by 4 HappyCLexers
(A.J., ACampbell, Meghan,Chris J. Ueberall)
Canon: for this fic only goes up to "Obscura" (1.20) after that it turns into an AU.
Spoilers: Season 1 up to and including 'Obscura', parts of 'Tempest', bits and pieces of earlier season 2 episodes.
Thanks: This was written as a round robin story on the Happy_CLexFic list. A big THANK YOU to my three fellow conspirators.
Warning: Death of a regular character.
Standing in front of the mirror that had been moved to his Fortress of Solitude, Clark looked critically at himself. He couldn't decide if he was looking good and grown-up in his tuxedo or like a dork trying on his father's clothes.
'Definitely a dork,' he thought fiddling helplessly with the bow-tie. He really wished he didn't have to go to the formal, but he knew that Chloe would never forgive him if he backed out now. She had the dress, she was happy. He couldn't do that to her. And really, it wasn't so much that he disliked the idea of spending an evening talking and dancing with his friends, or with Chloe in particular. It was just...
He was afraid she was expecting more out of this, probably seeing it as some kind of date-date. Expecting him to be her boyfriend from now on. After all, he was sure that Pete thought of Erica as his girlfriend now. But for Clark that was just sooo wrong. He liked Chloe, but... but... He sighed. Fiddling with his bow-tie some more.
'I wish I hadn't asked her.' But she had been so brave back then with that psychopath of a deputy and he'd been so afraid of losing her, it had seemed the right thing to do. Not to mention that he knew it was making his mom happy.
Clark remembered the scene clearly. His mom asking him why he hadn't mentioned the Spring Formal at all, and him telling her that he didn't think it was his thing, and that he didn't have a date to the dance. She had looked at him knowingly and said: "Which is why it's customary to ask someone." His father had tried to interfere at this time, but once his mom was on to something she wouldn't let it go. "So are you planning on asking Chloe or not?" She had wanted to know. "You said you had feelings for her."
Which was true, but he didn't think he and his mom were talking about the same kind of feelings. "It's not about Chloe," he had finally admitted, as a picture of Lex rose unbidden before his inner eye. Of course - fortunately - his mom took the comment to be about Lana, and told him that he couldn't put his life on hold because of her. He had said something about being with someone else would be like saying the door was closed, using all the right pronouns, while thinking of Lex and wondering if maybe he could spend the evening with his friend.
And as if that had been his clue Lex had stood at the door then, greeting Clark with a knowing look and a light smile. And for a moment the crazy thought 'Ask him to the dance' had run through his mind. It was all he could do not to blurt it out and instead talk calmly about having to go to the Torch's office. He had been very proud of himself back then.
With a sigh, Clark returned to the present and a really aggravating bow-tie. That was when he heard a noise at the barn's entrance. "Mom, can you give me a hand with this?" he shouted, to make sure she wasn't just passing bye. He didn't get an answer, but someone was climbing up the stairs. The steps didn't sound like his mom. "Who's there?" he asked suspiciously and turned towards the stairs.
Only to see Lex ascending them.'Is the guy telepathic?' Clark wondered amused. 'Or is he a demon I can summon just by thinking of him?' Now that was an interesting theory he had to test some more in the future. He smiled in welcome, and was greeted with a warm chuckle from Lex in return.
"It's me, Clark. You all right?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
Lex stepped closer. "Really? You seem a little tense."
"It's just the dance and everything," he explained, pulling at the bow-tie for emphasis.
"Come here," Lex smirked and reached out for the offending thing. "I'm sure I've tied more of these than your mother."
Sighing, Clark tried for casual when standing so close to Lex and feeling Lex's fingers brush lightly over his neck awoke some interesting feelings in his body. Goosebumps ran down his neck and shoulders, and while one part of him was afraid to embarrass himself, another part wished that Lex wouldn't get the tie right anytime soon. And then it was over and Lex stepped back.
"I thought you were holed up in the mansion?" Clark asked just to say anything. "Didn't you say your father was coming?"
"They've given out a storm warning, so maybe I'm going to be spared his visit today. But anyway, I needed to clear my head. Took a drive, ended up here." He shrugged apologetically. "I didn't mean to bother you on your big day."
"You're never a bother, Lex. You're my savior." Clark pointed at the bow-tie with a grin.
His friend smiled back. "And here I was always thinking of you as my savior."
It wasn't so much the words as the look that accompanied them that made Clark feel embarrassed and proud and silly at the same time. Lex had a way to look at him... "Guess we're quits then," he said flippantly, not really wanting to think of all the times that he had to rescue Lex from someone or the times that Lex had come to his aid.
"That's what friends are for, right?" There was that look again and all Clark could do was nod. And for a moment they just stood in silence, both lost in thought.
Then Lex snapped out of it. "When do you have to go?"
Clark looked at his watch. "Ehm, about now? Chloe's kinda used to me being late, I wanted to surprise her with being on time for once."
Lex chuckled. "Then hurry." Grabbing the tuxedo jacket he helped Clark into it. "Why didn't you ask for the limo or another car?" he asked as he adjusted the bow-tie once more.
"I thought the limo would be busy, with your father coming and all, and any other car..." Clark shrugged, ruining Lex's effort. Of course Clark had thought about asking Lex for a cool car, but he had decided it wasn't worth the trouble with his dad, or the envious and hurtful comments he would get from his school mates. Better to just take the truck and look like the farmboy hick he was.
"We have more than one limo, you know," Lex said, giving the tie one more pull. "But I guess I better let you go now. Chloe will never forgive me if I kept you."
Nodding Clark turned towards the stairs. He was just starting down, when Lex spoke again. "Clark," he said sincerely, "I want you to know whatever happens in the next few days, I'm still your friend and that's never going to change. You can always come to me, no matter what. I hope you feel the same way."
Surprised he looked back. "I do. What brought this on? What do you think is going to happen? Something with your father?" The earnest expression on Lex's face worried him.
"I don't know." Lex shrugged. "Just got a bad feeling. My father is dead set against me succeeding, and I have the feeling he's planning something. Which means things are going to get ugly."
Walking over to his friend Clark laid a hand on Lex' shoulder. "I don't get your father. Why would he be against you succeeding?"
Lex sighed. "My father and I have a complicated relationship, Clark. He wants me to believe it's built on trust, but it's not. It's built on lies and deceit. Any relationship with that foundation is destined to fail." He mirrored Clark's gesture for a moment squeezing lightly. "We're lucky we don't have that problem."
The words hit Clark painfully. "Lex..." he started, not sure what he wanted to say. After all, he knew there were lies between them, but now was not the time to dwell on them or to share some secrets. So what was he going to say?
"Shshh." Lex's fingers on his lips silenced him. "I know we aren't exactly open books to each other, Clark. But it's different, isn't it? We don't try to manipulate each other by lies, do we?"
Shaking his head, Clark had to fight the urge to lick at the fingers still touching him. Instead he stepped back, breaking the contact. "You're my best friend, Lex, and I trust you, it's just..." He tried to explain the unexplainable.
"I know, Clark, I know." Lex smiled then waved him off. "Go, or Chloe will skin me alive."
Clark laughed the tension broken. "That'll be harmless in comparison to what she'll do to me." He rushed to the stairs, but looked back once more. "Thanks Lex. And take care."
Lex nodded. "I will. And you have fun."
As he descended the stairs Clark couldn't stop thinking that he would have more fun spending his day with Lex somewhere, even on a dance. It didn't help that he almost could feel Lex's gaze on him all the way to the truck as his friend followed him, even after he'd long left the Kent driveway. It was ridiculous of course, but somehow he knew that Lex would watch him all the time if he could. And strangely enough one part of Clark wouldn't mind that at all.
Lex watched the truck pull away, barely noticing that the dust spun off its tires had covered his shoes and pants in a fine brown layer. Leaning against his car, he watched as the taillights took Clark farther away from him and closer to Chloe and perhaps a new chapter in his life as a teenager. Secretly, Lex feared what this date meant for the relationship with Clark; what teenager wanted to hang out with his best friend when he had a cute blonde girlfriend? He certainly hadn't at Clark's age; although admittedly, he hadn't had many male friends. His father had always said that beyond the confines of the boardroom and the ballroom, male friends were a determent to one's future goals. Lex figured (later in life) that what his father really feared was Lex trusting someone else's opinion above Lionel's.
He rubbed the fingers that had touched Clark's lips against his thumb absentmindedly; they still tingled slightly from where they had touched soft skin and lingered. He always felt that slight tingle after touching Clark, as if the younger man was made of electricity.
He shook his head hard to rid himself of the foolish thought. It had been ridiculous to come to the Kent Farm on this night. The impending feeling of doom that had encompassed the mansion had driven him out while the farm had called him in with fleeting promises of comfort. And now he was watching the empty road that had taken his comfort away from him. It was stupid to hate a road, wasn't it?
He turned, facing the house. Night had started to settle in, causing the light from inside to leak out in a hazy glow. It was the epitome of the American Dream, as about as obtainable as boys in tuxes on their way to their first formal.
It took him a moment to realize that Martha Kent was standing on the porch, studying him as intently as he had been studying her house. She was drying her hands on a towel that was the same color of blue that Clark preferred. Lex couldn't turn his eyes away from that towel.
"Hi, Lex." Her hands dropped to her sides, the towel dangling from the right one.
"Good evening, Mrs. Kent." He answered, blinking several times in order to look up at her face.
She gave him a small smile that crinkled the corners of her eyes. "Did Clark get off alright? I was afraid to ask him if he needed any help." There was a chuckle. "I think he finds that may go beyond the call of motherly duty."
Lex smiled in return. "Just help with his bow-tie and I fixed that."
Martha stepped off the porch and walked the several yards that separated them. "Did he seem nervous?" She leaned against the car next to him. "I was nervous during my first formal."
Lex squinted slightly, mulling over Clark's behavior. "No, he seemed fine."
"Good." Martha gave a deep sigh and her grin widened. "He's been so ... off the last couple of days."
Lex stuck his hands in his pockets, slightly ashamed that he hadn't notice. "Oh? Do you know what's been bothering him?"
Martha tipped her head back, looking up at the sky. "Lana. Or at least, I think it's about Lana. It's so hard to be a teenager and sometimes I forget. And it's especially hard when you love someone who doesn't love you back." Lex nodded, keeping his eyes on the ground. "Wanting to go to a dance with someone and not being able to; having to go with someone else. Every disappointment feeling like the end of the world." There was that amused chuckle again. "I'm grateful that I don't have to do that anymore."
Lex nodded and smiled because he felt that she expected him to do so. It's not like he wasn't already resigned to the fact that Clark didn't care about him the same way that Lex did; it was the idea that there was no hope that someday he would.
"Would you like to come in Lex?" Martha touched his arm, pulling at the sleeve gently. "I made pie this morning."
"Uh, no." Lex faltered for a moment, finally smiling. "I think I'll go home and check on things. Dad is coming in and I need to be there when he does."
"Okay." Something akin to disappointment passed over Martha's features before she pulled back and started towards the house. "You do know that you're welcome to come over anytime, Lex?"
"I might be availing myself on that offer if my father stays longer than expected." Lex called after her, watching as she walked up the steps and pulled open the screen door with the same hand she held the towel in. With a quick smile over her shoulder, she disappeared into the house. Lex gave one last look to the homestead and opened the driver's side door, getting in and turning on the car. He pulled out of the Kent driveway and started home, not listening to the sounds of some appropriately mopey alternative rock band on the radio.
Instead, he thought about the Smallville dance and the cheep balloons that would no doubt be covering the school cafeteria or gym. Mentally, he added some crape paper and long tables covered in checkered cloth; doubtless there would be a bad band playing covers of even worse eighties rock songs. He could see the way Clark's face would light up as they started a slow song, something that Clark could recognize and dance too. The lights in the gym would be dimmed, not to dim, but dark enough so that when Clark lead Lex out to the dance floor no one would take notice of them at first. But slowly the other couples would take notice and stop to stare, leaving the two of them a wide area in which to glide around. Neither would notice the gawking eyes and ever so often Lex would have to squint because one of the bright stage lights would hit him in the eyes, temporally blinding him...
Or hit him in the eyes, bringing him back to reality. He threw up his hand to block the offending headlights until the owner of the car turned them off. Lex didn't recognize the light skinned boy, or his date but he did know cheep formal wear when he saw it. Groaning, he clinched his hands around the steering wheel when he realized that in his laxidaisical daydreaming he had driven straight to the high school.
He had never been more embarrassed in his entire life. Not even the jeers and taunts of his classmates growing up could measure up to the profound sense of stupidity that he felt watching bedazzled teens disappear into the front doors, hugging other bedazzled teens and squealing over dresses. He was sure that Pavlov would just love to study him and his devotion to Clark. Clark smiles, Lex jumps. Clark beckons, Lex follows. Clark asks for him to ignore an elephant in the living room, Lex just smiles and asks how school was. It was really damn pathetic and for the sake of his sanity, for his dignity, he was going to drive out of the parking lot and hope to hell that no one had seen him.
That was the plan until he saw Chloe Sullivan bust out of the front doors of the school, running at full speed, hands over her face. He watched in fascination as she fumbled with keys at a car
that wasn't hers until she was finally able to unlock the door and get in. The tires squealed and spun until they grabbed asphalt and she tore out of the parking lot at the speed he had expected to go.
As her car turned the corner and out of sight, the front doors of the school were thrown open again as Clark threw himself out of them. He looked wildly around the parking lot, passing over Lex's car and doing a slow double-take.
Lex figured that it'd be stupid to slump over and try to hide so he opened the door and slid out of the seat. Clark had already started walking towards him, looking slightly dazed.
Lex tried for casual. "Hey Clark. What's up?"
"I wish I knew!" With a half confused, half worried expression Clark stared in the general direction Chloe had disappeared in. The expression didn't change when he turned back to Lex.
"I was getting us something to drink and when I came back to the spot where I left Chloe she was gone. Suzie told me Chloe had gone to the ladies' room, in a hurry. So I went to the bathrooms and waited in front of the girls' door. And when Chloe came out she rushed past me like a bat out of hell and didn't even look at me! In fact, she hid her face and yelled, 'Don't look at me!'" Softly he added: "I think she cried."
'And here we go again, back in teenage heartbreak land.' Lex thought. Never mind that he'd been in touch with his inner teenage boy today. Since Clark and his friends still were teenagers, this was the real thing. And boy, was he glad he'd left his teens behind him.
Truth be told, he also was glad he didn't find Clark as part of a brand-new lovey-dovey Clark/Chloe relationship. Still, Clark expected him to be the understanding and knowing elder brother type of friend he'd tried to be since that fateful day at the manor, when Clark had returned the truck. Fortunately it was a role he was perfectly fit to play, even though the understanding part came harder and harder to him with each wet dream, with each lie.
So he dutifully enquired: "And you have no idea what caused her behavior?" Clark shook his head, looking more miserable by the minute now. "What did you say to her when you went to fetch the drinks?"
The devil was in the details, with women or girls you never knew what set them off. Being a fast learner and used to his father's games and moods Lex had learned that in his early teens. He had a feeling Clark would need longer for that particular revelation.
"Uh- 'I'm going to get us something to drink, I'll be right back?'" The questioning voice was accompanied by a fitting expression, which was adorable, really. "And she said she was thirsty, that's why I offered."
"I can't find anything wrong with that." Lex assured his young friend and his heart warmed as he saw Clark perk up and look at him like a faithful puppy looking up to its master. He also felt tiny needles pricking his heart and decided on action being the best cure for that. "Why don't we follow Chloe and ask her, see if she's all right?"
For a second or two Clark seemed awfully unsure, then he nodded eagerly. "Yeah, let's follow her."
"We'll take my car, it's faster than your truck. Whose truck was it, by the way, that Chloe took?"
Confusion ruled Clark's face once again. "I have no idea." Then, belatedly: "She took a truck?"
"Un-hn. A red pick up truck." Of course, the description fit more than one of the cars still on the parking lot.
"She must have borrowed it from someone. I could go back and ask..." Clark halfheartedly made as if to go back into the building.
"Or we could just follow her. Hop in." Lex opened the driver's door of his convertible Porsche.
It didn't take Clark long to follow his example - in fact, before Lex had closed his door Clark was already set and ready to go. Had the boy really moved supernaturally fast or was it simply due to the fact that he had taken the order 'hop in' literally, ignoring the passenger door?
Shaking his head at another symptom of the puzzle that was Clark Kent, Lex started the motor.
Lex didn't generally think of himself as a religious man, rather the cool agnostic, but he had to admit that it seemed he should thank his Guardian Angel for leading him to Smallville High School this evening. The night of the Spring Formal, and here was Clark, not at the dance, but in his car. Lex vowed to make a generous donation to the closest local church sometime next week.
Glancing over at the passenger seat and the slightly mussed, well-dressed sprawl that was Clark with cool admiration, Lex swallowed hard. He'd looked great in his tux in the loft that afternoon, but tonight in the shadows he was stunning. And that Clark seemed to have no idea… no idea at all… just enhanced his attractiveness. And in the passenger seat of Lex's sleek, expensive car -well, Lex couldn't suppress a satisfied grin. The unexpected pleasure and excitement of having Clark's company when he'd expected to spend the evening alone made Lex's heart give an almost juvenile flip of exhilaration.
Clark didn't seem quite as blissful as Lex felt, however. He shook his head, slightly and slowly, as though he couldn't believe what he was hearing himself say. "Well, Lex, I've managed to lose my date." He turned to Lex with a crestfallen smile and shrug, which made Lex's heart twist again.
"A mystery," Lex said coolly. "Not a Marcia Brady thing, was it? She didn't get beaned with a football on her way to the ladies' room and split so you wouldn't see her bruised and swollen nose?"
Clark looked for a moment as though he were seriously considering the possibility, then chuckled. "Not that I know of. At least, I don't think-- "
Lex gave him a patient smile. "Clark, I'm kidding. You say she was crying, though?"
"I think so."
"Could she have seen or talked to someone in there?"
"I guess. I don't know who, though. And I just hope she's all right." Clark sighed, and continued in a near-whine. "I can't seem to have a normal date with anyone. Anywhere, any time, any occasion. Each one's a combination of crisis and flop." He leveled that big-eyed gaze that Lex hated to admit always turned him to mush.
Well, he was right about his dating record, even if Clark did sound as though he'd been taking pity-me lessons from Lana. Time for a subject change, thought Lex, and he turned back to his companion with: "Before I left your place, I ran into your mother."
"Yeah?" said Clark, eyebrows lifting. Though he seemed to be trying to keep his reaction casual, Lex suspected Clark was curious as to what exactly his friend and his mother had talked about. "Not with the car, I hope."
Lex didn't dignify that remark with a response, though he couldn't suppress a low chuckle. He couldn't have spoken, anyway, as Clark followed the remark with that sparkle-eyed flash of white teeth. "Your mom seems to think you're upset about not having been able to take Lana to the Spring Formal instead of Chloe."
Clark shrugged in discomfort and, exhaling, shifted in his seat. "She said that, huh?" Casually, he picked a bit of lint from the black sleeve of his tux and flicked it out the window. It was nearly dark outside, now. Trees waved in the increasingly brisk wind as the car sped by.
Lex nodded. "I also have a standing invitation to come over and visit any time I want to."
"Good," said Clark. "She must finally have talked things over with Dad, then."
The car pulled up to a crossroads. Blue-black thunderheads massed overhead, stretching to the thin line of sunset that lit the horizon. Clark looked one way, then the other, down the deserted road.
"We're pretty far from the school now. See anything?"
"No," Lex said, doing a quick scan in all directions just as Clark had.
"Which way should we go?"
Lex turned the car to the left and headed west. He drove for maybe half a mile before pulling the car abruptly over to the shoulder. Loose earth sprayed across the road as the tires dug into the dirt.
Clark turned to Lex in surprise. "Lex, why are you stopping?"
Lex sat for a moment in silence, staring straight ahead. "Clark, we have to talk."
He wasn't sure himself why they were sitting here in near darkness on the side of a deserted country road. Pulling over hadn't really been a conscious action. He turned to find Clark gazing at him with mouth half-open and eyes dark with wonder, and in spite of himself, Lex knew his decision had been the right one.
He didn't know, and didn't think further as he felt Clark's arms wrap around him, felt the strength and warmth of his embrace and the touch of his mouth. He exhaled on a long sigh as his arms wound around Clark's firm body in response. He tightened his grip. And heard himself babbling in a hoarse whisper.
"Wanted to do this ever since-"
"I know, I know," Clark was mumbling, and Lex felt warm breath in his ear, moist lips on his face. "Me, too."
Lex wasn't sure how much time had actually passed before the frantic caresses slowed to a stop. Both he and Clark pulled reluctantly back and looked down as petals from the ravaged white rose boutonniere - Chloe's gift - fluttered down onto the seat between them. Lex looked up at Clark, whose glance, initially distressed, darkened to heated and burning once again as soon as their eyes met.
Lex looked away in self-defense. Was Smallville really just a brief chapter in his biography, as Lionel had declared? Or did he and Clark indeed have a future together, as Lex had so strongly believed.
With a wordless sound, half a sob, Clark reached out to grasp his wrist, and pulled him in for another kiss.
Or maybe not. Surprised he looked at Clark, who was holding his wrist, and who was so close to him that Lex was almost sitting on his lap, but whose eyes weren't darkened by desire but wide with worry.
There was a part of Lex who wanted to look around for someone attacking them, something unusual happening - anything really that would be the reason for Clark to look worried, anything but Lex himself. But Lex was a realist first. "What did happen?" he asked, knowing that he wouldn't like the answer.
"I was about to ask you. You just stopped. Right after the crossing." Clark pointed backwards, letting go of Lex' wrist. "And then you spaced out. You didn't seem to hear me, you just stared ahead."
Lex knew he was exaggerating and stupid, but one part of him was sure to hear the breaking of a heart. His heart. It couldn't be. Just. Couldn't. Be. That he had daydreamed that moment of clearity, of kissing the boy he loved. The moment had been too vivid to be a fantasy. He still could feel moisture on his face where Clark's lips had touched it. He looked down and saw the white petals on the seat. Just like they had been in his 'dream'.
"Clark." Lex freed his throat. "What was the last thing I said before I ... spaced out?"
Clark frowned. "You asked which way to go. I think."
Now, Lex did remember that question, but he'd have sworn that Clark had been the one asking. "And what did you say?"
"That maybe we should see if Chloe's home. So you turned right and then you stopped."
'I turned right?' He looked back disbelievingly, but it was true, he'd taken a right turn.
'Warrior Angel issue 80. Warrior Angel is brought to a crossroad to see all the different pathes he could have chosen.' The thought popped up unbidden in Lex's mind, and it was all he could do to supress any other movie or book references concerning parallel worlds that were born by different decisions. It didn't matter if that 'episode' had been a daydream, pure wishful thinking, or a vision from another universe, a what-could-have-been, because it wasn't his reality now.
He closed his eyes for a moment, calming himself. Then looked at Clark with what he hoped was his usual attentive expression. "So, we're looking up the Sullivans?"
"Guess so." Clark nodded, albeit a little reluctantly. "You sure you're okay?"
"Of course. I feel fine." A shrug and the starting of the car's engine that was all it took to get out of this situation. Lex marvelled at that fact at the same time as his inner voice shouted at Clark to keep asking, to not just let it go. But he knew it was futile. This was Smallville after all, where strange things happened, but no one ever talked about it. Certainly not Clark Kent.
At that thought Lex sped up.
Still worrying Clark looked at his friend, who seemed to concentrate on the road ahead. It had scared him to see Lex so still, his eyes glazed. He had wanted to ask where Lex had been, what he had seen, but then Lex had looked so wounded for a second that he hadn't dared, afraid to hurt his friend even further. And maybe a part of him hadn't wanted to inquire too deeply, because Lex had a way of deflecting questions by asking some himself, and Clark didn't want to talk about what happened.
Not that he was sure that anything had happened to begin with. But he remembered a strange feeling the moment they drove onto this road. A pressure on his chest as if someone had grabbed him and tried to drag him into the opposite direction. Then there had been images of him and Lex, gone too fast to remember more than glimpses, but he was sure they had been kissing.
That image had been heady, and had stayed with Clark until Lex's abrupt stopping of the car. Now it came back with a vengence, going straight to Clark's groin, leaving a trail of heat behind.
Turning his face even more into the airstream, Clark gazed into the darkness surrounding them, glad that it would hide any blush he might spout.
A thunderbolt raced over the sky lightening the way ahead for a moment.
"Guess they were right about the storm," Clark said to break the silence between them.
"So it seems. I can only hope that my father listened to the warning," Lex answered. "On the other hand, with a little luck his helicopter might just crash in the storm."
"Lex." Clark looked at his friend, not entirely sure if he was kidding. "You don't mean that, do you? You don't really wish that your father was dead?"
Lex turned his head for a second, a rueful smile on his handsome face. "Probably not. But it would make a lot of lives a lot easier."
Reaching the Sullivan driveway freed Clark from commenting on that.
"It seems we've found your date," Lex said, as they stopped behind a red pick up truck.
"Yeah." Clark looked at the house. Now that they had found Chloe, he was once more worried about what had happened. He couldn't think of a thing that he did wrong, but that didn't stop him from feeling guilty. Especially because he hadn't really thought about Chloe that much during the drive. With Lex at his side Chloe's peril had taken a clear backseat. There was movement behind a curtain, before he could make sure who it was the person vanished and then Lex patted his shoulder lightly.
"Do you plan to sit here for a while, or are you going to the door within this century?" Lex' smirk said clearly what he thought of Clark's behavior.
Clark sighed, feeling foolish. "Guess I go over." Without opening the door he climbed out of the convertible and walked towards the house. Before he'd reached the steps the maindoor opened and Gabe Sullivan greeted him with a friendly smile.
"Mr. Sullivan. I wanted to speak to Chloe." Had he stammered? He wasn't sure.
Chloe's father nodded. "I know. But she's not feeling well right now. She wanted me to give you this and ask you, if you would drive the truck back to the school."
Not thinking about it Clark took the car-keys and nodded. "Okay. I can do that."
Automatically he looked at the truck and now that he saw the emblem on the sidedoor of it, he knew to whom it belonged. He was already leaving for the truck, or rather for the Porsche to tell Lex that he'd be driving back to school and that Lex should better hurry home, before it started to rain, when he realized that he still didn't know what had happened to Chloe.
He turned around again, stopping Mr. Sullivan from closing the door. "What happened to Chloe? Is she all right?"
Gabe Sullivan looked at Clark thoughtfully. "She came home crying about something that had happened at the dance, son. But she hasn't told me what it was."
Clark cleared his throat and glanced down at the tips of his black shoes, trying very hard not to get angry with Chloe's father. His eternal patience with his only daughter was only infuriating when you were trying to get information out of him. It probably came from so many years of living with Chloe.
"So, she just came home?"
Gabe nodded and glanced past Clark to where Lex was sitting in his car. "Son, you might want to get home before the storm hits. I can take care of Chloe."
It was funny because Chloe took care of him most of the time. She just let her father believe the opposite. "Okay. I'd just... she seemed really upset."
Mr. Sullivan gave a slow nod, his sights still set on Lex. "I'm sure she'll be..."
The front door was wrenched out of his hands as he went flying back; Chloe stood there, dress wilted, eye makeup smeared, hair falling around her face. Clark glanced frantically at Mr. Sullivan, who was staring at Chloe in apprehension.
"Dad, I need to talk to Clark." Wisely, Mr. Sullivan took this time not to crack any jokes before he nodded quickly and disappeared into the house.
She made a slashing gesture with her hand as she looked over Clark's shoulder. Her tone was thick, but nasty. "So, did he bring you here?"
Clark followed her gaze confused. "Who, Lex?"
The front door slammed as she rushed forward, stepping into Clark's personal space, her face inches from his. "Yes, Lex! But then again, who would being you here besides Lex?"
Clark stepped back from her tear stained face. There were waves of anger pulsing off of her. "He was ... nice enough to bring me here. I don't know why you left..."
"Why I left?" The words were punctuated by her index finger stabbing into his chest. "So, finding you behind the bleachers with Lex wasn't enough? You think I'd be okay with that?"
Even though he was almost a hundred percent sure that Lex had never even been in the school's gym, Clark thought a second about the past year.
"Lex and I were behind the bleachers..."
"Kissing, Clark!" She pushed past him to stand at the end of the wooden porch and point her finger out to the Porsche. "You were kissing him at our dance. Did you think that would be okay? That I wouldn't find out?"
Clark felt his stomach drop as he glanced at Lex who raised an eyebrow in return and made a move to get out of the car. Clark waved him away with a shake of his head. "I wasn't kissing anyone, Chloe."
The darkening sky threw shadows across her face, deepening her eyes and drawing down her mouth. "No you weren't kissing him, you were practically dry humping him."
"I wasn't doing anything with Lex!" Clark screamed suddenly.
"Yes, you were!" She screamed back. Her hands became fists as she punched them in the air. "I saw you and I'm not blind!"
"Chloe..." Lex had gotten out of the car and was now braced against the open door, his face drawn in concern. How much had he heard?
Suddenly, Chloe's shoulders dropped as her hands fell lifelessly against her body. The fight had vanished. "Lex. Please stay there. I want to go inside." Her anger ridden voice became thick again with tears. "I just want to go inside and I want you to leave."
"Chloe." Clark started to walk the distance that separated them until her head came up and she set cold eyes on him.
"Don't Clark. Not now." She was a flash of magenta and blonde, her shoes making a hollow tapping on the ground as she skirted past Clark. He didn't hear the door open and close but then the porch light going off was probably another reminder to leave.
He watched the dust rise and fall as he slowly made his way to Lex's car and slid into the seat. The keys to the truck jangled in his pocket, scratching through cotton to scrape at his skin but he couldn't bring himself to drive right now.
Lex was beside him, his face worried. "Clark?"
There was skin and fabric under his hands and Clark leaned in to kiss him. Their lips met, and suddenly a thousand tiny lightning sparks jumped back and forth between them - or so it seemed to Clark - running through his body, electrifying every part of it. Like it had a mind of its own, his tongue slipped out to taste Lex, then to invade him.
Only nanoseconds could have passed when Clark felt a strong hand on his ass, impatiently pulling him closer, just as another none too gently took hold of his hair. A whimper escaped him but he couldn't care less. Kissing Lex was all that mattered now, and at the same time, it wasn't enough. Answering the demanding hands, he half climbed into Lex's lap and started an awkward grinding movement against Lex's hip. The whimper turned into a moan that was echoed by his lover.
'You talk too much.' Clark thought, affectionately but on a deeper, more primitive level, annoyed. Only Lex could talk in a moment like this, with Clark's tongue halfway down his throat and Clark practically dry humping him...
And where had he heard that before? There was a hand on his shoulder, lightly shaking him. And that's all there was. No body contact with Lex except for the friendly pressure on Clark's shoulder. Worry in the expressive blue eyes and a puzzled look on the handsome face.
"Are you all right?"
With a sudden urge to tell the truth and nothing but the whole truth he answered, "No." Because he had been all right just a second ago, more than all right, really; and now he felt strangely bereft and confused as hell. "What's wrong, Clark? Talk to me!"
Was it just him or was there something like hope peeping out from under Lex's mask of worry? No, it had to be him. Why should Lex look hopeful when he was obviously worried about Clark spacing out? Unless...
A memory of how Lex had looked when he had spaced out, just a short while back flashed though his still confused brain. And with the picture came an eerie clarity.
The strange images he himself had had in his head. Chloe who firmly believed she had seen him and Lex kissing. His ... dream? from just a few seconds ago. Whatever it was, it seemed to affect them both and even their surroundings. And if he felt bereft now, maybe Lex felt the same? Maybe Lex wanted to kiss him for real?
With a blush, Clark became aware of the bulge in his pants that had formed during whatever it was. It didn't feel like it would go away anytime soon. Maybe kissing wasn't exactly what both of them had in their subconscious minds.
"I'm here!" he shouted back, guilt lending his voice strength where it wasn't needed. "I'm sorry," he added quickly before swallowing hard. "I..." Looking into Lex's still worried eyes he faltered. How could he ever talk about ... this with Lex?
But he owed it to his best friend, didn't he? Besides, Lex probably could make sense of it if they talked it through, whereas Clark still felt confused. Sharing strange visions was one thing, after all, but how the blazes did Chloe come into it?
And Lex still had to confirm the shared visions theory, so Clark mustered all his courage to ask him. "Did you ... have some kind of vision, back when you spaced out on me? A vision of us? Doing stuff?" Clark felt the blush mount up his throat and into his cheeks.
What do you mean, 'stuff'? he half expected Lex to ask. But Lex just stared at him, then looked away, out the window at the scudding clouds. It was now fully dark, and the wind was picking up. He swallowed hard and reached for the key, still in the ignition, missing it on the first try. He turned it and the engine revved to life. "I'm taking you home, now."
Clark couldn't help but notice how pale Lex was, even in the darkness. "No," he said, keeping his voice steady. He placed his own hand over Lex's on the gear shift and could tell Lex was trembling. He gestured brusquely to the ignition. "Turn it off." He was surprised when Lex obeyed without protest. "Did you?" Clark demanded. He stroked Lex's fingers just a little, and waited, almost in fear, for his answer, which came in a moment as a defeated sigh.
"Yeah, yeah, I did." Lex turned sharply and Clark was startled and then entranced by the naked expression on his face, need, and something more. He tried not to be distracted by it though, because they had other things to fix first.
"So did I," Clark kept on. "And, what's even weirder is: we don't seem to be the only ones having these visions. Chloe said she saw us - you and me - behind the bleachers at school, making out. Tonight, before the dance! That's why she was so upset, and bolted. Tonight was really special to her, and I'm sorry for that, but… Lex … what do you think it all means?"
Lex's wry chuckle echoed in the quiet of the car. "That we're generating lots of energy, for starters."
"Lex, come on. This is serious." Was Lex implying that people like Chloe were sensing the attraction between them? That they were sending out signals like a TV broadcast, for Pete's sake? Clark had no idea beyond knowing that right now, he just really wanted to touch. He placed a hand on Lex's sleeve and kneaded lightly. Lex tensed, and then looked at him again, troubled.
Ah, what the hell, Clark thought. Let's just be honest for once.
"I mean … beyond the fact that ... I want you," he said thickly. "And I think you want me, too."
"W.W.W.A.D.?" Lex muttered under his breath, spitting out the letters with precise rapidity. He turned to look out the window, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel .
"What? Huh?" Clark's first thought was that Lex was speaking a different language.
"What Would Warrior Angel Do?"
For a moment Clark felt torn between rolling his eyes at his friend's geekiness or laughing just so he wouldn't cry. He managed a shaky grin. "So what would your hero do?" he asked.
"The correct thing." Lex was now looking at him, expression sincere. "The decent thing."
"Meaning?" Somehow Clark knew he didn't want to know the answer.
"He would tell you that you're reading him wrong, that you are confused, too young to know what you want. Something like that."
About to protest Clark was stopped by fingers on his lips, and a smirk on Lex' face.
"But then, I'm not a hero from outer space. I'm a Luthor and I want you and since this seems to be a mutual feeling nothing will stop me from making you mine." The tone was arrogant and sensual at the same time and sent goosebumps over Clark's body. Automatically he swayed closer, his tongue peeping out and licking the fingers. He held his own fingers crossed, praying that this time it was the real thing in the real world.
The beeping of a cell phone told him it was. 'No! Damnit!' he cursed as Lex withdrew to take the call. It didn't help that Lex looked just as frustrated as Clark felt, because the mood was broken, and as he heard the words "Dad" and "I'm on my way" he knew that it wouldn't be recreated anytime soon.
"I'm sorry, Clark," Lex said after ending the call and putting the cell phone away. "My father's at the mansion asking for his 'heir'." He grimaced. He was extremely aware of the good looking aroused boy at his side, and wanted nothing more than to touch and be touched. And one minute ago he would have done it without thoughts about consequences or anything. So maybe this call had actually been a good thing, because the Sullivan driveway was not the right place for a first time with and for his beloved friend.
"We have to get back to this later. Maybe somewhere more comfortable and private." He looked pointedly at the house.
He watched Clark swallow and nod.
"Should I take you home first?" Lex asked, at once hoping for and dreading a 'yes'.
The answer took a while, almost as if Clark needed to drag himself back to the present. "I... No. I take the truck back to school."
"Right. Anything I can do or say to make this parting less painful or awkward?" Lex wondered, trying to gauge his friend's thoughts.
"You didn't answer my question, you know. The one about what you think this all means."
Bless the boy for getting them back on safer and yet still intimate ground. "Okay, let's see," Lex couldn't resist raising a brow and taking on a lecturing tone, "based on my wide science fiction based knowledge I'd offer two theories for now: One - those 'visions' are projected into our world from another dimension and therefore aren't really us, or two - it's something we will eventually do, but haven't yet and something is interfering with time."
He could see from Clark's expression that both ideas would need some time to really sink in, obviously watching the SciFi channel wasn't high on the Kents' priority list.
"What do you think it is?" Clark asked.
"I don't know. It could be something else. I guess we will know more if we meet spontaneously behind the bleachers at school." He grinned. Actually he thought the first theory to be more likely, but wanted the second to be true. Then, deciding that the darkness would cover it, he leaned forward and kissed Clark's lips. Just a light brushing, really, but he couldn't resist, and when he saw the wide smile on his friend's face he knew it had been worth the risk.
The beeping of his cell phone reminded him of less pleasant things. "My father is getting impatient." A flash illuminated the sky. "See." He grinned.
Clark rolled his eyes then left the convertible and after blowing him a kiss walked over to the truck and climbed in.
Starting his own car, Lex left the driveway first and headed directly towards the mansion. He looked into the backmirror once, but all he saw were two lights getting smaller in the darkness. He sighed. He'd so much prefer being with Clark than heading home, but then again, compared to his father there weren't many things he liked even less.
That moment he saw the tornado.
Clark relaxed in the pick up's cab seat, grin so wide on his face it felt vaguely uncomfortable. Quickly, he ran a hand over his mouth in an attempt to turn the corners down, look more disappointed over the way the evening had ended. By now, he was sure that his parents had heard about the dance and Chloe's disappearance; she hadn't been exactly quiet about leaving. They would have questions upon questions and he was pretty sure that telling his father that Warrior Angel had told Lex not to kiss Clark but Lex had ignored the missive wouldn't do as an answer.
In fact, everything about this evening wouldn't do as an answer. He couldn't tell his parents that Chloe had 'seen' him and Lex making out – no, dry humping behind the bleachers. And wow, not only was his smile gone now, his entire face felt like it was being held over his mother's stove while she was boiling jars for canning. It was problematic (silently he patted himself on the back for remembering Mr. Lewis' vocabulary lesson earlier that week), he couldn't outright lie to his parents. They would know that Chloe had run out of the dance, they would demand an answer and Clark wasn't sure what he could give them.
A strong gust of wind smacking against the driver's side of the pick up rocked him out of his thoughts and he slowed slightly to look around and take in his surroundings. The cornstalks to his left were practically standing at a 45 degree angle from the force of the wind and the sky had an eery yellowish glow. Quickly, he pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the truck, folding his arms over the steering wheel and leaning forward to peer out the windshield at the fields and sky in front of him. Dirt, grass and debris danced across the road in front of him, but it was the single sheet of white paper that held his attention. It was probably some test that had been thrown out of a school bus window by some student and forgotten only to be caught up in the beginning of the storm. White paper moving smoothly in the wind like...
Lex's chest pale and smooth above him as he bent over to brush his lips slowly against Clark's. Nothing like the kiss he had given him moments earlier in his car as a goodbye but something more, something to chase and grab on to, as Clark pressed his opened mouth against the man above him's scarred one. Lex gave a slight murmur of surprise but kissed him back eagerly. Clark shuddered slightly as Lex's tongue slid in his mouth, rolling against his upper palate and then down to stroke against his own tongue in a lazy back and forth motion.
The upraised metal of the bed of the truck dug uncomfortably in Clark's back but he didn't mind as Lex's fingers skimmed under his cummerbund, pulling it down enough to dance above the top button of his black dance pants. Clark moaned loudly as clever fingers slowly undid the button and brushed lower, stroking over the skin under his rapidly filling cock.
"Clark?" Clark blinked once, opening his eyes and staring up at Lex who smiled gently down at him. Reassuringly, calming. The strong wind was brushing over the back of Lex's jacket, pushing it up, down and around and Clark felt the beginning drops of rain on his face but he was glad, so glad, that instead of going home Lex had turned and chased him down in his car. Made him pull over, pulled him out of the truck and had kissed him. Really kissed him. And Clark was even more thankful that he had had the idea of pulling them into the bed of the pick up, regardless of the weather.
"Lex... I need..." Clark rolled his hips up, face on fire when his dick brushed the back of Lex's hand, leaving a smear of precome.
"I know what you need, Clark." Lex smiled again as tiny drops of water hit the back of his head and rolled around to the front of his face, almost looking like tears. Clark nodded quickly and pressed up again, waiting ...
Until he could no longer feel the weight of Lex on him, the wind pushing against him and the rain falling from Lex to land on his face. Cautiously, Clark opened his eyes and saw nothing but bent cornstalks and more dirt dancing in the road ahead.
Clark's mother would have been shocked at the phrase that came spouting from her normally well-behaved son's mouth. None of it had happened! No kiss, no stroking, no caresses, no skin... no action in the flatbed whatsoever. He hadn't so much as left the cab of the truck!
He wasn't sure how much more of this he could take. But as he looked around at the crazily bent and flattened cornstalks and crops, he saw a furrow in the cornfield stretching off and over toward Luthor Manor. He trained his vision on it as hard as he could, followed the path up and off into the distance toward the thin band of lemony light that still lingered on the horizon as mighty winds and funnel clouds roared off into the distance. And somehow Clark could see, see all the way over to where Lex lived, up the drive, to the slate-walled house. And saw the huge cavern in the flagstone wall, the window of the office smashed, broken beams and shards of glass, right by Lex's desk. A hand reaching, grasping shakily … and blood, everywhere.
He felt his heart clutch in his chest. Felt sick. Damn. If anything had happened to Lex…
Chloe and school forgotten, he threw the truck into gear. Brakes squealed as he peeled off down the road.
At the manor, he called out frantically while he was still outside. "Lex, Lex!" He picked his way over the clutter of ruined furniture and Lex's prized works of art, damage and destruction on every side. Not caring if he ripped his shirt or destroyed his tux. Nothing mattered except finding Lex, saving Lex.
Telling Lex… how much he loved him.
Clark reached the library, scanned the room frantically. Lionel Luthor lay in the middle of the wreckage, supports from the vaulted ceiling which had caved in and fallen to the floor, barely missing him. Lex was a short distance away, stretched, sprawled on the floor, face on his arm. Clark was at his side before he could think and grabbing his arm, eased him over on his back. And gasped, because his skin was chalk-white, and the right side of his face was covered with blood.
"Lex," Clark's voice was a wounded, scared whimper.
Lex's eyes fluttered slowly open. "Clark," he whispered in a thin, cracked voice. "So once again you're here when I need you."
"I'm here," Clark murmured. "But we have to get you to the Medical Center. You and your dad both." He didn't trust himself to say anything more because his throat was thick with fear, and tears burned the backs of his eyelids. He drew Lex gently close and cradled him to his chest, heedless of the chaos around them.
And knew that, after this evening, no matter what was real and what wasn't, he never wanted to lose him again.
Lex stopped his car behind the truck and noticed that Clark had to be within the mansion already. He shook his head about the damage done to the ancient building and about crazy farmboys who drove towards a tornado, when a sensible person would have stopped their car and waited for the storm to decide on a direction. Having seen the tornado and estimating that it had to be close to the manor Lex had used the next sideroad to turn his car halfway around, so in case the tornado came his way he could drive back and try to outrun it. Driving a sportscar had to be good for something, after all.
He hadn't been worried about his staff, since he had only a minimum crew at the mansion, all experienced Kansas people who would have known to take shelter. Only his father might not, but somehow Lex didn't think that anything could touch Lionel Luthor. So he had been monitoring the tornado quite calmly, until suddenly a red truck drove by, speeding towards it. For a minute Lex had just sat there, doing nothing, telling himself that this had to be another of those strange visions; that it hadn't been his Clark driving into danger, that Clark was safely on his way back to school. Then again, what if it was Clark? Lex had been racing after the truck then, drawn like a puppet on a string.
And now here he was, carefully stepping over what looked like the frontdoor into the mansion as something invisible rushed past him, throwing him against the doorframe. Lex blinked in surprise as he saw Clark seemingly materializing out of thin air in front of the truck, holding something - no, someone in his arms. Lex caught a glimpse of a bald head and a bloodied face before the image disappeared... Leaving a very distraught Clark behind, who looked down at his now empty arms, crying out his name.
"Clark?" Although he said it quietly, calmly, his voice seemed to shock Clark who whirled around and then stood directly before him in the blink of an eye.
"Lex?" A hesitant hand stroked over his face. "Are you okay? Are you ... real?"
He nodded, trying to not lean into the caress. "I'm unharmed and real. The other one was just a vision." To prove his point he poked his friend into the stomach. "I won't vanish. Promised."
A small smile appeared on Clark's lips, then he became earnest again. "It was so real. I could feel you..." He stopped. "Did you see...?" he wondered suddenly.
Lex nodded. "I saw. It gets curioser every minute. Though the positive effect might be that we probably aren't the only ones seeing other people or even themselves where they weren't. So Chloe might realize her mistake and forgive you." He had expected his words to cheer Clark up, but instead of a relieved expression his friend's face showed something more akin to horror.
"Clark?" he asked, then realized that the teenager wasn't looking at him, but over his shoulder at something. Alarmed he turned around. "Shit." Even in the evening's dim light it was easy to see what had scared his friend. The tornado - at least Lex thought it was the same - was heading back towards them. "Let's get into the cellar!" he said, grabbing Clark's arm, but the boy stepped back.
"I think the cellar's blocked," Clark argued, squinting into the direction of the kitchen as if he could see through solid rocks. "Part of the building has collapsed there."
"If you're sure." Lex didn't think they had the time to find out. "Let's take the Porsche then." Again he was reaching for his friend and again the teenager avoided him.
"Your father. I'll get him," Clark said by way of explanation and ran back into the house.
Lex cursed silently, he had totally forgotten his father. 'Come on, Clark!' he urged, about to follow his friend, but then Clark was back, looking pale and guilty.
"He's dead," he whispered. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault," Lex soothed, realizing he should feel something, but somehow unable to do so.
"I could have saved him. He was still alive when I was up earlier, if I'd taken him then..." Clark started, but Lex interrupted him.
"You can't know that. You thought I was up there, when I wasn't. You tried to save me. Just because you saw him alive doesn't mean he was." Even while he was talking to his friend Lex's gaze kept shifting to the closer coming whirlwind. They had to get out.
"We have no time for this. Come!" He pulled Clark towards the Porsche, only to suddenly find himself swept into Clark's arms. "What the hell...?"
"I'm faster," Clark said, looking at him. "Trust me."
What a way to finally be let in on at least part of the secret that was Clark Kent. Lex swallowed. He glanced again at the tornado, then nodded at his friend, throwing his arms around Clark's neck. "I trust you," he said, unable to resist kissing the ear close to him. "Now, please, get us out of here, Speedy."
The last word had barely left his mouth when they were running and Lex held on for dear life, his eyes never leaving the tornado following them.
At first it was a little bit like sitting in a plane during take off, Lex decided, a bit of pressure on the body and a squeezy feeling in his stomach. Afterwards it was more a train ride, the world rushing by separated from you. While he hang on, more and more relaxing into the strong hold and enjoying the movement of muscles against him, Lex wondered how it was for Clark. Did he see the world rushing by or did it slow down for him?
Lex was just about to ask him, when he noticed Clark changing direction. Since that took them closer to the tornado they were currently running from, it didn't seem like a good idea - until he saw the second tornado heading towards them. Lex swallowed. The idea was crazy, but somehow it seemed as if this new storm was deliberately hunting them. And was Clark getting slower?
"Clark?" he asked, feeling his words being ripped from his lips by the wind. "Clark!"
There was no answer, his friend just kept running, so Lex continued watching the storms. Or rather the one storm, as the two tornadoes began to merge into each other. Green lightning seemed to spring over from the second one to the first and then it was one big howling monster throwing rocks and other things into the air.
Lex felt something fly past his head, and then blood tickling down his face. Next he found himself airborn for a second before landing hard on the ground, Clark only a few feet away from him on his knees.
"Clark?" He crawled to his friend's side. "What happened?"
"The meteor rocks," Clark gasped, clearly in pain, pointing with one green veined hand to a large green glowing rock beside him.
Immediately Lex grabbed the rock and threw it as far away as he could and was rewarded with a sigh of relief from Clark. "Better?" Lex asked since, as far as he could see, the sickly look hadn't totally left his friend.
"Yes." Clark smiled tiredly. "I'm kinda alergic to those rocks."
"No kidding." Lex nodded and stood, pulling Clark to his feet too. "No time for a chat now. Let's get back to running." He said it lightly, but his gaze was once again on the green flashes that told him that the tornado was still coming closer.
"There are some caves over there," Clark said, pointing into the darkness ahead.
"Okay." Lex nodded. He wasn't really convinced that hiding in a cave during a tornado was a good idea, but then he was pretty certain that being caught in the open would be their death. "Let's make a run for it."
Clark didn't offer to carry him again and Lex didn't ask. From the way Clark ran slowly along-side him it was obvious that he was still effected by the rocks, even though Lex could detect none near. He wondered if it wasn't the storm itself infecting the very air around them with nearly invisible meteorite particles that was causing the trouble. He certainly had trouble breathing and it wasn't only the exercise.
Lex could just make out the shape of a hill before them, when Clark stumbled and fell. He looked green again and seemed to have trouble breathing.
"Come on, Clark!" Lex urged, but his friend just shook his head.
"I can't. You've to go without me," he said between gasps.
Lex looked from the hill looming promising before them to the deadly whirlwind behind them. Yes, he could make it, but it didn't matter, not if Clark wasn't with him. Kneeling in front of Clark he grabbed his shoulders and kissed him forcefully, then he put his hands on both side of his friend's face and locked eyes with him.
"Either you get up and we both run for our lives or we'll stay here and get the hell of a ride. Either way, we'll do it together."
"No, Lex, no. You..."
Lex shut him up with another kiss. "I love you, Clark. I will not let you go, ever," he said then, ignoring the roaring of the approaching tornado. They would not die. All Clark needed was a good motivation, and getting him to safety should do the trick. At least Lex hoped so.
Clark pulled back from Lex, his eyes having gone wide. One hand reached up of its own accord to touch his mouth before a flying ball of dust smacked him alongside his jaw, breaking and spreading over his face and bringing him back to his senses.
Quickly he grabbed Lex's hand and staggered to his feet, pulling the older man behind him and towards the caves, not stopping until they were deep in the caves, the only light coming from small cracks in the ceiling, filtering down of what was left of the sunlight from above.
Lex pulled his hand from Clark's to immediately and frantically tug at the bowtie that Clark had still tied around his neck, loosening it and slipping the fabric off. Quickly he undid the first two buttons of the collar of Clark's dress shirt, long, pale fingers reaching in to stroke around Clark's neck and collarbone.
"Are you okay? What do those rocks do to you?"
Clark looked down at Lex's hands, smudged in brown, trickling along his skin and grinned. Whatever the rocks did to Clark, it was nothing compared to this.
"They just hurt," he answered simply.
Hands went to his shoulders, slipping the tuxedo jacket off of Clark's shoulders, heedlessly dropping it to the ground.
"Are they ..." Lex paused, "the only thing that hurts you?"
Clark nodded, more concerned with controlling his slightly trembling hands as Lex picked them up, undoing the cuff at one wrist and then the other, folding back the sleeves to look at his hands and forearms.
"I always thought your hands were amazing," Lex murmured, turning Clark's hands over to examine the fine blue of the veins that ran under the skin of his wrists. He leaned closely for a moment, perhaps remembering the way that the meteor rock turned the blue to a neon green before looking up at Clark from under his eyelashes.
"But not hands for pool."
Clark laughed, feeling buoyant as he turned his hands into Lex's, gripping tightly as he leaned forward for a kiss.
Suddenly the ground began to move, rock and rubble falling around them, dust flying up as they were wrenched apart.
"The tornado!" Clark screamed at Lex who nodded back. What was the rule? For a tornado did you duck and cover or get under a doorway or lock yourself in a room with windows - no, windows were bad.
A hand on his arm stopped his internal panicking as Lex pulled him close and under one of the air shafts above them. They stood there, staring up and seeing nothing but gray as the tornado passed over them. Clark closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Lex's shoulders, trying to shield the smaller man with his body until suddenly everything stopped.
"The eye," Lex said, twisting enough out of Clark's grip to look up. "We've got more."
A sickly yellow color had filtered in, reminding Clark of evenings on the farm right before bad weather set in. He privately wondered how much more they had just as a dark smear of red on a part of the cave caught his eye.
He looked around, eyes wide as the light from the eye of the storm uncovered the shadows of the cave, revealing figures and pictures done in red, blue, green, yellow, black… so many colors.
"Where are we?"
Lex looked around, mouth settling into a thin line. "I don't know but for what it's providing us right now, it could be an iron maiden and I wouldn't care."
Clark made a mental note to ask how they could find shelter in a rock band later gripping Lex again as the storm hit them once more.
One of Lex's hands snaked up his back and into his hair, fingers threading through the dark mop as he pressed himself closer to Clark. Clark closed his eyes tightly, a memory of Lex's voice whispering through is ear.
I love you, Clark.
The ground rocked underneath him, the earth rolled over him and only minutes ago, Lex Luthor had kissed Clark. Told him he loved him. It wasn't…
Lex had kissed him, but he hadn't. Chloe had seen him kissing Lex behind the bleachers, but they didn't. Lex hadn't been overly upset that his father had just died, crushed by pylons and then had told him that he loved him, but neither could be real.
When their world returned to normal, Clark pulled away and looked closely at Lex.
"What?" Lex mused, his eyes half closed as he reached up to brush hair that had fallen over Clark's brow.
Lex wouldn't do that. He had seen Lex with Victoria, they had been having sex, and he never was that affectionate with her. His breathing came out in almost a wheeze as he stepped away, not sure why his stomach suddenly dropped as he realized that something about this wasn't right.
Clark pulled away and turned his back to Lex, looking up at the cave walls and to a painting that looked like a serpent and a man, combined together below the waist.
Sadly, he looked over his shoulder at Lex, taking in the other man's disheveled appearance before sighing. "I'm sorry, Lex."
The smile that had touched Lex's mouth melted slightly, leaving a confused expression behind. "For what, Clark?"
Clark blinked and whispered, "You're not here. You're not real." He turned around again, facing the wall, its strange paintings and the small indention in the rock that seemed to be emitting a faint glow.
He turned back around again to point it out to Lex, but Lex was gone.
Clark slumped, not knowing what to do or where to go when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw the glow grow brighter, until being a full blown light that seemed to throb.
He reached out to touch it.
Hearing Clark say he wasn't real hurt. Surprisingly Lex didn't hurt as much because of the rejection as because Clark sounded so heartbreakingly ... heartbroken.
Sure, Lex was as confused as Clark about this whole dimension-shifting or whatever it was, but he wasn't confused about his feelings for the boy. And he knew his Clark - or did he? For a moment Lex wavered ... but no, he knew his Clark and even on the off chance that it wasn't exactly his Clark, he was still as real as, well, as Lex himself.
He was about to tell Clark something along this line when suddenly a yellow glowing light seemed to grow from the wall paintings, enveloping Clark until Lex could only see him through a barrier of light.
Clark, however, looked like he didn't see Lex at all, before, with a slump to his broad shoulders he turned back to the wall, then reached out to touch it.
Lex felt a lot like Han Solo right at this moment - he had a bad feeling about this. And to prove him right, as soon as Clark touched the stone he vanished. Just like that. One moment he was there, although obscured by the light surrounding him, the next he was gone.
Lex blinked. Clark stayed gone. He blinked once more - and Clark was there again.
"Lex? Are you ... real?" And if the expression on the boy's face wasn't the most adorable Bambi in headlights impersonation he ever saw his name wasn't Alexander J. Luthor.
"Of course I'm real." He was pretty sure of it at least. To tell the truth he was reaching a state of being confused going on temporarily insane. Things like doubles appearing and disappearing topped off by the original Clark appearing and disappearing complete with some classical SciFi effect were bound to make you doubt your plane of existence.
Speaking of which... "Where have you been?"
"You mean, I've actually been away?"
"Yeah. You've been enveloped in that yellow light and then vanished. For two blinks of an eye to be precise, then you reappeared."
"That's pretty much what I thought, too."
"Then it did really happen. I thought I'd been imagining things."
"What things, Clark? What happened?" Lex was prepared to beg for Clark to spill the beans if necessary. He was unprepared for Clark to start talking without another prompting. He was also unprepared for what Clark said.
"I just spoke to my father. My biological father that is."
Lex knew it was probably the most uncool way to respond, but he couldn't help it. "You what?" he asked.
"I spoke to my biological father," Clark repeated, sounding in awe.
"Behind a wall, in three seconds?" Lex thought he had the right to be sarcastic. "Without a doubt it's been a deep conversation."
"Yeah, it was," Clark answered enthusiastically, only to frown, apparently getting the sarcasm belatedly. "It didn't seem like only seconds. More like an hour or so. He told me of Krypton, why I'm here, and he and my mother aren't. It was strange and totally surreal. I mean, we were in this room full of white light, I was sitting on something that looked like an iceblock, just that it wasn't cold and..."
"Clark wait," Lex interrupted. He could see that his friend was losing himself in the memory, but he had already lost him with his tale, somewhere around the word 'Krypton', which didn't mean anything to Lex. "Can you just take a breath for a moment and maybe come here, closer to me. It makes me nervous that you're standing so close to this wall. You might have had an interesting time, but for me it were three seconds of wondering if I'd ever see you again. Three seconds too long." He said the last as flippant as he could, but knew that the words were telling about his feelings. And why not? He had said 'I love you' before, this was just a follow up.
It seemed Clark got all that, because one blink of an eye later the teenager was standing directly in front of him, touching his shoulder gently. "Sorry, Lex. I didn't mean to scare you. I'm here. I'm all right and I won't leave you again." He smiled, that brilliant smile that was a Clark Kent trademark. "I love you, too."
"Somehow I hoped you would say that." Lex grinned and then he pulled his friend even closer, just to make sure he was real of course, and kissed him.
At first it was just an almost chaste touching of lips, but soon it became more. Mouths opened and tongues slipped over each other. Clark's hand left his shoulder and wandered down his back, slipping beneath his shirt.
'Please,' Lex thought, as he mirrored the action, 'please, let this be real and don't interrupt.'
'Oh god, I hope this is real,' Clark prayed, not knowing that he echoed Lex's thoughts. The skin under his hand was slightly sticky - sweat - reminding Clark of their mad dash towards the caves. While it wasn't exactly part of his fantasies, Clark was more than happy to feel it, more than happy to getting Lex's pale body dirty with the mud still clinging to his fingers. This was what reality was like, and reality was great.
Lex was still devouring his mouth, and somehow he had also managed to open Clark's pants. At the first touch of a strong hand around his cock, Clark lost the ability to stand upright, his knees turned to jelly and then he was lying on the ground, Lex posed above him, his jacket beneath him.
"You're beautiful," Lex said, and before Clark could react to it, Lex's mouth was on him again, kissing his lips, his chin, wandering down, lightly chewing on his Adam's apple.
"Oh, god!" Clark bucked into Lex's hand which was still holding him. "Please!"
"Touch me, Clark," Lex ordered, and he obeyed immediately, one hand going for Lex's shoulder, the other daringly for his pants. A loud moan was his reward as he began to lightly massage Lex's erection through the denim.
Then Lex began to stroke Clark in earnest, setting a fast pace, counteracted by soft lips almost lazily mapping Clark's neck, until they conquered his mouth once more. Fire was taking over Clark's whole being, rushing towards his groin like a volcano ready to explode. It was all he could do to let go of Lex, so that he wouldn't crush his friend, then he came - awareness of his surroundings slipping away into a myriad of colors.
Awareness returned with the feeling of being sticky, tired and the thought that something important had happened. And then Clark's gaze fell on Lex and he remembered. He had sex, with Lex, and from his friend's appearances it had really happened this time, at least the rumbled shirt - dirty with earth and what Clark guessed was semen - seemed to point that out. A quick look at his own state of dress ... yes, it had been real. He grinned.
"We had sex." The moment the words left his mouth he winced, but it was too late.
"Yes, we had." There was amusement in Lex's tone, but something more, something that Clark couldn't define.
Curious he looked at his friend, and found him beaming at him. Not literally, of course, in fact there were streaks of dirt around his mouth, but there was just no other word coming to Clark's mind for Lex's expression. He looked as if he had just witnessed a miracle. Somehow it was eerie.
"You're the real thing, aren't you?" Lex asked.
"You bet I am," Clark said, grabbing Lex's arm to assure him. "Just like you are. Thank god. I was afraid I'd open my eyes and you were gone again, everything just a..."
"Not that," Lex interupted him. "You're an alien, right? Because I doubt very much that it was my technique, which is good, but not that good." Lex's expression was still one of awe, but there was also the beginning of a smirk.
"Lex?" Clark didn't know what to think. Sure, since running from that tornado he hadn't been exactly discrete with his powers and vanishing into a wall was probably telling too, but why was Lex coming up with this now, now after they just had... He wasn't to finish his thought, as Lex stopped teasing him.
"You levitated, Clark. Right after you came. And I didn't dream it, so please spare me any explanation which I won't believe anyway."
"Oh." He had levitated, great. Clark stared at Lex, not sure what he was supposed to do now. It had been drummed into him to keep his secret, that he would be hurt if people knew. In his nightmares he had imagined his friends running him out of town with pitchforks and shotguns, military hunting him, and evil scientists cutting him up in their lab.
But now that it had happened, that someone outside of his family knew, he was alone with that someone in a cave. And this someone was his best friend - who he'd just had sex with - and he looked ... okay with it. Better than okay, actually. Happy.
"You're not freaked," Clark asked, just to make sure.
"Because you're an alien?"
When Clark nodded, Lex looked at him incredulously.
"You thought I would freak because my lover isn't from Smallville, but from another planet? Hello! Warrior Angel fan here. Have you met me? I'm excited and fascinated. And I could recite a lot more adjectives about my emotional state, but I assure you, 'freaked out' isn't one of them."
Clark laughed in relief. Lex was a geek, all right. And his best friend. And he had just called him 'lover'. Life was good.
"Do you think the storm is over?" Clark wondered after a moment.
"You want to call home?" Lex grinned, and rose, extending a hand to help Clark up.
Getting his clothes in some loose sort of order, Clark nodded. "I'm sure they're worried."
"Then let's find out."
Side by side they walked back to the cave's entrance, noticing that it got darker the closer they got to it and the further they got away from the wall with the paintings. Clark looked back once, promising himself that he would return sometime, then he stepped into the night.
"It's raining," Lex observed. "Good."
"Yes, good. It will hopefully wash away some of the dirt, or at least make sure that it isn't too obvious what we've been doing." Lex looked pointedly at some spots on Clark's and his own clothes.
"Good point." Clark grinned. There were certain things he didn't want his parents to know. Not just yet anyway. His smile faltered. What if Chloe told them what she had seen? Even if it never had happened, people would believe her and people would think, and now it would be true and...
"Don't panic, Clark. We'll find out what happened, talk to Chloe, straighten everything out. Don't worry."
He hadn't realized he had spoken his fears out aloud, but Lex's words reassured him. Lex would make everything all right, that was just what Lex did, after all.
"Thanks. Lover," he said, trying the word out.
Lex laughed. "You're welcome."
Epilogue: 1 year later
"Okay, Lex, tell! Where are we going?" Clark said by way of greeting as he jumped into Lex's latest convertible Porsche.
"Hello to you too, Clark," Lex replied, while he let his gaze wander down his young lover's frame. He just loved Clark in a tuxedo, and this one was fitting perfectly, unlike the one that had been ruined the previous year.
"Oops. Hello, Lex." Clark grinned, then leaned over to give him a kiss.
It wasn't much more than a grazing of lips, but it was a statement to the world in general and to Clark's parents in particular, and that was more than enough for Lex. He knew Martha was happy for them, though she was understandably worried what it would mean for Clark to be openly gay in Smallville. Jonathan Kent was far from happy, but he also was accepting Lex as part of the family now, giving him a chance to prove himself, and for that Lex was grateful.
As he drove the car out of the Kent driveway, Lex reflected that the last year had been one of major changes in his life, and while a part of him still mourned his father, he was nevertheless glad that they had happened. The best of course was being the lover of the beautiful teenager at his side. A pouting teenager.
"Leeeex. Where are we going? And why did I have to dress like this?" Clark asked again, frowning. "And why aren't you in something like this?" He indicated his suit.
"It's our anniversary, Clark, where do you think we're going?"
"I haven't got a clue. Really. I mean, the caves would seem logical, but not in these clothes. And if you wanted to go to something more ... classy, you'd be wearing a tuxedo, too. So ... I'm out of ideas."
Lex smiled. He'd expected Clark to figure it out the moment he saw what Lex was wearing, but then he probably didn't remember Lex's attire from a year ago. He bet, Chloe could have told him, though. Still, it wasn't a problem that he didn't get it, it would make the surprise all the more sweeter. And maybe Clark had really forgotten how it had all begun.
"Lex, come on, spill!"
Lex shook his head, his grin deepening. Once the storm had passed the strange happenings had disappeared and not returned, but not before a lot of the Smallville residents had gotten some interesting and disturbing visions - sometimes of themselves, sometimes of others. Chloe had collected the stories and turned them into a magazine, giving Clark the first copy as an apology. And the second to Lex with the comment that she wished them the best.
"Why are we going to the school?" Clark was obviously still clueless. But then, it was a Sunday afternoon and the school deserted.
Lex turned the engine off, left the car and, waving his lover to follow him, walked towards the buildings. One millisecond later Clark was at his side, gently grabbing his arm.
"Why, Lex?" he asked again, but something in his tone told Lex that now Clark had caught on.
"Because we never found out if what we saw - and others saw - were scenes from another dimension or indeed visions from a possible future." Lex stopped and looked up at Clark, looked at the face he loved so much. "I just want to make sure that everything's working out right."
Clark smiled, that smile that could lighten up Metropolis in Lex's opinion.
"Come on then!" Clark pulled him forward. "To the bleachers!"