Love And Poison
by VampyrAlex


Pairing: Clark/Lex
Category: First Time, Drama/Romance
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, this story is strictly for fun, not profit.

Author's notes: Thanks to Sherri and Tehomet for beta'ing this story, and to Chris Ueberall for the conversation that bred this plot bunny.

Summary: Early season 3. Lionel tries to get his hands on LexCorp but fails.

Parents wonder why the streams are bitter,
when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.
~John Locke

Clark resisted the urge to tug at the collar of his tuxedo. Not only did he feel awkward wearing an expensive suit, but he was also feeling out of place amongst the fashionable crowd milling through the salon. Why he had agreed to come with Lex to Lionel Luthor's Christmas party was still a mystery to him.

He took a sip of his champagne, blinking as he took in all the thousands of lights decorating the walls and the huge Christmas tree standing proudly to one side. Lionel certainly didn't know the meaning of modesty. Not only were the decorations extravagant, the buffet was enough to feed a small country. And of course, the room was filled to capacity with Metropolis' 'creme de la creme' -- politicians, businesspeople, celebrities from the film and music world, and the idle rich.

Clark's gaze slid through the animated throng of partygoers to land directly on Lex. His friend was talking to a beautiful woman, touching her lightly on the arm as he laughed, and Clark experienced a brief spike of irritation. It was a feeling he had been having more and more lately. He knew it was foolish to be jealous of the time and attention Lex gave other people, but he couldn't help himself.

It did make him wonder why Lex had chosen to invite him to the party, instead one of the many women -- and men -- he had spent the night talking to so far. Especially because in the two hours since they had been here, they hadn't been together for more than thirty seconds.

Clark sighed, knowing he was being petty and unfair. Lex had warned him he would have to spend most of the party networking with the guests, that many of them might mean new business for LexCorp, something he desperately needed right now. It was just that Clark was feeling bored, and lonely, and he wanted Lex to pay some attention to him.

He was aware that, somewhere along the way, what he felt for Lex had turned into something more than mere friendship, but he was wary to say or do anything about it. The whole alien thing aside, he had to wonder how Lex would react to having his seventeen year-old friend panting after his body. Well, not only after Lex's body, Clark wanted the whole package, but he wasn't sure if Lex would see it that way.

Not wanting to dwell on his pathetic -- not to mention nonexistent -- love life, Clark looked away, his eyes falling on the immaculate form of Lionel Luthor and the waiter he was speaking to. There was something faintly odd about their whole posture, about how close they were standing. Never in a million years would Clark have guessed Lionel to be that familiar with the hired help.

Of its own volition, his hearing reached out to the two men, blocking out any other sounds. The background noise vanished even as the two male voices became as clear as water.

"...this will work?" Lionel was asking, eyes focused on the miniature box in his hands, filled with some kind of white powder.

"Yes, Mr. Luthor. The poison will dissolve instantly into any liquid. Since you'll be the one handling the drinks, there'll be no risk of discovery."

"You are certain the poison is non-lethal, are you not, Mr. Smith? It would be most unfortunate for you otherwise."

Clark watched Smith swallow nervously before nodding. "I'm sure, Mr. Luthor. It causes a shortage of breath, dizziness, muscle spasms, heavy perspiration. He'll probably feel very sick as well, and have a violent headache, but that's all. It'll be easy to convince him he's dying with those symptoms. You won't have any problems getting him to hand over his company."

Lionel smirked. "Good. Lex needs to realize that his place is by my side. I allowed him to keep LexCorp as a side project, something with which to amuse himself. But he's becoming far too independent and that simply won't do. It's past time to bring the lost sheep back into the flock and show him the error of his ways. The antidote, Mr. Smith?"

Clark stood frozen in shock as Smith gave Lionel a small vial. "Here."

"Thank you, Mr. Smith, you have been most helpful. I will fetch Lex for a very promising father-son conversation. As for you, I want you to leave now. Leave my house, Metropolis, the state, even the country. The money I supplied will be more than enough to keep you away for the rest of your life."

Smith bowed slightly. "It was a pleasure doing business with you."

Smith disappeared into the crowd and Clark snapped out of his horrified daze as he realized that Lionel was trying to draw Lex's attention from across the room. Knowing he had to do something to prevent Lex from falling into his father's trap, Clark moved towards his friend as fast as he could without arousing suspicion.

"Lex! I need to talk to you!"

Lex gave a parting nod to the man he had been talking to. "Excuse me, Mr. Martin," he said, before turning his attention to Clark. "What's wrong, Clark? You look like you've seen a ghost. Is everything all right?"

Clark shifted slightly. "Hmm... I-I know this is going to sound weird, but in a minute your father is going to want to talk to you. He's going to take you to his study and offer you a drink," he said, looking into Lex's eyes. "I want you to promise me you won't accept it."

Lex frowned. "Why? And how can you possibly know that?"

"Lex, the drink'll be poisoned," Clark hissed, seeing Lionel advancing towards them, stopping only occasionally to speak to or greet someone that called for his attention.

Lex staggered visibly at his words, then narrowed his eyes to slits. "Clark, I can't possibly imagine how you came up with this piece of drivel, but --"

"It's true!" Clark insisted, frustration coloring his voice.

There was a strained silence between them before Lex finally spoke. "I know my father isn't the most ethical of men, but I think even he would draw the line at poisoning his own son, Clark. Besides, you haven't gotten within ten feet of my father since our arrival at the party. If you didn't overhear him saying something, I doubt that he would volunteer the information. So I ask you again: how do you know?" he asked, enunciating the words carefully.

"I heard your father talking to a man called Smith about it," Clark admitted miserably.

"You heard him? From across the room?" Lex asked dubiously.

Knowing Lionel would be upon them in seconds, and that if he didn't get Lex to believe him, they would both regret it, Clark decided to take a leap of faith. "You did hit me that day on the bridge. Everything you think you know about me is probably true."

Lex opened and closed his mouth twice, clearly speechless, blinked, then cleared his throat. "Clark, don't take this the wrong way, but you're a freak."

Clark grinned, bouncing lightly on the soles of his feet. "Takes one to know one, Lex." Then he sobered. "Trust me?" he begged softly.

Lex sighed. "You are sure?"

"Yes. Basically he wants you by his side without LexCorp as a distraction. I got the feeling he also wanted to teach you a lesson. The poison's not lethal, but from what I heard, it's very painful. I'm sorry, Lex."

Lex nodded, but before he could say a word Lionel was there. "Lex, I've been looking for you. Ah, young Mister Kent. You won't mind if I steal Lex away from you for a minute, will you? This won't take long."

Clark watched with a heavy heart as Lex followed his father out of the salon. He couldn't believe the lengths Lionel would go to, to try to keep Lex under his thumb. Instead of treating Lex with the love and respect he deserved, Lionel seemed to regard his son as nothing more than a possession, someone he could use and debase for his own enjoyment.

Clark ached to think of what Lex had gone through while growing up, having to deal with Lionel on his own, without anyone to look out for him or stand by his side. But those days were over. Lex was his own man now, and perfectly capable of standing up to Lionel. And if that wasn't enough, Clark would be more than happy to lend a hand.

With that in mind Clark left the salon in search of Lionel's study, determined not to interfere unless he had to, but wanting to know Lex was going to be okay.

Lex allowed himself to be escorted out of the party by his father, his mind still reeling from everything Clark had told him in the last few minutes. He wasn't certain what was more shocking -- that Clark had finally admitted he had been hit by Lex's Porsche, or that his father was trying to get his hands on LexCorp by means of poison.

Lex sat by the desk once they were locked in the study, noting with interest how his father kept his back to him as he poured them both a drink. If Clark was right, he was probably putting the poison in his glass.

"So, what did you want to talk to me about, Dad?" he asked, crossing his legs casually and making himself look as comfortable as possible. 'Never let your guard down. Don't show your feelings. Emotions are a weakness', his mind's voice supplied, sounding remarkably like his father. And how sad that he had to use those hard-learned lessons against his own flesh and blood.

His father leaned against the desk, handing him a flute filled with champagne while keeping a second one for himself. "It's been a while since we last talked, Lex. I just wanted to check up on you, see how you were doing."

Lex laughed silently. "Good one, Dad." He rose smoothly, placing his glass on the table and closing the distance between them until their chests were almost touching. Not giving him any time to react, he reached for his father's flute, setting it side-by-side with his own. "Save the parental crap. What is this really about? What do you want?"

"Really, Lex, I swear you get more paranoid with each passing year," Lionel said with a small frown.

"And whose fault is that?" Lex retorted, dropping back a few steps after making sure he had reached for the flute which had previously belonged to his father. He took a sip, praying he hadn't mixed the two glasses up. Sorrow and anger vied in his heart as he noticed the gleam of triumph in his father's eyes. "You still haven't told me why you wanted to see me."

"I have a business proposition for you, Lex," his father said, taking a long drink of his champagne.

Lex walked over to the window, looking out but not really seeing anything. He wished he could blame his mood on the Christmas blues, but the truth was he was feeling sorry for himself. This time of year was always difficult for him, bringing with it memories of the past, of his mother and Pamela. Memories he both treasured and resented, for they were but a few and never to be matched again.

That his father added to his gloom by trying to poison him and take away LexCorp -- the only thing he was actually proud of having achieved -- was almost more than he could take. He had long realized that his father was incapable of loving anyone, but it still hurt to see the complete disregard the man had for him, his own son.

"What proposition?" he finally asked, turning to find his father flushed and sweating, a confused look on his face.

"I'm... I'm interested in buying LexCorp from --" his father began, before suddenly doubling over with a pain-filled groan. He slumped to the floor, eyes wide, breath escaping him in harsh pants. "What's -- What's happe -- The poison, I drank --"

Lex hardened his heart as his father's trembling hands searched frantically for something in his tuxedo pockets. A small vial was retrieved and Lex guessed it was the antidote. Before his father could break the seal and ingest it, Lex snatched it. He eyed the translucent liquid critically.

"Drugs, Dad? That doesn't sound like you," he said with feigned dismay.

His father extended a hand pleadingly. "Lex, please..." he whispered.

Lex shook his head. "I'm sorry, Dad. You always said only weaklings like me resorted to using illegal substances. I won't be responsible for enabling your vices." He opened the window, throwing the vial as far away as he could. "There. I know going cold turkey will be difficult, but deep down you know it's only mind over matter. And being a Luthor, you won't have any problems kicking the habit. Isn't that what you told me once? As for LexCorp, I have no intentions of selling to you or anyone else. I should leave now, I still have some last minute shopping to do. Merry Christmas, Dad."

It was all he could do not to run out the door, torn between wanting to get away as fast as possible, or helping the broken down man whimpering and writhing on the floor. But this was Lionel Luthor's preferred method of learning, and maybe it was time Lex was the teacher for a change. He stepped into the corridor, leaned against the closed door, and squeezed his eyes shut.

A muffled noise had him opening his eyes and looking straight into Clark's too bright ones. He watched silently as his friend approached, waiting for Clark to tell him he was just as heartless as his father, that he truly was a Luthor, that everything Jonathan Kent thought about him was true.

But Clark didn't do or say any of those things. Instead, he wrapped warm arms around him and embraced him gently. "I'm sorry," he murmured against Lex's ear.

"You did say the poison wasn't lethal, didn't you?" Lex asked weakly.

"Yeah. Let's get out of here. We can call an ambulance and let them deal with your father."

Lex nodded, not really wanting to let Clark go, but knowing he had to, at least for now. They left the house quietly, avoiding the packed salon, stepping out into the cold streets of Metropolis. Lex made a quick 911 call and then they were walking away, electing to travel on foot to Lex's penthouse instead of taking his new Porsche. Not much was said, but as they walked side-by-side, shoulders and hands brushing occasionally, Lex felt more at peace than he could ever remember.

They ended up on Lex's couch, sitting so close together there was virtually no space between their bodies. It was as if suddenly they couldn't bear to be apart from each other, even if only a mere hairsbreadth away.

"This is somewhat unexpected, isn't it?" Lex commented softly, gesturing between them.

"Is it?" Clark asked, looking down at his hands. "I think we've been heading this way for a long time now. I know it hurt you when I lied about... stuff. It hurt when you did it too. I don't think either of us is very good at it. Lying, I mean. And... maybe the reason why it hurt so much is because we cared."

Lex looked at him, brows furrowed. "What are you trying to say, Clark?"

Clark met his gaze candidly. "I'm trying to say that what I feel for you is more than just friendship. That lately whenever I think about you, I want more. I want to laugh with you and shoot the breeze, and maybe fight about stuff and then make up. I want us to share the good, the bad, and the really lousy moments in both our lives." He took a deep breath, feeling his face flush at Lex's stunned expression. "And could you possibly sound any more like something out of a romance novel, Clark Kent?" he muttered to himself, closing his eyes in mortification.

A warm hand cupped his cheek, turning him to face Lex, and gentle lips brushed against his. Clark opened his eyes to see love and amusement shining in Lex's eyes.

"I believe I could be persuaded into a relationship with you, if that's what you're asking?" When Clark nodded eagerly, Lex said, "But are you willing to risk it knowing what I am, what I'm capable of?"

Clark's eyebrows rose almost to his hairline in surprise. "What you are? I should be the one asking you that."

Lex shook his head, something akin to sorrow lurking in his gaze. "You heard, Clark. Tonight, with my father. I shouldn't have let him drink the poison. At the very least, I should have given him the antidote or stayed with him until the ambulance arrived."

"Why?" Clark asked angrily. "He was going to do it to you. Maybe it's wrong, but I can't really feel sorry for him. He got what he deserved. And I've seen what you're capable of. Yeah, you've made some mistakes. So what? I've also seen you do the right thing, over and over again. You don't give yourself enough credit. You're not your father, Lex, you never will be. And what about me? Can you handle what I am? I'm not even human! The meteor shower's my fault, and all these mutants that keep popping out of the woodwork in Smallville and --"

His passionate speech was brought to a sudden halt as Lex suddenly pushed him down on the sofa, kissing him fiercely, almost roughly. Teeth nipped at his lower lip and Clark's mouth opened under the welcome onslaught, deepening the kiss. Lex's fingers twisted in his hair, as their tongues met and battled greedily, exploring and tasting and ravishing.

"I don't care, Clark," Lex said hoarsely when they finally parted, both panting harshly. "I don't care about anything but you. I love you."

Clark smiled up at him. "I love you, too. We balance each other perfectly, Lex. My darkness and your light; your darkness and my light. It's going to be okay."

Lex snuggled down on top of him, head resting on his shoulder. "I know."

They stayed silent for a long time, content to be together, in each other's arms, savoring their newfound closeness. Clark was dozing off when Lex's voice broke the quiet.

"So, Clark, you want to know what the alien said when his flying saucer landed on a stud farm?"

Clark sighed in feigned exasperation. "No, but I'm sure you're going to tell me anyway."

"Take me to your breeder!" Lex replied with a devilish leer, and the sound of their laughter echoed throughout the penthouse.