finally, he picked the whole thing
up and headed in search of the kitchen.
curious about Bruce Wayne and his connection to Lex, Clark took
the opportunity, and the excuse of being lost, to poke his head
into a number of the ground level rooms. Like Luthor Castle, the
study seemed to be the most used room, and a flickering fire lent
a warmth that had little to do with actual heat.
further back, he found the kitchen, gleaming with stainless steel
and modern appliances, and left his rinsed plates in the sink.
the way he’d come, Clark turned a corner to find the old butler
standing in the study’s open door. Alfred cast a critical
eye over him before inquiring, “May I be of assistance, sir?”
I was just taking my dishes to the kitchen.” Clark fidgeted
for something more to say, stuffing his hands deep in jeans pockets.
He’d been jumpy since they arrived, and he didn’t want
Alfred to think he was a complete geek. “Gonna sit by the
fire awhile?” He tipped his head to indicate the blazing hearth.
pulled the door closed. “No, sir. I was just enjoying a cup
of tea. I’m to bed, unless there’s anything more you
just shook his head and wished him goodnight, wondering if he could
have missed him sitting in one of the room’s armchairs. He
didn’t think so, but it was embarrassing to think Alfred might
have seen him snooping around.
mounted the stairs three at a time, stripping down quickly and pulling
on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms upon reaching his room. After
brushing his teeth and washing his face in the adjoining bathroom,
Clark slipped between cool, white sheets, more than ready to call
an end to the day.
slept fitfully, dreams full of shadowed threat, elusive ghost-forms
and meteorite. Awaking to a grandfather clock chiming a half-hour
deep in the night, his spine tingled with awareness. “Lex?”
he murmured, twisting in the covers to find the man he knew was
in his room.
shadow crept along the floor and up the door as it was pulled shut
behind his visitor. “Lex?” he called louder, receiving
lay there for a couple minutes, feeling uncertain and vaguely uneasy,
before deciding to go to Lex’s room. Abandoning the warmth
of his bed he considered throwing on a t-shirt against the old mansion’s
damp chill, but decided against it. Lex-skin always diminished his
capacity for rational thought, and he’d be really disappointed
if Lex wasn’t similarly susceptible.
knew it was a little manipulative, but he also knew Lex wanted him
as much as he ever had – didn’t watching him sleep pretty
much prove it? – and he was determined to refute whatever
reservations his friend now had about their evolving relationship.
was surprised to find Lex’s room dark and the older man breathing
evenly in sleep. He fleetingly wondered if he was crossing a line
when he slipped into the room, pushing the door closed as he leaned
back against it.
old latch clicked loudly in the silence and Clark could hear the
slide of Lex’s body over sheets – could almost feel
the glide of that smooth skin against his own – before the
room was flooded with light.
Lex asked sleepily, and Clark’s heart stopped beating. Super-speed
would have been his best option, but he considered it a fraction
too late because Lex had spotted him. “Clark?” He sounded
confused, worried. “Clark, is everything all right?”
he asked, a hint of panic edging his sleep-roughened voice.
took a few halting steps into the room, wanting to reassure his
friend. “I- I’m fine, Lex,” he answered lamely.
“I just…I thought you…”
in my room watching me sleep, so I decided to return the
favor. You don’t mind, do you?
he wanted to crawl in a hole. Just as he was about to stammer an
excuse and get the hell out, a door in the far wall swung open,
revealing a man who could only be Bruce Wayne – tall and broodingly
dark, with an angular jaw and black, piercing eyes that locked instantly
him, Clark could see another bedroom adjoining Lex’s and comprehension
ripped through him, tearing hope up by tender roots and leaving
it to wither in his chest. He blinked back the moisture that threatened
to well in his eyes and took another look at his new enemy, instantly
more hated and feared than even Lionel Luthor.
guessed him to be at least five years older than Lex; experience
showed in the handsome creases of his face. Broad shoulders and
a heavily muscled, lightly furred chest were revealed by the open
robe he wore – dark green silk, with bottoms to match, and
even his bare feet looked elegant in the deep rug. One hand was
wrapped loosely around the neck of a crystal decanter half-filled
with dark amber liquid.
Clark’s gaze, sensual lips twisted mockingly, and the man’s
other hand was lifted to reveal two large snifters. “I’d
offer you some, but I’ve only brought enough for two.”
His eyes slid to Lex, who was propped up in bed now, smooth chest
bared to the sheets pooling around his waist. “Hello, Lex.
Lex’s dark voice betrayed nothing of his feelings to Clark.
smile widened, revealing bright white teeth and he looked back at
Clark, eyes raking him from head to toe and back again. Clark felt
his nipples tighten, acutely aware of his lack of clothing and the
room’s sudden chill. “Besides, you don’t look
old enough to drink. Let it never be said Bruce Wayne’s corrupted
made an unidentifiable sound that nevertheless suggested he knew
the opposite to be true, but Clark couldn’t spare him a glance.
The man in front of him was too dangerous to turn his back on. He
now had no doubt about who was in his room minutes ago, and he’d
be damned if he was going to back down under the man’s intimidation
is this boy, Lex? This is a school night, isn’t it?”
he asked, never taking his eyes off Clark. “Surely it’s
past your bedtime.”
could see Clark’s spine stiffening with every barbed insult
and knew he should put a stop to it before Bruce found himself in
over his head. He would put a stop to it. Shortly.
this is Clark Kent. Clark, our gracious host, Bruce Wayne.”
man made an offer of his hand, both staring at the other with open
hostility. Lex could practically taste the testosterone
in the air.
unexpectedly, Clark broke the silence. “It’s getting
pretty late, Lex,” he began, still watching Bruce, who donned
a triumphant smile. “Do you have business with Bruce that
can’t wait till morning?”
folded his arms over his chest, cocking his head as he grinned with
proprietary pride on the young man. “No, Clark. Nothing urgent.”
eyes finally met his, shining with mute gratitude before Clark turned
back to Bruce, a genuine, blinding smile lighting his face that
rightly set the arrogant man back on his heels. Lex could almost
feel sorry for his old friend.
if you’ll excuse us, Bruce. It is past our bedtime.”
never let it be said Bruce Wayne didn’t know when he was beaten,
Lex thought as he watched his the man tip his head in acknowledgment
before departing, silk robe fluttering in his wake.
door closed softly behind him, and Lex eyed Clark, curious what
he’d do now and suspecting nothing could be ruled out completely.
Only that he would draw the line at strange alien marking rituals.
And that ‘strange’ was a sliding scale.
unprecedented reaction to Bruce had very effectively settled the
question in Lex’s mind of Clark’s wanting him. Clark
obviously felt at least some of the more primal emotions he stirred
in Lex, and the childish demurrals that characterized his flirting
in the past were hopefully just that – a thing of the past.
perhaps not, because Clark was staring at the floor now, high cheekbones
stained a fevered hue, arms folded across his chest in belated modesty.
He peered at Lex through a thick fringe of dark lashes. “I’m
really sorry,” he said miserably.
at all the tack Lex expected, and he sighed patiently. “What
are you sorry for?”
you want me to leave? Did you want…” Clark’s brow
furrowed as he fumbled for words.
Clark. Bruce and I have some things to discuss, related to my father’s
business dealings here in Gotham, but it can wait till morning,
as you suggested.”
looked at him hopefully. “Then you’re not…”
Lex smiled softly, amazed at the breadth of emotions Clark called
up so effortlessly in him. “Not for a long time.”
nodded jerkily, features blank with relief. “Can I sleep in
here, Lex? Just sleep, I promise,” he hurried to explain.
“I was having nightmares. They’ve kept me up for a few
could well imagine the kind of dream-specters Clark was being haunted
by, and pulled back the covers in invitation, leaning over to turn
off the lamp when Clark settled in beside him. He lay down and gathered
the boy into his arms, tucking the dark-haired head under his chin.
“Just sleep,” he whispered, as much to convince himself
and his unruly body than reassure Clark, shifting to accommodate
strong arms sliding around him.
sorry this is happening,” he muttered into the soft mane,
breathing the heady scent of cheap shampoo.
know.” Clark nuzzled the skin of his throat, pressing the
hard, lean length of his body closer to Lex’s. “What
will we do tomorrow?”
out exactly what’s been done at Plant No. 5. Then… I’m
honestly not sure,” he admitted. “What about
school, Clark? I can’t believe your parents are letting you
do this – you did call and approve this with them,
answering chuckle was muffled against his skin. “This,
Lex? No, I haven’t gotten permission for exactly this.”
Lex started to pull away, but Clark held him fast, continuing with
more seriousness, “It’s spring break. They know I’m
here. They want me to call them again tomorrow.”
they were okay with you being here with me?”
could feel Clark tense though he covered with a quick tightening
of his arms around Lex. “Sure they were. They trust you.”
smiled sadly. “Liar,” he softly chided.
by little Lex felt the stresses of the day draining from Clark’s
heavy limbs, his warm body easing inexorably into Lex’s.
you,” Clark murmured sleepily, squeezing about his ribs almost
thoughtfully stroked his hand down the warm, strongly arched back,
fingers rising occasionally to twist in the curls at the nape of
Clark’s neck, until the moist, even huff of breath on his
neck signaled a descent into slumber.
a child, Lex.”
against the closet’s doorframe, Bruce watched from behind
as Lex buttoned his shirt, a silk tie thrown over his shoulder.
as old as I was when you and I met.”
laughed derisively. “And look how well that turned out.”
different with Clark. And it’s none of your business,”
Lex warned, eyes fixing the other man’s in the full-length
my business when it affects Wayne Industries,” Bruce shot
back, effectively steering them into safer territory.
turned, buttoning his cuffs and considered how best to sway the
older man. “You know I have no interest in LuthorCorp’s
Gotham assets, Bruce,” he reasoned. “You stand to make
a sizeable profit despite the risk to your venture with my father.
Just be ready to act if it comes to that.”
friend waved a negligent hand. “Wayne Industries will defend
its interests, but are you really sure this is necessary? How much
threat can your father pose to this boy?” Sharp eyes watched
for his reaction. “What’s so special about Clark Kent?”
had been none-too-subtly pressing for details since Lex’s
call yesterday afternoon, in which he’d hinted at a coming
rift with Lionel, asked for Bruce’s hospitality, and possibly
his assistance. It had taken one look at Clark for the uncanny bastard
to decide he was at the heart of the matter, and Lex didn’t
try to deny it.
looked past Bruce into the bedroom, satisfying himself that Clark
was still asleep before his gaze returned with the barest hint of
menace. “Any threat to that boy is tantamount
to a direct attack on me. Remember that before you develop an interest
in Clark Kent.”
hit the dark-haired man swiftly. “My god, you’re in
love with him.” His face showed candid disbelief, his voice
a trace of pain. They’d been over and done so long ago, he
hadn’t expected Bruce to harbor such feelings for him anymore.
smiled wryly, a touch of self-deprecation in the lift of his brow.
god,” Bruce repeated, relaxing back against the door. “Lex
Luthor in love. I never thought I’d see the day.”
laughed softly with his friend, slipping into a pair of sleek, Italian-made
loafers. “You couldn’t possibly be more surprised than
glanced down at his watch, grimacing as he made his excuses, and
wished Lex luck. “Give me a call if there’s anything
you need,” he offered as he left the room, giving Clark’s
sleeping form a thorough once-over on his way out.
merely gritted his teeth.
his cuff-links, he moved to the bed, watching the broad chest rise
and fall in slumber. Bared to the waist, Clark’s lean, golden-skinned
torso was tinted with a youthful blush. Pebbled nipples and softly-parted
lips were stained a darker rose that begged Lex’s mouth. Soft
and lovely, and Lex’s mind and body ached for such pristine
couldn’t envy Clark’s peaceful repose, even having gotten
little enough sleep himself the previous night. He knew the boy
had needed it badly to have slept so soundly while Lex all but writhed
on a self-constructed rack of torture.
Clark warm and pliant in his arms after imagining it for so long,
Lex hadn’t trusted himself to sleep. Each time he’d
begun to drift, so had his hands, touching, exploring the responsive
body as they were accustomed to do in his dreams, until an answering
shift of Clark’s hips or a low, needy whine brought Lex back
to complete awareness. Awareness that Clark was eager, and available
easy it would have been to press him into the mattress, spread his
thighs and take what Lex’s body demanded; how Clark would
have welcomed him.
how Lex would have despised himself for taking advantage. So, yes,
he’d realized the depths of his feelings for Clark. They could
no longer be denied.
raised his gaze to slivers of vibrant green awareness, smiling gently.
“Good morning. Did you sleep well?” Sitting on the edge
of the bed, Lex allowed himself the indulgence of his hand in warm,
tangled curls, rubbing the silky strands between his thumb and fingers.
boy sighed, closing his eyes under Lex’s touch. “Mm
beautiful in my bed.” Lex watched a slow smile form on Clark’s
face, eyes opening to meet Lex’s. “But if you insist
on sharing it in every sense, Clark, I won’t let you go easily.”
won’t ask you to.” Clark softly vowed.
sure. Absolutely sure,” Lex warned, knowing the truth was
he’d never be able to let Clark go. “You know
what I’ve done to protect you as my friend. But as my lover?
Nothing would be too much. I keep what’s mine.”
do I, Lex.” He pulled Lex’s hand out of the warm haven
of his hair, turning his head to press his mouth to Lex’s
wrist. “Let me come with you today. I can be ready really
shook his head, pulse throbbing heavily. “No, it’s better
if you stay here. I need to speak with some of the contractors who’ve
worked on the construction project, and there’s a slim chance
I could run into my father today. He can’t know we’re
together on this.”
I want to help,” Clark insisted, lips spilling warmth against
Lex’s palm as he spoke.
have an idea how you can help. We’ll talk about it tonight,
still looked disappointed, releasing his hand when Lex stood to
shrug on his jacket. “You’ll be gone all day?”
possible.” Lex couldn’t suppress a chuckle at the pout
that piece of news earned him. “Just stay out of trouble,
Here?” Clark scoffed. “The most trouble I’m likely
to see is a fireside chat with Alfred.”
me rephrase that, Clark. Just stay away from Bruce.” Lex knew
the warning belied his carefully casual tone, but he couldn’t
help himself. “I don’t like the way he looks at you.”
dawned in a brilliant smile, and Lex cringed a little. “That’s
funny, Lex, coming from you. And while I’m pretty sure it’s
you Bruce wants, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve
already got myself a billionaire boyfriend.” Clark looked
at him coyly. “Don’t I?”
think about it, Clark. Be sure,” he said, tucking his wallet
in his back pocket. “I’ll be back as soon as I’m
able.” He took one last look at the beautiful boy, still sprawled
invitingly across his bed, burning the image upon his memories in
case it should never re-occur, and left without another word.
watched the door pulled closed behind Lex and stretched languorously,
supremely satisfied with himself. Lex’s warnings didn’t
deter him a bit because the look in his eyes – like his want
for Clark was eating him alive – that was a bigger rush than
waking up floating six feet above his bed.
Lex admitting he loved Clark to Bruce Wayne?
smile stretched Clark’s face. Bigger even than the inevitable
fall back to earth.
hadn’t meant to eavesdrop. He’d been drifting, languid
in a sea of lucid sensation – the soft cocoon of bedding warm
beneath his back while a cooler draft skimmed across his chest and
belly, the scent of Lex always in his nostrils – drifting
since Lex had rolled out of his arms, heedless of his murmured protest.
Lulled by the sounds of real-Lex’s morning ablutions, with
dream-Lex’s body sliding erotically against his own, he’d
finally been brought to full awareness by the low cultured voice
of the man he’d slept intertwined with through the night.
had decided right then he wanted to wake up that way every day for
the rest of his life.
school was going to be a bit of an obstacle to his plans, and Lionel,
of course, but even he couldn’t suppress Clark’s optimism
this morning. So Lionel and high school and then…Lex.
threw back the covers and considered the rather significant problem
a night in Lex’s arms had left him, and how weird it would
be for him to jerk off in Bruce Wayne’s house.
laughed under his breath. Not as weird as it would be for Bruce
to have an alien jerking off in his guest room shower,
Clark figured, pulling himself cheerfully out of bed.
minutes later Clark was pouring a cup of coffee from the dining
room sideboard and trying to decide what to do with himself for
the day. A glance out the windows revealed grounds that looked as
extensive as Lex’s, but wilder somehow. Not unkempt exactly,
just less ordered.
drizzle was falling, though, and Clark knew it was too cold outside
for him to be out for long without a jacket to keep up appearances.
Clark hadn’t packed right; he hadn’t expected Gotham
to be so different from Smallville, or even Metropolis, but it was.
Maybe it was because they were on the Northern coast, but everything
a perpetual mourning.
shook his head, surprised by his observation. Lighten up, Kent,
he thought. It’s just a little winter rain.
morning, Master Clark.”
started violently, coffee cup rattling on the saucer and his super-fast
reflexes alone saving a spill. He turned to greet Alfred, fighting
the rising blush in vain. It wasn’t just that he apparently
hadn’t gotten rid of his jitters from the night before; he’d
returned to his room this morning to find his bed already made.
Alfred was too well-bred to say anything outright, but he wondered
if the man would treat him differently knowing where he’d
Bruce asked me to tell you he’ll be in conference calls most
of the day and unavailable to entertain you.” Clark shifted
uncomfortably. “But that there’s an extensive weight
room with sauna and indoor pool and an adjoining theatre and game
room in the lower level of the mansion.”
thanks,” Clark supplied, feeling Bruce’s insult, but
thankfully only good intentions from the butler. “I think
I can ‘entertain’ myself.”
good, sir. Shall I have Cook prepare something for your breakfast?”
Pale eyes a hue of washed-out green sparkled mischievously. “She
despises making pancakes, but they’re very good. I strongly
grinned, suddenly more at ease. “No, thanks, Alfred,”
he said, picking up an apple from a bowl of fresh fruit. “This
looked at him disapprovingly. “Cook can put apples in
the pancakes, sir.”
Clark laughed, “I’m good with just this. But if you
have a suggestion for lunch, I’d appreciate your advice.”
old man nodded sagely. “I’ll see to it, sir. Leave everything
was still laughing when Alfred left the room, and still at a loss
for how to spend his day. He wouldn’t have minded a swim,
but he didn’t have any trunks. Besides, he didn’t like
the way it had been offered with the weight room, like Clark was
just a dumb kid with a decent body. There were names for
guys like that who slept with men like Lex, and he bet Bruce knew
every one of them.
the guy was a jerk, and no, Clark wasn’t going to
give him the benefit of the doubt. “Jerk,” he muttered,
warming up his coffee before leaving in search of a library.
found it opposite the study where he could occasionally hear both
Bruce and Alfred’s muffled voices. Selecting a volume on Galileo,
Clark settled onto a long couch, where he could keep half an eye
on the study door over the armrest at his feet.
the morning Alfred came and went, never seeming to notice Clark
in his preoccupation. Wondering that Bruce’s butler would
be so involved in his day to day business, and since the book he’d
chosen didn’t hold any new information for him, he found his
interest drawn more and more often to the men behind the door opposite,
realizing after some time that there’d been a prolonged silence
issuing from the room.
got the better of him and Clark x-rayed through the wall, lurching
upright and spilling his book to the floor when he found the room
must have fallen asleep and missed them leaving, the rational part
of his brain supplied. But he knew it wasn’t true –
they’d simply disappeared. His conditioned brain scrambled
for a plausible meteor-related explanation, but of course they weren’t
in Smallville. And then the Scooby Doo indoctrination of
his formative years kicked in, and he knew.
mansions always had secret passageways.
he breathed, before becoming immediately suspicious, because…
a creepy butler into the mix and you could bet there was foul play
did feel a twinge of guilt over that last thought, like he was betraying
a friend. Because, really, Alfred wasn’t all that creepy,
just ancient and a little eccentric, and when did Clark add ‘afoot’
to his vocabulary, anyway? He shook his head to clear the cacophony
of thoughts clamoring in his head; none of them mattered. He looked
back at the door across the hall.
mattered was the lack of warm bodies in Bruce’s study.
concentrated on the room again, focusing until his eyes penetrated
the door and the far walls beyond, scanning for what he knew he
would find until .._.there_. A narrow, wood-paneled landing was
concealed behind a small dry bar. Clark dropped his eyes, following
the staircase down, until polished wood gave way to stone stairs
carved into solid grey bedrock.
blinked his eyes, coming back to the library. Uncertain what he
should do, he picked the fallen book off the floor and set it beside
him on the couch.
really was no question of his going down there once he’d had
a moment to think about it – Lex’s warning to stay out
of trouble and away from Bruce Wayne notwithstanding. Because Clark
couldn’t imagine any excuse for the covert movements
of Bruce and Alfred that could be anything but nefarious –
not with Bruce involved – and Clark wasn’t
about to stay here, or let Lex stay here another night if they were
doing something illegal.
moved quietly across the hall, keeping an ear tuned for any other
household staff. Finding the door locked, Clark snapped the handle
cleanly off, hoping it would look more like an accidental failure
of the hardware than would the alternative – splintered wood
– and closed the door softly behind him.
vision allowed him to find the mechanism that swung the bar, perfectly
balanced and silent, from its recess in the wall. Clark slipped
inside the darkened stairwell and began his descent, soon realizing
that Wayne Manor was closer to the coast than he’d thought.
The gently curving stairwell acted as an enormous flue, carrying
a tangy scent of salt air.
sound of the two men’s voices carried to him, as well; far
enough away to allow him an easy escape if either man decided to
return up the blind passage he was descending. Their voices reverberated
across a cavernous space opening up at the bottom of the stairs,
which Clark could now see ended about two stories down. A natural
cave, he guessed. Halting just before the rock wall on his right
would have given way and exposed his presence to the men, he x-rayed
drew sharply together as he struggled to make sense of what he was
was a natural cave, as he’d guessed, but a small fortune had
been invested in technology. The cave floor and walls were tiled
with a glossy black resin-plastic, and the space was brightly lit
by halogen fixtures which hung from a support of metal scaffolding.
Bruce was seated before a wall of large monitors – scenes
of Gotham and the mansion grounds, CNN
and local news stations. His back was to Clark and his feet were
propped on a long console. Alfred was at a nearby table, bent over
a lumpy pile of black rubber.
the verdict, Alfred?” Bruce called.
butler looked up, and Clark jumped back, certain he’d been
spotted. He found himself suddenly staring at a mass of solid rock
as his vision returned to normal. Christ this place was
going to give him a heart-attack.
has a way of corroding, sir, even Wayne Industries polymers,”
Alfred replied, and Clark’s ears perked up. Alfred sounded…younger
down here. “But I think it will buff out.”
That freaky bastard’s ruined enough of my suits. Gonna have
to start billing him if he keeps it up.”
Bruce sounded almost.._.cheerful_.
zeroed in on the pair again, more confused than ever.
sir, I’ve always maintained we should bill City Hall for your
expenses, but the lack of a return business address is an impediment.”
and the grappling hook on that one has a bent prong,” Bruce
rejoined, ignoring Alfred’s remark. “Thought I was a
goner there for a minute.”
a shame, sir,” Alfred said with sincerity. “The prior
company did better work, but they were very costly.” He appeared
to think about it for a moment. “Perhaps, though, in this
instance, the extra expense would be worthwhile.”
choked back laughter, surprised by Bruce’s distracted “Uh
seemed really…close. It was kind of sweet.
couldn’t believe it, but it was so true.
Rich guy with clearly way too much time on his hands. Behind
Alfred glass doors slid open on a row of black latex suits, and
an identical case nearby stored a lot of high-tech gadgets
the Batmobile pretty much cinched it. Parked beyond the wall of
monitors, Clark just spotted taillights in a sculpted fender over
Bruce’s right shoulder. He felt positively giddy with his
discovery, and the endorphins in his system were telling him to
do a bad, bad thing.
a closer look at the car was a bad idea, especially with Bruce and
Alfred right there, but fucking Christ it was
the fucking Batmobile and x-ray vision just wasn’t
going to cut it. Clark had to get his hands on that thing.
it seemed safe enough, with Alfred bent over his task and Bruce’s
back to him, to speed into the next room. And he could be quiet.
Bruce might be Batman, but he was still only human. Clark could
be back on the library sofa in the time it took him to twitch.
that was the deciding factor, a fraction of an instant later Clark
was across the room, the rear of the console wall at his back and
the gleaming black automobile in front of him. Crouched like a sleek,
haughty cat, it beckoned him closer, and Clark obeyed, moving on
your impression of Clark Kent, Alfred?” Bruce’s voice
carried from the next room, freezing Clark in his tracks.
a very interesting boy, sir,” Alfred replied with
a little too much gusto. “Very interesting.”
you think he can keep a secret?”
I imagine he keeps a great many secrets, Master Bruce.”
squeezed his eyes shut. Shit. How long had they known he
was there? Had he tripped an alarm in the study? On the stairs?
Bruce’s chair scraped as he stood up in the next room, and
Clark turned to face him as he rounded the wall, a deadly serious
expression on his handsome face.
a long moment they regarded each other in silence, and though Clark
knew he was in a more precarious situation than ever, he still couldn’t
suppress the grin that finally split his face.
ducked his head, wishing desperately he didn’t feel like such
a little kid meeting his personal hero. But, if the shoe fit…
smiled again at Bruce, extending his hand. “You have my word,
Bruce. I’ll never tell your secret.”
older man studied him thoughtfully a moment longer before stepping
forward and grasping Clark’s hand in return. “And I’ll
never ask for yours, Clark,” he promised. “Although,
if you wanted to tell me…”
shook his head, brows lifting in chagrin. “Um, I think I’ll
pass for now, if that’s okay. Too many people know already.”
Clark admitted, looking past Bruce to Alfred, who’d just entered
almost time for luncheon. I’ll assist Cook if there’s
nothing you require,” he addressed Bruce, and Clark realized
it was true – Alfred was younger than he let on up in the
go on, Alfred,” Bruce urged. “We’ll be up after
Clark’s had a chance to satisfy his curiosity.”
was all but bouncing on the balls of his feet as the butler left
the room, turning to run a reverent hand along the lines of the
Batmobile. Bruce watched him fondle his car with an air of amused
it’s clear now what Lionel – and Lex –
want with you.”
stopped his inspection, catching Bruce’s dark, unreadable
gaze. “Lex doesn’t want anything from me, and I don’t
want anything from him.”
would be a mistake to trust him with your secrets, Clark.”
Bruce spoke kindly, and though Clark knew he was wrong, he didn’t
take offense. It seemed an alliance of sorts had been forged between
he and Bruce in the last few minutes that would bind them forever.
already knows everything, and I trust him.” Clark said simply,
“I love him.”
Bruce regarded him with a mixture of concern and pity, Clark continued
with a grin, “Besides, you’re the one who should really
be scared of Lex finding out your secret.” He waited for Bruce’s
startled look to turn questioning.
kill for this car.”
Ferrari clung to the wet, twisting road, speeding an anxious Lex
towards Wayne Manor. All day a vague uneasiness had been growing
in him and he had a pretty good idea as to the cause. Never before
had he been so much at a loss for how to deal with a threat to his
interests. Lionel’s assaults on LexCorp, his brother Lucas’
brief usurping of him – they’d been child’s play,
the stakes inconsequential in comparison to Clark.
was everything and Lex couldn’t afford to make a
he’d never been less prepared for a confrontation with his
father. Since the failed bugging of LuthorCorp he’d been in
a self-imposed cease-fire where his father was concerned and currently
held no bargaining chips of value equal to bonafide extra-terrestrial
morning appointments with the construction contractors who’d
worked the recently completed Plant No. 5 expansions hadn’t
yielded any information, suggesting a very substantial pay-off on
Lionel’s part. Lex hadn’t pushed. He’d merely
indicated his father’s satisfaction with their work and his
own intention to use them for an upcoming LexCorp project, but even
the promise of a generous contract hadn’t loosened their tongues.
impulse he’d decided to have lunch at a diner near the plant
and he’d had better luck there. At the intersection of a secondary
highway and the turn-off to the plant, they’d had a front
row seat to a parade of dump trucks removing earth from the site
for nearly a week while the plant had been shut down. The regulars,
a number of them plant workers, had speculated among themselves
about the oddity of that, given the expansion was to be at ground
was enough to remove any doubt in Lex’s mind that Lionel had
built another Level Three.
pulled the Ferrari into the mansion’s drive and close to the
front door, detesting the sensation of cold drizzle falling on his
scalp as he exited the car.
needed inside that lab, but it was only mid-afternoon – too
early for a break-in – and Lex was planning a hot shower and
a long nap to compensate for the sleep he’d missed the night
if Clark still wanted to join him, then he could probably think
of a few other things to help pass the time.
the mansion, he handed his jacket to Alfred and, at the butler’s
direction, followed the sound of deep, male laughter – Bruce’s
– to the back of the mansion. To Bruce’s study, where
the door hung ajar, a broken handle lying on a long table skirting
I come along sometime?” Lex was halted by the eagerness in
Clark’s voice, his previous unease blooming sickeningly.
don’t know, Clark. You might be a little young for that.”
Bruce responded conspiratorially, and Lex moved silently forward
to see for himself the appreciative look on Bruce’s face as
he regarded Clark. Pathetically relieved to find them separated
by Bruce’s desk rather than seated together in front of the
fire, until he remembered how much he’d been able
to accomplish with Clark across the top of his own desk.
on, Bruce,” Clark tipped his head in an attitude he instantly
at that moment the other man glanced up at Lex, a knowing smile
suggesting he’d been aware of his presence all along.
head snapped around. “Lex!” he cried, eyes lighting
momentarily before wariness clouded them. He glanced quickly back
at Bruce and received a warning look that gutted Lex where he stood.
“How’d your day go?” Clark asked, manner still
warm but more subdued as he settled back into his seat.
walked to the bar and poured himself a scotch. “Bruce, would
you care for a drink?” he asked, ignoring Clark until he could
rein in the unchecked suspicion and jealousy – the fury –
that threatened to burst forth.
a little early in the day, Lex, but why not. Pour me a brandy.”
it were anyone but Clark, Lex would think he’d been cuckolded,
but it couldn’t be true. Clark was too innocent,
too damned.._.virginal_ to have betrayed him in the six fucking
hours Lex had been gone.
that Bruce wouldn’t have provided every temptation. He gave
the smugly smiling man a withering look as he handed him a snifter
of Armagnac, and moved to the couch along the wall where he could
study both of them in profile.
watched him take a long drink of his scotch, brows raised in nervous
inquiry. “What did you find out today, Lex?”
impassively at Clark, he replied, “We’ll talk about
it later, Clark. Privately.”
hazel eyes flicked away to Bruce again, Lex perceived the silent
communication they shared. And it wasn’t Lex is in a foul
mood, isn’t he. No, it was Lex suspects
something and how shall we handle him. He drained
his glass of the biting liquid in four long swallows and rose to
you’ll excuse me, I need a shower.”
toyed with a ballpoint pen, batoning it between dexterous fingers.
“Sure, Lex. I’ll keep Clark entertained.”
Clark hissed a warning.
set the empty crystal back on the bar and left the room, denying
the urge to drag Clark out by his hair.
had no right to these feelings; he’d warned Clark away only
that morning. The boy wasn’t yet seventeen years old; his
declarations of love couldn’t be relied upon.
not what you think.” Clark’s voice carried up to him
as he mounted the stairs behind Lex.
willed his voice not to shake though his entire body was trembling
with the force of his emotions as he asked, “No? Then what
exactly is it?”
answered from immediately behind him as Lex entered his bedroom.
“Just– I don’t know. Bruce and I decided we could
was sublimely laughable, but only a derisive snort escaped Lex.
“Jesus, Clark. Are you really that naive?”
eyes swept the room, noting the presence of a battered duffle bag
on the silk-covered chaise, tennis shoes at the foot of the bed.
He finally turned to regard Clark leaning back against the closed
door, hands jammed into his jeans pockets. Long lashes framed doe
eyes that dropped in uncertainty before meeting his again.
knows we’re together.”
not together,” Lex replied coolly. “You should
move your things back to your room. We’ll forget about last–”
don’t want to forget!” Clark’s eyes widened, pleading
with him. “Lex, please… I don’t know how else
to say that I want you.” He said softly, “Just you.”
pounding heart felt as if it might burst apart inside his chest.
He’d never needed to believe in anything so badly and in weakness
his instincts made him strike out. “Well, you know what they
say, Clark. Actions speak louder than words.”
stared unblinkingly, nervously licking his lips before he moved
to cross the distance between them. Lex waited for him, the vicious
thrill he felt sickening him. He swallowed convulsively around a
knot of emotion hardening in his throat, tipping his chin to meet
Clark’s changeling eyes when he was close enough for Lex to
feel body heat radiating through layers of clothing.
kept his eyes open as Clark leaned in for their first kiss, watched
Clark’s eyes flutter closed as the cherub mouth pressed chaste
against his. Plush lips laid tender promises, warm and sweet across
the surface of Lex’s mouth. He realized his own eyes had fallen
shut, too, when Clark finally pulled away. They opened to a gently
amused smile, Clark’s eyes shining into his own.
love you, Lex.”
dam broke on the simple declaration, flooding Lex’s already
ravaged senses with the torrent of emotion he’d been suppressing
for months. Long, tousled hair twisted in his fists and he pulled
Clark in for a real kiss, his tongue pushing insistently past lips
and teeth to finally taste, desperate to slake an unquenchable thirst.
Forcing his way deep into slick warmth, the hard, fast thrusts of
his tongue punctuated by sharp nips at full, red lips, and Clark
couldn’t keep pace.
pleased Lex, this proof of utter inexperience, and something switched
on in him, something primitive inciting him to riot, to plunder
and take and claim. He tipped his head, licking into Clark’s
mouth from a better angle, and the boy was panting short, hot breaths
into Lex, mouth hanging open, granting the access that was demanded
while a silken tongue darted hesitantly out to play chase, the wet
tease directing Lex’s cock to painful attention.
hands clenched in the dark mass of curls, mouth bruising on Clark’s,
as he pushed forward, twisting them around until the backs of Clark’s
knees were halted by the side of the bed and then he pushed further.
A hard shove to the deeply muscled chest and the boy was on his
back, staring up at Lex in a wide-pupiled daze, slack mouth shining
wet, an invitation to so many things.
your shirt off,” he ordered roughly, pulling his own tie loose
with one long stroke.
quickly complied, t-shirt shed to bare smooth, honeyed skin that
Lex could already taste melting on his tongue. The buttons of his
shirt finally gave way to his shaking fingers and he tugged the
tail from his pants, dropping it forgotten to the floor.
knelt on the bed; one knee wedged high between wide-spread thighs,
the heel of his hand rubbing a hard line up the length of Clark’s
arousal. A choked moan and the arch of Clark’s long, taut
body, and Lex’s mouth locked on the stiff tip of a dark nipple,
sucking hard on the excited flesh, pulling it into his mouth, rolling
it across his tongue before delivering a stinging bite.
Jesus, Lex,” Clark twisted under him, hands clenched around
fistfuls of velvet, shuddering hard when Lex’s fingers gave
the nipple’s neglected twin a hard twist. “Oh, god.”
mouth descended on Clark’s again, devouring desperate whimpers,
his body shivering delightedly at the feel of Clark’s hands
– enough strength there to take him apart limb by limb –
cradling the back of his skull, thumbs stroking absent circles on
Lex’s throat as he strained with need under him.
mine, Clark,” he rasped, dipping his head to suck a wet trail
along the underside of a tempting jaw. “Not his.” His
hand was tugging at the buttons on Clark’s Levi’s. “Not
my father’s.” Long legs lifted to wrap around his waist,
squeezing tight as Clark’s hips rocked instinctively into
one else’s,” Lex growled, slipping a hand inside to
squeeze Clark’s cock.
Lex. Oh, god…” Clark panted. “Yours…
pulled back, kneeling between Clark’s legs and grasped his
jeans and boxers, tugging them sharply off lean hips. Clark’s
engorged cock sprung free, thick and new, the smooth head slick
and shiny, the heated, musky sex-scent that filled Lex’s senses
a pure aphrodisiac. Watching the defined lines of Clark’s
abdomen tighten and ripple in anticipation, he leaned down and took
the head between his lips, suckling to gather the long-craved essence
on his tongue. Clark’s anguished moan had his own cock twitching
in its ever-tightening space.
pulled off and pushed Clark’s knees up to his chest, impatient
with the constriction around the heavily muscled thighs and impatient
to see all of him. The boy thrashed beneath him when his fingers
brushed the tight whorl of skin, and Lex’s cock was throbbing
a demand his brain couldn’t even register.
breached the tight passage with the tip of a dry finger before Clark’s
whimpered pleas reached Lex through his own senseless murmurings,
bringing him back – fully back to the moment.
Clark lying slightly stunned beneath him, used.
shook his head in denial, mute disgust welling within himself.
don’t.” Clark reached for him when he tried to pull
away. “Don’t stop…”
go, Clark.” Lex batted at the intractable hands skimming his
ribs, holding him effortlessly in place. “It shouldn’t
be this way. God, I’m so sorry-”
eyes implored him, and Clark’s hands gripped tightly, “Please,
Lex, I need you. I need you to believe it’s true.”
wrenched in Clark’s immoveable hold, his pained gasp earning
him immediate freedom. Clark sat up quickly, half reaching for him,
the contrition on his blushing face at odds with the readiness of
his still-straining cock.
still Lex was tempted, more temptation than he’d
ever known. He shook his head against it, squeezing his eyes closed
on the erotic, longed-for sight of Clark – naked but for the
jeans twisted around his knees – begging for him. “Not
your first time, Clark. It’s wrong.”
could never be wrong,” Clark urged, raw need in his
voice. “You know you can’t hurt me, Lex.”
hope that’s not true.” Lex opened his eyes, letting
Clark see whatever truth they contained and spoke as honestly as
he could. “I hope we’ve both got something to lose here.”
looked as if he might argue further and Lex cut him off, turning
to rummage in a drawer for fresh clothes and a change of subject.
“I’m taking a shower and a nap. There’s definitely
a Level Three and I’m going there tonight to look for something
I can use against my father.”
going with you.” The rustling sounds of Clark pulling his
jeans up accompanied that statement.
moved to the bathroom, looking at Clark only when he was sure the
boy was half clothed again. “Yes, you are. I’ll need
your vision to help me get into the lab, but you’re staying
outside. I won’t have you involved in the break-in.”
didn’t argue with him, but he could see they’d be re-visiting
this issue outside the plant tonight, at the worst possible time.
“I’m tired, Clark. Why don’t you go play with
Bruce while I take a nap?”
Lex’s voice was hard, implacable despite the pain in Clark’s.
He still stung from his discovery of the pair in whatever secret
they shared and he was not going to apologize for the provocative
another word he closed the door behind him and turned on the shower.
When steam was pouring over the glass wall he stepped naked into
the stinging spray. Standing with his hands to the wall, he let
the hot water pour off his back and shoulders until he felt some
of the day’s tension easing from his limbs, exhaustion from
his week in hellish uncertainty replacing it like leaden weight.
toweling off briskly, Lex threw on a pair of soft sweatpants and
entered the bedroom again to find Clark asleep on top of the covers.
Curled in a tight ball, he looked strangely vulnerable, unconsciously
confirming Lex’s belief that he should be handled with delicacy
despite his insisting otherwise. Lex slipped between cool sheets
and lay on his side facing the boy. Clark stirred under the light
brushing of his thumb across wetly matted lashes.
never meant to hurt you.”
wounded eyes searched his face, and Clark leaned forward to press
a warm kiss to his lips before shifting himself under the covers,
accepting Lex’s possessive embrace wordlessly.
dozed for a couple hours, half-aware when Clark left the bed for
a short while before returning to read quietly. The sound of turning
pages and the feel of a big, warm hand filtered into Lex’s
dreams, stroking soothing paths across his scalp, and over his shoulders.
Lex shifted closer, seeking the care in the soft touches, and when
he awoke to the sound of a door opening, his head rested in Clark’s
lap, a strong arm wrapped around his shoulders.
cracked an eye to Bruce’s smirking gaze. “Jesus, Wayne,”
he croaked, voice hoarse with sleep, “I realize this is your
house, but don’t you ever fucking knock?”
Bruce replied, holding up a cordless receiver, and it took Lex a
moment to realize there was a call on the line. “For your
Bruce, can I borrow something to wear?” Ignoring the tensing
of Lex against him, Clark reached for the phone, continuing, “Lex
and me are going out tonight and I didn’t bring anything dark.
You’ve got something in black, don’t you?”
gave Clark a long-suffering look before letting his eyes linger
over Lex and answering, “Sure, Clark. Help yourself to my
until Bruce had left the room to take the call, Clark was lifting
the receiver when Lex’s hand darted out, grasping his wrist.
Silvered eyes stared hard into his and Clark felt his stomach tighten
are going to tell me what happened today.”
wasn’t a question or a request. Lex was seriously pissed and
Clark just nodded his acquiescence. He’d think of something.
phone call was his parents checking up on him, of course. He did
his best to put their minds at ease about what was happening, but
his best was sorely diminished by the sight of Lex leaving the bed
in grey sweats that hung like really artistic pornography off angular
was so beautiful, all pale luminescent skin, the supple play of
underlying muscles revealing strength in his slender frame. When
he stood in the open door of the closet and hooked thumbs in the
elastic waistband, pushing material down past a firmly rounded ass,
Martha’s voice was drowned out by the sizzling in Clark’s
his eyes closed, he forced his attention to the call. “Yeah,
Mom, I’m here.”
adjusted himself surreptitiously, keeping his eyes averted from
the closet while he filled his parents in on their plans for the
evening. Lex left the room without trying to catch his attention,
leaving Clark silently cursing. He was going the have to think of
something really good to explain the newfound ease between
him and Bruce.
be careful, honey, and call us in the morning, okay?”
will, Mom,” he promised. “I love you guys.”
love you, too, son,” his dad answered, still sounding reluctant
about the whole situation. “You tell Lex I’m holding
him personally responsible for your safety.”
Clark rolled his eyes. “I’ve gotta go, I think it’s
almost time for supper.”
honey. Be sure and thank Mr. Wayne for letting you stay, and try
not to be too much trouble.”
grinned at the knowledge of exactly how much trouble he could make
for Mr. Wayne and promised his mother he’d
be good before disconnecting the call and heading in to raid Bruce’s
in a pair of his own dark blue jeans and a body-hugging black turtleneck
in what Clark guessed might be cashmere, he finally went in search
of Lex. He and Bruce were leaving the study when he came around
the corner, and Clark warmed under Lex’s appreciative full-body
eyes slid to Bruce when he whispered to Lex in a false sotto-voce,
“You should take the kid shopping, Lex. At least now he looks
legal,” before brushing past Clark with a dismissive, “You
clean up nice, Kent.”
thanks.” Clark didn’t spare him a glance, holding Lex’s
hot stare as he stalked closer, and leaned in for a kiss, a trace
of the previous night’s jealousy gnawing on him. Lex tipped
his head obligingly, and let Clark explore the recesses of his mouth.
His slick tongue slid languidly along Clark’s, his earlier
urgency apparently in check. “What were you and Bruce talking
about?” Clark asked with a final light kiss to the pink mouth.
didn’t elaborate. His hand dropped to the small of Clark’s
back and steered him in Bruce’s wake to the dining room at
the end of the hall. “Your parents alright, Clark? They don’t
need your help on the farm?”
fine. And Lex,” Clark looked at him pointedly, “wild
horses couldn’t drag me away.”
laughed softly at his evident frustration and directed him into
the chair next to the one he claimed for himself on Bruce’s
left, who sat at the head. As at lunch, Alfred sat on Bruce’s
right and the girl from the night before – Margaret –
served them all.
you two are up to tonight, it might be better if it were left to
Lex and me,” Bruce offered when Margaret had left them to
Clark and Lex answered together. “Thank you, Bruce, but we’ll
manage on our own,” Lex finished for them both.
cut into the unidentified fowl on his plate – he knew it wasn’t
chicken, but it smelled great – and happily left Bruce to
Lex. He was hungrily forking seasoned rice into his mouth when he
finally became aware of Alfred’s reproving regard.
He swallowed, brows raised in inquiry.
you should both leave whatever this is to Master Bruce.
Gotham is his city, after all.”
looked oddly between the butler and Bruce, who said nothing. “Didn’t
know you’d bought the whole damn town, Bruce. I’m sure
it will come as a surprise to my father, as well.”
quickly covered for Alfred, “He only meant we should let Bruce
help if he can. Which he can’t,” he added with emphasis
directed at the old man.
you say, sir.” Alfred sounded skeptical.
think what he meant to say is I’m more capable, Lex.”
Bruce sat back and threw his napkin to the table. Lex grew rigidly
still at Clark’s side. “Why don’t you go take
another nap and leave tonight’s business to Clark and me?”
the corner of his eye, Clark saw Margaret re-enter the room just
as all four men began shouting across the table at each other, his
hand on Lex’s shoulder keeping him in his chair while Alfred
waved his arms in a wild plea for decorum.
pivoted in abrupt and hasty retreat with such a scandalized look
on her face Clark couldn’t help but double over in laughter.
drizzle fell relentlessly from day into night, the cold damp so
pervasive it had seeped into everything. Fine droplets studded smooth
glass with transient glitter, whisked away in efficient, but ultimately
climate inside the Ferrari mirrored the elements and Clark’s
efforts to banish Lex’s stormy disposition for more than fleeting
moments had met with success similar to the wiper blades. The mood
had lingered since dinner and Clark finally decided to approach
the situation head-on.
a manner of speaking.
still had no idea how to explain the change in his relationship
with Bruce, so that was off-limits. And he guessed that was pretty
much all Lex wanted to know.
not really head-on at all. But still…
are you going to tell me what you were talking to Bruce about before
dinner?” Clark regretted his choice of opening gambit even
before the thought had been fully voiced.
you going to tell me why you’re so comfortable in his clothes?”
Lex retorted in exactly the vein Clark should have predicted.
you know there’s nothing going on between us, don’t
snorted. “I know he wants you.”
sighed his disagreement.
didn’t deny it,” Lex pointed out with cool – he
undoubtedly assumed irrefutable—logic.
course he didn’t!” Clark exclaimed. “Because if
he did, the only explanation for his jealousy would be that he still
has feelings for you.”
didn’t reply, but Clark could see the tense flexing of his
jaw by the instrument panel’s glowing light.
I’m saying is, if I can get past the fact that you two used
to…be together,” Clark coaxed, “then
you should be glad about that. You’re the only person
I’ve wanted to be with for a really long time and now there’s
nothing preventing it. I just don’t understand why you’re
fighting it so hard.”
shook his head almost imperceptibly, a shadowed profile, throat
working around whatever he thought he shouldn’t say. His voice
was strained when he spoke. “I just want to get it right,
smiled into the darkness. “You’re my best friend. It
couldn’t be any more right, okay? And, um…
in case you’ve forgotten? I’m a sixteen year old guy.
And I’m a…” Embarrassment sat like hot
coals in the pit of his stomach, diffusing prickling warmth throughout
his body. “A virgin,” he continued determinedly.
“And I can’t wait much longer.”
sound that issued from the driver’s seat was less than sympathetic.
serious!” Clark objected. “You nearly killed me today
with the almost-having-sex thing, and then that little strip-tease
you did while I was talking to my mother? That really was
didn’t apologize, but his silence seemed thoughtful and they
rode slightly more companionably for a few minutes longer, finally
turning off the highway onto the access road for Plant No. 5.
plant was a mile off the main highway, alone in a low clearing flanked
by dense pine forest. Lex drove through the gates slowly, headlights
switched off, and parked the car behind a thick copse a hundred
yards from the facility.
turned the engine off and reached between his legs, shifting his
seat fully back on the smooth runners. “Move your seat back.”
adjusted his own seat the few spare inches the sports car allowed
and turned back, the question on his lips muffled by Lex’s
warm, wet mouth. Clark opened his mouth and clutched at the front
of Lex’s jacket, groaning around the tongue lapping lazily
into him in an erotically suggestive pantomime.
fingers carded into his hair, no command in them now, just permission,
and Clark pushed into the slick heat of Lex’s mouth, curling
his tongue to lick behind a voluptuous lip, map the ridges behind
white, even teeth.
tasted faintly of coffee and brandy, and other, as-yet-unidentified
things too rich for Clark’s blood, a taste acquired and so
long denied that, with the means to satisfy his hunger being offered
so obligingly, he responded more as glutton than connoisseur.
Lex… so good,” he murmured, sucking in a scarred lip
to hold secure between his sharp teeth tracing the flesh with his
tongue, and shifting in a fruitless attempt to lessen the ache steadily
growing between his legs. He tongued the ridge of beautifully flawed
flesh until Lex pushed him firmly away, relinquishing his treat
with an inarticulate whine of protest.
Clark. Lean back, against the door.” A hand slid down the
length of his squirming body to hook under the knee of the leg nearest
Lex. “Put your foot up here, behind me on the seat.”
Really awkward twisting until his foot was wedged against
the driver’s side door.
what are you-“
hands were sliding under his – Bruce’s – sweater,
brushing lightly across his belly and then swiftly unbuckling his
belt. “I’m going to suck you.”
lifted his hips when Lex had opened his fly, body instinctively
accommodating the craved touch while his brain struggled to catch
up. With no room to maneuver the restrictive jeans down his splayed
thighs, Lex simply reached into the placket of his boxers, hot fist
squeezing just right around Clark’s now painfully erect cock.
pulled the length in long firm strokes, exactly what Clark
needed. “And you’re going to come in my mouth.”
my god,” he babbled, but that was okay, some part
of his brain supplied. It was too momentous an occasion for coherent
thought. Clark’s first blow job, and Lex was the
ambient air stirred briefly over the fevered flesh when Lex pulled
him free of his boxers, then a molten tongue swiped hard across
the moist head, working with nimble fingers to slide back the sensitive
foreskin. Lex’s wicked smile flashed in the semi-darkness,
shining lips poised inches from his cock.
please,” Clark begged, and he hoped Lex liked the
way it sounded on him, because he could picture a lot of it in his
future. “Please, do it, Lex. I need it.”
know,” Lex soothed as he settled more comfortably between
Clark’s trembling legs and took his swollen cock into his
mouth without preamble.
wet and unimaginably hot—unimaginably perfect—and
Clark’s hips bucked off the seat, greedy cock forcing its
way into an even tighter throat without invitation, but Lex accepted
it readily, swallowing around him and humming encouragement.
couldn’t speak, couldn’t think to form the words of
awe and appreciation that Lex was due. His ragged breathing thundered
in his ears with the sweet sounds of Lex’s practiced lips
and tongue working, slurping. He couldn’t take his eyes off
Lex’s mouth, stretched tight around his cock.
insinuated itself inside his boxers and his balls were rolled gently
while his hips lifted with increasing, rhythmic urgency to meet
Lex’s bobbing head. He reached out a shaking hand to pet the
naked scalp, not to hold Lex in place while he thrust hard
into his throat, but the hand digging into the flesh of his hip
was pulling, rocking, encouraging, and when a stiff finger pressed
hard behind his balls, he couldn’t help it, his grip on Lex
tightened as he came in shuddering waves, pressed deep inside Lex
and calling his name.
quaked with pleasure as the scalding mouth continued to pull gently
on his softening cock, firm tongue expertly working a succession
of aftershocks through his limp body. Lex finally pulled off with
obvious reluctance, tucking Clark away and falling back against
blue eyes glinted under heavy lids as Lex swiped a thumb across
his chin and sucked it into his mouth – a mouth Clark suspected
was now red and swollen and he whimpered frustration at a night
that obscured his view.
squeezed his calf before moving with the ease of ownership up the
inside of his leg.
Monosyllabic, but a complete word and Clark invested it with everything
he could – all that he was feeling – unable to form
a more fluid train of thought. The answering chuckle sent another
little shiver through him.
Lex continued after a few minutes, voice low and coaxing. “Are
you going to tell me about your day?”
found out something about Bruce,” Clark volunteered like a
hypnosis victim through the sex-fog clouding his head, because he
didn’t want to lie to Lex ever again. “A secret. He’s
afraid I’ll tell, I think.”
endorphin drugged senses locked on the sensation of strong fingers
massaging the muscles of his inner thigh.
has a lot of secrets. Which one did you stumble across?”
peered warily into the darkness. “I can’t say. I promised.”
fingers dug deeper, an involuntary reaction, Clark thought.
promised me there’d be no more secrets between us,
is different, Lex, and you know it,” Clark pulled his leg
into his own seat, shifting onto his knee to lean over Lex. He pressed
a kiss onto reluctant lips, while his hand sought the bulge in Lex’s
soft pants. “Don’t ask me to betray a confidence to
prove my loyalty to you,” he whispered, rubbing his palm into
the hard line.
hand cupped his face, lightly calloused thumb stroking high on his
cheek. Lex sighed deeply and answered him. “I’d never
do that Clark. And you have nothing more to prove to me.”
mouth moved achingly sweet on his for a moment, long enough for
Clark to catch a lingering bitterness on Lex’s tongue that
he belatedly recognized as himself. His hand was lifted away from
the wool-clad cock and Lex pushed open the door. Clark grabbed him
before he could exit the car.
about you, Lex? I want to taste you, too.”
growl sounded in the darkness and Lex leaned back for another kiss,
more demanding than before, and Clark eagerly gathered his own essence
off Lex’s probing tongue with his lips and teeth and tongue.
pulled back abruptly, with a breathless little laugh. “Clark,
stop. We’ll finish this later.”
I need you,” Clark whined, as hard again as if he’d
never gotten off, and more than ready to see Lex’s control
vanish as well.
first, then pleasure,” Lex scolded, a smile in his voice.
“The sooner we’re done here the sooner I can get you
back in that big, soft bed. And tonight, Clark, I’m not going
to let you go until you’ve delivered on every promise you’ve
ever made me.”
pad of Lex’s thumb rubbing his lower lip emphasized his meaning,
and suddenly Clark was as eager as Lex to quit the car’s cozy
interior, visions of tangled limbs and rigid cocks and stained sheets
dancing like obscene sugarplums in his head.
on.” Lex slipped out of the car, keeping to the deeper shadows
as they approached the plant, with Clark hard on his well-shod heels,
eager to catch him on the off-chance he should slip on the rain
was pondering the subtle and delicious scent of Lex’s cologne,
so barely there you almost had to press your nose
into the hollow below his ear and take big, huffing breaths to get
anything like enough of it. And maybe that was the whole point,
he decided when his friend stopped without him noticing, sending
Clark hard into his back and throwing them both slightly off-balance.
Clark mumbled, snaking a hand into the dry warmth under Lex’s
black overcoat. He pulled the hard body back against his own and
dipped his head to sample the addictive fragrance.
tilted his head, granting better access. “Clark,” he
whispered, “It’s not that I don’t appreciate your
enthusiasm – I do – but could you rein it in? I think
you’ll agree this is serious business.”
Sorry, Lex.” Clark dragged his attention to the matter at
hand, which was…
vivisection at the hands of Satan.
sobered, Clark focused on the plant until his x-ray vision melted
away the outer walls. Training his eyes downward through the floor
– through earth and air ducts and piping – he finally
reached the new Level Three. “I’ve got it.”
me what you see.”
what Lex might be looking for, Clark described it all. The gleaming
new lab was sectioned off, seeming to allow for multiple scientists
at once. There were beakers and burners and a few other things Clark
identified from Bio class, but the vast majority of the equipment
eluded his understanding.
description of a rather innocuous looking machine near a bank of
computers caught Lex’s interest and Clark went into fine detail
until Lex declared with confidence that it was a DNA
meant nothing to Clark.
Clark. Bio-terrorism. Or cloning. I have to get inside to know exactly
what he has planned for you.” Lex squeezed the hand still
wrapped around his waist. “What else do you see?”
rest made Clark a little sick to his stomach and he pulled Lex closer
as he continued.
a lab table. For me. And a cell.” It was the cell that most
frightened him. Built for an animal without the basest measure of
privacy, empty but for a cot bearing a nylon mesh stretched across
it, with no toilet or sink, even. Clark supposed the sprinkler spigots
in the ceiling would serve to wash him and the cell clean. The water
would sluice into the drain in the center of the floor. But worst
of all, anticipated but sickening nonetheless: “There’re
meteors. Enough to kill me, maybe.”
wouldn’t want you dead, Clark,” Lex assured softly,
but Clark wasn’t so sure.
voice shook slightly when he continued, “It’s in the
walls. Recessed cubbies in the walls and the refined meteorite bars
are in them.”
levels would be easily adjustable then, once they determined your
tolerance.” Lex made a considering noise. “Crude, but
effective. Much like my father.”
there’s a lead room off the lab where they could keep extra.”
the access?” Lex asked, though he was less hopeful of getting
into the lab with Clark’s help. With the meteors already in
place he couldn’t expect Clark to go in, and without Clark’s
abilities he couldn’t expect to defeat the facilities security
Clark could answer a twig snapped loud in the night and they spun
around to face the man who’d snuck up on them unnoticed. Staring
down the barrel of a LuthorCorp standard issue revolver attached
to the requisite standard issue security goon, Clark mentally berated
himself for letting his guard down.
your hands where I can see them,” the man ordered. A heavily
padded jacket emblazoned with the LuthorCorp logo only emphasized
the stocky man’s lack of conditioning, and he fumbled with
the safety on the gun he was waving vaguely in their direction.
Clark pushed Lex behind him with a surprising amount of difficulty.
your gun away. I’m Lex Luthor,” Lex said in his patented
voice, and Clark was mightily surprised when the stocky man only
displayed a crooked grin in return.
I know who you are. And I know you and Mr. Luthor are feuding,”
he said with the satisfaction of one in the know. “I bet he’ll
be real interested to know you’re snooping around his plant
in the dead of night.”
sighed at the man’s dramatics. Eleven-thirty was hardly the
dead of night.
the threat he posed to their plans was real, and if the nudging
Lex was giving his lower back was any indication, Lex thought so,
said get your han-“ A yelp of pain attested to the guard’s
surprise at finding his arms suddenly pinned behind his back and
a smirking Luthor picking his gun up off the ground. “How’d
you do that?!” he demanded when Clark eased up on his hold.
grinned in the darkness and addressed Clark. “We’ll
have to leave him here tonight. Find some natural shelter for him
while I go to the car.”
started to protest but Lex obviously had a plan and since Clark
definitely did not, he decided to go play along for the moment.
At least until such time as Lex wanted to let the poor guy sleep
with the fishes.
superior vision allowed him to find what Lex desired. An outcropping
of sandstone rock fifty yards deeper into the woods would provide
cover from the rain, and when Lex returned with arms full they proceeded
in tense silence.
can’t leave me here!” the man squawked when Lex started
binding his hands and feet with nylon rope.
maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” Clark seconded,
eyeing the red emergency blanket Lex had brought along.
Clark. He’ll be fine until tomorrow afternoon, when you have
my permission to call rescuers.”
security guard – Alan, his nametag declared him – still
looked scared. “What’s tomorrow afternoon?” he
tomorrow afternoon?” Clark asked Lex.
blue eyes made a promise persuasive lips echoed. “Tomorrow’s
when we end this thing.” Lex stepped close, pressing warm
lips to Clark’s. “Trust me.”
of pure horror flitted across Alan’s face. “Jesus help
me, you two are some kind of Natural Born Killers, aren’t
you? I’ve got a wife,” he pleaded, all but blubbering.
Clark smiled, bending to tuck the blanket around the warmly dressed
man. “Shut up.”
was waiting to take their coats when they arrived back at the Manor,
dour-faced but obviously relieved to see them home in one piece.
your outing meet with success?” he asked Clark, who shot Lex
a protective look before lying.
Went perfectly as planned.”
old butler beamed at them. “Very good, sir.”
Bruce?” Clark asked casually. Lex had clued him in on ‘the
plan’ on their way home and Clark was determined to get Bruce
on board as soon as possible. Doing it without letting Lex know
was going to be a little tricky, but he was super-powered.
And a teenager. Nothing like a teenager for a little covert action.
Bruce has business this evening. He did say he would be available
if you needed him.”
old eyes searched Clark’s for a clue, but the stiffening body
beside him directed Clark’s response.
need him at all. Just thought we’d say goodnight,” he
replied, squeezing Lex’s hand when it slipped into his. He
could maybe catch Bruce in the morning, and if not, then Clark would
just have to watch out for Lex himself. It wouldn’t be the
took demonstrable notice of the intimacy and asked Lex, “Is
there anything more you require before you retire, sir?”
have everything I need, thank you, Alfred,” Lex answered with
the uncompromising proprietorship Clark was beginning to suspect
came naturally where he was concerned.
he called to the butler as Lex pulled him towards the stairs.
night, Master Clark. Don’t stay up too late.” He muttered
his last admonition just loud enough to reach Lex’s ears.
“It’s not good for a boy your age.”
of honey skin lay across creamy sheets, the lithe body squirming
slightly in need and blushing modesty beneath Lex’s hungry
appraisal. Clark’s pink tongue darted out to wet a pornographic
mouth – green eyes dropping when Lex’s rigid cock flexed
in appreciation. A soft sigh and the rolling of lean hips –
Clark’s cock jutting from a thatch of dark curls – attested
to his frustration. Still only Lex’s silvered eyes touched
the nude boy.
waited a long time for you,” he said by way of explanation,
mouth dry and voice nearly hoarse with suppressed desire howling
to slip its leash.
long,” Clark breathed, a little half smile coiling in Lex’s
belly, like something that could strike him dead.
reached into the bedside table, Clark’s breath quickening
as he eyed the lube tossed onto the sheets. Lex wondered again,
an ever-ill-timed ritual on his infrequent visits to Wayne Manor,
who outfitted his quarters – Alfred or Bruce. He threw off
the distracting thought with a slight shake of his head.
clean, Clark. I don’t want to use condoms with you.”
trust you, Lex.” Wide open eyes stared back at him with a
well-spring of confidence, and Lex silently vowed never to taint
their depths with doubt or distrust. “I don’t want there
to be anything between us, either.”
his eyes travel again the length of the long-limbed boy –
hard and chiseled as marble, but as soft and warm as anyone Lex
had ever known – he voiced a final concern, not trusting himself
to touch Clark before doing so. “I want this to be so good
for you, but…”
he was desperate to be inside Clark, hot and tight and all for him.
He’d never felt so much the rapacious lord, driven to claim
a partner unequivocally, and the claiming a thing mutually independent
worrying.” A strong hand reached out, pulling him between
thighs that opened in perfect invitation.
slowly lowered himself onto Clark, every nerve alight with the slide
of skin on skin, the coarse hair on Clark’s legs and groin
seeming to spark with electricity against him. Despite his brave
words, Clark trembled beneath him and Lex kissed him tenderly. Every
thrumming muscle in his body demanded he take, but his
mind was just clear enough to give Clark this. He stroked down a
trembling flank, gentling the boy with the unhurried play of his
mouth until the tension contained in the strong body was released
in a violent shudder.
limbs softened in sensual languor and his lush mouth opened wider,
wet and welcoming. Lex’s lust was driven to fever pitch with
every stroke of Clark’s hot tongue, every wanton arching of
his body and every exploratory movement of big, farm-bred hands
rubbing and gripping along Lex’s arms and back and buttocks.
With a final feathering of kisses along Clark’s brow and temple,
Lex pulled back onto his heels and spread heavy thighs wider apart,
greedy eyes devouring his ultimate goal.
engorged cock strained upward, head glistening with the proof of
his arousal, and Lex leaned down to suck lightly as he squeezed
and warmed lube between his fingers. Not surprisingly, Clark tasted
slightly different than any other man Lex had been with. Bitter,
of course, but a purely alien spice danced on his tongue and he
savored the burst of flavor when he pressed two long fingers deep
into the needy body.
moaned together, Clark’s hips rolling down onto his roughly
probing fingers. Lex pulled back to watch the sleepy-eyed boy writhe
for him and added a third finger, twisting all three at once.
fuck, Lex,” Clark moaned and, bereft of Lex’s
body to explore, rubbed his hands over his own lean ribs and chest,
lingering to pull and twist dark nipples – so entirely
unanticipated that Lex could only groan his reply as he smoothed
his cock with lube.
instinct raged too potent to feel more than a modicum of guilt over
not preparing Clark more thoroughly. The head of his cock breached
the tight ring of muscle and Lex found himself in the closest thing
to Paradise he was ever likely to have admittance to. He threw his
head back, mouth open and panting, and pushed forward steadily until
he was fully embedded in molten flesh.
low over Clark, cock flexing inside the boy, Lex pressed another
kiss to the softly parted lips, taking his hitching breath as encouragement.
Slipping an arm under Clark’s waist, he sat up, leveraging
strong thighs astride his own, and pressed ever deeper.
lay back on the bed, all smoldering eyes and rippling muscles as
Lex thrust hard into the yielding body, angling slender hips for
his own gratification. Clark cried out in ecstasy and long legs
fell further open, the regular gasps and jerks beneath him assuring
Lex that by pure serendipity his pleasure was Clark’s as well.
one hand under Clark, lifting and tilting, and the other stroking
a deliciously curved buttock, Lex pushed mercilessly into the tight
sheath of Clark’s body, eyes traveling the length of the boy
who was taking him like he was made for it, and hadn’t Lex
always known it was true?
much he wanted to say and Lex opened his mouth but nothing came
out. He shook his head, a soft bark of laughter the only expression
of his wonderment, eyes drinking in the longed-for tableau.
curls were tousled and tangled from his thrusts, one arm tossed
above Clark’s head on the soft sheets, the other wrapped around
a big, red cock leaking enthusiasm. Lex braced his free hand on
the bed beside Clark and pounded in to the caressing curves, head
bent to study the glide of his glistening cock in and out of Clark’s
clutching flesh, the frantic pumping of Clark’s fist.
of sweat fell onto Clark’s taut stomach and Lex licked his
lips as he looked at up at the sweet face, flushed and sweat-dewed,
eyes squeezed shut and panting in near silence beneath him.
come for me.” His voice was low and gravelly with his exertions.
whimpered, eyes opening glazed, stroking in a hard and fast rhythm,
matching Lex’s increasingly erratic thrusts into him. Finally,
twisting hard on the upstroke, ribbons of creamy come splattered
hot between them.
keening cry drove Lex harder into his pliant body, gripped tight
by the rippling shocks of orgasm. His thrusts became wild and frenzied
before he spilled everything into Clark, twitching cock buried as
deep as he could possibly get in a soul-deep desperation to lose
himself in Clark completely.
shifted forward, relieving the weight on his legs and, bracing an
arm on the bed, took gasping breaths until he felt his racing heart
begin to slow. Eventually, Clark began to shift lazily under him,
but Lex held his hips firmly in place, impaled on his still-hard
and sated, heavy-lidded eyes looked at him in question. Lex bent
down and dragged his tongue through the cooling come on Clark’s
chest, sky-blue eyes never parting from grass-green, and whispered
with a low promise in his ear. “I’m not done with you
softening cock was gripped by a responsive quiver and Lex rocked
slow and deep inside Clark, knowing it wouldn’t take him long
to be ready again – god, he’d dreamed of having
Clark this way for so long…
his hips into Clark’s warmth, Lex dipped his head for another
taste of the spicy come, cleaning a fleshy nipple with the flat
of his tongue, teasing it to a peak before sucking it hard into
his mouth. A sharp bite had Clark arching hard into his mouth and
Lex’s cock filling with renewed interest.
longer thrusts and both were hard again. He pulled slowly out, feasting
on Clark’s protests.
eyes held dark promises and a low groan escaped Clark. Flipping
enthusiastically onto his stomach, he bent one leg at the knee,
drawing it up even with his waist. Arching his spine and presenting
his ass, Clark blushed hotly into the soft bedding at his own shamelessness,
but Lex’s low moan and the reverent stroking of a hot hand
across the firm flesh he offered assured him his instinct was correct.
closed his eyes and listened while Lex slowly pumped his wet cock
and, bending over Clark, skated lips and tongue across his hyper-sensitive
back. Tracing the bow of a sweat-salted spine, Lex called forth
gooseflesh and a shiver. An anguished sound escaped his lips when
Lex lowered himself flush against him, guiding his cock into the
messy slickness between Clark’s cheeks.
and filled again, his body seemed to unfurl, drawing Lex in like
welcoming him home, and Clark strained to open himself wider. Lex
buried himself deep and then pushed deeper with each lazy thrust,
his frantic passion now slaked.
satiny flesh made tacky with drying come slipped against his back
for what seemed like forever, pebbled nipples boring holes into
Clark’s shoulders. Moist breath fell hot on Clark’s
nape as Lex mouthed him, burying his nose in damp hair and breathing
rode somnolent waves of pleasure, gently undulating under Lex’s
unhurried ride. Twining their fingers above Clark’s head,
Lex lowered his full weight as his thrusts became sharper, his swollen
cock cleaving Clark again and again, every scraping pass flashing
white-hot behind Clark’s tightly closed eyes. Lex’s
breath sounded harsh and beautiful against his ear, and Clark twisted
in growing frustration with the languid pace, grinding his leaking
cock against the sheets in escalating urgency.
perfect, Clark,” Lex groaned, finally driving into him with
lengthening strokes. “Never wanted anyone like this…swear
I never have…”
welled in Clark’s throat at the raw honesty and he squeezed
the lightly calloused hands, wishing instead he could wrap his arms
around the too fragile body laboring over his.
you inside me,” the hot words were whispered against his temple,
and Clark arched violently into the admission, come pulsing onto
the bed as his orgasm crashed over him like an act of god.
released a hand, reaching down to push a leg higher up, wider apart
and, fucking him deep and powerfully, followed Clark into oblivion.
was still gasping Clark’s name when he finally rolled off,
their sticky flesh as reluctant to part as Clark was to feel Lex
slipping from his body. Lying prone and motionless even when Lex
finally pulled himself from the bed, satisfaction coursed through
Clark’s veins as he reflected on the last half hour of his
best half hour of his life.
onto his back, his muscles pleasantly stretched, Clark peered down
the length of his body – skin coated with their sweat, saliva
and come – and let his head fall heavily back to the bed.
He really should get up and shower, but his sex-sated limbs wouldn’t
begin to receive that particular command, and he drifted, listening
to the sound of the water pouring from the bathroom tap.
fallen asleep, one arm crooked over the top of his head, fingers
of the other hand trailing through the tackiness on his belly when
Clark was brought back to awareness by the feel of a wet cloth warm
across his chest.
purred his appreciation and allowed Lex to bathe his limbs; eventually
opening his eyes on an expression of such reverence it stopped the
breath in his throat. The care and seeming reluctance with which
Lex washed away the signs of their lovemaking vanquished any lingering
doubt he might have harbored over never having heard an unequivocal
declaration of love.
Lex’s ministrations turned to his cock it twitched with a
half-hearted interest that brought their eyes together, both smiling
with affection. Finally, Lex lifted his legs, knees bent and feet
flat on the bed. The cloth slipped into the sticky mess between
Clark’s legs, and his breathe hitched as he accepted the profoundly
bent to place soft kisses along the insides of both thighs, dropping
the soiled towel onto the floor beside their bed. He stretched out
beside Clark, drawing the bedding over their cooling bodies.
lay quietly for a long while, eyes and hands softly exploring, Clark’s
face periodically breaking into an irrepressible grin.
look awfully pleased with yourself,” Lex teased.
shouldn’t I be?” Clark asked, pulling Lex closer. “Remember
that virgin thing I was complaining about earlier? It’s not
so much a problem for me anymore, thanks to you.”
self-satisfied smirk had Clark hiding an equally-pleased grin against
his chest. “I’m glad to help, Clark. Anytime.”
don’t feel any different, though. I mean,” Clark hastily
amended, “I do feel really, extremely relaxed. And
happy. But, not really different, you know? I thought I
be cherry forever, Clark. Bright and shiny and new.” Lex’s
smile was warm as he brushed a stray curl from Clark’s brow.
“I wouldn’t want to change anything about you.”
looked at him with some skepticism. “Not even the alien thing?”
took a deep breath as he considered the question and finally answered,
“Not even that.” He looked steadily into Clark’s
eyes before continuing. “I’ve never asked outright,
Clark, but I’ve assumed that…if there were any danger…I
mean, Jonathan Kent doesn’t strike me as the type to harbor…”
Lex grimaced at his stumbling attempts to articulate himself. “I
have assumed that you are alone. That, arriving as a child, you
have no knowledge of why you were sent.”
felt a deep pang of hurt at Lex’s question, even understanding
it had to be asked. He believed, too, that it would be the last
time Lex doubted him. “My ship has some kind of intelligence.
It’s communicated with me about my home planet, Krypton. It
was destroyed and my parents sent me here.” Clark ducked his
head in embarrassment. “They thought I should use my strength
to rule Earth.” It just sounded ridiculous when he said it
the prolonged silence, Clark looked ruefully through his lashes,
surprised by how calmly his lover appeared to be taking the news.
Or maybe that was just the famous Luthor poker face. “I don’t
want to rule the world, Lex,” he hastened to assure. “You
know I wasn’t raised that way.”
I was. I do.” Lex closed his eyes, rubbing a hand
across his face. “It’s fucking ironic, isn’t it?”
for the first time the full weight of Lex’s burdens and uncertain
what to say, Clark leaned forward for a slow, wet kiss, bone-deep
exhaustion precluding it leading to anything more. Slowly massaging
the muscles bracketing Lex’s spine, addicted to the slide
of the silky skin beneath his fingers, Clark lay silently for some
time, dwelling on the next day’s agenda.
you think he’ll fall for it?”
has to,” Lex answered. “With all the loose ends we’ve
left lying about we couldn’t hope for him to remain ignorant
of our movements beyond tomorrow afternoon. He’s scheduled
to return to Metropolis day after tomorrow, anyway. It’s now
I’m sorry I didn’t come to you to begin with. I wanted
don’t. You know I understand.” Beautiful blue eyes narrowed
a fraction. “One thing, though. How did your mom get inside
knew his grin was a little cocky. “I spied on your dad from
LuthorCorp’s air ducts until I saw the combination.”
Shoulders shrugged as he continued, “I couldn’t break
in myself because of the meteorite.”
looked impressed, but he hid it quickly, warning, “Tomorrow
you have to stay here, Clark.” He tilted Clark’s
chin, forcing reluctant eyes to his. “I can handle my father,
and it’s too dangerous for you to try to watch over me. Promise.”
down his objections – they hadn’t swayed Lex in the
car – Clark gave Lex his promise.
promised himself it would be the last lie between them.
hadn’t needed to call his father’s office to know where
he’d be staying. The Gotham Plaza was the most ostentatious
hotel in the city, after all, though not the best, by far. Lex himself
preferred The Quarterage on the south side – just as exclusive,
just as luxurious, and much more discreet.
Lionel always did enjoy being seen.
the most celebrated of the sunny breakfast salon’s patrons
tipped their heads in his direction as he strode commandingly into
the room. He wore a good-natured – affectionate, even –
smile for his son and a handsomely tailored suit in charcoal wool,
everything about his appearance meant to leave the correct
impression on his audience.
son,” Lionel called boisterously, squeezing Lex’s shoulder
when he half stood to greet his father. “What a surprise.”
smile on his face did nothing to betray that they both knew Lionel
hated surprises. Particularly those sprung by his lamentably
waiter pulled Lionel’s chair out for him and an aromatic coffee
was poured in custom-patterned china the hotel had been using for
more than a century. Lex thought the heavy pattern rather ugly.
gaze pinned him to his chair as the older man slowly sipped his
coffee. “Well, Lex? This obviously isn’t a social call.
To what do I owe the honor of your visit?”
lips had barely parted when his father’s palm sliced through
the air, cutting him off.
let me guess. Keeping a corporation afloat, even one consisting
primarily of a ‘crap factory.’” Lionel smirked
as he threw Lex’s own one-time description of the plant back
in his face, “requires more than brash arrogance and the firm
handshakes of a few small-minded rustics.” Lionel heaved a
sympathetic sigh. “You’ve finally decided it’s
all too tedious, and you’re here to offer me your.._.empire_
at pennies on the dollar.”
Lionel laughed at his little joke, Lex gritted his teeth and adopted
an expression of wry self-deprecation. “Nothing quite as dramatic
as that, Dad. It’s not LexCorp I’ve grown weary of,
but Smallville.” Idly toying with the heavy silver of his
place setting, Lex lifted humbled eyes to his father’s. “I’m
ready to return to Metropolis.”
way of Gotham, it seems.”
response from his father was delayed by the return of their waiter
to take their breakfast order. Lex turned his head to stare out
the solarium’s floor-length windows onto the Plaza’s
formal gardens – an admittedly graceful feature of the hotel.
The foliage was lush and green from the last night’s rain,
and Lex wondered perversely if the hapless security guard had fared
voice droned in his ears while he took slow meditative breaths and
studied a dew-dropped hibiscus beyond the windows, mere feet from
their table. The stark contrast between the gluttonous excess of
his father’s breakfast order and the inhuman conditions of
the cell waiting for Clark was enough to sicken him.
everything depended on not merely restraining himself from going
over the table and wrapping his hands – hands that had killed
once before in defense of the Kents – around his father’s
neck; he had also to keep any show of his disgust and deception
from reaching his face.
a man who read him better than anybody. Better even than Clark.
again, Lionel continued, “Forgive me, Lex, but I’m not
certain how your return to Metropolis concerns me. You surely didn’t
come all this way for a pat on the back? It’s long past the
time for recognizing that the inhabitants of that backwards community
are not your peers.” Lionel looked at him with eyes that sought
every weakness by instinct. “Unless you mean also to return
to the familial fold?” he added skeptically.
this was the moment Clark’s life might rest upon.
consider it a possibility,” Lex reluctantly allowed. “With
appropriate incentive and compensation, naturally.”
thick-maned head tilted back, eyebrows raised. “You have something
would mean you giving up Martha Kent.” Lex laid the bait.
and disappointment clouded Lionel’s face and he threw his
linen napkin onto the tablecloth. “Is that what this is about?
Still trying to protect the Kents, Lex?”
the contrary. I mean to destroy the Kents and your partial ownership
of the Savings and Loan would allow me to do so quite effectively.”
Lex’s tight smile was pure challenge. “Unless of course
you find Martha…indispensable.”
I might be persuaded to part with the lovely Mrs. Kent.” A
lecherous grin oozed across his father’s face. “Then
he’s finally refused you, has he?” A cynical laugh followed
the crude remark as Lionel stroked his beard, razor eyes never leaving
Lex’s deliberately impassive face. “Smart boy. Inhumanly
smart, one might say.”
looked askance a moment, apparently weighing the implication of
his father’s words, then nodded almost imperceptibly. “Yes,
he is, and beautiful, too. He’s quite…unearthly.”
so vile it made Lex’s stomach roil followed his remark, and
he forced an expression of mild shock onto his face as his father
chuckled in acknowledgement.
is a very special boy,” Lionel mused. “Have you considered
him an avenue to the Kents ruin?” He took another sip of his
coffee, watching Lex over the brim with an air of innocence. “Gifts
such as his are invaluable, Lex. And your revenge would be doubly
snorted at the absurdity. “You don’t know as much about
Clark Kent as you think you do if you expect him to sit still and
wouldn’t expect him to have a choice in the matter. An illegal
alien would be very difficult to trace once it was inside our borders.”
did not miss the pronoun switch in his father’s statement.
There would be no more dancing around the issue. “Getting
it inside our borders and keeping it inside are two different
things, Dad. I’ve had that creature under almost constant
surveillance since my arrival in Smallville, and it has no vulnerabilities.”
guarded expression couldn’t fully reveal the rapid calculations
spinning just behind pale eyes. Lex needed inside that lab, and
he was betting his father’s arrogance – his driving
desire to always show himself the better man than Lex – would
gain him entry.
give it far too much credit, Lex. You should have come to me earlier.”
A bony hand raised in signal for the check. “Every hero has
an Achilles heel.”
wasn’t aware of his feet hitting the stair treads as he descended
them, and it occurred to him that he might be floating on air, literally.
Last night his world had been toppled off its axis because gravity
was a barely-remembered sensation. A dopey grin stretched his face
as he entered the breakfast room. He didn’t try to wipe it
away; that would be pointless. In fact, he felt it grow impossibly
larger when Bruce eyed him over the top of his Gotham Herald.
ask if you slept well,” Bruce said dryly, “but with
all the thumping and moaning going on last night, sleep was an impossibility.”
stopped dead in his tracks, mortified at the thought of…oh,
god had he been that loud?
must be true what they say,” Bruce continued, obviously relishing
Clark’s discomfort. “Wayne Manor is haunted by ghosts.”
narrowed his eyes at the smirking man. “Oh, very funny.”
comeback, Kent, he mentally cursed, crossing to the sideboard to
fill his plate. Back turned to the older man, the smile settled
on his face again. He had a feeling it wasn’t going away for
after the night he’d spent with Lex, shown so many things,
initiated and tutored and played with. Clark had been allowed sleep
in brief snatches, a tangle of sex-sated limbs, woken every couple
hours by Lex’s wet mouth sucking at his skin, stroking hands
signaling the start of another lesson. Clark flushed hot to think
of the things they’d done together, body still tingling from
the silken touches.
stomach pulled him from his reverie and he shot a sheepish look
behind him. Thankfully, Bruce seemed oblivious to his stuporous
vigil over the morning meal.
pancakes were waiting in a chafing dish, especially for him, and
he filled a plate. On top he piled bacon, scrambled eggs and hash
brown potatoes. Setting his plate down, he went back for juice and
coffee, pouring a large glass of milk as an afterthought when he
spotted the moisture-dewed pewter pitcher.
rocks,” he opined as he took his seat.
viewed his heaping plate with a look of mild distaste, but he didn’t
where’s Lex?” Clark looked around eagerly for his lover.
He smiled around a forkful of pancake and sticky syrup.
turned his attention back to his paper, plainly appalled by Clark’s
table manners. “He’s gone out, I assume. I haven’t
seen him this morning.”
handsome face was hidden behind newsprint, but Clark could feel
Bruce smirking. “I would guess so. Don’t take it personally,
Clark. It’s never been Lex’s habit to lie-in with his
voice faded to background noise Clark realized he’d been ditched.
Of course, Lex had said he’d have to stay at the manor while
he met with Lionel, but Clark had had other ideas. Father or not,
Clark didn’t trust Lionel with Lex any more than he would
brows dipped together as he worried a lip between his teeth. Maybe
he was just being overly protect-
Bruce barked his name, black eyes penetrating. “Where’s
Clark faltered. Lex was with his dad, and how could he
explain the sense of danger he felt to Bruce without telling him
everything – about what Clark really was, and Lionel’s
plans for him.
night he’d been good and spooked, and ready for Batman to
swoop to the rescue, but in the light of day he wasn’t so
sure. He had a pretty good idea, too, that Lex wouldn’t be
happy to have Bruce involved. And Lionel was Lex’s
dad, after all. It was Clark he wanted for his lab, not his son.
fine, Bruce. Just having breakfast with Lionel. I guess I forgot.”
forked another mouthful of pancakes into his mouth, barely tasting
them anymore. Everything was going to be fine, he told himself.
He’d just wait.
studied him with hawkish interest through his meal, but didn’t
press, which Clark was grateful for. Their secrets made them allies,
but Clark was under no illusion that where Lex was concerned they
were anything but rivals, and yesterday’s enthusiasm was more
tempered by this morning’s newfound understanding of Lex’s
full appeal. If he were in Bruce’s position, he’d do
almost anything if he thought it could mean another chance with
me, Master Bruce, but there’s a situation I thought you should
be made aware of.” Alfred was unflappable delivering his news.
“The Water Works has been locked down and the man inside is
threatening to poison Gotham’s drinking supply.”
moved faster than Clark had ever seen a human move, even Lex, and
Alfred scurried in his wake calling, “Witnesses report seeing
a disfigured man flipping a coin as he entered the facility.”
of a bitch.” Bruce growled. “How difficult can it be
to keep one madman locked down?”
supposed it was a rhetorical question because Alfred didn’t
answer. Once in his study Bruce disappeared down a fireman’s
pole that appeared behind a section of paneling Clark hadn’t
scanned the day before. Clark followed, wrapping a leg around the
pole and stepping into air, catching a glimpse as he dropped of
Alfred hurrying down the stairs concealed by the bar.
Clark hit the stone floor of the cave, Bruce had disappeared and
his eyes were drawn to the wall of monitors. Flashing red and blue,
emergency vehicles surrounded the barricaded structure while a gorgeous
blond reported the latest.
started then gaped when Batman appeared silently by his side. Bruce
looked a lot taller in his costume, probably because of the five-inch
latex ears, but the effect was impressive nonetheless. Kind of hot,
gazed impassively at the grinning still-shot of the man police suspected
was behind the threat, a tick in his jaw the only sign Clark saw
of his anger. A mass of scars covered one side of the villain’s
face, pulling it into a humorless leer.
Face,” Clark breathed, before asking eagerly, “Could
you use some help?”
Dent,” Bruce corrected before brushing off his offer. “I
can handle this alone, Clark.”
Mayor knows you’re on your way, sir. He’s requested,
and I quote, ‘you take care of him for good this time.’”
strong jaw tightened again under the black latex mask and Clark
was left in a wake of billowing cape as Bruce slid into the purring
Batmobile. Without another word to either of them the car shot into
a pitch tunnel, air crackling under the lick of white-burning flames.
Alfred dryly concurred. “His entrances are equally as theatrical.”
couldn’t help snickering a little at the slight censure in
Alfred’s tone. He knew it was underlied with affection.
drawn back to the impending tragedy unfolding on the big screens,
Clark asked, “So how come Batman’s never ‘taken
care of’ Two Face, anyway? Will he this time?”
shrugged a little, turning to climb the stairs to the house again.
“You’d have to ask Master Bruce that question, sir.
They were friends once, he and Harvey Dent.”
halted at his surprised exclamation, eyeing Clark over a bony shoulder.
“Good friends. Two Face is a constant reminder to Master Bruce
of why he fights so tirelessly.”
destroy evil, right?” Clark’s face scrunched up in confusion;
it didn’t make any sense.
smile softened the old man’s face. “No, sir. He wants
to save people.”
sleek black limo entered the property from a back access gate, rolling
slowly through the thick woods. There would be no reason for plant
personnel to venture this far behind the facility; no one to see
the gaping hole in the earth where dirt track gave way to a smoothly
paved and lighted tunnel.
father smiled silently in the shadowed interior.
door was opened by a well trained lackey staring blindly over their
shoulders as they exited. Lionel pressed his palm to the security
mechanism and Lex followed his father through the heavy steel doors
that swung open in response.
passed through a haz-mat detoxification room, white space suits
hanging like specters outside chemical showers, and entered the
lab proper. Lex didn’t have to feign shock. Seeing it all
firsthand chilled him in a way Clark’s description had not
– the inhuman conditions of the cell, walls studded with enough
meteorite to drop the not-so-invulnerable-after-all Clark Kent.
Dad.” A gravelly chuckle sounded over Lex’s shoulder,
and he barely suppressed his shudder.
indeed,” Lionel congratulated himself. “The alien’s
weakness is found in the meteors it rained on the innocents of Smallville.
They incapacitate it. A delicious irony, wouldn’t you agree,
a DNA sequencer.” Lex moved from
under the “comforting” hand that had come to rest on
his shoulder. His eyes roved the room searching for something, anything
he could use as leverage against his father. “What’s
of course.” Lionel all but preened.
the applications were practically limitless. It wouldn’t take
many Clark Kents to effortlessly rule the world – not if they
were unquestionably loyal to you. That was obvious. But the genetic
applications were what most intrigued Lex, when he was completely
honest with himself. Clark might well prove to be immortal, and
if not so in the strictest sense, a man’s longevity would
be greatly enhanced by Clark’s immunity to illness.
what will you do with Clark during the years it will take you to
master – not human, but alien – cloning?”
Lex circled the lab, grudgingly approving of the scientists’
amenities. “Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’re
new to the field.”
you are, Lex. Very much mistaken.” Satisfaction rang his Lionel’s
voice. He threw open a door, revealing a small but richly appointed
office within. “Before we discuss the particulars, I suggest
we see if we can’t agree on your ‘incentives and compensation.’”
followed Lionel into the office, noting two other doors leading
off the room, and took one of the deliberately uncomfortable seats
in front of the desk. He wondered if the cliched furniture arrangement
was in itself a ruse – his father playing at predictability
– and reminded himself not to underestimate the man.
not to appear too anxious, Lex laid out his terms, forcing himself
to quibble over details when all he really wanted was to hear what
research Lionel had already undertaken in human cloning. Better
yet, to see – to acquire – proof of the highly
phone on Lionel’s desk rang and he answered it with an apologetic
smile; close to sealing the partnership with his son, he was obviously
here.” Lionel grunted as he listened to whoever spoke on the
other end, long fingers stroking over his beard. “What is
stared into the shuttered depths of his father’s eyes, expression
impassive as his heart began to beat a little faster.
be right up.” The handset was dropped in its cradle.
too serious, I think.” Lionel rose from his desk and circled
to the door. “Still, it’s best to put the fear of Luthor
in them before a worker’s comp attorney begins promising them
the moon. You’ll excuse me a moment.”
forced a commiserate laugh. “Of course.”
cell phone was dialing moments after the office door clicked shut.
put Bruce on.”
Bruce is in a meeting, sir.”
eternity later Clark answered, worry in his tone. “Lex?”
listen carefully. Remember Alan?” At Clark’s small gasp
of remarkably prescient misgiving, he continued. “Yeah. I
think he’s surfaced ahead of schedule.”
was beginning to sound genuinely panicked across their connection,
and Lex again cursed his father for putting them through this. “I’m
in the lab, and I may not have much time to talk. If I’m not
back for supper, get Bruce. He’ll know what to do.”
isn’t here, Lex. I’m coming to get you.”
Clark!” Lex was up and pacing the small confines of the room.
“The place is full of meteorite; you know that.”
lowered his voice. “I have to go, Clark. Please, just do as
slid the phone into his pocket, and leaned against an interior door,
bracing on one hand as the other rubbed at a blooming headache.
His gut was telling him that even now, the security guard was gleefully
spilling details of his and Clark’s transgressions –
ignorant that he did so at the likely cost of his own life.
was a surprisingly tempting prospect, but unwise. If he were wrong,
everything would be ruined. Besides, Lex Luthor wouldn’t run
from any man.
he straightened, hand dropping to the door handle. His earlier curiosity
piqued, he pushed it open onto a private bathroom. Lex moved to
the second interior door and turned the handle.
bloodied his vision and he blinked away the dizzying splotches.
His hands steadied him in the doorframe, fingers clenching painfully
Lex.” He jumped at his father’s voice, badly shaken
if he hadn’t heard him re-enter the room. “You’ve
spoiled my surprise. As incentives go, I had imagined that one to
be a deal maker.”
sick bastard.” Lex turned his back on crisp cotton sheets,
on walls configured like those in Clark’s cell, but presently
devoid of meteorite. He was less than surprised to find his father
holding a gun on him.
course, I hadn’t yet been made aware of your alliance with
the beguiling Mr. Kent.”
are you going to do, Dad?” The title sat like bitter ashes
on his tongue. “Kill me?”
ye of little faith.” Lionel’s expression suggested he
was merely dealing with an especially recalcitrant child. “Surely
the fact of my recent willingness to kill your brother Lucas must
convince you of my long-term commitment to you, Lex.
I’ll give you time to consider my proposal.” Amusement
and triumph shone from his father’s eyes as he waved Lex towards
the cell. “Not too long, however. If I’m not mistaken,
Mr. Kent will soon be charging to your rescue and, as you see, we
only have a single occupancy.”
barred door clanged shut, and Lex turned to stare at the man he
called his father, biting his tongue on the threats and imprecations
clawing apart his throat. If Lionel succeeded in harming Clark in
any way, Lex would kill him slowly but uttering such warnings in
his current position would only draw mockery.
waited a moment outside the cell, clearly expecting impassioned
pleas that never came, his thin smile finally faltering under the
muted promise in his son’s eyes.
crept on Gotham as weary workers shut down the plant’s heavy
processors one by one. The lab below grew quiet while Lionel grew
could see it in his face when his father finally quit the sanctuary
of the office. The door was flung open and he stood motionless in
the doorway, harsh features limned with contempt. Lex hadn’t
moved from the middle of his small space, eschewing the questionable
comforts of the cell. A corner of his mouth quirked in a mirthless
smile as they stared silently at one another.
was no reason to think he knew of Clark’s x-ray vision, no
reason he would expect Clark to be forewarned about the presence
of debilitating meteorite. Lionel had no doubt expected Clark to
charge in after Lex as haphazardly as he’d done when rescuing
his mother from the gunmen at LuthorCorp.
Clark likely would have, even now, if he fully understood the lengths
to which Lionel Luthor would go to achieve his goals. Lex had made
his feelings perfectly clear this morning; he would not cooperate.
And he had seen the judgment in his father’s eyes: foolish,
willful progeny; imminently expendable.
the first time, he found himself grateful for the unaccountable
friendship that had formed between Bruce and Clark. Bruce could
be counted on to balance Clark’s impetuosity – cool-headed
and as ruthless as even Lionel Luthor. Where Clark’s rigid
morality would stop him short of crossing a black and white landscape
into territory shaded grey, Bruce thrived in those shadows. He would
not hesitate to allow the ends to justify his means.
finally stalked towards him, a travesty of a smile curling his lips.
“Your Clark appears to be surprisingly circumspect regarding
your safety, Lex,” he uttered his son’s name with a
hint of distaste, furrowing his brows in mock confusion. “I
wonder, was he worth it?
has it transpired that a sixteen-year-old farmboy brought the infamous
Lex Luthor to heel? Reduced you to this?” A grandiose sweep
of his arm emphasized Lex’s fall from lofty heights. “Do
you suppose the alien excretes exotic pheromones? Employs some other
form of mind control? Or is it simply an extraordinarily gifted
cocksucker?” A gravelly chuckle and a raised brow preceded
the final taunt. “Rest assured, son, I’ll have my answer.
I look forward to conducting the experiments.”
went ice cold a moment, numb, before a flood of raw emotion tore
through him. He swallowed hard, jaw clenching as the torrent sought
to escape his throat. Lionel Luthor had just signed his own death
warrant, and with a typically arrogant flourish.
this is over,” Lex promised softly, finally able to trust
his own voice, “I’ll take everything you love away from
you and make it my own.”
laughed heartily at what he plainly considered an absurd threat.
“Will you never learn, son? ‘Love’ is what’s
gotten you into this mess. ‘Love’ is a mistake I do
ego loves LuthorCorp.”
good to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor, Lex. Truly,
your optimism is inspiring, if sadly misplaced.”
distinctive hum of an elevator sounded faintly in the underground
rooms and a slow smile spread on Lionel’s face. Lex had listened
to him make arrangements earlier. Security had been tripled –
every entrance watched by at least two armed guards and the tunnel
sealed by its heavy steel door. Only Clark with his inhuman speed
could have breached the plant; only Clark with his uncanny abilities
could have found the elevator to the lab concealed in Lionel’s
private upstairs office.
believe you have a visitor,” Lionel smirked. “I’ll
go greet him.”
a gaudy ring onto the pinky of one hand, the stone the same deep
green of the meteors lacing the walls, Lionel opened the door, disappearing
cautiously down the short hallway leading to the decon chamber.
“Clark,” Lex heard him call, “Don’t do anything
foolish, son. You and Lex can both leave here unharmed if you cooperate.”
it couldn’t be Clark, Lex tried to believe. Bruce would have
stopped him. If they had any sense at all, neither one of them-
Bruce and Clark had- “Shit.”
Don’t believe him!” Lex screamed, body pressed against
cool steel bars, his building panic finally spilling over, unchecked.
“Get out of here!”
his father’s voice answered him, cajoling with utmost reason,
“I know what you are, Clark. I’m only curious, you know.
I’m sure you are, too. We can learn together, son. You’ve
only got to trust me.”
scrape of a boot and the thready squeal of a metal hinge sounded
from the beyond the decon chamber and a moment later the outer rooms
were thrown into darkness. The lab itself was apparently on a discrete
generator and remained garishly lit, all gleaming sharp surfaces.
you can’t hope to best me with such simplistic maneuvers.
Lex is surrounded by meteorite. You’ll never reach him. I
have something you want and you have something I want. Negotiation
is your only option.” Lionel’s voice called more stridently
from the darkened void beyond the lab.
silence followed and then a shocked gasp and the shuffling of feet,
a mumbled imprecation by his father before inexplicably, “Who
are- You’re trespassing on private property…Guards!”
craned his neck fruitlessly, desperate to know what was happening
when his father stumbled backwards into the lab, clutching wildly
at a table for balance. He called over the sound of expensive equipment
crashing to the floor, “I demand you leave!”
barely spared him a glance, eyes riveted on the shadows beyond the
door as something slowly materialized, a thing in billowing
black, bearing inexorably down on them.
in no position to demand anything, Luthor,” Batman
sneered, halting in the door of the lab. “Illegal cloning
is occurring on these premises and you can deal with me or with
isn’t what it looks like.” Perhaps reassured by the
lab’s bright lights, by Batman’s apparent unwillingness
to enter fully, clinging to the shadows near the door, Lionel stood
rigidly upright, threads of terror in his voice yet belying the
stance. “I’ll make it worth your while to just leave
now. More wealth than you can imagine.”
stared in amazement at the Dark Knight come to rescue him, the comic
geek in him struck dumb despite his situation. Another look at his
father’s stricken face and he revised his opinion of Clark
and Bruce. They were geniuses.
bad you can’t use that money to buy yourself a soul, Luthor,”
The imposing superhero scolded, shadowed eyes flashing contempt.
Then they turned on Lex and his breath caught in recognition.
always suspected about Bruce—his friend had been almost as
inept a liar as Clark in their early acquaintance, though he’d
quickly honed his skills. But now he had his proof, and Lex decided
to kill the man if he survived this night.
tore his gaze away from the oh-so-welcome-comfort offered in the
other man’s eyes and spied his father reaching for the 9 mm
he’d set aside earlier.
look out!” Lex yelled a warning and quicker than he could
track a gadget was fired from Batman’s hand, long cord whirring
through the air and connecting with the gun with a flat thwack.
A deft twist of the wrist and the gun was jerked out of Lionel’s
grasp and back into the gloved hand.
gasped and cradled his stinging hand to his chest, the most unlikely
mixture of disbelief and dread on his face Lex had ever hoped to
see. His expression fell to blankness when the gun was in turn pointed
at him. “Release the captive and you’re free to go.”
to go?” Lionel parroted in obvious disbelief.
lab will be destroyed and I’ll be watching you, Luthor. One
false step…” Batman let the threat hang – rather
ineffectually, Lex thought – in the air.
stiffened, staring a hole through the superhero as if he had sniffed
out a weakness. His eyes narrowed to slits, mouth opened to challenge
when a bullet was audibly slid into the firing chamber.
smile was genuine, the smirk a deliberate goad when his father moved
past him to key in the code for his cell. Lex stepped out the instant
the door slid open, holding Lionel’s defiant eyes. “Everything
you love,” he whispered.
leave,” Batman ordered. “And don’t come back here,
pulled himself straight, his arrogant lines unbowed as he brushed
haughtily past the latex-clad vigil ante still looming in the doorway.
Lex breathed a sigh of genuine relief though he held no illusions
that this was over.
waited until he heard the elevator returning to the plant proper
before moving across the room to the man in black, who had suddenly
bent over in pain, leaning heavily against the wall as he gasped
the door shut behind him, Lex pushed him further into the tunnel
until they were enveloped in darkness. Warm, hard muscles shook
under Lex as he soothed with his hands and a soft voice, with his
lips and tongue when the cowled head was finally raised.
sound of surprise spilled into Lex’s mouth as he stroked into
the slick heat with his tongue. Big hands gripped his hips, a thick
wet tongue answering his thrusts a moment before he was pushed away
with a pained noise.
wait. What are you- it’s me.”
else would it be, Clark?” Lex grinned in the darkness. “Now
shut up and kiss me.”
cautiously ahead of him, Clark tiptoed down the stone steps of the
Batcave. The Batmobile was in its place, indicating Bruce’s
return, but the television monitors were switched off, the lights
dimmed. Maybe Bruce hadn’t noticed his missing suit, then.
Maybe Clark could return it with no one the wiser.
reached the floor of the cave and trod softly across the tiled expanse,
more careful this time about what traps the Batman might have laid
in his lair. No laser motion sensors sprung to life, no strident
alarms calling slightly fey English butlers forth in the night.
noiselessly slipped the Batsuit into the tall case with the others,
congratulating himself on a good night’s work when from around
the case loomed the Batman, silent and seemingly deadly
in his intent.
let out a small shriek and jumped back in surprise before he reminded
himself that he was invulnerable, and took a shaky breath.
“Jesus, Bruce. That’s creepy, you know?”
smile twisted the narrow band of flesh below his mask – the
only part of him clearly visible in the darkened cave. Well, except
for white-rimmed eyes that glinted black with malice. Clark didn’t
want to look at those, though.
said I could raid your closet,” he joked, hoping for, but
not really expecting laughs.
I’m sorry,” Clark tried again, more sheepish after an
uncomfortable and expectant silence, “You weren’t around.
I didn’t know when you’d be back and Lionel had Lex
trapped. He would have killed him!”
your only option was to pose as Batman?” Bruce made a derisive
noise. “Clark, this isn’t a game. It’s my life.”
I know that, Bruce. I swear I’ll never do anything like it
again.” Clark pleaded with his eyes. “It was Lex.”
sighed deeply and pulled the hood off his suit, revealing a riot
of dark, damp locks, before ducking behind the case to change into
the clothes he wore this morning before the call from City Hall.
His voice carried over the partition, echoing in the vaulted cavern.
least tell me you didn’t expose my secret to Lex.”
toed a sneaker into the hard stone floor. “Um, well…
I didn’t mean to, but he knew it was me. But if it’s
any consolation,” he hurried to assure, “he said he
always suspected anyway. He said we’re both bad liars.”
in chic men’s casual, Bruce was only slightly less intimidating,
his expression murderous.
he won’t tell. He promised.”
promise is easily broken.”
won’t tell, Bruce.” Clark cocked his head and hesitantly
asked, “Why don’t you trust him? I know you…that
you still…care for him.”
dark head nodded almost imperceptibly. “Lex has a well of
darkness your light could never penetrate, Clark. It’s in
shook his head. “Loyalty is his nature. He’s good. He
sighed, resolved. “They’re two sides of the same coin,
Clark, a coin you’ve flipped for both of us. You’re
gambling all our futures.”
made their way silently up the stairs to Bruce’s study, Clark
feeling anxious about his friend’s displeasure but uncertain
if there was anything he could say to make things right. Through
all his ups and downs with Lex, the push and pull that secrets and
lies had exerted on their relationship, he’d never doubted
his friend. He’d occasionally been angered when he feared
Lex’s obsession with knowing would destroy them,
but never that Lex would destroy him.
swung the door to the passage shut behind them, lingering to pour
himself a drink from the bar. When he turned he pressed a tumbler
of amber liquid into Clark’s hand with a self-deprecating
lift of his brow.
occasionally I’ve been known to contribute to the
delinquency of a minor,” he admitted, reminding Clark of their
stand-off over Lex’s bed two nights prior. It seemed a lifetime
ago to Clark. “But it sounds like we’ve both had a hell
of a day and I for one could use the company.”
dropped heavily into a deep leather chair and hesitantly sampled
the scotch, finding it earthy and a little unpleasant. “Do
you want to talk about it?” he asked, leaving the choice of
topic up to Bruce.
particularly,” he replied of his day. “Although I should
ask how ‘Batman’ handled Lionel Luthor.”
grimaced. “Not very well, actually. I couldn’t get close
to him without revealing who I was, so I let him go. Lex is making
some calls right now and the lab will probably be disassembled by
morning. But that’s a temporary solution. It doesn’t
change Lionel’s interest in me.”
knew Lex now had a long-term solution in mind, a very permanent
one. An uneasy part of him wanted it, too, but his father’s
voice was sounding persistently in the back of his consciousness.
Something about the sanctity of life and the evilness of Luthors,
but the message was all mixed up in Clark’s head.
was afraid of you, Bruce,” Clark thought out loud. “Of
Batman, I mean. Do you think you could-“
pay him a visit, Clark.”
relief shot through Clark and he smiled across the desk at the older
man. “Thanks, Bruce. I really owe you one.”
one day I’ll likely collect,” Bruce returned a wry smile,
“but for now we’ll just say that’s what friends
was foraging in the mansion’s enormous refrigerator when Clark
without transportation, Clark had run with him in his arms back
to the Gotham Plaza Hotel where the Ferrari was still parked from
Lex’s breakfast with Lionel. In retrospect it was not that
surprising that his lover hadn’t enjoyed the experience. Lex
appreciated speed but his alpha male sensibilities demanded that
he do the driving, so to speak. Still, as Clark studied the shapely
backside bent over the open vegetable bin, he secretly smiled at
the remembered feel of Lex’s hard slender body tucked into
his, a cold nose pressed into the crook of his neck.
blue eyes delivered their customary jolt when they met his questioningly.
Clark replied, distracted by the sexy quirk of a smile.
gaze traveled the length of his body. “What looks good?”
Clark shook his head. “I mean, I don’t think I’m
that hungry after all.” He moved closer, placing his hands
on either side of leanly muscled ribs. “I think maybe I’m
more sleepy,” he hinted.
yeah?” Clark thought maybe they were talking about the same
thing, hoped they were, but trying to match double entendres with
Lex made him acutely self-conscious of his still coltish legging.
“You probably haven’t eaten since breakfast. I’ll
teeth tugged at the thin flesh under his jaw before Lex pressed
the flat of his tongue to the vein throbbing in his neck.
Clark,” Lex was nuzzling behind his ear now and Clark’s
stomach felt as wobbly as his knees.
you’re…um, hungry. And I’m, you know…sleepy,
maybe we could eat something in bed. Together?”
and an unmistakable dare lit Lex’s eyes when he pulled back
to look at Clark, blushing hotly. “Or we could just fuck instead?”
god Clark loved Lex like this, happy and teasing and hot.
On an impulse he hooked an arm behind Lex’s knees and scooped
him, protesting, into his arms. “That sounds good, too.”
Lex’s tone promised severe repercussions, but his eyes still
Clark mimicked with a dare of his own. He might still be learning
how to flirt, but as he shot through the mansion with Lex laughing
a curse against his throat, Clark knew they were perfectly matched.
clouds were stained muted shades of crimson on their heavy underbellies,
the sun not yet risen, when a broad-shouldered figure swept unseen
by hotel personnel into the Gotham Plaza. He watched from shadows
as a waiter wheeled a breakfast cart into Lionel Luthor’s
suite. A few moments later the waiter left, and the hall was once
again deserted. The black clad man stalked down the hallway to Room
2001 and rapped his knuckles insistently on the door.
voice answered impatiently from the other side as the door was pulled
open. Surprise and apprehension briefly colored angular features
before his social mask dropped again and they exchanged pleasant
To what do I owe the pleasure?”
waiting for an invitation, Bruce stepped past the older man, tossing
his overcoat on a nearby chair. “I’ve come on behalf
of your son. And believe me when I say, Lionel, the pleasure will
be entirely my own.”
you look at this place?” Jonathan muttered as he
and Martha climbed the steps of Wayne Manor.
heard everything not explicit in her husband’s words. Without
even an introduction Bruce Wayne was judged as much a threat to
their son as if he were a Luthor. She’d listened to his opinion
on the matter throughout their drive to Gotham, begun at dawn, the
moment the cows had finished being fed. “Now Jonathan, let’s
not jump to conclusions. You know how Clark can be…”
boy. A good boy, but Martha knew any teenager was bound to be thoughtless
on occasion. She’d worried when Clark hadn’t phoned
the day before as he’d promised, but she really didn’t
imagine he was in imminent danger as long as he was with Lex.
sure he’s fine and we’ll finally have a chance to discuss
the situation. Lex is a part of this now, but I’m sure we
can all work together.” She squeezed her husband’s arm,
understanding it was the lack of control he currently felt that
was most upsetting to him.
rang the bell and shot Martha a determined look. “He’s
coming back to Smallville with us today.”
didn’t argue; she wished for that as well, and so just pasted
on a smile as the heavy door swung open before them.
older man so proper Martha could hear the British accent before
he ever spoke a word peered at them down a long nose. “May
I help you?”
Martha Kent, Clark’s mother-“
was stopped short by the welcoming smile that stretched the old
man’s face. “Mr. and Mrs. Kent, please, do come in,”
he invited. “I am Alfred. Delighted to meet you both. Master
Clark is an impressive boy.”
snuck a glance at her husband, who wore an incongruous mix of mild
suspicion and fatherly pride. “We think so,” she said.
“Is he here?”
yes, madam.” He ushered them into a sunny parlor off the main
foyer. “He and Master Lex had a late night and they’ve
not been down to breakfast yet this morning,” the painfully
correct butler didn’t falter at Jonathan’s snort of
disgust, “but I’ve been expecting them.”
and… Lex…?” Martha wasn’t exactly
sure what she was even asking, but something in the butler’s
manner had perked her ears. Jonathan was a stiff and silent presence
at her side.
lovely boys, aren’t they?” Alfred’s smile was
almost paternal. “And I’ve never seen Master Lex so
wait just a minute,” Jonathan took a step forward, his voice
just a little too loud. “Are you suggesting- Just what the
hell’s been going on here the last three days?!”
saw the manservant’s cool aplomb slip a moment as he realized
he’d said too much.
why don’t you prepare refreshments for our guests,”
a sultry baritone spoke from the behind them.
voice belonged to the most strikingly handsome man Martha had ever
seen, barring her husband, of course. Bruce Wayne was impressive
on the cover of Time magazine, she decided, but deadly
course, sir.” Alfred gratefully slipped from the room.
about our son?” Jonathan’s patience was growing short.
stepped forward and offered his hand to Jonathan, who reluctantly
accepted it with an exasperated sigh. “Clark’s fine,
Mr. Kent. He and Lex have had a difficult couple of days but the
threat has been neutralized.”
husband looked at Martha with open mouthed dismay and she shot him
a pleading look. “Mr. Wayne-“
Martha smiled, “would you mind getting our son for us?”
white teeth flashed and Bruce tipped his dark head. “Of course,
Mrs. Kent. I’ll go get him right now.”
Bruce…” Martha blushed when the retreating man turned
back with a lifted brow. “Call me Martha, please. And Jonathan,
of course,” she added as an afterthought when Jonathan heaved
another frustrated sigh.
he seems very charming,” she observed when Bruce had left
lord, Martha, he’s young enough to be your-“ Jonathan
wisely censored himself. However, his voice grew increasingly agitated
as he continued, “Bruce Wayne is a friend of the Luthors and
he obviously knows something about Clark. And where is
that…that manservant, anyway. I still want to ask
him a thing or two…”
and Clark lay twined together atop the enormous bed, quietly contemplating
the pros and cons of quitting their room for much needed nourishment.
They’d spent a lazy morning taking turns to convince the other,
switching positions on the debate frequently, but by now they were
both resigned to the event’s inevitability.
one point they’d gotten as far as a shower and dressing, but
Lex had caught Clark smiling to himself as he sat on the bed, pulling
on his socks, and the tell-tale flush that was creeping up from
under his collar begged for exploration.
the hour since, they’d half removed their clothes again, each
exquisitely sated but still craving to see and touch. It could become
a sort of game, Lex had decided, methodically tracing the bumps
of Clark’s spine with the tip of one finger – paying
worship to every inch of the other’s skin before satisfying
whined a protest at the knock on their door, but Lex called out
an invitation to enter. It could only be Bruce, and he hadn’t
yet seen the man since learning his secret. He’d been looking
forward to this.
took in the far-flung devastation of the bedding and its half-dressed
occupants with an expression of one sorely put upon, but too well-bred
to comment. “You know I hate to be the bearer of bad news,
but I’m afraid this honeymoon is over, boys.”
leaned up on an elbow and Clark flipped onto his back, his effort
pressing them more closely together. Lex absently brushed his nose
over Clark’s silky curls as he answered, “What exactly
are you talking about, Bat- I mean, Bruce?”
evil grin settled on their friend’s face and he let them wonder
a moment longer before he announced, “Clark’s parents
shit!” Clark groaned. “I forgot to call them yesterday!”
be all right, Clark,” Lex promised as the boy jumped out of
bed and searched frantically for his t-shirt in the twisted pile
of sheets and comforter littering the floor. “I’m sure
they’ll understand when we tell them what happened.”
want to take me home,” Clark’s voice was muffled as
he pulled the shirt over his head. Lex was aware his weren’t
the only pair of eyes fixed on the flexing torso as the soft cotton
slid down to conceal softer skin. “I want to stay with you
until Lionel’s been…until I know you’re safe.”
no longer a problem, Clark,” Bruce cut in. “I met with
Lionel this morning. He’s decided his interest in you is decidedly
Bruce?” A huge smile lit Clark’s face.
dismissed the stab of jealousy he felt on noticing Bruce’s
smile was more genuine than Lex had ever seen. Clark’s enthusiasm
we can go home,” Clark grinned at Lex, before a look of worry
settled on his face. “But I’m still going to have to
tell them about us.”
you’re ready to, Clark. And we’ll do it together.”
Lex didn’t look forward to that particular conversation with
Jonathan Kent, but he’d be happy to have it behind them.
of laughter brought their attention back to the room’s other
occupant. “I’m afraid Alfred may have already let that
slip. Your father looked a little apoplectic when I first came on
Clark sounded like he wanted to die. “What are we gonna do?”
pulled himself from bed and Clark into his arms, kissing him lightly
until the grimace left his pretty face. “We’ll just
tell them. Don’t worry so much, okay?”
still looked a little skeptical, but reassured. “Okay. Well,
get dressed. I’ll go down and say ‘hi’.”
be right there,” Lex said, deciding his shirt was a wrinkled
lost cause and digging through his clothes for a clean sweater.
Bruce,” Clark stopped in the doorway, “tell Batman thanks
for his help, okay?” He didn’t wait for Bruce’s
response, leaving the two men alone to regard each other silently.
didn’t really threaten one of the community’s leading
Bruce Wayne did. And it cost me a substantial investment in intelligence.”
brows raised in query. “You’re sure he’s convinced?
Clark is…very important to me. I’m surprised he’d
give him up so easily.”
sure. LuthorCorp’s won some lucrative City contracts recently.
There were rumors your father was influencing the council in some
way and a lot of bad blood’s developed between him and the
other major players.
acquired proof some time ago that your father has been blackmailing
the Mayor for his support,” Bruce shook his head in disgust,
“over nothing more than a routine extra-marital affair.”
Batman has allowed Gotham’s Mayor to continue under such influence?”
Lex asked skeptically.
shrugged. “Batman has better things to occupy him.”
me guess,” Lex smirked. “Those contracts LuthorCorp
won – Wayne Industries profited, as well?”
you threatened to go to the media?”
did.” A slow smile quirked the handsome face of his friend.
“But your father knows the real threat lies with those other
‘major players.’ His life expectancy would be severely
curtailed once the details came to light. Like I told Clark, he
decided his interest there was bad for his health.”
appreciate you doing that, Bruce.” Lex didn’t share
his friend’s confidence that the threat had been neutralized
permanently, but for the foreseeable future Clark was safe. Perhaps
it wouldn’t be necessary to get his hands any bloodier than
they already were. But could ruining the man professionally ever
be enough for him, now?
in Lex had been irrevocably changed yesterday in the underground
lab. Clark’s vulnerability was brought fully home, and Lex’s
resolve tempered to steel. He’d suspected it in himself when
he’d warned Clark about becoming lovers, and he’d been
right to. Clark’s secret must be protected at all costs, because
for Lex a scorched-earth policy would always be his overriding instinct.
offered a grateful smile. “More than I can express.”
brushed aside his gratitude with a shake of his head. “I should
have offered to begin with, but I like to keep a little something
up my sleeve where your father’s concerned. Cashing in all
my chips has me a little on edge.”
commiserated, “I know the feeling.” Now he was indebted
to Bruce because he had allowed himself to be caught empty-handed
when Lionel’s plans came to light.
that was before I knew Clark,” Bruce elaborated. “He’s
too good for you, you know. He’ll figure that out one day.”
Lex bristled despite agreeing with the expressed opinion. “But
he’s mine now, and I won’t give him up without a hell
of a fight,” he warned.
eyes dropped to the floor, a poignant smile on his face as he answered
gently, “I didn’t do it for him, Lex.” The dark
eyes lifted to meet Lex’s more surprised blue. “When
things fall apart, give me a call.”
Lex honestly didn’t know what to say. “Thanks.”
smile was Bruce’s only answer as he turned to leave, heading
towards his own suite of rooms as Lex took the opposite direction
to the stairs. He halted outside the sitting room containing the
Kents for a moment to collect his thoughts and savored Clark’s
love him, Dad, and he’s in love with me.”
felt profoundly grateful for the accident of fate that had brought
Clark into his life so many months ago. Grateful to the generous
boy who knew these things without ever being told.
was lightly cleared at the end of the hall, and Lex blinked away
the moisture welling in his eyes. He turned to find Alfred watching
him from the dining room doorway. The kindly old man lifted a thumb
in a deadly serious show of support and Lex grinned in response.
eyes were on him when he entered the room, but Lex only saw Clark’s
hand reaching out to him as he crossed to the sofa. The familiar
fingers closed tightly around his, pulling him eager and willing
into their future.